The Silent Majority demand to be heard. What about your rights to be heard? Are you prepared to do nothing? Will you be heard when the ‘silent majority’ finally get their way? Or are you prepared to sit there and let the media and minor parties tell you that you do not matter anymore?
Who are the silent majority? No one really knows. They don’t protest or fight for rights. Nor do they write to newspapers or politicians to raise issues. They haven’t really given a stuff about anything, until now. Until Pauline Hanson ‘gave them a voice.’ Or so the media tells them she has.
They are the angry silent people who have never bothered with politics. While others have been out in the streets protesting, the silent majority have done nothing.
For years the silent majority have looked at politicians on television or on Facebook and have made their judgements. Not on their policies, but on what they look like.
The media has placed them front and centre and now it is only their opinion that matters. They truly believe an angry protest vote will magically make the world a perfect place.
This phenomenon has really bothered me. Particularly because of Trump and the rise of Hanson. I feel the world is teetering on the edge. I feel the hard fought gains with so many things we take for granted and enjoy, like proper health care, free education and rights at work and decent wages, will be torn to shreds in an instant.
It is a terrifying feeling and I do not believe I am the only one who feels this way.
I have an impending doom of the return of work choices – where we had NO RIGHTS AT WORK.
How can anyone forget that? I will never, ever forget.
This is not a game. Politics is not a game. It really affects people’s lives.
I have taken the time to be less political and more approachable. I’ve asked more questions, listened and not said a word. Sometimes I have been a straight out eavesdropper and listened in. (sorry Mum! – My mum did not like eavesdroppers).
Mostly, I have listened. I have listened in pubs, the checkout, at social gatherings and I have waded through commentary on newspaper forums and Facebook posts, day after day.
I often hear or read things about politicians such as:
“Ooh she looks like a bitch, I don’t like her.” (about Catherine King)
“Listen to this dickhead (physically mocking), who is this clown?’ (about Christopher Pyne)
“Jesus…Shorten is nothing but forehead, must be a brain in there somewhere hahahaha!” (about Bill Shorten)
“Blah, Blah, Blah, come and work as hard as me and then you can have an opinion, mate!” (about Barnaby Joyce)
“I like her. She seems nice.” (about Julie Bishop)
“Yeah, Yeah” (dismissive) (about Malcolm Turnbull)
“Feed that man a F ###### Pie” (about George Christensen)
“When Turnbull’s gone, don’t put Abbott back in, put him in” (about Chris Bowen – LABOR!!!!)
and of course we have:
“YEAAAHHHH Pauline. Pauline for PM” (cue five grown men insanely grinning and head nodding) (about Pauline Hanson)
They know who Pauline is because she is the star of breakfast news television and the media shoves her face in our face every five minutes and never asks her hard questions.
This may be a shock to some of the very politically engaged voters reading this (and obviously Mr. Turnbull); but some do not even know who the Prime Minister is.
Many have absolutely no idea who Barnaby Joyce, is. Many do not know which politician belongs with which party (see Chris Bowen example above).
Because some people know I am politically engaged, I will often be approached to explain an issue, when they hear or see something.
An example is:
Them: So Shorten….is he Labor or Liberal?
Them: So the other ones then….the Liberals (Me: Yeh) what are they doing to the dole?
Me: They don’t want people under 25 to have any dole for four weeks – it was six months, then six weeks, now four weeks. People will starve! We must stop this!
Them: Well Pauline will not allow that then.
Me: Ahhh yes, she will. She supports it
Them: Yeh, so she will get in and it won’t happen.
Me: No….she supports Government for no payment. She wants them to starve for a month too.
Them: No, that won’t be right.
Me: Ahh yes, it is. She votes with the bastard Liberals on almost everything. She supports it.
Them: I don’t believe that. You must have it wrong.
Me: No. She is an ex-Liberal and supports Turnbull. Hanson said she supports it.
Them: Well I say you are wrong. We will see who is right when she wins.
This is the point where I physically want to smash my head through a wall. If anyone has any answers, any advice to combat this. Please, please put your suggestions below.
Yet, this silent majority apparently know so much about the political decisions and how these decisions affect their lives. Their abundance of political knowledge has made them so angry about not being heard.
Apparently, these are the people we all must listen to, but they refuse to listen to anyone else. The silent majority will decide our future.
Well stuff that!
When the silent majority vote for Hanson, will you be happy to be ignored? A blind anger the media has told them they have when they have never cared about politics before? People who judge politicians on their hair style? Are you better than this?
Let’s have a look at just four things a Hanson / Liberal Duopoly will bring.
You will not be heard if you are out of work and under 25. You are a citizen who does not matter. Four weeks with no income. No money for food, rent, phone, basic hygiene needs. Nothing. Then you will receive less money than now. Only $433 per fortnight. If you are a parent of someone under 25. You will support them, out of your own pocket. Hanson and Turnbull are paid way, way more than you. They do not care. If the silent majority decides. You do not have a say.
Hanson supported the Liberal’s ABCC, so if you are an apprentice or a mature aged worker, your voice will not be heard if you want a job in the construction industry. The ABCC discourages apprenticeships and mature aged workers. You are a citizen who does not matter. Worker deaths increased under the last ABCC.This could be your loved one or friend. Hanson and Turnbull do not care. If the silent majority decides. You do not have a say.
The Hanson / Liberal duopoly don’t want to listen to you on this one. You are a citizen that does not matter. You will not be heard. Hanson supports the West Australian Liberal Government’s plan to privatise electricity assets. There is no guarantee of service with a private provider. Cost of electricity will sky rocket. If you are a low income family or a pensioner, your voice will not be heard. Your worries about affording electricity or ensuring connection in times of crisis will be dismissed. If the silent majority decides. You do not have a say.
If you are a low income earning family and rely on family payment to make ends meet; your voice will no longer be heard. You do not matter. Hanson supports the current cuts to family payment. Pauline Hanson said of welfare, ‘I see a big waste of money and we actually have to rein it back in’. This means your kids will have less. So will you. Hanson does not have a family support agenda. She does not care. If the silent majority decides, you do not have a say and neither do your kids.
Because the silent majority are worried about a few women wearing a burqa, are these the acceptable trade offs?
If you vote for Hanson because of this concern, on the other hand you will vote for jobless young people starving for a whole month, privatised electricity, unsafe workplaces, less apprentices and mature aged workers and less money for kids and that is only the beginning.
If you are one of the people who post the memes about helping homeless first before refugees. Well here is your chance. Put Liberals and One Nation last and help the homeless. Welfare cuts create more homelessness. Not less. That is how your vote can make a difference. You can be heard!
Read up. Listen up. Speak up on the issues that matter to you. About jobs, welfare, families, health and education. Find out exactly what Hanson and the Liberals support and do not stop asking or reading until you find out the truth. Log onto www.aph.gov.au and have a look around. If you don’t know what something means, ask a friend who does or join a facebook political group and ask.
Become aware of what matters. For example, Muslims with multiple wives is a diversion. It does not affect you. It does not affect your family home or your kids. Hanson’s vote to cut your family payment does.
Take particular note that when a party preferences another party – that means their values and what they believe in are very similar. Pauline Hanson and the Liberals are preferencing each other in the Western Australian election and Turnbull will not rule it out. They are now ‘in bed together’ whispering political promises in the dark. A duopoly. Joined at the hip.
The Hanson Party who says they are better than the majors, has now joined forces with a major party. Think about that for a second. She has sold the ‘silent majority’ out.
That means, Hanson prefers the Liberals with all their harsh cuts to welfare and the fight to keep overseas 457 visas workers in abundance and us out of jobs over Labor and the Greens who oppose both of these things. I think this really paints her as a fraud and a liar – don’t you?
It is YOUR time to be heard. Do not let the silent majority voting in blind rage speak for you. Do not let Hanson speak for you. Also do not let the media speak for you. It is YOUR time to be heard.
In 2010, Tony Abbott, supported by the media in epic proportions, touted Gillard’s infamous “Carbon Tax Lie” as THE lie that cost Abbott the Prime Ministership. Moving forward to 2017, an even bigger lie has been revealed. This just may be THE lie which allowed Turnbull to hang on by the skin of his teeth to power. This lie is the Turnbull Government remained silent on the compulsory acquisition of farming land in Central Queensland for supplying land to the Singaporean Army for defence training.
When the lust for political power is such that it sees citizens denied their rights, or it denies voters to make an informed vote, it is up to all of us to stand up against that.
Prior to the election in May 2016, the LNP MP for Capricornia, Michelle Landry announced that the Turnbull Government was investing in defence at Shoalwater Bay. Landry was pleased to announce that this would pump millions into the local economy and it was a positive for small business.
In all instances, Michelle Landry framed the Shoalwater Bay investment in terms of an upgrade, implicitly insinuating that the upgrade was to existing facilities. Landry omitted the cold hard facts that this also included, or had even the potential to include compulsory acquisition of nearby farming land, owned by local farmers for generations (see maps in link above).
In addition, Bill Byrne, QLD Labor Minister for Agriculture has also accused Defence Minister Marise Payne of misleading the Senate.
QLD Labor Minister Byrne said that:
“There is no doubt in my mind that vital information was withheld to gain electoral advantage, and I am raising the possibility that Minister Payne… misled the senate estimates hearing,”
On 18th March, 2016, Defence Minister Payne issued a press release which detailed the enhanced development of training operations between Singapore and Australia.
Therefore, in March 2016, the Defence Minister, Minister for Trade and Investment, Special Envoy for Trade and the Foreign Minister knew that an increase of Singaporean Troops was earmarked or military training facilities. The question is:
Did not one of these Ministers have any awareness that this increase would indeed require an expansion to the military training areas?
Was this promise made without even developing an understanding of how it might impact on people living in the region or the impact on our economy?
Has the Member for Capricornia, shown absolutely no interest in asking her own Party about any perceived negative impacts on the constituency she is supposed to represent?
The Federal Budget papers do not detail any expenses for upgrading the Military Operations in Shoalwater Bay.
However, in capital expenses, the Government does commit to $29.9 billion over 10 years from 2016‑17 to 2025‑26 to support initiatives in the Defence White paper which includes:
A number of ADF training areas in northern Australia will receive upgrades by 2020, including Shoalwater Bay (Queensland)
Once again, Shoalwater Bay and Townsville are only discussed as upgrades and not as an expansion.
In October, Senator Payne took a question from Senator McDonald regarding the memorandum of understanding with Singapore. Senator Payne detailed that the Singaporean Army will invest “around $2.25 billion in upgrades to Australian training areas while up to 14,000 Singaporean troops will join our own for training for up to 18 weeks per year in Australia.”
However, in Senator Payne’s response in the Senate, she details that this inclusion in the Defence White Paper includes increasing international defence engagement. The CSP will particularly enhance training area access and joint development of facilities.
The expansion was announced in the Senator on 8th November. Senator Payne advised the house that she would make sure that ADF would conduct extensive engagement and consultation. This has not occurred and Farmers were advised via a letter of the compulsory acquisition of Land, a shock to many. The Coalition Government decided upon compulsory acquisition of land without consulting Farmers.
The strategic partnership is detailed as developed in May, the White Paper states upgrades as an aim. However, in May, 2016, the Government did not detail any expenses for an expansion, just an ‘upgrade.’ The Government knew the increase in Singaporean Personnel and the aims of the strategic plan, at least in May. Why did they not question the logistics of this increase? QLD Minister Bill Byrne goes into much more depth here.
The Government either hid the information regarding the compulsory acquisition of farming land from voters prior to the election, or they were incompetent in their planning with the Singaporean Army in the land area that was required to achieve the aims of the strategic plan.
If the Government was evasive and did not disclose in May that this land was a necessity to acquire by force of compulsory acquisition, then the Government is also incompetent by excluding the loss of revenue from Beef Producers in the region in the Agriculture revenue within the Budget. This will rip approximately 100,000 head of cattle from our local producers and severely impact on the two meat works in Rockhampton. Rockhampton is the Beef Capital of Australia. This Defence threat to farmer’s land will hand this title to Casino in NSW.
To put the omission of the compulsory acquisition of farming land into perspective of the infamous “Carbon Tax Lie” is that the Coalition rests on just 76 seats. Just enough to form Government. The Carbon Tax Lie was touted by the Coalition and by the media as the lie that denied Abbott the Prime Ministership.
In Queensland the Coalition won 21 seats. There are quite a number of seats in QLD that the coalition holds onto with very slim margins. Michelle Landry’s seat of Capricornia scraped through with only 1111 votes, with the majority of Liberal votes coming from the rural areas via postal votes. The nearby seat of Flynn, saw the local Labor candidate, Zac Beers, almost decimated O’Dowd’s comfortable seat, leaving O’Dowd with a swing against him of -8.96. Capricornia was one of the deciding seats in the election. Flynn now sits on a margin of 2.08, 1,814 votes.
These are just some examples of regional seats in Queensland, where the Liberal National Coalition and indeed the local LNP MPs fighting to keep their seats would know full well that attacks on our farming community and a farmers land grab would have banished at least Landry and O’Dowd into oblivion.
In Regional Queensland regardless of whether we live in town, or out on a property, or what our traditional political beliefs are, everyone is united in standing up for the farmers. No doubt, many Australians feel the way regional Queenslanders do and would have voted accordingly.
As detailed above in March, the Defence Minister met with Singapore to discuss mutual aims for Defence, including access and development of training facilities. From May, the Coalition were spruiking their deal with the Singaporean Army, which would bring 14,000 Singaporeans to the region for training. The ADF website details that:
“Identifying a remote parcel of land for Singapore Armed Forces training was considered during development of the agreement, but was dismissed due to the limited benefit for the Australian Defence Force.”
Therefore, in May, the Coalition knew full well that an expansion was required. In no instance, did Michelle Landry or Marise Payne identify the expansion and what land was to be (initially) used. They simply implicitly stated that they were ‘upgrading existing facilities’ to house the increase of Singaporeans.
The revelation that the Liberal National Government had no contingency plan if this ‘parcel of land’ detailed above fell over and that would mean forced acquisition of farming land, speaks to the either a cover up and deceit to voters or blatant incompetence.
Psychological projection is a tried and true campaign style of the LNP, particularly in Queensland. Psychological projection is when someone takes their undesirable feelings or beliefs and projects them onto others. This takes the focus off them and project it onto others, with the intent to have others believe it is the target who has the undesirable feelings or belief and not them.
For example, if the Liberals stated the opposition would ‘harm families’ but knew it was their party and not the opposition, that had a plan to abolish funding that would harm families. This is psychological projection. This technique is also used by Republicans in America.
On the 4th May, the Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry posed a question to the Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce. This question was put forward to demonstrate how much the LNP invest in helping farmers. This is such a contradiction in terms to the real truth that an expansion would heavily impact on Beef production and supply for the Capricornia region. Landry had already established a platform that LNP supports farmers and Labor does not prior to the election. That smells very much like a precursor for the campaign strategy below.
At the Norman Road booth in Capricornia, where I handed out HTV cards, Landry’s fly-in campaigners from down south (because her local volunteers do not appear to be in abundance) were screaming:
They were also telling voters not to vote for the Katter Party or Glenn Lazurus as “they are funded by the dirty filthy unions.” The absolute hatred for the worker by the LNP in Capricornia also runs deep.
If this was the campaign style at one booth, then it would stand to reason that this was the campaign strategy at many booths.
The truth in this, is that whilst Landry’s mob were screaming “Labor Hates Farmers!!” it was indeed Landry’s mob who were getting set to do the dirty on farmers in the Capricornia region.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, QLD Minister Bill Byrne, QLD MPs Jim Pearce and Brittany Lauga and Federal Senator Murray Watt, have organised forums and rallies to give these Farmers a voice. Brittany Lauga also organised counselling services for local farmers as, readers would appreciate the impact on their emotional health with this decision is heartbreaking and as Lauga said, quite urgent.
Please see the video below from the Rally, including a brilliant speech from local Farmer, Pip Rea.
We have already seen what happens in QLD when the Government defies the wishes of the electorate. In 2012, QLD Labor were banished to seven seats, for selling QLD Rail. In 2015, the LNP were thrown out of office after one term, with Labor taking 37 seats from the opposition for a total of 44 seats. Our assets are not for sale. Not now. Now ever.
Similar anger would have been felt from Queenslanders, on July 2, if they knew about the compulsory acquisition of farming land. This would have most certainly resulted in a very different parliament than we have today.
Yesterday, the Federal Government said they would look at ‘alternatives’ due to the outcry from local farmers. However, local farmers are not satisfied, with some suggesting this is just to take the heat off of the first week in Parliament.
Bill Shorten has written to the Prime Minister personally and The QLD Premier has requested COAG be held in Rockhampton.
“IF he has any guts he will come here and face you.”
Annastacia Palaszczuk, QLD Premier, commenting on the Prime Minister “The Rally” Rockhampton 1st February, 2017.
However, that is not a victory. A victory is no forced compulsory acquisition of farming land. That is the outcome local farmers want.
To support Farmers you can like and encourage friends to like the Marlborough Defence Land Grab Facebook Page
Sign and share the Stop the Australian Farm Land being Blown Up Petition
Write to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, Defence Minister Marise Payne and your local member and insist upon no forced compulsory acquisition of farming land for Defence Training to accommodate the Singaporean Army
Listen and Share Ray Hadley’s scathing interview with Barnaby Joyce linked below:
Barnaby: If we say we will never forcibly acquire anything, we will never build another road, we will never build another dam…..
Hadley: Yeh but they are not giving it to the Singaporeans…….
Hadley: Barnaby, Barnaby, the one thing we never get involved in is BS…..
From F. Scott-Fitzgerald: ‘The Crack-up’
“This is what I think now: that the natural state of the sentient adult is a qualified unhappiness. I think also that in an adult the desire to be finer in grain that you are, “a constant striving” (as those people say who gain their bread by saying it) only adds to this unhappiness in the end — that end that comes to our youth and hope.”
It doesn’t do to become too cynical at a young age, THAT is best left those who reach the “winter” of one’s life and can “cheerfully” find justification for cynicism alongside their other trophies of other disappointments in life. It is one of the privileges of living a long life where one can, with experience (no matter how twisted that experience is!) talk-up justification without a youngsters interruption for one’s opinion….it’s called “booorinnng!”
I am hearing, especially in these rural areas where I live, an ironic twist of cynicism and naivety from the same mouths at the same time. For example, like in these cases of parliamentary privileges rorting by certain ministers.
Many in these rural areas, being “welded-on” LNP. Supporters, curled their lips in sneering cynicism when a Labor minister stepped down from his post for a $1600.
Bill-pay done for him by a company..mumbles of “It’s what you’d expect” spat in disgust from those parched conservative lips.
Even one of “their own”, the Speaker of the House in the Gillard years; Mr. Slipper, was hounded from his position in disgrace for a cab-charge of; circa $900. Dollars!
But THEN, when conservative ministers (that’s plural !) are caught red-handed with their pilfering arms plunged elbow-deep into the proverbial “ministerial entitlements” cookie-jar, there is this eye blinking, ashen-faced disbelief that “one of their own” could do such a thing, even when one of their own is a fervent follower of that philosophy that believes in self-enrichment for the greater public good.
You have to wonder what the conservative public expects from the people they voted for…: Mother Theresa in a banker’s suit?
I would offer a bigger fish to fry.
In my trade of building, one learns from bitter experience (hopefully from others!) that certain types of soil can only support certain types of buildings without an injection of significant amounts of money!
For instance, the extremes of expansion and contraction of “Bay of Biscay” soils of the Adelaide plains made for the invention and development of “brick-veneer” construction after those earlier houses of solid-brick developed cracks in the walls you could drive a Mack Truck through!
One lives and learns..the same could be said (metaphorically) for people; only a certain quality of judgement can be expected or “built on” of a certain type of personality.
Which brings us straight to politics!
This cynicism about the intentions of politicians from BOTH sides of the House, creates an unfair imbalance between two opposing philosophies. The Conservative philosophy could, in fair comment, be considered both hypocritical and cynical in its twisted ideology of providing through Bills and Legislation passed through the House when it has power, of providing largesse and speculative opportunity for the Capitalist ideal and then laying claim to being the best friend to those in need of community support for the social welfare demographic…a contradiction in terms of intention and action, surely?
To sneer cynically at the attempts by Labor when in power to swing the public purse from Right to Left principles of governance, against extreme prejudice of conservative media broadsides that concentrate their fire to “expose” and to “ridicule” and to “demoralise” those attempts by the Labor party to bring about social equality by incremental shifts (so as not to “scare the horses” of public opinion), has to be in itself a most disgusting exercise of political cynicism bordering on sedition.
In some cases this is outright sabotage of vital communications infrastructure that benefits a foreign Media baron, and could be classed as outright treason against the people AND the State.
Then to use the Parliament to undo vital programs that give real benefit to the majority of citizens both young and aged has to be the lowest act of cynicism by the conservative parties.
So when I hear those snorts of: “They’re both (parties) as bad as each other.” I have to wince in despair, because there has to be a time when the “sentient adult” in all of us has to stop for a moment..think about it a moment..and then realise that there IS a vast difference in both the political goals, the background lives and the policy aspirations to benefit whom and how many citizens of this nation between the two parties. It is clearly defined by the scale of outrage against the amounts of rorting and the number of failed and dismissed ministers and members of the LNP as against Labor in these accusations..
Let’s get THAT straight.
There is a VAST difference between the arrogance of expected entitlements, the length and scale of rorting and the lenience of punishment against the scale of the crime that marks the Conservative Parties as the one most deserving of the public’s cynical “curl of lip”.
This article was written by Jaycee and originally Published on Freef’all852
“If you jail a man for striking, it’s a rich man’s country yet.” These words had the biggest impact on me in 2016. These simple words cut through the distrustful MSM, the spineless rhetoric of Prime Minister Turnbull, Trumpism, Hansonism and me-too-ism. They silenced the noise, propaganda, discombobulation and the head spinning mind blowing ‘post-truth’ lies.
As I fought my way through the narratives or dishonesty, distrust, jingoism, cronyism, nepotism, elitism and divisiveness in our fractured society; these few words made it all clear. They were truly “my light on the hill.”
Regardless of what politicians throw at us. Regardless of how the media want to spin politics to play their own game. Regardless of the diversionary tactics of racism, nationalism and sectarianism. Regardless of how the public are closing their eyes and ears to facts and rejecting the reasonable, sensible debate of ideas. What will always remain is the same struggle that has always been. The words in my opening paragraph define this.
The struggle between the capitalist class and the working class. The struggle to maintain the rights of the worker and to protect those who are not engaged in work, regardless of the reason. This struggle underpins every single political thought, word and deed.
May aim for 2017, through this blog, is to keep this focus. To cut through the noise. To bring the worker back to the table.
Before, I post the summary of my year in review; I would like to send a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has read any of my blog posts in the past year. Readers who have taken the time to read my thoughts and who have taken the time to comment, like, subscribe and share. Your support is invaluable and greatly appreciated.
Anything in the public view such as blogging, can and does have an ugly side and at times, it can attract the less than friendly commentariat, weirdos tracking me down on Facebook or email who share their vile thoughts about me more privately and the going does get tough.
In 2016, I will be honest. I struggled at times. Sometimes it was dealing with negative and very personal commentary. Sometimes it was struggling with the exasperation I constantly felt with real people being harmed and feeling so helpless all because of Government decisions. Part of the struggle was whether blogging even made a difference. I have always just written because I simply have to write. It is something that I can’t control. I’ve never stopped to think about making any difference. However, I began to struggle with the purpose or the reason of doing this publicly.
As they say, a change is as good as a holiday. So I refocused and renamed. Polyfeministix, which has been the name of this blog since the beginning; had a restyle and a name change to “The Red Window Blog.” It is a better reflection of who I am and my writing style. I also made a decision to actively label myself a laborist rather than a leftist.
I cannot end this year, without expressing my deepest and sincerest gratitude and thanks to two incredibly selfless, kind and generous men who I am honoured to call my friends and my comrades. These two fine, fine men propped me up and gave me confidence and strength every single time I was so close to throwing away my writing and my blog.
So Biggy and Corny, I raise my glass to both of you and send you my deepest thanks for your kindness and support and your tireless listening ears. Your invaluable guidance and your treasured friendship. May 2017 deliver to you your hopes and dreams for you and yours.
Happy New Year from me at The Red Window Blog to all of you and I wish everyone a safe and prosperous 2017.
A recap of my articles and other political media for 2016 is listed below:
No posts of my own. A reblog of “Should I quit writing” by Josephine Moon – the question on my mind at the time! and a petition about the changes in the publishing industry.
After plummeting into deep despair after the election and losing all faith in humanity, I zipped up my pencil-case and just read Stephen King and Dean Koontz for a whole month.
A guest blog by Redcuchulain
and of course – The Red Window Blog – 2016 in Review.
Mr. Harbour-side Mansion, or so he’s been called, waved and smiled at those below him
Leather jacket gone, I lean to the right, I’ll do whatever you say, He told ’em
Two Thousand and Sixteen, I’ve been the selfie-Queen, everyone will recognise me
‘Cept that lady on the train, who was clearly insane, “Mr. PM” is how they baptised me.
Today, 5 December, 2016 marks 44 years since Gough Whitlam broke 23 years of conservative rule. In 2016, we saw a mark in our history where so many people are screaming for change. In 2017, It’s time to be like Gough.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation has agreed to sign off on the anti-worker ABCC Bill. Labor’s Senator Doug Cameron has hung up One Nation’s dirty laundry out to dry for everyone to see.
Labor’s Senator Doug Cameron fought the anti-worker parties yesterday in the senate. He pointed out One Nation’s hypocrisy as the ‘Party for the Average Australian.’ The Average Australian does not have a helicopter pilot like Ms. Hanson; they go out every day and slog their guts out for a weekly wage.
To quote Crowded House “They come, they come, to build a wall between us.” Well, this wall already exists between us and it has existed for at least 125 years in Australia. This wall is the wall between the employer and the worker. The very existence of this wall explains why the so-called Lib/Lab Duopoly is Bullshit…..and I do wish that people would really just shut up about it.
No, I did not predict this at all. I am not just talking about Trump’s win. I am talking about the vile response to “The Left” and the placement of blame on “The Left” within Australia.
Yes, “The Left” the two words pronounced by the right-wing with such venom that it gives rise to a vision that “The Left” are fetid stains on society – just parasitic bots wrapped in ribbons of shit.
Last night as I saw this video land in my news feed, I was pretty annoyed to be honest. This epitomises exactly why “The Left” (in this instance, leftist women in general), are plain exhausted and why we are responding emotionally to the result of the US election.
Throughout the entire campaign, women from “The Left” endured a rampant rise of misogyny, sexism, an entire video demonstrating how men perpetuate the notion that men can just claim our bodies whenever they want, that women are nothing but an uncessary appendage to their sexual parts, how we should be jailed for abortion and the biggest message of all that a woman cannot be trusted to be the President.
Trump played this card because this ingrained distrust that women can be strong leaders is a rampant underlying disease. This is evident not just in America, but in Australia as well.
Women are angry, emotional and distressed at the outcome and rightly so. The championing of Trump’s sexism and misogyny impacts on women at different levels.
If you have been a victim of sexual assault or rape the impact of Trumps words are more painful and bring to the surface the fear of powerlessness and the reality and horror of sexual assault and rape happening again and reinforced as “okay”.
If you are a survivor of domestic violence, Trump’s words make escaping seems so much more harder, as who will believe you? You are just a woman.
If you are a woman of colour, Trump’s words added a quadruple layer to the extra layers of discrimination faced every single day and the terrifying reality of civil liberties ignored at an even deeper level.
If you have to face the agonising decision of abortion, Trump’s words make this not a personal decision, but label you in the lower echelons of society as a jailed criminal.
If you aim to be the boss and not just the secretary one day, or if you aspire to lead a board, a company or the country, your dream changed from a dream of hope and possibilities to a nightmare of climbing the highest mountain on earth and probably dying before you reached the top.
Every time Trump opened his mouth and every time people cheered it on, it chipped away at our agency. Agency we have fought for, that we marched for, that we slept out in the dark and reclaimed the night for. Agency we hold dear because we value and understand that women before us were tortured, abused, force fed, sexually assaulted and died so we have the agency we have today. Agency that is so far from complete agency that we are still fighting for every single day.
Women know there are plenty of people who support women’s rights and are very aware there are plenty that don’t. However, I think we have come to a point where we feel that men who truly hate women, or men and women who do not believe women should have equality and agency, are in the moderate level of minority. I would hope to think as a whole, we respect the efforts of women before us, and we recognise we have come very far; and many men and women have joined this crusade.
To sit and witness millions upon millions of Americans champion Trump’s contempt for women, and endorse him by rewarding him with the Presidency and legitimising that his treatment and contempt for women should be the new norm; sent us through a time warp of pure hell and it was a chilling and terrifying awakening.
This was a terrifying awareness because, regardless of all of our progress and the fights we have endured, there were millions upon millions upon millions of people thumping the table and screaming “WOMEN ARE NOTHING!!!!” “MINORITIES ARE NOTHING!!!” when they cast their vote. Yet you stand there bewildered wondering why we are angry.
On The Project, the panel asked a question to Jamilla Rizvi about the election result and how she was feeling about it. Jamilla detailed how excited she was when she woke up and it was a big moment for women, but now it has all changed.
Steve Price, a right-wing commentator, interrupted Jamilla’s answer, by jumping in before she could speak to a follow-up question about the demographic statistics of voters, of which white women factored in the Trump vote quite highly.
Price jumped in (no, he doesn’t need to lean in) and started putting his point across. His point that this was about ‘Real America.” Jamilla cut him off and asked him to “Cut the Bullshit about ‘Real America’.
Jamilla wanted to stress two points. That ALL America is real America and that ‘Real America’ is not just the parts where Trump supporters exist, but ALL Americans are Real. A very valid point. The other point she made as he was having a go at her for ‘interrupting him’ (after he interrupted her) was the question was directed to her. Jamilla is a strong woman. Strong women make concerted efforts to claim back their rightful place when men try to take it away. Her rightful place was simply to be given the respect to answer a question that was directed at her.
Every woman sitting at home watching, even if they didn’t see this coming, have witnessed and experienced the next blow. The ire, wrath and fury that rises up within a contemptuous man, when he is in a face-off with a strong woman. The desperate and surging need that rises up from within to put the woman back in her place.
Price hit back with the “put her in her place triple whammy.” He hit back with the intent to apply blame and words to evoke self-doubt. The triple blow was that this was a two pronged barb. One aimed at women and the other aimed at “The Left.”
Price replied with this virulent retort:
“This is the reason why Donald Trump won, because people like YOU lecture and hector people.”
I predicted that Trump supporters would gloat and I predicted they would ridicule and I predicted they would name call. However, I did not predict the blame that they would put on “The Left.”
There are many on the left calling for ‘calm’ in their response to those who are salivating over the Trump win. Instead of insisting we call it out, now we are being told to respond with kindness and acceptance.
When will the women who fight for equality, ever get to take a rest from absolutely having to defend our position? Will it ever be over?
When will the ‘Anti-women men from the Right’ take responsibility for their own behaviours? If they took responsibility for their own words and behaviours, women would not be forced into a position time and time again to speak out against the abject misrepresentation, stigmatising rhetoric or other degrading nonsense they project.
In 2016, women have now endured hundreds of years of men speaking over the top of women, interrupting them, invalidating their views, telling them that they are wrong and that it is all their fault.
Why does it constantly need to be explained to men like Steve Price, that the actions he displayed (interrupting, correcting, criticising and blaming) are a constant women face on a daily basis. When will they understand that these words and behaviours lessen the value of a woman’s point of view and deligimitimises her true existence?
When comes the point in time that these types of men, clue onto the fact that it is their behaviours that invoke the response from women that they see as hectoring and lecturing.
When will they ever remain silent and listen quietly and patiently, (as we are expected to do) and reflect on their own behaviour?
Will there ever be a point in time where they say “I didn’t realise that my words and behaviours are actually quite damaging to women. I’m Sorry.”
Will there ever be a time when these men carefully consider the opinions of women instead of striking back and deflecting blame back and/or pushing a woman into the corners of self-doubt?
Men like Steve Price occupy a completely different space in society than women do. A space where they have been given the legitimate right to cry foul and throw tantrums if 100% attention is not focused on them at all times. Where their power is reinforced because everything they say is always validated, or it is an underlying expectation of the dyadic exchange.
They are in a self appointed position of privilege and power and they are so fearful of letting that go. In a classic fight or flight response, they fight back.
When will the time come when men will stop letting the fear of losing the position of power and privilege take hold and take flight from their own fears instead of fighting back?
I have found this applies very strongly to men who sit on the right of the spectrum, not just towards women, but towards minorities, but most severely towards “The Left.”
Since yesterday, I have had three men approach me about the Trump win. They know I am very pro-Labor and very much against right-wing views. All approached me as Trump supporters in different ways, but the message was the same: to “Put the Lefty-woman back in her place.”
One did it with the ridicule approach. His tactic was to force me to concede how wrong I am and that my views are not the correct views and so many more people disagree with me and not just him. He made accusation after accusation of how wrong the left is. How it is the fault of the left because they chose Hilary.
He then said:
“Everything that has happened today – Is your fault. The Left created it.”
To be frank, I lost my cool. All I saw before me was a man who had endorsed and gave legitimacy to the contempt Trump has for women. I also saw a man who was part of a powerful system who openly and willingly enabled a very dangerous place for women and minorities. On top of my feeling of terror I had been lugging around since the Florida count, I was then dealing with a very deep level of disgust and disbelief towards this man before me.
The upset was the reality of seeing Trump emerge as the winner. The words and sounds of everyone trying to find their position to accept and respect, never question and obey, or to revolt, was like watching one of those old movies with Hitler and Churchill, but it was in colour. All of this gave rise to a day of accumulative negative affect, which simply combusted into a critical negative affect.
I directed every single emotion in a long tirade of beratement towards this man, who emerged as the first man who thought he had the legitimate power to ‘put me back in my place.’
Just like Steve Price and just like the other two men who approached me, this man placed the blame of the divided country, and the acceptance of xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, misogyny, ableism and sectarianism as the path to a better world of “The Left.”
However, the Right need to take flight from their own fears instead of fighting “The Left.”
Those who sit on the right elevate themselves into a position of legitimate power. Not legitimate by position of actual authority, but legitimate power because they believe they are in the true position of authority over “The Left.”
“The Left” must obey or they will be punished when we do obtain legitimate power of authority.
The Left must bow down and apologise for not following the perfect plans of the right and ruining society. (It’s all Labor’s fault! The Greens are Terrorists!” Echo…Echo..)
The belief of ‘born to rule’ and the reinforcement that “The Left” are the dregs of society and the right are the societal elite; is deeply, deeply ingrained in their psyche and culture, through their ideology of Individualism, the ethical framework they adopt of egoism and their vengeful hateful stigmatising rhetoric against every single group “The Left” stand for.
Just like men who need to take responsibility for their words and behaviours, when will the time come when the right wing will stop letting the fear of losing their self-appointed position of power and privilege take hold and fight their own fears instead of fighting and blaming “The Left?”
When will they look deep and hard at their own back yard that Individualism and egoism are the antecedents for punitive welfare policies, harsh cuts to public services and welfare, their war on the collective right to bargain for a fair wage and fair conditions and the stigmatising and debasing rhetoric that has shunned and cornered the lower and working middle class?
When will the time come that they reflect on their own behaviours and sincely enact change, just as they are demanding “The Left” should do?
If the Right reflect on how individualism and egoism underpin some of the most destructive outcomes for society, they can actually bring themselves down a level and sincerely listen and work on real solutions.
If the right decide to not reflect, but remain on the trajectory that they must be obeyed and followed, as the world needs their Paternalistic guiding hand; this divide will continue to grow.
Individualism and Egoism drive the Right’s sense of legitimate power. The conundrum for the Right is; if they recognise Individualism and Egoism as the cause of abject poverty and divisiveness, the only solution is a collective and unified approach with the Left, adopting a socialist viewpoint with socialist solutions.
That in turn, would create a fear of losing ‘legitimate’ power. That is the moment where they need to decide flight or fight. Do they run away from Individualism and Egoism or continue to fight “The Left?”
If the Right are truly concerned about the growing swell of people in abject poverty and despair who have risen to elect Donald Trump, then those on the Right need to fight their own fears, and stop fighting “The Left” and make a serious attempt to address inequality.
The system is broken. This is a common response in many political discussions across social media. I disagree. I believe we are broken. Not the system.
Over the years we have seen many right-wing parties rise up across the world out of what I would describe as the bottomless pit of apathy and agitation. Analysis of the voter demographic these parties appeal to are largely the low socio-economic working class, welfare recipients or a mix of work and welfare. In addition, this demographic is usually described as having a lower level of education and most likely live in regional and rural areas. Essentially, individuals within these groups have barrier/s of disadvantage.
Marine Le Pen like Pauline Hanson, leads a right-wing Conservative-Nationalist party. Le Pen in France, Hanson in Australia.
Both Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Le Pen’s Nationalist Front, target high unemployment, low-income areas, where the lower-middle working class are struggling to make ends meet.
Once the voice of the anti-worker and champions of Austerity take hold, it gets harder and harder but much easier for parties such as these to take hold.
As we see with Trump’s tactical objectives in the USA campaign, Trump can easily be completely devoid of any real solutions. Solutions do not matter. The main objective is to bring to the surface the abject feeling of despair and find a target to blame that despair on. The target is always a minority group.
The game play then is to just pop up and say he will fix it. How, is not important. A way out of the feeling of frustration and anger is. This is consistent with the right-wing conservative-nationalists parties making headway through populist politics.
In all cases, Trump, Hanson and Le Pen, the target for blame are Muslims. Other cultures and particular races can be mixed in as well. However, the key objective is that the voter-target demographic are not familiar with these groups. Members of these group are most likely not prevalent in the demographics of the voter-target regions. They are not usually known as close friends, or family members of the voter-target demographic.
They key is to divide us. The key is to make us broken.
Taking this into consideration, there should be no surprise that One Nation votes are high in Regional Queensland. Regional Queensland ticks all the boxes for the target voter demographic.There are very few Muslims and these areas do not have a heavy concentration of multiculturalism. This makes these groups easy targets for blame, as members within these groups appear foreign and not familiar.
Unemployment is rising, wages have stagnated, parents worry constantly about their children’s future, water is scarce in some places and if you are sick, you may need to travel more than twelve hours to get treatment and stay thousands of miles away from those who love you and support you. These things take a toll on people. It really is not fair.
The reason these target groups are selected to place blame on; is it is much easier to dehumanise a race, or a particular group if there is no personal connection to that race or group.
It should be no surprise that One Nation has backed off attacking and degrading Aboriginals as ‘the other lot that get everything we don’t’ as was her key mantra her first time in office.
That is because times have changed and there is much more acceptance and a lot of divisiveness from the 80s, 90s and early 2000’s has healed. A lot of lifelong friendships have been made and mixed families are the norm today.
The same applies for Asians as a target. It would be ridiculous to state that we are being swamped by Asians, when it still has not come true 20 years after Hanson campaigned on this the first time.
Consistently, Pauline Hanson, just like Pen and Trump, deflect blame to minority groups.
If anyone tells me that Hanson is not taking aim at a target demographic to exploit their vulnerabilities and anxieties for her own financial and political gain…I call B*llshit!
The link between Trump, Le Pen and Hanson, is that people are turning away from the policy makers and turning to the populist makers. Policy is complex. It needs to take into account the interests of multiple stakeholders and other factors. Policy isn’t three word slogans. Seriously, what has Jobson Growth done for you since July 2?
I am not saying by any means that all policy is where it should be. However, a true progressive would never be satisfied with the status quo. Otherwise, they would be a conservative. That is why regardless of past hurdles to achieving marriage equality, even within Labor; the voices who believed in this change, stayed there and advocated that change. They did not quit and join a splinter party or chucked in the towel.
Today, the hateful and divisive plebiscite was voted down and Labor guarantees to legislate for marriage equality within the first 100 days,
if when they win office, in 2019 2017.
It is only by strong voices staying there and fighting that fight, that they remained unbroken.
I read two sentences today that really, truly affected me. Deng Adut – NSW Australian of the Year, said:
A person was not an Australian because they were born in Australia but because Australia was born in them.
What a person did for their country was what made it meaningful.
Not only was it one of the most powerful quotes ever in our history, Adut’s words made me reflect on my decision to join a political party. That is, that regardless of whether you agree with my politics or not (Labor), I am engaged at a level as much as I can be. From a very young age, when I saw how my parents struggled under Fraser, and I listened to the contrast of Hawke, politics was born in me. I’ve bled red since.
I have no aspirations to become a politician (I would love to be a researcher for a politician, but that is as far as it would go). However, I get engaged in politics, with like-minded people and we collaborate and share ideas to put forward.
I cannot speak for other parties, but I know in the party I chose to join – Labor, we have policy discussion as a standing agenda item, we have a Regional Conference, where everyday people like you and me, put forward our policy ideas, this then goes onto State Conference and Federal Conference. That is democracy at work. That is grassroots. It is being heard. That is the bottom up approach and I am proud to be a part of it.
The noise in the media about political parties, the personalities within, the factions or divisions, is not what it is about. Politics is about a wider cause. Every party gets there in a different way.
If you are looking to have a voice, make it heard. Don’t just wait for someone to listen. We have free agency in this country. Well, no not all of us. Some of us don’t. If you know people who have trouble speaking up, or minority groups that are not heard, be an ally and ask if you can assist with advocacy. Also, join activist groups. Get involved.
We are broken because we are turning away from the collectivist roots that have bound us and allowed us to achieve progress for many years. We are broken because we are fractioning off. We still have voices, but they are fractured and quiet. Not loud and united.
We see this fractioning so strongly in the USA right now, just within the left itself. Here we have the most dangerous USA Republican Presidential candidate in my lifetime and the only party who can stop this, is the Democrats. We have seen Bernie supporters still dedicated to someone who will not be in power. Who has no possible way to stop Trump. Yet, this loyalty is more important than joining in the SAME party and doing their very best for the cause. Or the third-party voters who are also doing absolutely nothing to stop Trump. Just championing their cause.
Sometimes it is more important to stop someone so destructive, than be a ‘champion for your cause.’ This scenario is no different in Australia today.
A political party cannot effect change, if they are not in power. Evil will not be stamped out, if they are always in power.
The Liberal and National Coalition and the Labor Party are the ONLY two parties that can form Government. They were born from two competing view points and still are two competing ideologies. They are not the same. FriendlyJordies will explain why.
The Labor party was born from unionists standing collectively side by side and fighting for their rights. A simple fair days work for a fair days pay. Today, that is not such a radical idea, because this fight – the real bloodshed and jail time of everyday workers, gave us that. The fact that unions are out there every single day fighting for our rights, also gives us that. But the battle is still on.
The Liberal party was born from the idea that non-Labor parties join together to fight against those who fight for the worker and advocate Individualism and the Free Market. As we can see with policy positions such as the ABCC, privatisation of public services, abolishment of penalty rates, reducing or abolishing the minimum wage, punitive job seeker frameworks and other attacks on welfare. That this battle is still on.
It is a simple equation. For the middle and lower working class, work is central to everything we do. It puts food on the table, it buys school uniforms, it pays the rent or the mortgage, it puts petrol in the car, and it gives us choices of leisure to name a few.
For people who are not in receipt of a working wage for whatever reason, it is our responsibility as citizens to make sure that those who are for individualism and austerity, do not have louder voices than the ones who are for unity and solidarity.
Decent wages and fair conditions and a supportive welfare system, do not just come wrapped up in a bow at Christmas. They are fought for. Long and hard by so many today and before us.
Whatever your political persuasion, I fully encourage you to join a political party. If not Labor (which obviously I’m biased and I’d recommend), choose a major party who can form Government and effect change, which has the same democratic bottom up approach to policy and member’s voice that Labor has.
No, Labor does not have perfect policy in all areas. However, members are given a voice for change on serious platforms. To progress, political parties need the people to be champions of that change. As Obama has said:
Obama does not belong to a third-party or a splinter group.
If you want the system to not be broken, get amongst it and be the glue that fixes the system. Have a louder voice than the voices who are putting forward the policies you don’t like. Be part of the change you want to see.
Don’t just listen to someone who says they are listening but have no real solutions. Be the solution.
Even after knowing a third-party, splinter group will never gain power and can never effect real change and you still decide to align yourself with a splinter group or a third party; fight the bloody enemy for goodness sake. We don’t need a replica of Sanders vs. Clinton in Australia when there are Orcs to slay! Take a leaf out of Albo’s book and “Fight some Tories.”
Unity is the key. Not splintering off into smaller groups. This is the only thing that can beat the loud voices of Populism, Nationalism, Conservatism and Austerity.
John Howard showed us this when he forced us to use Australian Workplace Agreements and tried to abolish collective agreements. His policies were purposely built to break us.
One voice – your voice to stand alone to negotiate your wage, is pointless, especially when he abolished unfair dismissal laws at the same time. Never. Ever. Forget.
As Albo said tonight on Qanda, The Liberals and the Nationals – always, always try to divide us. It is their key strategy always. Splintering off into smaller groups, or deciding politics isn’t worth it, divides us even further. It is in their interest to make us broken. Hanson and parties like her’s are the bots that feed off the negative emotions that bleed out from all of this.
Hanson may not have been voted in on this platform, but everything her party has backed so far in the Senate, shows what they actually stand for. That is joining with the Liberals to create more and more division and more and more hardship for the worker and those on welfare. Working against the very interests of her voter base.
The Trump experience shows us how powerful and ugly the anti-worker, anti-socialism, anti-environmentalism, anti-woman, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, ableist, nationalist populist can be, when they have a huge following. We don’t need that here.
I believe we are at the cusp of that tipping point in Australia. Right here. Right now. We do have the power to change that. Together. Unbroken. In Unity.
The encouragement of women into the political sphere and the development of current women MP’s should be a genuine intrinsic motivator for all politicians, across the political spectrum. However the Queensland State Liberal National Party Opposition have chosen to participate in political games, rather than engage in political progress for women.
The QLD LNP State Opposition have denied a pair for attendance at the Commonwealth Women’s Parliamentarians’ (CWP) Annual Planning Meeting. Queensland Representative, Brittany Lauga, MP (ALP) is now unable to attend and Queensland will have no representative. A pair is required as QLD has a hung parliament. Ms. Lauga said that, “Pairs are granted all the time for Ministers and Members to attend different meetings.”
This is an indictment on the leadership and values of the LNP. It clearly shows that the LNP view women’s representation in politics as something frivolous to be scoffed at and something to play games with.
The CWP plays a vital role in the devolopment of women to enter into politics and also for the women who are currently in Office. The statement from the CWP website, describes their purpose as:
The CWP Steering Committee believes Australian political and party behaviours and cultures need to improve if we are to achieve equitable outcomes for women in Parliament. Moreover, women who are elected to Parliament deserve to be heard on policy and governance issues, especially gendered issues such as domestic violence where our laws and programs have tragically failed too many women.
It is essential that women politicians are given every opportunity to participate in any forum, conference or committee, which will enhance the role of women in public life.
Women’s representation in the State and Territory Parliaments is low and needs vast improvement. The LNP have only eight women MPs out of a total of 42 MP’s in the QLD State Parliament (19%).
Ms. Verity Barton, MP (LNP), was the CWP QLD representative from 2012 – 2015. Ms. Lauga wrote to the former CWP representative in the spirit of bipartisanship on the 25 October, 2016.
Dear Verity and the Broadwater EO,
On Thursday 3 and Friday 4 November 2016 the CWP is holding a face-to-face meeting in Hobart. I have negotiated with the CWP to allow an observer from the Queensland Opposition to attend and I wondered if Verity would like to be that representative? The Clerk of the Parliament and the Speaker have both approved this. Travel would have to be arranged using the Member’s GTA through Travel Services. Would you be interested in coming along?
Ms. Barton advised she was unable to attend.
Ms. Lauga then wrote to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Deb Frecklington MP, on the 27th October, 2016, to extend the offer to any other woman in the LNP Opposition. However, to date, Ms. Lauga has not received a reply from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
Ms. Barton was afforded every opportunity to attend CWP events as the Queensland representative from 2012 to 2015. This includes attending the Pan-Commonwealth Conference for Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, Houses of Parliament, UK, in June 2014 and the 3rd Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships Forum in Fiji, in May, 2015.
In a statement to The Rockhampton Morning Bulletin on Wednesday 2nd November, 2016, an LNP spokesman advised that:
“Ms Lauga does not require leave from the Opposition to attend a parliamentary junket at taxpayers’ expense”
To describe a conference, which underpins the vital and crucial development of women representing women, in a country where Domestic Violence is an epidemic; as “A Junket” is beyond offensive to ALL women.
The statement from the LNP spokesperson is not only offensive, but the LNP may need to look in their own backyard before casting aspersions on others.
All MPs who undertake international travel are required to submit a report. I have been able to source Ms. Barton’s report for her international travel to Fiji, but there appears to be an absence of a report for Ms. Barton’s international travel to London for the CWP Conference UK, 2014.
In addition, Ms. Barton’s Fiji report lists upgrades to business class equating to $1300. This exceeds the cost required for Ms. Lauga to attend the CWP Annual Planning meeting in Hobart.
If Ms. Barton has not submitted a report for her international travel to London, this may be a matter for the ethics committee.
The Speaker of the House, Mr. Peter Wellington, MP (IND) (and also chair of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association of which CWP is a sub-branch) raised the matter today in the spririt of encouragement and fairness at a meeting between the LNP and Labor. However, the LNP still refused to grant a pair.
Ms. Lauga wrote to the Speaker on Tuesday to express her disappointment.
Dear Mr Speaker,
As discussed today, a meeting of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians is planned for Thursday 3 November (dinner) and all day Friday 4 November.
In the spirit of bipartisanship, I sought approval from the CWP for an observer to attend so a woman from the Opposition can also partake in the meeting.
Once approval was granted by the Chair of the CWP Michelle O’Byrne, I wrote to the former CWP Queensland Representative, the Member for Broadwater Verity Barton MP to invite her to take up the observer position (see attached email).
Further, I also provided the Member for Broadwater with a copy of my itinerary in case she wished to take the same flights and stay at the same hotel as I had planned. The Member for Broadwater refused the invitation (see attached email).
I subsequently wrote to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition Deb Frecklington MP and extended the offer for her, or another female member of the LNP Opposition to attend the CWP meeting as an observer (see attached email). To date I have not received a response to this offer.
My understanding is that it is unlikely the LNP will agree to a pair for me to attend the CWP meeting in Hobart, despite the offer for the LNP to send an observer to the meeting. It would be an embarrassment for Queensland not to be represented at the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians meeting considering all other States, Territories and the Commonwealth will all be represented.
It would be particularly disappointing given that the Member for Broadwater was offered every opportunity to partake in CWP meetings and activities as the former CWP Queensland representative. Queensland, and indeed all of the women members of the Queensland Parliament, deserve to have active representation at the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians.
The LNP’s refusal to allow a pair to the meeting would be a State shame, but it does highlight the LNP’s failure to acknowledge the importance of women being represented in our Queensland Parliament.
Any woman reading this, will have their own personal story about their lived experience of denial of opportunity due to sexism or gender discrimination. The level of disparity is further ingrained for women of colour, women with a disability, women in regional an rural communities, women in poverty and the LGBTIQ community and other minority groups.
It is not only important for all Queensland women to be represented, by their state MPs at these important events, but more so for women in these groups. As inequality is a serious issue throughout Australia as a whole.
The Australian Chair of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, Michelle O’Byrne MP who is also the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in Tasmania, made this statement on behalf of all women.
‘It is extremely disappointing to see political game playing interfere with this important role that supports women in parliament and works to increase the participation of women in political life.
Unfortunately I note that this view is not held by the LNP for male attendance at national committees and events not was it their view when the Queensland role was held by a LNP member. It is disappointing that Queensland will not be represented at this national meeting’.
The LNP appear more interested in playing political games to harm the progress of women, instead of supporting and encouraging participation of women from both sides of the house.
An interesting question to raise is; have the ‘Men in Blue Ties’ also denied the participation of women in their own party, so they could play games with the hung parliament?
The Federal Leader of the Liberal and National Coalition and Prime Minister famously said:
“You’ve heard me say this before, but it’s worth repeating. Not all disrespecting women ends up in violence against women. But that is where all violence against women begins,”
I ask in all seriousness, would the Prime Minister approve of his State counterpart purposely playing political antics with the opportunities of women MP’s to participate in a forum who have one of their key purposes as:
“Women who are elected to Parliament deserve to be heard on policy and governance issues, especially gendered issues such as domestic violence where our laws and programs have tragically failed too many women.”
The State QLD LNP are disrespecting women at the highest level. That is, preventing women parliamentarians to attend an event that is integral in working towards a progressive future where women’s experiences of legal discrimination and discrimination by default are rederessed.
I encourage everyone to urgently place pressure on the Prime Minister to stand up to his State counterpart, the Leader of the QLD LNP, Tim Nicholls, to ensure that a pair is granted in the QLD State Parliament, to enable participation in CWP and similar events from LNP and Labor women MPs, at all times.
If the Prime Minister implies that “This is up to the QLD LNP” or places blame on the QLD ALP, then his attendance at the CWP Conference in 2015, was nothing, but for show.
With so much of the same old, same old meeps about the Lib-Lab monopoly/duopoly and the clatter of mismatched voices who want something new, but can’t articulate what that is; the question is “have you actually taken the time to notice what Bill Shorten is about?”
Is it possible that for some, the inner voices of cynicism and pessimism developed by participating in the mob culture of screaming against a two party system, automatically disregard even the most progressive and positive reforms from Shorten’s Labor, just because they are a major party?
Is it possible that some are so fixated on the decisions of leaders of the past they did not agree with? Is it possible that due to this, they are not yet ready to notice Labor in 2016 and view them with a clean slate? Turnbull has been afforded this opportunity, but I do not notice this being extended to Shorten.
Is it possible that this is just a rant by someone who is dedicated to the Labor cause? Possibly. That is for the reader to decide.
However, all I can talk about is what I have noticed from my own perspective. So I will outline a few things that really strike me about Bill Shorten and his leadership and the direction he has been taking Labor thus far.
I will do this as counters to two distinct areas of the narrative I have noticed in the context of myth breaking, of “Both Parties are exactly the same” as I see it – “Underpinning Values” and “They are selfish and out of touch and just don’t listen.”
I personally always find this statement extremely confusing. I will begin with the underpinning values of both parties, as I see them.
Liberals – The Liberal’s values are underpinned by individualism. In terms of public social policy, they believe that everyone is born equal and it is up to the individual’s inherent propensity to ‘make it in life. They believe, this in turn this develops the country as a strong and prosperous country. Liberals believe in small Government intervention as they see Government intervention makes individuals lazy and reliant on Government and this weakens society.
Government intervention is usually paternalistic with punitive measurements seen as a guiding hand, that is required to motivate those without an internal propensity for self-development.
They believe in low taxes and favour a user pays system instead of major investment in Government funded services. The Liberals are semi anti socialism of the public sector and favour privatisation and outsourcing of the public sector where they can achieve it.
They believe in the free market and the balance of power in favour of the employer is the best result for the economy. Liberals have a disregard for the value of a person’s labour and believe low wages and low cost to employers create more jobs and are drivers for the economy.
Liberals do not promote Government intervention in high unemployment as a large surplus labour force drives wages down, as opposed to a tight competitive labour force.
The Liberals believe in maintaining the status quo through conservative and nationalist values.
Malcolm Turnbull and his predecessor Tony Abbott, continue to champion their commitment to these values. Abbott being more vocal and committed to these values than Turnbull, who is committed to these values, but remains largely silent on the intent or values which underpin his policies.
Malcolm Turnbull’s reason for going to a double dissolution election, was a policy which has star chamber type elements and strips away the civil rights of the worker, including apprentices. He saw this as so important, so vital to the progress of the nation.
Malcolm Turnbull continues with Tony Abbott’s abhorrent budget cut regime progressed and championed by Turnbull, with all the pomp and ceremony of an entitled King.
Labor – Labor’s values are underpinned by a form of collectivism and solidarity. Their valued are based on democratic socialism, egalitarianism and laborism. Labor recognises that not everyone is born equal and that it is the Government’s duty to intervene and provide assistance to those who need a hand up to achieve equality. They believe in a Welfare State to provide protection and social and economic benefits to the nation’s citizens.
Government intervention is incentive based and with a propensity towards proactive rather than reactive measures. (Such as investment in preventative health measures and needs based education funding).
Labor believe in the socialism of the public sector as opposed to the privatisation of the public sector to provide the best services to the community. They believe the right assistance can develop individuals into strong, productive citizens, able to engage in the community, and break down the hindrances that were preventing them from doing so. Labor’s values consider external factors to the individual’s inherent drive and personality, and do not seek to place blame on the individual, but seek to address these hindrances and strive to provide an egalitarian society.
Labor’s overarching philosophy is Laborism, which values the labour of the working class. Laborists believe in the protection of safe work, rights and wages. They also believe this drives productivity and keeps the economy strong. They strongly believe that everyone should have equal access to work and a fair days work for a fair days pay. They believe in the Fair Go for workers.
Laborism is consistent with Government intervention in job creation projects to bring equal opportunity to everyone through the ability to access secure work, self development and career progression. They strive for low unemployment as this also creates a better standard of living though higher productivity and higher wages.
Labor believes in collective progressive policy which seeks to challenge the norms of the status quo. They are the leaders of every major positive reform contemporary Australia has ever had, such as: Medicare, Superannuation, Collective Bargaining, Fair Work Tribunal, Gonski, NDIS and NBN
Under Bill Shorten’s leadership, his message is clear that he has returned to the true Labor values ingrained in Laborism which distinguishes Labor as a defiant opposition to the conservative alternative.
His very vocally championing egalitarian values and laborism as progressive solutions. His rejection of the increase to a GST as it would hurt the most vulnerable, his damning rejection of changes to Medicare and tenacious protection of our universal health system, his rejection of the removal of penalty rates and his submission to the Fair Work Commission to protect same. His endless counter attacks on the Government to protect pensioners and families from harmful cuts and to stop the Liberals making the unemployed starve for six months!
His policy for protecting workers from underpayment, from exploitation and ensuring clarity of the term “Internship” to separate this from an essential learning or training activity from one of exploitation of the working class. In addition to policy for mandatory quotas of apprentices in Federally funded projects and investment in upskilling and training in new technologies. There many more examples of this differentiation between Shorten’s Labor and Turnbull’s Liberals, and they can be found here.
Liberals – The Liberals view of “the people” traditionally focuses big business as centric to their policy development. A key focus of economic policy management is built around the rhetoric of welfare bashing of ‘lifters and leaners’ or ‘taxed and taxed nots’ so cuts will be met with little resistance from the public, through the stigmatisation of this group.
As described in the section above, the attacks on families, welfare recipients and workers are a testament to how out of touch the Liberals are with the every day Australian and their families.
Turnbull’s “look at moi” empty verbose rhetoric, where he talks at people and not to them. An example of this is, his common phrase of, “We simply must remember….” in my view is a clear indication of class separation where the ‘people (a forgetful and unintelligent lot) need a gentle paternalistic guiding hand from those who need to remind us of our place.”
Labor – The Labor movement invests in grass roots activism. Under Bill Shorten engaging with the public has been a central focus. Community Cabinets in QLD were introduced by the Labor Government and Shorten’s personal style is community forums, where he openly takes questions from the floor and answers questions in an open public forum.
Shorten has done about 150 public forums in the last 18 months and numerous live Facebook feeds direct to anyone on Facebook who cares to subscribe to his live posts.
As for if Shorten is in touch with the people. I will leave you with his budget reply address for you to decide.
I have had the personal opportunity to attend one of Bill Shorten’s community forums.
In my own experience, he fielded a huge variety of random questions and answered them in detail. He was relaxed and open and quite focused on the night being about the people and their questions and not about us listening to a speech about him or Labor.
I had the opportunity to ask a question. He approached me after the event and asked me to write to him in more detail with my concerns and expressed genuine interest in speaking to me further. I saw him openly engaging with others with genuine interest as well after the event.
He did not have to do that. He did not have to seek me or others out. He had enough people around him to purposely avoid me, if he wanted to. It speaks to his genuineness as a leader. I wish everyone could meet Bill Shorten because until you meet him up close and speak with him, you don’t realise that much of the negative media portrayal and other people’s negative perceptions are so very wrong.
I have not been truly excited about the vision of a Labor leader in a long time, but I truly connect with Shorten’s vision and leadership. In my opinion Shorten is the real deal. His ability to remember names, faces and detail of questions at community forums is phenomenal. You kind of need to see this in action. He is a highly intelligent man with great compassion and a great passion for people and their concerns, which is truly visible at a community forum.
I truly believe he will win the next election outright and will go down as one of our greatest Prime Ministers in our history. I have 100% faith in him and the direction he is taking Labor.
It is such a shame that for many engaged in ‘left politics social media commentary’ disregard the shift in direction under Shorten’s leadership. It is disappointing that those on the ‘left’ who oppose Shorten’s Labor discuss him as if he has evolved from some 1980’s mindset where neo-Liberalism was forging it’s place across the world and judge him on the decisions made by former leaders, which really should be critiqued in the context of that time. It is also frustrating that the progressive policies and Laborist solutions he is putting forward, fall on already made up closed minds and deaf ears.
Whether you think post is just a rant from a someone who is dedicated to the Labor cause, or a genuine attempt to implore people aligned with the left to view Shorten and his modern Labor party with a fresh open mind and really critique his current direction which is ingrained in the values of laborism and truly engaging with the the people. As well as a plea to not to continue to compare and contrast with the decisions and leadership of Hawke, Keating, Rudd or Gillard, which many say they have issues with, then that is up to the reader to decide.
Labor’s policies will not suit everyone, nor are they perfect with no room for improvement. However, it is very, very evident that Bill Shorten making a dedicated effort to meet as many people across as many communities as possible and he is really listening and is open to positive and progressive ideas for change and he has already led substantial policy development as a testament to this shift to the left and laborism.
For those who genuinely and fiercely arguing to topple both of the major parties from power and who are insisting Shorten does not have ‘Leftist’ values – have you really truly taken the time to noticed what Bill Shorten is about?
Yesterday I watched Bill Shorten’s address on the McKell Institutes Report Choosing Opportunity where he spoke passionately about equality and a fair go. However, to achieve real opportunity, the first thing we must acknowledge is that stigma and discrimination are not conducive to equal opportunity.
Income Management, Cashless Welfare and Basics Card all have the same aim. The aim is a paternalistic approach of a ‘guiding hand’ to set those unfortunate enough not to have a job on the path to ‘wholeness.’
The aim of income management is to enforce a patronising approach which places the burden of shame and stigma on the unemployed, because the Government cannot be bothered to engage in job creation; because oh! that’s right, “the market will sort it all out.” Bullocks!
The aim of income management is to inconvenience, stigmatise, and label the unemployed as ‘others’ who are not part of the ‘normals’ in society.
The aim of income management is to conduct surveillance of the unemployed (Dee, 2013).
The aim is to extend a measure that was originally aimed at reducing alcohol abuse and child abuse in remote communities and now has extended to so many. The current and previous Governments have placed control measures on those who do not need controlling. That is not the “Fair Go” Australians long to return to.
With the NT having more than four times the number of all the other income management sites combined, it really begs the question if this measure is indeed racist and the extension of this measure is to appear ‘not racist!’
The McKell Institute explains three types of welfare models in their report:
“The study identified three main forms of welfare state: the ‘liberal welfare regime,’ which emphasised market efficiencies and demonstrated limited government interventions; the ‘corporatist regime’ which is committed to preserving the traditional family, and invest in social insurance programs that encourage motherhood and provide benefits that encourage mothers to return to work; and finally the ‘social democrat’ model which pursues equality.“
If the underpinning construct of Bill Shorten’s speech and the McKell Institute’s report is equality; then income management simply must be high on the list to be abolished.
With donations reform and perks for politicians in a huge big glaring spotlight; Australians should be rising up and screaming about situations such as the excerpt below, instead of getting reeled into the agenda set by the media. I’ve seen an overwhelming amount of people absolutely fixated on the Dastyari saga and counter-attacking with dodginess from the Liberals. Meanwhile, in the land of cashless welfare, people can eat plastic or starve!
It is time for change. It is time to stand up now. It is time to stand up for the jobless, the homeless, the disadvantaged, and the disabled, who have their income managed by the Government. These are the people who matter. These people. The innocent, the vulnerable, the labelled and stigmatised.
Enough is enough. If you truly believe in a Fair Go. If you truly believe the Fair Go underpins everything we believe as Australians, please write a letter to the following insisting on the abolition of mandatory income management for welfare recipients in Australia.
Minister for Social Services
The Hon Christian Porter MP
Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services
Hon Jenny Macklin MP
Members representing your electorate
Your local MP
Senators in your state
When the Government chooses not to participate in active job creation, the expectation on people seeking employment to engage in active participation welfare programs, is unfair, burdensome, stigmatising, demoralising and counterproductive. Mutual Obligation under the Keating Government was developed based on the notion that the Government would also commit to job creation and increase vocational training. This is not the case today, nor has it been for some time. The Government is not investing in job creation and vocational education has been largely privatised and is predominantly inaccessible and unaffordable to those who most need it. Active Participation welfare programs are punitive and are underpinned by the assumption that the jobseeker is lazy and needs motivation by a paternalistic guiding hand to participate in society as a full human being. It is time for a new narrative and a new solution.
They are bludgers, rorters, welfare cheats, the undeserving poor, the drug addled, leaners not lifters, people with their hand out, a hindrance to the ‘national interest’, people who don’t try hard enough, job refusers, taking loans from the tax-payer, won’t get off the couch, lack participation, who go from the school gate to Centrelink’s front door, self-entitled, sitting at home playing X-box and eating cheezels and now the latest….The Taxed Nots.
We need to drug test them, force them into unpaid labour, manage their income, give them a card to label them and not trust them with cash, push the welfare cops after them, get them moving, force them to live 45% below the poverty line and if they are poverty line newbie, we should starve them for six months whist the Government simultaneously breaches its human rights obligations. .
With the exception of John Howard’s gem, “the undeserving poor” and Amanda Vanstone’s “Don’t try hard enough and refuse jobs”, these are just some of the labels the Australian Liberal Party has given to those seeking employment and just some of the ‘solutions’ to assist the jobless to find employment, since 2013. Pretty confronting when it is wrapped up in neat little paragraphs, isn’t it?
The dehumanisation and the stigmatisation of those seeking employment must cease immediately and a new narrative and new solutions need to start today.
Mutual obligation has always existed within the jobseeker framework. However, mutual obligation penalties were discretionary and mostly non financial (ie write on your dole form where you looked for work this week). However, postponement of payment could occur for up to two weeks. This was dropped in 1984 as it was causing hardship, but reinstated in 1987. The widening of activity based breaches will be discussed in the next section. Active Labor Market Participation (ALMP) programs were the shift towards paternalistic and punitive measures and financial penalties for the unemployed.
Active Labor Market Participation (ALMP) programs commenced under the Hawke/Keating Government. The original intention of the ALMP programs was to manage retraining and to assist new workers to move across industries in the new globalisation and at a time where long time unemployment was the new reality and had shifted from a long period of relatively low unemployment.
Zigarus ¹ (2004) sums up another driver as, “In essence, this approach holds that the unemployment rate is influenced by how actively the unemployed search for work. The more effort people make to find jobs, and the less choosy they are about what jobs they will take, the lower the overall unemployment.”
Regardless of how well intentioned ALMP programs were when they were introduced, the very essence of these programs are driven by the notion that the unemployed do not have the same desires to achieve a full life as the employed do and they are inherently lazy. Paternalistic and punitive welfare measures are also the antecedents to enabling the stigmatisation of the unemployed. The era of the ALMP programs were the beginning of segregating the unemployed as separate citizens from those who are employed – the bludgers and the workers. Even within the cohort of the unemployed, the narrative was able to change from discussing welfare as a necessity for those out of work to those who deserved assistance and those who did not. Those who needed a hand up and those who just wanted a hand out. This narrative continues today and it has become increasingly more comfortable for politicians to use this stigmatising rhetoric with conviction.
The shift in ALMP programs under John Howard introduced the concept that unpaid labour should be imposed on those seeking employment. Howard’s notion was to deserve a hand out, the recipient must give back to the community. This adds the public’s scrutinisation of the intentions of the jobseeker to the mix. Work for the Dole and similar unpaid labour programs normalised the perception that jobseekers had to be forced to work, as they were not motivated to do so; and if they were working as unpaid labour, this would be the impetus to force them to look for paid labour.
The Howard Government dismantled Keating’s Working Nation (job creation, increased Labor market programs and training and mutual obligation, including breaching penalties). Financial penalties increased and the activity for which you could be breached significantly widened under the Liberals “Australian’s Working Together” policy. The other notable shift from Keating’s policy to Howard’s policy was that financial penalties moved from discretionary to enforced by legislation and contractual obligation on the jobsearch provider.
The initial extremely punitive measures are outlined by Eardley et. al ² as:
The initial legislation proposed to strengthen breaching arrangements by extending the activity test non-payment period to six weeks for the first breach and 13 weeks for all subsequent breaches, while all administrative breaches would incur rate reductions of 25 per cent for eight weeks.
Welfare groups successfully lobbied and this initial bill was defeated in Parliament. However, less severe penalties were adopted. This included an 8 week breach of 100% loss of benefit after the third breach. The Abbott Government put up a bill in 2013 which sought to exempt new Newstart recipients from payment for six months. This has been defeated/taken off the table and a bill for Newstart recipients to be exempt for six weeks, is still progressing though today’s parliament. This shows the long standing determination of the Liberal Party to impose harsh and extreme measures on the unemployed. This also shows the shift from welfare as a human right to dignity, to one of targeting the disadvantaged as a means for budget savings.
Structural changes jobseeker programs to note (but not limited to) are:
The reality for the availability of a jobseeker securing work in Australia, is that there are 19 jobseekers for every job available in Australia (as of May, 2016). That is however, not a true figure, as it needs to be considered that not all jobseekers are equally qualified for all jobs. Therefore, for some the jobseeker to job vacancy ratio is much higher. In addition, vocational education and training has become less available and less accessible for those seeking employment; particularly in lower income brackets. Changes to eligibility for vocational training (ie The Certificate 3 Guarantee is for any eligible Queensland resident who does not already hold and is not currently enrolled into, a post-school Certificate III or higher qualification.) Therefore if you hold a cert III in one vocational area, for example beauty, you are not eligible to undertake vocational training at cert 3 level in business administration.
In addition, specialised services such as JPET (Job placement, employment and training for homeless and disadvantaged young people) have ceased and are now replaced with a one-stop-shop model of ‘streams’ of unemployment.
The Liberal Party’s small government, free market mindset, is an inherent propensity to shy away from job creation and allow the free market to ‘sort out the jobs’, rather than the socialisation of job creation projects. Government’s who do not commit to job creation are not complying with their mutual obligation to the nation’s unemployed citizens. The onus is completely on the jobseeker and the framework within the jobseeker must search for jobs, is unrealistic; secure full time jobs and skills development get increasingly more difficult to obtain.
It should also be noted that barriers to employment and the adverse outcomes of financial and other punitive measures are more severe for (but not limited to); Indigenous Australians, single parents, jobseekers with a disability, youth and homeless and disadvantaged jobseekers.
To achieve the re-humanisation and the de-stigmatisation of those seeking employment; the jobsearch model must shift to a jobseeker-centric framework and away from a budget savings measures framework where jobseekers are currently seen as a strain on the public purse and a dehumanised as a target for savings measures.
Therefore, the jobsearch framework needs to shift from one of mandatory participation to one of voluntary participation.
Jobseekers need to be allowed free agency to participate freely in jobsearch activities. To do this, the narrative needs to shift from the stigmatising rhetoric outlined in the beginning of this article to a more supportive narrative. Jobseekers should be given the support and recognition by Government that they have the same hopes, dreams and aims as the employed and are actively participating in job search to improve their life circumstance.
This then shifts the narrative away from the current underpinning assumption that jobseekers need a paternalistic guiding hand to motivate them; to a narrative that has the underpinning assumption that jobseekers are intrinsically motivated to seek employment.
This then shifts the onus for outcomes from the jobseeker and the public expectation to punish them for non-achievement to the public expectation that the Government of the day has an obligation to perform and enable an environment conducive to an expectation that secure employment can be achieved.
This should put pressure on the Government of the day to engage fully in job creation projects and the public less likely to accept the promises of a free market, small Government intervention model. This means that there would be an increase in the expectation that the Government would create jobs where it had the power to do so. This may include Government intervention to increase positions in all Government owned, operated and funded entities at local, state and federal level. This may also include Government intervention to make mandatory the requirement for quotas within Government funded infrastructure projects to achieve targets of employing those who are employed and underemployed.
This should also put pressure on the Government to ensure they meet the obligation of providing skills development opportunities for those seeking employment. This may mean the implementation of yearly quotas of trainees and apprentices for all Government owned and funded organisations. This would also place pressure on the Government to provide affordable access to TAFE and other training for all jobseekers, both under employed and unemployed.
In regional and rural areas where there is a higher concentration of unemployment; this should also put pressure on the Government to decentralise the public sector at state and federal level. In addition, pressure should be placed on the Government to provide attractive incentives for SME’s and large corporations to invest in relocations or start ups in regional and rural areas.
Government change to enhance the current model would also require the adoption of a basic wage, which will shift the public perception of one that jobseekers are welfare dependent, to a perception of a human right to a basic wage for all citizens. This will also enable the underemployed to be as competitive for jobs as the unemployed. Currently some incentives favour only the long term unemployed and lock the under employed out of the labour market. Punitive measures such as income management (basic card) and financial penalties would not longer need to exist.
The most critical shift that needs to occur is for citizens to reject the stigmatising narrative that currently exists around those seeking employment today, as this narrative is the antecedent for the entire burden of secure employment to fall on the jobseeker, rather than the onus of providing citizens with full, secure employment on the Government.
All of the above can be achieved and it can start with a rejection of the current dehumanising and stigmatising narrative surrounding jobseekers; and it should start with all of us today.
“Stigma is a process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity.”
The tight polls indicate that a number of Australians are afraid of what a change of Government will bring. However, the thought of remaining with the Liberal Government makes me very afraid.
I still recall that day in early high school so vividly. I was yelled at, embarrassed to the point of tears and pulled out of class. I was ordered to sit on the verandah, because my parents could not afford the proper text book and the teacher decided I was not ‘ready to learn’. That experience, really drove home that the battlers could sit alone and cry red-faced in shame and be on the outside looking in, or they could use their voices to speak up.
I knew that public education in the early 1980s was considered free for all students and that I was entitled to an education. (My Mother had told me time and time again “you don’t need money to be clean, honest, intelligent, kind, well mannered, etc., etc.,)
That day, I furiously marched to the Principal’s office at lunchtime and I made a formal complaint. I stood up straight, looked him in the eye and asked him loud and clear, if I was allowed to be excluded from class because I could not afford the text book.
For a reason I cannot remember now, (possibly being thirteen and misunderstanding the political framework!) I threatened to report the school to the Governor General and guaranteed that he could stand me in front of class and ask me questions. I argued that it would be revealed that I knew more than most of the students who had text books. I was angry and offended that the school had drawn a line between my intelligence, my willingness to learn and the amount of money my parents had to buy a stupid text book!
After some scornful lecture reminding me that it was somehow a thirteen year old’s responsibility to ensure I had the right books for school and I was ‘ready to learn’, I was given a ‘loan’ of a second hand book. I had to promise I would protect this book with my dear life until the end of the year and I was curtly reminded that ‘forgetting to return the book would be considered stealing from the school.’ That was also a stark reminder of how a low socio-economic background was an immediate negative judgement of one’s morals.
Two things were important that day: A rule existed to prevent unfairness and I had the courage to speak up.
Legal rules and also societal norms shape who we are. They shape our nation. The democratic system of parliament is the system which enables the rules by which we live. If the school had a rule implemented that stated I could be excluded because I did not have the correct book, I could have sat on the verandah for the rest of the year. Not learning and not participating. Some kids would not have complained, as I did.
An important point is that not everyone has the same levels of self-efficacy to use a complaints system, or to even question if they are a victim of unfairness. The rules should be there to protect people so they do not need to have an inherent self-confidence to right any wrongs.
This is the reason I take politics and voting so seriously. The Liberals, time and time again implement ‘rules’ or laws, that not only make life hard for the disadvantaged, but also make it hard to complain and achieve fairness. We see this in Education, in Health, in Welfare and in unemployment programs to name a few.
This is the future under the Liberal Government I see and what we have seen for the past three years and in previous Liberal Governments state and federal. A system of rules, that makes life harder for battlers. A system of rules that makes it harder for battlers to have a voice. A system of rules that is the antecedent to unfairness and a divided society.
The Liberals seek to make that verandah I sat on, even wider between the thirteen year old me and inclusion in that classroom.
The Liberals seek to make rules, that would have the Principal tell the thirteen year old me, ‘that it was my fault, I can do better, get richer parents, shut up, sit down and do as you are told, or we may arrest you.’
The tight polls indicate that a number of Australians are afraid of what a change of Government will bring. However, the thought of remaining with the Liberal Government makes me very afraid:
I don’t want to live in a world where a Liberal Government works hard for a greater divide between the rich and the poor.
Where the practices and policies of the Liberals ensure the working class have no rights and can be replaced by foreign workers in the dead of night.
Where the practices and policies of the Liberals make the disadvantaged choose between seeing a doctor or buying food.
Where the ideology of the Liberals does not see marriage equality as a right for all citizens.
Where the Liberals favouritism of austerity is implemented in times of severe, global economic uncertainty.
Where a narrative which harms and stigmatises people is encouraged and supported and sometimes led by members of the Liberal party.
Where Liberal/Conservative/austerity-laden budgets are designed to give the wealthy money and see the poor grasping for the trickling down of the scraps.
Where the spending decisions of a Liberal Government produces a health system so underfunded that death of Australians is realistic consequence.
I don’t want to live in a country where a Liberal Government makes rules to make life harder for the battler or makes it harder to protest against unfairness.
Another term of The Liberals. That is what makes me very afraid.
The saying, ‘Fair Go Mate’ embodies so much of what Australians are about in three little words – a fair go. It sums up everything that is the backbone of who we are: to stand up to those who try to knock us down and don’t give us a chance – a fair go.
When someone judges us or our efforts unfairly or tries to knock us down and not give us a chance; in our beautiful, unique Australian vernacular we respond with “Fair Go, Mate!”
Every time I hear Bill Shorten speak, every positive policy he announces, he promotes something positive that will give Australians a fair go.
Woven into every rebuttal of the Liberal Government’s punitive, conservative, knock everything and everyone down rhetoric and policies, I hear Shorten say to Turnbull – “Fair Go, Mate!”
On July 3rd, we will wake up with either Labor or Liberals as our Government. There is no other choice. I understand that there is quite a movement of people wanting to vote for independent and minor parties; however, your vote will decide which one of the Major parties will rule us for the next three years.
We need to seek a clear majority for a Government to achieve good progress in their own right. Hung parliaments are not something ‘cool and trendy’ that teach anyone a lesson, nor are they something we should wish for. Being one seat away to the return of Campbell Newman/Joh Bjelke-Petersen type rule in Queensland, is not a pleasant thought. With 42 seats each, it is real fear. It is not a joke.
Please vote for a minor party or an independent, if you are truly dedicated to that party or individual. However, there are many people who state they will do this ‘to teach the majors a lesson.’ There seems to be a growing popularity that somehow this is a ‘trendy thing to do.’ Please don’t vote to be ‘trendy’ when so much is at stake. We are adults. Politics does matter. It changes lives. Please take your vote seriously, because with this election being so close, your vote is powerful and you will be a participant in real choice.
Malcolm Turnbull is correct when he has implored voters
“To vote as if your vote decides the election.”
This election is so close, your vote might do just that.
That choice is a Shorten Government or a Turnbull Government. That is it. No beating around the bush, no platitudes, no whimsical fancies of a minor party breaking history and winning 76 seats. Every single primary vote counts. It is Shorten or Turnbull. Your choice.
A choice between a fair go and progressive policies with Labor, or a continuation of stagnant, conservative and punitive measures with the Liberals.
On July 2, you will either vote for a Shorten Labor Government to give you a fair go and to be given a real chance, or you will vote to be knocked down by the Liberals and not given a chance.
The Liberals won’t care if you scream at them “Fair Go, Mate!” The Liberals see punishment as an incentive to push people to improve. It simply does not resonate with them.
Bill Shorten is saying to Turnbull “Fair Go, Mate” because Turnbull wants to knock kids down before they can get a quality education, by not properly funding schools.
Shorten will give kids a fair go by properly funding Gonski.
Bill Shorten is saying to Turnbull “Fair Go, Mate” because Turnbull wants to knock sick people down who don’t have the money to pay a GP Co-Payment, or fees for pathology and scans that are essential for diagnosis, by putting extra taxes on Medicare and making moves to privatise our national health insurance system.
Shorten will give sick people a fair go, by protecting Medicare and lifting the Medicare rebate freeze , so more Doctors have an incentive to bulk bill.
In two words: Medicare Stays.
Bill Shorten is saying to Turnbull “Fair Go, Mate” because Turnbull wants to knock LGBTI people down by spending $160 million dollars on an plebiscite, which will give voice to the homophobic anti-marriage equality lobby, to shout their enraged hate at LGBTI people, just to decide if they should have the same rights as every other citizen in the country.
Shorten will give LGBTI people a fair go, by legislating for Marriage Equality within the first 100 days.
Bill Shorten is saying to Turnbull “Fair Go, Mate” because Turnbull wants to knock Australians down, before they can even begin to think about starting a business, or remaining competitive, or by preventing their education in a rural area, by giving Australians a second rate copper-laden National Broadband Network.
Shorten will give all Australians a fair go, by rolling out Fibre to the Premises and give Australians a first class technology fibre laden NBN
Bill Shorten is saying to Turnbull “Fair Go, Mate” because Turnbull wants to knock school leavers and mature aged students down, by deregulating some university fees, and locking some students out of higher education, based on their family’s wealth and not their hard work.
Shorten will give all University Students a fair go, by keeping higher education affordable and accessible for all students; creating STEM Scholarships and offering some places completely HECS Free.
Bill Shorten is saying to Turnbull “Fair Go, Mate” because Turnbull wants to knock jobseekers down by giving business a 50 billion dollar tax cut, which will only impact the economy by .01% – under the guise of “jobs and growth’ and offer $4 Internships.
Shorten will give business and jobseekers a fair go, by offering small business a $20,000 tax break if they hire, a mature-age jobseeker or someone under 25 and by committing that one in 10 jobs in Government infrastructure projects are apprentices.
Thank you Bill Shorten, for bringing the Fair Go from underneath the layers of political rhetoric voters need to sift through at election time and just placing it smack bang in the middle of the table, in arms reach, right next to the sauce.
Shorten summed this up nicely in his speech at the Labor Launch this morning when speaking of the fair go that underpins what Labor is about:
Today, my remarkable team and I offer ourselves as an new Government, dedicated to Australian’s oldest proposition – A Fair Go all around. A Labor Govt that recognised that Australia has always grown stronger and richer, by including everyone in opportunity, and leaving no-one behind.
We will be a Labor Government that will always put people first, in the finest tradition of this great country we all love together.
A Shorten Labor Government promises to pass Marriage Equality within the first 100 days if they win the election. An Abbott-Turnbull Government favours a plebiscite. Both of these cases were argued at the first Facebook leaders debate last night.
Leadership Debate 17 June, 2016 – Marriage Equality Plebiscite
Malcolm Turnbull: I support same-sex marriage, if we are returned to Government, there will be a plebiscite, then all Australians will get a say on the issue. I’ll be voting yes. Lucy will be voting yes. We will be urging people to vote yes. I am very confident it will be carried.
Bill Shorten: Now the argument says, Oh Plebiscite, it’s very democratic. But the truth of the matter is that this is a debate where I don’t believe that people’s relationships and love for each other need to be submitted to a public opinion poll. I think we have seen two terrible events in the last week that shows hate and extremism exists in modern societies. And I don’t want to give the haters a chance to come out from underneath the rock and make life harder for LGBTI people.
Malcolm Turnbull: With great respect to you. I believe Australians are better than that. I believe we can have a discussion about marriage equality. It can be civil. It can be respectful and we will make a decision as a nation and then, as a nation we will respect the outcome.
The debate on marriage equality so far, has been anything but civil or respectful. Therefore, one can conclude Turnbull is one or more of the following:
Let’s take a look just a small taste of how the marriage equality debate has developed thus far. It has been far from civil.
*Warning: This post contains comments and pictures that may be upsetting and hurtful to LGBTI people, their families and allies.
Leaked pamphlets, to feature in an upcoming campaign against same-sex marriage, suggest children of gay and lesbian parents are more prone to “abuse and neglect” and more likely to be unemployed, abuse drugs and suffer depression.
The pamphlets, obtained by Fairfax Media, have been prepared and funded by Chris Miles, a former Liberal MP and member of the Foreign Investment Review Board.
“Not only is the information on this flyer wrong, it will put the lives of young gay people and the children of same-sex couples at risk by reinforcing the message that they and their families are broken.” (Croome, AME)
Australian Marriage Alliance advertisement opposing marriage equality
The group is claiming that same-sex marriage will increase suicide because people who are against it will be bullied over their views if it becomes law.
Australian Marriage Alliance television advertisement opposing marriage equality. The central message that only children who have a mum and a dad “Miss out” on a real family.
“I’m signing this because I’m a child of two absolutely loving lesbian parents and I’m really offended that this advertisement blatantly slandering same-sex parents’ ability to be parents simply based on their homosexuality,” he wrote. “My mums are amazing and I honestly need nothing more than them and their love in my life.”
Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said,
“The booklet likely breaches the Anti-Discrimination Act and I urge everyone who finds it offensive and inappropriate, including teachers, parents and students, to complain to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks.”
Mr Croome said he has received several complaints from teachers in Catholic schools who were horrified to learn at staff room meetings that the booklet will be distributed.
A federal Nationals MP has drawn a comparison between same-sex relationships and two rams having sex in a paddock, provoking condemnation for the ‘offensive’ and ‘inappropriate’ statements, with the Greens calling on him to apologise and retract them.
Parents took to social media to express concern over the event some described as “highly offensive’’, “extremely bigoted’’ and “totally inappropriate to be sent out through a Catholic school parent email list’’.
In a plea sent to the school, obtained by the Mercury, one parent said: “Although the teachings of the Catholic religion is one of husband and wife I find it inappropriate that the Catholic Diocesan of Wollongong would find it appropriate to be “informed” about this topic by a (group) with a clear agenda leading up to a federal election.’’
“There are many families within our school community that would be extremely offended by this type of ignorant propaganda as they are not a ‘family’ as is defined,’’ the email said.
The Australian Christian Lobby has compared same-sex marriage and the Safe Schools program to the Holocaust, dubbing them all “unthinkable things” that happened because societies lacked strong moral guardians.
On Monday he made a comment on Twitter: “Though Orlando is abhorrent, it doesn’t change the real & present dangers of the gay marriage agenda to Aus children.”
People have condemned the insensitive tweet and even called the hopeful politician “scum”.
“Absolutely disgusting. Completely offensive,” one commented.
There are extra complexities to consider in regional communities for LGBTI people. There is no Mardi-Gras. There is no wide-spread community support. Young LGBTI people often move away from the area quickly and there is a high rate of suicide. A harmful and hurtful debate only places further stress on young LGBTI people in regional communities.
“My point is that people saying ‘let’s follow America’ in their argument for same-sex marriage … well what about the right to bear arms?” he said.
“I mean, you wouldn’t follow America on that one.
George Christensen, LNP Member for Dawson.
“I am sure this has something to do with it. People do not feel welcome here. You get shunned. So people leave and go to places where it is acceptable.”
BuzzFeed News asked Christensen (QLD LNP MP) what he thought about LGBTI teenagers in the area feeling as though a program like Safe Schools is needed.
He (Christensen) likened it to children wanting to eat ice cream.
“Kids love everything. Kids would love free ice cream at school,” the MP said. “Is that good for them? Y’know. Of course they are going to defend something they are being told is good.
“But is it good? Is it social engineering? I think it is clearly social engineering.”
The Capricornia Young LNP accuse the Labor candidate of vandalising the LNP member’s office. (The Labor candidate responded in the original thread that she was there to support the rally and was writing “Love is Love” on a heart-shaped post it note. The other person in the photo is the gorgeous Ben Norris from Big Brother, who spoke at the rally.
I attended this Equal Love Rally. We held a peaceful rally. Marched a distance to the LNP Member’s office and those who desired could place a post it note on her door with a message in support of marriage equality.
This is such a small sample from the commentary within the debate against marriage equality thus far and it does not do justice to the plethora of uncivil and disrespectful commentary from the Anti-Marriage equality lobby found within this debate.
This quote from Shirleene Robinson, spokeswoman for Australian Marriage Equality calls for people to understand that language and narrative can cause deep hurt to people.
“Words can inflict terrible harm sometimes and we would ask that people of all opinions remember that,” she said. “The use of intemperate language can cause deep hurt among LGBTI people and their families.”
A plebiscite – Abbott-Turnbull Government
I refer back to Turnbull’s comments within the leadership debate:
“….then all Australians will get a say on the issue”
“….we will make a decision as a nation”
Normally Turnbull palavers on with great verbosity and his words can be deciphered and reduced to something quite simple. On this occasion he used a few words, but it translates to much more: That is:
“When considering marriage, Australia currently recognises two groups of people: heterosexual people and LGBTI people. Australian law currently only respects the right to marry belongs to heterosexual people and excludes LGBTI people and discriminates based on gender.
The Abbott-Turnbull Government thinks the appropriate way to redress this gender based discrimination is for Australian citizens to decide if LGBTI people are the same as them, or a lesser class of citizen. LGBTI people belong to a minority group.
The Government will ask LGBTI people (the minority group the current law discriminates against) to vote on this.
However we will ask the majority – their friends, their allies, people who are apathetic and indifferent, but we also think it is important to ask people who do not consider LGBTI people ‘the same’ or ‘normal’ and should not have the same rights and also those who harbour a deep-seated hatred and contempt for LGBTI people.
These people will make up of the majority group who will decide whether to uphold discrimination towards the minority group.
To ensure people are informed before they vote, as part of this, we will force LGBTI people and their families, loved ones and allies, to listen to the hateful rhetoric from people who argue that we should uphold this discrimination and LGBTI people should remain as a lesser class of citizen, which could cause deep hurt and harm to this group.
To ensure enough information is out there to decide whether LGBTI people are a lesser class of citizen or not, this will cost approximately 160 million dollars of taxpayer money.
It should also be noted that if a majority votes to continue discrimination towards the minority group, then discrimination based on gender should be fully respected and upheld. “
The Legislative Approach – Shorten Government
The legislative approach states that: Discrimination exists within our marriage law and separates citizens and discriminates based on gender. We will move a bill to redress that discrimination and ensure every citizen is equal under the eyes of the law.
Voices, opinions and narrative shape a society in a free democracy. This is a crucial underlying construct of our ‘Australian Culture.’ It is one of the essential freedoms we enjoy as a country. Our voices, my voice, your voice shapes us.
The right to use our voice to protest. The right to use our voice to use social media and other platforms to speak up loudly for or against issues. The right for journalists to report on sensitive issues and to criticise the Government. The right to nominate as a voice in our parliament and the right to vote for that voice.
Sometimes debate in our country is a lovely, manicured clear pathway and sometimes our debate is a thick forest with bruising scrub, dry arid land, harsh conditions, thorns that cut and grab and where we have to step around snakes with fear and angst.
However, it is our inner voice which allows us to block out the loud opinions of others and look up above that noise to the wisest of owls who will guide us out, beyond the snakes and to the other side to a place of peace and tranquility.
Every single person’s landscape of peace and tranquility is not the same. Some will find that peace in a conservative landscape, an authoritarian landscape, a socialist landscape, a (small l) liberal landscape or a libertarian landscape. For some people, depending on the issue at hand, they might find they have unfolded their deckchair and soaked up the sun in different landscapes over time. For example, some may sit in the socialist landscape for worker’s rights, but will also sit in the punitive and conservative landscape to advocate for the death penalty.
There are also some people who don’t fight through harsh scrub and snakes, they have no wise owl to guide them to their landscape, they are trapped forever in a 70’s disco doing ‘The Shrug’ to the tune of ‘meh, meh, meh, meh, meh.’ Sometimes they might reach out and take a few steps down the easy manicured path of debate, but you will never get them near the forest.
Sadly, today, there are still many loud voices which drown out the opinions of those in minority groups who are suffering from harm. More and more people look to the wise-owl of their inner voice, to guide them and set themselves down in the landscape of the minorities in solidarity and that is a good thing, because it is so important that these voices are the loud and heard.
I do not support the argument that the only voices we should have in our parliament are the Independent voices and that the parliament would be better without the major parties.
I do not believe a parliament of independents is the panacea to some of the issues we have in parliament today. There are only so many frames of political ideology and to have the necessary legitimate and at times coercive power, blocs would be formed, representing that ideology.
The theories which explain power in relationships and politics are complex. Power can see people struggle over finite resources, some have the ability to use referent power, some can use power to make other’s dependent upon them and some can use coercive power. A party of Independent MPs or Senators is not the nice walk down the manicured path, some believe it to be.
What I strongly advocate for, is that all citizens should have the freedom to vote for a party who has either a solid platform they agree with, or a vote for an independent voice, which may take a myriad of conflicting positions.
My strongest argument is for informed voting. Although I am not a supporter of the Liberal party, I would prefer to see a voter vote conservative/LNP who has a truly informed conservative position they align with. They are informed and fully understand the damage that this party’s ideology and policies will do to certain groups of people, how their authoritarian nature will aim to suppress our voices and that they favour punitive measures above all else. I support that this voter is comfortable with being a bastard and owns it and wears it on their sleeve with pride.
I would rather this than just voting because of the aesthetical appeal of an individual politician, or they find a slogan catchy, without knowing what that party or person is really about. I want to turn the music off at the “Meh, meh, meh” disco and fill the disco full of owls to be followed right out of there.
I argue strongly for this, because this is critical in shaping who we really are. The voices who end up on the other side of power (whomever that may be), end up battling through the forest and/or sitting in solidarity with groups of minorities. They know their collective needs to grow stronger and their voices need to be more persuasive and louder. This enables robust debate and shapes our country. This is important as we do not want to just stretch out on a deckchair and catch a few rays in our ideal landscapes, but to build a house on it for life.
In the debate of democratic voting, the majority of people have built their house on the landscape of democracy. The Greens, the Xenophon party and The Liberals want to knock down our democratic houses. They have done a dirty deal to silence the voices of the independents in the Senate. They are essentially forming a bloc on this issue to use legitimate power to drown out the inner voices who sit in their landscape and in solidarity with the Independents.
The Greens, the Xenophon party and the Liberals want to knock down your house of democracy by relying on the voters who are bopping away to “The Shrug” to the tune of “meh, meh, meh, meh.” This is the key to their success and the key to suppressing the independent voice.
Bill Shorten’s Labor is sitting in solidarity in the Independent’s landscape of democracy.
As a member of the Labor party, I am glad that this is where my party sits, as it is where I would be sitting regardless.
I will end this article, not with my own conclusion of why this is so wrong, but I will leave you with a must watch video of Anthony Albanese speaking out against the changes to the Senate Voting system. I hope that the voice in this video, encourages you speak up against these voting reforms with your pen on election day.
After watching Malcolm Turnbull and his “Government” in action over the past five months, I have come to the conclusion that Turnbull is secretly using the voting public as one enormous unpaid focus group.
It all started way back when Tony Abbott was our Prime Minister. Malcolm Turnbull was well placed to be the communications Minister. He is a lover of Apple watches and he can rattle off with aplomb lots of social media apps. He probably has an app on his mirror to tell him if he is the fairest in the land every morning. However, despite all of this, he had a huge dilemma.
As we all know, Turnbull likes to believe he is the man of the hour, the champion of the people, that guy who gets everything right, the man who holds the adulation and love of so many fans. (Wait…Turnbull likes to believe he is Jonathon Thurston?)
Anyway, set your mind back just a little. Turnbull, as communications minister had to put out an inferior, rubbish, embarrassing FTTN NBN and blow the budget out to the GDP of a small country, all for good reason. The reason is that the Liberals needed an alternative model to Labor’s far superior FTTP NBN. Therefore, Malcolm thought he would just test his rubbish model out on a focus group aka ‘us’, add in a little spin and waffle about how Betacord is far more superior than blue ray; oops I mean how copper is far more superior than fibre; and we would buy it.
When ‘we’ (the focus group) started moaning and groaning about how crap his NBN was, and in the still of the night he stared at the laughter from online tech forums with tears in his eyes, the stress of it all started to show. One morning, he looked in the mirror and his app told him that Jason Clare was by far the fairest in the land. He knew it was all over and he had to do something drastic. He had to distance himself from the NBN.
How can the man of the hour be the same man who has the crap NBN and who is the subject of memes with tin cans and string? No, no, no that simply would not do. At least Abbott had a boat phone!
He had to get out of communications fast into a job that made him look good. He needed a job that allowed him to be flexible. One with enough scope that if he had to talk about something that made him look dull instead of shiny, he could brush that aside and talk about something else. With that, he eyed Tony Abbott with a glint in his eye. He just had to convince his party colleagues that he was the very model of a modern major Prime Minister.
So he did what any good innovator would do, he chose a tried and true product that the focus group liked but had become tired of and applied a little incremental innovation. All he had to do was to sell it to his party colleagues.
Malcolm had feedback that the focus group didn’t like the way the old Prime Minister model ummed and ah-ed and especially that time that he wasn’t saying anything (but you aren’t saying anything, Tony) or his inappropriate repetition of “But we have stopped the boats”. The focus group especially did not like any Captains picks.
The party colleagues insisted that the inner workings of PM Mark I stay the same and PM Mark II had to have the same values and beliefs as the old model, but it would be ok if Malcolm tinkered with the aesthetics.
So Malcolm hopped on a tram to take some selfies, chucked on an Armani Suit, put 200 million dollars in the bank and shifted some to an offshore account in the Cayman islands and the model was almost complete. To demonstrate the winning element of the new model, he slapped on a happy face, twirled his glasses a few times and with great anticipation he unveiled the clincher…never ending verbosity with an inbuilt thesaurus for all the synonyms a Prime Minister could use without sounding repetitive once. It was a done deal. With the help of a knife and a Bishop, the old model was sent to the backbenches and Turnbull was now the new Prime Minister Mark II.
So Malcolm turned to the Focus Group once again for them to evaluate Prime Minister Mark II. As confirmed by @Ghostwhovotes every week, the polls were in and the focus group gave the thumbs up. The media were so happy they were reminiscent of Magenta grabbing Riff Raff’s hand, twirling him around and yelling, “Malcolm is happy. The Liberals are happy, you’re happy, we’re all happy hahaha hahaha.”
After such a positive response from the focus group, Malcolm then became obsessed with using us as a focus group to evaluate so many things in the coming months.
He did this with so much excitement and relief because he has no idea how to make his own decisions. However, he became increasingly frustrated because no matter what he put before us, it was all nope, nope, nope from us. There was a small ‘yay’ for getting rid of knights and dames. There was also a huge sigh of relief when Speaker mark II turned out to be rational and level headed and did not take helicopter joy rides.
However, secretly copying a diary to bring down the speaker of parliament to topple a Labor Government, it was a nope from the focus group.
A Minister of Parliament drunk groping and kissing a female public servant in China, was a nope from the focus group.
Announcing, “there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian” was a yay from most of us. However, repeated at the same volume and frequency of ‘we have stopped the boats’ resulted in a noise complaint and a subsequent thumbs down from the focus group.
Ministers grabbing the Baygon and spraying it in the PM’s general direction as they backed away and resigned, was a mixed response with many raising an eyebrow of suspicion as to what was going on.
A Minister under the guise of a private citizen signing off on a mining deal with a Chinese mining company and prominent Liberal party donor was a big, big nope from the focus group.
The focus group climbed bridges and towers and screamed nope, nope, nope and staged a protest outside of a hospital when he canvassed whether sending Asylum seeker babies back to detention was okay.
The focus group was split on a report of a political witch hunt, set up to destroy the party of the workers, led by a life-long Liberal party supporter who was allowed to assess his own bias. (The nopes were a lot louder than yays on this one, so this one is reserved for desperate situations only).
As the Prime Minister had no idea about economic reform, he decided to run an increase in the GST by the focus group. The results from the focus group were so poor and when he noted that they were listening to the Labor party, he has backed away from the GST like Voldemort backing away from Harry. Like he still intends to do the evil deed, he just has to wait to get Harry in a weak position.
Some of the focus group still have their head turned sideways trying to work out if the Unicorn selling is a possibility. Others in the focus group started designing unicorn memes straight away.
Prime Minister Mark II is now canvassing the focus group for the privatisation of Medicare and their personal medical records being handled by a private contractor, possibly an overseas company. The early data is that this is a huge thumbs down.
As Prime Minister Mark II is too scared to make any decisions of his own and he relies on the feedback from focus groups; here is a list of forthcoming ideas from the Turnbull’s ideas boom that we can expect in the near future.
A list of possible ideas for the PM Mark II’s focus group (aka us)
Should Anchovies on pizza cost extra?
When city Ministers visit country areas, should they wear a cowboy hat, or not wear a cowboy hat?
Is it ever OK for the Minister for women to scream like a banshee about ‘the sisterhood?’
Are socks with Sandals ever Ok and should Barnaby wear them?
How often can one hear the word innovation before they start screaming?
If copper is better than fibre, should blue ray be made obsolete and should we return to Betacord?
If your sick mum cannot get access to healthcare, is that Ok, if there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian?
If PM Mark II does not make any decisions up to and including the election, is it because there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian?
Should the Government put out a budget before the election?
Should unicorns be sold, or should they be a protected species?
Is it obvious that the treasurer is a dumb-arse who knows jack about economics?
When the camera pans to Prime Minister Mark I sitting on the back bench looking forlorn, have you felt, or slightly felt a left-wing condition called empathy?
What do you think of underdogs? Is it possible for them to win elections?
Is ‘Work Save and Invest’ considered a slogan?
How much longer can the Liberal party get away with blaming Labor?
Do Pyne’s glasses look dorky nerdy or nerdy hot?
If the Prime Minister who owns several houses and is worth 200 million dollars, does not approve of a policy that will let your children and grandchildren buy a house, will you accept that this is OK because it won’t be fair on the rich people?.
With a Double Dissolution election now being suggested widely for July, I am sure the above and many more will be put to us aka the focus group for assessment between now and then, as it has become increasingly obvious Malcolm Turnbull is unable to make any decisions.
At a rate of zero dollars per hour, our pay for this focus group is less than the 47c an hour being paid to workers of the 7-Eleven Turnbull has a stake in. I think I had better get my union, (or is that unicorn) on to this!
Paul Keating was so right about Malcolm Turnbull, wasn’t he? “A bit like a big red bunger on cracker night. You light him up, there’s a bit of a fizz but then nothing, nothing”
After all the glasses-twirling hype and the selfie-induced-train-hopping; nothing is exactly what we are getting from an undemocratically elected, Liberal Party appointed Prime Minister who is quickly learning that he can’t please the people and his party. However, he has clearly chosen who he aims to please. Malcolm Turnbull has clearly chosen to please the conservative right wing of his party and not the people of Australia and certainly not our children!
In his interview on 3AW with Neil Mitchell, Turnbull described Labor’s commitment to fund Gonski as, “Reckless.” Malcolm Turnbull believes that the fair and equitable education of ALL little Australians is “Reckless.” Malcolm Turnbull believes that investing in our children, the very people who will shape this country for our future, is ‘Reckless.”
Malcolm Turnbull believes that your child does not deserve a fair go!
Any leader who undermines the very essence of our shared Australian value of – “The Fair Go” is reckless. It is reckless toward us as individuals and it is reckless toward us as a collective. Turnbull’s rejection of Gonski funding is not just reckless, it is irresponsible and regressive.
To play on a phrase Julia Gillard famously used….If Malcolm Turnbull wants to know what Reckless looks like, he just needs a mirror. That’s what he needs.
The Abbott-Turnbull Govt has been the most reckless Government of my lifetime. That is why we need to talk about the:
Education changes people’s lives. The Gonski Reforms are an opportunity for fairness and equality in education. It is an opportunity to provide equal access to pathways of future success for all of our children. The Gonski reforms will pull some sectors of our society out of generational disadvantage. The Gonski reforms enable our country to be competitive and improving our economy. Giving a Gonski is giving our children, your children, a chance to be competitive in the jobs of the future. Committing to Gonski could mean enabling the pathway for a future Prime Minister. Refusing to commit to Gonski is keeping the door shut to a Prime Minister that could have been.
The Prime Minister of Australia willingly choosing to uphold disadvantage over fairness and equality for all is beyond reckless, it is downright destructive.
This little gem drummed up by the ‘let’s stigmatise poor people’ rabble of the Abbott-Turnbull Government, decided that in the era of high unemployment created by decisions by their own party, that young people who could not find a job are not entitled to social security payments. Deciding that young unemployed people should have no money for basics such as food, clothing, shelter, hygiene products or medicine is very reckless indeed. (Labor, Greens and some cross-benchers opposed this and a new policy is in progress for jobseekers to starve for one month instead.)
I’m just going to leave this here because I’d rather watch Jason Clare explain how reckless Turnbull has been with the NBN, rather than write about it.
Wasting millions and millions and millions of dollars on a political witch hunt, presided over by a judge with a history that spans decades of very close ties to the Liberal Party of Australia, is one of the most reckless acts against the working class this country has ever seen. The reckless attack on workers to bring back a reckless star chamber style ABCC is abhorrent. No Mother or Father ever wants the young man in this video to be his or her child! Shame. Shame. Shame.
The cuts to health and the continuous push towards a user pays system are reckless to the extreme. The situation the Abbott-Turnbull Government is pushing for, is where your wealth decides whether you are in pain, undiagnosed with a serious or terminal illness, or possibly even die. This type of class division of access to health will lead to a broken country. No human life is less valuable than another life based on the amount of money someone has in the bank.
Both John Howard in 2005 and Tony Abbott in 2014 said that the Liberal Government was the best friend the workers have ever had. Pretending to be a friend to the worker, is not just reckless, it is deceitful. A Government who makes it easier to employ foreign workers instead of Australian workers is not a best friend to the worker. A Government who does that is made up of a pack of self-righteous, out of touch lazy gits and by taking a generous wage, are the real leaners on society. MP’s are not elected by the people to do backroom deals to push Australians out of work. How reckless is it to make changes to employment rules that result in Australians being replaced with foreign workers and then laugh about it. Really? How reckless is that to everything the people in this country value?
The push from the Abbott- Turnbull Government to make life more difficult for families by cutting family payments and attacking penalty rates is indeed reckless. Some parents rely on weekend shift work to help the family get through the week. Sometimes this is the only work mum or dad can get to work in with their primary duty of caring for children. To attack the penalty rates of some of the poorest people in the country in conjunction with cuts to family payments and abolishing the School Kids Bonus is yet another step closer to the Abbott-Turnbull led class divide trotted out by the Liberals and Nationals time and time again. Class divide is indeed one of the most reckless things a Government can do.
The approach and treatment of Asylum Seekers under the Abbott-Turnbull regime is abhorrent, shameful, disgusting and damaging. The Abbott-Turnbull Government’s commitment to the secrecy provisions of their policy is beyond reckless. I do not believe a word exists for how damaging this extreme practice is. The treatment of Asylum Seekers is in the name of all Australians, not just in the Government’s name. Concerned citizens and advocacy groups have the right to investigate the treatment of people seeking asylum in our name. Asylum seekers have the absolute right to advocacy, medical treatment and legal representation. The cloak and dagger approach has only lasted so long. As reported yesterday, Border Force admitted that at least 23 boats have been turned back and this is a regular occurrence. To say the boats have stopped is a bald-faced lie. With the Government casting its invisibility cloak over people seeking asylum, the public have no idea if people are still drowning or the number of deaths at sea. As Harry Potter Fans will appreciate, the Government has the invisibility cloak and with Dutton’s face as the stone and Turnbull’s twirling glasses as the wand, the Government really could be the Masters of Death.
The Cashless Welfare card is the symbolic mechanism that brings the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s agenda of stigmatisation of the poor to life. This draconian, punitive measure ensures that those who are unemployed are branded as such at the checkout. The Government harps on about how they understand innovation, but then deny the unemployed the ability to purchase cheap goods off buy and sell sites on Facebook and at the local market. The cashless welfare card denies an unemployed mother the ability to give their school child that $3.00 in an envelope for the school excursion they just remembered about that morning. Income management only serves to degrade the unemployed as incompetent and not able to manage their own meagre budgets. It is a punitive and degrading measure, which takes away the liberty and freedom of those who are on welfare. Income management increases barriers to employment for jobseekers and that is indeed reckless to the individual and to our society as a whole.
One of the roles of the Prime Minister and Government is to provide leadership of tough issues. This often means doing what is right for minority groups, regardless of popular opinion. I was deeply perturbed at the very vocal Abbott-esque backflip by Turnbull in question time on Thursday. The new Malcolm appears not only to be reckless, but now completely unhinged.
Terri Butler: Given it is clear that members of the Prime Minister’s own party will not respect the $160 million plebiscite on marriage equality; will the Prime Minister immediately allow the free vote that he used to argue for on the private member’s bill that is currently before the parliament?
Malcolm Turnbull: I am not sure what it is about the honourable member’s approach to democracy that she so despises the views of the people that sent her here.
Parliament did not conduct a plebiscite to determine if we should or should not have sexual harassment laws introduced. They did not conduct a plebiscite to pass the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, contrary to what the popular belief at the time would have been. The Government of the day saw legal entrenched discrimination and had the guts to redress it.
By standing by a plebiscite, Malcolm Turnbull is valuing the opinion of bigots and homophobes who have recently photoshopped rainbow nooses around a woman’s neck in an anti-marriage equality advertisement. That is not valuing democracy. That is upholding bigotry and allowing bigots to have a voice against those they seek to oppress. As leaders, the Government has a moral obligation to view this debate from a legal standpoint of discrimination based on the choice of sexual preference and redress this discrimination immediately.
It is reckless for a Government to deny people who love each other the right to marry, based on their sexual preference.
If Malcolm Turnbull wants to know what reckless really is, here are just ten of the many reckless things the Abbott-Turnbull Government has done in the short space of two years and four months. Investing in Gonski is not reckless, it is responsible and visionary, two things the current Government lacks. To fight this Government’s recklessness, remember always to put the Liberal/National or LNP last on your ballot paper and Give a Gonski today.
A very wise man once said to me, “There are two types of politicians. Anti-Community and Pro-Community. The Liberals are always Anti-Community. That is why there are always protests against a Coalition Government.
Turnbull has been ahead in the polls since he obtained the Prime Ministership by default. Anyone who toppled Abbott would be the Nation’s automatic Messiah. He could read the back of a Cornflakes packet and the public would still have been cheering. How fortunate for Turnbull.
The party did not want Abbott. The party re-installed a former failed leader, Malcolm Turnbull. Four Corners painted Turnbull as the good little boy who didn’t make any fuss about Abbott whilst he was the Prime Minister. He just sat back patiently and waited for his crown.
The fact that Turnbull did not make any fuss about Abbott or vocally opposed Abbott’s policies or rhetoric, clearly shows that Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal National Coalition simply were happy with Abbott’s policies. They just wanted a new face to deliver them and that is what we have now.
We saw the rise of March in March or March Australia during the Abbott years. We also saw massive protests against Campbell Newman’s harsh cuts, job losses, privatisation of public assets and the attack on our civil liberties in Queensland as well as his mantra of selling our assets. People marched and yelled in protest because they were fighting to protect everything that underpins us as Australians – A Fair Go.
This leads me to the central question of this piece. Turnbull and the Coalition are ahead in the polls, but are his policies really worth fighting for? Your vote for a Turnbull Government is the ultimate endorsement of your fight for Turnbull and his policies. Would you protest for his policies to save his Prime Ministership?
If the Coalition’s policies are so important to make this country great, why do Liberal members and Liberal supporters and even swinging voters not get out there and protest to make their voices heard? Why do they not get out there and really fight for them?
I ask you this: “If you are thinking of voting for the Abbott-Turnbull Coalition Government are you so passionate about their return in the election that you would protest to keep them?”
To look beyond voting for a face and to really understand what that face represents, let’s take a look at what 10,000’s of people protesting for the Abbott-Turnbull policies would sound like…..
Cuts to Medicare
“If you get sick you should pay, user pays is a better way”
“It’s my taxes anyway, Make the poor PAY, PAY, PAY!”
“Cuts to Medicare should come quick. If you can’t afford it, don’t get sick!”
“Increase GST on everything!”
“GST up NOW!”
“Make the poor pay much more. A GST rise is our winning score!”
“Fast Broadband is a joke. Keep the copper that gets choked!”
“44th in the world isn’t last. We don’t need Internet that’s fast!”
“Rural living is a pity. If you want internet move to the city!”
Climate Change Denial
“Climate Science is a joke. Renewables will send us broke!”
“It was hotter last year! Climate Change is a smear!”
“Coal is good for humanity! Up the Climate Anti!”
Education – Cuts to Gonski
“We don’t need children educated. Gonski should be eradicated!”
“More funding for Elite Private Schools! Funding needy schools is for fools!”
“Education is a privilege, not a right. Down with Gonski, Fight, Fight Fight!”
It is time to look beyond Turnbull’s smile and his nice suits and the fact that he is not Tony Abbott. In my personal view, what Turnbull stands for – Mass privatisation, harsh neo-liberal policies and radical industrial relations reform, is far worse than what Abbott stood for. By voting for a Liberal or National party member, you are joining the protest above. Through your vote for a Turnbull Government, you are endorsing the destruction of the quality of life we enjoy in Australia.
It’s time to vote with our hearts and use our vote to stamp out the greed and austerity that underpins the destruction of a fair go in Australia by the Abbott-Turnbull Government.
If you can chant all of the above and stand shoulder to shoulder and march with those who support Turnbull; by all means, vote for your Turnbull candidate. If not, put the Liberal and National Coalition candidates last on your ballot. It is where they put you.
Letter to the Editor of The Morning Bulletin submitted 08/10/2015
Thank you for your recent stories about how The Morning Bulletin is there when it matters. I lived in Koongal at the time of the bushfires and it was a harrowing and terrifying time. I do believe so many of us take for granted the essential services we rely on and one of these essential services is the news and I am very grateful to have a local newspaper in my town reporting on local issues and thank all the journalists, photographers and staff for their hard work.
As we are now in bushfire season, I would like to bring to your attention a critical gap in essential services in our community. The essential service I am speaking of brings reassurance and stability to those in a time of crisis. This essential service is disaster relief.
During cyclone Yasi, 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, whilst people’s homes were burning; the Abbott Government changed the criteria, so only those who had suffered significant damage to their homes or had injury or death, as a result were eligible. Hence the confusion about payments with Cyclone Marcia.
“Eligibility for payments, available in disasters such as the Tasmanian fires, changed on October 18, 2013 so residents who did not lose their homes but had to relocate for days at a time would not receive assistance.” (Excerpt NSW bushfire victims denied compensation under new rules, SMH 26/10/2013). To reiterate, the Federal Liberal National Government cut this disaster relief as bushfires tore through the Blue Mountains.
The Liberal National Federal Government removed the last three criteria for disaster relief, which applied under a Federal Labor Government. The criteria the Liberal National Federal Government removed were:
The changes to the eligibility criteria have a huge impact on who is eligible for disaster relief funding.
The Turnbull Government says it is a more compassionate and understanding Government. I strongly believe that our community, which is prone to bushfires and floods, should have the security of decent disaster relief funding and the abolished criteria reinstated immediately, before the next disaster hits.
This week we have witnessed white people instructing Aboriginal people about what is or is not racism. We have witnessed the Speaker of the House who has been exposed to be a serial breaker of rules, receive backing from the Prime Minister to remain in the job which will decide who else breaks the rules. Now we have Jamie Briggs, Member for Mayo, a former PM staffer elevated into a blue ribbon seat by The Boys Club, giving his opinion on ‘quotas and the quality of women in parliament.’ Has the world gone mad?
Just like Ron Boswell on Q & A last week; Jamie Briggs, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development – is the perfect example of an ignorant, shouty, self-important, narcissistic male politician who thinks they can either talk over the top of women, or view what women have to say as irrelevant. Politicians such as Briggs think that the only opinion that matters is the opinion of conservative men. Politicians like Briggs believe that politics is the rightful place of men. Such audacity coming from a man who was projected into a safe Liberal seat by the Liberal Party Boys Club. You can read the expose of Briggs’ trashy comments by Max Chalmers here in The New Matilda.
Politicians such as Briggs take a dig at a Quota system, but he doesn’t stop for a minute to acknowledge ‘jobs for the boys’ as quota based at all. He must have a short memory or must be extremely ignorant if he believes that Springborg was appointed Leader of Queensland LNP over Fiona Simpson, based on merit. He must amnesia if he can’t remember The Liberal Party Boys Club – the prominent and powerful men who backed his own candidate bid for the seat of Mayo.
Let’s have a quick look at the members of the Boys Club who helped out their mate Briggs:
Downer stepped down from the front bench after the election and announced his resignation from parliament on July 14, 2008, initiating a by-election on September 6. The Liberal preselection was won by Jamie Briggs, whose work in the Prime Minister’s Office as chief adviser on industrial relations linked him closely and perhaps dangerously with the development of WorkChoices. Backed by John Howard, Alexander Downer and state party operative Chris Kenny, Briggs won the pre-selection vote in the seventh round by 157 to 111 over Iain Evans, former state Opposition Leader and member for Davenport. The Australian reported Briggs was pushed over the line by the preferences of third-placed Matt Doman, a former staffer to Right faction warlord Senator Nick Minchin. (Exerpt Courtesy of Crikey)
So there we go, a PM staffer winning a candidate bid over a former experienced State Opposition Leader. I’m sure it is all merit based. Let’s weigh the candidate bid up: Giving advice to the PM on the worst Industrial Relations Policy Australia has ever had (Briggs) versus experience as a former State Opposition Leader and experience as the Minister for Environment & Heritage, Industry & Trade and Recreation, Sport and Racing (Evans). Yep, checks out as merit based. Nothing Boys-Club-Smelly about that at all.
I often think of ‘jobs for the boys’ like this:
Hubby and his mates are sitting on the couch watching the television. His wife has just cooked a delicious meal which hubby and the boys have just finished. His wife has just baked a chocolate cake for desert and places it on the coffee table in front of them. His wife goes off to clean up all the dirty plates, wash up, sweep and mop the floor. When his wife finishes all the work, she goes into the lounge-room for her piece of cake. There is one piece just sitting there. She steps towards it. Hubby puts his hand over the top of the cake. “Hang on love.” He says. “Any of you boys want another?” The boys all nod in agreement. Hubby then has a joke and a tussle around with the boys and they all decide which one of boys gets the last piece. It was Dave.
The moral of the story is: No matter how great a woman’s work is, or how much hard work women do, often, when men are in power to decide what women get for their efforts; they will have a woman’s cake and eat it too.
At the ALP National Conference last weekend, the ALP decided to raise the bar and achieve 50% of women in parliament by 2025. In light of this, some Liberal Party women are also pushing for an increase. This is not a new push for Liberal Party women. Liberal Party women have raised this issue many times before. In light of this fact, I question why this is not a prominent topic for discussion, considering the Liberal Party are in Government and the leader of their party is indeed the Minister for Women. It could possibly be that the boys are too busy eating cake.
I have outlined some of the reasons why we need to redress the imbalance of women in politics and I have outlined some of the challenges faced by women in the Liberal party. I have also briefly outlined my personal view, that we need to ensure that we use quotas in a fair and just way.
It is concerning that not only are women under-represented in Australian politics, but Australia is ranked number 44/142 countries for women in national parliaments. According to UNWomen in Politics 2015; Australia only has 26.7% of women in Parliament.
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:
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:
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.”
I believe a holistic approach is required. To achieve equality, it is essential to determine the issues for women electorate by electorate, branch by branch. Not just review the policies and procedures and place a blanket decision of quotas on all. What may occur in an inner-Melbourne seat, may not occur in a far north QLD seat for example. The reasons women may or may not put their hand up for selection, may also differ from seat to seat. To achieve a redress of the imbalance, this issue cannot be looked at in isolation, nor can it be looked at from a top down approach.
To redress this imbalance, all parties need to have an in-depth look at the culture within each branch and determine branches where this is an issue. Although there will be branches where women simply will not feel empowered; there will be some branches or electorates for all parties where there may not be a problem for women to feel encouraged to nominate, or be selected. There is no point going in blind and hitting electorates willy-nilly with quotas. I’m all for quotas, but quotas need to be used as a respectful tool, to redress the imbalance. All parties need to understand the underlying constructs of the problem by fixing the imbalance from ground level as well.
We also need to use quotas in a fair and just way so talented men do not get shut out either, or it defeats the purpose. If a tool such as quotas was used as a power-play to politicise the selection of a seat, that is not fair, nor just, nor used for its rightful purpose. For example, if the tool of quotas was used to keep an Indigenous male out of the race, or a homosexual man out of the race or a male candidate who may champion green energy, where many branch members supported coal based energy; I would feel very strongly that this makes a mockery of all the women who have fought for equality. This is why it is very important to understand this issue from ground level as well.
Prominent leaders and executives cannot lead this change with a laizze-faire leadership style. They need to roll their sleeves up and meet with women in branches to understand the culture at ground level, as well as revise policy. A risk management system, along with a system of appeal needs to be put into place.
A review of the 2013 federal election, indicates that The Green’s party ran slightly more women candidates, but no party had more than 50% of women candidates. The number of candidates run also needs to be contextualised into ‘seats that can be won’ against ‘seats that never will be’ There would be no point increasing the number of women candidates in a left party and allocating them to blue ribbon seats and vice versa. A holistic approach is required.
Some positive steps are occurring, but I wait in angst in the hope that a fair, well informed and inclusive system is achieved to redress this imbalance.
Jamie Briggs also needs to go check himself if he thinks for one second that women find his opinion on quotas valid or important.
Yesterday, along with many others I watched the much anticipated marriage equality debate between Cory Bernardi and Penny Wong. I found some of the questions from the press gallery quite predictable. I felt the questions did not really challenge what marriage equality may mean for us as we progress as a nation. I have put together ten questions I would have liked to have asked Cory Bernardi and Penny Wong.
Cory Bernardi and Penny Wong Same-Sex Marriage Debate ABC TV 29 July 2015
Question 1 – Twelve Year Olds
Many young people dream of their wedding. Even at twelve years old I dreamt of my wedding and would often gaze at a good looking boy in my class and wonder if it would be him. If marriage equality becomes the norm, how will the world change for all twelve year olds?
Question 2 – Is it time to really scrutinise marriage?
Marriage as currently defined, has no specific parameters of what that actually means, besides the union of a man and a woman. If a man and a woman are married, they can live a life as a sham. They do not need to sleep in the same bed or even live in the same home or even town. They do not have to share parenting, or be good parents or even be parents and there is always a contentious argument of if and when the housework is actually shared equally. Heterosexual married couples do not even have to treat each other with respect or endearment. They do not even have to be in love.
My question is, if we do not question the validity of what marriage means, outside of the bringing together of gender opposites, then why is the anti-marriage equality side constantly debating the morals, scruples and behaviour of the LGBTQI community who would like to be married? If this is such a strong area of concern, how do we redress the imbalance here if the anti-marriage equality advocates do succeed? Should we have more scrutiny of heterosexual married couples?
Question 3 – Gender Transformation
If an individual who is married decides to undertake the journey of gender transformation; what do the current laws mean for the married couple if they want to stay together, if both individuals identify and are legally recognised as the same gender? How will marriage equality have an impact on individuals who undertake the journey of gender transformation,and their spouse?
Question 4 – Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a very prominent issue in Australia at present. Domestic violence is often discussed in terms of between a man and a woman, rather than between two people. There is now a shift in reports and language surrounding intimate partner violence, which includes same sex relationships. How will marriage equality assist Governments to legislate for protections for all people in domestic violence situations and enable Governments to fund programs inclusive for all victims of domestic violence?
Question 5 – Atonement
Because it is 2015 and Australia still does not have marriage equality, there may be some LGBTQI people in our community who have felt they could not just ‘be who they are’ and may have chosen to live a life married in a heterosexual relationship for whatever reasons they decided this was best for them. If marriage equality is achieved, is it fair to say that there may be some resentment from those who feel they have been forced to make decisions they would not have had to? Is it fair to say that by not recognising marriage equality earlier, we have not allowed people to live a full life with freedom of individual expression and decision making and how do we as a nation atone for this?
Question 6 – A parent’s perspective
As a mother to a newly engaged daughter, my excitement is over-whelming awaiting the wedding. Weddings are something which do bring family and friends together for such a celebration of love and happiness. Weddings are seen as a key milestone for so many. I see myself as someone who is privileged to enjoy this excitement and my heart pains for mothers and fathers who do not have this privilege. From the perspective as a parent, how does a Government see their role in interfering in such a personal, individual celebration of love which is only afforded to mothers and fathers given this privilege? This question is particularly for Senator Bernardi, considering his Government favours small Government and is supposed to favour distancing themselves from interference in the private sphere.
Question 7 – Our social fabric
One of the biggest arguments for marriage equality is that it will end discrimination and enable equality for all. As per my last question, marriage is currently for those privileged to do so under our laws. If we do not allow same-sex couples to ‘be’ as heterosexual couples are allowed to just ‘be’ then our social fabric will always be woven from those in a position of privilege. How can our social fabric ever be complete when we are unconscious of a discourse that is currently silent about love, understanding and togetherness for all? How will marriage equality assist to weave our social fabric or in Senator Bernardi’s case destroy our social fabric?
Question 8 – Regional and Rural communities
I live in a regional community and I am aware that as I have aged over the years, many friends from my younger days have moved on to live in capital cities where communities are generally more supportive of LGBTQI Individuals, as regional and rural communities have not been very supportive in their experience. Some studies also cite very harsh treatment towards LGBTQI people who reside in regional and rural communities with some contemplating suicide or sadly, taking their own lives. What impact will marriage equality have on LGBTQI individuals living in rural and regional communities and what impact will marriage equality have in shaping these communities as a whole?
Question 9 – A Government’s responsibility to understand all groups in society
Although liberal feminism has achieved some great progress for women; liberal feminism was criticised by women of colour for excluding their lived experiences of discrimination and their need to redress areas of discrimination. This is because liberal feminists made assumptions from the perspective of middle class white women. Feminism has evolved to now women of colour having a much stronger voice and leading the issues in many areas of feminism. Including more experiences from a broader range of individuals can only result in better informed legislation. There are many areas of social policy and statistics collections where research assumptions are made on research and data collected from a heteronormative viewpoint. For example, there is little data to understand issues for single mothers who were previously in a same-sex relationship.
As it is the Government’s responsibility to develop social policies and legislate for same; isn’t it also the Government’s responsibility to ensure they have an understanding of all groups in society? How will marriage equality impact on the development of social policy and legislation of same? If Cory Bernardi believes these groups should be excluded by default by not having marriage equality legislation to redress this imbalance, does he support ill-informed legislation and policies?
Question 10 – Tolerance and conscience vote versus binding vote.
Anthony Albanese (Albo) on ABC Qanda on 1 June indicated in his response to a question about marriage equality and a conscience vote, is that we need to tolerate and respect the views of others to bring them along with us. We have many different pieces of legislation which already make discrimination unlawful. Therefore, the battle against discrimination and inequality has been won on many fronts with political parties or Governments coming together to legislate for change to enable equality.
My question is about a conscience vote versus a binding vote. I question whether a conscience vote is a necessary patience, or a subconscious accommodation for the class of people who understand discrimination well enough in other contexts; but not when it involves stamping out discrimination for something they fear. The same class of people who use religion, ignorance and/or prejudice as a shield to ward off progress. As a progressive, I do not feel I need to respect groups or individuals who actively fight against progress and who uphold discrimination.
So my question is: How do Governments or even political parties make the decision about what is characterised to be morally and ethically sufficient or insufficient to determine whether a binding vote or conscience vote will be used? Also, to truly progress, how tolerant should we be of all views?
How will you vote?
Below is the video of Bill Shorten’s address at the Labor Conference, regarding Asylum Seeker and immigration policies. Key points from the address are listed below:
*Video sourced from Bill Shorten’s Facebook page.
Most Australians want a good quality of life and a good standard of living. To achieve this, the availability of jobs in any region is essential. The Liberal National Coalition Government always, always claim to be the Party to look up to when it comes to jobs and business.
We see the main stream media support this claim with positive spin after positive spin in favour of the LNP or derogatory headlines and stories about Labor. I often wonder if there is a statue of Tony Abbott in the foyer of The Australian or a statue of Campbell Newman and Joh Bjelke-Petersen in the foyer of The Courier Mail; where journalists begin their day by bowing to these statues and vowing to serve them through the course of their duties. Then there are those in the voting public who believe what the Liberal National Coalition say about how they understand business and are great for jobs and repeat it without question.
When the LNP believe that they indeed are the best party for jobs and business, it then leads to a false dichotomy that those on unemployment must simply be lazy and that they simply don’t try enough. Obviously the LNP are in charge, so of course there are plenty of jobs to apply for!
Based on this false dichotomy, the LNP’s approach to assisting the unemployed jobs is to starve community programs of funding and punish the hell out of jobseekers by implementing the worst jobseeker support program in Australia’s history “Job Active.” Commentary on social media welfare sites from program participants, suggests that Job Active agencies are more focused on who they can get to pull out weeds for free under Abbott’s work for the dole program, than any real constructive assistance.
Commentary and anecdotes on social media also point to a system where there is no money to assist jobseekers find real work and assistance for study is not supported (unless it is pointless in-house training). With the Newman Government’s changes to vocational education over the last three years coupled with the Abbott Government’s punitive Job Active program, Jobseekers living well below the poverty line must pay out of their own pocket up front costs or pay the course off, as there is no HECS or HELP deferral scheme for many vocational education courses. Those on welfare need to weigh up their options between being able to afford food and housing or an education. As an Australian, I find this absolutely abhorrent and 100% unacceptable and this destroys this our way of life.
The Palaszczuk Labor Government has just delivered their first budget by Treasurer Curtis Pitt and have invested 34 Million to begin the repair of our vocational sector and TAFE, to provide real training options for jobseekers. I hope that this will be extended to ensure affordable access for everyone who has the right to an education, including those on welfare payments.
Sadly, also on social media you read the stories of many jobseekers who are anxious, depressed, frustrated, upset and at times indirectly or directly discussing suicide or ‘not living anymore’ as an option. This is how they are feeling as jobseekers under the Job Active program. Some of the comments I have read and the stories collected by the Australian Unemployment Union are absolutely heartbreaking.
To degrade the unemployed even further, in some towns like mine you are given a Basic’s card. Welfare recipients are given a cashless card and a small amount of cash. This leaves the jobseeker with very little real money to make purchasing decisions with. The Basics Card also seeks to stigmatise the jobseeker by giving them their own identifier which allows every shop assistant and member of the public at the checkout know that they are on welfare.
Couple this with the rhetoric that comes from the agenda of stigmatisation from the Liberal Government such as backbencher Ewen Jones who said: “look there’s your dole, go home, eat Cheezels, get on the Xbox, kiss you goodbye and we will never see you again’?” Add the sensationalisation of welfare recipients on television and so called ‘current affairs shows’; welfare recipients using a basic card, will be seen automatically by some as no good, lazy, bludging welfare thieves. Terminology used by many avid Liberal supporters which places those on welfare in a criminal category. Welfare recipients are not often seen as human beings who desperately want and actively seek work.
There is absolutely no option for those on welfare to blend in or not stand out as a recipient of welfare. This completely undermines the right to dignity and respect without judgement for so many Australians. Under the LNP their reasoning is to shame you into finding a job every time you stand at the checkout. The other misunderstanding about the Basic’s card, is that it is available everywhere. There are only a small number of shops and services which allow purchase with a basics card. This often forces the jobseeker, living below the poverty line, to spend money at more expensive stores. In some towns, they have no options at all. This places pressure on their already meagre budget.
So lets see….who should really be punished. Is it the jobseeker or the Government? I have completed an analysis of job vacancies in my local area of Central Queensland to find out.
The availability of jobs is essential to a productive economy and enables the unemployed to actively apply for employment. Plentiful job vacancies also enable career development for the employed looking for jobs to advance their career. This opens up lower level jobs for others to apply for. In many cases, highly skilled workers are stuck at the lower end of their professions and not moving on as there are no jobs available to apply for. This puts a constraint on jobseekers seeking entry level jobs. It also puts a constraint on highly skilled jobseekers who also find themselves in the employment queue and now find themselves pulling weeds under work for the dole.
The graph below is job vacancy data for Central Queensland from March, 2012 to January 2015 of the Newman LNP Government and the new Labor Government from Feb 2015 to May 2015. This is where the data availability ceases. There is no data available after May, 2015, but I will be providing follow ups as it comes to hand. (you can click the photo to enlarge). I have completed an analysis on Central Queensland for two reasons. One is, it is the area I live in and I am very passionate about Central Queensland and the second is to bring some truth to light about how the Newman Govt affected regional areas. Many believe that due to the Public Service cuts and media around protests, it was mainly Brisbane which had felt the impact. This is not so.
Interesting Fact Number 1.
An analysis of job vacancy data for the period of the LNP Newman Government shows a dramatic decline of job vacancies for Central Queensland. Data available up until May, 2015 shows that in the first four months of the LNP Newman Government, Central Queensland Job vacancies declined by 378 vacancies. After one year of the Newman Government, there were 1781.7 less job vacancies for Central Queenslanders to apply for. By the end of the Newman Government, there were 2198 less job vacancies advertised in CQ than when the LNP took office.
By comparison, in the first five months of the Palaszczuk Labor Government, Job Vacancies have turned around and job vacancies have increased by 218 jobs for the CQ region in this short time.
Interesting Fact Number 2.
The sharpest decline in job vacancies for any month-to-month period was the period of November to December 2012, which saw a 16% decline in one month for Job Vacancies for CQ jobseekers, under the LNP.
In comparison, the Palaszczuk Labor Government has achieved the highest increase of job vacancies for any month-to-month period for the CQ Region, over the last three years. For the period from February to March 2015, Job Vacancies in Central Queensland saw a sharp increase of 16%. This is the highest job vacancy increase for any month-to-month period, since March 2012. In a few short months, the Labor Government has achieved what the Newman Government could not achieve in their entire period in office. That is, “to understand business and create jobs” This is an absolute positive and speaks volumes of the quality of MPs within the Palaszczuk Government. The graph below shows only job classifications with an increase of 20 job vacancies or more. This is not an exhaustive list.
Interesting Fact Number 3
During the period of the LNP Campbell Newman Government, job vacancies in Central Queensland declined by 56%. To put this in real terms, that is 2198 job vacancies not open for Central Queenslanders to apply for under the LNP. The graph below demonstrates the top 15 job classifications which experienced a decline in job vacancies over the period of the Newman LNP Government. The only job classification which experienced an increase in job vacancies under the Newman Government were: Farmers and Farm manager (0.9 increase); Carers and Aides (9.2) Education Professionals (12.2 increase) and Medical Practitioners and Nurses (12.8 increase) These figures are raw numbers, not percentages. If we look at the success of the Newman Government for Central Queensland, their achievement is basically an increase of 35 job vacancies across four job classifications, and a decline in all other job vacancies for their entire period in Government.
Interesting Fact Number 4
In the first four months of the Newman Govt, job vacancies in Central Queensland fell by 10%. In the first four months of the Palaszczuk Govt Jobs vacancies in central QLD increased by 13%
The term LNP has been used interchangeably throughout this post, meaning the Liberal National Coalition State and Federal. The LNP use a synthesis of blame and stigma to take the focus off their failings. The LNP repeat the misguided rhetoric that they are ‘good for jobs’ without question and place blame on everyone else, including the unemployed. As the data analysis of Job Vacancies for one area in Queensland show, the Abbott Government’s punitive approach is completely uncalled for. The harsh welfare measures implemented do nothing but feed into the Abbott Government’s agenda of Stigmatisation of those on welfare. Why? Because there are no better votes for the LNP those those created out of hate, disgust and fear.
My Conclusion? If you want to starve a region of jobs. Want to punish the unemployed unnecessarily. – Just vote for a Liberal National Government!
Stay tuned for more analysis drilled down on specific classifications and other nerd-filled data excitement!
Tonight in front of a capacity crowd at Trades Hall in Sydney, Bill Shorten MP laid out Labor’s plans for a highly skilled, smarter future for Australia at the Sydney Jobs Forum.
Labor has a plan to create the jobs of the future for all Australians and it was fantastic to be able to present these ideas and our program for the future of jobs in Australia at the Sydney Labor Jobs forum tonight.
Australians are smart! We understand that if we want to create jobs we need to be a smart nation. So Labor will have a program at the next election – an economic program for jobs. That is what good Labor Governments do.
We understand that older Australians – they lose their jobs and face the ruthless discrimination of age.
We know that our young people in country towns and pockets of our cities face unacceptable levels of unemployment and people with disabilities are treated as second class citizens too often in the labour market.
So a Labor Govt will absolutely have policies that go towards helping these groups get equal opportunities in the market place and work. Our democracy has the ability for every person to contribute to it. Every one of us has the chance to challenge the status quo.
Labor believes that no Australian is expendable. I promise you that Labor will be guided by an economic program for jobs. We believe in unleashing the potential and possibility of Australians.
The mining boom was nothing compared to what a Labor Government can do with the great creative capacity of the Australian people. We need to win the next election because the Australian people deserve better than what they are getting now.
Jobs for now and the future!
I usually write a blog post when I am driven by something within me that is so passionate, I simply have to write. Which is usually everyday, but I often refrain to reflect for a while. I try to write from an individualistic perspective. I don’t want to churn out the same stories as everyone else. Hence, I do refrain from writing about Tony Abbott’s lack of ………lack of…….well anything really. There are so many stories day after day which address our Prime Minister’s blatant incompetence and complete idiocy. It appears as if every Tom, Dick and Harriette in the country is completely tuned into the fact that Tony Abbott is a stupid thing. This has extended to funny but accurate Youtube posts, Cartoons, American comedy channels, prominent newspapers in the USA and now it is even Google Official.
Yes, Tony Abbott is the top return for “Stupid Things.” If you type “Stupid things” in the search bar, Google will tell you straight away, Tony Abbott is the most stupidest thing in the Google-verse.
Michelle Landry must think the more she repeats something people will believe it to be true. Landry praises herself for whatever work she thinks she is doing in Capricornia for the past 18 months and slams Labor’s record (again TMB 02/07/2015).
Kirsten Livermore spent nine years in opposition. It speaks volumes to how the Howard Govt ignored this area, just as much as the Abbott Govt is. Landry speaks up against FIFO, Abbott promotes FIFO. Landry apparently speaks up for cyclone damage funding, Abbott shows he doesn’t care, so Landry blames others. Classic LNP behaviour.
Here are some of Kirsten’s and Labor’s achievements after the removal of the Howard Government (taken as an excerpt from her retirement speech).
RBH – new MR Machine
Contributed 76 million to redevelopment of RBH
Regional Cancer Centre RBH
In partnership with UQ funded the Rural Clinical School
Allied Health clinic at CQU for students in podiatry, oral, health, nutrition, physiotherapy and other disciplines to work alongside QHealth (which we are seeing the benefits of now)
New library and accommodation at Mackay CQU
Total upgrade to library and Engineering building at Rockhampton CQU
Millions towards the merger of CQU and TAFE to be the first dual sector university in QLD (for which LNP have opened and taken the glory for)
Initiative of Medicare local, which closes the gaps left by the withdrawal of funding by the Howard Govt (Which Landry has stood by and has let it leave our area)
Headspace Rockhampton (Which now faces uncertainty due to funding cuts)
A generous sponsor for Beef Expo
Funding support to meatworks and Mackay sugar to upgrade facilities for quality and innovation
$120 Million to upgrade and improve the Bruce Highway (Howard Govt gave only $6 million for Peak Downs Highway between Mackay and the Bowen Basin coal mines)
Lifting of the Highway at the southern end of Rockhampton (and LNP took all the glory for that one too)
This is not an exhaustive list. Maybe Ms. Landry should have a rethink before she states that Ms. Livermore and Labor did nothing. The nothing years were under Howard, just as they have been under Abbott and Landry. Sure Landry is in the paper every single day saying “she is gunna do this and gunna do that,” but then she fails to deliver or Abbott doesn’t listen.
What Landry does work hard at and proudly votes for is everything that will damage Capricornian families and services.
Landry votes for cuts to health, cuts to education, cuts to pensions and family payments, $100,000 university degrees, cuts to ABC and SBS, punitive and abhorrent jobseeker policies, removing Medicare Locals from our region and moving it to Sunshine Coast and vocally stands in the way of marriage equality, to name just a few.
Bring it on I say. Not only I will be giving Leisa Neaton my number 1 vote but I will be speaking up for Leisa everywhere I go and encouraging as many people as I can to do so as well. As Leisa’s new slogan says #CapricorniaCounts and that I believe in.
Also sent for consideration as a letter to the Editor of The Rockhampton Morning Bulletin.
Shannon Fentiman,QLD Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for Multicultural Affairs has announced today that she supports ‘positive discrimination’ to close the gender pay gap. Ms. Fentiman said this is ‘definitely something we should have a conversation about. This has struck up a fair bit of conversation across social media. There are a lot of people who are genuinely concerned that this will cause undue discrimination for men; and that there is not really a gender pay gap to consider. Life does seem pretty fair at times, right?
I have detailed at the end of this blog post some information regarding discrimination against women in the workforce. The information below was previously sent in a letter to the Prime Minister and Minister for Women, in 2013, but it appears he has made no progress on this matter and to my knowledge has not even attempted to start a conversation about this type of disparity women face.
I know there are a lot of jokes out there on social media about Abbott being the Minister for Women. It would be great if we can just stop laughing about it now; because it isn’t funny when he is stifling progress.
I have a few concerns with how we approach this issue of gender disparity in pay and the workplace:
The first issue is that it was very evident when I completed this research for the initial blog post; that Indigenous women experience more disparity than non-Indigenous women. I feel that this needs to have a specific focus from the Government.
The second issue is the high unemployment rate for Youth. Particularly in regional Queensland areas. For example, there are very limited administration opportunities in regional communities. The public sector, since the cuts from the Newman Government has seen a sharp decline in any recruitment for administration in the public sector in regional communities; particularly entry level administration. Small business has struggled since the GFC, with some improvements being noted in recent times; but small business needs a hand up to give young people employment opportunities as well. Not enabling our youth to access employment now, will increase the existing disparity for women; but also increase generational disparity for both genders in years to come.
The third issue I have is how we approach positive discrimination so that it does not enable disadvantage for men. When we view inequality, we need to view every step of the process and not just the end process of the ‘job interview’ or selection process. We need to view every step towards securing employment, rather than believing everyone is equal at every point of the process. For some who experience other social marginalization, the disparity inequity widens. This is where I feel the argument of “the best person for the job” does fall down.
In communities where there is little administration recruitment occurring and a lot of mining or laboring recruitment, it does create disparity for what women can apply for from the outset. Many women are not suited to the types of laboring or trades jobs advertised in regional QLD communities, but some women most certainly are suited. Where women are the primary care givers, it creates further hindrances to securing employment in a traditional male field. I acknowledge that there are many traditional male jobs and industries not suited to all men, and I also acknowledge that disparity exists for some men to enter into traditional female fields of employment. I also acknowledge that social disadvantages affect both genders.
Therefore, a holistic approach needs to be used to ensure that ‘equal footing’ at the point of application is achieved. This includes identifying hindrances to women and men in individual communities and tailoring Govt assistance to business, encouraging investment or examining the capital city focus of the Public Sector. In addition, the community sector lost a lot of funding in regional communities and this also needs to be looked at, to bring funding back to small local organisations, rather than granting of tender funding to larger national organisations, where most of the senior management, human resource management, accounting, administration or clerical work is done in their head office. Education and training opportunities from high school, vocational and university level also need to be scrutinized as contributors to hindrance.
The fourth issue I have is the differences between metropolitan, regional and rural communities. The Government needs to focus on individual communities, rather than Queensland as a whole to address the issues individual areas face. This goes back to my point that there are simply not the same administration and management opportunities for women in regional areas in the Public Sector as there are for women living in a capital city. No woman who wants to progress in the QLD Public Sector should have to consider moving to Brisbane to do so. This is inequity in itself.
The fifth issue I have is that we need urgent Industrial Relations reform to review the award wages attached to jobs identified as traditional women’s jobs; whilst not impacting adversely on these industries. However, this will be a challenge with a Federal Liberal Government at the helm and the length of time that these wages and industries have been seen as lesser value. This will require not only an Industrial relations change, but a cultural/societal change. This will not be an easy fix nor a quick fix.
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:
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:
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.”
I would like to end this post to give thanks to the Queensland Labor Party for making history for succeeding in appointing more female Ministers than men in a Queensland Government and the first female, indigenous woman MP and Minister in a QLD Government.
The 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.
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)
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%.
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.
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.
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.
Kevin Andrews has announced that anyone seeking to access the disability support pension, will now be required to see an independent doctor prescribed by the Government, and recommendations from family doctors will no longer be allowed to assess people for the disability pension.
The LNP has effectively taken away the right of choice for people with a disability. All Australians expect a fair go, a right to choose. However, this is now no longer the case if you have a disability. Someone will make this choice for you. For those with a disability who do not need an advocate; who can make their own decisions. For those who need an advocate, this is taking away the right to choose, through denying the choices that the advocate can make on their behalf. This is a blatantly disabling people with a disability, rather than enabling them.
This also strikes me as so raw and so insensitive not even a week after the passing of Stella Young. Stella Young, if anything, taught us that we should treat all people with disabilities as human beings. Taking away someone’s right to choose does not treat a person as a full human being. Kevin Andrews (as all neo-liberals do) is purely focused on money and not the welfare of the person, nor is he focused on client outcomes for a person seeking the disability pension. Scott Morrison inheriting this portfolio, will contribute a ‘show no mercy’ approach to this situation.
In plain Australian English: The LNP does not give a stuff about people with a disability and how they should be treated.
One of the most concerning risks is that if the correct outcome for a person with a disability is not achieved, this will result in that person being moved to Newstart. This person will then receive less money and will further exclude a person with a disability from accessing social inclusion activities, transport and even better choice of housing to name a few. Once again, the underlying message of the Government for welfare recipients is “they are liars and cheats and we must stop them.”
Through this agenda of stigmatization and segregation of welfare recipients, the LNP Government aims to use this stigma and marginalization, so major cuts to welfare and even full closure of some services will result in little resistance from voters. Everything about the LNP is underpinned by cuts, cuts and more cuts, as demonstrated even more today with cuts to housing advocacy and homeless programs, programs for the blind, deaf and acquired brain injury also losing critical funding.
Lisa Gunder’s article, Immoral and un-Australian: the discursive exclusion of welfare recipients, discusses the narrative / agenda set by political leaders since Howard. The focus on the welfare agenda in the Howard era, when Abbott was Minister for Employment; set to recontextualise ‘have a go’ and ‘the protestant work ethic’ (as part of our national identity) within the welfare discourse. In an analysis of Australian identity, the ‘Australian way of life’ features strong connections with hard work the middle class and a protestant work ethic. From Howard to Abbott, they have used this ‘accepted view of our way of life’ strongly within speeches and narratives about welfare; to change how Australians see those who are truly disadvantaged.
The other most prominent issue that Gunder raises, is that in Howard and Abbott’s speeches, they highlight the success of the ‘in-group’ (non-welfare recipients) and mitigate the achievements of the out-group (welfare recipients). In simple terms, they purposely avoid highlighting achievements of welfare recipients and focus on the negative. This sets in place an agenda for stigmatization.
It is through this narrative, that has been used and built on since the Howard years, which sets the tone for stigmatization and paves the way for further cuts and punitive measures for welfare recipients. If you reflect on the timeline, the progression of this negative narrative has extended from the unemployed, to the single parent, aged pensioners and veterans and now the Government believes its narrative has been accepted sufficiently by the ‘in-group’, that harsh and punitive measures for those on a disability will be accepted by the ‘in-group’ or mainstream Australia. In simple terms, the Abbott Government sees punishing people with a disability as a ‘vote winner.’ As Australians, we should strongly see this as a failure to our national identity.
It is simply not good enough for the ALP and Greens and any other party who opposes these measures and this narrative to simply say ‘it is not OK.’ A narrative has been built since Howard’s arrival at the podium in 1996; that has gradually been listened to and accepted by Australians that “it is fine to punish the ‘out-group (aka welfare recipients).'”
As ‘punitive measures and harsh treatment’ are now the norm within welfare; the ALP and Greens need to create a very strong narrative and create a new discourse which places welfare recipients at the heart of the “A Fair Go” and speak loudly and strongly of not only achievements, but of compassion and humanity and how and why we should unequivocally provide assistance for those in need’.
It is essential for the progress of Australia to remain silent on any narrative punishing those on welfare and the disadvantaged and to reject and refuse to create a welfare out-group through stigmatization.
We must move forward and change the narrative completely to build up the strength of our people, through true mateship, kindness and a fair go. Only then, will we all have freedom of ability, freedom of choice, true inclusiveness and a greater participation in work and society by all.
Gunders, L 2012, ‘Immoral and un-Australian: the discursive exclusion of welfare recipients’, Critical Discourse Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 1-13
Despite the IPA’s urgency for “Abbott to be more like Whitlam” because Whitlam ‘changed Australia, more than any other Prime Minister ever has,’ the IPA’s agenda for Abbott is very different.
In the 1970’s Gough Whitlam was seen as the first progressive Prime Minister, who stood for the people. He stood for workers, battlers, migrants, everyone. He wanted to shift Australia to a more inclusive and progressive society.
Gough shifted Australia from a stagnant, mediocre nation, to a nation of ideas, progress and voices.
For so many years, the voices of the worker, the battlers and migrants had been silenced, by the collective group of individuals who could manage just fine on their own; whether that be through the privilege of money, position in society, family heritage or education, is neither here nor there. The crux of the what Gough Whitlam did, was to bring more people into this exclusive collective by opening up opportunities, thought a hand up, a fair go for all. Gough’s vision was to propel the nation forward, through ensuring that individual Australians could achieve enormous success; even if they were in a previously ‘excluded group’ under the Liberals. He wanted every single Australian, to be the best that they could be.
Gough Whitlam propelled this country forward, and these changes became the status-quo we all accepted and still do:
It is well known that Gough Whitlam’s legacy is very vast, therefore, I have only chosen a few for example. To read more go to: The Whitlam Government’s achievements
In the 1970’s, the Liberals, not happy at all with such changes to our society, sought a means to attack this progress and ‘return Australia to its Status Quo – to the mediocre way Australians had lived before under the Liberals.” Through political mechanisms within our system, the LNP stamped their feet and got their own way.
The reason why I have highlighted the above is to me, the correlation between the attack on Julia Gillard and Gough Whitlam. Why do I see this as a correlation between the two? Because both have the underlying construct of:
Shifting the status-quo to exclusion of groups, the notion that only ‘those who try succeed’, that everyone is equal, and the disadvantaged and unemployed are the burden of society’
In ways that Gough Whitlam shaped Australia, Julia Gillard was also attempting to do so. Policy highlights such as Gonski reforms (needs based funding for education), NDIS (Peace of mind for every Australian, for anyone who has, or might acquire, a disability), A price on Carbon (a leader ahead of many other western countries, now adopting a price on carbon), the Royal Commission into Child Abuse, an attack on Work Choices and the introduction of Fair Work Australia and Modern Awards, the National Broadband Network (which would give fast internet nationwide, including regional & rural), Plain packaging for cigarettes (a leader ahead of other nations wanting to adopt the same) and an apology to all persons affected by forced adoption practices, to name a few.
In fact, the IPA, the right wing think tank of Australia, found Prime Minister Gillard’s progress for Australians, so threatening to the Liberal way of life, they have issued a list to Abbott in 2011, to which he has agreed to implement.
The threat to the Liberal’s right-wing side of politics, that these progressive changes of the Gillard Government would become norm and adopted as the status quo amongst Australians, was a serious concern and action needed to be taken.
Indeed action was taken. The Liberals did not hold the balance of power in the senate, as they did in 1975, so they needed to adopt ways and means of bringing down a progressive and effective Government. They needed to ensure that the Liberals gained power. To do this, they needed to taint the left as corrupt, a shambles and not to be trusted.
The onslaught on Julia Gillard during her Prime Ministership was relentless, astounding, hateful and most of all untruthful.
The right, did not care if Prime Minister Gillard was not a criminal. The fact of the matter is, they had to paint her as a criminal to bring her down. Once the trust of the electorates where broken, through this tactic, they were home and hosed.
The idea behind the IPA’s list of ideas to Abbott is so that reforms could be torn down, as quickly as possible and that a push to the right through Liberal policy can shift the status quo to the hard right. The reasoning behind this, is once this becomes status quo, it will be extremely hard for any left Government in power to shift policy back to the progressive left.
This is summarized in this quote below from John Roskam, James Paterson and Chris Berg of the IPA:
Only radical change that shifts the entire political spectrum, like Gough Whitlam did, has any chance of effecting lasting change. Of course, you don’t have to be from the left of politics to leave lasting change on the political spectrum.
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. This is the impetus behind the relentless attacks on the Prime Minister Gillard and her Government.
Now we have a situation where the former Prime Minister has been cleared of all criminal activity. The question is, how did this play in the minds of voters at the election in 2013? How did this sway the votes to the ‘trusted right?’ The question we need to ask ourselves now and in the future, is now we understand the true agenda of the Liberal party, do we vote again in 2016/17 for a progressive Australia, or the Liberals return to mediocrity?
Today’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:
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 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.
In Question time 26/05/14, Tanya Plibersek, asked a question about our electorate and Michelle Landry, Member for Capricornia. The question was as follows:
My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, There are 8429 families currently receiving Family Tax Benefit B in the seat of Capricornia. How many families with children over the age of six in Capricornia will have their payments cut as a result of this budget? Why should these families suffer because of the Member for Capricornia’s failure to stand up against the Prime Minister’s cuts?
The PM didn’t respond to the implications of the cuts. In fact, he showed no empathy at all. He accused Labor of supporting welfare as “pseudo-generosity.” What he is saying is Labor gives to those in need, but is not genuine in that giving. That this ‘giving’ shouldn’t be taken seriously. He has clearly stated in response to a serious question about this electorate, that he finds welfare to the disadvantaged as ‘generosity’ and not a right.
The Member for Capricornia & LNP believe in a class divide. They clearly believe it will be OK for parents not to be able to afford a balanced healthy lunch for their school children. That they may need to make a decision between a child’s breakfast or lunch. They don’t understand the importance of being able to afford the right school supplies and uniforms. They don’t realise the pain a parent feels when they say, “No honey, I’m sorry, you can’t go on that excursion.” Or, I’d love for you to join a sport with your friends, or take singing lessons for the Eisteddfod, but I’m sorry you just can’t.” Michelle Landry’s LNP sees the money that prevents this pain as an unnecessary generosity and not a right to the disadvantaged.
Landry’s LNP makes decisions from a background of privilege and they will never understand the hardship that the loss of even small amounts of money brings to some families.
The PM then told Labor they should cut the carbon tax, as it will save families $550 per year.
During the question, the camera panned to Ms. Landry. It showed Ms. Landry quite pleased with herself and she was laughing at the Prime Minister’s response to this very serious question.
Ms. Landry was laughing at harsh cuts that will see two parents both working as for example, shop assistants or a general labourer and an admin assistant, with two children, lose $4931 per year; or the jobseeker under 30, who will lose an incredible $6944 per year and have absolutely no income for six months. This person will not have any income for even a basic existence or the basic right to dignity. They will lose a lot more than $550, which is already compensated.
Will Ms. Landry be brave enough when she gets back from the rigours of parliament, to stand up in public and laugh in front of the people who are suffering these harsh cuts, or will she have the decency to stand up to this Government and for the people of Capricornia?
I have also sent this a a letter to the Editor of the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin in response to the question about the affect the budget will have on families in the electorate I live in. I hope it is published so the people in the electorate of Capricornia who voted LNP, understand that they voted for Ms. Landry to bring pain and hardship to this electorate.
It isn’t right that a Prime Minister, who was dancing around like an audition for an Antz Pantz advert, screaming “The Government of Australia has changed! The Government of Australia has changed!” to thousands upon thousands of citizens who voted for him that day to plummet to the depths of poll hatred in a matter of months.
So what is really going on here? I think the analysis of why Abbott has plummeted in the polls, compared with anyone before him, is like comparing apples and oranges.
It would stand to reason, if an opposition leader fought on an honest platform, with vision and integrity for the betterment of the country, was voted in as Prime Minister, would either maintain popularity or increase popularity as this vision, built on an honest platform was implemented.
However, Mr. Abbott did not run on an honest platform. He promised the earth to the citizens of Australia and they got mud instead.
What Mr. Abbott didn’t realise, whilst in opposition was his strategy of bashing Labor, accusing them of deceit and lies and the creators of enormous, bad debt has contributed to his lack of popularity now.
If Abbott was a real strategist and a real leader, In 2010, he would have stepped up with honesty and humility and advised the people of Australia that he was prepared to introduce a carbon tax as well and in fact the only thing he wouldn’t do was sell his arse and it was a requirement to form Government with other parties. He could have built himself up in opposition, as a gracious, humble but honest leader.
However, just like a classic text book example of poor emotional intelligence, Abbott displayed poor self-regulation of emotions. In opposition, he acted upon his greed for leadership, driving forward an agenda of negativity about Labor amongst Australians. With poor self-regulation of emotions, he didn’t take the time to understand how his negativity and negative acts would affect the nation’s citizens.
In opposition, he acted with a bounded rationality, the limited cognitive ability of his own mind and made a decision to be an aggressive, unrelenting opposition leader. He was spreading like a contagion negativity, hatred and loathing towards Labor. This agenda worked, and he did become Prime Minister. However, in another classic text book example of poor emotional intelligence, he lacked a deep insight into the symbolic and social interactions between himself and others – the voters.
He saw the citizens of this country up in arms about his versions of carbon tax, debt, boats and mess. He misunderstood this as solidarity, a positive event, resulting in mateship, togetherness and unity. He thought that the emotion he was stirring was one of reverence and adoration towards himself as the people placed him in a position of legitimate power. He saw unity of purpose.
However, the emotion he had really awakened was a sleeping monster called ‘The Fair Go’
Through Abbott’s negative, deceitful agenda and accusations surrounding the carbon tax, debt and asylum seekers the citizens of this nation saw from their perspective that they were not getting a fair go. and they were angry about it and they voted with that anger.
What Abbott should have been learning about the emotional state of Australia during the time of setting Julia Gillard up with Carbon Tax Lies, is in general, Australians don’t like a rough end of a pineapple up their backsides. They don’t want to get F$@% in the Drive-through, they don’t want to get ripped off at the checkout and they don’t like dodgy refs at the footy. When we say “Fair Go, Mate” it has substance. We, as Australians, actually mean it.
See, Abbott was leading everyone down the yellow brick road to their most deepest desire – A Fair Go for all. He postured himself as the Great Wizard of Oz, who could give every citizen their heart’s desire, A Fair Go. However, when the citizens got to the end of the road and the Wizard of Oz delivered his budget – his great plans for Australia, the people’s dreams didn’t come true.
They saw the Great Wizard of Oz was just a man hiding behind a curtain, surrounded by a lot of steaming hot air and superficial bells and whistles.
They were told “Not to worry about the man behind the curtain” but he had exposed his true self and they wanted to know, “who the hell is he really?” This isn’t the man they had come such a long way to see in action. The people were defeated because he simply could not give them what they desired. He was not the saviour of all citizens, he was not a miraculous wizard. He was simply just a man. A deceitful man.
The funny thing is, by lying about the Carbon Tax as an agreement to form Government and accusing Julia Gillard and Labor of lies, it has stirred an emotion inside once apathetic Australians, that is now manifesting and won’t let go. An emotion that now places Abbott squarely as one of the most hated Prime Ministers in the World.
In keeping true to the storyline of the Wizard of Oz, Abbott has encouraged people to look inside themselves for their true desire and realise it was there all along.
To all the Tin Men out there who voted without a Heart; through his budget measures, Abbott has given you the heart to feel compassion for the disadvantaged in our society. He has given you the heart to understand that he has removed people’s rights and not ended the age of entitlement. He has given you the heart to understand that our taxes as a collective give sick men, women and children, the fundamental right to universal health care and should never be compromised.
To all the Scarecrows out there who voted without a brain; through his budget measures, Abbott has given you the brains to stop reading Murdoch news, to stop basing your decisions on three word slogans and pamphlets and to educate yourself on the real state of affairs by reading a wide range of news. He has given you the brains to understand that the global economy does not operate like your household budget.
To all the Lions out there, who voted without any courage; through his budget measures, Abbott has given you the courage to open up political discussions with friends, the courage to write letters to the Editor, the courage to join in on political forums and the courage to march with thousands of others in protest against the worst decisions a Government has made, since Federation.
And to you Dorothy, the one who voted with kindness, compassion and an ethical platform of justice, you know you aren’t in Australia anymore. But you have faith, that with your friends The Tin Man, The Scarecrow and the Lion, you will keep marching along together, until you wake up and find yourself again in a country based on democracy, a fair go, social justice, universal health, affordable education and where there is no class divide.
I never thought I would say this Mr. Abbott, but, your agenda of deceit and negativity on the Carbon Tax, Boats and Debt and Deficit, has resulted in one of the most positive outcomes for our society as a whole….and for that, I say Thank You.
What day was it, when Australians jumped out of bed and said, “I no longer expect my Prime Minister to display any type of leadership and vision?”
What day was it, when we lowered our standards?
Today I watched Scott Ludlam’s speech to the Senate “Our Vision for Western Australia” The first thing that struck me, was not the eloquence of his speech, nor the insightfulness of his speech, but the fact that I have never heard our Prime Minister Tony Abbott give a speech with such leadership, vision and clarity, than what I have just witnessed. This type of speech from Tony Abbott? Never.
What day will it be, when Australians jump out of bed and say, “You know what? If I am going to vote for you, I deserve better than what you are giving. I deserve to hear something like this…”
From various political parties and leaders over the years, we have had some great leadership and vision and some great speeches. Whether we agree with their ideologies or policies, regardless of the Government of the Day, all former leaders were committed to their vision for our nation. Some delivered great speeches with clarity and purpose, some with anger and frustration and some with the excitement of one’s own heart. Regardless of party affiliation, we as a people, historically have expected leadership and a great vision for our country. We wanted to know what changes were ahead of us. How would the Government improve the country, protect the people and most of all, would the Government’s decisions provide a fair go and equal opportunity for all?
A review of campaign speeches over the last twelve elections, commencing with Bob Hawke’s speech in 1983, shows all successfully elected Prime Ministers gave an election speech, that was in-depth, gave background to various concerns for Australia and their vision for the solution and why and how and often when. The average word length for these speeches was 5071 words long. Mr. Abbott’s election campaign speech was just a mere 2834 words long and noticeably absent in the compare and contrast were any of the above inclusions.
The other noticeable difference in all the speeches over the last twelve elections is that if you view them, you will see ideas generated paragraph by paragraph. Even the shortest speech (John Howard’s of 2045 words in 1996) encapsulates his vision in paragraph form.
If you are a bored nerd like me, you can read all the speeches here – enjoy!
I have found it most alarming and most disturbing undertaking this research, to discover that voters were satisfied with Tony Abbott’s speech enough to vote for his party and hand him the Prime Ministership and his speech did not contain one paragraph; but was a series short sentences of one liners. It was on the basis of a series of one liners, that voters chose to commit to him and trust this man to make decisions about our future. I’ll say it again….A series of one liners is all it took.
Voter Apathy in Australia was the highest at the last election, with the lowest percentage of the voting age population turning out to vote, since 1946. This is consistent with voter disengagement and hence lack of political awareness. Making the pop-culture of sound bites and three word slogans easier to absorb (and vote for).
Voters didn’t ask for more, or require more; because they settled for a lesser standard.
I now understand why so many voted for Abbott and why so many now are Marching in the streets. I’m also asking people to “Turn the Ship Around.” We need to engage more, expect more and demand a higher standard! We need to demand more speeches like Scott Ludlam’s!
Yes, Abbott and Co, used the great marketing psychology of one liners and effective slogans to woo the voters on the day; but then again, so does the Demtel man and the Shamwow man; and although they are very convincing, we seriously don’t see them as Prime Minister material, but yet….
Considering the massive turn out at MarchInMarch, there are very large groups of people within our great country who are seriously unhappy with our current Government after such a short time. I hope all voters in the future demand to the minimum the standard of Speech Scott Ludlam has given to the people in his most recent speeches in the Senate. I ask each and every one of you to remember this great one liner, chalk it up to experience and to always think before you vote:
experience is what you get, when you didn’t get what you wanted (Randy Pausch)
Think Before you Vote. Join a political party like the ALP or Greens or other left-wing/progressive parties. Make sure you know who preferences who. Get Active. Get Engaged. Discuss issues with family and friends. Share information on Social Media. Join Get Up! or MarchInMarch. Read a wide range of news media, including Independent Media. Work hard to prevent Conservative 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!
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 communities. The 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….)
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)
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 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)
“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!
I read with interest the comments made by my local member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry’s Facebook page. I then pondered, “I wonder what other Coalition MPs are telling members of their electorates via Facebook about the Coalition’s (non) Plans for Gonski?”
As it can be quite time-consuming to research all the facts to respond to so many bits of spin, (whilst trying to manoeuvre through the sea of mendacious text filled with vile little bits of name calling) I have prepared this handy guide for anyone to use, if you feel the need to respond to your local member with some facts on Gonski.
If you want to tell the Prime Minister directly that he should keep his promise, please click here
If you have time, please complete the poll below “How is your local MP responding to questions about Gonski”
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 schools. We 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)
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!
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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
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!