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A dirty deal to drown out our inner voice

democracy pic

Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”  Steve Jobs, 2005

 

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.
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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.

 

 

Ten things more reckless than funding Gonski

Gonski turnbullPaul 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:

Ten Things More Reckless than Funding Gonski:

1. Not Giving a Gonski

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.

2. The Job Seekers can Starve for Six Months Policy.

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.

3. Trashing Labor’s FTTP NBN 

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.

4. The Trade Union Royal Commission

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.

5. Attacking the Most Sick and Vulnerable in Our Society

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.    

6. Being a Fake Friend

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?

7. Attacks on low paid workers and their families

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.

8. The Government’s policy of Secrets and Lies

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.

9. Income Management – Basic and Healthy Welfare Cards

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.

10. Not allowing a free vote in Parliament on Marriage Equality

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.

Conclusion

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.

 

Join the Protest to Re-elect Turnbull

lnp protest2

 

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.

Will you join the Protest to support Turnbull?

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!”

GST Increase

“Increase GST on everything!”

“GST up NOW!”

“Make the poor pay much more.  A GST rise is our winning score!”

NBN FTTN

“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’s an election year. It’s time to get serious.

Turnbull neo liberalism

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.

 

 

Power Rules, Men, Sex and Politics

sex harassJamie Briggs, Minister for Cities and the Built Environment in the Abbott/Turnbull Liberal National Coalition Government resigned from the Ministry on the 29th December, 2015, citing his behaviour was an error of professional judgement. A female public servant has submitted a formal complaint, complaining of Briggs’ sexual behaviour. No one knows the exact nature of the complaint made, as we are not privy to any specific details at this time. Newspaper reports indicate that this complaint relates to unwanted sexual advances and/or sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment by men is the “Unsolicited, non-reciprocal male behaviour, that asserts a woman’s sex role, over her function as a worker (Benokraitis & Feagin, 1995).

Seeking “The Wife’s Opinion”

A number of articles written in various newspapers seek the opinion of Jamie Briggs’ wife. I will not link these articles, as I will not reinforce this distraction from Briggs’ behaviour. In fact, Jamie Briggs’ wife should be left out of this altogether.

When I read the various articles in newspapers focusing on his wife’s opinion and acceptance or condemnation of Briggs’ behaviour, I cringed. My mind went back to late 90’s and Hilary Clinton immediately. Hilary Clinton is still harassed about her husband’s behaviour today. Hilary Clinton is still expected to take responsibility for her husband’s behaviour and men in politics try their hardest to use this as a source of shame for Hilary Clinton.

No sooner had the ink dried on Briggs’ resignation, the media immediately turned their attention to his wife.

In doing so, this takes the focus off the man’s behaviour. It gives us something else to talk about other than the man who used his power on a woman who did not consent, nor did she welcome such behaviour of a sexual nature. Briggs abused his position of power. His ethical behaviour is also questioned.

Public Hat or Private Hat

Many argue that Bill Clinton had his ‘private ethics’ hat on, in his interactions with Lewinsky. Many argue there is a fine ethical line between a private ethics hat and a public one for politicians. However, in the case of Briggs, his ethics hat at that time was a public hat, as he was representing Australia in all his actions at that time. His reflection that this behaviour was not up to the standard of a Minister is accurate. He has made the correct decision to step down from his position in the Ministry.

Power Rules

In all organisations, including politics, there is a system of power rules in play. These power rules, like most other rules in society, have been developed through the powerful positioning of white men over a long period of time. (Please note, this article is about the sexual harassment of a woman. The Author recognises such power rules can impact on men, women of colour, men of colour, LGBTI people and people with a disability and other marginalised and disadvantaged groups).

Some of the “Power Rules” in play for the case of Briggs are “Legitimate Power” (power given to a person due to their position) and possibly “Coercive Power” (this is power where the holder of this power may have an influence on career choices etc., Coercive power is often used in a negative way, such as threats of demotion or non-recommendations etc.,). This is a little more complex, as it has many dynamics. Even if coercive power is not direct; a woman needs to face the decision if her complaint will be detrimental to her work-life due to the coercive power of those associated with the aggressor. This is intensified when the aggressor displays the perception that they have such power, (perception of power) even if it is not legitimate.

Unwanted sexual advances and sexual harassment of women, intimidates and creates fear at a personal level and has implications at the work level. In cases where unwanted sexual behaviour and the workplace collide, intimidation and fear may also impact the victim’s work-life.  Often, this is a source of non-complaint, where women feel reporting an incident of sexual behaviour is not worth the risk.  The use of power rules, particularly coercive power in workplaces can have a dramatic impact on a woman’s self efficacy to report unwanted behaviour in the workplace.  This should not be delegitimised by shifting the focus of attention to the opinion of the Briggs’ wife.

How women can be used to deligimitise other women’s experiences

Turning the focus to Briggs’ wife takes our attention off the victim. It takes the focus off the victim’s discomfort, powerlessness and distress. The victim should remain the most important person in relation to Briggs’ behaviour, not his wife, mother, aunt or any other women who may be used take the attention off Briggs’ own behaviour.

Also, bringing a third party (wife) into the scenario, this act of abuse of power resulting in humiliation, discomfort and distress, for the victim, diminishes Briggs’ behaviour to the opinion of the third party (wife) and not the opinion of the victim.

Turning the focus to the opinion of the wife, also diminishes the behaviour of the aggressor, when we ask, “What does his wife think about this?”

If Briggs’ was a single man would the media or other male politicians diminish his behaviour by using excuses such as, ‘he was only looking for a soul mate’ ‘She (the victim) must have read him wrong’ etc., etc.,  as we have seen many times before.

If the behaviour of sexual advance/harassment by men in power cannot be diminished or excused due to ‘bachelorhood’, the next step is normally, to seek to diminish the behaviour through the support of other women in their lives; usually starting with the wife.

As with Bill Clinton, question’s raised in people’s mind’s about Hilary Clinton, “Is it her fault?” “Is she not being ‘good wife'”, “Is the wife ‘not meeting his needs'” etc., etc.,  All these questions raised in various people’s minds puts the onus on a third party (wife) and lets the male aggressor off the hook.  

Referent Power

All politicians and the people who market them desire for them to have ‘Referent Power.’ In a nutshell, referent power is about charisma and using that charisma to influence others and build loyalty (voters). When men are in public life, it is very important for others to try to re-establish referent power  for the (fallen) individual male in question as soon as possible.  The culture of sexual harassment is still dominated by the needs of the male (ie how complaints about their behaviour will affect their career. What will happen to the man now?). Seeking the opinion of supportive wives, other supportive women and supportive prominent men who may reinforce the ‘goodness and wholesomeness’ of the aggressor, reinforces this culture.

Focusing on male behaviour paves the way for a cultural shift

As a woman, I will not pass judgement on wives of men, where the men have a question of sexual behaviour or any other indiscretion associated with their power above them.

As a woman, I will not pass judgement on wives of men who are in positions of significant power.  “Power Rules” exist in the wife’s external environment (political face and an extension of the husband’s work-life) and internal environment (power and control within a relationship). The layers of ‘power rules’ women, as wives of men in power must negotiate, is complex.

For people judging Briggs’ wife’s support for her husband, the illusion of how high her own moral bar is held, simply cannot and should not be judged. She could very well be subject to power rules and her ‘morals or ethics’ could be set at a very different level in private. (In saying, that her moral bar is completely irrelevant). In making any judgements about the wife’s opinion and her morals, we are simply condemning another woman caught in the same power rules as the victim. Power rules created by powerful men. We also remove support from the victim, by shifting our focus away from the unwanted, unsolicited sexual behaviour perpetrated by a man in power.

The only woman I have concern for, and the only woman who should be in our focus is the victim.

It should be continuously acknowledged that Briggs’ behaviour and men who display the same behaviours make women feel uncomfortable in their own spaces, fearful, frightened, powerless and even ashamed.

It should be continuously acknowledged that Briggs’ behaviour and men who display the same behaviours make women fearful, intimidated and distressed about how these unwanted behaviours will impact on their own career progression and work.

It should be continuously acknowledged that Briggs’ behaviour and the men who display the same behaviours view women, not as workers, but as sexual objects.  This diminishes a woman’s entire gamut of knowledge, skills, abilities and personal attributes a woman possesses in her workplace. This in turn, diminishes the value of a woman’s labour at work. These men should not be part of public life, particularly where they influence legislation pertaining to women and work, such as Briggs was in the Howard era. (Chief advisor in the Prime Minister’s office on Industrial Relations / Work Choices).

(On an aside note, It brings to question, if Briggs’ Work Choices work, is the motivation for Turnbull promoting an Abbott supporting right wing man.)

Briggs, a man, so hell bent on the idea of Merit as opposed to Quotas, in particular really needs this reinforced over and over and over again, until he ‘gets it.’   Ironically, Jamie Briggs’ own behaviour makes him a shining example of why we do indeed need quotas for women in politics.

The focus in the case of Briggs’ resignation should always be about condemning Briggs’ behaviour and concern and empathy for the victim. Sexual Harassment by men, particularly by men in positions of power needs a cultural shift and that shift should start now.

It’s Bushfire Season – Let’s Talk About Disaster Relief Funding

Letter to the Editor of The Morning Bulletin submitted 08/10/2015

Bushfire season

Dear Editor

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:

  • You have been unable to access your place of residence for a period of at least 24 hours
  • You have been stranded in your principal place of residence for a period of at least 24 hours
  • Your principal place of residence was without a particular utility service (electricity, gas, water, sewerage services or another essential service) for a continuous period of 48 hours.

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.

How do you starve a region of jobs? Just vote LNP!

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.

If you are creating a wealth of jobs, jobseekers must be just lazy…right?

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.   

Nothing like a bit of stigma to get those jobseekers moving

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.

Where have all the jobs gone…Long time passing

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.

job vacancy growth decline blog

Some Interesting Facts that may get the way of a good LNP Yarn.

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.

increase Labor feb march

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.

job vacancy decline newman

 

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%

Are Jobseekers as Lazy as the LNP Claim them to be and should they be punished?

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!

Abbott’s disaster relief payment cuts are a disaster

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

landry blaming Labor landscape

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

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

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

This punitive approach for the disadvantaged simply has to stop.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

changes disaster funding

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

disaster cuts landscape

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

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

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

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

libs

Let’s talk about privilege and single parents

singleThe Social Discourse and Welfare

Whilst doing my research for my most recent blog post,  I analysed a range of opinions throughout social media on the topic of contraception and welfare. Naturally, these threads across various pages gathered the opinions of those not on welfare and those who are. Comments on social media give one an insight into the thoughts of a wide and varied demographic.  Often thoughts on social media are contained to a particular thread on a particular topic; so it is always interesting to view the differences of opinion from many on that particular subject.  This is particularly evident when it is a newspaper forum, or another general page which attracts a diverse range of people.  People will group together on opinion and often there are long debates from those for or against a particular opinion. I love reading the opinions of people on social media, as narrative or discourse, gives us a glimpse of the social psyche. 

Social discourse is a key element to social change.  Many of the comments from people, as per my last blog post, painted those on welfare in a very negative light.  In fact, the ones highlighted were of the very strong view that those on welfare ‘should not breed.” The Liberal National Coalition (LNP) Government has a very strong discourse on punitive measures aimed to punish people on welfare and sets this standard, through their unfair cuts to welfare and treatment of jobseekers.

Newspapers and media also seem to slant their stories to the negative. There were many comments highlighting that Sunrise had posted the ‘welfare and contraception’ story three different times on their Facebook page. In my local regional newspaper today, there is an prominent article with the headline “Hard-working Australian culture fading away” which has a 20 year old mechanic front and centre telling people to ‘not cry poor and go out a get a job” and “I don’t believe for a second there’s no work out there”. 

This is in spite of the unemployment rate being 6.3% nationally, youth unemployment sitting nationally at 14% nationally and being as high as 29.3% in outback South Australia, 26.7% in south east Tasmania and 21.3% in Cairns.   This is also in spite of skills shortages in 2014 identified in specialized and professional fields as external auditor, surveyor, sonographer, phsysiotherapist, midwife, software engineer and construction estimator.  The jobs listed as skills shortages are not jobs that would be likely to match young people seeking employment, or unskilled jobseekers. This means that contrary to the social discourse occurring at present, job search is a highly competitive environment and those with little to no skills or experience, or who face any barriers to employment (including sole parenting), will find securing employment very difficult.

This does not even take into account age discrimination or Indigenous unemployment, which sits at 17.2% nationally and the Government’s changes to programs that will greatly affect this group. These changes show blatant changes which target people through race, which are discriminatory as compared to other parts of Australia. 

What about Sole Parents?

The blog post I researched most recently discussed the argument that ‘People on welfare should be forced to take contraception.’  Single mothers were certainly a group raised for discussion. In particular, young mothers featured prominently, as did women from certain suburbs in Australia and another prominent single mother group attacked negatively were those ‘assumed to be refugees’ or from an ethnic minority background or non-white people.

Single Parents have only had to seek employment as part of Mutual Obligation since the 2005 – 2006 Howard Budget. This has continued to be evolved by successive ALP Governments since 2007 and remains as a focus for the Abbott Government.   There have been calls from ACOSS that the inclusion of single parents in mutual obligation contravenes Human Rights Obligations.  I strongly agree with ACOSS, not only for the economic affects outlines, but especially for point 2, which discusses discrimination against women:

The Bill violates the rights of single parents to non-discrimination under Art 2, paragraph 2
of the ICESCR and Art 11(1)(e) of the International Covenant on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Since the majority of recipients are
women, they will suffer indirect gender discrimination should the Bill become law. In
addition, sole parent families, identified for special measures due to their greater
vulnerability, will suffer discrimination through the loss of these measures.

As I delved into people’s conversations on social media whilst researching my last blog post, I noticed something quite prominent and thematic with  young mothers and their arguments.  I was becoming increasingly aware of the amount of young women (single mothers) who felt the need to defend their space in society. These young women felt the need to list every single effort they make to work in paid work, volunteering, job search or furthering their education through study or training.  Often, they would write a long list of work and study they were doing at the same time, as well as caring for their child or children.

What this is saying to me, is that young mothers and single others feel the need to ‘reaffirm’ or establish themselves in the eyes of the privileged (those not a single parent) to be deemed worthy or accepted in society.  My position is difficult here as I can only view the conversation and not seek clarity or construct any dialogue with these young mothers to further develop understanding; but I feel that these young mothers feel that there are societal pressures that say that being a mother 100% of of the time is not enough as set by the standards of society and in the eyes of those who view them as ‘sole parents.’

One theme that was quite prominent was when young mothers did list the whole range work or study activities they were undertaking as well as motherhood, people congratulated them on their efforts and ‘becoming a productive citizen.’  The comments resonated that being a mother was not being a productive citizen. Raising other little good citizens is being a productive citizen in itself.

I for one second do not take away any single parent’s choice to undertake any activities to better their future for employment etc., The key word there being choice. However, I question the need that there may be mothers who feel they cannot be a mother only, due to the strong social narrative that drives this pressure, which is enabled by the Government view of single parents. Something afforded by privilege to those who have this choice in a partnered relationship. I know many may argue that even women in partnered relationships need to go to work; but if a woman strongly wanted to be at home, they have the choice, through that partnership to adapt their lifestyle, so this can be supported on one wage in many cases.  The fact of the matter is single parents do not have this choice even to contemplate, as that second wage is simply not there.

Some of the privileges afforded by those in partnered relationships or single people with no children, who set to condemn single parents are thus:

  • Single parents do not have the option to share the workload.
  • Single parents often have to do more than partnered parents, as all work, child raising and decision making are their sole responsibility
  • Single parents bear the brunt of sole financial responsibility.  If they get sick, there is no second wage to fall back on.
  • There are forced expectations by the Government of mutual obligation on single mothers or fathers that is not enforced onto partnered mothers or fathers.
  • There is a great social stigma still towards, particularly single mothers being a purposeful burden on the system
  • Economic burdens, not affording take away, making all food, not affording childcare, or adequate medical care, including dental as compared to middle to upper classes
  • There is a great social stigma about child spacing for single parents “they just pop another one out when the youngest turns six” Child spacing is a privilege afforded to partnered parents.
  • Single parents have more likely high instances of low self-efficacy and low self-esteem than partnered parents
  • Illness is a privilege afforded to those in partnered relationships. A single parent who falls ill still has to maintain all responsibilities
  • There are many labor market constraints for single parents, including transport, available education, flexible work hours. In some cases partnered parents may face these barriers, but they have another partner to work with to reduce these barriers.
  • Often stigma is also with the ex-wife/ex-partner that if the father is raising them, there is something wrong with the mother, but that is rarely questioned about the father
  • Fathers are often perceived as heroes and pitied for abandonment, women are scorned, slut shamed etc.,
  • In most cases the onus of blame is placed on the woman in a relationship breakdown.
  • Single mothers experience stigma with employment, housing, applying for benefits, and community assistance afforded to most partnered couples (racial and disability discrimination acknowledged)
  • Balancing custody and career.  Often promotion means more work and more time away from family sole parents, both male and female risk custody if they are not seen to provide enough care an attention to the child/ren through absence to the home.  This is intensified if the other parent has another new partner who can does paid work. There is little research if this is more particularly burdensome for single mothers or single fathers. Career and progression is something afforded to parents in a partnered relationship, without the risk of losing custody of their child/ren.

I will break out of the bullet points to direct attention to one that I am most passionate about.  I will speak to this for mothers only.  I would value input from how single fathers see this in the comments below.

Forced removal of the right to care for children.

Due to the mutual obligations forced upon single mothers by the Government, single parents have no choice but to have another person spend critical and valuable time with their child.  They do not have the option that this may be the person they are in an intimate relationship with as a privilege afforded to partnered mothers who desire to return to work and have a stay at home father. Single Mothers are forced to pay strangers to spend critical and valuable time and input in the rearing of their child.  Not only does this take away from critical and valuable parenting time, but places an extra financial burden on women as it cuts into money earned from employment. 

This also places an additional burden on women fleeing domestic violence relationships and fleeing violent partners. It forces a woman to be engaged in employment (sometimes with no phone contact as enforced by the employer’s rules) and it creates more worry, stress and strain on a woman already experienced heightened anxiety and concern for the safety of herself and her children.

I find this absolutely abhorrent that this choice is taken away from single parents by force, rather than by choice.  It takes away one of the most important and most treasured days of a woman’s life by force.

Single Fathers

Although the majority of single parents are mothers, single fathers make up 12% of single parents in Australia.   Single fathers also face particular burdens based on how society positions gender and parenting, based on the notion that only women are the natural nurturers and men are the breadwinners.

  • Single fathers are the loneliest and socially isolated of all types of household situation.
  • Single fathers are deemed incompetent by others, due to the ingrained belief that women are the natural caregivers and nurturers.
  • As per listed above, it is also unfairly assumed that the father is not the best option for care of the child, but must be by default. Society seeks to lay blame on either the mother primarily, and pities the father, but does not ever assume that this may be an amicable solution or what has been decided as a matter of choice between the former partnered parents.
  • Single fathers have generally lower self esteem and depression issues than men in other households
  • Affect on single fathers with balancing work choice, decision making, key provisions for the family, restrictions in childcare availability and shift work for many labouring / trades jobs

Gay and Lesbian single parents – there is more of a story to be told.

There is also appears to be an absence of research on single parents from a breakdown of a same sex relationship.  Statistics included for single parents are inclusive of gay and lesbian parents as statistics do not specifically also target sexual preference.

There appears to be an abundance of literature on same sex parenting as a dual couple. However, the absence of literature on gay and lesbian single parents, makes for a gap in understanding the full picture of single parents and their lived experiences.

Government Responses

The Howard Government in 2005-2006 budget papers set forth the foundation for including single parents in mutual obligation.   Successive ALP Governments since, have not sought to enable single parents by repealing this legislation, but have sought to tighten this legislation and provide even more restrictions and obstacles for single parents.

The Abbott Government’s response is hinged on ‘family values’ but defines this family as the predominantly white, dual parent family, with more than likely Christian values.   Often classified as “The traditional family.”  This is not representative of all families in Australia.

The Abbott Government has injected 20 million to “strengthen relationships and help improve personal and family well-being—it makes social and economic sense.” Because, you know single parents are a burden on society and a factor for social decline.

The Abbott Government has chosen to fund only Christian Chaplains in schools as a pastoral mechanism. Christian Chaplains would only advocate for traditional heterosexual relationships and traditional forms of family through marriage.

There is a lack of investment from the Abbott Government on Domestic Violence and funding for shelters and other programs for both women and men and an absence of understanding of the need for shelters for men who have experienced domestic violence or intimate partner violence.

There is an agenda of stigmatisation from the Abbott Government for those on welfare, adding to the layers of stigmatisation experienced by single parents, indigenous, the disabled, immigrants, people from low socioeconomic backgrounds and people in other minority groups.

Where to from here

If this blog post has resonated with others, I would encourage everyone to write to the Government and to both the ALP and the Greens to advocate to have mutual obligation as a forced measure removed from single parents and be implemented as a voluntary measure only, with no penalties.

One of the reasons behind me writing this blog post, was that I get so disheartened from reading harsh and judgemental comments from those in a position of privilege.   The other reason was that I really want people to start assessing their own narrative when it comes to passing judgement of others on welfare.

The Abbott Government through their agenda of stigmatisation has really created a strong narrative to enable and encourage others to stigmatise those on welfare.  If you oppose the Abbott Government, but contribute to this stigma by adding your voice, you are really supporting the Abbott Government by becoming a part of their agenda.  Their agenda for stigma is strong as it paves the way for even more harsh cuts and unfair treatment of the disadvantage as the discourse becomes more widely sociably acceptable.

“Stigma is a process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity.”
―Erving Goffman

The LNP’s new talent – How to disable people with a disability.


abbott disabilityKevin 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

Will Brandis Shirt-Front Morrison? Can Morrison please be the Demtel Man?

demtel brandisWe often ask each other “If you had a superpower what would it be?”  Scott Morrison’s superpower was revealed yesterday. He gets to throw people out of the country.  This person was not an Asylum Seeker with brown skin, but a wealthy, white, “female attraction expert” or (Misogynicus Piggius). After a very active social media campaign, Scott Morrison cancelled the visa of Julien Blanc. Scott Morrison kicked Julien  Blanc out of the country.

This ‘event’ has raised two questions for me. 

If Morrison has this superpower – can he please be the Demtel Man? 

Will George Brandis now Shirt-Front Morrison?

I think to put my mind into perspective for others I shall need to explain.  Julien Blanc did nothing criminal during his visit, but what he advocates is very harmful to women and if implemented by his male followers would see the physical and sexual harrassment of women in society, escalate.  In a nutshell what he advocates is offensive and wrong.

Morrison booted him out the country as Morrison did not agree with Julien Blanc’s freedom of speech nor his freedom of expression.

Although, many advocate for freedom of speech and freedom of expression. This is a very good contemporary example of how freedom of speech and freedom of expression can be harmful to certain groups of people in society.  

Freedom of speech was vigorously defended by the LNP who advocated very strongly to Repeal Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act. Particularly because as Abbott demonstrates quite clearly here that There is a great Australian silence – this time about the western canon.” (ie white people)

Tony Abbotts IPA speech

Fortunately, for whatever reason Morrison decided to cancel Blanc’s visa it was done without Morrison raising the emphasis on freedom of speech that the LNP hold so dear to their heart.  In this instance, Morrison (hopefully) understood the harm that Blanc does to the image of and treatment of women wherever Blanc and his sad posse unfortunately land.  (Maybe LNP can now join the dots to freedom of speech and how it can cause harm to others.)

Will Brandis, who so vigorously defended Freedom of Speech on QandA recently and who infamously stated “People have the right to be bigots” do anything about this?  Will he actually Shirt-Front Morrison over his lack of cling-to-ridiculous-ideology-even-if-it-hurts-vulnerable-people-and-disrespects-our-first-people mantra?  How will Brandis now defend the pathetic and harmful stance that they should repeal Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act after what Morrison has done today?  What will Brandis’ excuse be for Morrison, to defend him as part of the LNP? Does this mean that the LNP are now soft on Freedom of Speech? (If you are a Liberal voter and this worries you or you are anxious, pull out your wallet, open it up and breathe in….and out….and in….and out, now….relax. If you don’t have enough money in your wallet for this breathing & relaxation exercise to work, you should not be voting Liberal, you Dummkopf!)

The Demtel Man

Now onto why I want Scott Morrison to be the Demtel Man.  Morrison has the power to kick people out of the country.  This week he kicked out a vile person and ignored this person’s right to freedom of speech. Sanity and humanity finally prevailed.  If only Morrison could be the Demtel man and yell:

“But wait….there’s more!”

Please boot out (because freedom of speech & freedom of expression no longer matter and I find these ‘freedom of speech & freedom of expression’ listed below just as offensive as Julien Blanc’s harmful opinion of women!)

Cory Bernardi, Liberal Senator – For using his freedom of speech to express that it was ok to put women in a headlock and that marriage equality will lead to polygamy and bestiality
(But wait there’s more)

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia  – For using his freedom of speech to say offensive things about women, defense personnel, our Indigenous people and LGBTI to name a few (offensive statements are far too extensive to include here). (But wait there’s more)

Joe Hockey, Federal Treasurer  – For using his freedom of speech to express his distaste and immense dislike for middle income and disadvantaged Australians by forcing his unfair, sick budget onto us  (But wait there’s more)

Julie Bishop, Foreign Minister – For using her freedom of speech to imply that Julia Gillard was a criminal and gained personally from a Union slush fund 20 years ago (Apology NOW Ms. Bishop!) (But wait there’s more)

Bronwyn Bishop, Speaker of the House – For using her freedom of expression to act upon partisan smirks and nods at Christopher Pyne, For using her freedom of speech to restrict freedom of expression for Islamic women and for using her freedom of speech and freedom of expression to express her hatred of Labor, which is acted out under section 94a umpteen times in the last year. (I also thinks she picks on the Member for Gellibrand more than anyone else – or is that just me?) (But wait there’s more)

Christopher Pyne, Minister for Education – For using his freedom of speech to express his hatred of anyone who desires a higher education (I often imagine Sturt to be this scary place like hell, where the constituents have been sent to earth to torture us. Sturt people – please stop!) (But wait there’s more)

Kevin Andrews – For using his freedom of speech to express his willingness to harm jobless Australians by forcing them to have no income for six months. For expressing his view that all people on unemployment are on drugs, suggesting they be drug tested. For expressing his view that de-facto couples are not as happy as married couples, and his over-riding mantra that the unemployed are ‘bludgers who need to be motivated. (But wait there’s more)

Mathias Cormann, Minister for Finance – For using his freedom of speech to express that being a girly-man is a bad thing, an insult. Gender is not binary Cormann! For using his freedom of expression by infamously smoking a cigar celebrating turfing the poor into the gutter with the LNP’s unfair, sick budget. (But wait there’s more)

George Brandis, Attorney General – For using his freedom of speech to express that people have a right to be Bigots. (But wait there’s more)

Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Communications – For using his freedom of speech to express it is ok for rural and regional people to not have decent, reliable, fast internet (Do you think he may be Amish or he has a fascination with the 1930’s?) (But wait there’s more)

Barnarby Joyce, Minister for Agriculture – For thinking it was ok to change his freedom of speech to include things he actually did not say, when he changed Hansard  (Maybe Kevin Andrews could enlighten Barnaby that Hansard is for better or for worse, ’til death do us part!) (But wait there’s more).

Nigel Scullion, Minister for Indigenous Affairs – For using his freedom of speech to express that money is more important than indigenous women being able to access safe, respectful, supportive National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service. (But wait there’s more)

Greg Hunt – Minister for the Environment – For using his freedom of speech to express that he absolutely detests the environment, in everything he does and says (But wait there’s more)

Peter Dutton – Minister for Health, For using his freedom of speech to express that it is OK for the disadvantaged, poor, sick and needy to go without medical treatment because they can’t afford it and that is is OK that cancer may not be detected in many, due to the exorbitant costs through his proposed changes to medicare. (But wait there’s more)

Campbell Newman – Premier of Queensland, For using his freedom of speech to tell lie after lie after lie and using his freedom of expression to pose as a concerned Premier in advertisements instead of a politician spending public money on advertising in an early campaign. (But wait there’s more)

Liberal Voters – For using their freedom of expression to vote for the most incompetent, harmful, hurtful Government, we have had in the history of Australia. (But wait there’s more)

and last but not least – You, Mr. Morrison  – Boot yourself out of the Country, for your ongoing freedom of expression and freedom of speech implying that human beings seeking asylum are less than human beings and should be treated as such.

Polyfeministix now on Facebook

The Myth about Jobseekers & the Government’s Poverty Agenda

Letter to the Editor of The Morning
Bulletin 16/05/2014

During the election campaign Ms. Landry reassured voters that she knew what it was like to struggle. She could empathise with battlers and she understood their plight. I now wonder if Ms. Landry’s understanding of ‘battler’ is the same as mine and many others in this community.

After the budget announcement, I turned my thoughts to the people who make up this great community that I grew up in.  Ms. Landry’s Government’s focus is to treat with extreme harshness, the disadvantaged in this community. People under 25 will not receive any assistance, unless they are enrolled in a study or employed.  If they don’t they will have no income. Food, clothing and shelter will not be a viable option.  No money to even purchase personal hygiene products. No money to give them even a skerrick of dignity.

According to the 2011 census data, in Capricornia we have 19,786 people between 15 and 25. Of the 13 253 Young people in the Labour force, 1,149 are jobseekers. That is an 8.4% youth unemployment rate in Capricornia, based on 2011 figures. However TMB reported in February that the current youth unemployment figure is 13.6% for 15 – 24 year olds. Therefore the following figures would be expectedly worse based on current data. If we look at entry level jobs, according to vacancy data for March for CQ, there were 949 vacancies across, entry level jobs. Even if this group were all job-ready (which many are not) and secured a job, 200 young people in this region would have no income at all. However, this group are competing with 1,905 unemployed persons across other age brackets, who most likely have more experience. Therefore, hundreds of Capricornian young people will be destitute, homeless and starving.

Census data for 2011 stated that 3060 were seeking work in Capricornia and the vacancy figures for CQ for March show there were 2433 vacancies, across all areas.  Considering 1466 of these vacancies are for experienced and qualified jobseekers, this makes the employment search for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged a terrifying impossibility for some. I never thought I would ever live in a country where the Government imposes poverty on its citizens.  Ms. Landry, you are a part of that and the people who voted for you are also now part of that. Albeit inadvertently. If you had been honest with this electorate about these cuts, would LNP still hold this seat today?

Could TMB interview Ms. Landry about what she is going to do for people in this community who will fall down the cracks and live in abject poverty?  What are her plans for job creation?  How will she respond to the increase in need to access charity services? How will she respond if the crime rate goes up?  What do the victims of this budget focus on as their hope, when all hope is taken away?

Our only real hope is if the Senate blocks supply and this vindictive, cruel and heartless Government is dissolved and we go back to the polls.

Letter to Senator Macdonald. GetUp! Australia Heads or tails. Life or Death Campaign

asylum-seekers torture

 

This is a letter sent to Senator Macdonald through the GetUp! Campaign to encourage Senators to vote against the proposed changes to the Migration Act, including the deportation of Asylum Seekers with a 50% risk of facing harm, torture or death. Please follow this link and write to your Senator.

GetUp! Australia Heads or tails. Life or death Campaign

 

Dear Senator Macdonald

I am extremely concerned with Scott Morrison’s latest announcements of deporting asylum seekers based on the notion of a 50% or less chance of torture or serious harm. I have particular concerns about women and children seeking asylum. The specifics concerning gender specific torture or harm are never discussed or exposed, in a debate about asylum seekers which is generally silent. The following is an excerpt from a letter I sent to the Prime Minister and Minister for Women in December 2013. I hope the following influences your decision to vote against Scott Morrison’s proposal to return asylum seekers to the risk of harm, torture and death.

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

Women applicants should systematically be interviewed separately from their spouse and should be allocated a female case officer, interviewer and interpreter.

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

This article also highlights that:

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

It is my concern that this Government’s hard-line stance on Asylum Seekers and ‘turning back the boats’ has become instrumental in ensuring that the reasons women seek asylum remain silent, through the absence of leadership highlighting the atrocities asylum seekers are fleeing from, particularly women. It is also my concern that this Government’s hardline stance and popularity on the issue, has become instrumental to the increase in expressions of hatred and vilification of asylum seekers, particularly noticeable across social media forums.

Once again, this Government’s leadership highlighting reasons women flee asylum is absent and your Government makes no move to challenge this growing discourse. This only serves to further oppress and harm women, fleeing abhorrent levels of violence which ordinary citizens in Australia could never imagine. It can be summed up by this quote:

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

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

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

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

Senator McDonald, considering the above information, I implore you to vote against Scott Morrison’s proposed changes to deport asylum seekers within the proposed changes to the Migration Act.

Yours faithfully

Patricia Corry

Landry Laughs at Budget Cut Hurt

Budget 2014

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.

 

landry laughing

 

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.

Tony Abbott really is the Wizard of Oz

Wizard-of-Oz-Cast.-10124It 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.

abbott landry pineapple2What 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.

wizard_oz_0712

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 MiM6Lions 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.

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

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

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

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

613395-joe-hockey

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABC News Comment post

ABC News Comment post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

A Very Coalition Christmas And The Wonderful Gifts They Gave Us

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


A Very Coalition Christmas & The Wonderful Gifts They Gave Us 

(A Christmas Tale set in Dystopian Abbotstraylia)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

merry-christmas2

Your achievements this week Liberal and National Voters!! Stand Proud!!

 

Well its the weekend Liberal & National Voters all around our wonderful country of Australia.  Get your Champers cracking because this week you have achieved…

You were instrumental in changing the lyrics of an Iconic song!! Congratulations! It is now “We love Football, Meat Pies, Kangaroos and Holden Asian Cars.” The Abbott Government has ripped 500 million dollars out of the package ALP proposed whilst in Government. Holden have now chosen to close its doors in Australia. This will rip out approx $26 billion from our economy and approx 200,000 direct and indirect jobs related to Holden. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/hard-line-on-holden-makes-tony-abbott-seem-cruel-and-incapable-20131206-2yvcm.html

 

If you don’t get a Christmas Card from the IPA, please let your leader Mr. Abbott know. You deserve one. You have achieved on behalf of the IPA through their requests to Tony Abbott, Item #30 Cease subsidising the car industry 

Ho! Ho! Ho! You helped deliver a Santa Sack full of Welfare cuts to the disadvantaged The Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013, which included amendments to areas including NDIS, NDIS, Family Tax Benefit, Parenting Payment, Age Pension, Youth Allowance, Gambling Reforms, income management on Cape York and Child Care, has now been referred to a Committee Inquiry after Senator Siewert’s last minute motion was passed in the Senate.  http://www.probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2013/12/greens-stop-%E2%80%98grab-bag-social-sector-cuts%E2%80%99  This one is kind of like a kiss under the mistletoe for the IPA. Not quite there yet, but letting them know you are keen. IPA request to Mr. Abbott #18 Eliminate family tax benefits

Here is the link to proposed changes to many Centrelink payments and other supports  Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013

Brace yourself. You may even get a Christmas present from the IPA. You have helped Tony Abbott to be on his way to give them Gift #50 Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function”  Although this is in the disguise of Cory Bernardi jumping up and down…. Tony Abbott’s official line is that “he has no plans to reform the ABC” but we shall wait and see...It may be “a promise we just thought we heard” http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/cut-abc-funding-urges-liberal-senator-cory-bernardi-as-coalition-ramps-up-attack-on-the-national-broadcaster-20131204-2ypet.html

If you want to make your voice heard and you consider it ‘our ABC’ you can sign here

 https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/media/save-the-abc–2/save-the-abc

All I know is, that if funding cuts mean I can’t watch Todd Sampson anymore, it is a legitimate cause for a riot!  My other solution is give Todd Sampson a pay rise, replace all presenters with Todd Sampson and that will solve the problem.

You have successfully assisted the Government to renege on their promise to improve the quality of education and access to education for all Australian children, particularly the most disadvantaged. ”Christopher Pyne’s statement last Friday exposed his ideological position against public schools when he suggested they would have born the brunt of any reduction in funding, ignoring all the evidence that shows public schools do the heavy lifting when it comes to the state’s most disadvantaged children,” Gavrielatos said.”Christopher Pyne is alone in still believing there is no equity problem in Australia.”

http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/australias-report-card-in-the-latest-oecd-snapshot-highlights-the-need-for-urgent-education-reform-20131206-2ywoe.html#ixzz2mnOQeDIv

Do you give a Gonski?

Gonski is not just about dollars. Gonski is about educational reform. With the Government’s hands-off approach, the States and Territories do not need to implement any of the quality reforms.  This completely defeats the entire purpose of Gonski.  If you are passionate about education and want to fight for a fair deal for our children you can sign here  http://igiveagonski.com.au/

Oh Come all ye faithful, Joyful and Triumphant….for implementing cruel, abhorrent and inhumane policies on other human beings. The as-yet-unspecified changes could see up to 33,000 asylum seekers already in Australia doomed to a state of legal limbo, with limited or no working rights, no chance of permanency and access to only the most basic aid. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-prime-minister-tony-abbott-threatens-tougher-action-on-asylum-seekers-after-losing-parliamentary-vote-20131203-2yotx.html#ixzz2mnV2tudZ

She keeps no….She keeps no….She keeps no secrets from you….Well let’s be honest, Morrison surely does try hard to keep all the secrets. The Guardian has exposed some of the ‘asylum shoppers’ living it up on your hard-earned Liberal and National voter Tax Dollars. Please tell me you treat your dog better, or I’ll report you to the RSPCA. 

Click the Image below for the Nauru Gallery

Nauru gallery

Australian Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young has expressed serious concern at the conditions the photographs reveal: “The UN reported on the terrible situation on Nauru last week and now we can see it for ourselves” she said. “Refugees, especially mothers and their children, should never have been sent to these horrific conditions, let alone dumped there indefinitely.”

You have assisted in changing the Government’s Facebook relationship status with the people to “It’s complicated” The Abbott government has flagged possible cuts to the level of help Australians can expect if they get into trouble overseas. “The foreign minister has launched an issues paper, which points out Australians have ‘no right’ to consular services”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/03/bishop-urges-greater-self-reliance-as-part-of-consular-help-shake-up?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

 

Feminism

EDIT: I have removed an article about Peta Credlin. It has been pointed out by Jane Caro on Twitter, that the attacks on Peta Credlin are actually anti-feminist. Although I do not agree with the ‘control’ that is being discussed in the news, we need to call Abbott to account, and not Ms Credlin. Regardless of my thoughts on Credlin’s misogynistic political strategy that assisted in the demise of, in my opinion, one of the greatest leaders this country has every had – PM Julia Gillard, Abbott’s responsibility is with himself and what he chooses to say or how he chooses to behave.  After all, he does have a very long history of misogyny. If we consider “but it’s not about gender, but control” It really is about gender as no male staffer has had this type of scrutiny. Thank you Jane Caro and thank you @Kimmarree_tweet. Feminism is not only about our beliefs, it is also about learning from other women about what we are fighting for.

The Tweet that started this thought process

That was the week that was 1 – 7 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 handy guide to respond to your local member’s Coalition spin on Gonski

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”

Landry Gonski2

 

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

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

Lets see how the Coalition Shaped up this Week

Backflipping on Education

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

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

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

GST for Online Purchases

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

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

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

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

Closure of yet another vital service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NBN Update

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

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

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

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

Small Business

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

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

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

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

Employment 

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

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

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

(More) Asset Sales 

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

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

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

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

Enjoy your weekend!

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

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

Trish Corry

trishcorry

trishcorry

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

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