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Trish Corry

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Australian Politics – An Aimless Discourse?

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We need an immediate shift from the current aimless national political discourse and we must insist upon politics with clear definable aims. The involvement of more young people in politics is now urgent. We need young voices now, not later. Continue reading

The Racist Agenda Was Made to Destroy The Working Class

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The fear of ‘the others’ permeates everything lately. Social media, politicians, commentators and the mainstream media are enabling a culture of stigma and ‘othering’. Fear of people we don’t understand shuffles beneath the surface of individual thought.  These fears have a parasitic grip on beliefs, ideas and thought. It channels thought, word and deed through the prism of fear. This fear is a man-made construct, developed by conservatives to destroy the working class.  It can be framed as the pre-agenda of the real agenda. The real agenda for the conservatives is as always – to destroy the working class. The pre-agenda is to establish a base, through fear of others, to help them get there.

Racism, Fear and Work Choices

This pre-agenda was first tried in the 1990’s with the aim to support the real agenda. That was to see more people embrace Howard’s Work Choices. In the 1990’s the stigma and fear of Indigenous people and Asian people was developed with a particular aim. That is fear would grip people. They would turn to those speaking out loudest against Indigenous people and Asian people. This would then, see people turn to the Government’s ‘paternalist-guiding hand’ agenda. In other words, stand with the Government to destroy the unions and destroy the working class. Even better if you were working class yourself and you left the union.

It was not going according to plan. To save some face, Howard had to terminate his association with the person he mentored, developed and gave a platform to, to be the voice of the pre-agenda. The agenda of racism. A person so ‘brave’ her voice shook when she spoke. A person dressed as an everyday Australian suburban woman. The mother at school, the tuckshop lady, the shop owner, the corner store worker. The person we don’t really know but feel comfortable ‘having a chat to.’ This person was Pauline Hanson. Pauline Hanson was to be the very voice to create a culture of fear, stigma and racism. This fear was to be so great that people’s attention would divert away from the atrocity of Work Choices. So blinded by fear of others, they would support it. 

Work Choices Enabled

As history has shown us, this backfired. It was the wrong time and the wrong targets of racism for longevity. It did work in part. A conservative Government was in for four terms and the biggest defining piece of anti-worker legislation was enabled.

However, the uptake was not strong enough for people to be blinded to the plight of the worker and the destructive anti-worker policies put forward by the Howard Government.The Rights at Work movement was the light of the working class fighting against the darkness of Work Choices. Good trumped Evil and in 2007 the working class won. We are seeing no such movement today. No such swell of deep angst organising to take up the cause. The ‘fear of other’s’ is blinding people to the real agenda. There appears to be no lessons learnt from the Work Choices era.

The Agenda of Fear Enables Attacks on the Working Class

Prejudice, intolerance, bigotry, racism, hatred and xenophobia suck the life from rational decision-making like an insidious contagious disease.  Once it has obtained its grip, this fear underpins and drives people to agree and believe in political ideology and political direction and policies, they would normally not have agreed with or believed in. The fear that we must stay safe from ‘the others’ now underpins agreement. Agreement to attack the worker and demonise and denigrating the poor. Those who choose to do so defend this stance vehemently. They see this as the just thing to do. It does not matter what the consequences are.

The Howard Government, along with the Abbott-Turnbull-(?) Government underpins their policy decisions with the idea that the working class do not know what is good for the country. That is, to allow the free market to flourish, by allowing the owners of the capital to tell the owners of the labour what they will be paid, how they will work and the conditions they will work in. Not to stand in they way of big business.

This is a Disturbing Reality

The fear of others is so great that some of the people who fought against this in the 1990’s are not remotely interested in what is happening to the working class, the jobless and the poor. They are too busy battling the ghosts the agenda of fear has conjured. The conservatives appear to have chosen the right time and the right targets of racism and stigma.

Muslims, in the minds of the fearful, are far more frightening than Indigenous people or Asians. In the 90’s these targets of victimisation were “stealing our social security money, stealing our jobs and stealing our land.”  Today, in a nutshell, the belief among the fearful is that Muslims will take over the world and force us to become ISIS.”  

Therefore, they must seek solace in ‘the brave’ – find their ‘protector.’  When Pauline Hanson’s voice shakes today it sounds much more brave to fearful ears, as the fear is much more magnified today with Muslims as the target. Hanson is indeed much more appealing as a consoling leader, as she speaks the loudest and the media makes her the centre of attention, which reinforces her words as ‘normal and justified.’  This is a disturbing reality towards the success of the conservative agenda of destroying the working class.

Too Busy Battling Ghosts

Today in 2017, the fear of others is so great that some of the people who fought against Work Choices in the 1990’s are not remotely interested in what is happening to the working class, the jobless and the poor. They are too busy battling the ghosts the agenda of fear has conjured. The fear of things that may never, ever happen and are not happening underpins their decisions to support anti-worker, anti-welfare and anti-community policies. They will even argue that these things are not happening, although the nightly news will tell the stories of what has been passed in parliament and although they can watch both houses live. It is a case of blanket denial, because ‘Pauline stands up for us Aussies against those Muzzie Bastards – Have you even read the Koran?‘  

They will scream, yell, insult and rant at those who are awake to the fact that these policies are being passed and are deeply concerned about their implications, and call them liars or ‘too sensitive’.  They are practised at standing firm with everyone who agrees with them and calling it ‘the right’ and those who they shun and don’t agree with them ‘the left.’

For Hanson voters, Attacking Workers Is Pro-Worker

Hanson advocates appear to have a twisted belief that Hanson, a conservative, Christian, nationalist, ex-member of the Liberal party, who shows immense support for the Liberal Party and who wants to abolish all penalty rates, abolish holiday leave loading and voted for the ABCC, somehow is ‘for the worker.’ This would indeed make Hanson ‘left’ on the political spectrum. 

Yes, the pro-working class voter of yesteryear, now see being angry at the passing of legislation that will increase worker deaths, where a worker has no right to silence, that removes mandatory employment of apprentices, that sees income ripped from low paid workers and harsh and unjust punitive measures on the jobless, as weak and ‘not concerned enough about ‘the others’ (who will destroy our freedoms). Workers rights have become secondary to many people who are actually good working class people, simply blinded by unfounded fear. That is a disturbing reality.

Right Time. Right Targets

This time, the conservatives appear to have chosen the right time and the right targets of racism and stigma. This is also a disturbing reality.

With so much talk about Australian values lately; attacking the worker and denigrating the poor were conservative agendas that people would fight tooth and nail against. It was against our values. They would rise up and join the struggle to ward off this narrative from becoming the norm.

The narrative of the pre-agenda is, however, strong and it has born an entirely new class of voters. Voters who are now welcoming these baseless attacks on the working class and the poor as ‘the new acceptable norm’.  Some choose to ignore the implications, such as anti-worker policy passing both houses. Others see it as a ‘sacrifice’ for the greater good, of staying safe and not letting ‘the others’ destroy us, take over our country, our jobs and our freedoms. 

Some of these people are true conservatives. Some are the non-union working class, some are union working class and some are jobless and/or are living below the poverty line. The majority of people within the ‘right wing agenda-Hansonite groupings’ supporting this ‘pre-agenda’ are the very people conservative politics attacks.

The Mini Resistance

The desire to keep fear and prejudice strong within individuals has now formed into a collective, via contagion and has formed into a mini-resistance.  It is suffocating the empathy and understanding of the plight of the worker, the jobless and the poor. There are those who were in the trenches with the working class in the 1990s, who are now fighting against the worker, shoulder to shoulder, embracing the enemy of the working class.

There are those who fight by shouting their prejudices and wearing them on their sleeve; angrily scream at anyone who dares to ‘not see the real truth.’ Their truth.

Then there are those who consciously or unconsciously deny their prejudices. They don’t want to say these things out loud. They just want to think them. Pauline Hanson, other conservative politicians, conservative commentators and the media will say these things for them. (She speaks for me). This gives them a new confidence to speak these prejudices out loud for the first time. To speak them gives a sense of reinforcement and belonging. For some, the feeling is almost euphoric. A relief beyond comprehension. They feel they are finally part of a collective. A resistance and that they ‘belong.’

This sense of belonging brings a sense of security and protection. A belief that if the ‘protectors’ – the one’s who are loudest attacking ‘the others’ will keep us safe from harm. However, it is through this false sense of reality, that real harm is being ignored and disbelieved. For some who have made the complete transformation to anti-working class – they embrace it.

The Racist Agenda. A Man Made Construct to Destroy the Working Class

What other anti-worker, anti-welfare policies will dedicated ‘Hansonites’ ignore, accept, condone and defend, all in the name of staying true and remaining loyal to the resistance that fights against minorities and speaks loudly to denigrate ‘the others?’

The racist agenda is a man-made construct developed as a pre-agenda to assist the conservative Government to destroy the working class. In 1996, “Howard’s Battlers” of the working class enabled the biggest onslaught on the working class we have ever seen. In 2017, “Pauline’s Battlers” are on the rise.

People must stop allowing the unrealistic fear of others to underpin and guide their beliefs, opinions, and decisions and take notice of the attacks on the working class. They must make a conscious choice. Support the workers and the jobless. Otherwise, support the Christian-Conservative Nationalist anti-worker agenda of Hanson and the rest of the right-wing parties. Supporting Hanson, the Liberals, The Bernardis, the Xenophons and Hinch, gives zero support to the working class.

Otherwise, this time, the conservatives may win and sustain longevity and the attacks on the working class may completely destroy everything unionists and the working class have fought for, were jailed for and died for.

WA Voters: Disrupt the Disruption. Let’s Blow This Shit Up!

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WA voters! Lend me your ears! Ask yourself this: “Do I want to be a disruptor? OR Do I want to disrupt the disruption?” You are in a game. Today, you need to decide which role you play.

It Is Just A Game

There is absolutely no doubt we are in the middle of a game. A game fuelled on by the media and populist politics. A game played to see just how many people don’t really care about politics. They are asking you today when you vote (and the media are testing you on this) “How much do you actually care about Western Australia?”

The media have played this game for a while now. It’s a fun game for the media. Because this game fuels suspicion and a divide amongst us all. It sees politicians scrambling. This agenda is a game to see how the politicians respond to this disruption. For those who feel like a star and are “having your voice heard for the first time.” Well in this game you are the pawn, not the King.

Why this is a game of disruption is that forever there has only been two sides to choosing our votes in this country and it is the way it will always be. The Liberal/National Conservative anti-worker parties versus the Laborist Pro work at parties. Work or the inability to work for whatever reason is central to everything we do.

The struggle between these two sides is endless. How much power and autonomy do the conservatives try to take from the workers, the disadvantaged and the poor? What will the worker parties do to protect this? The fight is real. This fight against conservatism can be captured in three spheres: welfare, workers and unionism and protest groups.

Other minor parties and independents have always served as one issue parties such as environmentalism, animal justice, gun lobbyists, farming and agriculture or LGBTIQ rights as examples.

The Party of Disruption

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party are not true Conservatives. For example, her economic adviser is a totally free market, user pays libertarian. It is very clear after voting for the ABCC, supporting cuts to penalty rates and being very anti union, the Pauline Hanson One Nation party is indeed an anti-worker party. The are certainly not a pro-worker party.

In saying this, Pauline Hanson does not lead a single issue party either. The One Nation party is simply set by an agenda of disruption. To disrupt everything. The good and the bad. They have not thought about how to deal with the ramifications of this.

Both major parties need to take into account all of the single issues the other minor parties advocate for. For example, they respond to environmentalism in a conservative or a progressive way. The extreme of conservatism or progressiveness may differ depending upon the issue.

Pauline Hanson’s agenda is to disrupt every single minor or major issue and to hell with the outcome. To hell with society and to hell with the people of Western Australia. The main objective for Pauline Hanson is power.

Her candidates who have left the party are consistent on this. Pauline is about power for Pauline. Being from Queensland, and following her since the 1990’s when she turned on Indigenous people in my community; hand on my heart, this is very, very true.

Harming Society. Harming Our People.

The media has actively fuelled this on. They have fuelled on what they label as the ‘Pauline Hanson Phenomenon.” This insinuates, Hanson’s appeal is more widespread than it is, and to give it a cool sounding edge – that it is acceptable to participate in.

However, the media know full well that massive disruption in our economy, in business, for our workers, in the community sector, and in a public services could really truly harm our society and our people irreversibly.

They are actively encouraging voters classed as disruptors to see if this game could become a reality. A real life of real chaos for four years ahead of voters with no rhyme nor reason.

But why? Why would the media do this? What is in for the media is that this generates a lot of stories and a lot of advertising revenue, which equals a lot of profit for them. 

The Minor Parties Are Pushed Aside

Pauline Hanson is disruption personified and everyone who votes for Hanson is considered a disruptor. An army of disruptors. Like the KISS Army, but way, way, way less cool.

At the moment, the media wants you to believe this is cool. However, after buying it and after unpacking it at home, you will soon release it is just a piece of junk. Just like all the adverts in their magazines and newspapers, they position words, meaning and symbols to present what they want you to think is cool. Their game is not fairness and full representation of all voices in politics. It is not democracy. It is sales.

Don’t believe me? Major parties aside: ask yourself this, how many minor parties are there and how many minor parties have been in the spotlight this election?

That’s right! Just one party. The Pauline Hanson One Nation party. 

Who Doesn’t Give A Stuff?

What the media is really pushing when they are pushing you to be this ‘disruptive voter’ is how many voters don’t really care about themselves, their family, friends, the community, their state, and their country? How many people will show they don’t give a stuff about Western Australia, by giving disruption their number one vote. How will this disrupt Federal Politics and Queensland Politics and how many stories are there in this!

In a nutshell the media is asking voters in Western Australia today how much of your state are you prepared to blow up?

You Need To Blow This Shit Up!

To be a disruptor you need to disrupt the media and the populist politics it has embraced. You need to blow this shit up! Don’t blow up Western Australia. You need to choose the alternative, because the media wants this disruption that Hanson brings to become cool. It sells their papers and their advertising. If simply being a minor party was the best for change, they would be shoving the Greens down your throats.

This is vitally important. It is you who needs to live in the aftermath of this this disruption. The media, just like me, will bang on the keyboards long after your decisions today, regardless of the outcome.

Think of it as when alternative music becomes mainstream and it simply isn’t cool anymore. We have all been there. Anarchy in the UK and punk hair became tiresome after a while and we turned to pop synth, Karma Chameleon, ragged clothes and boots (OMG I miss my boots soooo much!). 

Today Become a True Disruptor

To be a real disruptor on voting day, you actually need to vote to disrupt the disruption. You need to choose to disrupt the media and disrupt the populist politics of Hanson. Because simply, it is not cool anymore. Don’t give them what they want! You need to blow this shit up! Today!

The only way this can be achieved is very simple. Ask yourself, do you choose the side of the anti-worker Conservative parties or do you choose the side of the pro worker Laborist parties?

Subsets of the major Liberal Conservative parties or the Laborist Workers parties are found in either conservative or progressive minor single issue parties. The key is if you do choose these minor parties first, where do you put your preferences for the major party? Who do you preference to Govern from the major parties? Because one of the major parties will govern after today. That is a fact.

Regardless of whether you achieve this by first preference vote, or via preferences, at the end of today, Colin Barnett’s Liberals or Mark McGowan’s Labor will Govern Western Australia.

The only party that should be last on your ticket is the disruption party and that is the Pauline Hanson One Nation party. Don’t let this fly-in blow up your state. She lives in Queensland and doesn’t give a stuff about us either!

Best of luck with your decisions today and from all the way over here in Central Queensland I wish your state of Western Australia all the best for the next four years.

Michelle Landry Must Resign and Force A By-Election in Capricornia

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Michelle Landry, LNP MP for Capricornia must resign.  The Liberal National Party have now admitted they went to the election based on a blatant lie. Turnbull said he will bring back integrity to politics He must insist that Ms. Landry resigns today.

On 3rd February, I published Is the Defence Land Grab” Turnbull’s Carbon Tax Lie?  This article details the timeline and agenda through an analysis of press releases, Hansard, the Defence White paper and the Budget.

My timeline shows that the Liberal National Coalition either knew they were going to acquire land, or they are severely incompetent and had developed no contingency plan for the expansion to house the Singaporean Army at Shoalwater.

They say a week is a long time in politics. However two weeks have revealed two things. The first is that Peta Credlin admitted on national television that the Gillard’s carbon tax lie was just dirty politics made up by the Liberals and it was never a carbon tax.

The second is that Marise Payne admitted that the LNP knew before the election about the land grab.

Michelle Landry needs to admit that either she did not know about the land grab or she is incompetent. So incompetent that she did not inquire as to the impact of the Defence training deal on her own constituency.  For either one of these she MUST resign.

Although the Government has now backed down on compulsory acquisition, after protests and rallies; the electorate was prevented from voting on all the facts at the time of the election, due to dishonesty by the now Government.

Please Sign the Petition and Insist Michelle Landry Resigns. Force a By-Election in Capricornia.

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Turnbull: From Diamond to Deviant. Oh! How He Has Fallen

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I felt sick today. Truly sick. Malcolm Turnbull dangled people with disabilities as political pawns. He used vulnerable people as pawns to pressure Labor to support harsh cuts to welfare or he would hold off on the NDIS. Turnbull has now slid all the way from Diamond to Deviant. There is absolutely no coming back from this.

Tawdry Deals Between the Sheets

Before Turnbull had to whisper tawdry deals to Pauline Hanson between the sheets; he was so proud of the NDIS.  When he thought he was invincible in September, 2015 he said this about signing agreements for the NDIS.

This marks a huge milestone towards the delivery of one of the largest social policy reforms in our nation’s history.

Fast forward post the 2016 election, Turnbull returns by the skin of his teeth. No longer popular with the people. No longer popular with his party. A whipping boy for the rancid right and now plays kissing cousins for real with Pauline Hanson – the Jimmy Swaggart of the Racist Set.

All Hail Turnbull – A Diamond

In 2015, he was considered a diamond. Precious and rare. A Prime Minister who would never lose his sparkle. In that point in time, in all his verbose puffery, he wailed glorious over the benefits of the NDIS.

I am proud our Governments are securing a sustainable NDIS that will be available to all who need it and I want to thank all of those who have worked so hard to get us here.

All Hail Turnbull – A Deviant

Today, just 17 months later Turnbull dismissed the NDIS as a burdensome cost to the taxpayer. A shameful political defence that reduced some of our most vulnerable people, who need our support, love and pro-community solidarity, into nothing more than a stigmatising liability on the taxpayer.

He then drew the “Hanson card” and pitted the oppressed against the oppressed. A tactic normally reserved to pit the homeless against the refugees; he used this card to pit jobless youth living under the poverty line against people with a disability

In a dehumanising fashion that literally made my skin crawl and my stomach flop; he did something so abhorrently repulsive, I could not believe my ears.

What Was He Thinking

I know I have already expressed I was shocked. I still am, hours later. Listening to this today, I was appalled. I couldn’t imagine what sort of person I would have to become to do this.  How would I feel? What would I be thinking about? How could I look a person with a disability in the face again?

I really want to know what was going through his head.  What was he feeling. Not that he would reply but I just had to tweet him this.  If a journalist can ask him face to face that would be great.

Turnbull threatened to withhold assistance for people with a disability they have been waiting years for, unless Labor signed off on harsh reductions in welfare. This includes a reduction in payment for Newstart and withholding payment from new recipients for four weeks. Over 25% of people on Newstart also have a disability.

The choice Turnbull gave Labor is sickening and can be summed up as:

Sign up to push unemployed young people into more poverty and homelessness or the disabled kid gets it. 

How Far He Has Fallen

The Prime Minister is showing an obvious contempt for people with a disability. The tirade towards Bill Shorten calling Shorten a parasite; clearly shows this was a case of psychological projection where Turnbull was bellowing out his deepest feelings about himself. Today he was on display as a parasitic, loathsome creature.

I would not normally be so harsh; but his behaviour today was nothing short of contemptible. I have no other words. I’m sorry.

In 2017, the transition from diamond to deviant is complete. Turnbull now holds views that are incompatible with civil society. Oh! How he has fallen!

Turnbull Holds the NDIS Hostage. Please sign the petition below.

Click to Sign the Petition Below

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Stuff the Silent Majority. It is Your Time to Be Heard

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The Silent Majority demand to be heard. What about your rights to be heard? Are you prepared to do nothing? Will you be heard when the ‘silent majority’ finally get their way? Or are you prepared to sit there and let the media and minor parties tell you that you do not matter anymore?

Who Are The Silent Majority

Who are the silent majority? No one really knows. They don’t protest or fight for rights. Nor do they write to newspapers or politicians to raise issues. They haven’t really given a stuff about anything, until now. Until Pauline Hanson ‘gave them a voice.’ Or so the media tells them she has.

They are the angry silent people who have never bothered with politics. While others have been out in the streets protesting, the silent majority have done nothing.

For years the silent majority have looked at politicians on television or on Facebook and have made their judgements. Not on their policies, but on what they look like.

The media has placed them front and centre and now it is only their opinion that matters. They truly believe an angry protest vote will magically make the world a perfect place.

This is Bothering Me

This phenomenon has really bothered me. Particularly because of Trump and the rise of Hanson.  I feel the world is teetering on the edge.  I feel the hard fought gains with so many things we take for granted and enjoy, like proper health care, free education and rights at work and decent wages, will be torn to shreds in an instant.

It is a terrifying feeling and I do not believe I am the only one who feels this way.

I have an impending doom of the return of work choices – where we had NO RIGHTS AT WORK. 

How can anyone forget that? I will never, ever forget.

This is not a game. Politics is not a game. It really affects people’s lives.

I have taken the time to be less political and more approachable. I’ve asked more questions, listened and not said a word. Sometimes I have been a straight out eavesdropper and listened in.  (sorry Mum! – My mum did not like eavesdroppers).

Mostly, I have listened.  I have listened in pubs, the checkout, at social gatherings and I have waded through commentary on newspaper forums and Facebook posts, day after day.

Some Random Opinions

I often hear or read things about politicians such as:

“Ooh she looks like a bitch, I don’t like her.” (about Catherine King)

“Listen to this dickhead (physically mocking), who is this clown?’ (about Christopher Pyne)

“Jesus…Shorten is nothing but forehead, must be a brain in there somewhere hahahaha!” (about Bill Shorten)

“Blah, Blah, Blah, come and work as hard as me and then you can have an opinion, mate!” (about Barnaby Joyce)

“I like her. She seems nice.” (about Julie Bishop)

“Yeah, Yeah” (dismissive) (about Malcolm Turnbull)

“Feed that man a F ###### Pie” (about George Christensen)

“When Turnbull’s gone, don’t put Abbott back in, put him in” (about Chris Bowen – LABOR!!!!)

and of course we have:

“YEAAAHHHH Pauline. Pauline for PM” (cue five grown men insanely grinning and head nodding) (about Pauline Hanson)

They know who Pauline is because she is the star of breakfast news television and the media shoves her face in our face every five minutes and never asks her hard questions.

This may be a shock to some of the very politically engaged voters reading this (and obviously Mr. Turnbull); but some do not even know who the Prime Minister is.

Many have absolutely no idea who Barnaby Joyce, is. Many do not know which politician belongs with which party (see Chris Bowen example above).

What Is Going On?

Because some people know I am politically engaged, I will often be approached to explain an issue, when they hear or see something.

An example is:

Them: So Shorten….is he Labor or Liberal?

Me: Labor

Them: So the other ones then….the Liberals (Me: Yeh) what are they doing to the dole?

Me: They don’t want people under 25 to have any dole for four weeks – it was six months, then six weeks, now four weeks. People will starve! We must stop this!

Them: Well Pauline will not allow that then.

Me: Ahhh yes, she will. She supports it

Them: Yeh, so she will get in and it won’t happen.

Me: No….she supports Government for no payment. She wants them to starve for a month too.

Them: No, that won’t be right.

Me:  Ahh yes, it is. She votes with the bastard Liberals on almost everything. She supports it.

Them: I don’t believe that. You must have it wrong.

Me: No. She is an ex-Liberal and supports Turnbull. Hanson said she supports it.

Them: Well I say you are wrong. We will see who is right when she wins.

Me: stunned

This is the point where I physically want to smash my head through a wall. If anyone has any answers, any advice to combat this. Please, please put your suggestions below.

The Movement Deciding Our Future

Yet, this silent majority apparently know so much about the political decisions and how these decisions affect their lives. Their abundance of political knowledge has made them so angry about not being heard.

Apparently, these are the people we all must listen to, but they refuse to listen to anyone else. The silent majority will decide our future.

Well stuff that!

When the silent majority vote for Hanson, will you be happy to be ignored? A blind anger the media has told them they have when they have never cared about politics before? People who judge politicians on their hair style? Are you better than this?

Let’s have a look at just four things a Hanson / Liberal Duopoly will bring.

The Hanson / Liberal Duopoly

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Out of Work? Kids out of Work?

You will not be heard if you are out of work and under 25. You are a citizen who does not matter. Four weeks with no income. No money for food, rent, phone, basic hygiene needs. Nothing.  Then you will receive less money than now. Only $433 per fortnight.  If you are a parent of someone under 25. You will support them, out of your own pocket. Hanson and Turnbull are paid way, way more than you. They do not care.  If the silent majority decides. You do not have a say.

Need a Job? Kids need a job? 

Hanson supported the Liberal’s ABCC, so if you are an apprentice or a mature aged worker, your voice will not be heard if you want a job in the construction industry. The ABCC discourages apprenticeships and mature aged workers. You are a citizen who does not matter. Worker deaths increased under the last ABCC.This could be your loved one or friend. Hanson and Turnbull do not care. If the silent majority decides. You do not have a say.

Storms, Cyclones, sweltering heat or freezing cold? 

The Hanson / Liberal duopoly don’t want to listen to you on this one. You are a citizen that does not matter. You will not be heard. Hanson supports the West Australian Liberal Government’s plan to privatise electricity assets. There is no guarantee of service with a private provider. Cost of electricity will sky rocket.  If you are a low income family or a pensioner, your voice will not be heard. Your worries about affording electricity or ensuring connection in times of crisis will be dismissed.  If the silent majority decides. You do not have a say.

Money for the Kids? 

If you are a low income earning family and rely on family payment to make ends meet; your voice will no longer be heard. You do not matter. Hanson supports the current cuts to family payment. Pauline Hanson said of welfare, ‘I see a big waste of money and we actually have to rein it back in’.  This means your kids will have less. So will you. Hanson does not have a family support agenda. She does not care. If the silent majority decides, you do not have a say and neither do your kids.

Stuff the Silent Majority

Because the silent majority are worried about a few women wearing a burqa, are these the acceptable trade offs?

If you vote for Hanson because of this concern, on the other hand you will vote for jobless young people starving for a whole month, privatised electricity, unsafe workplaces, less apprentices and mature aged workers and less money for kids and that is only the beginning.

If you are one of the people who post the memes about helping homeless first before refugees. Well here is your chance. Put Liberals and One Nation last and help the homeless. Welfare cuts create more homelessness. Not less. That is how your vote can make a difference. You can be heard!

Read up. Listen up. Speak up on the issues that matter to you. About jobs, welfare, families, health and education. Find out exactly what Hanson and the Liberals support and do not stop asking or reading until you find out the truth. Log onto www.aph.gov.au and have a look around. If you don’t know what something means, ask a friend who does or join a facebook political group and ask.

Become aware of what matters. For example, Muslims with multiple wives is a diversion. It does not affect you. It does not affect your family home or your kids. Hanson’s vote to cut your family payment does.

Put Liberals and One Nation Last

Take particular note that when a party preferences another party – that means their values and what they believe in are very similar. Pauline Hanson and the Liberals are preferencing each other in the Western Australian election and Turnbull will not rule it out.  They are now ‘in bed together’ whispering political promises in the dark. A duopoly. Joined at the hip.

The Hanson Party who says they are better than the majors, has now joined forces with a major party. Think about that for a second. She has sold the ‘silent majority’ out.

That means, Hanson prefers the Liberals with all their harsh cuts to welfare and the fight to keep overseas 457 visas workers in abundance and us out of jobs over Labor and the Greens who oppose both of these things. I think this really paints her as a fraud and a liar – don’t  you?

It is YOUR time to be heard. Do not let the silent majority voting in blind rage speak for you. Do not let Hanson speak for you. Also do not let the media speak for you. It is YOUR time to be heard.

Join a Left Wing Party. Join Get Up! Put the Liberals and One Nation last!

The Corruption of the Cutie: Is Turnbull Now a Mean Girl?

turnbull-mean-girl

Is Turnbull just a Mean Girl, or is he a Heisenberg or possibly a Trumbleberg? What has he become?  The once suave leather jacket wearing moderate has transformed into the incarnation of Abbott with his sycophant speech.  A man full of angry personally abusive ranting and zero policy.

The media seem to really get their rocks off on this type of abusive ranting politician. They love it. They channel Highlander with “There can be only One!” in their writing. They wallow unashamedly in it. As they did with Abbott. For this reason, vulnerable people will always be doomed.

The media (except VanBadham) have missed the mark. The only thing that will be immortalised about the Turnbull Speech is how the media got this wrong. Except Van Badham. Trust Van to be head and shoulders above the rest, standing against the grain.

The media have compared the sycophant speech with Gillard’s misogyny speech. There is no comparison. Where can Turnbull go from here?

The Corruption of the Cutie

A common trope in movies is the ‘corruption of the cutie’. That is, the ‘nice guy or girl turned villain.’ When Turnbull became leader he was seen as the ‘unbeatable good guy’ with 60% plus in the polls. A wide appeal. The nice guy next door.

How Turnbull has transitioned since he stole leadership from Tony Abbott is in line with this trope of corruption of the cutie –  it is a slow progression of nastiness, until the transformation is complete and BAMThe lead good guy is now the lead bastard and he is a bastard in spades.

This is epitomised in Mean Girls when the good girl character Cady, becomes a mean girl herself.

Walter White, calm, nerdy, good, family loving chemistry teacher, turning into Heisenberg, self obsessed, greedy drug lord, “I am the one who knocks” in Breaking Bad, is another example.

For some, they will be torn between the good guy who they believe is still deep inside, and will be loyal to him, waiting for his return. This is how I was with Walter White. I never got my wish.

I failed to realise the good guy is either dead, or never was. People will realise the same with Turnbull.

The Bullied who Fight Back – Right vs Might

The corruption of the cutie, is the role Turnbull played the other day. This is in stark contrast to the trope of the bullied character, who stands up in the end, in the case of Gillard.  The character who is the butt of jokes, picked on, ridiculed by bullies. However, has the personal resilience to stand strong in the face of adversity. Always determined to rise up with a right versus might speech.

Gillard’s speech was about right versus might.  It was Gillard insisting that the right of women to enjoy life free from sexism is paramount above the might of the misogynists.

Turnbull’s response to Shorten’s objection to cuts to family payments by calling him a sycophant and a parasite, was all about might versus right.  This was Turnbull insisting that the might of the rich and powerful always is paramount above the poor, the worker, the downtrodden who fight against them.

A stark contrast indeed. The media have this, very, very wrong.

Bringing Back the Ugly

Indeed, Turnbull will think people love him for being a bully. His inner circle will tell him so. It worked for Abbott after all. His party members have felt so adrift with not being able to express their true ugliness. They are excited now they can clap and cheer at bullying in all it’s glory, like they did with Abbott on a day-to-day basis. Now again in love with Turnbull because he is bringing back the ugly.

They had no choice but to get rid of Biff from Back to the Future…

abbott-and-crew

But Now they have Steff – the Ultimate Rich Mean Boy

Now they can clap and cheer because they have the actual God of all mean rich boys. All the rich kids love this guy. They love him because he is rich, he decides the pecking order, he decides who gets to go to the best parties. He reassures them all daily that they are superior and the poor kids are just scum. That makes them feel so much better. By their clapping and a cheering you can see the meaning of the message. The message is the LNP thrive on ugly politics.

They love Steff-like characters because he is real true arsehole. He picks on the poor kids. They get behind him and stand tall, staking their ‘rightful place’. Feeling strong by the jollies they get from humiliating ‘the working class trash’. They all play a part in reminding them, that even if you turn up to the rich kids party, you will never be one of them. You. Do. Not. Belong.

In 16 Candles, Steff, made sure he let Andie know she did not belong. Just like Malcolm made sure he told Bill that he does not belong at the same table as rich men.

Well I guess we should have seen that coming…….

malcolm-steff-2

No Comparison to Gillard

Misogyny Speech

Gillard’s Misogyny speech was a rousing speech. It can be encapsulated as the determination trope. It was brought on through the determination that is required to face daily, sexist slurs and pointed sexist ridicule. It is the determination that is required to get up every morning and face a narrative that talks women down, while she was determined to always talk women up.

Gillard’s message was to everyone – I am a leader. Follow me and say no to sexism and misogyny and make the world a much better place for women.

Sycophant Speech

Turnbull’s sycophant speech can be encapsulated as the evil gloating trope. It is what mean people do. They gloat. This is brought on by a born to rule mentality. A mentality that aims to bring the good guy down. It is brought about when the popular kid or the rich kid sees their perfect world threatened by the inclusion of an outsider. An outsider they consider who does not belong. The threat that ‘the lower class’ may just make it to the place they see as rightfully theirs. A right they inherited, and did not have to yuk ‘earn’. 

Turnbull’s message was really to his party.  As a leader, follow me and I will teach you how to keep the worker trash out of our posh parties and I will make the world a much better place for the deservedly wealthy.

The message to everyone else was – I am a leader, follow me and I will make sure if you ever actually ‘make it’ I will be here to put you back in your place and remind you where you truly belong – with the other working class trash.

Where to From Here?

The media has played this up for all it is worth. However, deep inside so many Australians is the love for the Aussie Battler. Shorten will continue to stand up for the little guy, the worker and the poor.

Turnbull it seems will continue his Shorten bashing from a place of ‘you don’t deserve to be here’.

If Turnbull continues these mean girl rants, he will realise that even those who were once loyal will turn on him. When you become an Mean Girl, not everyone will love you.

He may realise that even though his internal party members love him for being the meanest, nastiest, rich-boy bully; those on the outside, especially those suffering under his cuts to family payment, will not feel the same way.

Stop the Bus!

Now he has started on this trajectory, is there a way back for Turnbull? To get out of this dilemma, and claw his way back to any semblance of decency; he may need to pray that the leader of the right-wing instructing his every move, is taken out by a bus.

(Don’t worry, she doesn’t die….)

Please Sir…Can I have some More? Mooooree?

 

turnbull-winning

It is very clear to us now that Malcolm Turnbull knows his place and we should all damn well know ours. Through his attack on Bill Shorten yesterday, he let us all know that only the ‘real’ rich kids get to sit at the table with other ‘real’ rich kids. If you are the poor kid who gets that invitation to go to the cool rich kids party, then you better not show up, cos the rich kids are waiting to slap you down.

Please Sir Can I Have Some More?

In question time yesterday, Labor Leader, Bill Shorten loudly objected to the Turnbull Government’s harsh cuts on families, pensioners and the poor in general. For those who continuously state that Liberal and Labor are the same; please take note of this stark contrast between the two and please press the buzzer and get off this bizarre unicorn led school bus you are riding.

You know, the cuts that mean sausages and mince some nights and peanut on bread the other nights.

Cuts that mean that even if your kid is a bloody star and you are so proud of them, they have to just miss out, because you can no longer afford footy fees or singing lessons.

The cuts that mean pensioners cannot afford to keep cool or keep warm because it is a choice between meager amounts of food or electricity.

Cuts from an uncaring Government who are threatening jail to disability pensioners, whilst their leader smiles as he protects the big banks and big companies.

Liberals always tout their very loud support for the low paid casualised labour, abolition of penalty rates and high childcare fees.  This means that most families need to rely on family payments to simply make ends meet. Yet Turnbull decides it might be fun to cut that too.

The Liberals very vocal advocacy of making it really super easy to sack people, like their mate John Howard did, forces many families to work for next to nothing. They never rise up, stay complacent, never complain. This means a dream of a fair days work for a fair days pay is just a dream. Full time work is not even in the scope of reality.  Yet Turnbull decides to cut the one thing that makes up the gap for these struggling families: Family Payment.

Real Leadership

Shorten had enough so he rightly attacked the Government and stood up and spoke up for every single parent, child and even the family dog that these cuts hurt.  Shorten insisted that these pensioners and families, to please sir, have some more.

Moooooreeee????

Just like in Oliver Twist, when he asked “Please Sir, Can I have some more?” Turnbull, just like the big fat custodian of the workhouse, bellowed at the orphaned worker “Moooorreeee?”

Turnbull yesterday moved through classic literature in one very angry rant. Moving from the Workhouse boss in Oliver Twist and then transforming into Flashman from Tom Brown’s School Days. Shouting at Shorten, “How dare you, you poor person sit with the rich kids!” While Flashy’s mates stood around him smugly laughing.

It is a wonder Turnbull didn’t yell at Shorten:

“You’ll be fagging for me by the end of term, BOY!”

As Rhys Muldoon summed it up yesterday:

Morphing yet again, we have Barnaby this time, in the background, Turnbull’s main Droogie from A Clockwork Orange, who has made his way to parliament yesterday straight from the Korova Milk Bar where he overdosed on some horrorshow Moloko.

(If you don’t understand any of these examples, I suggest you lobby the Liberal Government to start re-funding the Arts).

Destroying the Liberal Ideology in One Rant

So there we have it. Turnbull destroyed the Liberal  Party ideology in one big fat childish rant. The Liberal ideology that tells people who “If you work hard enough, you will make it.”

The way they always tell us that “Everyone is born equal and it is up to you to be all the way up here with us! You can do it. We did!”

The sniveling privileged born to rule ideology that insists that if you haven’t made it, it is all your fault and you should be ashamed.

The stigmatising and derogatory ideology that points to anyone on welfare as a criminal and a cheat. That is while the Liberals sit there and destroy the economy so there are no jobs to be had!

The main point of Turnbull’s rant yesterday was that even if you do work hard like Bill Shorten and end up earning $400,000 a year, and become the leader of a major party, you will never, ever, ever be a real rich kid. The rich kids will be here to push you around to remind you just where you have come from.  

Turnbull made the very big point that if you start even hanging around with the rich kids, we will make sure we let the other poor kids know, that now you are rich you have lost your values and you are now one of us.  You know, the rich kids who hate and ridicule the poor kids.

It speaks volumes that a strict conservative like Cory Bernardi has jumped ship. Conservatives may have twisted values, but one thing they loathe is uncouth clowns like Turnbull who cannot hold it together.

Just Two Things

Malcolm Turnbull like all self entitled right wingers do when they are lost and backed into a corner did.  He spurted a great big lump of psychological projection. As a poor kid of the 70s and 80s, Turnbull only said two things to me yesterday:

  • Only the real rich kids belong at the table with other rich kids
  • Rich people never, ever understand poor people. We loathe them and we simply must punish them, so they never ever join our circles.

Considering Turnbull is both in abundance, how is it possible that he can Govern for more than one percent of our people? The truth is, he does not.

For the Common Good

I will end this article with some more of Shorten’s words to show that it will not matter how many rich people he dines with (even if they did die eight years ago), he has stayed true to his Labor values.  This is Shorten on why Labor fights to help people with a disability.

As a poor kid of a Father with a disability, these words mean a lot to me, as it is how Dad used to explain it. “On the invalid pension, you never ever get a chance to get ahead. You are punished until the day you die.” he would say.  

shorten-on-the-ndis

This is the alternative Prime Minister telling his story behind his involvement in the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

This is a narrative you will never ever hear from the Prime Minister Turnbull, even if he is angry and shouting as loud as he can.

Nerds Who Get Stuff Done Unite!

The media are hailing Turnbull a hero for berating the man and attacking the man. They must get super excited over right-wing nut job trolls on Twitter!

That night, the Policy Nerd Shorten smiled through yet another Sales interview on ABC 7.30. Instead of asking more about Shorten’s concerns, Sales tried to excuse Turnbull’s right to have his pointed personal attack on ‘the man.’

The current state of politics as described by the media is:

Angry shouty born to rule elites devoid of policy, just so they can wear a crown and destroy the country?

Hell Yes!

Policy Nerds who quietly get stuff done in the background. Like say, a national scheme to assist people with a disability. You know, stuff that really matters….

Boring! Bah! Boo!

What Turnbull did yesterday was what every single LNP or nationalist nut job on Twitter does, day in day out. Yells, Screams and personally attacks people because they cannot understand, nor articulate policy. Yesterday, Turnbull was like a real life Twitter Troll come to life. It was incredible to watch.

Heads up to the Media.  This is NOT leadership. 

Turnbull is right to worry about a stab in the back. He should worry some more. There are literally thousands of idiots on Twitter who do the same ranty personal attack diatribe every day and some are very skilled at it. With Hansonism, every idiot in a clown suit thinks they can now be Prime Minister.

Tick. Tock.

Pauline Hanson Stay the Hell Out of My Bedroom!

prenup-cartoon

In what reads like a paid Advertorial, but is a subscriber only exclusive, able to be viewed by non-subscribers; the Courier Mail apparently interviewed Pauline Hanson. This time about what she would do if she was the Prime Minister.  What is in it for her voters? Not much. Not much at all. Let’s take a look at just one idea – Prenuptial Agreements. Pauline now wants to interfere in our bedroom lives. GTFO!

My Private Life is None Of Your Business!

They often say that in populist politics, that there is a wider agenda at play. It appears that 20 years of opinions on race and religion, makes Pauline a dull girl. Now she wants to be dictator and chief in our private lives. What is it about the genuine romance and happiness that most couples enjoy, that she simply won’t put up with?

The power has really gone to her head now.  Enshrining in law and forcing couples to sign a prenuptial agreement is a blatant intrusion into our private lives. 

Seriously Pauline, stay out of our private lives and get the hell out of my bedroom!

I’ve Had It Up To Here Happy Couples

Pauline Hanson has revealed, if she was Prime Minister, all couples should have to enter into mandatory prenuptial agreements. That means, that Pauline Hanson would make it a law, that you must sign a prenuptial agreement.

No free choice for you. This is Pauline taking away your personal freedom. Taking away your freedom of choice in a matter concerning your private life. If this was a Muslim country she would tell us the Muslims are controlling the women. But in Australia we have Pauline who wants to control all of us.

What Pauline says goes. Because she has had it up to here with being tolerant of happy couples who may never ever get divorced.  Hanson is twice divorced with a string of other failed relationships. This does not mean everyone is as unlucky in love as she is. Nor does it mean should dictate to everyone else.

It is not clear if these agreements are for married couples or all couples. This is Hanson’s answer to the Family Court. After all, it is not only married couples who have children. It is not only couples with children who lose out in divorce settlements or break-ups.  Once again, no deep thought has gone into this by Hanson.

Betraying Her Voter Base

Once again, she has not thought this through and is actually betraying her voter base.

PHON voters are said to be white, male over 40 years of age. They are traditionally right-wing voters, living in regional or rural communities. However, it is also this group who Hanson claims to support for domestic violence and Family court. What Pauline is proposing here, may result in severe distress for victims of domestic violence.

We all know that the suicide rate is the highest in this group. We also know that the prevalence of family violence towards men in this group is emotional violence, demeaning their self-worth, control of finances and personal freedoms. Yet, a prenuptial agreement can place more pressure on a couple, not less.

What is Hanson doing to protect the men in her voter base?  The vulnerable men who may feel forced (well they will be by law) to sign a prenuptial agreement. The men who may feel forced to put in place what their partner insists on.  This goes both ways of course, but this is purely focusing on Hanson’s own voter base.  Hanson is a great big ball of contradiction.

The Pitfalls of Prenuptial Agreements

Domestic violence has phases. No one signs a prenuptial agreement when they are at logger heads with each other. Typically, they are very much in love.

If one person has a controlling nature, it would be very easy make financial control of another person legal. Especially, when the other person is in blinded by love. Way before things turn ugly.

honeymoon-stage prenuptial agreement

One of the most common cited pitfalls of a prenuptial agreement is distrust.  This inflames a relationship and cause more friction and more arguments.  Sometimes interfering in-laws insist on terms.

I know part of Hanson’s “charm” is that she is not very intelligent. Not a higher educated ‘elite’ to put it in the Hansonite’s lingo.  Hanson should always seek expert advice. This should be not negotiable. She should understand the pros and cons and how it will affect vulnerable people. Hanson should assess all risks, before she thinks of enshrining something in law.

That is her responsibility to all citizens as a politician.

In this case, this thought bubble may actually harm the very people who vote for her.

prenuptial agreement pitfalls

Controlling Partners

A domestic violence victim is not always aware their partner is controlling them, until it is too late.

If someone is in genuinely violent relationship, a prenuptial agreement can make it even harder to get away from the abuser, depending upon what is in the agreement.

Pauline Hanson is setting the ground work for those in relationships who want control over others, to have this control legitimately.

As discussed above, prenuptial agreements can have pitfalls.  The law should always protect the vulnerable who are subject to these pitfalls.

What if the controlling party, threatened to leave if they did not put in the prenuptial agreement what they wanted?  Someone being controlled is dependent. The abuser knows this.

What if the prenuptial agreement including giving sole custody to one parent and you felt forced to sign? Signing away your parenting rights? Manipulative partners can use this as a guilt towards the victim that they don’t trust them (the abuser).

If it is a Hanson Government mandated requirement, you may have absolutely no choice, but to give up your own freedoms. You may lose more than you have bargained for.

Politicians should aim to legislate to protect the most vulnerable in society.  In the case of anyone in a domestic violent/controlling relationship. Hanson is doing the opposite with this proposal and it may have severe consequences.

The Freedom to Choose a Prenuptial Agreement

In addition, prenuptial agreements are already available in Australia, entered into of a couple’s own free will. Entering into private bedrooms and forcing couples into a signed legal agreement, in my view, is extremely un-Australian. It is downright dictatorial. 

Since when have we just laid back and accepted a politician making decisions that are private matters for our bedrooms? Most people don’t.  Most people now even recognise that who we marry or what gender they are, is no longer the business of the Government but our own.

Unless you can afford a very good lawyer, you could end up much worse off than what the State may protect you for already. Coupled with Kevin Andrew’s idea of mandatory marriage counselling, between Hanson and Andrews Lawyers and Marriage Counsellors will be making a packet from laws mandated by a Hanson led Government.

Stay The Hell Out Of My Bedroom!

Prenuptial agreements are normally for the very wealthy in society – of which Hanson is one of them, as she is a multi-millionaire. Maybe her voter base should consider that maybe she does not really speak for them on this issue and push this back to her to explain.

Explain why she thinks her opinions and laws belong in our bedrooms?

Also, ask her to explain if she gained financially from either of her two marriages which ended in divorce and did either of these contain a prenuptial agreement?  According to this article, “Pauline Hanson’s Bitter Harvest” the ex-husbands may be sued if they answer your questions. So it may be best to start asking her directly.

Or perhaps ask her yourself.  Ask, “Is it normal for someone to go from barmaid, to divorce first husband, then to a plumbing business, then divorce said second tradie husband, then to fish-shop owner to $500,000 dollar house, to a multi-million dollar lifestyle in 20 years?” Ask her how she actually did it.

I don’t know about you, but in my world, this is not normal.

How dare Hanson dictate to anyone when her married life has been far from perfect.

Pauline Hanson is always the first one to tell people to stay the hell out of her private life, but she thinks she is the self nominated Queen and can interfere in ours! I seriously do not think so.

Hanson does not live in my world and she certainly does not speak for me. She can shove her forced prenuptial agreement where it fits and stay the hell out of my bedroom!

You can also follow my articles on The AIM Network and Medium

Is the “Defence Land Grab” Turnbull’s “Carbon Tax Lie?”

premier-land-grab

In 2010, Tony Abbott, supported by the media in epic proportions, touted Gillard’s infamous “Carbon Tax Lie” as THE lie that cost Abbott the Prime Ministership. Moving forward to 2017, an even bigger lie has been revealed. This just may be THE lie which allowed Turnbull to hang on by the skin of his teeth to power.  This lie is the Turnbull Government remained silent on the compulsory acquisition of farming land in Central Queensland for supplying land to the Singaporean Army for defence training.

Lust for Power and Political Lies

When the lust for political power is such that it sees citizens denied their rights, or it denies voters to make an informed vote, it is up to all of us to stand up against that.

Prior to the election in May 2016, the LNP MP for Capricornia, Michelle Landry announced that the Turnbull Government was investing in defence at Shoalwater Bay.  Landry was pleased to announce that this would pump millions into the local economy and it was a positive for small business.

In all instances, Michelle Landry framed the Shoalwater Bay investment in terms of an upgrade, implicitly insinuating that the upgrade was to existing facilities. Landry omitted the cold hard facts that this also included, or had even the potential to include compulsory acquisition of nearby farming land, owned by local farmers for generations (see maps in link above).

In addition, Bill Byrne, QLD Labor Minister for Agriculture has also accused Defence Minister Marise Payne of misleading the Senate.

QLD Labor Minister Byrne said that:

“There is no doubt in my mind that vital information was withheld to gain electoral advantage, and I am raising the possibility that Minister Payne… misled the senate estimates hearing,”

How Long Have They Known?

On 18th March, 2016, Defence Minister Payne issued a press release which detailed the enhanced development of training operations between Singapore and Australia.

military-increased-access

Therefore, in March 2016, the Defence Minister, Minister for Trade and Investment, Special Envoy for Trade and the Foreign Minister knew that an increase of Singaporean Troops was earmarked or military training facilities. The question is:

Did not one of these Ministers have any awareness that this increase would indeed require an expansion to the military training areas?

Was this promise made without even developing an understanding of how it might impact on people living in the region or the impact on our economy?

Has the Member for Capricornia, shown absolutely no interest in asking her own Party about any perceived negative impacts on the constituency she is supposed to represent? 

Do You Even Budget?

The Federal Budget papers do not detail any expenses for upgrading the Military Operations in Shoalwater Bay.

However, in capital expenses, the Government does commit to $29.9 billion over 10 years from 2016‑17 to 2025‑26 to support initiatives in the Defence White paper which includes:

A number of ADF training areas in northern Australia will receive upgrades by 2020, including Shoalwater Bay (Queensland)

Once again, Shoalwater Bay and Townsville are only discussed as upgrades and not as an expansion.

In October, Senator Payne took a question from Senator McDonald regarding the memorandum of understanding with Singapore. Senator Payne detailed that the Singaporean Army will invest “around $2.25 billion in upgrades to Australian training areas while up to 14,000 Singaporean troops will join our own for training for up to 18 weeks per year in Australia.”

However, in Senator Payne’s response in the Senate, she details that this inclusion in the Defence White Paper includes increasing international defence engagement. The CSP will particularly enhance training area access and joint development of facilities.

Shoalwater Bay Expansion

The expansion was announced in the Senator on 8th November. Senator Payne advised the house that she would make sure that ADF would conduct extensive engagement and consultation. This has not occurred and Farmers were advised via a letter of the compulsory acquisition of Land, a shock to many. The Coalition Government decided upon compulsory acquisition of land without consulting Farmers. 

The strategic partnership is detailed as developed in May, the White Paper states upgrades as an aim. However, in May, 2016, the Government did not detail any expenses for an expansion, just an ‘upgrade.’ The Government knew the increase in Singaporean Personnel and the aims of the strategic plan, at least in May. Why did they not question the logistics of this increase? QLD Minister Bill Byrne goes into much more depth here.

Lies or Incompetence?

The Government either hid the information regarding the compulsory acquisition of farming land from voters prior to the election, or they were incompetent in their planning with the Singaporean Army in the land area that was required to achieve the aims of the strategic plan.

If the Government was evasive and did not disclose in May that this land was a necessity to acquire by force of compulsory acquisition, then the Government is also incompetent by excluding the loss of revenue from Beef Producers in the region in the Agriculture revenue within the Budget. This will rip approximately 100,000 head of cattle from our local producers and severely impact on the two meat works in Rockhampton.  Rockhampton is the Beef Capital of Australia. This Defence threat to farmer’s land will hand this title to Casino in NSW.

The Defence Land Grab Lie

To put the omission of the compulsory acquisition of farming land into perspective of the infamous “Carbon Tax Lie” is that the Coalition rests on just 76 seats. Just enough to form Government. The Carbon Tax Lie was touted by the Coalition and by the media as the lie that denied Abbott the Prime Ministership.

In Queensland the Coalition won 21 seats. There are quite a number of seats in QLD that the coalition holds onto with very slim margins. Michelle Landry’s seat of Capricornia scraped through with only 1111 votes, with the majority of Liberal votes coming from the rural areas via postal votes. The nearby seat of Flynn, saw the local Labor candidate, Zac Beers, almost decimated O’Dowd’s comfortable seat, leaving O’Dowd with a swing against him of -8.96. Capricornia was one of the deciding seats in the election. Flynn now sits on a margin of 2.08, 1,814 votes.

These are just some examples of regional seats in Queensland, where the Liberal National Coalition and indeed the local LNP MPs fighting to keep their seats would know full well that attacks on our farming community and a farmers land grab would have banished at least Landry and O’Dowd into oblivion.

In Regional Queensland regardless of whether we live in town, or out on a property, or what our traditional political beliefs are, everyone is united in standing up for the farmers. No doubt, many Australians feel the way regional Queenslanders do and would have voted accordingly.

Announcements Before the Election

As detailed above in March, the Defence Minister met with Singapore to discuss mutual aims for Defence, including access and development of training facilities. From May, the Coalition were spruiking their deal with the Singaporean Army, which would bring 14,000 Singaporeans to the region for training.  The ADF website details that:

“Identifying a remote parcel of land for Singapore Armed Forces training was considered during development of the agreement, but was dismissed due to the limited benefit for the Australian Defence Force.”

Therefore, in May, the Coalition knew full well that an expansion was required. In no instance, did Michelle Landry or Marise Payne identify the expansion and what land was to be (initially) used. They simply implicitly stated that they were ‘upgrading existing facilities’ to house the increase of Singaporeans.

The revelation that the Liberal National Government had no contingency plan if this ‘parcel of land’ detailed above fell over and that would mean forced acquisition of farming land, speaks to the either a cover up and deceit to voters or blatant incompetence.

How the LNP Duped Voters – Psychological Projection

Psychological projection is a tried and true campaign style of the LNP, particularly in Queensland. Psychological projection is when someone takes their undesirable feelings or beliefs and projects them onto others. This takes the focus off them and project it onto others, with the intent to have others believe it is the target who has the undesirable feelings or belief and not them.

For example, if the Liberals stated the opposition would ‘harm families’ but knew it was their party and not the opposition, that had a plan to abolish funding that would harm families. This is psychological  projection. This technique is also used by Republicans in America.

Setting up for the Campaign

On the 4th May, the Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry posed a question to the Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce. This question was put forward to demonstrate how much the LNP invest in helping farmers. This is such a contradiction in terms to the real truth that an expansion would heavily impact on Beef production and supply for the Capricornia region. Landry had already established a platform that LNP supports farmers and Labor does not prior to the election. That smells very much like a precursor for the campaign strategy below.

At the Norman Road booth in Capricornia, where I handed out HTV cards, Landry’s fly-in campaigners from down south (because her local volunteers do not appear to be in abundance) were screaming:

“Labor Hates Farmers!!!” 

They were also telling voters not to vote for the Katter Party or Glenn Lazurus as “they are funded by the dirty filthy unions.”  The absolute hatred for the worker by the LNP in Capricornia also runs deep.

If this was the campaign style at one booth, then it would stand to reason that this was the campaign strategy at many booths.

The truth in this, is that whilst Landry’s mob were screaming “Labor Hates Farmers!!” it was indeed Landry’s mob who were getting set to do the dirty on farmers in the Capricornia region.

Labor Supports Farmers

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, QLD Minister Bill Byrne, QLD MPs Jim Pearce and Brittany Lauga and Federal Senator Murray Watt, have organised forums and rallies to give these Farmers a voice.  Brittany Lauga also organised counselling services for local farmers as, readers would appreciate the impact on their emotional health with this decision is heartbreaking and as Lauga said, quite urgent.

Please see the video below from the Rally, including a brilliant speech from local Farmer, Pip Rea.

Never Underestimate the Vote in QLD

We have already seen what happens in QLD when the Government defies the wishes of the electorate.  In 2012, QLD Labor were banished to seven seats, for selling QLD Rail. In 2015, the LNP were thrown out of office after one term, with Labor taking 37 seats from the opposition for a total of 44 seats. Our assets are not for sale. Not now. Now ever.

Similar anger would have been felt from Queenslanders, on July 2, if they knew about the compulsory acquisition of farming land. This would have most certainly resulted in a very different parliament than we have today.

What You Can Do

Yesterday, the Federal Government said they would look at ‘alternatives’ due to the outcry from local farmers. However, local farmers are not satisfied, with some suggesting this is just to take the heat off of the first week in Parliament.

Bill Shorten has written to the Prime Minister personally and The QLD Premier has requested COAG be held in Rockhampton.

“IF he has any guts he will come here and face you.”
Annastacia Palaszczuk, QLD Premier, commenting on the Prime Minister “The Rally” Rockhampton 1st February, 2017.

However, that is not a victory.  A victory is no forced compulsory acquisition of farming land.  That is the outcome local farmers want.

To support Farmers you can like and encourage friends to like the Marlborough Defence Land Grab Facebook Page

Sign and share the Stop the Australian Farm Land being Blown Up Petition

Write to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, Defence Minister Marise Payne and your local member and insist upon no forced compulsory acquisition of farming land for Defence Training to accommodate the Singaporean Army

Listen and Share Ray Hadley’s scathing interview with Barnaby Joyce linked below:

Renting our Land to the Singaporeans

Barnaby: If we say we will never forcibly acquire anything, we will never build another road, we will never build another dam…..

Hadley: Yeh but they are not giving it to the Singaporeans…….

Hadley: Barnaby, Barnaby, the one thing we never get involved in is BS…..

One thing Hadley is right about – this entire thing is B.S. 

 

The Incredi-Bill National Press Club Address

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's arguments against a binding vote on marriage equality do not withstand close scrutiny.

Bill Shorten’s speech at the National Press Club was incredible.  Shorten shifted the political narrative and claimed a very large space as his own, in less than one hour.  The stage is now his. I see the future as something like this……

Bill’s Advantage

Bill Shorten has a very strong advantage over Turnbull. He has clearly denounced Trump’s promises and his policies. Whereas, Turnbull clearly wants to show his commitment and love of Trump and his support for his actions.

Trump is making a very ugly America. Nationalism is not kind, nor gentle and there are always casualties. Australians now have the chance to see nationalism in action. They will see what Hanson wants for us. Hansonism will come to life, and the people won’t like it. They will sit back and watch Turnbull condone it.

Regardless of how loud and proud some people have been or still are, of Trump and Hanson; via media they will be forced to take on the burden of witnessing the casualties of Trump’s nationalism.  They will see children handcuffed and hear about people fleeing America in fear.  From the freest country in the world, people will be seeking Asylum. It is happening now.

They will see a broken man crying for his brother.  “Sending them back to where they came from” and how cruel and inhumane it is, will hit home for many.

They will see the ugliness and fear created by Hansonism and Trumpism as supported by Turnbullism and they will in turn, reject it.

People of Good Conscience

Those of good conscience will see people in emotional pain and distress and they too will feel emotional pain and distress.  They will want it to stop. Helplessness will be a normal feeling. The fear it will happen here, will be a huge concern. Turnbull, with his support for Trump and Hanson is setting an agenda that he would encourage it.  He would welcome it here. This message will be extremely clear to all Australians.

These people will look to the leaders who endorse the infliction of pain and distress on others and they will turn to the leaders who do not.  Turnbull is a supporter, Shorten is not.

Regardless of how far on-board the populist bandwagon people may be; our test is always in crises. During times of flood, cyclones, fires and drought, asset sales and compulsory land acquisition of farming land, that is happening right now in Central Queensland; regardless of our political affiliation, our sexuality, ability or gender we stand united as one Australia. Race, religion and politics no longer matters.

Trump will deliver up a crisis, day after day after day. Hanson will promise to do the same here. The Morrison’s and the Christensen’s will clap their hands and cheer. Turnbull will stand back and give every indication he would never stop these crises happening here, as everyone in parliament is democratically elected.

Casualties

As the discussion keeps unfolding around Trump, we will be discussing the casualties, like the man in the video above. Turnbull will be standing there in all his pomp and splendour agreeing that the pain of these casualties is right and just. He will wave a flag and and meep about secure borders. He will palaver on about ‘what we simply must remember and something about something and how important that something is.’

In addition, he will elevate high above us “Lucy and me” with a fondness of a Malcolm and Lucy story, fit for a 1980s edition of Woman’s Day. Turnbull and Lucy are his fantasy of Australia’s first royal family. The push for the republic back in the day is now quite clear. He has legitimate status as King and Lucy as Queen now. So, that is why a republic no longer matters.

Bill Shorten will be stating with conviction that these victims are human beings. That they are workers and family people. They are the casualties of an ugly right wing populist nationalism that we don’t need here and that we don’t accept. he will clearly state these actions towards others are unacceptable and he will detail how he will oppose it and condemn it.

It’s About Me. No! It’s About Them

Turnbull will continue with verbose lectures, poli-speak and blaming Shorten, throwing some union bashing in for good measure.  Avoiding media questions will become more prominent and he will shrink further into his defensive shell and perhaps get a little angry and remind such journalists of ‘their place.’

Shorten will show more openness, engagement and genuine concern.  He will apologise to the people for being part of the out of touch political scene. Shorten will show genuine contrition. He will follow through on the action he sets down to make it right. Shorten will be open and frank with the media and even if a prominent ABC journalist interrupts him 32 times; he will continue to be gracious and respectful, as a leader should. Always appreciating our quality journalism, pro-Bill or not.  He will point to the existence of fake news and acknowledge the confusion it inflicts on every day citizens.

There will be more town halls, he will call out the media more on silly antagonistic questions. He will challenge the Government on job creation and also insist on transparency.

Staking Claim on a Space

Shorten will claim back the space of being a worker or union and proud of it. He will bear no shame for it. Others will follow, because there IS no shame in being working class or union.  Turnbull’s solutions are all business focused, strongly focused on making businesses richer. Shorten is people focused, strongly focusing on making the lives of the working class and the poor, richer.

Turnbull will prattle on about removing red tape to improve quality of business. Shorten will outline a clear plan to improve our quality of life.

He will claim back the space that has been tainted and attacked by the right and openly slurred, by a taxpayer funded witch-hunt called TURC.

Bill Shorten will own this space because Shorten is the real deal. Turnbull is a fake and it is showing in abundance.

Shorten’s Qualities will Shine Like A Beacon

In a world of uncertainty (and now fear) for many as they watch Trump play God; charisma, fancy suits or pomp-speak are not the traits they will seek. Sincerity, honesty, stead-fastness/dependability are the traits they will seek out.  Shorten has demonstrated that in spades for a long time now.  As the world gets more uncertain, these qualities will shine like a beacon.

The NPC speech was particularly exciting for me, as I love observing strategy. Bill shifted the political narrative away from the populist rhetoric and delivered a sincere, honest, tenacious and steadfast, reliable alternative to the Prime Minister.

He set himself aside and laid out a clear agenda for jobs, families and Australia. Shorten established himself firmly as the political leader and the leading expert in this space.

There are no other politicians who can claim the space of caring for Australian jobs, putting on our kids as apprentices, giving our kids a quality education and understanding families and the disadvantaged.

Shorten laid claim to this space during his NPC speech and now he completely owns this space. At election time, jobs, the economy and families are always central and are the three biggest issues people care about. The stage is all his.

It’s Getting Crowded in Here

The right wing populist nationalist space is getting very over crowded. Especially now Turnbull and the two Bishops have jumped in there with Hanson and her nutty crew along with Christensen and Morrison and the entire channel seven breakfast crew.

Turnbull’s National Press Club address was gutless, weak, pointing fingers, shallow and evasive. A very stark contrast to Bill Shorten who will be Prime Minister for a very, very long time – very soon.

For those who judge Shorten by his ‘charisma level’ I say this too you:

#NerdsWhoGetStuffDoneQuietlyAndTenaciouslyUnite

Hey! Fat White Women! Ya Clowns! Stop Marching!

womens-march-sydney

Source: Andrew Murray/AFP

Overtly racist, Anti-Muslim, Right Wing Nationalist-Populist Pauline Hanson yesterday announced in a coded message that she has redressed all the issues for women which underpin feminism. We no longer need feminism! Cancel the next Women’s March!

Five Million Women

The Women’s March on Washington  was held on 21st January, 2017. This was an international event with over five million women and men marching world wide.  The Unity Principle of the movement is defined as:

We believe that Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights. We must create a society in which women – including Black women, Native women, poor women, immigrant women, disabled women, Muslim women, lesbian queer and trans women – are free and able to care for and nurture their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.

Women, men and children marched to raise awareness to end violence against women. They marched for reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, workers rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights and environmental justice.

Australian women, men and children also marched in solidarity. This is what they marched in solidarity for:

womens-mission

I Stand for all Aussies – Except Fat White Clown Chicks

Pauline Hanson expressed outright anger yesterday at Australian women marching in solidarity with another five million women worldwide.

Now we all know Hanson insists she is not racist. Despite still saying racist things about them, she now loves Indigenous people, Asians and Muslims. She stands for all Australians.

That is, except fat, white women who chose to march in the biggest women’s march in our history, because human rights are women’s rights.

Hanson described these women as clowns, who needed some sun and exercise.  I know many will think that this is just an unplanned rant by Hanson, because she is just an ignorant and angry woman. No, not at all. This is very planned and strategic.

This is simply a strategic tactic to appeal to her main demographic voter base – white men over 40 and to plant herself firmly into the spotlight by saying something divisive about feminism. Being a woman herself, this just legitimises her as a ‘strong woman’ in the eyes of her voter base – white men over 40. A woman standing up to fight against the ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ women who are attempting to share equal space with ‘good’ or ‘strong’ men and have men relinquish some of that power they hold dear, is most certainly a beauty to behold and to vote for.

hanson-women

You Can Tell a Dumb Clown by Its Frown

Dumb clowns are confused. These dumb clowns are stupid. Silly dumb clowns always frown. The saying that we say back to bullies, “it takes one to know one” is quite apt here. Hanson is openly stating that she thinks women are marching against democracy. She thinks they are marching against a process to elect a Government democratically.

Think before you speak might be another one that fits here.

Because dumb clowns are stupid, another one that does fit very well is “educate yourself”.

This is normally used towards people who make claims about feminism. However, they are super dumb, just shaking and crying all over their keyboards angrily hammering out myths and propaganda, rather than actual facts.

Hanson in this rant is the epitome of the clown, she accuses other women to be. A dumb clown at that.

These women were not marching to protest against democracy. Women were marching for an entire gamut of human rights and women’s rights. They were not marching to over-turn a democratic process of electing leaders. Or insisting on authoritarian rule. They were however, sending a message that women’s rights are human rights.

Bumping Up and Down in My Little Red Bandwagon

Bandwagon jumping is when someone pops into an online cause or trend for personal ego trips. Normally, reserved for social justice, these bandwagon jumpers are often louder and drown out the voices of the legitimate minority group that need to be heard. They do it for personal gain, for followers, for ego pumping.

Regardless, they see a trend and they jump right on that bandwagon. Just like Pauline did.

Trending online opposing the women’s march were two groups – Trump supporters and men who oppose the rights of women. Often referred to as MRA’s.

One of the main arguments used against the women’s march was the use of the “Divide and Conquer” strategy.  In all fairness, this is Hanson’s primary tactic in obtaining voters for her own personal gain in her pursuit of power.  This may explain why this bandwagon was so appealing.

This particular bandwagon had so many jumping on it to pit Muslim women against white women.  They did it by trying to delegitimise the many struggles women face. This is done by championing the fact that Muslim women in Muslim Majority countries have it far worse.

That is, pitting the oppressed against the oppressed. Veterans and homeless before refugees! Sound familiar?

Having women question their compassion for all women, to incite them to turn on one another in competition between race, gender status, geography, is a tried and true tactic of those who seek to destroy the feminist movement.

Those in power or who seek to be in power, like Pauline Hanson, do this because facing the enormity of not only the legal discrimination women face, but discrimination by default and the ingrained sexism and misogyny women face daily, is simply too difficult.

For leaders to be sincere about women’s rights issues, would mean that they would need to invest or actually think about solutions. That is far too hard.

Instead, they do things like this to divide and conquer:

Muslims, Muslims everywhere!

Sorry, didn’t mean to scare the Hanson voters reading this with that headline. My point of that headline is that there are two takes on this:  Hanson either purposely did this as a tactic, or she is purposely ignorant, which is not a fitting quality for any leader.

The leader and organiser of the Women’s March is a very famous Muslim-Palestinian – Linda Sarsour. Sarsour is a strong advocate that women of colour should lead the women’s movement.

The other fact that Hanson seems to apply her ignorance to, is that the March was an inter-sectional march. That means that women were marching for all women, regardless of where they come from or if they do or do not fit into a minority sub-group of women. They were marching for Human Rights for all. As women’s rights are human rights.

The HUGE fact that Hanson ignored was that thousands of Muslim Women marched. Yes, even in Saudi Arabia.

womens-march-saudi

No Need to March – I’ve Got This!

Perhaps I am being far too pessimistic. Maybe Hanson thinks that women do not need to march because she has all the answers. Has she redressed all the issues women face? In all fairness, she does claim to have the answers to everything.

The problem is, Pauline Hanson never tells us what those answers are. She just mirrors a problem and agrees with it. She says she will do something about it. That she is standing up for it.

This is the era of ‘Fake News’. We are also asking ‘should the media hold politicians to account or should the politicians hold the media to account’? Therefore, it is the responsibility of the media to put some decency back into their profession and ask Hanson the tough questions.

Ask her questions about her reasons why a women’s march in Australia is a waste of time.

The media can start with similar to these:

Does she think it is appropriate for her followers to burn mosques, interrupt sermons and scare women?

How much does she think her rhetoric impacts on white-on-Muslim women violence in the streets?

If she can tell us her solution for violence against women, longer questioning and scrutiny of sexual assault victims in court and wage inequality, that may be an interesting start.

The media questioned Gladys Berejiklian yesterday about why she was childless. This infers she is not a ‘whole woman’ and is an attack on all women.

They might want to question Hanson if her hyper-masculine, anti-women attitude is a front to protect herself from this type of attack the media inflict on women in politics.

Or is Hanson actually just an anti-woman woman, who gets her jollies from fat shaming other women?

March in March 2017: Are You Angry Enough Yet?

MiM6

Are you angry enough yet? That is the question March Australia would like to know. In 2017, they are taking it to the streets again!

In 2014, Tony Abbott and the Liberal National Coalition Government saw the anger well up in so many people and March in March took it to the streets. Three years later the Australian people are still angry and Malcolm Turnbull, like Tony Abbott before him, still does not have a positive or progressive agenda.

Although this morning on Twitter John Wren thinks he knows where the Prime Minister’s agenda might be. If only Irona was not on holidays! 😂😂😂😂

The Turnbull Government is still NOT listening to the people and March in March is BACK!

The Liberal Government has failed miserably under Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull and the list of things the Australians are angry about is almost endless.

It is time to Stand Up Australia!  Instead, this year bring your best banners of Fizza, as the Lyin King has been removed and replaced! Thank you Australia! Give yourselves a round of applause!

How Many are YOU Angry About?

Here is the list presented by March in March as some of the things you may be angry about. If you are angry about any of these things, something else, or maybe just the flat-out incompetence of the Turnbull Coalition Government – then get amongst it. Boots on the ground people!

march-in-march-1

March in March – Get Involved Today!

Watch the Video below for how to get involved today; or visit the March Australia Activist Interchange Facebook Page:

What is the Point?

As we saw with the influence that marches like these had on the influence of the removal of Tony Abbott and the influence of pure people power to remove Campbell Newman from power in Queensland, with Labor and other parties taking 40 seats off the LNP Government.  The removal of the Newman LNP Government freed Queenslanders from mass sackings, removal of civil liberties and the closure of many vital and important public and community services and the privatisation of our important assets.

Boots on the Ground does make a difference.  Get involved today!

In Times of Crisis, who are our True Leaders?

melbourne-tragedy

Yesterday, a heartbreaking tragedy occurred in the centre of Melbourne. Four people are dead including a young child. In times of crisis and tragedy, it is important to reflect on how our leaders respond.

Why are the Words of our Leaders Important?

It is important to reflect on the words of those who seek high office and those who seek to represent the people.

Their words can either unify us in strength and respond with solutions that will protect us from greater harm, or they can divide us and offer us non-practical knee jerk reactions.

Their words should console us and give us the strength to carry on.  Their words should respect the lives lost and those who are injured.

Their words should pay tribute to those who selflessly put their own lives in danger, whether it is emergency services or volunteers at the scene.

Our leaders should respond with genuine empathy, seriousness and concern. Their first concern should always be about the people.

The public and of course other leaders should outright condemn politicians who make a tragedy all about themselves or their agenda.

I will leave the responses from our various leaders and politicians below for the readers to judge.

Malcolm Turnbull – Liberal Leader. Prime Minister of Australia

The prayers and heartfelt sympathies of all Australians are with the victims and the families of the victims of this shocking crime in Melbourne today.  And we thank and acknowledge the heroism, the professionalism of the police and the emergency workers who rushed to the aid of the victims, joined by bystanders who mindless of their own danger sought to help those who had been attacked in this shocking crime. Their love, their selflessness, their courage, is the very best of our Australian spirit.

Bill Shorten – Leader of the Labor Party. Leader of the Opposition

All Australians stand with the people of Melbourne in this horrific moment.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of the lost.

We pray for the injured and the frightened, in particular the very young children.

We pay tribute to the first responders. We give thanks for the bravery of the police, the speed of the paramedics and the skill of those who’ve worked to save the lives of the injured.

We salute those passers-by who rushed to the aid of their neighbours.

But we also know that on dark days like this, words are so inadequate.

Words can’t capture the horror we feel. Words can’t comfort those who’ve lost someone they love. Words won’t heal people who’ve been hurt or banish the fear. Words can’t put back the lives stolen in a few minutes of madness.

It’s difficult for all of us to comprehend how, why and what has happened. Harder still to understand that it happened here, in a country and a city that prides itself on being such a welcoming, safe and peaceful place.

Victoria Police have made it clear this was not an act of terror, it was an act of murder. A cowardly, senseless, destructive crime that has claimed the lives of innocent people.

We wait for answers, we wait for justice and tonight we hold all those in sadness and pain, close to our hearts.

People who are concerned about loved ones can call the helpline on 1800 727 077.

Daniel Andrews – Premier of Victoria. Leader of Victorian Labor Party.

Our hearts are breaking this afternoon.

People have died in the heart of our city.

Others are seriously injured. Young and old. And all of them were innocent.

All of them were just going about their day, like you or I.

Some families are just starting to find out the news about their loved ones, and right now, our thoughts are with each and every one of them.

I’m so proud of all the Victorians who reached out and provided care and support to strangers today.

I’m so thankful for all our police, paramedics and emergency services workers who launched into action, and will now be working around the clock.

And I hope that everyone can be patient and cooperative, so we can let these professionals do their job.

This was a terrible crime – a senseless, evil act – and justice will be done.

Richard DiNatale – Leader of the Australian Greens

My heart goes out to everyone affected by the horrible scenes we’ve seen in Melbourne’s CBD today.

Adam Bandt – Australian Greens. Member for Melbourne.

I’ve stood on those Bourke Street corners many times, including with kids. My heart goes out to everyone suffering today. Big thanks to emergency service workers, especially those trying hard tonight to save lives.

Pauline Hanson – Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party

I have just been told that there has been a terrorism attack in Melbourne.

People don’t look right. That they are not going to assimilate into our society, have a different ideology, different beliefs, don’t abide by our laws, our culture, our way of life, don’t let them in.  Make this country safer for future generations.

All terrorist attacks in this country have been by Muslims. (Journalist: No they haven’t).

It is up to us to accept, revere, reject, condemn & shame

Australia is not immune to tragedy. Our tragedies are from the actions of other human beings or forced upon us by nature with fires, floods and cyclones.

Regardless of our politics, we should always seek to reject those who do not put others first. This is an automatic indicator that the inherent requirement to represent others is simply not a driver for that person and their motivations for public office are disingenuous and self-serving.

It is up to us to accept and revere Leaders who stand with us, comfort us and guide us in times of tragedy. Our existence as human beings, as community members, as families and as individuals is above all else.

It is up to us to reject, condemn and shame those who are not genuine in their desire to serve the people. It is up to us to demand that the media and other leaders do the same. However, trusted and true Leaders should need no encouragement from the people to do so.

A Very Stark and Dark Contrast

There is a very stark and dark contrast between the words of Pauline Hanson today and that of other prominent leaders. As someone who the media promotes as a potential next Prime Minister; it is really important to frame Hanson’s words as the central to her motivations in public life.

Will the media continue to give a free rein and a supportive kid-glove approach to someone who believes they ‘say what Australians are thinking’ yet puts herself before others, even in times of devastating tragedy?

Well Pauline, yesterday Australians were thinking about the lives lost, the people injured and those who were left terrified and the work of our emergency services and volunteers. Australians were not thinking about where your next vote will come from.

The media is constantly giving the Pauline Hanson One Nation Party an absolute gamut of free advertising and promotion in the media, through their reporting, radio and TV shows.  The media should take responsibility and cease this free promotion of this self-serving right wing nationalist immediately.  The media are not oblivious to the power of influence they hold over the voting public.

Clearly, the contrast is in the video of this interview, where Hanson actually smirks as she turns away from James Ashby back to the media, before she went into her tirade about blaming terrorism and Muslims for this absolutely devastating tragedy.

Zero Compassion

Not once did she show empathy, compassion, concern or horror at what had occurred. Not once did she want to know more. The scale of the attack. How many injured. Was there still a threat?

Instead, Hanson smirked, turned to face the media and with smug satisfaction she announced there had been a terrorist attack in Melbourne.  Then she used the death of others and the serious injuries of others to promote her populist ideology. 

Considering Populism is the stark contrast between the corrupt elite and the will of the people; for Hanson to completely exclude any concern for the people from her rant, really reeks of blatant hypocrisy. It is time to put Australia first and reject this charlatan.

Clearly Hanson is all about the conversion of votes into cash and the luxury the power that public office brings.  Clearly, no one but herself was her concern today.

Imagine Hanson leading the country in a time of war?  No thanks.

It no longer saddens me that Hanson’s popularity is increasing. It absolutely distresses me.

It is time the Media took some Responsibility

The media is a very, very powerful being and it can and does shape the minds of the voting public. They media are very aware of their own influence.  It is time the media took some responsibility for their role in the promotion of politicians.

We can no longer afford to stand by and to continue to allow the media to promote politicians who are disingenuous and self-serving and this is always very evident in times of crisis and tragedy.   I thank the media who have called her actions out.

Let’s hope Channel Seven responds with a blanket ban. 

Our country and our people are too precious to waste our faith in those who do not stand with us, but stand for themselves.

I know along with everyone reading this, my heart goes out to the people who have lost their lives and were injured yesterday and also to their families.

I would like to end this article by directing readers to another very good article on this topic by Jennifer Wilson: Giving a Damn Still Matters.

Indeed it does. Let’s not lose that anymore than we already have.

Assimilate but GTFO – of our billboards

two-little-girls

Tonight it really hit home. It hit home that the Australian people are more interested in trashing the fair go, than holding it dear as a true Australian value. Once the fair go is well and truly gone; we, as a people are nothing.

Two Girls, Two Flags,Two Tweets

As I browsed Twitter, two tweets had a huge impact on me tonight. The first was from Sam Dastyari. There was a real sadness in Sam’s tweet. A sadness that really encompassed that this insidious scourge of populist racism, led very vocally by Pauline Hanson, is actively destroying our country from the inside out.

The human face of the racial attacks, slurs, anger and hatred from so many “Hansonites” in the last 24 hours were two gorgeous, smiling little girls. This. Must. Stop.

The second tweet was from Josh Butler, Associate Editor of Huffington Post Australia. His tweet really drove home not only the callous behaviour of the last 24 hours; but the stupidity behind it. Is this what we have become? 

Why this really hit home

The reason Sam and Josh’s tweets really hit home is because they wrap up very neatly in a nice little ball how racist ranting has become the new power drug for so many. It hit home because the feeling of elation and superiority more and more Australians are feeling from this negative, insidious activism, led by Hanson (and encouraged by the Media reporting her every word); is now overwhelming us. It is dividing us. It is destroying us.

This hateful rhetoric takes precedence over everything. Over actually giving a damn about the damage, stigma and pain these harmful words and actions are doing to other human beings. Now it doesn’t even matter if the target is just a sweet, innocent, little kid. 

It didn’t matter if the loud screams and anger were aimed at these little girls. It just did not matter.

Did the people screaming in anger and making hateful comments and praising Pauline Hanson ‘to fight against this’ really care how these two little girls felt about the harmful words inflicted upon them? Or if they felt totally destroyed when the Billboard was taken down? 

The honest answer is, “No they did not”

The honest and even more terrifying answer is “No, in the name of Pauline Hanson, they would do it all again tomorrow.”

Our Racism now knows no bounds

This Hansonesque Racism, which is taking off like wildfire, now knows no bounds. Anyone is now fair game. As we can see from today – anyone. 

Just like all little girls, the two girls in this photo were most likely super excited about being on a big billboard. Their Mum and Dad would have been so proud of how beautiful they looked on such a huge poster and no doubt family and friends were delighted to just know them and how proud everyone is of them. Drive-by’s and selfies galore would have been had.

Yesterday, dedicated Hansonites destroyed that overwhelming joy for two little girls.

Due to the racist outrage and fears of safety by the advertiser and threats to the company, the billboard has now been removed.

There is a growing number of Hanson worshipping Australians who see someone in a religious garb as sub-human and they gladly treat them as such and celebrate such joy from another person’s pain and anguish.

The Hansonites don’t care about how these little girls must be feeling. These ‘Patriotic Australians of the adult variety’, actively participated in the last 24 hours in breaking the hearts of these two little girls.

Today is the day that these little girl’s have had to face the reality that they live amongst monsters. Not the BFG kind. Ugly, hateful, mean, nasty, scary monsters who worship a god with a really poor vocabulary, no positive ideas, an ever increasingly prominent narcissistic personality, an over-zealous ambition, with flaming red hair and a nasally twang. How blasphemous of them!

I want to know the names of these little girls so I can ask these Hansonites, if they actually care how [Name] and [Name] felt when the billboard was taken down?

Brave and Patriotic

How much did the Hansonites laugh because these little girls may go to bed tonight crying until they can’t cry anymore?

Did these Hansonites hoot with glee that these little girls will never understand that all they did wrong was to exist as Australians?

Who are these ‘patriots’ who say they don’t deserve to?

How big and powerful do the Hansonites feel? Screaming at these little girls that they aren’t Australian enough? Although they are Australian, just like them? 

Did the rants and screams of the Hansonites make them feel more valued as members of society, because they “protected” Australia from the great harm these two little girls inflicted upon the country by being on a billboard?

How very brave and patriotic!

Hansonite Hypocrites – Is this who we have become?

The video below is so important at this point in time.  It is important because it really visualises the Hanson rhetoric. The message of how we are supposed to shame, ridicule and tear down others. We simply must force ourselves into a position of authority above ‘the targeted others’ and insist they do not belong.

This makes us “Pauline’s Australians’ who are ‘Real Australians’…..apparently.

This video, went viral and was all over social media. Australians were appalled at how this teacher built this little boy up and then tore him down in an instant.

When I read Sam’s tweet tonight, my mind immediately returned to remembering this video and I loudly exclaimed with disgust “What hypocrites we have become.”

Such compassion from Australians for this little boy. Day in day out, people screamed for the teacher to be sacked. Capslocked in anger about what they wanted to ‘do to her.’

What hypocrites we have become.

In the last 24 hours, the big brave Hansonites have metaphorically rushed that stage, pushed the teacher out of the way and ripped that mic out of that boy’s hand in disgust. Then they screamed at him:

“YOU DO NOT BELONG ON OUR STAGE!!!!”

Not only did they do that….they laughed about it and patted each other on the back if they could snatch the mic in a particularly cruel or nasty manner. They cheered if they reached the epic status of making the kid cry really loud. This meant they were ‘true patriots dedicated to Pauline’s Australia.’ 

That is what Hanson and her pack of self-righteous “patriots” have done to these girls yesterday.  

Hanson and her patriots’ message to these girls is that they better bloody assimilate, but seriously GTFO of our billboards. Don’t you dare come to the barbie cos we will damn well make sure we smother it with bacon.  We do this because we think it makes you uncomfortable. Making you feel uncomfortable, makes us feel brave.

I am, you are, we are Pauline’s Patriots.

So yeh – assimilate but GTFO! 

Is Pauline Hanson and her happy hate club slowly choking the fair go to death?

Hanson does no favours for Townsville Tourism

I have just watched Pauline Hanson’s video with her Queensland State Election candidate for Townsville (only referred to as Tyrell) and neither politician nor candidate did any favours for Townsville Tourism.

Townsville – A Crime Capital?

Listening to and watching this video was like standing behind two gossip-mongers at the checkout who were moaning about the everyday ills that we all face and know about.

If I was living in a community with such terrible crime as they both promoted Townsville to be, I would expect a politician who claims to ‘understand the ordinary Australian’ to at least give an ‘ordinary solution.’ However, Hanson, offered no solutions at all, except to say that the candidate ran a local crime Facebook page.

Hanson also said that we need to put ‘pressure on the politicians.’ That is right folks. Hanson doesn’t need to come up with any solutions, it is your job – the average Joe, to fight the Government. It isn’t like it is her job or she gets paid mountains of cash to do that job or anything. 

For those who don’t think she is a politician but ‘one of us’….Newsflash: When a person campaigns in elections across a span of 18 years, receives oodles of cash in AEC funding, heads a political party, has a political party named after her, has ‘staffers’ and sits in the Senate – they are a politician.

I find it remarkable that someone who has been given the power and the privilege to be a politician, talks about herself as if she is not a politician at all.

Is this the new era of politician? Pretend you are not one, so you can absolve yourself of generating ideas and solutions, or taking responsibility?  

For someone who has never been to Townsville, I’m not inclined to drop by any time soon, as both women made it sound like an extremely terrifying place to live.

Their focus was all about how the Queensland Police Service have basically no control over crime in the community and hooning and stolen vehicle crime is sky rocketing.

According to Hanson, here are the two main issues that are ‘sky-rocketing’ in Townsville:

townsville

Doing Townsville Tourism No Favours

It appears that over the last five years, the QPS have been working really hard to curb these types of crimes in the Townsville region. There has been an increase in statistics in the last year; but the factors are unknown.  Townsville is indeed above the State average for hooning and vehicle theft. However, Hanson did not have a serious take on this issue as to a standard one would expect of a politician.  Why do the media treat her with kid gloves in this respect, yet hound other politicians?

Unemployment was blamed, however, on the other hand Hanson also supports more welfare cuts by the Government.

Speaking to issues such as these are complex matters with a variety of factors. That is why it is much easier for Hanson to just blame a certain race of people for the entire problem. It sounds so simple to so many, that this just makes sense. You don’t need to really think about how to fix it if you already have a simple (albeit wrong) answer.

Hanson, then tried to give the impression this is happening everywhere and used Mackay as another example.  The crime stats do not support Hanson’s claims.

What is the political purpose to promote two coastal towns that rely on Tourism as ‘places with uncontrollable crime?”

 It’s a Big No to Renewables Investment and Jobs

After Hanson kind of shooed her candidate away because she wanted to talk about herself (awkward moment); other topics covered were promoting the Adani mine, rubbishing the Greens and rubbishing renewables because they are too expensive.  In Townsville where unemployment is extremely high; Hanson, once again offered no solution or even acknowledged that whilst coal is essential for jobs in the region; the possibility that investment in various sources of energy would create even more jobs and it would be looking at a long term solution. In fact, Hanson played up the ‘scariness’ of renewables and how much they would cost.

If Hanson had genuine concern for the disadvantaged, would it not be more appropriate for her to talk about how she is backing the welfare cuts by the Turnbull Government?

welfare-cuts

The Aboriginal Issue & The Scary Muslims

Then Hanson turned to her favourite 90’s retro topic – “The Aboriginal Issue” (her term, not mine).  According to Hanson some ‘Aboriginals’ approached her with open arms asking her to help them, to stop them from committing the escalating crime. She then clearly stated that Aboriginals commit 75% of the crime in Townsville.  Again, no solutions, blaming ‘politicians and forgetting she is one herself.’

Now we escalate to scaring the good people of Townsville with those Terrorist Muslims who are going to cancel Anzac day. Hanson did not explain that this was an issue of state and local  Government in one state fighting each other for funding for the necessary security at a major event. She did however pinpoint very specifically that this is the fault of Muslims that we allow into the country.

Although Hanson says this again, as some type of off the cuff remark, she knows full well that although Townsville, going by population data has a very tiny Muslim population of about 1%, yet had this type of attack which only occurred in Townsville last year. 

I really need to ask.

Do readers think Hanson purposely tries to incite more of these types of attacks on innocent people, through her constant stigmatisation and blaming of entire groups of people for the actions of a few? or

Is Hanson really too stupid to understand her position of power and the influence she has over those who truly revere her and the actions they take to ‘feel part of her cause?’

townsville-muslims

A Blind Eye for Some Blind Rhetoric

I would strongly question that Hanson has targeted car theft and hooning and a very misleading take on Anzac Day, but steered clear of drug crime and domestic violence. Drug Crime and breaches of domestic violence orders have almost doubled in five years in Townsville, (whilst car theft and hooning has actually gone down in the last five years.) This is in line with state wide statistics; which shows it is a huge concern and a statewide issue.

Do readers find it remarkable that Hanson steers clear of two such major issues? Is it because Indigenous people or Muslims are not stereotyped as the main offenders of these crimes in the media and society?  

That is serious question to ponder.

As Sam Dastyari said on Qanda – Hanson is an experienced politician and she knows exactly what she is doing. 

Happy To Sell Off The Country

Hanson then ends the video with a delusional note that Bill Shorten is the either the Prime Minister or a Minister in the Liberal Government, as she lumps him in with Turnbull and Bishop with some incoherent tirade about selling Cane Growers agricultural land to the overseas buyer.

It is a pity she didn’t tell the cane growers and people of Townsville how she just supported the sale of the largest piece of agricultural land in Australia to Gina Rinehart and her Chinese Investors.  

Once again, the contradiction becomes very evident, when she back flips on her Populist Nationalist agenda and makes the excuse that it is only one third Chinese and they promised to hire Australians. This is not Australia’s favourite measuring yardstick – an Olympic swimming pool. The Kidman property is listed as larger than Ireland.’

The portion she is happy for the Chinese to own is approximately 34,000 kilometres squared. To put it into perspective – Sydney is 12,368 kilometres squared. The portion her Nationalist self is pleased the Chinese own is almost three times the size of Sydney!

Those who align with the right and support Hanson for her ‘steadfast ideals’ and are still calling for her to be the Prime Minister, have lost the right to call leftists blind non-thinking sheep ever again.

kidman

Holiday in Townsville? No Way!

So, there we have it. Townsville, according to Hanson, is a very scary place where Aboriginals who are only 7% of the Townsville population are committing 75% of all crime; where the police have no control crime and criminals are running rampant and where we live in a totalitarian society and Muslims are forcing Australians to cancel Anzac Day. What a terrible place to go for a holiday. No thank you! I hope Townsville Regional Council take note of the impression Hanson and her candidate have broadcast about their community.

The Corner Shop Know-It-All.  Is That All There Is?

Just like waiting for the morning paper at the corner shop, Hanson and her Townsville Candidate are like those two women who stand there holding up the counter with their whiny gossip. We have them in every neighbourhood. We know them. They get parodied in Australian comedy. These women know all, like to have a good gossip about what ‘they have heard’ but offer nothing in return, no solutions – just gossip and ‘their point of view’ as they frown and run a particular group of people in the community down to the ground.

You know the type…… If a young Aboriginal boy got caught stealing a car, they would be frowning and making sure everyone in the shop knew that they thought ALL young Aboriginal men should be locked up. Even if 99% of Aboriginal young men were fine upstanding citizens, tut, tut, tut, don’t let that fool you – that just means YOU are stupid and can’t see it.

(lowers voice) Can’t you SEE?…. (nods head over right shoulder vigorously) It’s them….It’s what they’re like……they are ALL the same.

These type of people always think they are ‘correct!” and that everyone should agree with them, and shame on you if you do not!

Should we aspire to more than this? Or is this all there is? If corner shop gossip is all Hanson has to offer this great country of ours –  I ask you, “What is the point of Hanson?”

The Red Window Blog – 2016 in Review

“If you jail a man for striking, it’s a rich man’s country yet.” These words had the biggest impact on me in 2016.  These simple words cut through the distrustful MSM, the spineless rhetoric of Prime Minister Turnbull, Trumpism, Hansonism and me-too-ism. They silenced the noise, propaganda, discombobulation and the head spinning mind blowing ‘post-truth’ lies.

As I fought my way through the narratives or dishonesty, distrust, jingoism, cronyism, nepotism, elitism and divisiveness in our fractured society; these few words made it all clear. They were truly “my light on the hill.”

Regardless of what politicians throw at us. Regardless of how the media want to spin politics to play their own game. Regardless of the diversionary tactics of racism, nationalism and sectarianism. Regardless of how the public are closing their eyes and ears to facts and rejecting the reasonable, sensible debate of ideas. What will always remain is the same struggle that has always been. The words in my opening paragraph define this.

The struggle between the capitalist class and the working class. The struggle to maintain the rights of the worker and to protect those who are not engaged in work, regardless of the reason. This struggle underpins every single political thought, word and deed.

May aim for 2017, through this blog, is to keep this focus. To cut through the noise. To bring the worker back to the table.

Before, I post the summary of my year in review; I would like to send a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has read any of my blog posts in the past year. Readers who have taken the time to read my thoughts and who have taken the time to comment, like, subscribe and share. Your support is invaluable and greatly appreciated.

Anything in the public view such as blogging, can and does have an ugly side and at times, it can attract the less than friendly commentariat, weirdos tracking me down on Facebook or email who share their vile thoughts about me more privately and the going does get tough.

In 2016, I will be honest. I struggled at times. Sometimes it was dealing with negative and very personal commentary. Sometimes it was struggling with the exasperation I constantly felt with real people being harmed and feeling so helpless all because of Government decisions. Part of the struggle was whether blogging even made a difference. I have always just written because I simply have to write. It is something that I can’t control. I’ve never stopped to think about making any difference. However, I began to struggle with the purpose or the reason of doing this publicly.  

As they say, a change is as good as a holiday. So I refocused and renamed. Polyfeministix, which has been the name of this blog since the beginning; had a restyle and a name change to “The Red Window Blog.” It is a better reflection of who I am and my writing style. I also made a decision to actively label myself a laborist rather than a leftist.

I cannot end this year, without expressing my deepest and sincerest gratitude and thanks to two incredibly selfless, kind and generous men who I am honoured to call my friends and my comrades. These two fine, fine men propped me up and gave me confidence and strength every single time I was so close to throwing away my writing and my blog.  

So Biggy and Corny, I raise my glass to both of you and send you my deepest thanks for your kindness and support and your tireless listening ears.  Your invaluable guidance and your treasured friendship. May 2017 deliver to you your hopes and dreams for you and yours.

Happy New Year from me at The Red Window Blog to all of you and I wish everyone a safe and prosperous 2017.

A recap of my articles and other political media for 2016 is listed below:  

Thanks again for reading!

Blog Posts

January, 2016

Join the Protest to Re-elect Turnbull

Power Rules, Men, Sex and Politics

February, 2016

A dirty deal to drown out our inner voice

Are we Turnbull’s unpaid focus group?

Ten things more reckless than funding Gonski

March, 2016

IWD: A most exciting time to be a woman

Marriage Equality. How Tolerant?

April, 2016

Mums & Dads – Malcolm wants YOU as a new recruit

If Malcolm was a homeless youth

May, 2016

No posts of my own. A reblog of “Should I quit writing” by Josephine Moon  – the question on my mind at the time! and a petition about the changes in the publishing industry.

June, 2016

Australian Voters – What are you afraid of?

Shorten’s Labor: Fair Go Mate!

Plebiscite. NOT a civil and respectful debate

Pauline just attacked women and I don’t like it!

Ten Kids Poorer than Malcolm

July, 2016

After plummeting into deep despair after the election and losing all faith in humanity, I zipped up my pencil-case and just read Stephen King and Dean Koontz for a whole month.

A guest blog by Redcuchulain

Why we need an Iraq war Royal Commission- Sign my petition

August, 2016

The Taxed Nots. Who are they and what should we do with them?

Will you Lean on me or are you an indi-bloody-vidual?

September, 2016

Welfare Bashing the NEETS: The new team in the sport of welfare bashing

Have the Greens just divided the Nation?

No! I don’t defend your right to say it

Turnbull – A Friendly Mushroom and a Destructive Seagull

What have you really noticed about Bill Shorten?

Cashless Welfare – Enough is Enough!

Australian Political Reporting: Explained by Movies

So… You call yourself a Leftist?

Innovative PM? No Malcolm! You’re doing it wrong!

October, 2016

Who Defines Patriotism? The Politicians or Us?

This Could Change Politics Forever

One Nation Voters – Hate the Worker. Hate the Poor

One Nation Voters – Hope. Fear. Racism.

One Nation Voters – Nationalism, Patriotism and the ABCC

WE DON’T SERVE THE GAYS HERE! Innovative Marketing solutions

Abbott & Turnbull – It’s on like Donkey Kong!

When Christensen Talks You Better Listen to Him

Politics Driven Fear and the Pain it Brings

November, 2016

Cameron Slaps Down Anti-Worker Party One Nation

Oh Do Shut Up! The Lib/Lab Duopoly is Bullshit!

A Casual Conversation about Politics in Regional QLD

Dutton, Turnbull, Hanson and Veruca Salt – How Tolerant?

Steve Price & Others Blaming “The Left”

The System isn’t Broken – We Are.

Follow Morrison’s Lead – Boot Them Out!

Women are just a Political Game for the QLD LNP.

The Poli-Stakes Cup (Warning Satire!)

December, 2016

Family Court of Australia – Men’s Experiences

The Ballad of Auspol 2016

2017 – It’s Time to be like Gough

Fishing R Us – The Best Aussie Advert Ever

and of course – The Red Window Blog – 2016 in Review.

Some Red Window Political Memes of 2016

tax-dodger-originalHAPPY 2017!!!!!

Family Court of Australia – Men’s Experiences

father-pixibay

It is time for a National inquiry into the Family Law Court. This inquiry should seek to understand if decisions are balanced and fair for both parties. A system of review and redress should follow.

Listening to the stories of men

Over the past year, I have engaged with men online and their stories about their experiences with Family Court matters. I have also been privy to the stories of men I know personally and their experiences within the Family Court system in Australia. I have found these stories to be quite alarming.

I believe there is a system of unfairness. There are indeed enough personal recounts that I have personally come across to conclude that some/many men appear to be on the receiving end of injustice and unfairness within the Family Court system. It is fair to assume that this extends beyond my own networks and could indeed be a prevalent experience amongst men.

The child should always be placed at the centre of the policy framework. The best outcome for the child should be to have regular physical and emotional contact with both parents, wherever possible.

I am a strong believer that if there is no violence, where neither parent, nor child is in danger from the other; that both parents have the same right to be involved fully in their child’s life. That should be seen as fair and just. If that means that neither parent can leave the geographical area, then so be it.

For some men, this is not a complex matter of whom the child lives with; but it is simply a matter of being given ‘permission’ to have physical contact with their own child on a regular basis – to simply be involved. That basic right should always be decided upon in a fair and just manner, with the child at the centre of the decision. Not the desires of either parent placed at the centre of the decision.

Just one of the stories

One personal story told to me recently, was from a young father.  He has fought to be able to spend time with his child since the day she was born. The mother had already decided “her baby” did not need a father, prior to the birth (his personal recount and he showed me text messages to the same effect). The father has seen the child for only 32 days out of 530 days, despite a mediated parenting agreement being in place. I am reassured that there was/is no violence and no unusual circumstances. The existing mediated agreement also support this is not the case. This is just a simple story of a father who wants to be involved in his child’s life.

In this instance, the mother has moved five times. The father has travelled to various places to see his child all in the relatively close geographical area, up to an hour and a half away. However, recently the mother took the child and moved 2,500 km’s away across three states without telling the father. One day she did not show up at the agreed place to deliver the child to the father for his scheduled visit at his home. The mother was unable to be contacted for months.

The mother ignored the parenting agreement already decided upon in mediation in the court system during the first round of appeal by the father to spend time with his child (Legal proceedings commenced from the day the child was born). The mother removed the child and took the child to live three states away in the period between the court mediated parenting agreement and the official court ruling (which I understand confirms the parenting agreement agreed to at mediation).

After a court battle instigated by the father (which has been ongoing since the birth of the child), the judge decided ‘although it is not ideal’ he will be at least ‘allowed’ to Skype his child twice a week. The judge acknowledged the mother broke the parenting agreement but ruled that the mother does not have to return the child to the same geographical area so the father can have regular access.

This was because the mother has relatives in the state she moved to. The mother also has relatives in the area the child was born and removed from. However, this was not taken into account. Most importantly, the fact that the child has the other parent – a key and major relative back where the child was moved from – was completely ignored.

His new reality

The father’s involvement in the child’s life will be via a screen on an I-Phone – twice per week. The Skype calls so far have been about 15 minutes long. The child is under two years old. The father is around 20 years old. For this young man, the legal battle to see his child continues. He has been informed to appeal this, he needs to travel three states away and appeal the matter in the court where the mother now resides.

For men with little income, how do they cope with this, let alone the emotional turmoil?

The most difficult part for me as the recipient of this story, was the feeling of helplessness for the father who is so distraught at being punished because, in his own words:

“I have done everything the court has said to do. I followed the agreement. I have done nothing wrong. She has done everything wrong. How is that fair? How is that fair?”

If listening to this brings forth such distressing emotions for me, a third party – what is the actual emotional toll on the father? I conclude it is insurmountable.

How many stories similar to this young man’s story are there?

Why does this matter?

The impetus for my writing this is a question from this father: “What is the point of a parenting agreement, if one party can just break it?” How is that fair? After hearing this story, it appears that mediated agreements have no weight as a legal mechanism to protect the rights of either parent. In this case – the father’s rights.

If there is no case for violence, danger or unusual circumstances (drugs/alcohol etc.), laws need to be reviewed to ensure that the child is placed at the centre of decisions made and fairness for both parties prevails.

I am not a family law expert and I declare that I have no experience in studying family law and I do not understand the complexities of the system. However, I am an individual who sees patterns in narrative. It is patterns in narrative – in stories of lived experience which set the foundations of how our society is shaped. I have developed the belief that there is something wrong with the shape of this part of our society at present.

The patterns in narrative I am seeing are raw, emotional, frightening and alarming.  I simply have to say… or do something. I cannot have a platform such as a blog and remain silent on this matter.  I don’t see the point of being someone who is actively engaged politically just to ignore what I am hearing. I don’t see the point of labelling myself a liberal feminist, or a democratic socialist, if I ignore a blatant area of inequality which can be redressed by a review of the existing law and on what basis decisions are made.

The stories I have engaged with online and amongst others within my own networks, all point to that men are overwhelmingly experiencing injustice and inequality in Family Law cases and there is an pool of emotional pain that is as vast as it is deep. There simply must be a better solution. With same sex couples also with families, the notion of the woman having prominence of all decisions can no longer be the norm and should never have been. This should never be about gender. The child simply must be at the centre of this policy debate.

For those of us who claim to be for equality and social justice, we must ask why more attention is not being paid to men who are self harming, who are in severe emotional distress and who are also taking their own lives, because of decisions in the family court.

This is not my story. I am merely the story-teller. As a woman, I do not have this experience as a father. I have been told by men that this is their reality – this is their lived experience due to decisions of the Family Court of Australia.

Gathering evidence for a proposal

I simply seek to bring a proposal to the two political major parties and advocate that they take a serious view of the stories of men. I will be seeking that they agree to bi-partisan support.

Once I have gathered enough evidence for a proposal, I  will ask that they recommend a National Inquiry into the Family Court of Australia. I will also ask that they seek to implement an operational strategy where cases can be re-heard and a system of redress is put into place.

To assist me in gathering evidence for a proposal, I have developed a short questionnaire (see below). Please feel free to share your story and opinion by completing the survey below. The purpose of this short questionnaire is to collect stories from men who feel they have experienced injustice in the Family Court of Australia.

These stories will be used to identify main themes to highlight where there may be consistent areas of inequality.  You may use a pseudonym and please do not include any identifying details.

This proposal will be sent to Ministers and politicians relevant to this area, to advocate for a national review of the Family Court of Australia; including a proposal for a system of individual review and redress, where inequality is identified.

From the information gathered, other suggestions will also be proposed, as per the lived experience of men who have completed this survey.

My aim is not about one gender winning or one gender losing, but ensuring that this is brought to light so we have an actual system of fairness and the child is placed at the centre of any decisions made.

Please note this is a point of advocacy. It is not a guaranteed solution. I do not know what the outcome will be, but this needs to start somewhere.

Click HERE to complete the Survey.

The Ballad of Auspol 2016

shearers-strike-2

Mr. Harbour-side Mansion, or so he’s been called, waved and smiled at those below him
Leather jacket gone, I lean to the right, I’ll do whatever you say, He told ’em
Two Thousand and Sixteen, I’ve been the selfie-Queen, everyone will recognise me
‘Cept that lady on the train, who was clearly insane, “Mr. PM” is how they baptised me.
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2017 – It’s Time to be like Gough

whitlam

Today, 5 December, 2016 marks 44 years since Gough Whitlam broke 23 years of conservative rule. In 2016, we saw a mark in our history where so many people are screaming for change. In 2017, It’s time to be like Gough.

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Steve Price & Others Blaming “The Left”

steve-price

No, I did not predict this at all. I am not just talking about Trump’s win. I am talking about the vile response to “The Left” and the placement of blame on “The Left” within Australia.

Yes, “The Left” the two words pronounced by the right-wing with such venom that it gives rise to a vision that “The Left” are fetid stains on society – just parasitic bots wrapped in ribbons of shit.

Last night as I saw this video land in my news feed, I was pretty annoyed to be honest. This epitomises exactly why “The Left” (in this instance, leftist women in general), are plain exhausted and why we are responding emotionally to the result of the US election.

A Rampant Underlying Disease

Throughout the entire campaign, women from “The Left” endured a rampant rise of misogyny, sexism, an entire video demonstrating how men perpetuate the notion that men can just claim our bodies whenever they want, that women are nothing but an uncessary appendage to their sexual parts, how we should be jailed for abortion and the biggest message of all that a woman cannot be trusted to be the President.

Trump played this card because this ingrained distrust that women can be strong leaders is a rampant underlying disease. This is evident not just in America, but in Australia as well.

Women are angry, emotional and distressed at the outcome and rightly so. The championing of Trump’s sexism and misogyny impacts on women at different levels.

If you have been a victim of sexual assault or rape the impact of Trumps words are more painful and bring to the surface the fear of powerlessness and the reality and horror of sexual assault and rape happening again and reinforced as “okay”.

If you are a survivor of domestic violence, Trump’s words make escaping seems so much more harder, as who will believe you? You are just a woman.

If you are a woman of colour, Trump’s words added a quadruple layer to the extra layers of discrimination faced every single day and the terrifying reality of civil liberties ignored at an even deeper level.

If you have to face the agonising decision of abortion, Trump’s words make this not a personal decision, but label you in the lower echelons of society as a jailed criminal.

If you aim to be the boss and not just the secretary one day, or if you aspire to lead a board, a company or the country, your dream changed from a dream of hope and possibilities to a nightmare of climbing the highest mountain on earth and probably dying before you reached the top.

Every time Trump opened his mouth and every time people cheered it on, it chipped away at our agency. Agency we have fought for, that we marched for, that we slept out in the dark and reclaimed the night for. Agency we hold dear because we value and understand that women before us were tortured, abused, force fed, sexually assaulted and died so we have the agency we have today. Agency that is so far from complete agency that we are still fighting for every single day.

Women are NOTHING

Women know there are plenty of people who support women’s rights and are very aware there are plenty that don’t. However, I think we have come to a point where we feel that men who truly hate women, or men and women who do not believe women should have equality and agency, are in the moderate level of minority.  I would hope to think as a whole, we respect the efforts of women before us, and we recognise we have come very far; and many men and women have joined this crusade.

To sit and witness millions upon millions of Americans champion Trump’s contempt for women, and endorse him by rewarding him with the Presidency and legitimising that his treatment and contempt for women should be the new norm; sent us through a time warp of pure hell and it was a chilling and terrifying awakening.

This was a terrifying awareness because, regardless of all of our progress and the fights we have endured, there were millions upon millions upon millions of people thumping the table and screaming “WOMEN ARE NOTHING!!!!” “MINORITIES ARE NOTHING!!!” when they cast their vote. Yet you stand there bewildered wondering why we are angry.

Lecturing and Hectoring

On The Project, the panel asked a question to Jamilla Rizvi about the election result and how she was feeling about it. Jamilla detailed how excited she was when she woke up and it was a big moment for women, but now it has all changed.

Steve Price, a right-wing commentator, interrupted Jamilla’s answer, by jumping in before she could speak to a follow-up question about the demographic statistics of voters, of which white women factored in the Trump vote quite highly.

Price jumped in (no, he doesn’t need to lean in) and started putting his point across. His point that this was about ‘Real America.” Jamilla cut him off and asked him to “Cut the Bullshit about ‘Real America’.

Jamilla wanted to stress two points. That ALL America is real America and that ‘Real America’ is not just the parts where Trump supporters exist, but ALL Americans are Real. A very valid point. The other point she made as he was having a go at her for ‘interrupting him’ (after he interrupted her) was the question was directed to her. Jamilla is a strong woman. Strong women make concerted efforts to claim back their rightful place when men try to take it away. Her rightful place was simply to be given the respect to answer a question that was directed at her.

Every woman sitting at home watching, even if they didn’t see this coming, have witnessed and experienced the next blow. The ire, wrath and fury that rises up within a contemptuous man, when he is in a face-off with a strong woman. The desperate and surging need that rises up from within to put the woman back in her place.

Price hit back with the “put her in her place triple whammy.”  He hit back with the intent to apply blame and words to evoke self-doubt.  The triple blow was that this was a two pronged barb. One aimed at women and the other aimed at “The Left.”

Price replied with this virulent retort:

“This is the reason why Donald Trump won, because people like YOU lecture and hector people.”

When Will Men Take Responsibility?

I predicted that Trump supporters would gloat and I predicted they would ridicule and I predicted they would name call. However, I did not predict the blame that they would put on “The Left.”

There are many on the left calling for ‘calm’ in their response to those who are salivating over the Trump win.  Instead of insisting we call it out, now we are being told to respond with kindness and acceptance.

When will the women who fight for equality, ever get to take a rest from absolutely having to defend our position? Will it ever be over?

When will the ‘Anti-women men from the Right’ take responsibility for their own behaviours?  If they took responsibility for their own words and behaviours, women would not be forced into a position time and time again to speak out against the abject misrepresentation, stigmatising rhetoric or other degrading nonsense they project.

In 2016, women have now endured hundreds of years of men speaking over the top of women, interrupting them, invalidating their views, telling them that they are wrong and that it is all their fault.

Why does it constantly need to be explained to men like Steve Price, that the actions he displayed (interrupting, correcting, criticising and blaming) are a constant women face on a daily basis.  When will they understand that these words and behaviours lessen the value of a woman’s point of view and deligimitimises her true existence?

When comes the point in time that these types of men, clue onto the fact that it is their behaviours that invoke the response from women that they see as hectoring and lecturing. 

When will they ever remain silent and listen quietly and patiently, (as we are expected to do) and reflect on their own behaviour?

Will there ever be a point in time where they say “I didn’t realise that my words and behaviours are actually quite damaging to women. I’m Sorry.”

Will there ever be a time when these men carefully consider the opinions of women instead of striking back and deflecting blame back and/or pushing a woman into the corners of self-doubt?

Men like Steve Price occupy a completely different space in society than women do. A space where they have been given the legitimate right to cry foul and throw tantrums if 100% attention is not focused on them at all times. Where their power is reinforced because everything they say is always validated, or it is an underlying expectation of the dyadic exchange.

They are in a self appointed position of privilege and power and they are so fearful of letting that go. In a classic fight or flight response, they fight back.

When will the time come when men will stop letting the fear of losing the position of power and privilege take hold and take flight from their own fears instead of fighting back?

I have found this applies very strongly to men who sit on the right of the spectrum, not just towards women, but towards minorities, but most severely towards “The Left.”

Blaming The Left

Since yesterday, I have had three men approach me about the Trump win. They know I am very pro-Labor and very much against right-wing views. All approached me as Trump supporters in different ways, but the message was the same: to “Put the Lefty-woman back in her place.”

One did it with the ridicule approach. His tactic was to force me to concede how wrong I am and that my views are not the correct views and so many more people disagree with me and not just him. He made accusation after accusation of how wrong the left is. How it is the fault of the left because they chose Hilary.

He then said:

“Everything that has happened today – Is your fault. The Left created it.”

To be frank, I lost my cool. All I saw before me was a man who had endorsed and gave legitimacy to the contempt Trump has for women. I also saw a man who was part of a powerful system who openly and willingly enabled a very dangerous place for women and minorities. On top of my feeling of terror I had been lugging around since the Florida count, I was then dealing with a very deep level of disgust and disbelief towards this man before me.

The upset was the reality of seeing Trump emerge as the winner. The words and sounds of everyone trying to find their position to accept and respect, never question and obey, or to revolt, was like watching one of those old movies with Hitler and Churchill, but it was in colour. All of this gave rise to a day of accumulative negative affect, which simply combusted into a critical negative affect.

I directed every single emotion in a long tirade of beratement towards this man, who emerged as the first man who thought he had the legitimate power to ‘put me back in my place.’

Just like Steve Price and just like the other two men who approached me, this man placed the blame of the divided country, and the acceptance of xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, misogyny, ableism and sectarianism as the path to a better world of “The Left.”

However, the Right need to take flight from their own fears instead of fighting “The Left.”

Born to Rule

Those who sit on the right elevate themselves into a position of legitimate power. Not legitimate by position of actual authority, but legitimate power because they believe they are in the true position of authority over “The Left.”

“The Left” must obey or they will be punished when we do obtain legitimate power of authority.

The Left must bow down and apologise for not following the perfect plans of the right and ruining society. (It’s all Labor’s fault! The Greens are Terrorists!” Echo…Echo..)

The belief of ‘born to rule’ and the reinforcement that “The Left” are the dregs of society and the right are the societal elite; is deeply, deeply ingrained in their psyche and culture, through their ideology of Individualism, the ethical framework they adopt of egoism and their vengeful hateful stigmatising rhetoric against every single group “The Left” stand for.

The Fear that really gave us Trump

Just like men who need to take responsibility for their words and behaviours, when will the time come when the right wing will stop letting the fear of losing their self-appointed position of power and privilege take hold and fight their own fears instead of fighting and blaming “The Left?”

When will they look deep and hard at their own back yard that Individualism and egoism are the antecedents for punitive welfare policies, harsh cuts to public services and welfare, their war on the collective right to bargain for a fair wage and fair conditions and the stigmatising and debasing rhetoric that has shunned and cornered the lower and working middle class?

When will the time come that they reflect on their own behaviours and sincely enact change, just as they are demanding “The Left” should do?

If the Right reflect on how individualism and egoism underpin some of the most destructive outcomes for society, they can actually bring themselves down a level and sincerely listen and work on real solutions.

If the right decide to not reflect, but remain on the trajectory that they must be obeyed and followed, as the world needs their Paternalistic guiding hand; this divide will continue to grow.

Individualism and Egoism drive the Right’s sense of legitimate power. The conundrum for the Right is; if they recognise Individualism and Egoism as the cause of abject poverty and divisiveness, the only solution is a collective and unified approach with the Left, adopting a socialist viewpoint with socialist solutions.

That in turn, would create a fear of losing ‘legitimate’ power. That is the moment where they need to decide flight or fight. Do they run away from Individualism and Egoism or continue to fight “The Left?”

If the Right are truly concerned about the growing swell of people in abject poverty and despair who have risen to elect Donald Trump, then those on the Right need to fight their own fears, and stop fighting “The Left” and make a serious attempt to address inequality.

Follow Morrison’s Lead – Boot Them Out!

 

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Should we follow Scott Morrison’s example? Is it time to use Freedom of Speech as a precursor for a new model of Border Protection? Could we identify those who set out to destroy a peaceful society and create fear, dread and terror and boot them out?

There are a few constants that have been dragged up time and time again by the Abbott-Turnbull Government and two of these are Freedom of Speech and Border protection. The Liberals really want these two bills endorsed but there is opposition to block them.

However, should we grant unrestricted Freedom of Speech? Border Force could then identify, threatening speech and behaviour which creates, fear, dread and terror for many Australians and act on this quickly.

However, unrestricted Freedom of Speech does not mean freedom from consequence. If another human being or group inflicts emotional trauma, stigma, fear, dread and terror onto individuals or groups, they should be seen as violent individuals who are a threat to society.

The Border Protection Narrative

Asylum Seekers are held up as the universal threat to society. This underpins the harsh, punitive asylum seeker laws, the LNP champion to all of us, including the new proposed life time ban on asylum seekers who arrived by boat.

The Coalition have implied that Asylum Seekers are a threat to society as they are a burden on the taxpayer (Dutton) and Turnbull indirectly states that Asylum Seekers are a threat, due to the people who bring them here.

You should not underestimate the scale of the threat. These people smugglers are the worst criminals imaginable. (Turnbull, 30/10/2016)

Therefore, in the spirit of fairness and equity, if this logic is applied to asylum seekers coming by boat, then it stands to reason that we protect our borders from others who are a threat to our society and boot them out, never to be let back in again.

Let’s look to Scott Morrison as an example of how this works.

Follow Scott Morrison’s Lead

In 2014, Scott Morrison (then Minister for Border Protection) used his ‘power and authority’ to protect our borders. He threw someone out of the country who he determined was a threat to Australia.

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.

Mr. Morrison said of the cancellation of Blanc’s visa as:

“This guy wasn’t pushing forward political ideas, he was putting a view that was derogatory to women and that’s just something that our values abhor in this country,” he told Sky News.

Morrison acted on Julien Blanc because what he advocates is very harmful to women. If implemented by his male followers, we would see the physical and sexual harrassment of women in society, escalate. In a nutshell this is a threat to individuals, groups and society.

The Minister for Border Protection used his discretion to identify Blanc as a threat. This paves the way for the same discretion to be applied to identify other individuals or groups who are a threat to our way of life. 

This is why it is important to follow Scott Morrison’s lead.

Who are the real threats to society?

The Turnbull Government and the One Nation Party create fear, panic and dread for so many people in society. They do this through their freedom of speech to announce harmful cuts, stigmatising rhetoric and the purposeful division of society (Taxed and Taxed Nots, Homeless vs Refugees etc). One Nation encourages mass protests against segments of society, through alignment by choice with right wing Nationalists groups as well as their divisive and stigmatising rhetoric.

As per the example of Morrison above, these words and behaviours have the ability to incite violence towards individuals and groups. They are pushing a view that is derogatory to segments of society; and to align to Morrison’s quote – “and that’s just something that our values abhor in this country.” 

The Liberal and National Party politicians and One Nation Senators would be identified as a threat to society, if Morrison took the same logic and the same discretion and applied it to them. The perceived threats and the reasons they should be booted out of the country, are listed below.

Attacks on Unionised Workers and all workers

The ABCC will increase worker deaths, workers will face massive fines and also jail time, for stopping work, due to a safety breech in the workplace.  Destroying Rights at Work and purposesly implementing measures that will increase worker deaths is a direct threat to the lives of the Working Class.  

The LNP identify as a threat to the Worker. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!

Attacks on the vulnerable

The Turnbull Government are abolishing the Year 7 Whooping Cough Booster when there has been an increase in whooping cough deaths.  This puts, babies, young children, teenagers and the elderly at a high risk of death and/or serious illness.  Destroying imperative control measures for deadly diseases is a callous abomination and a threat to all of society.  

The LNP identify as a threat to the Vulnerable. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!

Attacks on Jobseekers

For putting forward a bill with even more disgusting and abhorrent punitive measures than the measures that jobseekers already have to face, including zero benefits for an entire month. Also for the Turnbull Government’s utter failure to create enough jobs to stimulate the economy and give the people a decent quality of life. In addition to giving job agencies the power to apply financial punishment to people in abject poverty – even if they are in hospital.

For imposing financial penalties for not finding jobs that do not exist; is sick, twisted and callous. These types of measures place the lives of young people in jeopardy and they face increased risk of suicide and homelessness. To have the intent of destroying the lives of the vulnerable is an absolute threat to all unemployed people now and in the future.

Another tactic to attack and dehuminise those on welfare, is to make up ludicrous mendacious claims about how much more money those on welfare get compared to ‘hard working Australians.’

In addition, the cashless welfare card is now proposed to be implemented Australia wide.

The LNP identify as a threat to the unemployed. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!

Attacks on LGBTIQ community

The insistance of a plebiscite has not been a civil debate so far

I would like to make special mention of George Christensen, who has young people living in fear in his own community because of his hateful rhetoric towards LGBTIQ people.

and also a special mention of Member for Mallee and Nationals MP, Andrew Broad, who equates marriage equality to rams having sex in a paddock.
The LNP identify as a threat to the LGBTIQ Community. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!

Attacks on First Nation People

For reducing 150 indigenous programs to just five. Cutting essential funding for legal services and the National Shame that is the Don Dale correctional facility and incarceration laws in some states and the absolute failure to ‘close the gap.’  Including defunding valuable programs for young people, such as the Jimmy Little Foundation.

The LNP identify as a threat to Australia’s First People. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!

Attacks on People with a Disability

By damaging the framework of the NDIS. So many people in dire need of assistance under the NDIS, championed it’s inception. However, we have now seen changes to payments and a letter detailing changes to the board. These changes indicate that those on the board with essential lived experience of disability, will now be replaced with those with Corporate experience.

The Abbodisabled-newstarttt-Turnbull Government is also hell bent on inflicting punitive measures on people with a disability. Pushing them off the pension and onto the punitive framework of Newstart. As detailed above, a stay in hospital is not a valid excuse for the overseas employment giant Max employment. They will still apply a financial penalty. This is a type of insane power and authority. This enables companies who work for the shareholders, rather than those who serve the public, to impose onto an already disadvantaged individual, a financial strain, when they are already finding it difficult to make ends meet.

In addition, the narrative used by the Liberal party when discussing welfare and disabilty, is ableist and degrading.

The LNP identify as a threat to people with a disability. Protect our Borders. Boot them Out!

Attacks on Asylum Seekers and Xenophobia in general.

It is essential that this group is included. Asylum Seekers and anyone deemed as foreign (ie Muslims) have been used by the right side of politics for years now as a plaything in the game of spoiling identity.

The harmful rhetoric championed by Tony Abbott backed by his 1,000 flags and now adopted by our apprently ‘moderate’ Prime Minister Turnbull and inflamed to the Nth degree by Pauline Hanson and her merry band of devoted Nationalists, white supremiscists and Neo-Nazi’s; is one of the biggest threats to our society as a whole.

Due to this constant stigmatising and demonising rhetoric, individuals are verbally and physically abused. Some women have lost their freedom due to fear to go out in public.

This sickness. This irrational fear of people for no reason is alarming. Pauline Hanson and One Nation are central to inciting this divisiveness hatred and fear.

On Saturday, this was not just opinion or analysis, but a reality.

A Busload of Reclaim Australia and Pauline Hanson supporters bussed into Eltham.

They travelled especially to stand up against people in a community, about an issue that does not affect them, because they do not even live there.

They waved Australian Flags. They hid their faces by wrapping their head in a flag.

Riot Police were called in to stand guard – an indicator of the level of threat.

They rallied against refugee advocates.  These advocates expressed their views peacefully and showed their support for refugees with Butterflies.

kon

The LNP, One Nation Party and Nationalist support groups identify as a threat to Refugees and anyone who goes against their beliefs.  When we see those with intolerant views bussed into a peaceful community. When we see them displaying behaviours which cause others fear, dread and terror; the ‘them versus us’ debate has gone way, way, way too far. 

Protect our Borders. Boot them Out! Boot them ALL OUT!

Women are just a Political Game for the QLD LNP.

cwp-brittany

The encouragement of women into the political sphere and the development of current women MP’s should be a genuine intrinsic motivator for all politicians, across the political spectrum. However the Queensland State Liberal National Party Opposition have chosen to participate in political games, rather than engage in political progress for women. 

brittany-2The QLD LNP State Opposition have denied a pair for attendance at the Commonwealth Women’s Parliamentarians’ (CWP) Annual Planning Meeting. Queensland Representative, Brittany Lauga, MP (ALP) is now unable to attend and Queensland will have no representative. A pair is required as QLD has a hung parliament. Ms. Lauga said that, “Pairs are granted all the time for Ministers and Members to attend different meetings.”

This is an indictment on the leadership and values of the LNP. It clearly shows that the LNP view women’s representation in politics as something frivolous to be scoffed at and something to play games with.

Commonwealth Women’s Parliamentarians

The CWP plays a vital role in the devolopment of women to enter into politics and also for the women who are currently in Office. The statement from the CWP website, describes their purpose as:

The CWP Steering Committee believes Australian political and party behaviours and cultures need to improve if we are to achieve equitable outcomes for women in Parliament. Moreover, women who are elected to Parliament deserve to be heard on policy and governance issues, especially gendered issues such as domestic violence where our laws and programs have tragically failed too many women.

It is essential that women politicians are given every opportunity to participate in any forum, conference or committee, which will enhance the role of women in public life.

Women’s representation in the State and Territory Parliaments is low and needs vast improvement.  The LNP have only eight women MPs out of a total of 42 MP’s in the QLD State Parliament (19%).

A Show of Good Bipartisanship

Ms. Verity Barton, MP (LNP), was the CWP QLD representative from 2012 – 2015.  Ms. Lauga wrote to the former CWP representative in the spirit of bipartisanship on the 25 October, 2016.

Dear Verity and the Broadwater EO,

On Thursday 3 and Friday 4 November 2016 the CWP is holding a face-to-face meeting in Hobart. I have negotiated with the CWP to allow an observer from the Queensland Opposition to attend and I wondered if Verity would like to be that representative? The Clerk of the Parliament and the Speaker have both approved this. Travel would have to be arranged using the Member’s GTA through Travel Services. Would you be interested in coming along?

Ms. Barton advised she was unable to attend.

Ms. Lauga then wrote to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Deb Frecklington MP, on the 27th October, 2016, to extend the offer to any other woman in the LNP Opposition.  However, to date, Ms. Lauga has not received a reply from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

Ms. Barton was afforded every opportunity to attend CWP events as the Queensland representative from 2012 to 2015.  This includes attending the Pan-Commonwealth Conference for Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, Houses of Parliament, UK,  in June 2014 and the 3rd Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships Forum in Fiji, in May, 2015.
(pictured below).

 

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Verity Barton at the CWP Conference UK,2014

verity-barton2-fiji

Verity Barton at the 3rd Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships Forum, Fiji 2015

 

An ALP Junket and Upgrades to Business Class for LNP

In a statement to The Rockhampton Morning Bulletin on Wednesday 2nd November, 2016, an LNP spokesman advised that:

“Ms Lauga does not require leave from the Opposition to attend a parliamentary junket at taxpayers’ expense”

To describe a conference, which underpins the vital and crucial development of women representing women, in a country where Domestic Violence is an epidemic; as “A Junket” is beyond offensive to ALL women.

The statement from the LNP spokesperson is not only offensive, but the LNP may need to look in their own backyard before casting aspersions on others.

All MPs who undertake international travel are required to submit a report.  I have been able to source Ms. Barton’s report for her international travel to Fiji, but there appears to be an absence of a report for Ms. Barton’s international travel to London for the CWP Conference UK, 2014.

In addition, Ms. Barton’s Fiji report lists upgrades to business class equating to $1300. This exceeds the cost required for Ms. Lauga to attend the CWP Annual Planning meeting in Hobart.

If Ms. Barton has not submitted a report for her international travel to London, this may be a matter for the ethics committee.

Encouragement from the Speaker

The Speaker of the House, Mr. Peter Wellington, MP (IND) (and also chair of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association of which CWP is a sub-branch) raised the matter today in the spririt of encouragement and fairness at a meeting between the LNP and Labor. However, the LNP still refused to grant a pair.

Ms. Lauga wrote to the Speaker on Tuesday to express her disappointment.

Dear Mr Speaker,

As discussed today, a meeting of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians is planned for Thursday 3 November (dinner) and all day Friday 4 November.

In the spirit of bipartisanship, I sought approval from the CWP for an observer to attend so a woman from the Opposition can also partake in the meeting.

Once approval was granted by the Chair of the CWP Michelle O’Byrne, I wrote to the former CWP Queensland Representative, the Member for Broadwater Verity Barton MP to invite her to take up the observer position (see attached email).

Further, I also provided the Member for Broadwater with a copy of my itinerary in case she wished to take the same flights and stay at the same hotel as I had planned. The Member for Broadwater refused the invitation (see attached email).

I subsequently wrote to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition Deb Frecklington MP and extended the offer for her, or another female member of the LNP Opposition to attend the CWP meeting as an observer (see attached email). To date I have not received a response to this offer.

My understanding is that it is unlikely the LNP will agree to a pair for me to attend the CWP meeting in Hobart, despite the offer for the LNP to send an observer to the meeting. It would be an embarrassment for Queensland not to be represented at the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians meeting considering all other States, Territories and the Commonwealth will all be represented.

It would be particularly disappointing given that the Member for Broadwater was offered every opportunity to partake in CWP meetings and activities as the former CWP Queensland representative. Queensland, and indeed all of the women members of the Queensland Parliament, deserve to have active representation at the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians.

The LNP’s refusal to allow a pair to the meeting would be a State shame, but it does highlight the LNP’s failure to acknowledge the importance of women being represented in our Queensland Parliament.

Kind regards

Brittany

A National Statement of Disappointment

Any woman reading this, will have their own personal story about their lived experience of denial of opportunity due to sexism or gender discrimination. The level of disparity is further ingrained for women of colour, women with a disability, women in regional an rural communities, women in poverty and the LGBTIQ community and other minority groups.

It is not only important for all Queensland women to be represented, by their state MPs at these important events, but more so for women in these groups.  As inequality is a serious issue throughout Australia as a whole.

The Australian Chair of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, Michelle O’Byrne MP who is also the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in Tasmania, made this statement on behalf of all women.

‘It is extremely disappointing to see political game playing interfere with this important role that supports women in parliament and works to increase the participation of women in political life.

Unfortunately I note that this view is not held by the LNP for male attendance at national committees and events not was it their view when the Queensland role was held by a LNP member. It is disappointing that Queensland will not be represented at this national meeting’.

Men in Blue Ties

The LNP appear more interested in playing political games to harm the progress of women, instead of supporting and encouraging participation of women from both sides of the house.

An interesting question to raise is; have the ‘Men in Blue Ties’ also denied the participation of women in their own party, so they could play games with the hung parliament?

What would Malcom Turnbull Say?

The Federal Leader of the Liberal and National Coalition and Prime Minister famously said:

“You’ve heard me say this before, but it’s worth repeating. Not all disrespecting women ends up in violence against women. But that is where all violence against women begins,”

I ask in all seriousness, would the Prime Minister approve of his State counterpart purposely playing political antics with the opportunities of women MP’s to participate in a forum who have one of their key purposes as:

“Women who are elected to Parliament deserve to be heard on policy and governance issues, especially gendered issues such as domestic violence where our laws and programs have tragically failed too many women.”

The State QLD LNP are disrespecting women at the highest level. That is, preventing women parliamentarians to attend an event that is integral in working towards a progressive future where women’s experiences of legal discrimination and discrimination by default are rederessed.

I encourage everyone to urgently place pressure on the Prime Minister to stand up to his State counterpart, the Leader of the QLD LNP, Tim Nicholls, to ensure that a pair is granted in the QLD State Parliament, to enable participation in CWP and similar events from LNP and Labor women MPs, at all times.

If the Prime Minister implies that “This is up to the QLD LNP” or places blame on the QLD ALP, then his attendance at the CWP Conference in 2015, was nothing, but for show.

cwp-2015

The Poli-Stakes Cup (Warning Satire!)

parliament-racing

Good afternoon folks and it’s a wonderful day out here at Flemington today for the Poli-stakes cup.

The Horses look in fine form as they head towards the starting barrier. Abbott looks pretty rank and a bit full of himself ready to run. A hot tip today says he is in top form to take a place if not the top spot. No sir, we will not see this Stallion sitting in the back of the pack for long.

Hold up! There is a bit of commotion as Hanson is protesting that Aly and Dastyari should not be allowed in the race.  Last time she protested against Wong and Dodson, but she seems to have packed that game away.

It’s only her second time on the track but this untamed chestnut is proving to be a challenge to get under control before they even get into the gates. This filly may run into problems in this race as her fitness is down due to her poor diet. She has refused to eat hay, oats, carrots and drink water because they are all Halal.

Well what a day! Now we have Malcolm Roberts holding up. He is checking conspiracy blogs for the empirical evidence that the race is actually on before he commits to moving into the barrier.

And it looks like they are finally all moving into the barrier, with Leyonhjelm and Hinch madly tweeting abuse at each other as they approach the gates.

Yep all set now. They are in…..

And they’re off! And they shoot out with Turnbull taking the lead….but what’s this? We have a bit of a bungle at the starting gate folks – It looks like Bob Day has packed it in.

It seems that Dougie Cameron boxed him in and he has nowhere to go….and he is out. Bob Day has chucked in the towel and quit the race folks!

And back to the pack. Simon Birmingham looks shakily nervous as he contemplates if he will be forced back to the barrier and follow Bob Day.

And the pack is tightly bunched as they head down the straight, nothing much in it folks, just a slight margin between Turnbull at the front of the pack who is just a nose in front of Abott and the monkey pod who look sure to over take him.

As we come into the turn, that troublesome chestnut Hanson has come in down the inside of Turnbull. He is lugging in trying to stay on the inside, but he is taken up and Hanson pushes him to the far right and now he is in tight with nose to tail to Christensen.  It looks like Abbott might take that lead after all.

Shorten is gaining pace and racing ahead almost to the front of the pack. DiNatale, is alongside on the left and it looks like he is trying hard to jostle for position to take up the whole left field.

It appears from where I sit folks, DiNatale may be trying to throw the race!  He looks like his main aim is to hold Shorten back, rather than win the race.  Although this is far from his first race, DiNatale’s actions consistently in every race are what you would expect of a green horse. It looks like he still lacks serious form, folks.

What a race this has been!

As we approach the turn we see Watts and Butler making some headway. These shining stars are the ones to watch folks.

Brandis is running last of all. He’s got a lot of baggage weighing him down and he looks as if he is in serious trouble.

Just in front of Brandis, we have The Boats who don’t seem like they are going anywhere. It seems Dutton has pulled up and is holding pace third from last in an effort to stop The Boats and we are seeing some repulsive manoeuvres from him here today in his usual callous style.

The right side of the punters in the stands are going crazy! They can’t get enough of him.

And we are into the backstretch folks! The pack is still tight, Turnbull has fallen further behind at every pole and looks like he won’t come home ahead.

We have just had a rogue horse come onto the track and enter the race! This is all on today folks! Anything can happen in this race! He’s moving into the lead fast.  It’s Dr. Falzon. Dr. Falzon has joined the race!

This is getting crazier by the minute folks.  He has just ridden up behind Shorten and whipped him across the back of the head with a giant basics card.

Well he is off. It looks like that is all he was here to do today. Let’s see if that shook Shorten up.

As they come towards the turn, it is Abbott and Shorten neck and neck, with the pack two lengths behind and Brandis and his baggage still last of all.

As they come into the final turn, we see DiNatale trying to catch these two major players, but he looks like he has a buckleys chance in hell folks.

Its Shorten, Abbott, Shorten, Abbott.

No!!!! It could be all over folks! Media Agenda who has been lurking in the middle of the pack is now streaming down the outside.

Shorten and Abbott have been blind-sided.

It’s Media Agenda now controlling this race.

Media Agenda!!!

Media Agenda!!

And Media Agenda WINS!

Who Defines Patriotism? The Politicians or Us?

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This article explains why Hansonism could rise from a minority status to a majority status – with Turnbull’s help.

It is time for Australians to decide what Patriotism means. Patriotism has become strongly embedded in the political psyche. It is time to determine who defines Patriotism. The politicians or us?

Political populism is a strategy used by politicians to appeal to the masses. Politicians do this by targeting a common fear to appeal to the masses and unite them behind the leader.

Populist politicians use this to unite the lower class and the elites through shared fears. These fears are usually quietly contained fears not openly spoken about, and it is the job of the populist politician to draw these fears to the surface. This transforms the quietly contained fear into openly expressed raw emotion.

This is the point when the Populist Politician holds all the Aces.

A Classless Fear

The reason Asylum Seekers and Muslims are used as targets within the rhetoric, is the fear of anything foreign is a natural psychological reaction.  The beauty that politicians see in this strategy is that it brings together all classes  – elite and poor, to unite over a common fear.

This explains why the rejection of foreigners/Muslims is more important amongst Hansonites than jobs, education, health and welfare.

To demonstrate, I will cut and paste a comment I received the other day about Pauline Hanson’s support for cuts to welfare:

I am not amused by some comments on here obviously i am a Pauline supporter and for one sick and tired of being called a racist because of my concerns for our country ..welfare cuts .. so be it ..better than paying thousands to a muslim man with a few wives and heaps of kids which they will keep on having to get the muslim numbers up in Australia (Forum User)

Forum User is expressing that he is happy with six billion dollars of welfare cuts because it is more important to prevent a Muslim man who has (in forum-user’s mind) a few wives and kids, accessing welfare; than it is to be angry at the Government for placing the disadvantaged into deeper poverty.

Forum User views his stance as patriotic, as Pauline Hanson reinforces this message.

When this misunderstood form of Patriotism, championed by populist politicians feeds into harming everyday Australians and pushing minorities down even further; who should define Patriotism? The Politicians or Us?

(Note: – the racist comment was generalised, no one had called him a racist on that forum)

In-Groups and Out-Groups

The success of this can be explained because there is a deep-seated need within humans psychologically to belong. Social Identity Theory describes this as in-group and out-group behaviour and is the biggest underpinning factor for the ‘Them versus Us’ attitude.

The populist politician uses the symbolic interactionism of words “Illegal immigrants” and symbols “multiple Australian flags” to draw the quiet and unexplained harboured fear to the surface, turn them into raw emotion and to set apart the groups.

This has negative consequences on democracy for the reason it pushes minority groups down further and further until they may be regarded as non-human altogether. Individuals within these shunned groups are classified in the minds of the masses as ‘other’ with an irrevocable spoiled identity.

This is where the fallacy of the Patriotic Approach enters the debate.  To remain vigilant and to protect the ‘In-Group’ anything outside of the ingrained beliefs or threatens the In-Group is deemed ‘unpatriotic.’

The Argumentum ad Populum Patriotic Approach

The debate by Liberal politicians for years now (strongly commencing with John Howard) has been built on  Argumentum ad Populum. That is, appealing to the emotions of the multitude, rather than drawing on authentic leadership to build a strong argument. 

Argumentum ad Populum cuts across two underlying constructs – Pathos – the use of language to appeal to emotions. Usually emotions which are harboured and need to be drawn to the surface.

For example, using the term ‘Illegal immigrant’ instead of ‘refugee’ or ‘asylum seeker’ implies that there is a criminal aspect attached to that person. Criminals are people we are generally afraid of.

The Pathos used to discredit and create the outgroup, are the terms unpatriotic and ‘lefties.’   This places anyone considered to have a social conscience (aka a left-wing individual) as unpatriotic. The politician reinforces this divide.

This use of this language legitimises the harboured fear and draws it to the surface as it creates the common enemy – unpatriotic lefties.

The other construct is the Argumentum Ad Hominem – or the personal attack.

The use of Pathos by populist politicians reinforcing over and over that their believers are Patriots, strengthens this belief.  This also is an antecedent to enable the use of Argumentum Ad Hominem as it used to protect the In-Group from the mendacious traitors within the Out-Group who cannot be believed because they are unpatriotic.

Anyone who sides with the ‘Targets’ (Asylum Seekers or Muslims) is labelled unpatriotic and is in the ‘Out-Group’ and shunned along with the targets.

The Prime Minister Follows Hanson’s Lead

When the Prime Minister announced that, “No asylum seekers who tried to come to Australia by boat, even those found to be refugees, can ever enter the country“, many reeled in shock and horror.

However, One Nation Party Leader, Pauline Hanson rejoiced; proudly proclaiming on Twitter the Prime Minister was following her lead.

Many are reeling in horror, as they see this as a complete disconnect from the politician Turnbull has portrayed himself to be for many years.

Along with others, I came to the conclusion that Turnbull had morphed into Abbott and has now morphed into Pauline Hanson. I referred to this as watching a bad Dr. Who regeneration. However, upon reflection I along with others, was very, very wrong.

Turnbull Channels Howard

Turnbull is not morphing into Abbott or Hanson. He is channelling John Howard.

John Howard is the most prolific popoulist politician of our time. He pushed political populism to a new level.  With the threat of Hanson’s movement in the early 2000’s becoming prominent this became a threat to the Howard Government.

Political populism seeks to fill a gap and motivate people to believe they have real agency to ‘beat the system.’ Third party populist politicans are successful when the gap is perceived to have widened between the promises of the Government to provide security and quality of life and their (failing) practical solutions.

When a third party populists instill in believers that they can beat the system; this means their target is the Government. This is now a direct threat to the Turnbull Government.

Although Hanson is smiling and cheering as if she is the alternative-Prime Minister; she is foolish if she is smiling now.

When the threat of a populist third party is a threat to the Government, the Government needs to become the system which embraces those who aim to defeat it.

John Howard’s success in defeating Hanson was to incorporate her demands into his policies.

In response, (to the threat of Hanson) John Howard recast policies on Aboriginal affairs, multiculturalism, immigration, social welfare and Australian nationalism to match more closely those advocated by Hanson (Wear, 2008)

When the Hansonites in the early 2000’s set out to destroy the ‘system,’ Howard’s response was to become the system that was accommodating and embracing, so that system was no longer deemed a threat.

Turnbull is channelling Howard by adopting Hanson’s policies to transform the system of Government into one that is no longer a threat to the growing movement of Hansonites.

This will require a very ugly Prime Minister who will lead a very ugly Government.

Is Turnbull the New Wedge-Meister?

In addition, Howard wedged the opposition on populist policies.  Author Thomas Keneally famously nicknamed John Howard  “The Wedge-Meister.”

Howard wedged the opposition on issues such as Freedom of Speech (Turnbull tick!), Border Protection (Turnbull tick!) and the need for Muslim immigrants to assimilate (Turnbull tick!)

Howard used ‘Australian values’ to ‘wedge’ Labor in an attempt to draw major support to his leadership.  Essentially, Howard was trying to wedge Labor as ‘unpatriotic and a member of the ‘Out-Group.’

It is very clear why Turnbull has ramped up the rhetoric with “No Asylum seekers who come by boat will ever come to Australia in their lifetime” and has openly challenged Labor to support the bill. Turnbull is not only channelling Howard by adopting One Nation’s policies, but also vying for the title of “Wedge-Meister.”

If Labor do not support this bill, Turnbull will paint Shorten as ‘unpatriotic, unAustralian, a threat to our borders and security and a threat to Australia.’  It will be the biggest attempt to shove the Labor opposition leader in the “unpatriotic out-group” we have seen to date.  Turnbull will then have free reign to dismiss Shorten using the Patriotic Approach discussed above (non-patriots cannot be believed because they are not patriots).

The Challenges Ahead

The challenge for leadership from the opposition to break this, is this type of successful political populist behaviour results in a very strengthened and cohesive cognitive culture amongst the group of faithful believers. If the Government keeps adopting Hanson’s policies and becomes the system that is no longer a threat and gains popularity; this creates a major dilemma for how the Labor opposition responds to this.

Although this could mean Turnbull may be remembered as Australia’s most hateful and divisive Prime Minister; what matters now is Shorten has a huge responsibility to respond effectively. He will need to challenge every nationalist policy Turnbull adopts of Hanson’s and he will need to be shrewd when combatting wedge politics.

True leaders would not turn to populist mechanisms to stoke, stir up and inflame that natural fear. They would use honest, open and authentic leadership to allay these fears.

For Australia to combat nationalism, as the Labor leader, Shorten needs to be an absolute stand out Authentic Leader. It will be Shorten’s challenge to find the gap in the ‘newly transformed Turnbull Government’. He will need to advocate strongly on the one thing that the Hanson/Christensen/Turnbull Government fails to deliver on, that will give the masses agency, security, salvation and hope.

There is a challenge also to us as a people. A very serious challenge.

If populist policians are defining patriotism, as something one stands for, even if it it means harming our nation through divisive, destructive and stigmatising policies and rhetoric; who should define Patriotism? The politicians or Us?

Our challenge is to redefine Patriotism. Patriotism for Australians should always be underpinned by ‘The Fair Go.’  We need to stand up strongly together and reject anything that does not align with the Fair Go and shout this down as unpatriotic behaviour.

It is time we redefined Patriotism and took back our country.

Readers can also follow my blog on Medium and The Red Window on Facebook

One Nation Voters – Hate the Worker. Hate the Poor

abcc-poverty

This is the third article in a series which discusses how the One Nation Party leaders promote themselves compared to who they really are. Through this article I will discuss how One Nation is attacking the worker and the poor.  I am asking One Nation voters to reconsider their vote.

Anecdotally and through observation of social media engagement; One Nation Voters do not represent the elite and wealthy class in Australia. The majority of One Nation voters appear to be either working lower to middle class or recipients of full or part welfare payments.

Other suggestions have been that this party is also the third party choice of ex-Palmer United Party voters.  Voters for Palmer were identified as low socio-economic, suburban and rural voters, low education status, unemployed or working part time.

One Nation has decided to support the ABCC (Australian Building and Construction Commission) and six billion dollars worth of cuts to welfare.

Hate for the Worker

The support for the ABCC will see a return of a star chamber style inquiry for workers who may stop work due to safety breaches (including deaths in the workplace). There is a punitive motive behind this commission.  That is to deter workers from striking. By sending the message that they will may be fined or jailed if they stop work. The Government is protecting the profits of business.

The worker will have less rights than a murderer, rapist or drug dealer. They will not be entitled to a lawyer and they will not have the right to silence. They can go to jail if they refuse to answer questions.

For One Nation voters reading this, is this the type of workplace you want for either yourself, your family, friends or your children?  How will you cope when your seventeen year old apprentice tradie is facing jail time? Facing jail because they chose to stop work because someone died from an incident on site? One Nation supports that the worker should keep working. They support this even if this means the hazard has not been controlled. They support this even if the workers may be in danger.

Here is what your support for this party, along with Coalition voters will bring to workers:

Does One Nation represent their working voters?

I get that there are many people out there who absolutely hate the worker and hate unions. These people normally support the Liberal and National Parties and Family First. I find it difficult to reconcile that One Nation voters would support a bill that endangers the life of workers. Or vote to see them jailed. I find it hard to reconcile that many people in this group fought hard against the VLAD laws under Newman in QLD, and would support a party that takes away the civil rights of the worker.

Abbott and Turnbull have worked their hardest to bash unions and create a lot of distrust. The existence of unions isn’t some fun game where you get to join in to bash unions. Unions have a legitimate purpose in the workplace. One of their key responsibilities is to ensure the employer provides a safe working environment. A safe working environment means you go home the same (or better) than you went to work.

I think there are a lot of people out there who should be standing up and on the side of the worker and unions. However for some reason choose the side of the elite and the wealthy. Why?

You are now a part of this

As a voter of One Nation, I have heard you say time and time again, that you “Stand up for Australians.” Well where is your empathy for working Australians? Where was your outcry the last few weeks when five workers died in construction and transport?  Where is your attack on Pauline Hanson and her ilk? Crickets

Voting isn’t a game. Vote with your heart and your head. The support of this bill will ruin the lives of hard working Australians and you are now a part of that.

The harsh reality that One Nation voters will need to face, along with Liberal and National party voters, is that workers will die because of this bill.

If you voted for One Nation in the faith that they would be good for the “Average Australian” please start taking a lot of notice of what they support in the Senate and reconsider your vote.

Hate for the Poor

The other plan that Pauline Hanson announced that they are supporting, is six billion dollars of cuts to welfare.

In a nutshell, this is taking money away from anyone who receives family payment, all pensioners (including veterans) and families who have just had a baby.  In addition, if you lose your job you will need to wait for four weeks for any unemployment benefit. Some who live week to week will get kicked out of rental accommodation. They will not be able to afford food. They will not be able to even purchase items for hygiene such as soaps, shampoo or women’s sanitary products, which are essential, not a luxury item.

This will increase homelessness, poverty and crime. Having no money for phone or transport will actually make it harder for people to find work. This then makes it easier for the Government to punish people and cut them off unemployment for longer periods.

The original period was six months and Labor, the Greens and Jackie Lambie fought against this and now the Government is ‘compromising’ and have changed it to four weeks.

Here is a video about poverty in Australia. Pauline Hanson thinks that by making poverty worse, it will force people to get a job. You know and I know that, that is a ridiculous way to look at the world. Especially if you have lived it or are living it. Especially when you know that there are 19 jobseekers for every job.

I am absolutely livid. Why aren’t you?

I know people who voted for Hanson, understand what it is like to live week to week. I know they know what a struggle that is. Imagine at the end of that week when you are checking your bank every five minutes – there is another three weeks to go. What would you do?  What is the party you voted for supporting?  I am asking you very sincerely to really think about this. Please put yourself in their shoes, if they are not your own. I am asking you to have empathy for these people and I want to know why you are not angry – because I am livid.

Pauline Hanson is not standing up for Australians. It is time to have a think about whether she is just another politician who has pulled the wool over the eyes of voters. It is time to think about what her real motives are.

I am targeting Pauline Hanson and the One Nation party because they asked genuine good hearted Australians for their vote, on the illusion that her party would help people who are doing it tough. Hanson knows very well, that Australians are passionate about standing up for the battler. She marketed her party to appeal to those emotions.

I know that so many people have lost faith in politics. I know that so many people out there are looking for a third option. Pauline Hanson knows this and this is why she has made a come back. I am angry because she has tricked so many good people and promoted her party based on lies.

Conclusion

Pauline Hanson is an ex-Liberal party member who was sacked from the party because her racism against Aboriginal people and Asian people was so nasty, even the Liberals did not want her.  She has always believed that those who own their own businesses are ‘harder workers’ than the average Australian worker and she has never had time for anyone on welfare.

For those who say that ‘I need to familiarise myself with Hanson’s policies’ she is proving that her policies are not worth the paper they are written on.

A leopard does not change it’s spots and Hanson will not change hers. If you truly voted for this party, not because you agree with her racist beliefs, but you truly believed that she would stand up for the battler and the average Australian. Please take heed of her history and her actions now and reconsider your vote.

One Nation Voters – Hope. Fear. Racism.

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This is the second blog in a series to discuss how the One Nation Party leaders promote themselves compared to who they really are. Through this article I will discuss how One Nation uses Hope, Fear and Racism to gain voters’ trust.

For those outside of Australia or if you are someone who has no interest in Australian Politics; the One Nation Party is a right wing Nationalist Party.  They recently won four seats in the Federal Senate.

If you voted for the One Nation Party, chances are you see yourself as a Patriot. The first instalment in this series discussed how if you are a patriot, your vote is misplaced by voting One Nation.  As One Nation are not Patriots, they are Nationalists.

One of the major comments from One Nation voters is that they are not racist. Some of them very proudly are; but I do not believe the majority are racist.

These voters are simply people who have grasped onto hope, through One Nation’s emotive marketing of fear. That does not make them racist.

One Nation Understands Us

If there is one thing I would like to say to One Nation voting readers; is that One Nation IS a political party. I often hear: One Nation are not like Political Parties – they ‘understand’ us. The fact that the party asked for your vote and won senate seats, means they are a political party full of politicians.

To give them automatic trust based on this falsehood does not mean that they understand you.

One Nation, Emotions and Political Marketing

This Political Party has been very clever in marketing their party to connect with your emotions. They marketed to how you feel about the lack of jobs, the inability to purchase a home, the cost of living and the fears of job insecurity. Also struggling on low wages and the worries, we have every single day for our children.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party have taken all of these fears and instead of addressing them with real solutions; they created a false dilemma.

They created a false dilemma, that other people, who have a different skin colour or religion than you, are the real cause of your fears and worries.

This shows that they are even more political and strategic than most other political parties. Think of it like this. All political parties believe that their ideology or values system, will deliver a better Australia for all people.  Whether this is Conservatism (Liberal), Laborism (Labor) or Environmentalism (Greens); they all truly believe these value systems will benefit ALL Australians. Regardless of what you believe in or what you agree with, this underpins every major party’s vision.

One Nation believes that there can only be a better Australia if we only cater for one section of Australia and make everyone exactly the same. A white Christian Australia.

This is a very politically motivated decision. It is also progressing a political agenda for their own power. They do not understand you. As a political party they want to gain as much money and power as possible. Be wary of giving automatic trust.

Hope, Identity and Power

It is true that many Australians have lost hope and no longer trust the political system. Over many years, successive Governments have created a system that results in inequity and poverty for many. When we lose hope, we feel we lose our power and our self-identity.

People do not willingly give up power to others. It is not a natural act. That is why entire countries are forcibly taken through war. That is why labour that should be valued is stolen through unfair wages and slavery.

Many people feel that if we lose our self-identity, we give up our power. The power to have rights, make decisions, to move freely and to just be ourselves.

This is where the One Nation Party comes in.

Racism, Xenophobia and Islamophobia disguised as hope and equality

Throughout their history, they have targeted minority groups and have insisted that this minority will become the majority and take away your identity and power. That is a scary thing to think about. However, it simply is not true. Freedom is not gained through fear.

In the 1990’s they targeted Aboriginal Australians and Asians.  In 2016, they are targeting Muslims.

If this is a vote for equality, could you stand up and honestly say that you would like to be treated like the people within these groups are treated?

Can you honestly say, that you would like to be abused and spat on, shunned and ridiculed, just because of your skin colour, your features or that you look like followers of a certain religion?

Politicians have a platform, we cannot imagine to have for our voices. Privilege and power are a politician’s automatic right. The words of the One Nation Party are used with all the power they have to target certain groups and set them apart from the rest of us.

By targeting one group as different, it automatically gives people who are not in that group the false impression of power. A real system of privilege and power is created when this is backed by a politician. If it is based on race or Islam, it is Racism and/or Islamophobia.

This is nothing but political marketing to get your vote. It is to make you feel powerful. The same problems that make you feel you are losing power and identity are all still there. One Nation has not solved these problems by targeting others.

They have asked you to be angry at other people, instead of Government. Why? Because otherwise, they would need to come up with actual solutions that could be compared to the Government’s solutions. One Nation has had to do nothing to get your vote, other than place blame on a minority group to distract you away from challenging their (non) policy ideas.

The creation of fear is used because it positions One Nation as ‘protectors’ and ‘authority.’ Very simply, when people are fearful, they naturally want someone to protect them and to take away the fear.

To keep a level of fear that wins votes, it is important for people act on that fear.

Three Levels of Prejudice and Discrimination

There are three levels of prejudice and discrimination:

The first is how we ‘see’ people as different to us and how we make a judgement about them.  It is about how we see people compared to what we see as the ideal symbol of what we think people should look like.

The second is how we feel about people. When you think about different races and groups, how do you feel? Happy, angry, excited, fearful?  The key for One Nation is to play on the groups that people feel fearful about. This fear is heightened by creating falsehoods about an entire group and using emotive words, such as ‘We are being swamped by Muslims.’

Notice that the action words are negative words, that create fear about becoming the minority and losing our identity and power?

The third is about how we act towards others. This is important for One Nation. It is only logical that people will not be very friendly towards people they are fearful of. Not being friendly and welcoming creates a divided country. This creates even more fear and uncertainty. One Nation hopes you will look to them, because they are the party who are agreeing with your fears. However, they are silent about the problems that are the cause of your fears.

Conclusion

I hope that by explaining it this way, you can see that One Nation are not the ‘Average Australian’ like you. They play to your emotions and fears in a purposeful way.  

This is a highly motivated party, with a very well organised strategy to gain votes, more power and more money, based on creating fear about other human beings.

The problems which cause our fears are not solved by targeting other human beings.

The problems that are the root cause of our fears will only go away when we keep challenging the Government or other parties who can gain power to stop inequality, creates jobs and we have real fairness and supportive public services.

Blaming other human beings, because they are different, will not solve this problem. It just makes the same problems even worse for the people in these groups.

I trust this is not the reason you voted for One Nation. I do not believe that most One Nation voters would purposely make life worse for some Australians.

Your vote should never be for a party who blames other people for the country’s problems.  That is because the people within these targeted groups, don’t have the power to make the decisions. They are victims of the same system that you are.  Only a ruling Government can solve the problems that underpin our fears.

If you did vote for One Nation, because you want to see everyone treated equally with fairness, I hope you challenge and re-think your voting decision. The divisiveness, racism and hatred One Nation champions, is the opposite of who you really are.

One Nation Voters – Nationalism, Patriotism and the ABCC

nationalist

This is the first part in a series where I will discuss how the One Nation Party leaders promote their party compared to who they really are.  I will pose the question that if you voted for them, is this who you really are?  This article will discuss Patriotism versus Nationalism and the ABCC. The piece of legislation that sent us to a double dissolution election.

For those who voted for the Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party; I do not believe that all of you truly share the values of this Party.  I would propose that if many Hanson voters really looked at what has occurred so far in only 100 days, and listened to the content of the various Senator’s maiden speeches; they would realise that ‘that does not sound like me at all’ and reconsider their vote next time.

I ask you, if you voted for One Nation, please consider the discussion below and answer these questions:

  1. Am I a Patriot or a Nationalist?
  2. Do One Nation really represent what I believe in?

Are you a Patriot or a Nationalist?

Patriotism

nationalism-versus-patriotism

Did you vote for the One Nation Party because you believe in Patriotism?  Did you vote for One Nation, because you strongly believe we need to be very respectful to our flag and our Nation?  I expect many of you did.  I also would believe that many people when they think about protecting our rights and our freedom get quite emotional about our fallen soldiers, returned heroes and our veterans.

Many of us have an uncle, a father, a brother a son or a grandfather who has fought in a war and some have family and friends who are still there. Many of us today have an aunt, a mother, a sister or a daughter who have served and in the armed forces today.

Without those who fought for our freedom, where would we be today? That is a rather scary thought, isn’t it?

As a Laborist, I also get quite emotional about the men and women who have fought for our work rights.  I topped my Industrial Relations class at University with a very proud 99.5%, if I can take a self-serving moment to brag. This was not just because I was studious. It was because I was absolutely consumed with the fight for work rights and how important it is. How it goes to the very reason we get up in the morning. How important standing together and solidarity are to achieving justice and fairness.

We work to live, not live to work.  Our industrial relations history is the blood, sweat and tears and the backbone of Australia. It is the backbone of the fair go.

These brave unionised workers were jailed, beaten and killed and many families, including children went without food; just so we could have decent work rights today.

This struggle is still not over. Our country’s fine men and women are out there every single day fighting for safety at work and for decent pay and conditions. The fight is endless. Yet Hanson, along with the LNP call these unionised workers thugs.  You decide if the men and women in the videos posted below are thugs.

As at 7 October, 129 Australian workers have been killed at work in 2016.  I refuse to accept that number ever. The only acceptable number is zero.

I know if you do describe yourself as a patriot; there is no way in the world you would stand for companies cutting costs on safety for their own greed if it means people die at work. If that means they never ever come home to their families, including their kids.  I know even though you voted for Hanson, I believe most of you would stand on the side of safety of the worker. Unfortunately, your vote brought four politicians to the Senate who do not stand with the worker.

If Hanson is a Patriot, her party would NOT support the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Why? Because good and decent Australians do not accept a secret star chamber.  This is where there is an accident at work and your apprentice son or your brother or your worker husband, wife, friend or family member is hauled in for questioning and does not have the same legal rights as everyone else.

This could be you or even your children. Workers and apprentices are not allowed to have you as a parent in there as a support person or even have their lawyer by their side.  In fact, if they even talk about what happened in the interview, a worker can be fined and jailed.  They are intimidated and scared into saying what the others want them to say.

How the hell is that Australian and Patriotic? It is far from it.

Here are two clips about the ABCC.  One is the real experience of a former apprentice and the other is a more lengthy video detailing the experiences of many others.

Video 1 – ABCC Interrogation full version

Video 2 – Constructing Fear – ABCC an attack on all workers

In the first video you can see the blatant unfairness of the secret star chamber that workers are exposed to. This is taking away the civil rights of workers. For those who stood against Newman’s Bikie Laws in QLD, this is the same thing. These people too lost their civil rights under this law. I stood with them and I also stand with the worker. Do you? As a Hanson voter you are voting to say you don’t.

In the second video, you can really see the emotional toll the ABCC has on workers, even on really strong men.  Hanson cannot appeal to your emotions on male depression and suicide on one hand and then support a piece of legislation that sees men break down and families break up.

In short – Pauline Hanson has fed you utter bullshit and if you voted for her, you should call her out on it.

Yesterday Pauline Hanson and One Nation announced that they would support the ABCC.

Supporting a legislation that does these things to workers, is not Patriotism.

There is nothing more important to me than protecting the rights or the worker, the safety of the worker and protecting those who cannot work.  It goes to the very heart of who we are as people.

Regardless of who you respect, armed servicemen or unionists and the workers who have built this great country. When we reflect and think of them and everything they have allowed us to have; it is quite an emotional experience.  We feel a sense of pride. It is a collective pride, everyone standing together side by side, regardless of race, colour or creed. I share that with you.  That is Patriotism. One Nation is not patriotism. One Nation are Nationalists.  It is even right there in their name.

Nationalism

patriotism-versus-nationalism

The One Nation Party are not Patriots. They are Nationalists.  I know many of you do not trust politicians.  Pauline Hanson is no different. Why do you automatically give her that trust? She should deliver what you the voter really believe in and what she sold you, not what she actually believes in. This is what you should challenge her and her party on. She only promotes her party as Patriots because she knows it connects with your emotions.

For minor parties who never will Govern and have the Prime Minister as leader of their party and never need to make the tough decisions, this is their main strategy.  These parties will appeal to you on certain issues and they will target your emotions. Even if you think these types of parties are not ‘political’ like the major parties, that is not true. 

They are in politics because they are political. That is why Pauline Hanson pretends they are Patriots, when they are indeed Nationalists.  She does this because she needs your vote for her own power.  As ugly as this fact is for ALL parties, they do need your vote.  Other parties will stand broadly for what they stand for: Labor – The Worker, The Liberals: Conservatism, The Greens: Environmentalism. However, The One Nation party leads people to believe that other parties don’t really show what they stand for and One Nation is different. Well, yes they are; but not in the way they portray themselves as in a ‘different good’.  They actually promote their party as the opposite to who they are.  Although Nationalism and Patriotism share a love for country, they are polar opposites in all other respects.

In the section on Patriotism above; I spoke about being proud of your country for people doing great things, that makes the country what it is today.  I spoke about the collective effort and burden shared amongst us and how important it is that we stand together.  Patriotism is about togetherness and peace. Nationalism is not. Nationalism is about ‘us and them’ and resentment.

This is where I believe the problem lies for many people taking offence when other people call them racist because they supported Pauline Hanson. When these people do treat other people fairly and.are not inherently racist. It is the disconnect between feeling you are a patriot but following and promoting nationalism, is why others may confuse you as racist. It is because you are misrepresenting yourself.  It is like being very pro-union but voting for the Liberal Party and speaking highly of them. It misrepresents who you are.

Patriotism is built on peace. Nationalism is built on rejecting those we don’t want to share our peace with. It is about choosing who belongs and who doesn’t. Why should Pauline Hanson decide who belongs and who doesn’t?  She is asking you to stand with her and take away all the wonderful things that make up a person and just judge them by one thing – they race, colour or religion.  That is not patriotism. But she told you it was. She lied.

The problem is because regardless of the emotional attachment people may have to their vote, it can be hard to accept, that a non-racist person did vote for a racist party. The One Nation party is racist. They are a racist party and they are an intolerant party. Every speech so far has separated out different groups of people by race or religion. They speak about different laws for people who are not Christian, when Australia is a secular nation. It is racist and intolerant because it is Nationalist.  What happens when you, your loved ones or friends are the targets of this type of intolerance?  

The difference between Nationalism and Patriotism is race and national identity are very important to Nationalism, but not Patriotism. Patriotism is about loving your country regardless of who makes up that country.  

Nationalism is explained as this:

Nationalism means to give more importance to unity by way of a cultural background, including language and heritage. Patriotism pertains to the love for a nation, with more emphasis on values and beliefs.

In short, Nationalism does not believe that everyone is equal or deserves equality. Where as a Patriot does.

Patriots respect their country in a peaceful way, where as Nationalists are militant and aggressive and angry about protecting their country and have it remain as the ideal they believe that country should be.  What happens when you, or a loved one does not fit that ideal? You become the ‘them’ in ‘us and them.’ That is not patriotism, but nationalism.

Nationalist believe that their ‘race’ is more superior than any other attribute and this is what defines the greatness of a country.  Whereas Patriotism is about peace and togetherness; regardless of race. Pauline Hanson will state openly that she is not racist. However, her speech and the speeches of her Senators completely contradict this fact. This is now proven, every day of the 100 days since the election.

Patriotism is about believing your country is great and believing we can work together to improve it. Nationalists already believe their country is the best and nothing should change at all costs. Nationalists believe that foreigners are a danger to the ideal country, where as a patriot embraces the values of a peaceful co-existence and aims to prosper together.  The One Nation Senator calling for a “Patriots” TV Channel – is another blatant misrepresentation of who they are.  

One Nation will say anything to have you believe they are patriots, the same as the Liberals will try to make out they care about people.

With regards to the ABCC legislation discussed above; a Patriot would stand up for their workmate regardless of who they are or where they have come from or where their parents or grandparents have come from and regardless of what religion or sexual orientation or gender they are. To a patriot safety is everyone’s responsibility. Your safety is their safety.

A Nationalist, would seek to place blame on anyone who was not in the defined bubble of ‘what they see as Australian.’ They would believe only the worker who they considered an ‘Australian’ has a right to safety at work. A nationalist would see the harm of a worker who is defined as ‘non-Australian’ as justified.

A nationalist would push you to believe there was something about the foreigner that was a danger to your safety at work.  We see this in many examples of the One National party member’s rhetoric. For example, calling for a ban on Muslims when we do have Muslims living peacefully in our communities and they cause no harm.  In fact, they are business owners and workers, doctors and nurses, construction workers and cleaners. They are students and graduates. They share our dreams because they are not ‘they,’ they are us. They are our friends and our neighbours. There is absolutely no reason to separate out one group, and request a separate law for that group, other than racism, or bigotry

There is absolutely no evidence that Muslims break the law any more than any other sector of society. Yet, a law is not requested for any other group, because no other group incites fear simply due to the fact that radical Muslims are also terrorists. Hanson promotes the terrorism, but she never promotes the fact that the majority of victims of ISIS are Muslims.

The important thing for Nationalists is to prevent anyone who does not fit the ‘ideal’ to be excluded and treated differently.  This is the evidence from One Nation so far.

This is not patriotism.  

Nationalism places the superiority of national identity and race above all else, even if the consequences are harmful.

By One Nation Party promoting their party as Patriots and not Nationalists, if you are a patriot, what you believed you voted for; is not what you got in return.

George Orwell explained Nationalism very well:

By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

I do not believe that the majority of One Nation voters automatically segregate people into good or bad, through class, race or creed.  However, this is the essential value, which drives the One Nation Party platform and it is evident every time Hanson or her Senators speak.  All I ask is that you really listen and make your own judgements and challenge what they are really saying. Ask yourself, “would I be comfortable if this was said about me?”.

Conclusion

I will finish with a quote from Sudhanva D Shetty of the Huffington Post:

Love for one’s country is imperative and necessary, but if this love becomes more important than Constitutional values or democratic ideals, it is misplaced.

If you voted for Hanson, because you are a Patriot. Your vote has been misplaced.

Stand up, listen and speak up to the One Nation party and hold them to account for everything you believe you voted for, but didn’t get. Do not treat them with kid gloves. Place the same expectations on them as you do other parties. They are not victims. They are politicians.

If you truly believe in patriotism, challenge and re-think your own support for One Nation’s Nationalism, as this is the opposite of who you really are.

For One Nation Voters…..

  1. Are you a Patriot or a Nationalist?
  2. Does the One Nation Party really represent what you believe in?

patrotism-versus-nationalism

WE DON’T SERVE THE GAYS HERE! Innovative Marketing solutions

no-gays-allowed

Are you a business worried about your right to refuse service to the gays? Well listen up and save Shelton’s bank roll for your legal costs and stop Brandis worrying about writing legislation to allow you to legally refuse service to the gays.  I know he isn’t the Prime Minister Tony is but, Malcolm is always challenging us to be innovative, so here are my top three, yes top three – exclusive and free innovative ideas for you, to help you refuse service to the gays. There is no need to be worried! There will be no need to refuse service! It is in your control! Marketing is so innovative! 

Uniform Revamp

The right uniform can have a very positive impact on your business. Professionalism and authority (authority is like nationalism but sexier!) are the two most highly rated indicators directly influencing consumer purchases. In a study by Suffolk University in 2011, it was found that Uniforms influence consumers on product knowledge and expertise more than the other six strategies; such as radio, television, internet etc.,

So the answer for your business is to revamp your uniform and just openly advertise your bigotry. That way the LGBTIQ community, their families and allies can walk into your shop and see clearly your deep seated hatred by your uniform.  Be warned, they may give you the middle finger! But all is good. They will take their service elsewhere.  It saves the embarrassment of defending your right to bigotry in court and the freedom to express your homophobia and bigotry openly.  Here are some great choices below:

uniform-change

Call to Action Marketing

Call to Action marketing is an online concept to directly attract the ‘right’ people to your business by them clicking on your online advertising. This takes the right customers direct to your website for sales and sign ups! Great targeted marketing tool yes? And you could go viral!

Here are some solutions to keep all LGBTIQ people, their family and allies away. This way, not only will you attract other bigots just like you, but you will most certainly win the internet by keeping basically 70% of Australia away from your business!

call-to-action

Re-branding! (Not Re-Brandis – Re-Branding)

Re-branding is a great way to really revitalise what your company is all about!  It allows you to express a newly invigorated heart and soul as the demographic for your product changes, or you want to really hit some of that solid target market. Re-branding can stir deep feelings within other human beings and connect them to your business.

If you want your customers to share your deep homophobic and and anti-gay feelings – what better way to sell this than to stimulate these feelings through a new brand!  Hopefully these fantastic re-branding ideas will help you!

logos

Conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed these free tips I have shared. There is no need to be worried about refusing same sex couples service ever again, with these new marketing tricks. I hope I have helped you and your business today to find new and inventive ways to express your hatefulness, homophobia and bigotry with the FREEDOM you desire!

Abbott & Turnbull – It’s on like Donkey Kong!

tony-time

I can imagine Abbott reading the latest dismal polling figures for Turnbull and dancing around reminiscent of his 2013 election victory screaming “The Leadership will change! The Leadership will change!” After today’s revelation; is it now on like Donkey Kong?

Reports emerged this morning that Tony Abbott tells UK Tories he believes he can be PM again.  The article describes Abbott is aiming to channel a Rudd like comeback, with Senior Liberals stating he ‘has a good chance, as he is popular amongst the Liberal Membership.’

An interesting revelation though is if Abbott is successful, it appears Julie Bishop will be gone, with Abbott describing Bishop in ‘unflattering terms‘ to his colleagues abroad. The sniping already seems to have begun.  In traditional form, Abbott may as well start with sniping about a woman, before he warms up to sniping openly about Turnbull.  He does need to get back into practice.

If Abbott pulls this off, who will be his Deputy? Andrews? Perhaps. His loyalty to Abbott would make him a favourable candidate.

Will Barnaby be pushed to move over to make room for Christensen as leader of the Nats? In all fairness, it has been Christensen twisting Turnbull’s arm to get him to bow down to the conservatives and nationalists on key policy.

Will Peta Credlin return as Abbott’s adviser?

People may laugh at the thought of an Abbott return and laugh harder at an Abbott/Credlin return. However, Credlin is a highly intelligent woman and an exceptional strategist.  As Howard channelled Hanson’s policies to appease the Nationalists in the 90’s; don’t take it for granted Abbott would fail.

If Abbott follows Howard’s lead and channels the same type of Hanson rhetoric and policies, in the unique Abbottesque-style conservatives and nationalists love; it will be an entire new ball game for Labor, as Abbott will be in his element.

Abbott has the capacity to take over this space and make Hanson sound like an unnecessary annoying blip.  Sunrise will be paying to keep her OFF the show.

The other day I was watching Andrew Bolt’s thoughts on the Presidential debate and another video popped up after that. I watched it with interest. The topic: “Could Malcolm Turnbull be turning into a conservative?” In the video, Bolt noted that Turnbull may be reinventing himself as a ‘more media friendly Tony Abbott.’

 

The video goes on to discuss changes in Turnbull such as his stance on Daesh and his decision to take less Muslim refugees. Attacking Labor with some ‘rare passion’ on border security and an attack on Kevin Rudd, were duly noted by Bolt.

Bolt then goes on to point out how Turnbull has bowed to the pressure from conservatives on superannuation and same sex marriage.

Bolt even asks the viewer to ‘watch this transformation.’  I’ve pointed a similar thing out before. So it isn’t just because I’m a laborist cynical about the right; the same observations are coming from the most prominent conservative in the Australian media.

The reason for Turnbull’s transformation to conservatism? As Bolt rightly points out: “It is the conservatives who can kill his Prime Ministership.” 

Are there already whispers around the halls of Canberra? Is this transformation Turnbull readying himself for a full on challenge?  Have the monkey’s been released from their pod and are they ready to cause real havoc?

After a very strong theme from Bolt that Turnbull is a dud; could it be that Bolt is actually stirring Turnbull here?  Pointing out to him via this medium that there is a challenge coming and to save his leadership he needs to walk the righteous path to conservatism and beg for mercy at the feet of the likes of Christensen? It is like Bolt is pointing and laughing at Turnbull and letting him know, that he knows his game is up  (hahah I see you, you can’t fool me!)

Only those on the inside will know for sure and no doubt they will feed us snippets; but if this is finally starting, it is going to be glorious to watch.

For those who enjoy studies of organisational behaviour and leadership like myself, watching Turnbull’s increasingly obvious grapple with getting his surface acting under control as he continues to pretend to be an authentic leader, will be absolutely delicious once the pressure is really on!

In my last article, I suggested that Turnbull may be Australia’s first ever shape-shifting politician. With a challenge looming and now picked up by the media, it will be interesting to watch how rapid Turnbull’s shape shifting to fully fledged nationalist conservative will be. Is it time to start counting the number of flags at media stops yet? Perhaps.

Yep, it seems it is going to be on like Donkey Kong. Will Turnbull get barrelled? Or will he save the Princess and take the crown?

When Christensen Talks You Better Listen to Him

turnbull-christensen

I love music. I especially love Australian Music. First and foremost, I am a diehard Angels fan, but Midnight Oil are a very close second. Australian Music from the 1980s has had a huge impact on my views. The Song “When the Generals Talk” by Midnight Oil really encompasses the control of Turnbull by George Christensen.

The first verse:

Up there on the platform
He is speaking to the people
The people are responding
With clapping and a’cheering
But the meaning of the message
Not revealed to those assembled
They’re taken for a ride
Taken In his stride

This really speaks to Turnbull’s beginnings. It has been said that people were so desperate to get rid of Abbott, Ronald McDonald could have taken his place and he would have been met with clapping and a’cheering.

So there he was after knifing Abbott – up there up there up there on the Platform; and although the media gallery were not clapping and a’cheering, the reverberation could be heard in lounge rooms all over Australia.

In Turnbull’s victory speech after over-throwing Abbott, he said this:

As far as policy changes are concerned, let me just say this, it is not a question of leadership style.

The meaning of his message was not revealed to those assembled.

Turnbull did not specifically say there would be a change away from Abbott’s policies. This was an assumption by the people. The meaning of the message is clear today, that he would deliver the same harsh, punitive Abbott policies.  It actually has nothing to do with leadership style. The existing policies were important to Turnbull. He would continue on Abbott’s legacy. The nation just didn’t see it.

He then said:

There are few things more important in any organisation than its culture.

The meaning of this message was not revealed to those assembled.

However, if we really pick this apart the meaning is evident. Schein is the seminal author and most prominent author regarding organisational culture. Schein defines culture as:

“A pattern of shared basic assumptions learned by a group as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration”

In his initial victory speech post Abbott, Turnbull never even gave a hint that the Liberal party would change trajectory. He never implied he would be more compassionate, consider fairness or move away from the free market radicalisation he so adores. If this is dissected, he was actually saying that he believed that he could lead and develop the existing culture (right wing conservatism) better than Abbott, who was ‘losing the flock’ so to speak.  This was his guarantee to those who put him there, he just didn’t let us know that.

Turnbull is possibly the first shape-shifter we have seen in Australian Politics. He is empty and devoid of any real values and has always moulded himself to whatever he feels will appeal to others, so he can sustain power. The talk of Turnbull being a ‘lefty’ and he should have joined Labor is absolute rubbish. That type of front merely suited his power-purpose at the time. He is an empty canvas willing to be painted by anyone who will feed his ego.  I often visualise that we will see Turnbull one day as the last chapters of Dorian Gray and his real hidden ugliness coming to life.

It is evident that he does not care what he stands for. As long as he is at the top.

In essence, the nation at that point in time were “Taken for a ride, Taken in his stride”

So that is where this links to the Chorus. With the right wing speaking to Turnbull.

When the Generals talk
You better listen to him
When the Generals talk
You better do what he say

We have seen time and time again the right wing of the party controlling Turnbull and George Christensen featuring quite prominently in this.

In the current state of affairs, I think it is quite feasible to say that George Christensen is the General at the moment in control of the Turnbull Government. I think it is fair to say that evidence so far does present itself as this:

When Christensen talks
Turnbull better listen to him
When Christensen talks
Turnbull better do what he say

So far Turnbull has done what Christensen wants on Marriage Equality, Superannuation and most recently the Backpacker Tax. All just in three months and we have three more years of this!

What we have essentially here is a leader cowering to a self-identified General within his own ranks. Australia has no leadership.

The second verse of the song:

There’s a rumor in the ranking
Someone’s talking insurrection
So the General has a purge
Cause he wants to win elections
With the certain satisfaction
That the people are appeased
Long live the revolution
The General’s very pleased

The rumour in the ranking, someone’s talking insurrection, defines the beginning of an era where I believe we will see Turnbull attuned to becoming more and more instep with the right wing Nationalists within the Coalition. The insurrection is Christensen fighting the Government on it’s own policies and demanding his own.

Queensland is an essential state for an election win and Christensen has embraced Hanson and has even pleaded with her not to run a candidate against him. Christensen also threatened to quit the Coalition over the Backpacker tax, which would have destabilised the Government and most importantly posed a huge threat to Turnbull’s leadership.  Therefore, with his love for One Nation and the real possibility he could defect, Christensen as ‘the General’ plays a huge part in controlling Turnbull.

So the General has a purge cos he wants to win elections – can be aligned with the Christensen’s insistence of the purging of any policies Malcolm Turnbull may personally like but Christensen (the General) does not. As mentioned previously, Christensen has also appealed to One Nation not to run a candidate in Dawson because “The views of One Nation to a degree are the views of many in the rank and file of the (Liberal National Party).’’ (The Australian). Turnbull really does not have a voice at the moment, Christensen sees himself as the voice of the rank and file and that voice is synonymous with One Nation. The threat of Christensen possibly defecting to One Nation, with others who may follow, is an extreme threat to Turnbull holding onto power.  Turnbull is a man putting his lust for power before the needs of the nation.

As a staunch Christian who flirted with Priesthood the same as Abbott and who has very strong Nationalist Anti-Muslim views, Christensen has been placed by the media as the controlling General of the current Government and rightly so.

With the certain satisfaction, That the people are appeased is about the right wing arm of the Coalition, especially the Queensland Nationalists who dream about running the country. They know that now Christensen has lead Turnbull on the path of upholding one man one woman marriage, a backflip on Superannuation, a backflip on the backpacker tax and now anything is possible. The right wing are appeased.

And the remainder of the song speaks for itself…..

Sitting on the fence both ears to the ground
The fat cats still push the thin cats around

This is not a slight on Christensen, but a metaphor for how he is literally pushing Turnbull around.

Turnbull has nowhere to go. He is trapped in an abyss drowning, desperately trying to find an air pocket. Turnbull’s Leadership is beyond the point of failure. He is a Fizzer. The King is dead.

Le Turnbull est mort, vive le Christensen!!

Long live the revolution
The General’s very pleased

Politics Driven Fear and the Pain it Brings

fear

People are expressing the increasing need to separate themselves and self-identify as situated above certain groups. They feel the need to paint others as lesser. This need is fed by fear driven politics and it is causing a loss of focus and it is causing a lot of pain.

Memes used to be funny. They were quirky, sometimes delightful, sometimes thought provoking and sometimes so funny one would cry from laughing. Now memes are more about social status. Sharing to place oneself in a better class.  A class above Jobseekers, Unionist, Muslims, Indigenous and LGBTI people who just want to get married amongst other groups.

Not an hour goes by on social media when I do not scroll by some defamatory post about Muslims (mostly aimed at degrading Muslim women) or how jobseekers are bludgers and should just get a job. Then I scroll by more shares about how unionists are self-serving, dodgy criminals. Then I come across those who belong to the special group who believe they are more Australian than the Indigenous Australians who were here in the first place.

Every day we scroll through the privileged Olympics, but there are no winners. Only losers.

The privileged I am talking about here, are not the Turnbull type of privileged; but so many every day Australians who share derogatory memes about various groups on a daily basis. These people come from all walks of life. They are not necessarily rich and they may be poor.  Wealth status is not the issue here.

These people are privileged by default, because they do not belong to the group that they and others scorn, ridicule, shame, shun, ostracise and stigmatise. It is like every share elevates one to being a gold card member of the ‘in-group.’

The problem is that the privileged do not see. They are blinded. They cannot calm their egos enough to bring themselves down to another level to try to understand the life of another.  They do not attempt to listen and empathise; they are on autopilot with judgement and ridicule.

Social media has made it so it is so much more important to hold dear to the opinion originally developed, than to attempt to understand an issue enough or look at it through different eyes; to recognise it is causing harm and change that opinion.

If we are complaining we haven’t progressed since Whitlam, it is largely our fault. It is our fault that there are so many people in pain, because every day I see stereotypes and stigmatisation shared around to approve and contribute to the infliction of pain on others.

We pit the oppressed against the oppressed when a meme is shared to give the homeless more than refugees. How does one judge the value of what assistance should be given? What drives us to choose between a person who has seen their entire family raped, tortured, slaughtered and burnt and fled their homeland or give to a person in desperate need of shelter, food, clothing and care? Do they both not deserve love, kindness and generosity?

What fear is within us that makes us share such memes as representations of our thoughts that we play judge and jury and decide who is not worthy of care and assistance? Is kindness such an ugly emotion that we reject it? Is it a fear that others may judge you as being too kind?

No, it is the fear driven politics that has led us to believe that a Government and its citizens cannot be generous enough to help both. It is the fear that if they do, we would somehow be worse off. It is fear driven politics that sees us remain silent on the generous assistance to the wealthy banks and business, whilst we verbally bash the poor.

We glorify a free-market-worker-hating-Government every time we share a meme about the ‘pathetic’ unemployed and how they are bludging and living off our taxes. We kick the worker every time we contemplate how unfair it may be that some  greedy workers are getting paid penalty rates and how terrible this is for business and their profits. Pass me a goddamn tissue.

The Abbott-Turnbull Government is the epitome of the greedy bourgeoisie and there are every day citizens working so hard to work with them and for them to shove the worker and those who are jobless down as far as they can be kicked.

We have come to a peculiar space in time where the plebs themselves are standing with the bourgeoisie. For if they do this, then being a pleb, is better than a prole or the “hoi polloi.”  The common worker, consumed by politics driven fear is tearing their own class apart.

“Workers United will never be defeated….” Go on…say it….it means something real.

What is the fear that drives us to glorify a Government who insists that the unemployed (human beings in case you have forgotten) should starve for a six months, six weeks and now a month?

Is it a fear that we may lose something if jobseekers are offered assistance from the public purse?

Is it a fear that we may just not have one more submarine to build if a jobseeker can live on real meat instead of noodles?  Is it a genuine fear that Gina Rinehart might have less billions and that would somehow hurt us?

Is it the fear that we may confront the uncomfortable truth that our judgements reinforce the message that turning to sexual favours and even suicide is a reality for these individuals who are finding it so hard to survive in a world of  not just poverty, but scorn and condemnation?

Above all else, it is the politics driven fear that those living in poverty are stealing something from us. It is the fear that they are getting something for less effort than us. It is the fear reinforced by the LNP message that there will be fewer hospitals, fewer schools and fewer jobs if we treat the unemployed with dignity. It is the politics driven fear that assisting jobseekers will result in less jobs; because that means we could one day be them.

There is no point attempting to provide input of an opposing view.  Try to tell someone to be angry at the Government for not creating jobs, instead of blaming the unemployed. It is an interesting exercise. Contrition is not an emotion that we appear to embrace as Australian citizens.

This politics driven fear is also blinding us. We are losing focus. The fear of people from different lands and different religions is so critical we cannot take our eyes off them for a second. It is vital to share, share, share anything we can find, made up or not on the internet. It is critical to continuously reinforce this fear as legitimate and worthy to defend.

It is more important to have conversations on social media that can last days about how the viewpoint of one radical Muslim is the view of all Muslims; than to really engage thoughtfully and productively about how we can lift good Australian people out of poverty.

It is more important to remain silent on humanitarian issues,and use our fear of a religion we don’t understand as an excuse, because if we really stop and think about it; we may realise we are actually being inhumane and that is an ugly truth to face.

What fear is driving us that we are content with leaving other human beings in indefinite detention?  Indefinite – without a hope, never to be released – just in case the key word has not hit you yet. Murderers get less.

The irrational politics driven fear that unionists are doing less work than the regular taxpayer for a greater gain, is more important to hold onto, than to stand with unionists who have given us the work-life we enjoy today and that they continuously fight for. This fear culminates and makes us forget that we once stood with pride and dignity and shed tears to remember those workers who were jailed, murdered, maimed, starved and broken just so our labour is recognised as a valuable input in exchange for fair wages and safe conditions.  How soon we have forgotten the pain of John Howard’s Work Choices?

Every single time we share memes, or have conversations that reinforce the politics driven fear espoused by the Liberals and the Nationals, and now the more right wing parties; we are condoning the infliction of pain on the vulnerable.

We have a responsibility to stop and take stock that this rhetoric that is being whipped into a frenzy day after day has gone too far.  It is time to sit up and take notice, that by doing this, we are hurting the people we talk about helping in other conversations we have

It is time to stop and think about those on the right who say they have the solutions, actually don’t.  It is time to really listen to their proposals. Tearing down the worker and punishing those who are unemployed due to Government failure is not a solution. Dividing people by race or religion is not a solution. Clinging to the harmful measures that create more poverty and more divisiveness are not solutions. Why this is not being realised is the real phenomenon.

Choose Populism if you want a Rock Star. Reject it if you want a leader.

Some appear to be genuinely good people. However, politics driven fear is driving some people to throw brimstone and fire at those they want to help, instead of at the Government and other right wing parties who are the central cause of the problem.

It is time to take a stand to honour those and respect those who cannot, to challenge the Turnbull Government and others every time they reinforce the degradation of a vulnerable group.

It is time to stop sharing derogatory memes and start having real conversations about how we can build a nation, and not share our acceptance of helping the Liberals and others on the right tear it down.

It is time to stop dividing and start uniting. It is time for a hand up and to bring back the fair go.

It is time for the mate-ship and camaraderie we apparently as Australians represent.

I miss that. Do you?

Welfare Bashing the NEETS: The new team in the sport of welfare bashing

in-need-or-just-lazy
The acronym NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) is becoming more prevalent with those who enjoy the art of welfare bashing. For those who see themselves as a class above the unemployed, specialised welfare bashing is the new team sport.

Welfare bashing is no longer homogeneous. There are so many individual groups to welfare bash; it has now turned into a team sport. For those who enjoy the sport of welfare bashing, like any sport, it is very important to pick a side. Picking a side ensures the stigmatisation of anyone on welfare is further ingrained in society, because it adds to the generalisation that anyone on welfare is lazy and undeserving. Those who participate in welfare bashing see themselves as part of an elite class; even if they fail to recognise it in themselves.

Let’s have a look at four of the leading Welfare Bashing Teams, currently active in society today.

The Single Mother Welfare Basher

There are those who enjoy the art of welfare bashing the single mother. Gender is important here; because the act of sexual activity of behalf of a woman is still in 2016, considered a slovenly act by so many, particularly if it produces a child out of marriage.

For the women who have been brave enough to leave a domestic violent relationship; this too does not matter. Single Mother Welfare bashing jersey wearers truly believe that women are stupid and should have thought of not having kids if she was with someone violent.

No matter how you plead for leniency and understanding towards single mothers, the loud obnoxious Single Mother welfare bashers all point their fingers at the woman and her vagina as the spawn of all the evil in the world, which takes away their hard earned taxes.

Team Colours: Yellow and Red – (opposites to Purple and Green the power colours for women)

Favourite Stigma Play: Stigmatising mothers who are unable to work due to caring responsibilities as scum and a burden on society

War Cry: Keep your legs crossed!

The Unemployed Youth Welfare Basher

It is important to distinguish the Unemployed Youth Welfare basher as separate from one who welfare bashes all unemployed people. I have come across a significant peculiarity amongst some voices in mature aged welfare. Although these baby boomers are currently unemployed, it is not unusual for people within this group to see their welfare as more deserving than unemployed youth. I have seen some very disheartening comments from people who belong to mature job seeker groups and general welfare groups on social media. Including degrading comments about young single mothers as a particular favourite.

General comments about young people unemployed are normally associated with ‘laziness and bludging’ however conversations around mature aged unemployed are normally blamed on external factors such as ‘ageism and discrimination.’

Young people are seen as desperate to avoid employment and mature aged jobseekers are seen as desperate to find employment.

The media also encourages this separation. For example, A Current Affair appears empathetic to mature aged jobseekers, whilst demonising the rest of the unemployed, including single mothers (with hard hitting investigative stories like “should single mothers be forced to go on contraception?”).

Disparaging media claims about unemployed youth focus on young people rejecting jobs, participating in welfare rorting, ripping off the system, sleeping through interviews, choosing welfare over work and being idle and lazy, playing X-Box and eating Cheetos.

Regardless of how you ask for consideration that there are far more unemployed youth, than there are jobs for them to fill; the unemployed youth basher, will strongly argue that ‘they are not trying hard enough.’ They often compare their 1970’s utopia of going straight from year 10 into an apprenticeship as if that still exists today. They often still believe that free university education exists and that even TAFE is free and completely accessible for all.

Team Colours: Black – (opposite to white for poverty awareness)

Favourite Stigma Play: Stigmatising young unemployed people because the Government is too lazy to engage in job creation policy and laying the burden of this on jobless young people.

War Cry: YA BLUDGER!!!!! TRY HARDER!!!!

The Homeless person Welfare Basher

The homeless person welfare basher is a particular type of sick and cruel person. This type of welfare bashing jersey wearer places all blame on the individual and truly believes homelessness is their own making. They believe that the homeless are truly lazy individuals and do not want to work due to alcohol or drug addiction, or are just destructive young people who could go home if they really wanted to.

Race is also particularly important. Those that done this welfare bashing jersey see if people of colour are homeless; it is simply because their skin colour makes them drug addled, drunk, lazy and homeless, according to the loud mouthed, obnoxious, racist, vile crap that can smack you in the face all over social media.

This group champions official authoritarian responses to further degrade homeless people. The increased ban on homeless people using public restrooms, nail spikes to prevent sleeping in some areas and pop up sprinklers to deter them as well. Income management, especially for indigenous homeless people is a real vote winner for the Homeless Person welfare basher.

This group likes to point out that there are groups that help homeless people, so what is the problem? Some Government Ministers even like to blame the groups they cut funding from for the problem of homelessness; such as Western Australian Minister Liza Harvey who defended the use of sprinklers in Perth:

“The accommodation is there, the support services are there, the not-for-profit groups are there, the money’s flowing into the system. Clearly if there’s homeless people sleeping on King Street, those people aren’t doing their jobs properly.”

No matter how you much you plead for understanding and consideration of factors, which cause homelessness, the homeless person welfare basher will always, insist that all of these measures are avoidable. The ones that are not avoidable, such as mental illness or child sexual abuse, they should ‘just get over’ so they can stop being homeless.

Team Colours: Yellow (opposite to Purple the colour for homelessness)

Favourite Stigma Play: Stigmatising homeless people because they insist homelessness is their choice.

War Cry: Get off the drugs and get a job!!!

And Introducing….The NEET Welfare Basher

NEET hailed from the UK as a young person Not in Employment, Education or Training. The NEET Welfare basher is the hipster of all welfare bashers. They target this niche group of welfare recipients as the most abhorrent and lazy of all welfare recipients. In fact, it doesn’t even matter if the young person is in receipt of benefits; being under 25 they may well be reliant upon their parents for support. As long as the young person is not in school, TAFE, Uni or employed, the finger is extended to frantically point with judgemental criticism and wailing screams of ‘back in my day..’ at the NEET.

The NEET welfare basher is often someone who has had the luxury of getting a job when they were young, through the ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ or the ‘Daddy has rich friends employment scheme’. Or the woman who married someone quite young, who has the income to support both of them, whilst she stays at home and looks after the children.

The NEET welfare basher has had no hindrances to enter into university or has no confidence or financial issues with undertaking study. The NEET welfare basher also falls into the same category as the youth unemployment welfare basher who still lives in the utopia of the 1970s where public sector exams and entrance to the public sector was the norm, or apprenticeships for young men were in abundance, all done by just completing junior high school with a pass average.

The NEET welfare basher feels quite comfortable that they have the undeniable right to judge and stigmatise young people who are not engaged in employment or education, because to them finding a job or going to TAFE all seems so simple.

This type of welfare basher reassures themselves that there is nothing wrong with welfare bashing NEETs, because they believe that this group faces no hardships whatsoever.

They do not see themselves as stigmatising a young person who is the primary carer for a child or a disabled parent; or a young person who is disabled themselves. They just see it as degrading a lazy young person, who deserves it.

The NEET welfare basher can normally clear their conscience by asking a NEET who has been severely depressed due to constant rejection from employment, “RUOK” on that one day of the year. This self-absolves them from being arseholes.

The main factors associated with being a NEET are low level of education, low household income, having some type of disability, immigration background, living in a remote area, and a difficult family environment (Eurofound 2012). In tougher labour markets, the size of the NEET group will increase.

Regardless of how many facts that are presented by journalists who want to present the actual facts about NEETs; the NEET welfare basher reminisces about their youth and when they job hunted and how easy it was for them and waves the facts away with an indignant snarl.

Team Colours: Orange (opposite to Green, the colour for hope)

Favourite Stigma Play: Stigmatising young people who are not engaged in employment or education, because they truly believe after 30 odd years of a punitive jobsearch framework, coupled with the idea that ‘the free market will sort the jobs out’ that hindrances to employment for young people are just a myth.

War Cry: “Back in my day…”

In a country where we consider young people, ‘young’ up to 25 years of age and where the Prime Minister champions the ‘free market’ as the answer to everything, rejects Government intervention for job creation and truly believes that anyone can just go and be innovative and create an App to bring themselves out of poverty and into self-employment; welfare bashing will be an Olympic sport by 2020.

Have the Greens just divided the Nation?

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Have the Greens divided the nation? Is this what a political party should do? Is this disrespecting the people? Is this against democracy? Is this challenging the right to free speech? People need to start really expressing their views on this now. It should be a topic of conversation around every dinner table.

In an act of defiance today, the Greens turned their backs and walked out on Pauline Hanson’s maiden speech in the Senate. In an email I received from Richard DiNatale tonight, he explained this was because he was called a ‘greasy wog’ at school and told to ‘go home’ and the Greens do not condone racism.

DiNatale has a personal story that so many can relate to. Whatever your individual circumstance, be it racism, or disability, or poverty; so many know the ridicule, the shame and the stigma runs deep and stays forever.  For some who can never change who they are, the hurt runs deeper. This is the shame and stigma that Hanson and her followers want to cut deep.

I listened to Pauline Hanson’s speech today and I was truly sickened listening to Hanson’s attack on almost every segment of vulnerable people in our society. The divisiveness, which underpinned her speech, shows that Hanson plans to pit group against group until we all hate each other. Her goal is to make Australians choose between ‘her’ or ‘them.’

Hanson’s speech resonated as someone who thinks they have so much reverent power amongst ‘the right’ and her ambition is to grow into a major political party. Her aim is to take every single conservative vote in Australia, to punish the Liberals who rejected her, ridiculed her and jailed her.

In her speech, she metaphorically strolled by and kicked the teeth in of homeless people, and single mothers and mothers who were single because of domestic violence. She metaphorically sat from above and spat on all those on unemployment; the young, the disadvantaged and the disabled.

Hanson’s speech was about creating fear of the disadvantaged. Her aim is to stigmatise and divide our people.

If you were ever made feel ashamed because of who you are, then Hanson is intent on making you relive that nightmare.

If you were made feel less than human because you were poor, or disabled, or recovering from an addiction then Hanson is here to make you feel less than human again.

If you were ever shunned because you were unemployed, homeless or broken, then Hanson wants you to hate those who are living this now.

This is not about Asians, or Muslims or racism, these groups are merely the start. Over the next six years we will see her use the full gamut of disadvantaged groups to create fear and divisiveness amongst us all.

Over time, Hanson will target individual groups and attack them one by one. People in disadvantaged and minority groups will be ridiculed, shamed, and labelled ‘unAustralian.’ Her mantra will be to hate all things ‘unAustralian.’  Her followers who think it is this ‘hate’ that will make Australia a great country, will actively create unrest.

If Hanson achieves her aim of a nation divided in two, what then?

Do we dare to imagine the civil unrest of the “Hanson’s Australians” attacking the bludging poor in the streets?

Do we dare to imagine “Hanson’s Australians” attacking young single mothers and calling scum and slutty whores and thieves who steal taxes?

Do we dare to imagine the intensity of racial hatred and racial violence we have never known before?

Do we dare to imagine Hanson’s Australia?  The Greens did and they turned their backs.

Did the Greens just divide the Nation? Yes, they did.

The Greens symbolically asked every Australian to divide and either stand with “Hanson’s Australians” or with all Australians.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

In six years time, don’t let there be no-one left to speak for you.

The Greens have divided the Nation.

Today is the day to decide on which side you stand.

Turnbull – A Friendly Mushroom and a Destructive Seagull

seagull

“You’re not saying anything Tony” a famous statement by a journalist in an interview with Tony Abbott, really summed up the former Prime Minister’s inability to defend his bad decisions, words or actions.

“You’re not doing anything Malcolm” is the thought that appears to be in almost everyone’s mind summing up what they think of Turnbull’s Prime Ministership and leadership qualities.

When people start reminiscing that Tony Abbott should come back, then that is a sure sign that Turnbull’s leadership has failed miserably.

The really sad thing about all of this, is Turnbull promotes himself as a great leader through his self-portrayal of positive leadership archetypes. It is almost as if he has a little read of popular coffee-top books about ‘great leadership’ and then pops up in public and acts out his newly found knowledge about ‘what makes a good leader.’  I’m not sure about you, but he always looks so fake and staged to me. It is my biggest annoyance with his ‘style.’

He has promoted himself as “The Change Catalyst” when he removed Tony Abbott and promised great change.  He has promoted himself as “The Communicator” promising everyone with pomp and splendour and great verbosity, that he has the communication style that appeals to those within the party, has great appeal with the public and the communication style desperately needed to discuss important issues with all the friends and best friends and bestest of best good friends in other countries.

Most famously, he has promoted himself as “The Innovator”.  He really got into character for this one. This one was like a full dress rehearsal – Apple Watch and reeling off a full gamut of tech apps. He was very careful not to include apps like Tinder, to give the impression he just ‘wasn’t just rattling off apps’, but he was an active app user. However it seems that everyone is now swiping left. Sorry Malcolm.

The disconnect between how Turnbull displays himself as a positive leadership archetype, to the negative leadership archetype he actually delivers, appears to be vast.

Turnbull in my view is a collective of negative leadership archetypes which are used to symbolise toxic, bad, poor, weak or useless leaders.

Turnbull’s leadership behaviour can be summed up as collective of the negative leadership archetypes of  “Friendly, mushroom, destructive seagull” leader. His leadership is so poor, that it is difficult to pick just one which describes his current failure in leading this country forward and providing good Governance.

The Friendly Leader

Although this sounds like a positive trait, this negative leadership trait is the most discussed amongst the media and other politicians. The Friendly leader is too scared to make waves with others he disagrees with, out of fear of being derailed or losing power. This leader enables subordinates to hold power over the leader and this leads to poor decision making through trying to keep the most powerful subordinates onside.  These poor decisions include unpopular decisions for the majority but favoured by the sub-group ‘in power.’ The leader ends up losing control and powerful subordinates end up being the defacto leaders. When people start asking “Who is really running the country?” it is almost certain a weak leader has enabled defacto leadership to occur.

The Mushroom Leader

The mushroom leader kind of fits Turnbull, but also kind of doesn’t.  The Mushroom leader effectively “keeps everyone in the dark and feeds them a load of manure.”

The problem is with a mushroom leader they have an agenda, but don’t communicate it to anyone else. So, what happens is only the leader knows what he wants to achieve, but everyone else….does not! This creates a lot of confusion and disarray (Pyne! Pyne! lock the bloody doors mate!)

A good example of this is the GST debate, where it was on the table, not taken completely off the table, back on the table, a thought bubble to gauge public opinion, and then Turnbull announced he had killed his own idea, because it was umm…not a good idea? Confused? I bow before Mark Kenny  who had the ability to be able to describe this debacle with a straight face.

The conundrum of using the definition of a Mushroom Leader, is does Turnbull have an agenda he isn’t sharing; or does he have no agenda at all?  Regardless, would there be consensus that we are being kept in the dark and being fed a load of manure? I would personally put my hand up for that one.

The Destructive Leader

Turnbull is more a passive-destructive leader in the way he has a clear absence of any agenda, be it the progressive agenda he pretended to promote prior to becoming PM (that is a story for another day) or a conservative agenda many in his own party value. The negative trait of insincerity speaks to this. Destructive leaders are about short term gain, usually to their own benefit.  They are driven by egoism and ‘the desire to take their rightful place.’  It doesn’t matter that they don’t know what to do when they get there, they will either bully or blame others and manage from a distance and avoid responsibility. A destructive leader does not understand nor champion the strong values of those he leads and is a danger to ‘destroying the brand.’  We are hearing strong arguments from those who truly value conservatism on this as Turnbull’s biggest failure.   We are hearing strong arguments from the general public, on his inability to champion what Australians see as important issues to champion, through his complete lack of vision and agenda.

Unless of course, I am wrong and the discussion of favourite TV shows in the Senate today are indeed matters of serious importance and this was not  due to the lack of matters of serious importance to debate!

The Seagull

The most famous of all negative leadership archetypes is the beloved Seagull.  The Seagull is defined as the leader who ‘flies in, craps all over everything and takes off.”  The interesting thing about the Seagull as related to describing Turnbull’s leadership is:

How do they fly in?
They normally appear (sometimes out of nowhere) puffed up, brave, resilient and knowledgeable in times of trouble, ‘as the hero who can save the company – or in this case – the country.’

How do they communicate?
Seagulls make a lot of noise. Normally about themselves to deflect any attention away that they have no idea what they are doing. They need constant attention and spotlight to talk about themselves, so they appear important. Squawk. Squawk. Innovation. Squaarrk. (Sorry Mr. Pyne, but Mr. Turnbull wants us to believe he is the real fixer!)

How do they relate to others?
The Seagull (when it is impossible to talk about himself to avoid responsibility) blames others. They will target others as a source of their anger and the Seagull never accepts blame.   It is unusual in politics for leaders to blame their own party members, so deflection of blame is usually, on other parties, members of other parties, or even the Media (Yes ABC – Sorry Turnbull had to cut all that money from you, but….Squark!)

Sometimes they will have hysterical fits and take things away from others (Sorry Scott, but Malcolm couldn’t talk about himself to get out of this one, so he just had to take that GST play thingy off you!)

When do they fly off?
I don’t have a crystal ball on this one, but to stay true to the Seagull form, Turnbull simply cannot be deposed. The genuine style of the Seagull is he would need to take a much more glorious job offer of much more importance (global position? Innovative start up which will be the cure all unemployment in Australia?), where his skills are in great need to solve greater problems than the ones he has offered to solve now. In true form he would tearfully wave goodbye to all those who adore him, with a great big long speech about himself and take off.

Once Turnbull takes off, the questions are:

What mess will he leave behind?  and…

Who will fly in to steal your chips at the beach? Abbott, Morrison or maybe Bishop?

Only time will tell.

What have you really noticed about Bill Shorten?

labor-put-people-first

With so much of the same old, same old meeps about the Lib-Lab monopoly/duopoly and the clatter of mismatched voices who want something new, but can’t articulate what that is; the question is “have you actually taken the time to notice what Bill Shorten is about?”

Is it possible that for some, the inner voices of cynicism and pessimism developed by participating in the mob culture of screaming against a two party system, automatically disregard even the most progressive and positive reforms from Shorten’s Labor, just because they are a major party?

Is it possible that some are so fixated on the decisions of leaders of the past they did not agree with? Is it possible that due to this, they are not yet ready to notice Labor in 2016 and view them with a clean slate? Turnbull has been afforded this opportunity, but I do not notice this being extended to Shorten.

Is it possible that this is just a rant by someone who is dedicated to the Labor cause? Possibly. That is for the reader to decide.

However, all I can talk about is what I have noticed from my own perspective. So I will outline a few things that really strike me about Bill Shorten and his leadership and the direction he has been taking Labor thus far.

I will do this as counters to two distinct areas of the narrative I have noticed in the context of myth breaking,  of “Both Parties are exactly the same” as I see it – “Underpinning Values” and “They are selfish and out of touch and just don’t listen.”

 

Myth: Both the Major Parties are exactly the Same

Underpinning Values

I personally always find this statement extremely confusing. I will begin with the underpinning values of both parties, as I see them.

Liberals – The Liberal’s values are underpinned by individualism. In terms of public social policy, they believe that everyone is born equal and it is up to the individual’s inherent propensity to ‘make it in life. They believe, this in turn this develops the country as a strong and prosperous country.  Liberals believe in small Government intervention as they see Government intervention makes individuals lazy and reliant on Government and this weakens society.

Government intervention is usually paternalistic with punitive measurements seen as a guiding hand, that is required to motivate those without an internal propensity for self-development.

They believe in low taxes and favour a user pays system instead of major investment in Government funded services. The Liberals are semi anti socialism of the public sector and favour privatisation and outsourcing of the public sector where they can achieve it.

They believe in the free market and the balance of power in favour of the employer is the best result for the economy.  Liberals have a disregard for the value of a person’s labour and believe low wages and low cost to employers create more jobs and are drivers for the economy.

Liberals do not promote Government intervention in high unemployment as a large surplus labour force drives wages down, as opposed to a tight competitive labour force.

The Liberals believe in maintaining the status quo through conservative and nationalist values.

Malcolm Turnbull and his predecessor Tony Abbott, continue to champion their commitment to these values. Abbott being more vocal and committed to these values than Turnbull, who is committed to these values, but remains largely silent on the intent or values which underpin his policies. 

Malcolm Turnbull’s reason for going to a double dissolution election, was a policy which has star chamber type elements and strips away the civil rights of the worker, including apprentices. He saw this as so important, so vital to the progress of the nation.

Malcolm Turnbull continues with Tony Abbott’s abhorrent budget cut regime progressed and championed by Turnbull, with all the pomp and ceremony of an entitled King.

Labor –  Labor’s values are underpinned by a form of collectivism and solidarity. Their valued are based on democratic socialism, egalitarianism and laborism. Labor recognises that not everyone is born equal and that it is the Government’s duty to intervene and provide assistance to those who need a hand up to achieve equality. They believe in a Welfare State to provide protection and social and economic benefits to the nation’s citizens.

Government intervention is incentive based and with a propensity towards proactive rather than reactive measures. (Such as investment in preventative health measures and needs based education funding).

Labor believe in the socialism of the public sector as opposed to the privatisation of the public sector to provide the best services to the community.  They believe the right assistance can develop individuals into strong, productive citizens, able to engage in the community, and break down the hindrances that were preventing them from doing so. Labor’s values consider external factors to the individual’s inherent drive and personality, and do not seek to place blame on the individual, but seek to address these hindrances and strive to provide an egalitarian society.

Labor’s overarching philosophy is Laborism, which values the labour of the working class. Laborists believe in the protection of safe work, rights and wages. They also believe this drives productivity and keeps the economy strong. They strongly believe that everyone should have equal access to work and a fair days work for a fair days pay. They believe in the Fair Go for workers.

Laborism is consistent with Government intervention in job creation projects to bring equal opportunity to everyone through the ability to access secure work, self development and career progression. They strive for low unemployment as this also creates a better standard of living though higher productivity and higher wages.

Labor believes in collective progressive policy which seeks to challenge the norms of the status quo. They are the leaders of every major positive reform contemporary Australia has ever had, such as: Medicare, Superannuation, Collective Bargaining, Fair Work Tribunal, Gonski, NDIS and NBN  

Under Bill Shorten’s leadership, his message is clear that he has returned to the true Labor values ingrained in Laborism which distinguishes Labor as a defiant opposition to the conservative alternative.

His very vocally championing egalitarian values and laborism as progressive solutions. His rejection of the increase to a GST as it would hurt the most vulnerable, his damning rejection of changes to Medicare and tenacious protection of our universal health system, his rejection of the removal of penalty rates and his submission to the Fair Work Commission to protect same.  His endless counter attacks on the Government to protect pensioners and families from harmful cuts and to stop the Liberals making the unemployed starve for six months!

His policy for protecting workers from underpayment, from exploitation and ensuring clarity of the term “Internship” to separate this from an essential learning or training activity from one of exploitation of the working class. In addition to policy for mandatory quotas of apprentices in Federally funded projects and investment in upskilling and training in new technologies.  There many more examples of this differentiation between Shorten’s Labor and Turnbull’s Liberals, and they can be found here.

Both parties are selfish and out of touch – they just don’t listen to the people

Liberals – The Liberals view of “the people” traditionally focuses big business as centric to their policy development.  A key focus of economic policy management is built around the rhetoric of welfare bashing of ‘lifters and leaners’ or ‘taxed and taxed nots’ so cuts will be met with little resistance from the public, through the stigmatisation of this group.

Engagement with the “community” is often restricted to attendance at high end functions, with high end priced tickets for high end donations.

As described in the section above, the attacks on families, welfare recipients and workers are a testament to how out of touch the Liberals are with the every day Australian and their families.

Turnbull’s “look at moi” empty verbose rhetoric, where he talks at people and not to them. An example of this is, his common phrase of, “We simply must remember….” in my view is a clear indication of class separation where the ‘people (a forgetful and unintelligent lot) need a gentle paternalistic guiding hand from those who need to remind us of our place.”

Labor – The Labor movement invests in grass roots activism. Under Bill Shorten engaging with the public has been a central focus.  Community Cabinets in QLD were introduced by the Labor Government and Shorten’s personal style is community forums, where he openly takes questions from the floor and answers questions in an open public forum.

Shorten has done about 150 public forums in the last 18 months and numerous live Facebook feeds direct to anyone on Facebook who cares to subscribe to his live posts.

As for if Shorten is in touch with the people. I will leave you with his budget reply address for you to decide.

My personal view on Shorten

I have had the personal opportunity to attend one of Bill Shorten’s community forums.

In my own experience, he fielded a huge variety of random questions and answered them in detail. He was relaxed and open and quite focused on the night being about the people and their questions and not about us listening to a speech about him or Labor.

I had the opportunity to ask a question.  He approached me after the event and asked me to write to him in more detail with my concerns and expressed genuine interest in speaking to me further. I saw him openly engaging with others with genuine interest as well after the event.

He did not have to do that. He did not have to seek me or others out. He had enough people around him to purposely avoid me, if he wanted to. It speaks to his genuineness as a leader. I wish everyone could meet Bill Shorten because until you meet him up close and speak with him, you don’t realise that much of the negative media portrayal and other people’s negative perceptions are so very wrong.

I have not been truly excited about the vision of a Labor leader in a long time, but I truly connect with Shorten’s vision and leadership. In my opinion Shorten is the real deal. His ability to remember names, faces and detail of questions at community forums is phenomenal. You kind of need to see this in action. He is a highly intelligent man with great compassion and a great passion for people and their concerns, which is truly visible at a community forum.

I truly believe he will win the next election outright and will go down as one of our greatest Prime Ministers in our history.  I have 100% faith in him and the direction he is taking Labor.

Conclusion

It is such a shame that for many engaged in ‘left politics social media commentary’ disregard the shift in direction under Shorten’s leadership.  It is disappointing that those on the ‘left’ who oppose Shorten’s Labor discuss him as if he has evolved from some 1980’s mindset where neo-Liberalism was forging it’s place across the world and judge him on the decisions made by former leaders, which really should be critiqued in the context of that time. It is also frustrating that the progressive policies and Laborist solutions he is putting forward, fall on already made up closed minds and deaf ears.

Whether you think post is just a rant from a someone who is dedicated to the Labor cause, or a genuine attempt to implore people aligned with the left to view Shorten and his modern Labor party with a fresh open mind and really critique his current direction which is ingrained in the values of laborism and truly engaging with the the people. As well as a plea to not to continue to compare and contrast with the decisions and leadership of Hawke, Keating, Rudd or Gillard, which many say they have issues with, then that is up to the reader to decide.

Labor’s policies will not suit everyone, nor are they perfect with no room for improvement. However, it is very, very evident that Bill Shorten making a dedicated effort to meet as many people across as many communities as possible and he is really listening and is open to positive and progressive ideas for change and he has already led substantial policy development as a testament to this shift to the left and laborism.

For those who genuinely and fiercely arguing to topple both of the major parties from power and who are insisting Shorten does not have ‘Leftist’ values –  have you really truly taken the time to noticed what Bill Shorten is about?

Cashless Welfare – Enough is Enough!

basics-card

Yesterday I watched Bill Shorten’s address on the McKell Institutes Report Choosing Opportunity where he spoke passionately about equality and a fair go. However, to achieve real opportunity, the first thing we must acknowledge is that stigma and discrimination are not conducive to equal opportunity.

Income Management, Cashless Welfare and Basics Card all have the same aim.  The aim is a paternalistic approach of a ‘guiding hand’ to set those unfortunate enough not to have a job on the path to ‘wholeness.’

The aim of income management is to enforce a patronising approach which places the burden of shame and stigma on the unemployed, because the Government cannot be bothered to engage in job creation; because oh! that’s right, “the market will sort it all out.” Bullocks!

The aim of income management is to inconvenience, stigmatise, and label the unemployed as ‘others’ who are not part of the ‘normals’ in society.

The aim of income management is to conduct surveillance of the unemployed (Dee, 2013).

The aim is to extend a measure that was originally aimed at reducing alcohol abuse and child abuse in remote communities and now has extended to so many.  The current and previous Governments have placed control measures on those who do not need controlling. That is not the “Fair Go” Australians long to return to.

With the NT having more than four times the number of all the other income management sites combined, it really begs the question if this measure is indeed racist and the extension of this measure is to appear ‘not racist!’

The McKell Institute explains three types of welfare models in their report:

“The study identified three main forms of welfare state: the ‘liberal welfare regime,’ which emphasised market efficiencies and demonstrated limited government interventions; the ‘corporatist regime’ which is committed to preserving the traditional family, and invest in social insurance programs that encourage motherhood and provide benefits that encourage mothers to return to work; and finally the ‘social democrat’ model which pursues equality.

If the underpinning construct of Bill Shorten’s speech and the McKell Institute’s report is equality; then income management simply must be high on the list to be abolished.

With donations reform and perks for politicians in a huge big glaring spotlight; Australians should be rising up and screaming about situations such as the excerpt below, instead of getting reeled into the agenda set by the media.  I’ve seen an overwhelming amount of people absolutely fixated on the Dastyari saga and counter-attacking with dodginess from the Liberals. Meanwhile, in the land of cashless welfare, people can eat plastic or starve!

cashless-welfare

It is time for change. It is time to stand up now. It is time to stand up for the jobless, the homeless, the disadvantaged, and the disabled, who have their income managed by the Government.  These are the people who matter.  These people. The innocent, the vulnerable, the labelled and stigmatised.

Enough is enough.  If you truly believe in a Fair Go. If you truly believe the Fair Go underpins everything we believe as Australians, please write a letter to the following insisting on the abolition of mandatory income management for welfare recipients in Australia.

Minister for Social Services
The Hon Christian Porter MP

Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services
Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Members representing your electorate
Your local MP

Senators in your state
Senators

Enough is enough!

 

Dee, M 2013, ‘Welfare Surveillance, Income Management and New Paternalism in Australia’, Surveillance & Society, 11, 3, pp. 272-286.

 

Australian Political Reporting: Explained by Movies

When the Liberals do Something Dodgy

When the Public puts the pressure on and the Media actually reports on the Liberals doing something dodgy

When a rogue journalist wants to report on the Liberals but isn’t allowed to

How the media allow the Liberals to answer questions in Interviews with “serious journalists”

When news about Labor breaks and the Media joins forces

How the Media pursue Labor

The Power the Media aim to have over Labor

The Media After Party when they bring down a Labor Politician


 

So… You call yourself a Leftist?

social-change

The media and the politicians set the boundaries of where the left fights for progress. It is time to start breaking down some walls.

I participated in a very interesting group session recently; where we were looking at archetypes in marketing. This had me thinking very hard about how I see myself and other leftists and the patterns we set in society and the narrative we consciously push.

Upon reflection, (and this is a matter for debate and just my opinion) I feel that we are confining ourselves to pushing agendas that are confined within the boundaries set by politicians and the media. We are allowing politicians and the media to set the agenda, defining the framework and then we are arguing within that framework.

Sometimes, I see patterns that are more the fight at the macro level, which is arguing about systems and processes, rather than fighting for the human element. Sometimes an issue starts with thinking outside the boundary but then subsequent progressive arguments don’t challenge those boundaries.

Are we being too conformist? Are we not being non-conformist enough? Are we being disruptive and challenging the norm to say where the boundaries should go? Who should set the boundaries?

I am not going to go into this too deeply, as I would like to follow up with a series of posts on particular issues. I will however, just briefly address my thinking around this:

Firstly, I would like to talk about some of the areas where the boundaries are currently being pushed or have been pushed:

The Universal Basic Income

The idea of a basic wage for all people, pushes outside the boundaries of what has been set by the media and politicians. The UBI breaks out of the framework of how an income can define a person, because of their personal circumstance. It removes a section of society as burdens on ‘the system’ because they are jobless as it will bring to this group, people who are also working. It resets the boundary of how the media and politicians can stigmatise a section of society as others. It resets the boundary of how we may accept what ‘punishment’ should be dished out for these ‘not-normals’ in society, as it is much easier to punish those in the outgroup or who we decide are classed as ‘others.’ UBI shifts the thinking from the jobless being a burden on society, to the burden on the Government to exercise their rights and responsibilities to all citizens.

Safe Schools

Safe Schools has pushed the boundaries of how we see participation in education. It has made society question if everyone has the right to a safe learning journey. It has challenged the boundaries of education of not just a learning experience, but how we see the social experience and how that affects the learning journey of individuals. It has placed the arguments outside of how the young people should conform to the framework set down by legislators, but instead has shifted the arguments to how the legislators need to respond to young people. Safe Schools has shifted the paradigm to new thinking around how even uniform regulations and the conformity and restrictions on self expression can negatively impact on the learning journey for individuals. To me, Safe Schools is not the end, it is the beginning.

Workplace Health and Safety

Some people may be surprised at this inclusion, as this is really just a modern day expectation. However, prior to WH & S, the framework was set around the workers (humans) being an input cost (non-human) for an employer and the arguments arose about how labour is more than an input cost and it should be set by the worker, as labour is a skill and should be valued and paid for. A fair days work for a fair days pay. The arguments for Workplace, Health and Safety, shifted this thinking outside of the boundary of the cost of labour and placed an actual value on the life of the worker. WH & S shifts the thinking for (most) employers that the human life of the worker should be valued and protected and they are not just a transaction cost in the input-conversion-output framework for profit.

Some suggestions of where we can challenge the boundaries

Once again, I will reiterate that this is just my opinion only and these are the topics where I feel we are currently being conformist and not trying to shift the arguments outside of the boundaries set by the media and politicians.

An increase in Newstart

The arguments for an increase in the Newstart payment are confined within the boundaries set of how politicians and the media frame the jobless as a burden on society and a drag on the ‘budget’. Please refer to the Universal Basic Income above.

The removal of punitive measures in the unemployment/jobsearch framework.

The arguments to remove punitive measures in the jobsearch framework still present arguments as conforming with the existing framework. That is the over arching assumption that: “The jobless do not have an intrinsic propensity to find employment and must be motivated by a paternalistic guiding hand.”

In my view, the challenge should be to that question alone to shift the paradigm. That is to shift the paradigm to the assumption that jobseekers do indeed have an intrinsic motivation to seek work. This would redefine that jobseekers as voluntary (not mandatory) participants in job agencies should be assisted and not ‘managed.’ Guided, not punished. This also will shift the paradigm from the onus being on the jobseeker to the onus on the Government to intervene and ensure that there are enough jobs for the unemployed to choose from. It would force the Government to intervene with job creation, rather than hiding behind lazy arguments that the burden is on the jobseeker to find non-existent jobs.

Political Frameworks and Internal Machinations

The arguments about reforming the political framework and internal machinations are restricted to arguments about a system and not people. This is viewed from a paradigm that politicians are part of a system and not really human beings representing other human beings in communities. Arguments to change the internal workings or the overarching political framework (Two party to another framework) place the assumption that all party politicians are dodgy, underhanded and not there to represent the people. It has become a system of where we focus on the negative and punishment of politicians rather than the promotion and praise of the good.

Arguments that challenge the system of representation from two party preferred to another system are presenting their arguments from the view point that “only non-party aligned politicians are inherently good and are there for the people.” I challenge this view, as it defines individual humans (politicians) as controlled by the system, rather than challenging the humans inside that system and the people who put said humans there.

These arguments are based on changing the structure, will change the individual behavioural traits that drive someone to be in public office.  It is also a view that changing the structure or system will eradicate all deviant behaviour and replace it with ‘good behaviour.’ 

Internal machinations within all parties or groups of human beings, exist because of how all human beings interact within groups and the inherent power structures these may bring. Internal party machinations should be left alone for those aligned with parties to work out, rather than assumptions and input from those external to these processes.  We are buying into the framework of deviation tactics set by the media and politicians on slow news day or slow policy day.

The shift in paradigm needs to move out of conforming to a systems thinking mindset and one which places a politician as above a community in the hierarchy to one that centres a politician as central participant in the community. This would shift viewing participation by politicians as active participants in the lives of the human beings they represent to carry their voices back to parliament. It gives politicians and opposing candidates the purpose to also challenge the norms in some communities and sectors in an effort to progress the values they align with.

This could be viewed as a pro-community versus anti-community mindset. This then shifts the argument to one of expectations of individual politicians to their involvement in communities and the quality of life of the people within them.

What benchmarks do we actually set for our local MP’s or opposing candidates in our local areas? What is our expectation of participation at ground level to for politicians to be openly questioned and defend policy areas? As leftists, how do we participate to form groups to be loud within our community to insist on more pro-community activity?

How do we as a collective push for the change within the boundaries we can control – voices for the homeless, the jobless, the poor, the troubled and suicidal youth, the aged and infirm within our communities. How active is our real participation in these matters of importance?

We often take a national or macro systems thinking approach and we are moving away from the real life stories and the human element of those we co-exist within our own electorates.

It is our own individual responsibility to use our voices to push for change, to participate in leadership and group activities in our communities to push change, rather than sit back and complain at the checkout or behind a keyboard that the Government, opposition or anyone else we put our faith (or disregard in) is not doing anything.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” (Margaret Mead).

 

Health

The arguments for health at present are conforming to arguments on our individual responsibility to pay for healthcare at a doctor and leftist arguments are pushing within this framework to reassert our rights for universal health care.

In my opinion, the arguments for health should be pushed outside of the boundaries of doctor’s fees and to one of access to medical treatment for all and preventative health measures. A lot of the arguments are framed within the generic national mindset, rather than the community mindset.

Leftists need to push the boundaries from individual cost to equal access for all. The experiences of an individual able to manage, work, home and family with the onset of cancer treatment, in a regional or rural community is vastly different to one in a metropolitan community.

The inability to access preventative health measures and education to those in disadvantaged groups in society, is creating enormous pressures on the health system, which creates an enabling environment for politicians to argue a cost factor. This keeps the burden and framework set on the individual as a cost.

The framework in which the politicians and media are setting is one of ‘affordable access to healthcare’ and homogenising all Australians as if we have equal access to same.

This would shift the onus off the individual to (not live so far away, to look after yourself, to take responsibility) to one where the community sets an expectation that politicians are expected to deliver equal access of treatment, education and prevention to all citizens, regardless of where they reside.  

If this does not change, we are on a trajectory of labelling those in poor health as ‘others’ and stigmatising them as an unwelcome cost to the taxpayer, and enabling politicians to further punish them, rather than valuing their contributions as a human being in society.

Conclusion

This article is not meant to detract from the work by people who are indeed pushing the boundaries, but a response to many of the consistent and prominent arguments and behaviour I see (from me included).

It is not meant to disrespect of detract from the individuals who work tirelessly at a community or national level, fighting for the homeless or the other disadvantaged or marginalised groups in some way.

The impetus for this article and the title was how I have personally reflected on my own participation as an individual aligned with the left and my thinking of my own self-direction and participation. I looked at my own fears and my own reasons for why I do not personally open up more and push myself further to enact the change I want to see.

How brave am I really in non-conformist behaviour that really challenges the norms and the boundaries set by the media and politicians head on? How do I really challenge myself to think outside the box?

It is about challenging how we as a collective take our energy and focus and put that to the best use, by the questions we ask, the narrative we choose to participate in and the boundaries we choose to push.

This is also not about not responding to the various inadequacies of Government and politics and remaining silent. It is about challenging how we frame our arguments within the boundaries set by the media and politicians and my desire to see a stronger movement of leftist non-conformist thinking to break down those barriers to be the instigators of positive social change.

I hope that this starts a discussion about many other ideas of pushing the boundaries and out of the box thinking in many other areas not addressed here.

Innovative PM? No Malcolm! You’re doing it wrong!

statusquo-300x225

Source: georgecouros.ca/

A year ago, Malcolm Turnbull downloaded Bruno Mar’s “The Lazy Song” and it has been on repeat for the past year. The first line of the song “Today I don’t feel like doing anything” completely epitomises every single day of the Turnbull Government.

The media also seems to be stuck in a cycle of just accepting this as the new norm (except for Andrew Bolt who has really pushed the point on this, with an interview with Peta Credlin this week.)

The problem for the innovative Prime Minister is although he promised new ideas and an innovative Government; his leadership behaviour is actually not conducive to innovative leadership.

Innovative leaders need to encompass idea generation, idea evaluation and idea implementation. Their personal qualities include an ability to continuously generate ideas, or the ability to lead people to generate ideas. Fearlessness in challenging the status quo, taking risks. The ability to know when to cancel projects and change course (the opposite to escalation of commitment!) and the ability to lead a collegial and cohesive team.

Turnbull has two main issues to address; or he will be playing “The Lazy Song” for another 365 days.

Escalation of Commitment

Escalation of commitment is when an individual or group persists on the same trajectory, even if they know it will result in a poor outcome. Normally, substantial time or money has been invested and this is the impetus for maintaining that commitment.

What has Turnbull invested? He has invested his entire career to get to this point. His investment success was that he was given the authority to over-throw a sitting Prime Minister. His other investment is that he guaranteed would be much more popular than Tony Abbott. Although Turnbull has won the 2016 election in his own right; one would be hard pressed to argue that Turnbull won the election as the “Popular Prime Minister.”

As onlookers, we will never be privy to the in-party investment Turnbull has made, until the ABC produces the sequel to “The Killing Season.” However, it seems clear that the investment was made to gain the support of the conservative right aligned faction of his party.

The leather jacket wearing progressive, forward thinking Turnbull he displayed to the public, as the ‘would be Prime Minister’ is in stark contrast to the conservative and dull Turnbull who is now the current Prime Minister.

Escalation of commitment can explain why although there is public opposition and a huge drop in his popularity, he is committed to maintaining Abbott’s:

1. A commitment to a Plebiscite on Marriage Equality

2. A commitment to stigmatising the poor by targeting welfare recipients as a budget savings measure, instead of treating them as human beings.

3. A commitment to offshore processing and a high level of secrecy surrounding asylum seekers

4. A commitment to supporting climate change deniers and climate change measures that are mere tokenism and not proactive.

5. A commitment to attack dog style politics due to the lack of policy ideas.

6. A commitment to blaming absolutely everyone else but his own leadership

7. A commitment to treating Gonski as a joke

8. A commitment to destroying our universal health care system – Medicare

9. A commitment to union bashing and disrespecting the worker

10. A commitment to the absence of Government intervention and lack of job creation.

Leaders who fear change

The conundrum is, is Turnbull’s escalation of commitment a true escalation of commitment due to his personal investment to secure the top position or is it something intrinsic within him as a leader? Could Turnbull actually have every leader’s behavioural nightmare? Is he a leader who fears change?

One of the most important areas to lead change especially as an innovative change leader is one needs to be transparent and open and honest about who they are, and accept criticism and reflect on their own personal development.

Turnbull does appear to use a strong avoidance technique for any of this to occur. He has not been open and honest about why his focus has shifted from progressive to conservative and he does not accept criticism or (I can assume as an observer) he does not reflect on his own personal development, as the signature ‘blame everyone else’ behaviour has not changed.

Around this time last year, Turnbull promised the voting public that he would be the innovation prime minister.

The difficulty for Turnbull with innovation is innovation requires constant evolving change and continuous improvement. Maintaining the status quo through escalation of commitment kills off innovation faster than one can say “Betacord.”

For a Prime Minister to become the innovative Prime Minister he promised he would be, Turnbull needs to adopt a transformational leadership style. To do this, it is necessary to do a number of things and I’ll use this next section as a pictorial to show how things have gone wrong:

 

1. Adopt a new unique leadership perspective. Don’t copy old leadership styles.

No Malcolm! You are doing it wrong!

abbott mask

 

2. Develop a Culture of Trust – Have those you lead trust you and share your vision

No Malcolm! You are doing it wrong!

Bernardi 18c

Source: Crikey

 3. Develop Formal Solutions. Generate new ideas. Think outside the box. Take risks.

No Malcolm! You are doing it wrong

Credlin ideas

Source: Fairfax

 

4. Challenge old ideas and adopt new thinking

No Malcolm! You are doing it wrong!

cartoons abbott

Source: Eureka Street / Kudelka Cartoons / Loon Pond / Timstoons

 

5. Take responsibility – Reflect on your behaviour and do not blame others

No Malcolm! You are doing it wrong!

blame labor

Source: @SirThomasWynne

 

6.  Become a failure-tolerant leader. Re-examine, Re-invigorate and Renew

No Malcolm! You are doing it wrong!

turnbull sulking

Source: The Guardian/Australia

 

I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom from a true great leader.  May his words inspire Mr. Turnbull to have his first original idea.

pat dodson

The Taxed Nots. Who are they and what should we do with them?

bludgerWhen the Government chooses not to participate in active job creation, the expectation on people seeking employment to engage in active participation welfare programs, is unfair, burdensome, stigmatising, demoralising and counterproductive.  Mutual Obligation under the Keating Government was developed based on the notion that the Government would also commit to job creation and increase vocational training. This is not the case today, nor has it been for some time.  The Government is not investing in job creation and vocational education has been largely privatised and is predominantly inaccessible and unaffordable to those who most need it.  Active Participation welfare programs are punitive and are underpinned by the assumption that the jobseeker is lazy and needs motivation by a paternalistic guiding hand to participate in society as a full human being. It is time for a new narrative and a new solution.

The latest narrative – The Taxed Nots. Who are they?

They are bludgers, rorters, welfare cheats, the undeserving poor, the drug addled, leaners not lifters, people with their hand out, a hindrance to the ‘national interest’, people who don’t try hard enough, job refusers, taking loans from the tax-payer, won’t get off the couch, lack participation, who go from the school gate to Centrelink’s front door, self-entitled, sitting at home playing X-box and eating cheezels and now the latest….The Taxed Nots.

The Taxed Nots – what should we do with them?

We need to drug test them, force them into unpaid labour, manage their income, give them a card to label them and not trust them with cash, push the welfare cops after them, get them moving, force them to live 45% below the poverty line and if they are poverty line newbie, we should starve them for six months whist the Government simultaneously breaches its human rights obligations. .

With the exception of John Howard’s gem, “the undeserving poor” and Amanda Vanstone’s “Don’t try hard enough and refuse jobs”, these are just some of the labels the Australian Liberal Party has given to those seeking employment and just some of the ‘solutions’ to assist the jobless to find employment, since 2013. Pretty confronting when it is wrapped up in neat little paragraphs, isn’t it?

The dehumanisation and the stigmatisation of those seeking employment must cease immediately and a new narrative and new solutions need to start today.

A little history

Mutual obligation has always existed within the jobseeker framework.  However, mutual obligation penalties were discretionary and mostly non financial (ie write on your dole form where you looked for work this week).  However, postponement of payment could occur for up to two weeks.  This was dropped in 1984 as it was causing hardship, but reinstated in 1987.  The widening of activity based breaches will be discussed in the next section. Active Labor Market Participation (ALMP) programs were the shift towards paternalistic and punitive measures and financial penalties for the unemployed.

Active Labor Market Participation (ALMP) programs commenced under the Hawke/Keating Government. The  original intention of the ALMP programs was to manage retraining and to assist new workers to move across industries in the new globalisation and at a time where long time unemployment was the new reality and had shifted from a long period of relatively low unemployment.

Zigarus ¹ (2004) sums up another driver as, “In essence, this approach holds that the unemployment rate is influenced by how actively the unemployed search for work. The more effort people make to find jobs, and the less choosy they are about what jobs they will take, the lower the overall unemployment.”

Regardless of how well intentioned ALMP programs were when they were introduced, the very essence of these programs are driven by the notion that the unemployed do not have the same desires to achieve a full life as the employed do and they are inherently lazy.   Paternalistic and punitive welfare measures are also the antecedents to enabling the stigmatisation of the unemployed. The era of the ALMP programs were the beginning of segregating the unemployed as separate citizens from those who are employed – the bludgers and the workers. Even within the cohort of the unemployed, the narrative was able to change from discussing welfare as a necessity for those out of work to those who deserved assistance and those who did not.  Those who needed a hand up and those who just wanted a hand out.  This narrative continues today and it has become increasingly more comfortable for politicians to use this stigmatising rhetoric with conviction.

Punitive measures intensified under Howard

The shift in ALMP programs under John Howard introduced the concept that unpaid labour should be imposed on those seeking employment. Howard’s notion was to deserve a hand out, the recipient must give back to the community.  This adds the public’s scrutinisation of the intentions of the jobseeker to the mix.  Work for the Dole and similar unpaid labour programs normalised the perception that jobseekers had to be forced to work, as they were not motivated to do so; and if they were working as unpaid labour, this would be the impetus to force them to look for paid labour.

Financial Penalties under Howard

The Howard Government dismantled Keating’s Working Nation (job creation, increased Labor market programs and training and mutual obligation, including breaching penalties). Financial penalties increased and the activity for which you could be breached significantly widened under the Liberals “Australian’s Working Together” policy.  The other notable shift from Keating’s policy to Howard’s policy was that financial penalties moved from discretionary to enforced by legislation and contractual obligation on the jobsearch provider.

The initial extremely punitive measures are outlined by Eardley et. al ² as:

The initial legislation proposed to strengthen breaching arrangements by extending the activity test non-payment period to six weeks for the first breach and 13 weeks for all subsequent breaches, while all administrative breaches would incur rate reductions of 25 per cent for eight weeks.

Welfare groups successfully lobbied and this initial bill was defeated in Parliament. However, less severe penalties were adopted.  This included an 8 week breach of 100% loss of benefit after the third breach. The Abbott Government put up a bill in 2013 which sought to exempt new Newstart recipients from payment for six months. This has been defeated/taken off the table and a bill for Newstart recipients to be exempt for six weeks, is still progressing though today’s parliament.  This shows the long standing determination of the Liberal Party to impose harsh and extreme measures on the unemployed.  This also shows the shift from welfare as a human right to dignity, to one of targeting the disadvantaged as a means for budget savings.

Other notable changes

Structural changes jobseeker programs to note (but not limited to) are:

  • The inclusion and shift from other benefits to jobseeker associated benefits (Single Parents and Disability recipients shifted to jobsearch programs.)
  • The increase in mutual obligation age brackets from 17-18 years, to 18-30 years to 18-49 years and now 18-60 years and over
  • Intensive case management
  • Enforceable preparing for work agreements
  • Increased obligation to search for more jobs, or a breach is imposed
  • The length of time travelled to search for job, or a breach is imposed
  • Relocation expectation
  • Implementation of Government approved doctors only (not jobseeker’s own doctor)
  • Shift to a jobsearch payment from Disability pension if you can work 30 hours per week down to 15 hours per week
  • Shift from Government provider to private contracted providers
  • Obligation to jobsearch if not employed for more than 70 hours per fortnight  (jobsearch is a requirement although you have gained employment)
  • Income Management (Basic’s Card – non-cash component imposed)

The jobseeker’s positioning in Australia.

The reality for the availability of a jobseeker securing work in Australia, is that there are 19 jobseekers for every job available in Australia (as of May, 2016).  That is however, not a true figure, as it needs to be considered that not all jobseekers are equally qualified for all jobs. Therefore, for some the jobseeker to job vacancy ratio is much higher.  In addition, vocational education and training has become less available and less accessible for those seeking employment; particularly in lower income brackets. Changes to eligibility for vocational training (ie The Certificate 3 Guarantee is for any eligible Queensland resident who does not already hold and is not currently enrolled into, a post-school Certificate III or higher qualification.) Therefore if you hold a cert III in one vocational area, for example beauty, you are not eligible to undertake vocational training at cert 3 level in business administration.

In addition, specialised services such as JPET (Job placement, employment and training for homeless and disadvantaged young people) have ceased and are now replaced with a one-stop-shop model of ‘streams’ of unemployment.

The Liberal Party’s small government, free market mindset, is an inherent propensity to shy away from job creation and allow the free market to ‘sort out the jobs’, rather than the socialisation of job creation projects.  Government’s who do not commit to job creation are not complying with their mutual obligation to the nation’s unemployed citizens.  The onus is completely on the jobseeker and the framework within the jobseeker must search for jobs, is unrealistic; secure full time jobs and skills development get increasingly more difficult to obtain.

It should also be noted that barriers to employment and the adverse outcomes of financial and other punitive measures are more severe for (but not limited to); Indigenous Australians, single parents, jobseekers with a disability, youth and homeless and disadvantaged jobseekers.

The new narrative and the new solutions

To achieve the re-humanisation and the de-stigmatisation of those seeking employment; the jobsearch model must shift to a jobseeker-centric framework and away from a budget savings measures framework where jobseekers are currently seen as a strain on the public purse and a dehumanised as a target for savings measures.

Therefore, the jobsearch framework needs to shift from one of mandatory participation to one of voluntary participation.

Jobseekers need to be allowed free agency to participate freely in jobsearch activities.  To do this, the narrative needs to shift from the stigmatising rhetoric outlined in the beginning of this article to a more supportive narrative. Jobseekers should be given the support and recognition by Government that they have the same hopes, dreams and aims as the employed and are actively participating in job search to improve their life circumstance.

This then shifts the narrative away from the current underpinning assumption that jobseekers need a paternalistic guiding hand to motivate them; to a narrative that has the underpinning assumption that jobseekers are intrinsically motivated to seek employment.

This then shifts the onus for outcomes from the jobseeker and the public expectation to punish them for non-achievement to the public expectation that the Government of the day has an obligation to perform and enable an environment conducive to an expectation that secure employment can be achieved.

This should put pressure on the Government of the day to engage fully in job creation projects and the public less likely to accept the promises of a free market, small Government intervention model.  This means that there would be an increase in the expectation that the Government would create jobs where it had the power to do so.  This may include Government intervention to increase positions in all Government owned, operated and funded entities at local, state and federal level.  This may also include Government intervention to make mandatory the requirement for quotas within Government funded infrastructure projects to achieve targets of employing those who are employed and underemployed.

This should also put pressure on the Government to ensure they meet the obligation of providing skills development opportunities for those seeking employment. This may mean the implementation of yearly quotas of trainees and apprentices for all Government owned and funded organisations.  This would also place pressure on the Government to provide affordable access to TAFE and other training for all jobseekers, both under employed and unemployed.

In regional and rural areas where there is a higher concentration of unemployment; this should also put pressure on the Government to decentralise the public sector at state and federal level. In addition, pressure should be placed on the Government to provide attractive incentives for SME’s and large corporations to invest in relocations or start ups in regional and rural areas.

Government change to enhance the current model would also require the adoption of a basic wage, which will shift the public perception of one that jobseekers are welfare dependent, to a perception of a human right to a basic wage for all citizens.  This will also enable the underemployed to be as competitive for jobs as the unemployed.  Currently some incentives favour only the long term unemployed and lock the under employed out of the labour market.   Punitive measures such as income management (basic card) and financial penalties would not longer need to exist.

The most critical shift that needs to occur is for citizens to reject the stigmatising narrative that currently exists around those seeking employment today, as this narrative is the antecedent for the entire burden of secure employment to fall on the jobseeker, rather than the onus of providing citizens with full, secure employment on the Government.

All of the above can be achieved and it can start with a rejection of the current dehumanising and stigmatising narrative surrounding jobseekers; and it should start with all of us today.

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

 

1 Ziguras, Stephen (2004) “Australian Social Security Policy and Job-Seekers’ Motivation,” Journal of Economic and Social Policy: Vol. 9: No. 1, pp 1-24

Tony Eardley, Jude Brown, Margot Rawsthorne, Kate Norris, Liz Emrys, 2005, The impact of breaching on income support customers, Social Policy Research Centre (UNSW)

Will you Lean on me or are you an indi-bloody-vidual?

me we

The recent election highlighted to me something as a nation we are not talking about. It is also something that our leaders on the left are not talking about, yet they should be.

This election, the right wing of politics supported by the media were successful in creating a divide.  This divide is not just about rich versus poor, or big business versus the worker.  This divide is about the underlying constructs of the very essence of everything that has underpinned us as a nation since Gough Whitlam broke 23 years of conservative rule – progressive reform achieved through the power of democratic socialism.

This divide is about how we are choosing to see ourselves as a society – or if we see ourselves instead as segments of individuals and not as a society at all. This divide is now markedly between Liberalism, Libertarianism and conservatism and right wing populism which is underpinned by the Individualism of the right versus the more collective Socialism, Environmentalism and Democratic Socialism of the left.

I say this is markedly because not only have the Liberals returned to power, but also we have seen the rise of more minor parties and Independents who espouse Individualism as their central tenet win more and more seats.

In addition, we have seen the media promote (including paid promotion) and encourage the voices of those who espouse Individualism and interrupt (up to more than 30 times in a half hour segment) to suppress those who espouse democratic socialism.  The interest in individualism and breaking the two party system is also reflected as a central theme in comments across various social media platforms, including newspaper forums.

I see the rise of individualism in Australia in two distinct areas.  The first is the decision-making process and democratic representation to develop and pass the legislation, which shapes us. The second is individualism as the central tenet of the ideology of the majority of seats in our current parliament.

Decision-making and democratic representation

With regards to parliamentary decision-making and democratic representation, we have seen a rise in discussions about breaking the two party system. An excitement and a peaking of interest in how it is better to see individual voices in parliament trade off for their vote with other individual voices and creating blocs of these voices to pass legislation; rather than the collective decision making process of a major party, based on their collective values and ideology.

The worrying theme about the rise in these discussions is voters who advocate this; do not seem to care what the individual or minor party stands for. As long as they are an Independent, or a minor/micro party, that is what matters. The fact that these people or parties are not a collective or a part of a major party appears to be the most appealing aspect for many voters.

There is a plethora of voices shouting loudly about how we need to destroy the two-party system, but there is only a modicum….no… a complete absence of any argument about why we need to destroy a system that has delivered us many successful reforms over many years.  The focus is that the two-party system is a failure, whilst ignoring the successes.

As a supporter of Labor, I am not even going to talk about the extensive list of successful Labor Party reforms that have shaped our country under the two-party system. Instead, I am going to use as an example, the only progressive reform the Liberals have ever had in my lifetime – Gun Reform.

When pockets of the nation are excited about the fact that a person is an Independent, or a micro party, rather than how these people or parties may vote on an important issue such as freedom of gun ownership laws, it is a concern.  These anti-two party system voters appear to have a care factor of zero about the values or ideology, which will underpin decision making on this matter.

Do we risk ice-fuelled junkies running through the streets playing real life Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in the name of individual freedom?

Is Individual freedom more important than the protection of the rest of society?

Is ideology that insignificant and major parties so abhorrent that we take this risk with a protest vote?  A protest vote in which many participants cannot articulate what they are actually protesting about?

Within the two-party system, the major parties have a particular ideology and party platform that underpins them. This platform, informs voters about how their values align with many, many areas of policy.  The challenge for major parties is to actively promote their central values – their ideology which underpins how as a collective they will make decisions.

To be fair, Labor did push this extensively during the campaign with their 100 positive policies, however, I feel this was significantly absent during the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years.  The Liberals in my view failed spectacularly in this area with their 2013 pamphlet, which was upgraded to a plan for a plan in 2016.

Could this be attributed to Labor’s failure to win the election, but success in the number of seats won? Could this be attributed to the Liberal’s success in winning the election, but failure in number of seats lost?

Is ambiguity now so 2013?  To restore true belief in the major parties’ platforms, the major parties must wear their values on their sleeves and promote their liberal/conservative agenda or their democratic socialist one, or in the case of the minor/major Greens party – get back to pushing environmental reform.  The parties need to set their agenda to purely focus on attracting true believers to their causes.

There is a growing tide of people desiring the annihilation of the collective structures that underpin the decision making of a party platform and the two-party system.  These people argue that bringing forth a sporadic cacophony of decision-makers is a more ‘democratic’ option. The people who advocate this appear to have no interest on how these individuals or parties will vote on issues, which are not a part of their single issue-focused or populist agenda.

Paul Keating is remembered and revered for his wit and quips. However, I truly believe he was able to be outstanding during his time, as both major parties were at true odds with each other in terms of ideology and Keating was able to harness this as a true battle of ideas between left and right.

I also believe that Shorten is definitely on the right path with his latest reforms more left of the spectrum than the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years and he is also wearing democratic socialism on his sleeve. Time will tell where he goes with this.

If Turnbull is threatened by the rise of the Independents and minor parties – he must do the same. However, this will mean he will need to admit what he actually does believe in.  This will be his greatest challenge yet.

With a sparodic cacophony of decision-makers, confusion will continue to reign until values and ideology once again trump populism (no pun intended).

Individualism as a central tenet and the risk to progressive reform

Individualism permeating as a result of seats won, is also a testament to the rise of Individualism in Australia.  Individualism is a central tenet of Liberalism, liberal-conservativism, libertarianism, neo-conservatism and right wing populism and even to an extent, the populist-centrists that are currently making up the majority of parliamentarians and senators as the result of the democratic vote that was cast at our recent election.

The successful reforms of the two party system, are all underpinned by collectivism/socialism and utilitarianism. That is where the greater needs of society, the protection and security of society, the moral good of society as the outcome, outweighs the desires or freedoms of the individual.

With the rise of individualism, there is a risk of all of our existing progressive reforms being weakened or even destroyed. The underpinning construct of individualism is that everyone is born equal and everyone has the same opportunities in life.  Essentially, your life is what you make of it.  Your individual rights are more important than the needs of society as a whole; even if this means to the detriment of large groups of people in society (ie no taxes to pay for another person’s health care, but rather a user pays system).

This is why the Liberal party see going without any Newstart payments for six months as an incentive and not a punishment. They see the individual as inherently lazy. They use this to stigmatise the individual, to cut payments even further, or to push an even more punitive agenda on the unemployed.

They do not see it that as a Government, they have failed to provide enough employment for everyone.  They believe that the free market will just sort it out and everyone has the same opportunity to ‘make a go of it.’   We saw this with Turnbull’s push for everyone to aspire to be an innovative entrepreneur rather than a common worker. If you can’t get a job – just go and create an App you lazy bastard!

Individualists and free-marketeers such as Turnbull do not value the security, protection and harmony that collective or socialist welfare measures bring the nation as a whole. Instead, they see it as the dragging down of society, where the haves need to prop up the have-nots.

Individualism values the freedom of the individual over the harmony and security of a group as a whole. The danger of this ideology, is it has the power to destroy the very fabric of everything that has shaped our society over a long period of time and everything we are still yet trying to achieve.

Our awards and collective bargaining system, our superannuation system, our right to welfare (although needs huge improvements!) the NDIS, Gonski and even national infrastructure such as the NBN to name a few.

We saw individualism peak at its boldest during the Howard years. With its ugly head raised under Work Choices, workers had no choices.  Funding for Universities were tied to the abolishment of collective agreements and Howard tried his hardest to use his authority to force Individual agreements on employees in this sector.

Individualism with its ugly head raised, allowed any worker to be sacked for any reason, with no recourse. Individualism with its ugly head raised allowed the more highly ranked workers adept and confident to bargain for a decent individual wage, with unskilled workers with low self-effacy in individual wage bargaining, left with the scraps and told to take it or leave it.  Most employees had protection measures stripped, annual leave loading abolished, penalty rates removed and gazetted public holidays removed and some had every single protection measure removed.

For those who want to fight against a rise of Individualism and its ugly head being raised again, the question is “How do we as a collective create a more powerful message that individualism is damaging to our society, before many who are advocating the return of individualism learn the hard way how ugly it really is, along with a second bout for the rest of us?”

The agenda setting of the media makes pushing this narrative even harder. We should also note the power of the media, including the National Broadcaster, in setting an agenda to undermine our nation’s socialist based health care system.  They used their innate power by reiterating and reinforcing the political terminology of the right “Mediscare.”

The right used Mediscare, to divert voters away from their intention to weaken and destroy Medicare as a classic Joh Bjelke Petersen “Don’t you worry about that” moment.

The power of the media in this instance was used to reinforce the notion of Individualism and that it is not important for us to stand together as a collective and fight to ensure that all Australians have access to healthcare. In fact, many respected and powerful journalists actually tittered and giggled when communicating to voters the word “Mediscare.”  Because you know, socialist healthcare and people being more vulnerable to late diagnosis and death is a bit of a joke.

I hope if a young person does not have the money to access health care and is diagnosed with cervical cancer too late; these journalists will have the decency to wipe the smirk off their faces, when reporting on such stories that will occur now in our future.

Narrative shapes society and I am definitely not a fan of the narrative I see playing out, at this present point in time. When narrative is put to music, it turns into songs and lyrics.  I see the election and the post election music as a mash-up of these two songs.

Lean on me, when you’re not strong (I’m an Individual)
And I’ll be your friend (You can’t fool me)
I’ll help you carry on (an Indi-bloody-vidual)
For it won’t be long (You can’t fool me)
‘Til I’m gonna need (A genuine original)
Somebody to lean on (You can’t fool me)

The question is, if both songs were on your playlist – which one would you turn up?

 

Australian Voters – What are you afraid of?

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The tight polls indicate that a number of Australians are afraid of what a change of Government will bring. However, the thought of remaining with the Liberal Government makes me very afraid.

I still recall that day in early high school so vividly. I was yelled at, embarrassed to the point of tears and pulled out of class.  I was ordered to sit on the verandah, because my parents could not afford the proper text book and the teacher decided I was not ‘ready to learn’. That experience, really drove home that the battlers could sit alone and cry red-faced in shame and be on the outside looking in, or they could use their voices to speak up.

I knew that public education in the early 1980s was considered free for all students and that I was entitled to an education.  (My Mother had told me time and time again “you don’t need money to be clean, honest, intelligent, kind, well mannered, etc., etc.,)

That day, I furiously marched to the Principal’s office at lunchtime and I made a formal complaint.  I stood up straight, looked him in the eye and asked him loud and clear, if I was allowed to be excluded from class because I could not afford the text book.

For a reason I cannot remember now, (possibly being thirteen and misunderstanding the political framework!) I threatened to report the school to the Governor General and guaranteed that he could stand me in front of class and ask me questions. I argued that it would be revealed that I knew more than most of the students who had text books. I was angry and offended that the school had drawn a line between my intelligence, my willingness to learn and the amount of money my parents had to buy a stupid text book!

After some scornful lecture reminding me that it was somehow a thirteen year old’s responsibility to ensure I had the right books for school and I was ‘ready to learn’, I was given a ‘loan’ of a second hand book.  I had to promise I would protect this book with my dear life until the end of the year and I was curtly reminded that ‘forgetting to return the book would be considered stealing from the school.’   That was also a stark reminder of how a low socio-economic background was an immediate negative judgement of one’s morals.

Two things were important that day: A rule existed to prevent unfairness and I had the courage to speak up. 

Rules and Societal Norms shape who we are

Legal rules and also societal norms shape who we are. They shape our nation. The democratic system of parliament is the system which enables the rules by which we live. If the school had a rule implemented that stated I could be excluded because I did not have the correct book, I could have sat on the verandah for the rest of the year. Not learning and not participating. Some kids would not have complained, as I did.  

An important point is that not everyone has the same levels of self-efficacy to use a complaints system, or to even question if they are a victim of unfairness. The rules should be there to protect people so they do not need to have an inherent self-confidence to right any wrongs.

This is the reason I take politics and voting so seriously.  The Liberals, time and time again implement ‘rules’ or laws, that not only make life hard for the disadvantaged, but also make it hard to complain and achieve fairness.  We see this in Education, in Health, in Welfare and in unemployment programs to name a few.

This is the future under the Liberal Government I see and what we have seen for the past three years and in previous Liberal Governments state and federal.  A system of rules, that makes life harder for battlers. A system of rules that makes it harder for battlers to have a voice.  A system of rules that is the antecedent to unfairness and a divided society.

The Liberals seek to make that verandah I sat on, even wider between the thirteen year old me and inclusion in that classroom.  

The Liberals seek to make rules, that would have the Principal tell the thirteen year old me, ‘that it was my fault, I can do better, get richer parents, shut up, sit down and do as you are told, or we may arrest you.’

The tight polls indicate that a number of Australians are afraid of what a change of Government will bring. However, the thought of remaining with the Liberal Government makes me very afraid:

I don’t want to live in a world where a Liberal Government works hard for a greater divide between the rich and the poor. 

Where the practices and policies of the Liberals ensure the working class have no rights and can be replaced by foreign workers in the dead of night.

Where the practices and policies of the Liberals make the disadvantaged choose between seeing a doctor or buying food.

Where the ideology of the Liberals does not see marriage equality as a right for all citizens.

Where the Liberals favouritism of austerity is implemented in times of severe, global economic uncertainty.

Where a narrative which harms and stigmatises people is encouraged and supported and sometimes led by members of the Liberal party.

Where Liberal/Conservative/austerity-laden budgets are designed to give the wealthy money and see the poor grasping for the trickling down of the scraps.

Where the spending decisions of a Liberal Government produces a health system so underfunded that death of Australians is realistic consequence.

I don’t want to live in a country where a Liberal Government makes rules to make life harder for the battler or makes it harder to protest against unfairness.

Another term of The Liberals. That is what makes me very afraid

If you are NOT voting 1 Labor, what are you afraid of?

  • Does ensuring Medicare is in the safe hands of the Labor party  – the party that invented Medicare and the party that has fought against cuts to Medicare by the Liberals for years and years, make you afraid?
  • Does ensuring that all children have the funding they need for more individual attention to excel in school, make you afraid?
  • Does a party who fights for the rights of the worker, make you afraid?
  • Does ensuring that our health system is properly funded, so Doctors and Nurses can do their jobs properly, make you afraid?
  • Does ensuring transparency, KPIs for processing, independent overseer, child guardian, refugee tribunal and funding UNHCR camps to eradicate the need for boat journeys, make you afraid?
  • Does ensuring that the party that got us through the GFC unscathed, managing the economy in a transitional environment or global instability, make you afraid?
  • Does a history of delivering major reforms that have progressed this nation forward such as: NDIS, Enterprise Bargaining, Medicare, Superannuation and Gonski, make you afraid?
  • Does the underpinning ideology of a fair go, make you afraid?
  • Does ensuring that we have a fibre-laden, first rate technology National Broadband System, make you afraid?
  • Does every citizen having the equal right to marry, make you afraid?
  • Does the idea a party can have 100 positive policies, presented and costed before an election, make you afraid?

Vote Labor to put people first on July 2. Don’t be afraid.

 

Shorten’s Labor: Fair Go Mate!

The saying, ‘Fair Go Mate’ embodies so much of what Australians are about in three little words – a fair go. It sums up everything that is the backbone of who we are: to stand up to those who try to knock us down and don’t give us a chance – a fair go.

When someone judges us or our efforts unfairly or tries to knock us down and not give us a chance; in our beautiful, unique Australian vernacular we respond with “Fair Go, Mate!”

Every time I hear Bill Shorten speak, every positive policy he announces, he promotes something positive that will give Australians a fair go.

Woven into every rebuttal of the Liberal Government’s punitive, conservative, knock everything and everyone down rhetoric and policies, I hear Shorten say to Turnbull – “Fair Go, Mate!”

On July 3rd, we will wake up with either Labor or Liberals as our Government. There is no other choice. I understand that there is quite a movement of people wanting to vote for independent and minor parties; however, your vote will decide which one of the Major parties will rule us for the next three years.

We need to seek a clear majority for a Government to achieve good progress in their own right. Hung parliaments are not something ‘cool and trendy’ that teach anyone a lesson, nor are they something we should wish for. Being one seat away to the return of Campbell Newman/Joh Bjelke-Petersen type rule in Queensland, is not a pleasant thought. With 42 seats each, it is real fear. It is not a joke.

Please vote for a minor party or an independent, if you are truly dedicated to that party or individual. However, there are many people who state they will do this ‘to teach the majors a lesson.’ There seems to be a growing popularity that somehow this is a ‘trendy thing to do.’  Please don’t vote to be ‘trendy’ when so much is at stake.  We are adults. Politics does matter. It changes lives. Please take your vote seriously, because with this election being so close, your vote is powerful and you will be a participant in real choice.

Malcolm Turnbull is correct when he has implored voters

“To vote as if your vote decides the election.”

This election is so close, your vote might do just that.

That choice is a Shorten Government or a Turnbull Government.  That is it. No beating around the bush, no platitudes, no whimsical fancies of a minor party breaking history and winning 76 seats. Every single primary vote counts.  It is Shorten or Turnbull. Your choice.

A choice between a fair go and progressive policies with Labor, or a continuation of stagnant, conservative and punitive measures with the Liberals.

On July 2, you will either vote for a Shorten Labor Government to give you a fair go and to be given a real chance, or you will vote to be knocked down by the Liberals and not given a chance.

The Liberals won’t care if you scream at them “Fair Go, Mate!” The Liberals see punishment as an incentive to push people to improve. It simply does not resonate with them.

Here are some of the choices you will be voting for:

Bill Shorten is saying to Turnbull “Fair Go, Mate” because Turnbull wants to knock kids down before they can get a quality education, by not properly funding schools.

Shorten will give kids a fair go by properly funding Gonski.

Bill Shorten is saying to Turnbull “Fair Go, Mate” because Turnbull wants to knock sick people down who don’t have the money to pay a GP Co-Payment, or fees for pathology and scans that are essential for diagnosis, by putting extra taxes on Medicare and making moves to privatise our national health insurance system.

Shorten will give sick people a fair go, by protecting Medicare and lifting the Medicare rebate freeze , so more Doctors have an incentive to bulk bill.
In two words: Medicare Stays.

Bill Shorten is saying to Turnbull “Fair Go, Mate” because Turnbull wants to knock LGBTI people down by spending $160 million dollars on an plebiscite, which will give voice to the homophobic anti-marriage equality lobby, to shout their enraged hate at LGBTI people, just to decide if they should have the same rights as every other citizen in the country.

Shorten will give LGBTI people a fair go, by legislating for Marriage Equality within the first 100 days.

Bill Shorten is saying to Turnbull “Fair Go, Mate” because Turnbull wants to knock Australians down, before they can even begin to think about starting a business, or remaining competitive, or by preventing their education in a rural area, by giving Australians a second rate copper-laden National Broadband Network.

Shorten will give all Australians a fair go, by rolling out Fibre to the Premises and give Australians a first class technology fibre laden NBN

Bill Shorten is saying to Turnbull “Fair Go, Mate” because Turnbull wants to knock school leavers and mature aged students down, by deregulating some university fees, and locking some students out of higher education, based on their family’s wealth and not their hard work.

Shorten will give all University Students a fair go, by keeping higher education affordable and accessible for all students; creating STEM Scholarships and offering some places completely HECS Free.

Bill Shorten is saying to Turnbull “Fair Go, Mate” because Turnbull wants to knock jobseekers down by giving business a 50 billion dollar tax cut, which will only impact the economy by .01% – under the guise of “jobs and growth’ and offer $4 Internships.

Shorten will give business and jobseekers a fair go, by offering small business a $20,000 tax break if they hire, a ­mature-age jobseeker or someone under 25 and by committing that one in 10 jobs in Government infrastructure projects are apprentices.

Thank you Bill Shorten, for bringing the Fair Go from underneath the layers of political rhetoric voters need to sift through at election time and just placing it smack bang in the middle of the table, in arms reach, right next to the sauce.

Shorten summed this up nicely in his speech at the Labor Launch this morning when speaking of the fair go that underpins what Labor is about:

Today, my remarkable team and I offer ourselves as an new Government, dedicated to Australian’s oldest proposition  – A Fair Go all around. A Labor Govt that recognised that Australia has always grown stronger and richer, by including everyone in opportunity, and leaving no-one behind.

and

We will be a Labor Government that will always put people first, in the finest tradition of this great country we all love together.

You can watch more about Labor’s Fair Go Here:

Please make your vote count!

 

Plebiscite. NOT a civil and respectful debate

A Shorten Labor Government promises to pass Marriage Equality within the first 100 days if they win the election.   An Abbott-Turnbull Government favours a plebiscite. Both of these cases were argued at the first Facebook leaders debate last night.

Leadership Debate 17 June, 2016 – Marriage Equality Plebiscite

Malcolm Turnbull:  I support same-sex marriage, if we are returned to Government, there will be a plebiscite, then all Australians will get a say on the issue.  I’ll be voting yes. Lucy will be voting yes. We will be urging people to vote yes.  I am very confident it will be carried.

Bill Shorten: Now the argument says, Oh Plebiscite, it’s very democratic.  But the truth of the matter is that this is a debate where I don’t believe that people’s relationships and love for each other need to be submitted to a public opinion poll.  I think we have seen two terrible events in the last week that shows hate and extremism exists in modern societies. And I don’t want to give the haters a chance to come out from underneath the rock and make life harder for LGBTI people.

Malcolm Turnbull: With great respect to you. I believe Australians are better than that. I believe we can have a discussion about marriage equality. It can be civil. It can be respectful and we will make a decision as a nation and then, as a nation we will respect the outcome.

The debate on marriage equality so far, has been anything but civil or respectful. Therefore, one can conclude Turnbull is one or more of the following:

  • Outright lying
  • Responding with empty platitudes
  • Playing semantics with the words ‘can be’ and ‘will be’
  • Intentionally arrogant and insulting towards the people who have already expressed they have been harmed by this debate
  • Ignorant and out of touch with the commentary already occurring within this debate
  • Supportive of the hateful and harmful commentary from the Anti-Marriage Equality lobby and considers this commentary, a civil and respectful debate.

Let’s take a look just a small taste of how the marriage equality debate has developed thus far. It has been far from civil.

*Warning: This post contains comments and pictures that may be upsetting and hurtful to LGBTI people, their families and allies. 

A Taste of the Respectful and Civil debate thus far:

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Leaked pamphlets, to feature in an upcoming campaign against same-sex marriage, suggest children of gay and lesbian parents are more prone to “abuse and neglect” and more likely to be unemployed, abuse drugs and suffer depression.

The pamphlets, obtained by Fairfax Media, have been prepared and funded by Chris Miles, a former Liberal MP and member of the Foreign Investment Review Board.

“Not only is the information on this flyer wrong, it will put the lives of young gay people and the children of same-sex couples at risk by reinforcing the message that they and their families are broken.” (Croome, AME)

The Rainbow Noose
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Australian Marriage Alliance advertisement opposing marriage equality

AUSTRALIAN anti-gay-marriage group Marriage Alliance has depicted a woman with a rainbow noose around her neck in its latest internet campaign.

The group is claiming that same-sex marriage will increase suicide because people who are against it will be bullied over their views if it becomes law.

What About the Children?

Australian Marriage Alliance television advertisement opposing marriage equality. The central message that only children who have a mum and a dad “Miss out” on a real family.  

Alexander Regan, a 17-year-old boy with two lesbian mums, said on the petition that he was deeply offended by the commercial.

“I’m signing this because I’m a child of two absolutely loving lesbian parents and I’m really offended that this advertisement blatantly slandering same-sex parents’ ability to be parents simply based on their homosexuality,” he wrote. “My mums are amazing and I honestly need nothing more than them and their love in my life.”

Booklet

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said,

“This booklet denigrates and demeans same-sex relationships and will do immense harm to gay students and students being raised by same-sex couples.”

“The booklet likely breaches the Anti-Discrimination Act and I urge everyone who finds it offensive and inappropriate, including teachers, parents and students, to complain to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks.”

Mr Croome said he has received several complaints from teachers in Catholic schools who were horrified to learn at staff room meetings that the booklet will be distributed.

Comparing Marriage Equality to Animal Sexual Activity

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A federal Nationals MP has drawn a comparison between same-sex relationships and two rams having sex in a paddock, provoking condemnation for the ‘offensive’ and ‘inappropriate’ statements, with the Greens calling on him to apologise and retract them.

Educating Children and Parents about the dangers of Marriage Equality

 

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Parents took to social media to express concern over the event some described as “highly offensive’’, “extremely bigoted’’ and “totally inappropriate to be sent out through a Catholic school parent email list’’.

In a plea sent to the school, obtained by the Mercury, one parent said: “Although the teachings of the Catholic religion is one of husband and wife I find it inappropriate that the Catholic Diocesan of Wollongong  would find it appropriate to be “informed” about this topic by a (group) with a clear agenda leading up to a federal election.’’

“There are many families within our school community that would be extremely offended by this type of ignorant propaganda as they are not a ‘family’ as is defined,’’ the email said.

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The Australian Christian Lobby has compared same-sex marriage and the Safe Schools program to the Holocaust, dubbing them all “unthinkable things” that happened because societies lacked strong moral guardians.

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Peter Madden is running for the Tasmanian Senate with the Family First party and his campaign is anti-marriage equality and anti-Safe Schools.

On Monday he made a comment on Twitter: “Though Orlando is abhorrent, it doesn’t change the real & present dangers of the gay marriage agenda to Aus children.”

People have condemned the insensitive tweet and even called the hopeful politician “scum”.

“Absolutely disgusting. Completely offensive,” one commented.

As I live in a Regional Town, I am dedicating a section just to debate within regional communities. 

There are extra complexities to consider in regional communities for LGBTI people. There is no Mardi-Gras. There is no wide-spread community support. Young LGBTI people often move away from the area quickly and there is a high rate of suicide. A harmful and hurtful debate only places further stress on young LGBTI people in regional communities.

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ssm6Mr Christensen, the Member for Dawson, posted a photo on social media showing a gun loaded with a rainbow coloured magazine.

“My point is that people saying ‘let’s follow America’ in their argument for same-sex marriage … well what about the right to bear arms?” he said.

“I mean, you wouldn’t follow America on that one.

George Christensen, LNP Member for Dawson.

 

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“Many kids do flee Mackay straight after high school,” she said.

“I am sure this has something to do with it. People do not feel welcome here. You get shunned. So people leave and go to places where it is acceptable.”

BuzzFeed News asked Christensen (QLD LNP MP) what he thought about LGBTI teenagers in the area feeling as though a program like Safe Schools is needed.

He (Christensen) likened it to children wanting to eat ice cream.

“Kids love everything. Kids would love free ice cream at school,” the MP said. “Is that good for them? Y’know. Of course they are going to defend something they are being told is good.

“But is it good? Is it social engineering? I think it is clearly social engineering.”

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Using the plebiscite as campaign fodder.

The Capricornia Young LNP accuse the Labor candidate of vandalising the LNP member’s office.  (The Labor candidate responded in the original thread that she was there to support the rally and was writing “Love is Love” on a heart-shaped post it note.  The other person in the photo is the gorgeous Ben Norris from Big Brother, who spoke at the rally.

marriage equality rally

I attended this Equal Love Rally.  We held a peaceful rally. Marched a distance to the LNP Member’s office and those who desired could place a post it note on her door with a message in support of marriage equality.

Equal Love Rally

SMS to the Editor – Rockhampton Morning Bulletin

TMB SSM

This is such a small sample from the commentary within  the debate against marriage equality thus far and it does not do justice to the plethora of uncivil and disrespectful commentary from the Anti-Marriage equality lobby found within this debate. 

This quote from Shirleene Robinson, spokeswoman for Australian Marriage Equality calls for people to understand that language and narrative can cause deep hurt to people.

“Words can inflict terrible harm sometimes and we would ask that people of all opinions remember that,” she said. “The use of intemperate language can cause deep hurt among LGBTI people and their families.”

Deciphering the Leaders Debate Comments.

A plebiscite – Abbott-Turnbull Government

I refer back to Turnbull’s comments within the leadership debate:

“….then all Australians will get a say on the issue”
“….we will make a decision as a nation”

Normally Turnbull palavers on with great verbosity and his words can be deciphered and reduced to something quite simple.  On this occasion he used a few words, but it translates to much more:  That is:

“When considering marriage, Australia currently recognises two groups of people: heterosexual people and LGBTI people. Australian law currently only respects the right to marry belongs to heterosexual people and excludes LGBTI people and discriminates based on gender.

The Abbott-Turnbull Government thinks the appropriate way to redress this gender based discrimination is for Australian citizens to decide if LGBTI people are the same as them, or a lesser class of citizen.  LGBTI people belong to a minority group.

The Government will ask LGBTI people (the minority group the current law discriminates against) to vote on this.

However  we will ask the majority – their friends, their allies, people who are apathetic and indifferent, but we also think it is important to ask people who do not consider LGBTI people ‘the same’ or ‘normal’ and should not have the same rights and also those who harbour a deep-seated hatred and contempt for LGBTI people.  

These people will make up of the majority group who will decide whether to uphold discrimination towards the minority group.

To ensure people are informed before they vote, as part of this, we will force LGBTI people and their families, loved ones and allies, to listen to the hateful rhetoric from people who argue that we should uphold this discrimination and LGBTI people should remain as a lesser class of citizen, which could cause deep hurt and harm to this group.

To ensure enough information is out there to decide whether LGBTI people are a lesser class of citizen or not, this will cost approximately 160 million dollars of taxpayer money.

It should also be noted that if a majority votes to continue discrimination towards the minority group, then discrimination based on gender should be fully respected and upheld. “

End Translation.

The Legislative Approach – Shorten Government

The legislative approach states that: Discrimination exists within our marriage law and separates citizens and discriminates based on gender. We will move a bill to redress that discrimination and ensure every citizen is equal under the eyes of the law.

Marriage Equality NOW.  Say NO to a plebiscite.

Pauline just attacked women and I don’t like it!

domestic violence

In her latest sick attempt to grab votes so she can secure a seat in the Senate and claim her holy grail – a bigger pay cheque for herself; Pauline Hanson has stooped to yet another low – attacking female victims of domestic violence.

If you can stomach it – her outlandish claims that women make frivolous claims about  domestic violence and women, wasting police resources and tying up the court system can be seen here

To those who think that Pauline Hanson “speaks for me” she “speaks her mind” and “she says things people are not game to say.”  No. Just no.

She isn’t trendy or cool or ‘speaks her mind’, she doesn’t represent the ‘views of the people’. She is a puerile, inane, mendaciously lying, antagonistic, self-aggrandizer who flies on the coat-tails of creating hatred and division where-ever she can sniff it out.

In short – she wants to drive you to hate others, just so she gets a bigger pay cheque and give herself an ego boost.

Her entire history is about creating division and hatred for personal gain, not to make this country a better place.  She never talks about inclusiveness or harmony, just divisive rhetoric about us and them – the ‘normals’ and the ‘abnormals.’

Ms. Hanson has ridden on the back of negativity and fear mongering of Asians and Indigenous Australians to create groups who can be bracketed as, not fitting in, not like the rest of us, different –  ‘abnormal’.

Ms. Hanson’s 1996 Maiden speech to Parliament warned Australians of the damage that Aboriginal people and Asians do to our society. Now the fear and hatred in the 2016 campaign has turned to Muslims and she is milking that cow until it is dry.  She is the Jimmy Swaggart of the Nationalist set.

If you are still thinking of voting for her then why is her platform in 2016 not about stigmatising and creating division between white Australians and Indigenous People or Asians?  It was so important last time she put her hand up that ‘Australia is being swamped by Asians, or Aborigines get too many privileges.” Why not now?

Answer: Because Pauline Hanson knows there are no votes in it.  She knows people will be outraged in these days of reconciliation and people know that Asians have not swamped Australia.

However, there are still many people who are fearful of Muslims, do not understand their culture, are not ready to accept them as Australians and underneath that is fear and that fear equals votes where she can get them.

Indeed, there are always pockets of men who feed off ensuring women are kept weak, meek and not heard.  There are always pockets of men who think they deserve a bigger space than women in the world; even if an epidemic is so severe that women are the focus first; these types of men simply must insist that the experiences of men must be the primary focus, regardless of the implications for women or the burdens or consequences women suffer.

Pauline has pricked her ears up and she is listening to these men. Even where the system does recognise men are victims and there are men specific programs (many created BY women), and the language is changing to intimate partner violence to be more inclusive.She simply does not like it.

Pauline won’t speak to any of this because she wants people to believe this is a gender issue. She wants people to believe that men are the most hard done by and women are ‘winning’ tax payer funded supports over more deserving men like it is some sick contest.

If the welfare bludger who gets it all versus the hard working tax payer who gets nothing could be an uglier colour – this is what it looks like.

So apparently there must votes in appealing to this group.  To get these votes, today’s latest target (bullies have targets) are victims of domestic violence.

Hanson’s allegations that women victims of domestic violence make frivolous claims, is the same divisive, attack dog, them and us mentality of those who seek to stigmatise those on welfare as dole bludgers, cheats, lazy and frauds. Or those who seek to label people of different ethnicities as ‘bludgers and job stealers, murderers and rapists.’

The main aim of Hanson’s breed of politician is to stigmatise a particular group. Today that group comprises of women who are emotionally tortured to the point of self-worthlessness, beaten, threatened, stalked and killed.

Stigma aims to socially discredit a group of people. Stigma seeks to bracket people so they are not ‘normal’ and when people are seen as ‘not normal’ people who think they are ‘normal’ are afraid of the ‘abnormals’.

When people are afraid, opportunistic, egocentric politicians put themselves forth as ‘the protector’ of the ‘normals from the ‘abnormals.’  No one needs protecting from women victims of domestic violence.

No Pauline, you do not need to protect anyone from women victims of domestic violence.

No Pauline, you do not need to plead a case for less tax-payers money going on women’s services.

No Pauline, women victims of domestic violence will not be threatened by your ignorant rhetoric and be bracketed as ‘abnormal.’

No Pauline, just because men experience domestic violence, it does not invalidate the experiences of women and make their claims frivolous.

No Pauline, women victims of domestic violence will not be shamed into thinking they are ‘wasting the big strong policeman’s time and not speak up.’

No Pauline, women victims of domestic violence will not sink to the depths of silence when so many people around them are trying to lift them up to speak up.

Instead of giving examples of why or when men are not believed, or what services we need for men; Hanson’s ignorant allegation is that women are frivolous in their claims.

This is to give the impression that women are creating a false epidemic with their mendacious lies and this gives no real space for male victims. (Just read the comments following the original article linked above.)

We do not need to shame or silence women, or make them think that they are a burden on the system, so women shrink even more and create a bigger space for men who are victims of domestic violence.

If Pauline Hanson is unable to argue a bigger space for men in domestic violence services, without putting women down, then why does she deserve anyone’s vote?

If you are still thinking of voting for Pauline Hanson up to this point, ask yourself, “How does it benefit our country to start a narrative which is only meant to stigmatise and shame women who are victims of domestic violence and make it harder for them to speak up?”

To appeal to enough people to win votes with this latest outlandish claim; Pauline Hanson will want this message of ‘women victims of domestic violence making frivolous claims’ to get louder and louder and the following to grow bigger and bigger.  Just like she did back in the 90’s with Indigenous people and Asians.

Imagine the same aggressive, hateful, divisive rhetoric raising its ugly head as Hanson has done to Asians, Indigenous people, those on welfare and now Muslims; towards victims of domestic violence. Imagine that kind of Australia.

The more aggressive, the more hateful, the more divisive the rhetoric, the more doubts that are created in people’s minds, the more women remain silent because of this narrative and the more perpetrators believe women will not speak up, then the more women will die.  Is this what you really want to vote for?

When Pauline Hanson attacks diversity, she doesn’t recognise how other cultures enrich us and teach us and how we can learn respect for customs and traditions. Multiculturalism helps us to stop being insular and selfish and gives us the gift of inclusiveness.  Now she wants to widen the gap between women and men. She wants to give the impression that women are getting more in this space than men are. She wants us to position men and women victims to compete. She wants us to think about how unfair that is and how she can help correct that ‘unfairness.’

It would be a safe bet that if people started to be doubtful of cute kitten owners or didn’t understand them, Ms. Hanson would jump on that bandwagon as well to serve her own ego. I don’t believe any nationality, sexuality, gender or religion or anyone who is slightly different than in Pauline Hanson’s world of what is ‘normal’ is safe from being a target, if she thought it meant more votes.

The growth of this type of Nationalist, divisive and hateful politician, can be summed up in the words of Aboriginal Elder and former Chairman of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, Senator Patrick Dodson:

“In a climate of uncertainty and fear, without strong and visionary leadership, people panic.”

On July 2, we will decide the Prime Minister and his Government. This Prime Minister and his MPs and Senators must listen to Mr. Dodson’s words and work hard to build a future where Australians live with certainty, hope and inclusiveness of all Australians and put an end to politicians pitting us against each other.

That future Australia will not be built with any contributions from Pauline Hanson.

…and if you are still thinking of voting for Pauline Hanson: Hang your head in shame.

stigma goffman

Ten Kids Poorer than Malcolm

Turnbull farther

The Hashtag #MalcolmWasSoPoor has been trending around the Twitter-verse. This is in response to a recent public video from our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. In a cruel morbidly satirical twist to the election; our obnoxiously wealthy, high end of town associated, Cayman Island investing, Australian Prime Minister has tried to prop himself up as the very battler his own party oppresses.

Turnbull tells the story of his single father – A hotel broker – a life of real battles and struggles. He speaks about this battle and struggle of a hotel broker parent as synonymous with the lives of other single parents – the low paid workers and the welfare dependent.

In his out of touch way, he also tries to draw the implicit comparison that genuinely poor people understand, and that is that ‘sometimes love is all that gets us through.’

Love is all that gets us through when we need to eat hot milk, bread and sugar to fill our tummies and keep us warm; not when we are worrying about what the elite private school we are attending might be serving us for lunch!

It is well known that Turnbull has had a privileged life, attending a school for the wealthy, has had high-flying well known connections to assist him to get ahead in life and is now a multi-millionaire.  Australians are not dolts and the viral hash-tag shows that many Australians are beyond belief at this latest grab for votes.

This attempt to identify with those in poverty, would have been more palatable, if he had recognised his privilege, but identified that he has used that privilege to listen to people and work on ways to help them.  But he did not.

The release of this video in the midst of an election – an election with class-war as the centrepiece, draws parallels to cultural appropriation in the form of poverty appropriation.

You simply cannot dress yourself up as a poor and disadvantaged person and ‘borrow’ that way of life as if this gives you entitlement to the pain and struggles of these people.  It is insulting and denies the credit of the struggle of the poor and disadvantaged that they deserve.  Poverty appropriation is a new low in politics.

The disconnect of Turnbull and the Liberal party to the poor and disadvantaged demographic is ingrained within their constitution:

2. d (vi) looking primarily to the encouragement of individual initiative and enterprise as the dynamic force of progress. Which translates to:

“We-are-all-born-equal-and-anyone-can-make-it-if-you-work-hard-enough”

This is a stuff and nonsense platitude that does nothing but add another label or ‘laziness’ or ‘bludger’ to the poor and disadvantaged, who are already stigmatised by the empty LNP rhetoric and their harsh policy decisions.

Turnbull doesn’t want us to look at the Duncan Storrar’s of this world and say ‘how can we help as a collective – as a nation? How can we work together to do better to assist people like Duncan lead a better life? What can the Government do about this?’

No, Turnbull wants us to look at people like Duncan and cry:

“Shame! You have not used your own initiative, you are lazy and can do better! The Liberal Party gives you the individual freedom and punitive welfare measures to push you forward and make you work hard and the free market to do this in. It is your fault if you cannot be the best you can be.”

…and this was very loudly backed up by the Liberal Party’s biggest advocates – The Murdoch Press.

There are kids who are the real battlers of today, who do not need to use some type of poverty appropriation to experience it, to empathise with it or  identify with it – they live it every day.  Here are ten kids poorer than Malcolm:

1. The eight year old boy in regional and rural Australia who is struggling to get a proper education because his family has no access to the internet.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his judgement of rural and regional Australians that he completely misunderstands their communications needs and how a communications infrastructure is essential and affects their prospects for the future.

2. The ten year old girl who can sing like an angel, who has the potential to be another Dame Joan Sutherland, but is unable to compete beyond the local eisteddfod, as her parents cannot afford singing lessons, let alone the travel for state or national competition.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his understanding of how a few spare dollars a fortnight can make the future so different for some children, when his party cut Family Payments.

3. The seven year old girl in a regional community who misses her dad so much when he goes away for treatment for weeks at a time, as the regional hospital does not have the services to treat his condition.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his understanding of the crucial role public health plays, particularly in regional communities when his Government cut critical health funding by $80 billion dollars.

4. The six year old boy who sees the shame in his mother’s eyes simultaneously with the judging eyes of the shop assistant as his mother hands over her Basic’s Card and he feels the not yet understood feeling of stigma.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his life experience that he cannot empathise and feel the shame and stigma that income management brings.

5. The nine year old girl with undiagnosed learning problems who will get further and further behind, because the school cannot afford additional remedial support staff to assist her.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his choosing a life dedicated to individualism and the free market over democratic socialism, that he cannot comprehend how an ideology based on individualism hurts those most in need and it is the chain that holds them back when he chose not to ‘Go the Full Gonski – whatever that means.’

6. The three young children who were so hungry their stomachs hurt, because they were unlucky to live in a disaster prone area when a flood hit and they had no access to funding for food after all of theirs was spoilt and destroyed.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in the checking of his privilege when he supported his party to cut Labor’s disaster funding guidelines which excluded so many needy disaster stricken families in desperate need of financial assistance.

7. The eleven year old girl who knows how to grab her four year old brother quickly to find the hiding spot and knows how to keep very, very still and not make a sound as she cries when she hears her mother get thumped and dragged and beaten and her heart races with every blood curdling scream, because Mummy says there is no where for them to go.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his commitment to feminism when the Liberal party cut funding to domestic violence services and Community Legal Centres in Australia and decided to inadequately address funding needs for this sector in the budget.

8. The young person who will suicide next week due to not being able to cope with early onset of psychosis and his family cannot afford $600 to see a private psychologist.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his understanding that all lives matter more than dollars when he made the commitment to discontinue organisations such as the The Early Psychosis Youth Services (EPYS) program.

9. The young teenage girl who will develop serious health problems and die at only age 26, as in making the choice between a paying for a blood test or food, she chose food.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his foresight that destroying and privatising Medicare that this situation will be a young person’s future reality.

10. The thirteen year old boy who is so afraid inside, but must show he is  brave as he continually swallows the urge to cry, as he sleeps tucked up inside a stolen sleeping bag in an abandoned industrial building with his new ‘friends’.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in  his comprehension that being a homeless youth is terrifying, lonely and dangerous when the Turnbull-Abbott government cut more than $500 million from homelessness support services.

As a child raised below the poverty line, this latest Turnbull video – an attempt at garnering votes saw me initially remain silent.  Regardless of Turnbull’s intention with this video, it has made me feel by ‘borrowing the lived experience of real poverty’ as his own, he has mocked my childhood and my experiences with contempt as he lilts and lulls his inflections with aplomb and tries to romanticise a life of disadvantage as ‘one that is the foundation of success’, as long as you have a ‘good dad.’

As someone who normally enjoys political satire, I have not been able to participate in the #MalcolmWasSoPoor Twitter frenzy and mock Turnbull’s attempt at poverty appropriation. I did not know why, until I worked out how this had actually made me feel.

I can only speak for how I feel and not for others, but this latest political stunt has developed a seething inner child who has screamed so loudly to stand in solidarity with the children of poverty who exist today that I was compelled to pen this post and give them voice through this medium.

To say the least, writing this list has been extremely confrontational, even with my own lived experience. I have used poetic licence to bring these stories into the context of today, but every single example is a built from a real example of someone I have made a connection with throughout my life, except for number 9, which is a hypothetical of the result of a Medicare system under destruction.  These stories are not fiction.

Rich or Poor we have the power in this country to make our world better for these children and we can do that with a vote. There are children like these in every electorate, this is their reality. Vote for an end to the conservative agenda permeated with individualism and put the LNP last on July 2.  Our voice is our power. Please use it wisely.

Mums & Dads – Malcolm wants YOU as a new recruit

village people

Yes, Mums and Dads, Malcolm wants you. He wants you, he wants you, he wants you as a new recruit. 

Sing it with me now….

With the Liberals, you can watch Malcolm Shoot the Breeze

With the Liberals, Nodding with Tony he agrees

With the Liberals, come and join the born to rule brand

With the Liberals, against the worker take a stand.

I mean where else can you find pleasure? Search the world for treasure?
Learn science technology? Where can you begin to make your dreams all come true?
On the land or on the sea?  But with the Liberals? (or so they want us to think)

A clever positioning of the demographic – all is fair in love and politics

Linked to the Liberals’ strategy to promote Mum and Dad businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs, investors etc., is that any criticism of this strategy can be misconstrued as disrespecting hard working mum and dad business owners.  The Liberal’s appear to be bouncing an election strategy off the hard work and dedication of many who have made a success and are offering this to all mums and dads as the easy-don’t-have-to-work-hard-for-it panacea to all of their world problems.  They have positioned this demographic as such, to try to make it difficult for Labor to speak out against their policies, without the Liberals trying to wedge Labor as not supporting the demographic targeted – regular mums and dads. 

This blog post is not about critiquing mum and dad business owners or investors. It is about the use of a particular demographic “Mums and Dads” in emotive marketing and as a tool of deception in an election campaign.

The Mum and Dad Narrative

When Turnbull was in his Communications Portfolio happily destroying the NBN, he was strongly arguing for mums and dads along with pesky students to be sued by Film Studios (Which the CEO of Village Roadshow laughed at by the way.)

Now he is Prime Minister, all he talks about is how great mums and dads are.

In the last few months, he has used mum and dad property investors as the Investors to protect from Labor’s Negative Gearing policy.  Though he has no sympathy for mum and dad renters who will be able to purchase one home that they will probably live in forever, under Labor’s new scheme.

He has used mum and dad owner-drivers as the owner drivers to be protected from the RSRT and the key driver for the abolishment of same. However, other’s have pointed out that this was not driven by mum and dad owner drivers, but larger corporations.

In his statement to sell his version of “innovation” he has used mum and dad investors and entrepreneurs as the target group to enjoy tax breaks and create start-ups and think beyond real estate and blue-chip stocks and diversify their nest egg.  Never mind the highly educated young people who should be encouraged, or single tech wizards or entrepreneurial friends, but it is mums and dads who are touted as the new breed of innovative entrepreneur. Because, you know, all regular mums and dads have ‘real estate and blue-chip stocks and a nest egg.’

Agenda Setting and Priming by the Media

The media are intrinsically woven into election campaigns. They have the ability to set the agenda by framing narrative or topics through a particular lens and use that to sway votes. Turnbull needs the media to frame his narrative about mums and dads as ‘the modern worker’ as a positive for the Turnbull campaign, but so far the response from this journalist seems more tongue in cheek, than setting the agenda and priming voters with this message.

This is a subtle hint that journalists are seeing the ‘mum and dad’ pattern woven into every answer to every question. Below is either a case of clever journalism or mum and dad contagion:

JOURNALIST:

When the mums and dads of Australia come to vote on July 2 or whenever else –

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, do you really think that the mums and dads of Australia are going to be as seized with the building industry as you are? How do you make the link between what we see here today, and the ABCC, and their lives?
(Excerpt from Doorstop Tuesday 19 April 2016)

Turnbull’s Impression Management

Turnbull is between a rock and a hard place.  He built up a persona through self-impression management to win votes in his own electorate. I view him as a chameleon. A man who does not particularly believe in anything, but manages his self-impressions for what is deemed vital for him to survive at the time. The false-world he has built himself in his pursuit of the Prime Ministership now has him stuck between the false world he created and the real-world of the right wing party he signed up to and now leads.

Essentially, Turnbull has managed his self-impressions extremely well for so long and has painted the public a very convincing false impression of the world he would lead. Now he is the Prime Minister and because of his real-world actions, the public are doubting if he can actually deliver, the paint is so flaky it is just peeling off. 

There is a term to describe what we see happening to Turnbull and that term is “Face.” If the false world does not match reality or that person can’t deliver they don’t ‘maintain face.’  The difference between Abbott and Turnbull is that Abbott ‘maintained face’ before the election and lost it after he gained power.

I know people criticise Abbott, but because he built realistic impressions of who he actually is, it is my opinion that Abbott had a stronger chance than Turnbull in the election, if he was given an election period to play with. Turnbull struggling and losing face at this point, so early in the election campaign period, should have the Liberal party campaign team seriously worried. 

Using impressions to create a false world

This election campaign is clearly being fought as a class war (workers/unions vs. the big end of town). So how does Turnbull  try to maintain a self-impression that he is still the supportive-Malcolm he has built up in the false world he has previously created? To satisfy the message of the right (anti-union) he needs to create a new false world where the mum and dad-owner-investor-start-up-entrepreneurial-innovative-worker are the new class of modern worker to be protected (and all without those pesky unions). 

In a class war election, it is essential that the Liberals counter Labor’s record of standing up for the worker.  The Liberals hate unions and oppose workers in general and their main campaign will be rubbishing unions – ie workers and they will use as much as they can from TURC. In fact, the premise that unions need to be torn down is significant in motive behind this DD election.

“We are a Government that believes in the mum and dads of Australia who mortgage their homes to go and buy a truck so they can be their own boss and say no to the union…”  Turnbull 19/04/2016

This links back to the impression management of creating a false world for the voting public that most mums and dads just have the ability to a) even own a home or b) mortgage that home and to c) have all the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to create a viable competitive business and d) create the false impression that mums and dads are oppressed (or unions equal no freedom) and must free themselves from the oppression of a union.

Turnbull is repainting mum and dad small business owners and investors as the proletariat rather than the capitalist bourgeoisie. I think this will be their key driver to set themselves up with emotive marketing as ‘caring for the worker’, whilst in the same breath bashing unions.

Before the election is over, the Liberals will exhaust every avenue to convince voters that every small business, investor, entrepreneur or start-up venturist and the struggling multiple property owner, all have regular mums and dads as the centrepiece. These groups will not be represented by siblings, friends and relatives, young people or singles. Definitely no super wealthy millionaires who have inherited bucket-loads of money and pretend they are ‘self-made’ will be included.  

This is another key example of the Liberals pretending to be who they are not and Malcolm Turnbull pretending to be who he is not. The Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals are NOT pro-worker, they are pro-capitalist. 

The clear difference is Shorten has and is still self-managing realistic impressions for who he actually is, not who he thinks people want him to be. That is the difference between honesty and dishonesty. With Turnbull setting the campaign agenda on “Trust” voters need to think hard about this.

 

I predict that the accusations by the Liberals against Labor for holding back mum and dad businesses will become increasingly rabid as the campaign shapes up. We have already seen the Liberals organise protests with truck drivers for a piece of Legislation that they had the power to abolish (which they did). They essentially protested against themselves – the Government, which is one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen happen in politics. They truly still believe they are in opposition. 

Whilst Labor battles to give our children the education required for the future and save Medicare and implementing fair policies to give us a fair go, the Liberals will try to smack Labor over the head for not lifting up mums and dads.

It is up to the voters (and the media’s agenda setting) to see through the smoke and mirrors of this tactic.

Recruitment to a Liberal Utopia – Sign up’s on the right

Malcolm will paint Mum and Dads of Australia a Liberal/Libertarian Utopia in a real lot of words, where everyone works for themselves and the unemployed, homeless, pensioners, welfare recipients do not exist. In time, these groups will be bracketed and labelled as “choosing not to ‘make it’. This is an underlying construct of the Liberals’ ideology.

More importantly, under the Liberal ideology, everyone is in charge of their own destiny. Being a Malcolm recruited mum and dad businesses or investor, the Liberals will encourage mums and dads to think that they will be a success like Malcolm and the taxpayer will no longer need to fund hospitals, Medicare, Schools, NBN, community housing or Infrastructure. This will save us a lot of taxpayer dollars, because mums and dads all be able to afford to pay their own way, just like Malcolm. This is the ideological Liberal Party dream in real terms.  This is creating a false impression of a world that does not exist.

This is linking the self-impression of ‘self-made Malcolm’ to the creating of the false world where everyone can be a success, if only they try hard enough.  (Here, Turnbull is really getting right down into the Liberal ideology, more so than Abbott every did.)

I predict, this message about mums and dads will be delivered at all opportunities, even awkward ones where the message doesn’t really fit. Like in Question Time where a serious question was asked about cancer and blood tests and Malcolm Turnbull, laughed and started talking about the RSRT (which he abolished for the ‘mum and dad’ truck-drivers.) 

What Turnbull won’t tell the mums and dads – The real world impression

I see the Turnbull Government selling mums and dads a new Australia. A Utopia where they will have the freedom of not working for someone else. What he won’t tell voters is how many hours mum and dad small businesses must work to stay afloat, or the financial and family sacrifices that are necessary.  He won’t tell voters about the worry of paying business taxes and he won’t tell you when consumer spending is down how tough it will actually be. He won’t tell you about the special individual qualities of tenacity and drive that are a necessity, nor will he mention the part about the ever-evolving visionary process to remain competitive. He certainly won’t tell you about the implications of flooding certain markets with new competitors, when there may not be enough demand for your service or product to remain viable. He will just tell mums and dads about freedom from the shackles of labour by rejecting Labor.

Liberal Voter Recruitment Side Effects

Will Turnbull be successful with creating this false world where Mums and Dads are the saviours of our future and the new modern worker?  I hope not, but if recruitment to Liberal voting is successful, severe side effects of recruitment may persist after signing up.  These are:

  • No Gonski – No real fairness in education

  • No Gonski – STEM jobs at risk

  • People still locked out of the housing market

  • Inferior NBN – costing our nation jobs

  • Destruction of Medicare, Privatisation and Fee for Service co-payments

  • No Marriage Equality and a very expensive opinion poll

  • A risk to the increase of the GST

  • A risk of non-monetary payments introduced instead of wages

  • A return to unfair work choices and individual contracts

  • No investigation into the Banking sector

  • Multi-nationals continuing to not pay their fair share of taxes

If you do not like any of these side-effects of recruitment to the Liberals as a Liberal or National Party voter, the only preventative medicine is to:

PUT THE LIBERAL AND NATIONAL PARTY CANDIDATES LAST

IN THE LOWER HOUSE AND IN THE SENATE

*If you are interested in reading more about Impression Management, please see Erving Goffman’s work.

If Malcolm was a homeless youth

homelessness couchThe news reader triumphantly announced with over-enthusiasm the other day that our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy had spent $130,000 of their own money to refurbish the Lodge.  I think this was supposed to impress me, the listener and for some reason I should feel buoyed by this news. However, I just made an instinctive ‘I’m gagging face” and kept on peeling the potatoes.

This made me aware of a few things. Firstly, how my body and face reacts and contorts subconsciously when our self-appointed, undemocratically elected leader speaks or if someone is praising him.

However, on a more serious note, this made me aware that Malcolm and Lucy were so comfortable and self-assured that they would be living at the Lodge for a long time; that they had no problem spending their own money on it.  They must feel quite safe and secure.

If Malcolm Turnbull was a homeless youth, safety and security would be the two things he either remembered and longed for to feel again or tragically had not yet experienced.  Wednesday, 13th April is National Youth Homelessness Matters Day. Today, I take a crystal ball view at the tautological, verbose, pontificated lectures Malcolm Turnbull would bestow upon us, if he was, (by way of innovative technology of course), somehow transformed into a homeless youth.

Housing Affordability and Availability

If Turnbull was a homeless youth, he would stand in the town square and provide us with a lengthy lecture on the gross unavailability of housing for low and middle-income earners in Australia. He would close his fist and jut out his chin and use marvellous adjectives to describe the abhorrence of under-funding and cuts to youth and community accommodation services. Cuts that mean the difference between support and safety or homelessness and fear.  He would speak of the absolute “criminal act” of negative gearing that gives tax dollars to people who own three or four or even fifty houses, when that money could be used to sustain a ‘viable and sustainable safe society for those who are homeless.’ He would tell us that, ‘as Australians we have no better duty than to stamp out homelessness.’  He would not grow up to be a Prime Minister who uses empty words and takes no real action. He would not grow up to be a leader who protects the rich and speaks of the poor as ‘others.’

As an outspoken young man with a love for politics, he would convey his heartfelt emotion that politics changes lives. He would stand upright and close his eyes as if to convey some magical transfer of emotional contagion and encourage people with all of his might and say  “Youth Homelessness matters so put the Liberals Last.

A Gonski Education

When Turnbull is happy he makes sure he is seen everywhere. On trams, trains, taking selfies in the street. When things don’t seem to be going too great for Turnbull, he skulks off without speaking to the media, head down hurrying the treasurer along into a waiting vehicle. He wants to be invisible at that point in time.

For some homeless kids, their homelessness is invisible. Some are not living rough on the streets, but possibly couch surfing with friends, relatives or sometimes complete strangers. Some have escaped domestic violence and may still be with a parent or siblings or they may have escaped sexual abuse and are alone and sometimes even ostracised or abandoned by family, just for being a victim.  Regardless of the circumstance, regular everyday kids can fall into homelessness quickly and some still try to maintain the normality of attending school. They still desire and deserve an education.

If Malcolm Turnbull was a homeless youth, he would be one of over the 20,000 plus young people of high school age who have no security, safety or privacy of their own home. Malcolm, not shy of the spotlight would stand up and argue that schools need more funding for specialists teachers and resources for children who may fall behind due to circumstances beyond their control. He would argue forcefully that he and others like him, ‘did not ask for this.’  He would advocate with great passion that we need to fund schools so every child is equal. He would tell us that, “We must recognise that our youth are our leaders of tomorrow and all children….. OUR children deserve an education.”

He would indeed give a Gonski. He would not grow up to be a Prime Minister who does not believe that education is for all. He would not grow up to be a leader with strong arguments to fund public schools and leave the public schools to the inequitable system of taxpayer dollars in each state. He would not grow up to the Prime Minister who disrespected and flipped off funding the most thorough review of education as “The full Gonski – Whatever that means.”

As an outspoken young man with a love for politics, he would convey his heartfelt emotion that politics changes lives. He would stand upright and close his eyes as if to convey some magical transfer of emotional contagion and encourage people with all of his might and say  “Youth Homelessness matters so put the Liberals Last.

Navigating Welfare and Income Management

Our Prime Minister is well known for his wealth. He has an enormous fortune and monetary wealth that most people cannot even comprehend (including me!). He defended his ‘freedom’ to use offshore banking in the Cayman Islands, claiming he has not broken the law. Luckily for Malcolm our laws protect the wealthy. These types of laws are protected and fought against from change by wealthy Australians. However, if there are laws to manage, control and stigmatise the poor and homeless, they are broadcasted with confidence and aplomb and the public are reassured how much these types of laws are needed to protect us from those who are unfortunate enough not to have a job.

However, if there are laws to manage, control and stigmatise the poor and homeless, they are broadcasted with aplomb and the public are reassured that these types of laws are needed to protect us from those who are unfortunate enough not to have a job. The protection of taxpayer dollars from the unemployed who live below the poverty line is paramount.

For some homeless youth, this is their world. A navigation of a welfare system where they are managed as a number, with no real practical assistance, punished by the implementation of punitive measures such cutting benefits and having their money controlled, monitored and restricted by the use of the Basics Card or the ‘Healthy Welfare Card’ if they are unfortunate enough to live in one of the listed areas.  The agenda of stigmatisation is underpinned by legislation and the culture of stigmatisation is enabled by politicians and the mainstream media, through the use of negative labels such as ‘bludgers’ and ‘welfare cheats.’

For some homeless youth, they are living in share accommodation with others and need income to pay for the necessities as food, clothing and shelter, electricity, transport and communication such as phone or the internet.

Many homeless youths desperately want employment to improve their circumstances. Some cannot manage employment, due to circumstances beyond their control. But yet, are still judged and still punished by the system.  Homeless youth face incredible barriers to employment, many which are hidden barriers to employment. If they find work, they are most generally amongst the working poor. Many have significant barriers preventing them from seeking work, gaining work. Even if they have work, they are prevented from sometimes taking shifts, particularly in regional and rural areas with limited public transport. They are often under agreements that have low wages or have penalty rates taken away. Some agreements are still under the Work Choices legislation.

If Malcolm Turnbull was a homeless youth, he would speak out against the stigmatisation and hindrances of the current welfare and job seeker assistance systems. He would passionately argue how demeaning stigmatising language is used by the media and some politicians. He would say that ‘cultural change against stigma for homeless youth, begins with our narrative.’ He would remind us of our responsibilities as citizens. He would demand action for practical solutions to assist those seeking employment. He would demand an end of income management and an end to punitive measures. He would twirl his glasses and deeply furrow his brow and speak of the untapped potential there is amongst homeless youth, if only they were given a chance.

He would not grow up to be a Prime Minister that whole heartedly supports every measure of a punitive, and stigmatising budget of his predecessor. He would march in the streets to save penalty rates. He would not grow up to be the great pretender who is now in a complete state of discombobulation because he used to say one thing and now does another. 

As an outspoken young man with a love for politics, he would convey his heartfelt emotion that politics changes lives. He would stand upright and close his eyes as if to convey some magical transfer of emotional contagion and encourage people with all of his might and say  “Youth Homelessness matters so put the Liberals Last.

Some of you may wonder why this blog post about homelessness has a political angle. Through my eyes, politics changes lives.  A cure for homelessness is not as simple as joining a protest, or sharing a meme or making a donation. All of those things are important, but the relief comes when the public push for change politically.  The relief comes when supportive and progressive decisions are made and implemented.

To me, the political parties and leaders we democratically choose to lead us, are our responsibility and we must, we simply must stop and think of the consequences of that vote. We simply must become more aware, more engaged and more involved in political parties or support independent candidates, wherever our persuasion lies. These elected representatives are the voices we choose to speak for us and for those we speak up for because they can’t. The wrong party, the wrong leader and the wrong decisions have dire consequences for individuals, communities and our nation. Jack Layton (Canadian New Democratic Party) sums it up as:

politics matters

Take Action Today for Youth Homelessness

and always – Put the Liberals and Nationals LAST.

 

 

 

 

Marriage Equality. How Tolerant?

marriage equality pic

Today marks another year of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Malcolm Turnbull will be the first Prime Minister to attend the Mardi Gras. Our Prime Minister will be smiling and waving at the very people he denies the basic right of marriage to. A right that he himself enjoys.

 

This blog post is about a question of tolerance and if the widely accepted norm of tolerating opposing views is regressive and harmful to our progress in this debate and if there should be any debate at all.  To argue to maintain tolerance of the anti-marriage equality stance, we need to recognise that democratic societies are not pure and that there is an imbalance of power in debates for progress.  I will discuss this further in this piece.

In an earlier blog post “The biggest consequence of marriage equality” I said this:
Tanya Plibersek believes that the vote should be binding within the Labor Party.  As a member of the Labor Party; I fully support this.  I support this for the reason that it is discrimination.  I listened to Anthony Albanese (Albo) on ABC Qanda on 1 June and he indicated in his response we need to tolerate and respect the views of others to bring them along with us.   I question whether this is a necessary patience or a subconscious accommodation for the class of people who understand discrimination well enough in other contexts; but not when it involves stamping out discrimination for something they fear.  The same class of people who use religion and/or prejudice as a shield to ward off progress. As a progressive, I do not feel I need to respect groups or individuals who actively fight against progress and who uphold discrimination.

To me, asking me to respect people’s opinions against marriage equality, is like asking me to respect people who are for racism, ableism, and sexism. I don’t respect that.  It is not a question of conscience. It is a question of enabling discrimination.

I look forward to a world where I am not asked or expected to respect people who actively uphold discrimination and who stifle progress.

This, of course triggered much debate about freedom of speech and also if I considered myself a bigot.  A person intolerant of other points of view.  These were confronting yet important questions. This led to much soul searching and subsequent researching and this has led me to Marcuse’s work on repressive and discriminate tolerance.  Marcuse is a post-Marxist philosopher, socialist and political theorist.

Repressive and Discriminate Tolerance

Repressive tolerance argues freedom of speech as underpinned by the constructs of (small l) liberalism exists to share ideas and have those ideas respected unless those ideas cause harm.  Marcuse believed that even in the 1960’s that the tolerance of ideas that were harmful to society encouraged a repressive society rather than enable a progressive one.

Discriminate tolerance is framing and setting aside the ideas that should not be tolerated in a debate towards progress. We already do this as a society.  We do not have complete indiscriminate tolerance, as those ideas will harm society.  Our national security legislation is one example.  Another example is Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act which makes hate speech unlawful.

Those who sit on the right wing and the extreme right, the Conservative-Liberals and the Libertarians argue for complete indiscriminate tolerance. They argue that unless they can be completely indiscriminate, this impedes their freedom of speech, even if that speech is harmful.

Marcuse does not argue for complete indiscriminate tolerance, but discriminate tolerance where we tolerate ideas unless they are harmful. The harmful ideas should be framed and set aside. His argument is that unless this is done, we are tolerating for the sake of being tolerant and impeding progress of the Left.

Marcuse argues that indiscriminate tolerance is indeed beneficial in many forms of debate, however “But society cannot be indiscriminate where the pacification of existence, where freedom and happiness themselves are at stake: here, certain things cannot be said, certain ideas cannot be expressed, certain policies cannot be proposed, certain behavior cannot be permitted without making tolerance an instrument for the continuation of servitude.”

So what of Truth?

In a democratic society, democracy is not pure. Debate exists within an unequal framework. The institutions of Government and the media as two examples, have privilege and power to define what is ‘normal’ for the majority and what is not.  These entities have the power to stigmatise groups of people and spoil normal identity (see Erving Goffman). They have the power to place minority groups in the place of ‘weird and unacceptable.’

This imbalance of power in our democratic society frames truth in a frame that there is only one rational and objective truth. However, there is strong argument supported by the theory of relativism, constructivism and phenomenology as examples, that there are multiple truths and multiple realities.

The inclusion of the opposing view in the framework of this debate shrinks the space around the voices of the people who are the centre of this debate.  As the voices of anti-marriage equality are given more space in the media and enabled by the laws of Government the opposing voices are enabled to take up more space, allowing less consideration for the lived experience of LGBTI people and their arguments for the right to marry.

Indiscriminate Tolerance and Harm

When we tolerate the words and actions of the anti-marriage equality voices, we also enable harm.  A clear and recent example of this was on Qanda on Monday 29 February, where Lyle Shelton (Australian Christian Lobby) was putting forth his opinion that the children of same-sex couples are a stolen generation.  Dr. Karen Phelps (Former President of the Australian Medical Association and prominent LGBTI commentator) retorted to Lyle Shelton “You know I am sitting right here?”  His words were clearly offensive and hurtful.

The observable phenomena of LGBTI couples that they consistently reinforce to society the longevity of their relationships during debate; appears to me from the outside looking in, that they feel the need to justify or qualify their relationships in a way that heterosexual couples do not.  This is an indication to me that this group is treated as a ‘lesser’ group in society in terms of relationship rights.

The toleration of the actions of anti-marriage equality protesters, the narrative, the physical symbols of anti-LGBTI propaganda, their fight for exclusion, even marriage equality marches are reminders that there is no equality and that LGBTI people are seen as ‘others’ in a world of ‘normals’ by a significant and influential group which the institutions, Government and media give space to in the debate. The inequality these institutions create for minorities is that they are powerful influencers of distributors of information, swayers of opinion and the makers of laws of the framework we must work within.

Should we discriminate?

The question