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All they want is a chance

To the politicians of Australia,

Let’s simplify the debate here.

Hundreds of thousands of unemployed people just want a chance to work.

Children just want a loving home and a chance at a good education.

School leavers just want a chance to get skills without incurring huge debt.

Young workers just want a chance to save to buy a home.

Sick people just want affordable health care.

Poor families just want to be able to provide for their children.

The homeless just want a chance to find affordable housing.

Elderly people just want to be able to meet the needs of a dignified retirement.

Workers just want a safe workplace and secure entitlements.

Victims of domestic violence just want refuge.

Aboriginals just want a chance to be recognised and have some say in determining their own lives.

Disabled people just want a chance to contribute to society.

Gay people just want a chance to marry the person they love.

Refugees just want a chance to start a new life and raise their family in a safe place.

Migrants just want a chance to be accepted by the community.

Muslims just want a chance to practice their religion in peace.

NGOs, NFPs, charities and carers just want a chance to help people.

Environmentalists just want us to give all the living things on the planet a chance to survive.

No-one just wants an economy.

Will you give them a chance?


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  1. Cynthia

    WOW !!! And so concise; very impressed’ thankyou Kaye.

  2. Hilde Rombout

    What a great read Kaye. I can’t agree with you more, all everyone of us wants is a chance at a dignified life with the opportunity to make the most of who we are!!! If only those in power had the ability to really listen, not just to others but to what is really decent within themselves…

  3. etnorb

    Well put, but I think the “chances” of almost all of the above will be small! I certainly agree with you Kaye, but unfortunately, the idiots who are in power, & ALL their wealthy mates will bend over backwards to try & make sure none of these “chances” have a chance!

  4. Terry2

    ‘Lot of talk about taxing seasonal guest workers, lumped together under the generic term ‘backpackers’, and Turnbull has capitulated to the National Party and reduced their tax rate from the 32.5% as in the 2015 budget to 19% – one of the stings in the tail is that tourists and overseas travellers generally are going to be hit with a departure tax of $60, up from $55 which was not in the budget.

    The other sting that Morrison included in his announcement was the compulsory superannuation payments made by seasonal workers which, when withdrawn on leaving Australia, were taxed at 35% will now be taxed at, wait for it, 95%.

    The media seem to have glossed over this scam and maybe I didn’t hear right. Perhaps Kaye , who keeps an eagle eye on these things, can confirm what I read.

    You would certainly need to count your fingers if you ever shake hands with Scott Morrison.

  5. Miriam English

    Well said, Kaye.

    For some reason most politicians, and right-wing politicians especially, see all these people as less-than, and undeserving because of that. They don’t realise that we are all special.

    In the early days of the internet when anyone could make a webpage (often for free) and post their thoughts and information online I met plenty of elitists who thought this was a terrible thing. “How will anybody know whether a person is just some idiot claiming to be an expert?” I pointed out over and over to people that they didn’t need to worry because everybody is an expert in something, and that’s what they’ll want to talk about. Very few people will write complete crap. Some will, but only vanishingly small numbers. Years later I’m vindicated by Wikipedia — the greatest encyclopedia that ever existed; all the stackoverflow sites where people selflessly help each other; the hundreds of thousands of instructional webpages and videos on everything from how to land a helicopter if the engine fails, to how to disassemble your laptop computer, to how to milk a goat. Now there are countless places where you can learn on almost any topic. We, the great masses are sharing our collective knowledge and wisdom, and it is an astonishing tsunami of information. Every 2 days we create as much information as we did in the thousands of years up to 2003. Every 2 days!!!

    The politicians still believe in an expired worldview. They think we don’t really matter. Elites and rich people are entitled and we are lesser — not full people, thus not deserving. They couldn’t be more wrong.

  6. keerti

    Abbut said early in.his term as pm thathe was in govt to.gobern.for.big business. Until.the morons.understand that.they.have a for all we willcontinue to live in a failed democrasy

  7. Andrea Bimba

    Asking the wrong people I suspect Kaye. The real leaders are in the corporate towers, many located overseas. I really think democracy won’t be allowed to represent the people any more. Bernie Sanders was denied the U.S. Presidency and we will see how far Jeremy Corbyn gets. It’s looking like mass disruption or violence are the only avenues left if Labor won’t abandon neoliberalism or voters won’t vote decisively for third parties.

  8. jimhaz

    Open for Business
    Closed for Society

  9. MichaelW

    Hi Kaye,
    Completely off topic…How’s your NBN going?
    The NBN is now available in my area but after some, well most of the horror stories I have heard am reluctant to go ahead with it.


  10. Keitha Granville

    according to the Feds, all those people on your list are leaners and damaging to the economy. If they all just went away, the budget would be perfect after they have given all the financial breaks to the already wealthy.

  11. Miriam English

    MichaelW, I don’t know about Kaye, but I’ve recently been connected to the NBN, and although it isn’t as good as the one Labor would have installed, it’s far better than the old satellite internet I had way out here in the country. At about 1 Mbps, I suspect that many city dwellers would think my connection stinks, but I’m very happy with it (though I wish it was a lot cheaper). I’m not like other people though. I was quite happy with my old dial-up connection at 56kbps. (In fact I still keep my dial-up account for emergencies, though my new NBN wireless connection is, so far, extremely reliable.)

  12. Barry

    MichaelW, we have recently had the dubious honour of changing to Mr Turnbull’s you beaut FTTN NBN setup. Complete fail. Landline phone goes missing every couple of days, speeds most of the time slower than ADSL and the gripes go on and on, just as a kicker you will have to switch eventually, if it gets to where you are or lose the lot. Back to the subject, Kaye you couldn’t list all the failings of this so called government. The list would be so long people would either die of old age or boredom reading it not to mention compiling it.

  13. Kaye Lee

    Every dollar invested in education, health, priority infrastructure etc brings a far greater return than that being achieved by our Future Fund which has $118 billion sitting in it.

    MichaelW, I am so grateful that the internet is WORKING at least that I haven’t judged, but I have to agree with Barry about problems with my landline which I hadn’t thought of before as having a connection with NBN. It has been since we got the NBN and the same thing has happened at work including with faxes. It really seems to interfere with fixed lines. It is usually faster than we had before but not always. I would add that the business loss I claimed from being without EFTPOS for two months is being studiously ignored by Telstra and Commander. It’s going to be one of THOSE fights.

  14. Susan

    Thank you Kaye ??????

  15. wildediana

    Thank you Kaye…you have eloquently written my thoughts…keep digging and writing more, as I regularly share your words on my Facebook page.

  16. MichaelW

    back on subject, I couldn’t agree more with you. Unfortunately we have the most toxic, cruel, inhumane government this country has ever had. And that is saying something after previous liberal governments.

    Where are the labor party? They should be crucifying these clowns.

    Then again where are the politicians? Have they all gone on Christmas holidays already. How many days a year do these people actually work.

    Talk about leaners and lifters, politicians from all persuasions must be the biggest leaners, parasites, bludgers, tax dodging, rorting, piss taking, bunch of hypocritical welfare recipients ever.

  17. David

    Nice sentiments, agree entirely. Business and government need war now, for profits and debt reduction. Australia is shackled to USA, UK (and now Israel) with the ANZUS Treaty, the 5 eyes +1 spy network, and the TPP. With Hillary as president, we can expect a global war in 2 years. Our politicians are not in control of our economy, not acting in the best interests of all Australians, and lack the skills of the statesmen and stateswomen of the past. The only world leader who is seriously trying to avoid a world war is Russia’s Putin! It is not looking good…

  18. Kaye Lee

    It seems to me that we get caught up in minutiae and lose sight of the big picture of what the role of government actually should be. It shouldn’t be this hard in such a wealthy nation.

  19. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    This article is simply written and hits the nail on the head.

  20. Miriam English

    It shouldn’t be this hard in such a wealthy nation.

    Exactly, Kaye. I haven’t checked the figures in a while, but I’m pretty sure Australia is considerably more wealthy than we were in the 1960s, yet our politicians keep telling us we can’t afford to take care of our kids, our elderly, our disabled, our sick, our unemployed… It kinda stinks. Per head of population, we are one of the wealthiest countries on Earth.

  21. Jack Straw

    Apparently many English Teaching Colleges are slowly edging out long term tesol tutors for the much cheaper foreign 457 Visa tutors, Disgraceful.

  22. Terry2

    Just a quick comment on NBN Satellite : we have been connected to the NBN ‘skymuster’ satellite service since June – it is at best erratic.

    It’s down at the moment so I’m writing this to a word file to copy to AIMN when the system comes back online,

    The biggest problem with these system failures is that you have no idea why it has gone down; is it you or the NBN satellite connection. NBN are – as you will find out very quickly – a wholesaler and they not only don’t want to talk to end user customers, they refuse to and will redirect you to your ISP. Your ISP will probably be inundated with customer phone calls and they simply don’t have the staff to answer and respond to your enquiry. Even if you do get through, they will tell you that the NBN satellite service is down and that they have no idea when it will come back online.

    Recently I was in Timor Leste and connectivity is all pay-as-go wireless. You buy a 1GB ‘scratchit’ for $5, input the code into your smart phone and you have good reliable wifi throughout the house to all devices using your router: better download speeds and more reliable than we are used to.

  23. townsvilleblog

    Kaye, I don’t agree that we meet no ordinary people in our lives. Ordinary people can be found working for Coles and Woolworths, at a petrol station, in an office we may visit in the course of our day. Australia is chockablock full of ordinary everyday Australians. How they manage to live on the median Australian wage of $43,000 per annum, I will never know. But they do.

  24. townsvilleblog

    September 28, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Asking the wrong people I suspect Kaye. The real leaders are in the corporate towers, many located overseas. I really think democracy won’t be allowed to represent the people any more. Bernie Sanders was denied the U.S. Presidency and we will see how far Jeremy Corbyn gets. It’s looking like mass disruption or violence are the only avenues left if Labor won’t abandon neoliberalism or voters won’t vote decisively for third parties. Yes we are nearing the pointy end where people will once again be fighting over a loaf of bread.

    Our government sits in the taxed-not’s corporate board rooms of the US of A, as distinct from ‘America’ which cannot be found on a map. These are the people that a future Labor government has to have the guts to make sure that any business corporation who wants to do business in Australia registers in Australia, declares their income from Australians to out ATO and pay the correct amount of tax accordingly, if they do not have the guts to do so on behalf of the Australia people, then we are buggered.

    I hate the unspeakable profits made out of Australians without a contribution to this country, it’s time that every Australia protested in the streets, I’d certainly join them with my wheelie walker as we did back in the 70s, though it seems as though the wages and conditions that we achieved has not been backed up by modern youth, if by some miracle they are able to get a job.

  25. Terry2

    Townsville Blog

    Those ordinary people in Coles and Woolworths won’t be there for long, the automated do-it-yourself cash registers are taking over : there is only one person working at the service station I go to and she is overworked and deeply stressed. My bank don’t want me to come in any more and will charge me soon to receive a paper statement.

    I bought my Home Insurance online but when I had questions about the cover they only had a toll free number where somebody read out corporate weasel words until I demanded that they correspond with and answer my questions by email : they weren’t geared for that as they only have a call-centre staffed by people who have no idea about the product they are selling beyond the corporate spiel.

    Telstra patched me through to customer service in the Philippines to get answers about my poor mobile reception where Esmerilda in downtown Manila earning a pittance in a call-centre asked ‘if we have trees where we live’, I told her we did and she breathed a sigh of relief and said ‘that’s your problem’ and rang off : another satisfied customer !

    Corporations see humans as costly and erratic and are far more comfortable with machines and automatons.

    At least my NBN satellite connection is back up………..for the moment.

    I’m feeling more and more like Winston Smith …….know what I mean ?

  26. Kaye Lee


    We are all both ordinary and extraordinary. I remember my son coming home one day from primary school – there was a boy in his class who was “different” – he had had brain surgery of some description so had a big scar where hair didn’t grow, he was smaller than the other kids and not involved in the playground rough and tumble that my son was always in the thick of. This day son came home and said with great enthusiasm “Matt knows EVERYTHING there is to know about cicadas” – and he did. Son told me things I didn’t know that he had learned from Matt.

    If you talk to anyone for long enough you will find that every single one of us is amazing – whether it is knowledge, or compassion, or strength, or a special skill, or whatever – people are truly amazing if given a chance to show it.

  27. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Hear, hear Kaye.

  28. Miriam English

    I value knowledge above almost everything else, so I was almost as surprised as my friends to find that one of the people I’d come to admire most in the world was a lovely friend who was intellectually disabled. He was amazing. He was polite, poised, graceful, careful, considerate, always in good humor. He spoke so well and moved with such coordination that it was only after repeated meetings with him that you would realise he was severely limited intellectually, because he would always ask the same questions and tell the same jokes.

    I modeled the character Colby in my story Selena City after him. (He makes his first appearance near the end of chapter 5.)

    Every person has something special. Sometimes even what appears to be a disability really makes available another ability. Blind people, especially if congenitally blind, often have remarkable speech processing abilities because the brain is conservative. It doesn’t simply leave the visual areas unused; it processes other things with it. Deaf people develop a special kind of humor not really accessible to people who can’t use sign language. Color-blind people have been in demand with the military to spot camouflaged enemies. People with the deadly genetic abnormality, sickle cell anaemia, which tends to kill them in their 30s, are immune to malaria. Autism is associated with heightened mechanical skills and insight so that families prone to autism also have higher than usual numbers of talented engineers. There are a few mental problems (epilepsy, schizophrenia, bipolar, depression) that are associated with greater than normal skills in various creative pursuits.

    I’m sure even our government politicians have some positive attributes, though I’m having a remarkably difficult time coming up with any.

  29. kristapet

    A very reasonable plea – these needs need to be met, they are basic human rights and a government has no right to make them impossible to attain – particularly, when, they afford and assist, the well off, and the giant corporations to maintain their standards of living and business wealth and profit status, with laws changed, so as to aid and abet them, at the expense of the poor

  30. Harquebus


    I have had look through your website, am impressed and will keep my eye on it. Some useful links as well.
    I don’t think that your books are really my thing though.
    Have you read or heard of “The moon is a harsh mistress” – Robert A. Heinlein?

    Any success so far with the STEG?


  31. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    What is your website again, Miriam?

  32. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Thanks Harquebus.

  33. Miriam English

    Harquebus, thanks.

    You might be surprised that some of my stories could be closer to your way of thinking that you might expect.

    Try “Selena City”. Like most of my stories it has a lot of social commentary. In it Earth has degenerated to a very closed society, however a small number of people funded by an unlikely source have created an almost utopian free society under the surface of the moon.

    You might also like “Companions”. It’s set in the very close future after the almost complete collapse of the financial system and continuing global warming.

    “Flying” is far in the future after we’ve pretty-much ruined the Earth (though it doesn’t seem like it in the beginning of the story).

    Currently I’m writing a post-apocalyptic novel. You’d probably like that. 🙂

    My next novel might attempt to be unrelentingly uplifting and optimistic, somewhat like my first novel, “Insurance”.

    I’ve read a lot of Robert Heinlein’s work. In spite of his rabidly right-wing views I nevertheless like many of his stories. I have most of his books, including “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”, but can’t remember if I’ve read it.

    A short story a lot of libertarians love, which I also greatly enjoy for its ingenuity is Eric Frank Russell’s hilarious And Then There Were None”. I found a very badly formatted copy online so I reformatted it more sensibly and uploaded it to my site. You will almost certainly greatly enjoy it. He later based a novel, “The Great Explosion”, on it. While the novel is good, it’s not comedy. I love his wry humor.

    I still want to build a prototype STEG, but have altogether too many projects. Maybe after I’ve finished my current book and the 3D cartoon I’m working on… and all the other unpaid work I do too…

  34. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    do you teach cartoon drawing? I’m looking for a teacher to teach me political cartooning.

  35. Harquebus

    Thanks for the reply. I will check them out.
    I am only preparing for post apocalypse, I am not looking forward to it.
    I had a small taste of it the other night during the blackout. Everything was dead except the radio in my phone which, I had to turn off to conserve power. Mobile phones coverage was also out.

  36. Miriam English

    Jennifer, I’ve taught drawing and a little bit of cartooning, but the best advice I can give is to copy the cartoons of the people you admire most.

    Initially you will find it very difficult. The best way to get past that stage is to trace some cartoons. Hardly anybody realises the incredible usefulness of tracing (for some inexplicable reason I’ve never understood many people think it is “cheating”). Tracing forces the hand-eye connections in your brain. You’ll suddenly have to see the tricks used to hint things instead of actually drawing them. You’ll see how varying a lines width or strength can let it do different things. After tracing a number of times you’ll find your brain has painlessly picked up how to draw what you want and you can then spend a while copying your favorite artists’ cartoons without tracing. You’ll still want to trace more things from time to time because it’s the quickest way to imbibe the information.

    Most of all, don’t be discouraged. At first you’ll be highly and unnecessarily over-critical of your own drawings (“That looks nothing like the one I was copying.”) Remember how you felt when you first heard a recording of your voice? It’s a similar effect. Go easy on yourself and always remember it is a journey. Tracing and copying is a means to an end, and you’ll get there faster than you expect.

    You will gradually develop a style of your own because your hand will like to go a certain way, or you’ll like certain accidents and keep them, or you’ll find shortcuts that suit you. If anybody is critical of your drawings tell them to pull their head in, because it is a work in progress and suggest they have a look at world famous cartoonist Gerald Scarfe (whose cartoons I dislike intensely).

    After a while you will start to enjoy the way you draw, but don’t ever let yourself get too comfortable. Always spend a little time copying other admired cartoons and pushing yourself to learn new ideas from them. It is amazing how much they have to teach.

    For drawing there are 2 ways of seeing:

    • The first is seeing what’s really there. This is really difficult and is needed for realistic pictures like portraits and landscapes. It requires us to undo our preconceptions and shortcuts in the way we see things.
    • The second way of seeing things relies upon how we think we see, not how we really see. It accentuates our preconceptions and leverages how emotions affect our perception. It requires that we use our perceptual shortcuts to deliver a picture with minimal lines. For instance making a cute character relies upon stimuli that trigger a maternal response — large eyes, big forehead, small nose, small body, etc.

    Have you ever wondered why a caricature works when it often looks barely human let alone anything like the person it is clearly representing? It capitalises on the lazy way we see things. The caricaturist understands (often unconsciously) what the average is and how a particular face departs from that average, then pushes that departure even further. I remember reading in Scientific American in the 90s, I think, of a computer program that did this incredibly effectively.

    I’m not sure it’s something that can be taught. I think it’s something you have to learn by doing… like driving a car. Try explaining to someone how to drive a car… simultaneously manipulating the gear lever and the clutch and brake or accelerator, while continuing to steer safely; pushing the turn indicator while checking the rear-view mirror and braking and changing down a gear or two. It all seems impossibly, hideously difficult — beyond human capability. How could someone ever do it? Yet we all do, and it gets very easy. Why? Practice. That’s the key. Age doesn’t matter. Artistic “aptitude” doesn’t really exist. The only thing that really matters is practice. And copying and tracing are two of the most effective tools to start down that road.

  37. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Thanks Miriam,

    for your comprehensive answer. I shall follow your advice.

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