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I am a writer and commentator, with a background in Indigenous sector project management and tabloid newspaper publishing.As a retired older-age Australian I use my time, and my voice, to highlight the level of social injustice that exists in this country. I seek a better, more humane, more progressive Australia.I do not limit myself to any one topic, and my writing style gives whimsy and left-field thought at least as much power as logic, fact, and reason.

The Killing of Women and Children must stop

I’m putting the call out for a National March of Men against domestic violence.

No more can we decent men just stand safely in the background behind the effort of women to end the scourge of domestic violence. We have to get out there as a gender and stand against the criminality and the terrorism of our fellows.

While I see this March as a male initiative called something like The March of Decent Men (on FB under that tentative heading)both men and women would be welcome to march together on the day … in fact such a coming together may well prove to be a very powerful thing for our society to witness … if this March can be organised. As men though I think we need to be prepared to get out there and stand up against the daily tide of violence and murder perpetrated by far too many of our fellow men. We MUST repudiate the repression of women, the attacks on women, and the ongoing attempts to manipulate and control and diminish the lives of women. This should have happened a long time ago, but it did not. So now is the time for it to happen.

The events in Brisbane a few days ago should have scoured the soul of every decent man. It is time for us to rise up and say THIS CRIMINALITY, THIS KILLING, THIS TERRORISM, MUST END, AND MUST END NOW.

I’m prepared to. Are you as a man?

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Australia Day 2020 … Boycott!

On Australia Day 2020 I intend to sit that one out, preferably out in the bush somewhere, as far away from the flag-waving and nationalistic hype as I can possibly get. I find the whole charade sickening.

It is not that I have anything against the existence of an Australia Day as such. A stipulated day where we celebrate who we are as a people, celebrate our national hero types, and celebrate our collective achievements in art, science, social progressiveness (there must be some), and industry. There is nothing wrong with that, it is a worthy enough pursuit. But that is not the sort of Australia Day we currently have.

Firstly, the chosen date has insensitivity written all over it, and secondly, it has become a day where the behaviour of Ugly Nationalistic Australia is given permission to reign free. Neither of the two are worth celebrating or being around.

It might help if we developed a greater understanding of the history of the months of January/February 1788 and got the actual date of so-called settlement right.

On 26th January 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip landed in Port Jackson, along with a small crew of marines and oarsmen, and apparently took possession of everything he could see in the name of King George III of England. Perhaps we will grow up as a nation one day and no longer do it, but 231 years later we are still tugging the convict forelock in the direction of those English Monarchs.

But back to Phillip … it all sounds such a stirring landing event but most flag-wavers forget, or have never even bothered to find out, that the actual proclamation ceremony for the formal establishment of the colony of New South Wales, and the investiture of Arthur Phillip as first Governor, did not occur until 7th February 1788.

Before 7th February 1788, Phillip was far too busy protecting the female convicts who had recently been disembarked off the ship Lady Penrhyn from the rum-sodden predations of the male marines and convicts to have any time to formally declare or grab anything in the name of anybody.

And what was it that he formally established on 7th February 1788? He established a penal colony. He established a prison. In some ways, depending on how you look at things, Phillip quite unknowingly to be absolutely fair to him, established the Australian prototype for Manus.

So … on Australia Day we celebrate the formal opening of a prison, and we can’t even get the date right.

Before any sensitive folk tell me to go back to where I came from, I’m a sixth-generation Australian whose ancestors were boat people who got a free ride to the prison of New South Wales because they stole from the wealthy in England in order not to starve. As a progeny of convicts, I’m not inclined to celebrate Australian Prison Day on either the 26th of January or the 7th of February … why on earth would I?

(You cannot make origin statements like that these days without scrutiny, whether you want to get into Parliament or not, so for fact-checker types see the notes after this article.)

Many conservative fear-mongers say that 26th January has always been the date for Australia Day and that it should remain unchanged otherwise the world as we know it will belly-up tomorrow. What a load of nonsense. Prior to 1935, each state celebrated the foundation of the Prison on a different day, and it was only in 1935 that they all agreed to crank up the BBQ on the same agreed date. There are hundreds of other days Australia Day can be celebrated on.

Meanwhile …
Meanwhile …
Meanwhile …
While all the drinks slide down and the nationalistic self-congratulation gushes forth …

Thrust into the background of the celebrations that we currently observe on the 26th of January is an entire culture of human beings, the Aboriginal custodians and owners of this land, who may have a thought or two about what they see paraded before their eyes. And what do they see each and every Australia Day?

They see, on the anniversary of the day Phillip stuck his foot on the shore of Port Jackson, the modern beneficiaries of that invasion of Australia, and that happens to be some of us, swilling beer and waving flags in memory of the day when the rapes, and the poisonings, and the massacres, and the stealing of land, and the dismemberment of a culture, began. They see the dark truth of our own history promoted up as a moment worthy of celebration.

The 26th of January is not a day of national celebration, it is a symbolic day of the memory of a national ugliness that started on that date.

To further compound the supremely insensitive error of judgement that the choosing of the date 26th January was, we still persist in refusing recognition and a voice to the very human beings whose culture and people were raped, poisoned, massacred and desiccated. We throw the hopes of Indigenous people back into their faces, and we walk all over our own much-touted Australian principles of egalitarianism, fairness, and humanity, as the drinks slide down and the self-congratulation gushes forth.

Many people say that oh you cannot say this, or you cannot say that. The problem with modern Australia is that the wrong sort of powerful voices are out there being heard in the political and media spheres, and that not enough of us are prepared to stand up and oppose them with courage.

I oppose the current iteration of Australia Day for a number of reasons given above. And here’s another one. I mention it to simply illustrate a point.

As a Survivor of child abuse, I can assure you that I do not get out there on a particular day and celebrate the anniversaries of those horrific deeds, and I am deadly bloody sure that you would understand why I would not want to do that.

My experiences inform my thinking. So I do find it beyond belief that we as a whole nation get out there on a particularly insensitive day and celebrate what was clearly the beginning of the attempted destruction of an entire Aboriginal people and their culture.

I’m not against the idea of an Australia Day. I’m against the date it is held on.

The date for celebrating Australia Day in 2020 should be changed. If not, I’m borrowing a line from a Jethro Tull song and sitting that one out, I’m boycotting it, and I’m heading for the bush.

Notes:
Mary Geer (1789-1851) arrived on the William Pitt in 1806. She was sentenced to hang for pilfering but the sentence was changed to transportation for life.

William Davis (1780 -). William was convicted of burglary and sentenced to death by hanging, but this was commuted to transportation for life. He arrived in Sydney Cove in 1800 on the Royal Admiral.

There seems to be a bit of a correlation between the treatment of the poor in England in the 1780s and the treatment of the poor and the disadvantaged in Australia in 2020. If both of my ancestors were alive in modern Australia I’m absolutely convinced that they’d be front line activists for the raising of Newstart.

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Childhood abuse? Spend a day in my mind.

After the Royal Commission … most of us still remain unheard.

“The plaintiff has broad-ranging and chronic symptoms of persistent depressive disorder, from which he cannot escape.”

We, the Survivors of childhood sexual abuse, have been called many things. We have been called whingers and worse. But we are none of those things. We are you who were subject to experiences that most of you cannot even begin to imagine.

I am not asking you to walk a mile in my shoes, I am asking you to spend a day in my mind. Here’s but one day in the mind of a Survivor.

Depression is not a black dog. One black dog is easy to deal with. Depression is an ocean of black dogs who snarl and rip and tear at my bones.

When 35mm film runs across the cogs in a movie camera it makes a flickering sound. Flicker. Flicker. A movie plays across the inside of my forehead. I don’t want it to. But it does. Frame after flickering frame. No pretty filters to soften the view.

You are now looking through my eyes. You see what I see. You feel what I feel. You are in my mind. If I could swap places with you I would. All of the below goes through my head all of the time. I cannot stop it.

Flicker.

Can’t breathe, the bastard is pressing me down. He’s ripping me apart. Can’t breathe. Bless you my son. The punch smashes my ear.

Flicker.

I don’t know you. We are just meeting. You’ve just started to read this article. To me, until proven otherwise, you are a predator, you are a killer. Your eyes are measuring me, looking within, seeking advantage. I don’t, and cannot, trust you.

Women and men. You damaged me. I don’t trust you on first meet.

If male, are you a killer of women and children, a rapist of women and children, a shit dressed up in artifice?

If female, are you one of those rare killers of children, a mental torturer of children and men, a purveyor of malevolence?

I hope that you are none of those things, I desperately hope that you are none of those things, but history proves that some of you are. Are you one of them? Yet I’m human, I want friends. Loneliness is fucking awful.

I am absolutely hopeless at small talk with you. I’m on my guard, but I don’t want to be on my guard. I’m waiting for the attack. Who cares who is winning the cricket, who cares about that bargain at Aldi, who gives a shit about the weather and your new house and your new car and your view of how good you are? How about the murder of refugees in your name?

I’m about to swear a lot. Run away now. Trot trot for the shallow.

The freedom to say anything I fucking like. No editing. The freedom to say What Is, for me. Oh, he is such a gentle man, never says anything harsh. A real hippy.

Wow, what a couple of lines for all the psychologists and psychiatrists of this world to peruse. Some are good, but ha, the others. Case study wet dreams for their bookish edification. Haven’t lived it, they don’t have a clue, chasing their own intelligent tails around in circles. Fucking me off with their useless techniques and their games.

Haven’t sworn so much in all of my life.

Flicker.

Her punch shatters me, rocks me, here’s another hail mary, she does it again, the belt whips, god delivering love, oh boy the nuns of christ, the nuns of fucking christ. If I could hide I would, I can’t.

Flicker.

That movie plays on the inside of my forehead, it is on a never ending re-loop. Flicker. Flicker. I have to look through it to see you. You are out there, we are trying to meet, trying to talk, trying to connect, trying to have a coffee. I am sick of what the bastards did to me, sickened by what the bastards did to me. I write. I write. I try to reach you.

Damage. Worst seen. Worst expected. Worst received. Damaged. Where’s the exit from the bloody cinema?

Birds fly free, freedom, the lift of the wind, beautiful lucky little winged shits. Soaring in the sun. Beautiful lucky little winged shits.

Women are killed all the time, they know what rape feels like, society makes no more than a passing reference to that but oh we do have jobs and growth for the mindless. I am not killed all the time, what do I know, I know what being raped feels like.

The last 67 years of living? Jesus Fucking Christ I want my trip money back, I want a refund. I want to be four years old and starting all over again.

Flicker.

You. You with your white collar and your church and your phallus. You predatory scum. If you weren’t dead I’d kill you. I’m a shot child man. I’d fucking kill you.

Flicker.

Sitting at the table, looking out the window. Looking out the window. Desperately trying not to think.

Love. It spins faster than a neutron star. My children. Love.

Women, making love, making love, making love. Spinning faster than a neutron star.

Oh! So you are a Survivor of childhood sexual abuse? I’ll fix it up for you. Here’s three tears, how generous of me. Snuffle, snuffle, Parliamentary tearful apology be grateful. Job done. I’m sure I’ve helped. The head has been patted. Now piss off and don’t mention it again.

Mention it again. It killed us. No Survivor survives. Not a zombie movie, just ghosts of the living dead. We walk, we talk, our feet wade through molasses in a vacuum, stuck, stuck, stuck.

Go shopping. Try to appear normal. Hide in the crowd.

I feel your pain, I feel your pain, I look into your eyes and I feel your pain. No you don’t. Rejoice in the fact that you don’t feel my pain. You are a lucky sod.

Beauty, the blue sky, the grass, the trees, a woman’s smile. Will she see my damage? I can love you know, it is not an impossibility!

Get up in the morning. Sit on the verandah. Stare at the sky. Go to bed after dark. Get up in the morning. Sit on the verandah. Stare at the sky. Go to bed after dark. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

I do not recognise your authority over me. I will fight you. You will not defeat the bit of me I have left.

That amazing thing called truth that everybody says that they want. Truth is, they don’t. They want the veneer of it that’s all.

Australia is a fascist country, that’s truth. Aboriginals are treated like dirt, that’s truth. We torture refugees who flee our bombs, that’s truth. Tinder is a fuck-fest for the brainless owners of ovaries and balls, that’s truth. Take note nuns and priests: if you fuck a child you will fuck them up for life, that’s truth. Nobody gives you a tax break without somebody else probably the poor having to pay for it, that’s truth. You won’t escape, AI and robotics will eventually blow you out of your job, that’s truth. Men like sex, women like sex, men fuck, women fuck, that’s truth. That’s truth. That’s truth. That’s truth.

What’s truth?

Oh, we are getting married! That white dress, that pin-striped suit. The church is bigger than a cathedral. Blessed by an unknown priest I could kill. I wanted succour at your breasts, I wanted your beauty, and your love, and your friendship. I failed. We ended.

Oh, we are having a relationship. I like your passion, your guts, your practicality. Let’s move away and start afresh. You in the fields, a sight to behold. I failed. We ended.

Oh, hello there. We both carry damage, we are both aware of that. We understand each other. If I could buy your zest for life, I would. Let’s give it a go. I failed. We ended.

I wanted security, and love, and family. I failed. We ended.

Depressed. They saw me as I am. Depressed. Joyless. Ended. Swimming in an ocean of black fucking dogs.

Depression kills relationships. Wish I’d read that when I was four years old, wish I didn’t have a future need to read that when I was four years old. Wish the nuns and priests had read that when I was four years old. The bastards couldn’t read, wouldn’t read, didn’t want to read. The bastards were too busy fuck-killing children to read.

What’s truth?

So you think that my blue eyes are piercing, and that they look right into you. They don’t. They are watching the movie that is running on the inside of my forehead. I am trying to see you through the flickering of the frames. No Oscar for me. I didn’t want to be in the movie.

Plod plod. Go to work. Stick on a smile. Plod plod.

Light up another cigarette. Suck the breast. Suck for comfort. Light up another cigarette.

In my time did nuns and priests screw each other. Yes. Did priests screw each other. Yes. Did nuns screw each other. Yes. Did upright community matrons in all their frocked and gloved hatted finery deliver casseroles and head jobs to their venerated local neighbourhood priests. Of course they did. Did nuns screw orphanage old boys. Yep. Furtive thrusting. So if the bastards received all that sating why did they come after us?

Write an article. How come I can do that yet I can’t step forward and do other things?

Flicker.

That’s a nice tall fence. Orphanage fence. Clinging to the top looking down the entrance road. Will they come and get me out of here? Nuns circling in the background, Sisters of Mercy, you’ve got to be kidding me they call themselves the Sisters of fucking Mercy, clawed hands reaching out.

Flicker.

Hello Lawyer person. I’m so desperate for justice, for damage to be undone. Thank you for running your I believe you script. What a legal actor you are, it drew me in. What? Do I have any money? No I don’t. Oh, ok then, I’ll piss off.

Don’t talk about suicide, the squeamish will cringe. Bang. Bang. Maybe nirvanah, probably not. Time is painless, but very long. Hang on, hang on, it might get better. Better than what?

It is quite true. All you find at the bottom of a bottle is the view of the bottom of a bottle. Let’s have another Shiraz. Let’s not. Didn’t needle, the thought was never attractive simply because the thought was so attractive. Can’t smoke the Dope, it rushes the movie into starker focus.

Men are lucky. One of the most beautiful things in life is to be there, right there, when your child is born. The little eyes try to open, the little fingers curl around your thumb. But we are not lying back there thinking that shit I’ve just had ripped out of me something ten times the size of Manhattan! Men are lucky. One of the most beautiful things in life is to .…

Hey Keith, you are supposed to be this happy long-haired hippy person. You’ve got a Kombi and you wear Indian cheesecloth shirts but I don’t want to talk about anything real with you because that would mean that I’d have to momentarily drop my own shallow mask too.

You cannot be helped. Well I sure as shit had hoped for a better response than that!

Bloody hell. Here I am at a party with a glass of wine in my hand. There are all of those other people here with a glass of wine in their hands as well. All those eyes. I’m anxious. I’m afraid.

Roll up, roll up, grab your popcorn, take your seat, dim the lights. Here’s a movie produced for you by the media arm of catholocism, by god’s holy rolling fuckster company pty ltd. They’ve directed thousands of movies. Many thousands of movies. Survivors are the unheralded Stars.

You are a beautiful man, and I love you. Am I? Did you?

Friends fade away from me, I fade away from friends. I can’t small talk. My talk is intense. I talk about what I see, can’t do otherwise.

There is always the dog. Zoe the dog. Beautiful loving Zoe. Bullshit speakers say that dogs don’t have a spirit. Bullshit speakers are wrong. Zoe became dead after I did, what a conundrum that is, because I’m still alive and she is not.

Predatory male on a dark night street. I’m not a predator. I’m a male. Why are you afraid of me? I’ve met a few predators in my time. I’m the one full of fear.

Hello famous celebrity type person. You’ve got to be kidding me! Someone called you a name and you are going to sue them for two million dollars! In a comparative sense of damage done then I and other Survivors should be able to sue for 10 billion dollars each for fuck’s sake! But oh, I do see your point, you are a celebrity after all, and society is far more interested in the insignificant slight you suffered than they are in the fact that our childhood vaginas and anuses and mouths were stretched and ripped and bloodied by stiffed-up clerical cock. So please accept my apology for playing down the immense amount of suffering that you went through. Gosh, you were called a name. It must have been awful for you, it has probably wrecked your whole life. I feel your pain. Here’s your three tears back. Oh, you’ve stubbed your toe as well.

Lonely lonely lonely lonely. If you have a companion do you value them? I sure as hell would.

Beauty. How do you measure that? When a woman looks you in the eye and throws you the biggest shit-eating grin that you have ever seen in your life, then you will have just seen the most beautiful thing you will ever see in your life. If she does it twice you just have to tap dance down the corridors of love.

Hello next Lawyer person. I’m so desperate for justice, for damage to be undone. Thank you for running your I believe you script. What a legal actor you are, it drew me in. What? Do I have any money? No I don’t. No problem. Glad to hear it. No Win No Fee. I’ll bare my soul to you. Come in spinner! Here’s your pittance. Fuck off. Apology? Don’t be silly.

At the height of erotic and loudly proclaimed mutually enjoyed passion I never mirrored the screamed out request from the woman to ‘fuck me dead’, because I figured that it must have been pretty obvious to both of us that, in my case, somebody had already beaten us to it.

Children, children, children. Love them. Protect them. Die for them.

Sitting at a desk writing. Keyboard thump. Keyboard thump. Keyboard thump. Writing truth, writing open truth, writing unfiltered truth, writing swearing truth. Just skimming the fucking surface. The well’s much deeper than that.

Many people who have not had a hard life like to say that they did. They go pretty quiet when you show them what hard really looks like.

Standing in the middle of the road with my placard. Save the ABC. Save the World. Save the Universe. We are all behind you, you say. Hang on a sec while I turn around. No you’re not.

Pillars of the community. You are aspirational arseholes. You’re sucking up to the god of greed, twenty houses isn’t enough, you’re shafting the poor, you’re voting for those I love god politicians, you’re a proud shareholder of a company that is polluting the planet, you’re a rich and fat and compliant drone, a killer of the future of our children.

Flicker.

Her fist smashed into my teeth. She cut my buttocks with the edge of her razor strop. She headlocked me and covered my mouth and nostrils with her sweaty fat hand. A bitch of christ. Take off your clothes, show me your waggle bits. That fucking bitch of christ. Thump.

Flicker.

Flicker.

Well hello young Altar Boy. Come into the Sacristy with me. Let me bless you. He did. With his seed. The bastard. The stinking-cocked holy bastard. Let me bless you. Keep your mouth shut or I’ll thump the living daylights out of you. I’m a priest, everybody loves me. I don’t. I hate you. I want to kill you. I’m a child. I can’t.

Flicker.

god. No capital G for that bastard. And those dumb prats sit in their pews and kiss his arse. Dumb prats who can’t think for themselves. Smarmy dumb prats. Kissing the arse of the venerated molesting priests.

I can look after and care for others. But not myself. I’m the movie, I cannot care for that.

Keep losing my jobs. Can’t get a job. So much wrong here. Everybody just puts up with it. I can’t stand it. Ha, social justice for the workers? Keep fighting with management. Sacked. Sacked. Sacked. None of you have beaten the little bit of me that is left to me. I’d rather be me than you.

Oh, sad sod, depressed sod, PTSD sodded sod. Chin up chap. Endure. Move on. One foot after the other. There’s gold at the end of the rainbow. Fake it until you make it. Here’s your six step plan. Silver lining and clouds. Think positively. Smile and the world will smile with you. What sort of idiot believes that nonsense?

Looking through that window I can see the ocean, the blue sky, the coastal strip, the buildings, the concrete, the greed, the exploitive middle class, the fascist rich. Beautiful view. Shit view.

Have a glass of wine. Eat a pretzel. Smile at your friend. Make appropriate eye contact. Whoops, that was too long, look away, look back, look away, look back. I’m not even fucking there.

Flicker.

Your special pants are dirty you skinny little shit. Shit-filled pants. Blood-filled pants. Semen-filled pants. And then she, the bride of christ, launches into me. Could kill her, I’m a child, I can’t. Punch. Punch. Another fucking punch. Be grateful for the love of god you skinny little shit.

Flicker.

Fathers. Where’s mine? Dead. Damaged by war man. Brain-box blown up by Japanese bombs man. Loved him.

Mothers. Where’s mine? Long dead. Dumped us all. Three years old and on her knee. What was she like? Who was she? Loved her.

Religion. Don’t make me laugh! Pillocks in pulpits. Rapists in pulpits. Killers in pulpits. god loves you. Bend over.

You ask me if I believe in god. I ask what put the need in you to believe in something that does not exist.

My anger at them is vaster than vast. Spewing out pointlessly into the sponge of absolute shitty nothingness. Blown away on the wind. Phut!

Oh, gosh Keith, you are so brave and courageous for sharing your story and not enough people do it and I am genuinely inspired by you and do you want to repeat all the lurid details especially the dirty bits please and I love who you are and I want to hug you and I hear you and I feel for you and I empathise with you and I think you are amazing and I also do the same for celebrities and movie stars and musicians who have died or been zapped and other people who I don’t know and neighbours who have been murdered and I drop lovely flowers on the spots where they all carked it or had things happen to them and I can cry on cue for the television cameras which they love and I love and which makes me look great and gets oodles of sympathy sent my way even though nothing bad actually ever happened to me and just because I’m a professional at mourning by proxy and a bit of a grief-fiend and even though I’m a you should bare it all for my wrapt delight workshop junkie it doesn’t necessarily mean that the flowers I just pinched from that most recent dead celeb’s shrine weren’t plonked down at your feet Keith with love and sincerity and care does it? “I wasn’t speaking to you. I don’t want your sympathy. I was speaking to people who can gut-stomach truth. So pick up your flowers and fuck off.”

According to tests that test such things I have a reasonably high level of intelligence. Yet, all things considered, I cannot even tie the shoelaces of my own life.

Flicker.

White habit and glaring eyes. The back-hand sent me sprawling. She grabbed me by the scruff of the fucking neck and shoved me into the cupboard. The darkness. The darkness. No wonder I cried in the Separate Prison at Port Arthur in Tasmania. My mind IS the Separate fucking Prison. My mind IS the Separate fucking Prison. My mind IS the Separate fucking Prison.

Flicker.

Get on the bus. Nobody will notice you. They will not be thinking anything. It will all be ok.

Fuck. You think this is all over the top? You’re getting the light polite version. The let’s not go the whole hog or really offend anyone version. Flicker. Redact. Hide. Hide. Gosh, you can’t say that.

Why did they weaponise their penises? Did they hate themselves that much?

Go the whole hog.

Survivors were fucked and beaten, fucked and beaten, fucked and beaten, over and over again. Thumped into the dirt and then the boot was jammed into our neck. Do you get that? The Royal Commissioner said that the problem with the catholic church was that they saw the rape of children by their clerics as a moral dilemma, but not as a crime. The church is still as sick as it ever was.

I’ve sworn more here than I have in my whole life. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck to the tenth fucking degree of the tenth fucking degree of that tenth of a fucking tenth degree of that tenth fucking degree. With piles of shit on top. We live with this stuff each and every day. And some of you call us whingers, and whiners, so fuck you if you do, and hello to you if you are a reasonable person who does not.

Do you dream? I don’t. Well I do, but they are never remembered. I wonder what I dream about? Early on my mind learnt to shut some things away in little boxes and that apparently is where my dreams go. That’d be an interesting little dream box trip, wonder what would be in there, free flying birds probably. I wish there was a box for the movie. How come that shit of a movie didn’t go into a little box? That’s a bastard of an unfairness.

Damage done. Neil Young sang about damage done.

Let’s go to church, let’s be seen to go to church, let’s be the pillars of our communities, let’s get into politics as well, they’ll pay us to fuck them up. Let’s give them a mantra, they suck that shit up.

Hello therapist. Hello psychologist. Hello psychiatrist. Can you fix me up? So I’m not bi-polar. So I was not rendered asunder. So I’m not psychotic. So I’m not a denizen of Bedlam. So you can’t fix me up. So what I see is fucking unfortunately really there. Really there. Trouble is mate, you see what is there, you’d be better off with the understanding level of a newt. So me is still mine, minutely. I knew all of that already, but here’s your bucks anyway.

So I’m saner than sanity can be. What a fair measure of the damage that being an uber sane observer of my own killing really is, it should have sent me crazy. Being able to think isn’t costless.

Hello Appeal Type Lawyer. I’m so desperate for justice, for damage to be undone. Thank you for running your I believe you script. What a legal actor you are, it drew me in. Oh, do I have hundreds and hundreds of thousands of spare dollars? No, I don’t. Oh, ok then, I’ll piss off.

Flicker.

Come into my room young boy. Why is the nun leaving? Who is that man? Why is he grabbing my head? Can’t breathe. Smothered. That stick bit of him is hurting my throat. Thump. Thump. Keep your yap shut. Say anything I’ll come after you. Scurry away. Hide. Hide. Hide. Where’s my little toy car. Curl up under the covers.

Flicker.

Cook a meal. Say hello to the landlord. Try and make a new friend. Maybe volunteer somewhere. Watch television. Do the washing. Look in the mirror, you are getting old. Hello old friend let’s meet up, have a coffee. Pretend all’s good. Sit on the verandah, stare at the sky. Pretend, pretend, pretend all is good.

He is such a quiet and friendly man. That’s the bit of me I have left.

Fuck them all, the tears are coming again. Fuck the nuns, fuck the priests, I cannot unsee what was done, I cannot unfeel it. I cannot escape it.

My mind IS the Separate fucking Prison.

Sit on the verandah. Stare at the sky.

Flicker bloody depressive ocean of snarling black dogs flicker.

Where is the curtain? I want to draw it across the screen. I want the show to end.

Note from the filtered me:

So that’s just a day in my mind. Actually, it is just a few hours in my mind because that’s how long it took me to write this.

Phew! Let me out of here! It is now three days later. Writing the above left me exhausted. I had to go away and walk on the beach for a bit. It is as I wrote it. I have not, and will not, edit it or pretty it up. It IS my IS. That is the mind I live in. The mind that I want to escape, but cannot break free from.

“The plaintiff has broad-ranging and chronic symptoms of persistent depressive disorder, from which he cannot escape.” If you think that’s a bit of a bummer, I can assure you that it is.

Ok, all of the swearing is done with now. Let’s step outside of my unfiltered mind. Well you can, I can’t. I have never allowed myself to try and write about how I really am, I’ve always done it at a long and safe remove. I feel worn out. The filters are now back in place. Let’s get back to the quiet and correct person who writes for AIM. The quiet person who does not say boo to a fart. The quiet person who is just trying to connect with you.

This was written to take you into my world and the world of some other Survivors, a world where the damage is painfully evident, where the damage can be seen, and where the damage in the sense of where the written word can possibly take you can be personally experienced and felt by you. Where the stultifying, spirit-killing, depressive weightiness of the crushing nature of the damage can be personally experienced and felt by you.

You’ve had a brief taste of it. Not pleasant I’m sure. Well many of us Survivors have eaten that particular sandwich for the whole of our lifetimes, and I am immeasurably unhappy with the fact that for me and others it has been so. It started for me when I was five years old, and I am now sixty-seven years old. What an unthinkable reach of time that is.

I’m a Survivor who was damaged by both men and women, by the Sisters of Mercy and the priests that they brought in to say mass. Not all Survivors have had my experiences, and I have not had all of the experiences of all other Survivors. Other Survivors have their own unique lived variation of most of the above, and I am not saying that they all have a movie playing across the inside of their forehead like I do. For me, the movie is on constant re-loop, permanently flickering away, and that is the only way I can explain it to you.

So now, the you that is out there with this article in your hand, can now perhaps truly understand why it is that we Survivors so strongly pursue justice. And don’t forget that we get out there and try to lead at least a semblance of a normal life. We give it a go. We try our best.

Flicker.

Flicker.

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Conservative Dumb Ideological People

We are so polite are we not? We, the true Quiet Australians. We who are not so easily drawn or sucked in by facile ideological mantras. We have been vilified as latte sippers, as inner-city green avocado smashers, as a protest rent-a-crowd, as subversive not run with the crowd farmers, as doctors’ wives, and as dole bludgers.

And we have worn all of that bullshit with patience. We grew up in a system where we thought our vote would make a difference. We grew up in a system where we thought that appeals to logic and reason would make a difference.

Yet, in front of our faces, right now, we are faced with the fact that our barely elected government is ruled by second rate ideological dumb shits. We are ruled by people who push back against logic, reason, science, and fairness. The Speer’s interview with Morrison was appalling, not at the Speers end, but at the Morrison end.

Here we are at a point where the effects of climate change are searing us yet all our PM could do was dissemble and tread a waste of a nothing path in order not to upset the absolute dills who consume both space and oxygen on the right wing of his party.

Morrison states that he understands our anger, well, I posit the point that Morrison doesn’t have a clue about the true depth of our anger. We, the true Quiet Australians, are not End of Days idiotic believers in trite mantra-speak, nor are we mindless consumers of the endless jobs and growth myth. We want real change, verifiable change, and urgent change based on the tsunami of climate change science that is barrelling in from every direction.

Our PM and his cohort came very late to the current and awful circumstance concerning the Australian fires. He and his cohort are still, still, trotting out their empty mantra of emission targets being met under the tricky fudging of carry forward figures.

This current government is moribund. It has failed in its primary responsibility of defending and ensuring the safety of the Australian people, and it has to be thrown out. Either through the ballot box, or through action taken on our streets.

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Who are we … the people?

Oh gosh … two very wealthy people have pulled out of the royal (background German) royal British family. So what. It is a very nothing thing. Who, with half a scintilla of intelligence really cares when you move beyond the celebrity feed-fest for dumbo absorbers of monarchist PR stuff and moves on to real events in the real world that happen to affect real people.

A plane crashed. Real people died … innocent people paid the price for the umbrage between America and Iran.

Here in Australia we have paid the hard price for political leaders who did not have the right stuff when the right stuff was needed. Real people paid the price.

We live in a world where the Americans are fading, where the Chinese think that their empire will last forever when their own history should teach them that it will not, and where the Russians have never accepted that WW2 ended an awful long time ago.

We need a global view of everything that is happening … yet we are tied in to a parochial view ,,, we are such small-minded backyard types of people … whether we live in Sydney or Vienna or Peking … we all miss the possibility of the future.

I actually don’t care what anyone thinks. This is my view.

The West is not right, never has been. The Middle East is not right, never has been. The East is not right, never has been.

The standard normal people, wherever you look around the world, have continually refuted the actions of those in power. Not with much success it must be admitted. Yet, we the people, are still here, still fighting against the accumulative negativity of the accretion and the expression of power. As hard as it is, we should not give up, we should not give way, and we should continue to put our beings on the line.

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The appalling leadership of Australia.

Perhaps, finally, we have hit the point in Australia where the attitudes of our past are seen to be the undeniable scourers of our future.

We have a moribund political class. A grouping of people who came in too late with too little. We have a tranche of people who are well paid to lead our nation, yet, when the embers fly, and the lives are lost, and the homes explode, and the people, the very people, grasp for breath, the putative leaders of this nation feed us political ideology and butt-saving efforts to protect their own tenure in the soft seats of our political institutions in Canberra.

We, as a people, deserve better than this.

No longer is it ok to excuse the inaction on climate change from a Prime Minister who is held to ransom by the proud deniers within his own party of mindless and dangerous conservatism, by the small minds who are so disconnected from science, from truth, and from global agreeance on the peril that this planet faces. The fires that are currently scouring us need to change this nation.

Here we are, as a people, in a period where the shit really hits the fan, faced with the fact that you, as volunteers, are truly the only ones who can be relied upon. You were the deliverers of hay, and food, and water. Our politicians were well informed prior to this fire season, they were told about what was likely to come, yet they sat on their comfortable arses and played ideological games.

I will never forget the vision of a young Australian woman who had been through so much and who simply hoped that the leader of this nation would ask her – ‘how are you?’ – yet all the man could do was force her into an unwelcome handshake and then turn his back on her. It was the most appalling example of what is wrong with the leadership of this nation.

The fires have scoured us. That is undeniable. All of us have felt it. Our front-line people on the hoses are incredible human beings. Our State leaders, our local government leaders, our emergency personnel, are all incredible people.

Our federal leaders came late to the situation, while our country burnt they thought that holidays in Hawaii and Bali were more important to them than the welfare of us, the people. Appalling!

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Test Cricket and the use of sexist and violent language …

We layperson lovers of cricket are not expected to be anything more than compliant consumers of the Baggy Green product. Over our getting longer and getting very hotter summers the only real ask made of us is that we support, venerate, and most importantly .. watch, the performance of our male and female cricket teams. We can watch them either by attending a test match in person, or by sitting on our lounges with maybe a beer or water in hand or in gullet as the action flows along on our screens.

Since I’m about to tear down the wicket and deliver a couple of tweakers it is probably wise for me to pad-up first and say some very nice things about the game of cricket.

Cricket, in all forms, is a wonderful game. T20 is an adrenaline rush, it is baseball on fast forward, it is one of a number of pinnacles of human sporting endeavour presented in chaotic maelstrom form.

Test Cricket takes a different approach. Test Cricket is a sublime combined version of theatre and chess played out over five days. It tests the abilities of the players, and it tests the shaky boredom threshold of those viewers in the modern era who have been raised on a steady diet of instant gratification and the compulsive need to press some sort of reactive ‘Like’ button.

Limited 50 Overs Cricket dishes up the best of the longest and shortest versions of the game.

So, there you go. I love cricket. I love it full bore. But also, apparently, there is a form of love called hard love …

Which means it is time to send down a couple of balls of contention.

There are things about cricket that do not remotely interest me, as in who is the current Captain of the team, or why did the Selectors choose that player and not that other one. Unless you are an insider to the politics of cricket, which I am not, then there is no point trying to dissect why the hegemonic blue-blood squattocracy of NSW always seems to swamp the earnest hopes of the willow-wavers from anywhere else in this wide brown land. The beauty of cricket is that other lovers of the game will write a novel of words to refute the QLD in-swinger that is this paragraph.

I also do not like the violence of the language sometimes used in cricket, and I do not like the sexist nature of the language sometimes used in cricket.

But to put it all into perspective, I’m bowling and taking aim at the bails of two aspects of the language used in cricket. The majority of the language used in cricket is benign, fairly banal, and would be flat out offending a fly.

Let’s look at one example of the sexist language used in cricket. I cringe when I hear it. Bowling a maiden over.

We all know what it means. It means that one player ran in six times and bowled a ball down the wicket and the person down the other end with bat in hand failed to get bat on ball six times (Edit note: a kind reader pointed out that I should have said ‘with bat in hand failed to make any runs’). Quite an achievement for any bowler in this era when bats are thicker than forest trees.

We live in a time when the majority of us accept that the language that we use matters, because depending on how we string a particular number of words together, we can cause damage to others. Therefore, why do we as a society accept the common use of some terms without question?

Forget Bowling a maiden over as just a description of an event that occurs in cricket. Look at it as a term that is used in our society, for that’s what it is. Then think about a literal translation of the meaning of the term … Bowling a maiden over. From the protagonist point of view: woman as object, against her will, attempt made, no score, virginity intact, keep trying until ‘score’ is made. Imagine if one of our politicians sprouted that term on the nightly news … they’d be rightly crucified in the cauldron of public opinion. Surely, in the cricket world, the term Bowling a scoreless over is a sufficiently accurate description of the event that had just occurred? Surely, the term Bowling a maiden over should be dumped by the Umpire as an example of an inappropriate term that has somehow survived from an earlier and unenlightened time?

Then there’s the violence of the language of cricket as sprouted by some media commentators of the game. We’ve got our foot on their neck. We are blowing them away. He/she has many weapons in his/her arsenal. His bouncers are going for the chest and chin. Finish them off. Intimidation is the key. That was a brutal shot to the body. The courage, the courage of it all. Bowl the bouncer like you mean it. Blast them out. Physical intimidation pays off. I thought this was a simple competitive game called cricket, I didn’t realise that it was a verbal extension of the brutality of war.

I don’t understand why we cannot admire the prowess and achievements of our sportspeople without bringing the language of war or violence into the whole deal.

Fair swish of the bat and why single out cricket do I hear you say, because other sports like League and others have long usurped the language of war with their ANZAC tests etc? Well, I agree with your bat swish, but it is because I love cricket more than those other games that my focus on these issues resides with it.

Anyway, it is Stumps, and time to leave the field, and I’ve bowled a couple of balls of contention. As I walk off there is one last thing I’d like to waft up into the higher reaches of media Cricketdom. Please, Channel 7, when you choose the members of your commentary team for tests, there is nothing wrong with hiring professional cricket commentators and gifted ex-players for their insights and all of that, nor would there be anything wrong with hiring professional comedians to send a bit of a laugh our way, but please move away from your current excruciating belief that your commentators can do the jobs of both, because they can’t!

Cricket is a wonderful game. It is evolving and morphing into all sorts of wonderful variations before our eyes, and at an accelerating pace. It teaches patience, it provides much joy to the viewer and to the player, and at much risk to life and limb I will state with full assurance that it is the greatest team game that has ever been played in modern Australia.

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The stitching-up of Julian Assange and Daniel Ellsberg.

So while we sit on our arses and fiddle with our fingers a brave son of Australia is about to be thrown to the wolves.

It would pay us well to read, and reflect upon, the following transcript between the President of the United States, his National Security Adviser, and his Attorney General.

The background to the transcript is that a journalist had just published an article in The New York Times. The article was the first installment of seven thousand pages of highly classified documents that exposed the decision-making process that had led the United States into an interminably long and destructive war.

Earlier, on the same day that the transcript was recorded, June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court, citing the First Amendment, ruled 6-3 that the Times had the right to publish the stolen documents.

The journalist who published the article stated that “It was just an exquisite moment of vindication for the freedom of the press in this country and how important it is.”

The President, on that very same day ordered his Attorney General to discredit the source of the documents, a man who had just been indicted by a federal grand jury under the questionable strictures of the Espionage Act of 1917. Sound familiar?

The redactions in the transcript are mine.

President: Don’t you agree that we have to pursue the … (redacted) case?

Attorney General: No question about it. No question about it. This is the one sanction we have, is to get at the individuals …

President: Let’s get the son of a bitch into jail.

National Security Advisor: We’ve got to get him, we’ve got to get him …

President: Don’t worry about his trial. Just get everything out. Try him in the press. Try him in the press. Everything, … (redacted), that there is on the investigation, get it out, leak it out. We want to destroy him in the press. Is that clear?

Attorney General: Yes.

So even though the highest Court in America ruled that the release of the documents was both lawful, and in the public interest, the President and his administration sought to go after, jail, and demolish those who were involved in the leaking of the documents.

And so Julian Assange sits rotting in a British jail while a case is concocted against him. And so our Australian Government sits on its arse and does not have the fortitude to confront Trump and his administration, and so the majority of our Quiet Australians (those perennial supplicants at the altar of the Big Lie) sit on their arses, while a brave son of Australia is thrown to the wolves.

There are some here in Australia who have had the courage to speak up, but far too many more of either political persuasion have not had the moral courage to speak up.

I don’t know what books Julian Assange has access to in his jail cell, but if he has access to the one I have just read, I don’t doubt that he would be reflecting upon the depth of betrayal, and the rankness of the betrayal, that has been sent his way by his own people, his own Australian people. Let alone what his thoughts also might be about the Americans at the highest level of power who are going for his jugular.

We all like to think that the ability of those in power to suppress truth and to threaten the journalists who publish that truth is diminished by a long societal memory of previously exposed scandals, and by the very vigilance of an informed and concerned populace. Well, that is simply not so. We live in an era where truth is far more strongly suppressed than it ever was, where the populace is apathetic and supportive of political populism, and where the journalists who expose that suppression of truth are pursued with the full force of the State.

Those of you with a knowledge of history might well ask what parallel is there between the cases of Daniel Ellsberg and Julian Assange, between the release of The Pentagon Papers and the Wikileaks Documents? For that is the question that I have unfolded above for you to think about. The transcript quoted above was recorded in 1971 and Daniel Ellsberg was the target. The transcripts concerning Julian Assange are being recorded right now.

I think you are intelligent enough to work out the multiple parallels between both cases for yourselves.

The transcript participants (recorded on June 30, 1971): President Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, John Mitchell.
The transcript and other relevant information quoted from the book: The Vietnam War – An Intimate History, by Geoffrey C. Ward & Ken Burns, 2018.
The documents: The Pentagon Papers.
One source/author of the documents (target of the transcript): Daniel Ellsberg.

Here in Australia some of our journalists and others are currently being pursued by the full force of a middle-ranking state because of the disclosure of secrets that our government wished to keep quiet about – think East Timor and Afghanistan. Internationally, one of our journalists, for that is what he is, is being pursued by the full force of the American State because he published material, damning material, that the American State wished to keep quiet.

The stitch-up of Julian Assange is well underway. But it will be many decades before the transcript of the tapes of White House manoeuvring to indict him are released for public reading.

We, the people of Australia, need to step in right now and stop the tapes. We need to bring Julian Assange home to freedom.

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We, the unheard.

And so the priests stand up in their pulpits and wish everyone a happy and merry Xmas …

And so we, the unheard, sit alone at home on Xmas day and try to endure the silence, the loneliness, and the loss. We try not to hear the happy celebrations of our neighbours, we leave the television off because of the swamp of festive visual fare that shows happy contented people singing carols and exuding joy, and we avoid any sort of human contact simply because we no longer have the ability to pretend that we can either contribute to or benefit from what is meant to be such a day of happy and relaxed and innocent celebration.

Many of us have drifted away from our families, or they have drifted away from us. Our children have drifted away from many of us, or we have drifted away from them. On Xmas day we think about, and live, the loss. We sit on our verandahs, and we stare at the sky.

And who are we, the unheard?

We are a grouping of men and women who as children back in the 1950s, yes back in the 1950s, that long and far away reach back in time, we are the human beings who endured unspeakable abuse experiences while under the care of religious institutions. We are now in our late sixties or seventies by physical age, but we are much older and worn down under the effects of the inescapable legacies that we have carried over the stretch of a full lifetime.

And so the priests stand up in their pulpits and wish everyone a happy and merry Xmas …

Our abuse experiences do not stand unique against those who were abused in the 1970s, the 1990s, the 2000s, or yesterday. The horror of the crimes committed against us in the 1950s are equal to the horror of the crimes committed against other children in the 1990s or in the present era. Nobody, no victim or survivor depending on how you as a society wishes to view us, escapes the legacy imposed by those crimes. The only difference for we, the unheard, is the fact that we have carried those legacies, those legacies of depression and PTSD, and the acute memories of what happened to us, for well over sixty years now.

Did some of us escape from under the weight of it all? We would like to think so, we would hope so, some must have surely, but for many of us, such cut through did not come our way.

The Royal Commission came far too late for us, the reach out from society via the Parliamentary apology was woefully too late for us, and both those events combined simply served to remind us how isolated, unheard, and unbelieved we were over that more than half a century ago.

We lived, as young children, and as teenagers, in an era where the churches and their clerics were venerated, and where those who had experienced scouring trauma were expected to just suck it up and move on, and, under no circumstance, speak out. We lived in a conservative and hypocritical society.

For us, back then, there was no inrush of supportive therapists and counsellors such as automatically happens today immediately post any sort of traumatic event. Society was quiet during our abuse, society was quiet after our abuse, society did not want to listen, society did not want to know. There was no such thing as early remedial intervention in our day, with the result that many of us carried our load of depression and post-traumatic stress for far too long in silence, and that long period of silence ensured for many of us that the state of those afflictions would become permanent.

As we hit our fifties and sixties, and as we saw the unfolding details of the Royal Commission, and as we sensed the new move within society to listen and believe, we started to open up. We approached therapists and psychologists, and for many of us, it was the first time in the totality of our lives that we were able to speak of what had been done. Our speech may have been halting, but at least for us, it was a welcome crack in the veil of silence.

After sixty years of being pushed aside, we were faced with the very new experience of being listened to. We had to try and draw ourselves out from under the blanket of silence imposed upon us by the society of our era. And it was at that very time, at a time when society was prepared to listen to our words, prepared to listen to our stories, when the Royal Commission was at its height, well, that was the exact time because of our decision to engage with the remedial therapies that many of us received the news from our therapists, our psychologists, and our psychiatrists that the damage done to us had been untreated for far too long, and that the damage could not be undone.

That blow was shattering for many of us. The last vestige of our hope for some internal relief or sense of normality was taken away.

And the priests stand up in their pulpits and wish everyone a happy and merry Xmas …

So our anger rose, and many of us entered the legal redress system, either under the civil system or the government promoted and subsequently watered down Redress Scheme. For many of us, our mental state was such that we could not clearly discern the ramifications for us of the decisions we made about the various levels of settlement offered to us by the religious institutions. For many of us, it was a depressing experience that added to the level of abuse that we had received from those institutions. We saw, and felt, their response to our requests for justice as an extension of our abuse at their hands. Many of us simply signed settlements in order to stop the further perpetration of abuse upon us.

As the Royal Commissioner recently stated, the problem with the largest abusive church of them all, the one that affected so many of us, is the fact that they saw and still see the molestation of children as a moral dilemma, and not as a crime. Well, we, the unheard, are the living proof of the effects across our whole lifetimes of the crime of childhood sexual abuse that was perpetrated upon us by representatives of that church. A church that does not have the moral courage to change itself from within.

This new era of societal redress and focus on abuse will end, as all things do, and society will move on to other things, as in this era society more and more quickly does. But we remain here locked into a world, not of our own creating, and many of us are faced with the impossible reality of accepting that how it always was for us, then so it will always remain to be.

On Xmas day many of us will just sit on our verandahs, and many of us will just stare at the sky. We remain quiet, and hidden away. It simply IS our IS. A bit of a brutal truth the churches don’t care to acknowledge. The age of being listened to arrived too late to be of benefit for many of us, and within ourselves, we feel and remain unheard.

And the priests stand up in their pulpits and wish everyone, including one assumes us, a happy and merry Xmas …

So we, some of that grouping of men and women who were children way back then in the 1950s do not in any sense wish you to not enjoy your festive season. But there is something that we would ask of you.

We want you to enjoy Xmas with every fibre of your being, and we want you to appreciate the beauty of your family, the beauty of your children, the beauty of your friends, and the beauty of being able to laugh and dance and celebrate and shout with unaffected joy at the freedoms that you have. We want you to fully appreciate and live your lives well. We want you to spread love and kindness to all you meet, and we want you to extend to and receive compassion from all on Xmas day. We wish you much success in the raising of your children and in the creation of positive legacies for them.

We, the unheard, would take it as a wonderful Xmas present to see you manage to do all of that.

Peace and love to all of you from all of us.

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Smart Bullets: No more boots on the ground?

We are continually told that AI and autonomous robotic entities will put people out of work. Modern factory floors full of robots and not full of people, and modern mines full of driverless vehicles and robotic diggers (oh, hello Adani) attest to the truth of all of that.

But what about in the military sphere? Because we are also told that no matter what level of sophisticated weaponry one decimates enemy territory with, the only way to secure and hold territory is to put boots on the ground. The boots on the ground maxim has been a staple military requirement for thousands of years. If you don’t get your garrisons in you don’t get to hold the ground. To a great extent the maxim still holds true.

But for how much longer?

It is an unfortunate fact of modern life that there are multiple forms of smart weaponry patiently sitting out there waiting for either a sweaty or an eager finger to dab down on the red or coloured otherwise button. Smart Weaponry, AI controlled, and not necessarily endowed with an attached ethics module. Press. Boom. Goodbye worrying about the skyrocketing ascension of your next power bill.

But those weapons, multiple nuclear or biological warheaded ICBMs and the like represent the delivery of armageddon from a distance. They take off on the other side of the planet, or from some hidden sub somewhere, and blow the crap out of our happy beach side BBQs on this side. Splat, we’re gone, and then in come the enemy soldiers to eat up what’s left of the snags. The boots on the ground maxim gets another trot out.

But Smart Bullets will kill off the maxim in a nanosecond.

Our army is currently investing heavily in the design of autonomous driver-less military vehicles. An AI controlled jeep or somesuch with a menacing popgun mounted on the prow, fair enough, it means our military personnel can project force from a distance without having to duck flying bits of metal themselves. Not a bad plan.

But what about close-in defence? What about when the maxim supplied snag eating enemy are taking pot shots at us with their rifles and bullets? What do we do when things get a bit up close and personal?

Why, we use Smart Bullets of course. Swarms of the little buggers. Controlled by AI.

Have you ever noticed how missiles fired from military jets swerve and home-in on their designated targets, and chaff and desperate avoidance aside, usually get to splot the enemy jet. Well, why cannot that technology be miniaturised down, and for all we know it probably already has, and be applied to the humble old bullet?

Bullets at the moment get to be fired out of pistols and rifles and they generally follow a gravity dropping path from A to B over a fairly short distance in military terms, but further than a bayonet can reach of course. But once those bullets are fired they are on their own. Thine aim was true or not becomes the deciding factor, and the ducking ability of the snaggers comes in to play as well. Dumb bullets can’t think, they just go where they are sent.

But imagine a little bullet that can think. Imagine a little bullet that can see. Imagine a little bullet that has a two stage propellant system on board, one to launch it out of a barrel, and then the secondary one to allow it to swerve. Of course you’d have to add miniaturised little vanes to the thing to allow it some cornering ability, and the AI on board would have to be robust enough to recognise that, yes, that is indeed a snagger, and not you or me, lurking behind the change shed at Bondi.

The Smart Bullet would search for the hidden snagger.

But if you can imagine all of that, then you could probably also imagine that the invention and utilisation of Smart Bullets might make the need for rifles, and the soldiers who bear them, just a tad obsolete.

The bullet is a drone in other words.

A fleet of large predator drones loaded with zillions of little Smart Bullet Drones could on the one hand waft happily and lazily over all of the important areas of Australia, Sunshine Coast where I live included, and could on the other hand also put the wind up any potential snagger who wants to come here and disrupt our BBQs. It would also enable us to save an awful amount of dosh by dumping the purchase of our obsolete french subs.

Ok, we are talking about the future. A not too far distant future. And I’m aware that the little theory I’ve suggested here has enough holes in it to drive an old Leopard Tank through. But, so what? Why not give the thought a run?

I can’t help but feel that we are equipping our military with weapons systems that would be excellent at helping us to win the the last war that we were involved in, but that would be totally inadequate to meet our needs in a future war that we all hope that we can avoid.

The threat of the use of nuclear weaponry has not receded, it still sits there. However, we are now faced with the next generation of smart AI controlled autonomous weaponry that will seek us and our soldiers out in a remorseless and unethical manner (ethical war? surely a debate in itself). We are hardly prepared for such a prospect.

I’d prefer that no snaggers come here in a boots on the ground mop-up operation, I’d prefer that no snaggers of any nationality go anywhere in the world on a boots on the ground mop-up operation, I’d prefer that none of our soldiers get killed for any reason in any war, I’d prefer that war be consigned to the dustbin of history, I’d prefer that the maxim of boots on the ground be head-butted into irrelevance, but until all of that happens I’d prefer that we work out ways to defend ourselves.

Nanotechnology. AI. Drones. Smart Bullets.

Cheaper than wasting the lives of our Soldiers I’d have thought.

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Hot Blasts From The Desert

The mythical ‘they’ say that we all have a book in us. Well, after many years of procrastination, I have finally started mine.

Months ago when I published The Desert of Redemption on AIM I vaguely remember that I promised someone that I would follow up with some snippets from the Desert Road Trip. So here they are … I’ve simply pulled an excerpt out from one of the chapters in the book.

“Salvation for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse in Religious Institutions, and elsewhere? Well, that is such a bullshit question, and later in the book, I will address that issue. But for now, I’m happy to do a tiny copy of a Bill Bryson and talk about my recent epic (for me) journey alone out into the Australian Deserts.

The god I don’t believe in is perhaps the only entity who truly knows why I did it. All I can say is that on a given day an impelling force appeared under my arse and launched me on a 7,000 kilometre Road Trip to the land of spinifex and red sand. My butt and I simply jumped in the car and vroomed westwards, and, the impracticality of it all and the total lack of forethought and planning was quite touching in a way.

Seriously though, I embarked on that trip because I knew that I had to break, or at least to attempt to minutely fracture, a mould that had been made for me by others.

Agoraphobia, depression, PTSD, and fear are all millstone necklaces in their own right, and combined they had kept me sitting on verandahs, hiding on lounges, and fearfully skulking through open spaces and supermarkets. None of that was a decent way to live. It was all a legacy of my childhood sexual abuse. However momentary it might prove to be, I wanted the taste of freedom.

Vroom.

As a person who was well used to a searing bright coastal light, I was amazed by the flatness and open blue sky once I started to hit the inland plains of Queensland. I thought I knew how flat a landscape could be but as I reached each new horizon it was flatter and more featureless than the preceding one. It was like driving towards the embodiment of nothingness, which was fairly apt considering that I was trying to leave so many things behind.

This whole book could simply be about that trip, but I have other things to talk about. So here’s a one chapter precis, where each place of note only gets a paragraph, bookended by an article containing my existential musings on the whole deal.

Goondiwindi surfaces because I met and had a beer in a hotel there with a man whose camper van had broken down. He was stuck in the town for a few days while repairs were underway. He was travelling alone but he had a female companion, and house, in Townsville, and a female companion, and house, in Melbourne. He sojourned between the two and he had the biggest shit-eating grin I have ever seen on a human face. A happy, travelling, man. According to him either end could only stand him in short stints, and he could only stand either of those ends in short stints as well, so all needs met I guess. His life consisted of joyous, brief, unending, reunions. There are many ways of living and one doesn’t have to be a Mormon to live them.

Wilcannia. You have to go there to understand what sadness and dispossession truly means. Went into the only pub not realising that it was mainly an Aboriginal pub. Whites are supposed to go to the bowls club. I was not refused service, but the can of light beer was thumped down with anger and hate, and since I’m a reader of the truth of our history, I simply nodded acknowledgement. An old bloke there must not have thought that all whites were arseholes because he happily engaged me in conversation while I disappeared the beer, and then myself, as quickly as I could.

When you enter Broken Hill from the east you drive along a section of highway that is paved with the exploded carcasses of kangaroos. We are all used to seeing the occasional example of roadkill, but that road into the town was something else, ten kilometres of smashed animals. A local told me that such things are not talked about because it might frighten off the tourists. The Miners’ Memorial in Broken Hill lists out all of the causes of death of far too many of the early workers, and it is a salient reminder of why the pursuit of greed/profit in any era is not a good thing, and of why Unions always did, and still do, have relevance.

At Coober Pedy, I met an Aboriginal man. We accidentally ended up sitting opposite each other in the underground bar. Cold beer and smiles and all of that. He was a tiny wizened coal-black man who did not speak English, and I was a tall wizened white man who did not speak his language. It was all in the eye contact, and we clinked our beers together at the ludicrous sight of us both sitting there pretending that we were rich inhabitants of opal heaven and I learnt that eyes, indeed, can chortle in unison. Also met a female travel writer in Coober Pedy who had chortling eyes as well.

The road to Lake Eyre, beyond the edge of the outer reach of nowhere. Totally alone. Flat tyre. Tested the finer points of agoraphobia. Walked about a kilometre out into the desert (yes, I could still see the car), and just stood there. Aloneness had been a negative neck scarf for all of my life, and I wanted to confront it. Confronting it was.

On the road to Uluru, I was flagged down by a group of Aboriginal men whose car had run out of fuel. Endless empty horizons in all directions. We tried to siphon some out of my vehicle but that didn’t work. I drove their leader into a local Settlement to pick up a can of gas. On the way back he told me that the others wanted to beat me up, do me in, and rob me of my dollars and all of my camping gear. He told me that he said to them ‘Really? This white bastard is the only one who bothered to stop, so pull your heads in.’ He also told me that ‘We hate you white fellas because of what you did to us, but you stopped, so you must be one of the ok ones.’ We got on like a house on fire after that.

Uluru. It has presence, it has energy. I did not, and would never, climb it. I peered over the sign asking people to please respect the sacred nature of the place and not tramp all over it, and watched all the tourists, and dumb bucket-list pillocks, and brainless nationalists, selfie their way to the top. Dumb, insensitive, shits. But Uluru will outlast them. The Uluru Statement from the Heart will outlast them all.

Drove out to Kata Tjuta. Forty-degree heat. Trekked into the gorge and absorbed as much of the energy as I could. Go there. Absorb. Ran into a bush fire on my way back to Uluru and I was stuck behind a petrol tanker of all things. Fast run through hot spots, and thankfully no explosion. The resort at Uluru prides itself on the number of employees of Aboriginal descent that work there. Most of the Aboriginal workers I spoke to said that most of them were from NSW, or coastal Queensland, and that the local Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people did not feature heavily on the books. If that is true, you would have to wonder why.

Countless other places visited of course, and countless other people met, but space is at a premium so here’s the short version of things …

The Red Centre. It still exists. You cannot fly over the deserts and expect to pick up any real sense of what they are, and how they ‘feel’. You have to traverse them at ground level. You have to experience the rolling out of the miles. You have to immerse in the endless unfolding of the blue sky and the red earth. You have to understand that, out there, distance and time lose meaning.

And as for the long-cherished mythical belief that Outback European Australia is peopled with hardy folk who have no interest in, or sophisticated understanding of, issues that take up the minds of us oh-so-important urban coastal dwellers, well that bullshit myth is soon placed to rest when you go out there.

Outback people might be mightily more attuned to the vagaries of nature than the rest of us combined, but that is where the difference ends. Their sophistication level is dead even with ours. Which leaves open the question of how sophisticated are we as a people, all together as a blob, and as a Nation, which is a question that cannot even begin to be answered in a book as short as this.

I must admit that it was fascinating to see during the trip, except in the smallest of smallest two-house towns, that just about anywhere out there are Indian, or Vietnamese, or Thai, or Filipino or Anglo-Celtic cafe families who are prepared to dosh up a reasonable meal for you at a reasonable cost. And your expresso is likely to be produced by a top-knotted hipster dude who just as easily could be plying his trade in Lygon Street, which he probably recently was. Australia in some ways is changing for the better. Salt of the Earth Australians come in many happy forms these days.”

Right. Vague promise vaguely kept. Back to the book!

 

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We older ‘burdens’ on society

Here we go. Here we go. Yet again. Doesn’t pay to be over 60, does it?

Here’s an excerpt from an article in The Sydney Morning Herald:

“Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will on Tuesday signal a drive to get people in their mid and late 60s to work longer and undertake training to keep in touch with the jobs market as the government confronts long term pressures to the budget bottom line. Mr Frydenberg will use an address to the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia to argue a “new dynamic” in the way the country’s population is ageing will require new policies to ensure the nation’s economic heavy lifting is not left to a diminishing number of younger people.”

I get it that the balance between older and younger in our society is changing, and that in the future the number of older people in our society will increase, and that the Government needs to take all of that into account when planning future health, education, housing, and ‘where’s the revenue going to come from’ type policies.

What I don’t get, and don’t like, is the frequency with which words like burden, and economic heavy lifting, are used by politicians to condescendingly swipe us oldies over the head.

Are we burdens on society? Have we not heavy-lifted and contributed to the economic well being of the country over the course of our working lifetimes? Now that we have been pushed aside into the invisibility of older age are we, now, to be targeted and punished by this Government because employers steadfastly refuse to hire us?

The major problem with this Government is that they hold vulnerable cohorts within our society solely responsible for the condition that they find themselves in.

The unemployed for example, of any age, are tagged as bludgers and burdens and are subject to such a punishing regime of compliance including: the bad joke that is JobActive, the deliberate suffering that is imposed by the starvation level of Newstart, the restriction of even the tiniest amount of freedom of choice left available to the unemployed by the imposition of the Indue Card.

When you are an oldie caught up in all of the mess that is the Government’s Welfare Policy, whether you are currently stuck on Newstart, or whether you have managed to transition to the marginally more welcoming climes of the Old Age Pension, which at least allows you to breathe with some dignity at least once a week, it is enough to make you tear out whatever hair you are lucky enough to still have left.

Frydenberg and Co need a reality check.

We oldies who want to work are not the problem, the employers who will not hire us are the problem.

We oldies who are not rich are not the problem, a society that measures the worth of a human being by the level of their ability to consume, and spend, and accumulate wealth, and a society that denies the most basic social dignities to the disadvantaged and the old, is the problem.

And what is the Government’s answer to the issue of older Australians whose job applications are continually rejected? Well, we have a startlingly new brilliant idea, we’ll re-train you. Gosh … we’ll all be re-trained up as coders and data analysts and rocket scientists in order to secure our share of the ‘jobs of the future’. It would be funny if it wasn’t what it actually is – sad and demeaning.

And where will we be re-trained up? Not in the TAFES, they’ve been gutted. We’ll be re-trained up in the profit-making private training industry, that plethora of Registered Training Organisations with happy and profitable links with the JobActive network.

Josh and Co need to sit in on some of the job interviews where employers tell us oldies that we are too over-qualified for the job. Already too over-qualified for the job. And the Government’s answer to that pernicious form of ageism is to offer to add to the level of our qualifications thereby ensuring that the employment door that has shut closed on our feet, will shut even harder.

The fact is that the proportion of older people who cannot find a job is going to increase, and increase, and increase. It is not going to increase because we are burdens, or bludgers, or light-weight lifters, or any of the other crap mantras that this Government throws towards our aged bones. The number of older people out of work will increase because employers have made it brutally obvious to us that we are not wanted.

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Yaroomba Beach. Dark deeds on the edge of paradise?

Do you live in a small beach-side community anywhere along the beautiful coastline of Australia?

If so, it might advantage you, and your community, to pay very careful attention to a court case that begins this week in the Planning and Environment Court on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

This week The People of Yaroomba Beach and surrounding areas will attempt to protect their residential beach-side communities by appealing against a decision by the Sunshine Coast Council to approve a high-rise development proposal. The proposal was put forward by Sekisui House, a major Japanese owned development company.

In the normal cut and thrust of life some might think that the case of Yaroomba Beach is nothing special, nothing newsworthy, and not deserving of a very acute and forensic analysis of the pathway to approval that this development so easily slipped along. If some think that, they would be wrong.

This case, yet again, highlights the ability of developmental power and money to impose inappropriate development on a decidedly unwilling populace.

The Yaroomba Beach community is protected from inappropriate high-rise development under the regional Town Plan/Planning Scheme which was negotiated, and agreed upon, by both the community and the Sunshine Coast Council. I reiterate, the Yaroomba Beach community is protected under that Town Plan.

However, flying in the face of concerted community opposition to the proposal (a record number of over 9,000 objections were lodged), and flying in the face of the protections afforded Yaroomba Beach under the Town Plan, the Sunshine Coast Council duly pressed the approve button. Hence the appeal court case that is now underway.

The Yaroomba Beach community is faced with the parlous financial situation of having to defend their community, their way of life, and their own Town Plan, from the actions of a Council that is supposed to protect and serve the residents of that local government area.

The Sunshine Coast Council is using ratepayer funds, including the ratepayer funds supplied by the residents of Yaroomba Beach, to oppose the appeal against the development in the Planning and Environment Court.

If even the softest of fingernails is used to scratch the surface of this case then the rankness of a very questionable stink starts to waft up. The Sekisui Yaroomba Beach case is preceded by the earlier Sekisui West End and Sekisui Ipswich cases.

Sekisui House has a long history in Australia, and a long history of gaining successful development approvals here in Queensland despite determined community opposition, and here are but a few media published snippets of that history. Your friend Google will unveil much more.

From: 4ZZZ.ORG.AU 2 Feb 2017
Australian Electoral Commission returns show QLD Labor declared $51,700 in donations from
Wingate Properties. … … , Director of Wingate Properties, has also been the Australian Executive Director for Sekisui House, the major developer on the West Village project.

In November, the development was conditionally approved after review by Trad as Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning. As State MP for South Brisbane, the development also sits within her electorate.

Coolum & North Shore News 12 September 2014
IF Mayor Mark Jamieson, Premier Campbell Newman and Japanese developer Sekisui House thought a deal to allow high rise development at Yaroomba could be stitched up behind closed doors, they are badly mistaken.

Sunshine Coast Daily 28 April 2015
Mayor Mark Jamieson, in explaining the council’s process over the past two years, said the then-LNP State Government would have approved of the council slipping a planning scheme amendment into the town plan back when Sekisui House first delivered its proposal.

Make of that what you will. Of course, those few snippets are but a small example of the published public domain material out there that highlights events around prior, and current, Sekisui House developments, and those snippets also highlight the input of local government representatives and state-level politicians here in Queensland into such developmental matters.

One hopes that history does not repeat itself. The Sekisui West End project was subject to appeal from the community, however the relevant State Minister ‘called-in’ and approved the project, and community objections along with their appeal were thrown out the window.

The reality is that the Yaroomba Beach community has to self-fund an appeal against an inappropriate high-rise development that was approved by a Council which ignored the high-rise restrictions in the regional Town Plan/Planning Scheme. The community stuck to the letter of the law, the agreed and negotiated letter of the law, and it is a pity that others did not do the same.

To keep up with news on this matter I highly recommend that you view the following two websites below. They represent the Voice of The People. Yaroomba Beach is well worth preserving.

Other beachside communities around Australia may one day face the unfair developmental predations that the Yaroomba Beach community has had to endure over the last five years or so. Those communities should keep a very careful eye on the outcome of this case.

It is important that the community wins.

www.developmentwatch.org.au

www.saveyaroomba.com

 

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No money? No justice for Survivors!

Pell’s right to appeal has been upheld by the High Court of Australia. I have no problem with that. Any Australian citizen has the right to appeal to a higher secular power … in this case our legal system and its variety of ascending higher-level courts.

That’s called a reasonable statement.

My statement, however, is only momentarily polite on such matters as the rights of citizens to appeal, to seek redress, and to seek justice, and to seek fairness.

George Pell has the right to appeal. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Religious Institutions also have the right to appeal.

And here’s where the absolute bloody bullshit of equitable appeal for justice for all here in Australia starts to kick in.

Whatever the source of those dollars, the fact is George Pell’s appeal has been buttressed and supported by a well-heeled appeal fund. Engaging high-flying barristers and solicitors are not cheap.

I, and many other Survivors of the heinous crimes that have been committed against us, would love to have our cases, and our stories, and our quests for justice, heard in the highest court in this land. Of course, we have a snowball’s chance in hell of that ever happening.

The majority of the Survivors of childhood sexual abuse are mired in poverty. They are beaten down not only by their punishing experiences, they are also gutted by years, decades, and in many cases, lifetimes swamped by the negative legacies of depression, and PTSD.

Of course, the defenders of the clergy, legal and otherwise, would point out that Survivors have equal right of access to the legal system. There are probably people out there in our society who believe such nonsense.

Here are some legal realities for Survivors of childhood sexual abuse when they embark on a path for justice.

Many Survivors, when they initiate a claim against an Institution for historical instances of childhood sexual abuse, are mired in poverty and cannot afford psychologically or financially to hang on long enough for their cases to receive a fair hearing in Court. It often takes years for the cases to be heard.

Institutions such as the Catholic Church etc are well aware of this fact and they put the pressure on Survivors to accept unsatisfactory Settlements via the mediation process.

I know what I am talking about because that was my direct experience in dealing with the Church. They knew I was mired in poverty as a result of enduring a lifetime of effects from my abuse, and they utilised that fact to pressure me into accepting a compensation figure that was woefully lower than what would have reasonably been awarded by a Court.

I can understand that most people simply do not understand the process that Survivors have to go through to seek justice. The system, via Gag Orders etc, is designed to keep us quiet, and the techniques and methods used by the Churches to minimise or defeat claims are rarely aired in the public arena. They need to be aired.

I was, and am, very unhappy with the Settlement terms I was offered. The compensation figure was low and it did not compensate me for a lifetime lost, there was no apology offered, no remorse shown, and no offer of remedial therapy was included. I felt brow-beaten into accepting their ‘offer’, and I felt pushed aside and treated as an annoyance who needed to be quickly silenced.

Well, I am not an annoyance. I am a human being. I have a voice. And, where possible in a legal sense, I intend to use my voice to highlight the methods used by Churches etc to suppress legitimate claims.

Some will say that ‘nobody forced you to sign the thing’. My response to such nonsense is that my impoverished state, and the unending pressure from the Church, did indeed force me to sign the bloody thing.

There is a partial legal Gag Order placed on me, as it is on many other Survivors, but that gag order does not stop me from speaking my mind.

The majority of Survivors are not rich people, they are poor people, they cannot afford to hire a Legal Team to stand against the bevy of Lawyers and Barristers used by the Churches and other Institutions to fritter down and negate justified claims.

Survivors are caught in a bind because of poverty, they have to rely on the ‘umbrella’ afforded by No Win No Fee law firms, and unless those firms are very sure that the case will be won they have to utilise common sense and decline to take the case on. Which leaves some Survivors with a justified claim that they cannot afford to pursue on their own.

Survivors in that position are forced to rely on the National Redress Scheme. I’m not surprised that a lot of Churches and Institutions have signed up to that Scheme, because if any sort of compensation is paid out to an individual under that Scheme it is going to be an awful lot less than what a Court would reasonably award. In my opinion only, the Scheme unintentionally favours the Churches etc and disadvantages the Survivors. The Scheme has unintended consequences attached. Religious politicians, religious institutions, not the best of combinations where redress is concerned.

Many Survivors are riddled with depression and PTSD, and I am one of them. And our condition often precludes us from taking on behemoth institutions like the Catholic Church.

It is important to note that I believe that most religious people are decent folk, and that any action I have taken, or will take, is against the Institution that made no effort whatsoever to protect my younger self from incessant abuse.

To initiate another round of legal action is not an easy thing for me to do, or for any other Survivor to do or countenance. It would be far easier to stay hidden away in the background.

Many people might not realise that when you initiate a claim, in order for a medico-legal report to be produced, your whole life and being is subject to a rigorous forensic examination by Psychiatrists appearing for either side of the case. Sometimes that examination is empathetic, and sometimes it is acidly adversarial.

Either way, you are forced over a number of years to continually live and recall the instances of your abuse in full never-ending detail simply to prove that your claim is justified. No wonder the process so completely demolishes so many people.

Churches etc drag out claims for as long as possible and subject the Survivor, who is in a very vulnerable position, to begin with, to a long period of sustained pressure. My initial experience with my claim against the Church drove me to the edge, and I learnt a lot from that. They will not do that to me again.

I will not be silent.

People out there, those of a well-meaning mindset or otherwise, need to understand that when Survivors approach the legal system to attain justice, they are hamstrung from the get-go because they simply do not have the dollars to hire a high-flying legal team. The Churches do.

It has taken me over 60 years to get to the point where I can say the following. Today’s High Court decision in favour of George Pell is the trigger.

I cannot speak for other Survivors but I can at least guess about what many of us might be feeling. The anger at how we have been treated is starting to appear. The anger is real. It comes from a deep well-spring of imposed traumatic experiences, and from the way we have been demeaned, sidelined, denied fair justice, and pushed aside by Religious Institutions over the course of our lifetimes.

It is a well-justified anger.

 

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How many NSW fires were deliberately lit?

Well, there was no ‘dry lightning’ was there?

A few days ago there were seventy or so fires burning across NSW. The results were catastrophic. Lives lost. Properties lost. Many of those fires are still burning.

There are a myriad number of natural reasons why a fire would start. Since I’m not a fire-cause scientist I can only lump all of those reasons under the general heading of Spontaneous Combustion. It is a natural phenomenon. It happens. Always has. Always will. Nature’s bush clean out so to speak.

Other things happen too. Human things. Accidental things. Cigarette butts get dropped in the wrong spot, broken shards of glass out in the bush act as magnifying lenses, the blades of mowers strike rocks and produce sparks, the wind blows embers out of campfires, electrical shorts happen in power lines. Unintended consequences. Totally accidental.

However, on television, when I look at the grime-weary faces of firefighters, when I look in the eyes of those who have lost all, when I listen to the words of the fire and emergency management authorities, and when I hear about the efforts of the police to ensure the personal safety of the members of their communities … I cannot help but ask that question that is not yet being asked.

How many of those fires were deliberately lit?

Naturally, it is my hope, that only a very small number were deliberately lit.

A short while ago, here in Queensland, at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast, a fire roared up to the boundaries of the Peregian Springs residential estate. The residents who had to flee, the firefighters who had to fight the blaze, and the police who had to risk their own safety to ensure the rescue of others, were all subject to a terrifying experience. Who can forget the nationally shown footage of the ember attack as it was propelled across suburban streets by a strong and relentless wind.

That fire at Peregian Springs was deliberately lit.

The climate science is in. Long in. Our climate is changing. Our fire season, our natural-cause fire season is extending in length. The ferocity of fires is increasing. All of the authorities tasked with bush fire and emergency management deal with those facts. Deniers are short on the ground on that particular front line. The climatic conditions that contribute to the frequency of natural-cause fires are getting worse.

Naturally and accidentally occurring fires are hard enough to deal with, and yet we have people out there who seek to amplify the affect of all that, who seek to gain some sort of vicarious thrill by striking a match and standing back to observe the consequences.

So what can we as a society do about all of that?

I’m not talking about what do we as a society do with the perpetrators if identified and caught. I’m talking about how do we minimise the potential for it happening in the first place.

Education in our schools? Yes. It is probably already done. Also, there are obviously laws already in place that criminalise the deliberate starting of bush fires. Yet deliberate lighting still happens.

As a person who lives slightly on the centre-left of politics I am naturally wary of willingly lining up to give the Australian Government any more terrorism related powers, largely because I question who they target those powers at … refugees being a case in point.

However, when you look in the eyes of the firies, the traumatised residents, the police, the emergency service personnel, how could it not be said that in the case of a deliberately lit fire they were all exposed to to a rank act of terrorism.

I believe that as a nation we should identify gross acts of arson as acts of terrorism. Arsonists are not simple little breakers of the legal code. Their acts have the capacity to kill innocent people, their acts have the potential to burn out communities.

If bush fire arson is deemed to be an act of terrorism, and if it is subject to that kind of national law, then perhaps it might give the would-be perpetrators serious pause for second thought before the match is struck.

What do you think? What other approach, the thoughts above aside, might help to address the vexing problem of deliberately lit fires?

Note: The following information was supplied by another AIMN writer. You can read her full summation in the comments section below. As well, you can read her articles if you do an AIMN search.

“Proportion of deliberate bushfires in Australia

The Australian Institute of Criminology found that,”on average across the country, approximately 13 percent of vegetation fires are recorded as being deliberate and another 37 percent as suspicious. That is, for all vegetation fires for which there is a cause recorded, 50 percent may be lit deliberately.”

https://aic.gov.au/publications/bfab/bfab051

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