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Category Archives: Your Say

AWAKE! To a new day.

Are you full to the gills of the endless bullshit and denial from the right-wing nut jobs and the cynical swinging voters about the continual arguing on such subjects as economic rationalism and the trickle-down effect, climate change denial – or as it is now called “climate change shifting of the goal posts”, Indigenous treaty/land rights/history/culture wars, etc etc by a right-wing politically useless class that no longer has any contribution to make to further discussion into this century?

And then there is the renewable energy question, or rather, non-question, as only an absolute cretinous imbecile could work up an argument AGAINST free fuel for an eternity. And also let’s not mention the wha, wha … NBN!

Well, I’m here to give you the good oil: There really is no longer a need to take the slightest heed of those troglodytes of the right of politics. They are an anachronistic excuse, just a dying fish out of water floundering around and drowning in their own wasted space. Time to leave them behind.

Back a post or two, I mentioned that I was intending to block from my Twitter stream every direct right-wing news or information source or commentator. Well, I did … except for Lyonheljm, and he just told me to get f#cked, so I will keep him to annoy when required, after all, no-one can really take HIM seriously. But the rest I have and will and I do not miss any news from the action of doing that. The likes of Divine, Bolt, Kenny or Albrechtsen and the others have no positive or constructive message to give, nothing intelligent to add to the conversation. And with Social Media now becoming THE major broadcasting source of ALL world news and views, I can do without helping to relay right-wing sourced news and views. I would suggest we all do the same, for without the circulation of hard-copy newspapers, and then being cut from much access to social media, companies like News Ltd wiill be further restricted from an audience.

But we must do more than this. We must curb the cynicism toward soft-progressive politics in place of more radical politics and get this lefty cab off the rank. And once we are “on the road” and freewheeling, we can push for more radical policy. Because we are still a long way from winning the next election, and you can bet London to that brick the Murdoch crawlers will be sifting through that chest of 8×10 glossys and the dirt-filing cabinet to come down on any one of the left politicians, be they Green, Labor or a sympathetic cross-bencher.

Jay Wetherill in SA and Daniel Andrews in Vic, and now Mark McGowan of West Australia are setting a good example by taking on the energy market and pedaling their states into the future for fair and equitable delivery of policy – at least as much as they can be expected in this nation of quite conservative thinking. SA’s energy policy has to be the way to go, along with the bank tax and I would hope this will lead to more radical thinking along the lines of public transport and water resources protection. I will note that Federal Labor has thankfully moved a tad further to the left and is adopting a more radical stance on many policies. I trust they will go one further and finally address that open wound of asylum seekers if they win government. But they are in a good position now with the electorate who have had enough of this wastrel, useless LNP.

Now for that new day! I believe we need to talk up more State (federal/state government) controlled utilities, restoring the Murray/Darling Basin plan, restoring a government bank, government energy supplies, and a host of other necessities that are now outsourced or sold off to an incompetent private sector. We need to talk up the need for a more equitable tax system and restore proper funding to our schools, universities and health sector. There is so much to be done and I don’t believe we need to waste any further time on arguing with RWNJs about their fear and loathing. Their stupidity will not change and will only delay the implementation of much-needed policy.

I think if we can direct our optimism and energy and enthusiasm toward those policies and ideals that most move us – and make the debate for those ideals the centre of our discussions – there will be so much more impetus and energy pushing those good policies forward, rather than wasting our energy and spirit on those hopeless, depressing beings on the dark side.

Because the right-wing of politics is now no more than a dead-weight, without a life-force to sustain it, has become likened to the futile supporting in a sea of ideas, the inert body of a drowned companion. A hopeless, risky and thankless task and we have to let go of trying in vain to carry this corpse of lost hope any further. Let them as a collective go, let the cadaver sink into the sediment of history as fertiliser for a future of grand ideas. Further, as another metaphor; we have carried their unresponsive corpse for far too long, we have tried in vain to keep nurtured the body of bi-partisan politics for the good of social cohesion, heavens knows how long and wearily we have tried, but now is the time to switch off the life-support of an already dead body-politic, and do no more than stand away as its corrupt and evil spirit is spent into the trash-can of history.

We, of the progressive side of politics have work … much work to do. There is a world of nature that needs our undivided attention, and the hard yards of environmental resuscitation will have to go on uninterrupted by any more delays and foolishness. The social contract between the many ethnicities and cultural beliefs needs also a load of hard work, but the foundations are there, we have many of us already given our word to the reunification of the nation, those good and decent intentions cannot and will not be in vain.

Let us awake … to a new day!

‘Phuck Fair’ – Advocating for the NO vote

By Kyran O’Dwyer

There was a story on the ABC which, on first reading, made little sense, other than some good craic. It was about the ‘Puck Fair’, a festival in Ireland, where a goat is King and a 12 year old lass is Queen for the three days of the festival.

But, wait a minute. Is this festival the harbinger of the new world order we are told to fear? It is, surely, a very specific example of what will happen if we don’t vote no. Whilst I have no affiliation whatsoever with either Mr Bernardi or Mr Shelton, I felt compelled to help their cause.

Is the goat the vision Bernardi saw in his 2012 premonition, that marriage equality is somehow a precursor to bestiality?

“There are even some creepy people out there… [who] say it is OK to have consensual sexual relations between humans and animals.”

OK, it was 2012, when Bernardi was only a Liberal. Now that he has shirked off the shackles of liberalism, it is unlikely his views have softened in his ‘jump to the right’. It may be interesting to consider how an animal consents, but that can be pondered another day.

Is the child the epitome of Shelton’s dire warning?

The national advert is from the Coalition for Marriage group, led by the Australian Christian Lobby — one of the main opponents to same-sex marriage.

It features four women opposed to same-sex marriage and focuses on concerns around the impact of same-sex marriage on children.

“School taught my son he could wear a dress next year if he felt like it,” one said.

Don’t laugh, this is very serious stuff. It has already happened in England:

“A parent of one of the boys who participated said she supported her son’s protest.

“My son personally is coming home very, very hot … and he’s struggling at school and he’s quite irritable and stuff like that,” Julia said.

“It’s brilliant to protest and say, ‘OK then, if we are not allowed to wear that, then we will wear skirts’. Good on ’em.””

In the interests of saving the lads (Shelton, Bernardi and their ilk) the likely incandescent, apoplectic outrage at such barbaric practice (and the ensuing glee of circulating it with gay abandon), I thought I should check it out for them.

It’s Ireland, after all. What was once the centre of the conservative, religious world, the second largest Catholic state outside Vatican City, the land of Papal Bull, has degenerated in modern times. It has not only abandoned the Papal Bull by voting for marriage equality, but has openly appointed a gay man as its Taoiseach. Can it be any wonder that the moral decline was so swift, so precipitous?

Is this festival some sort of debauched bacchanalian fest, with undertones of beastiality and child abuse, only possible in a country that has abandoned its moral compass?

Is the 12 year old lass the example Shelton and his ACL warriors have waited for to embody their claim that children will suffer if marriage equality is to proceed? Is she the portrait of a ‘stolen generation’ he has yet to paint?

By way of background, Ireland was ruled (as much as the Irish have ever been ruled) by Irish monarchs from about 900 BC to 1100 AD. In typical Irish style, a population of some 500,000 people had up to 150 kings. Whilst the monarchies continued long after 1100, they were no longer genuinely Irish monarchies as the Anglo/Norman invaders assumed control. If inter-marriage didn’t work, slaughter was a viable option.

Prior to the Norman invasion, the Irish laws, known as Brehon Law, allowed divorce rather than slaughter. The Anglo/Norman culture preferred slaughter. Ironically, divorce wasn’t re-introduced until that Henry VIII bloke brought it back. Mind you, he was clearly conflicted. He would both divorce and slaughter his wives.

That sort of explains the validity of an Irish King or Queen. The divorce bit was just my wandering mind, in the off chance Bernardi/Shelton want a hand with the NO DIVORCE campaign.

Now for the word ‘Puck’. Regrettably, there is nothing sinister. It’s not even a euphemism. Puck is the anglicised word for ‘poc’, being the Irish for a male goat. Hence ‘Puck Fair’ is nothing other than “Fair of the He-Goat”.

The town of Killorglin, with its 2,000 occupants, is on the south west coast of Ireland, in County Kerry.

The festival is billed as one of Ireland’s oldest festivals, dating back to the early 17th century. Typical of Irish folklore, its origins are unclear. This is something that has never stopped the Irish. After all, they have never let facts get in the way of a good yarn. There are many local theories, ranging from a harvest festival, to tales of a lone goat fleeing Oliver Cromwell’s troops.

Given that context (and bearing in mind we are talking about Ireland), it is both reasonable and plausible that locals would pluck a wild mountain goat from its habitat and crown him king.

To be fair, the ABC report includes a condition report on the goat.

The goat appeared relaxed, if occasionally bemused, during his coronation.  This is, presumably, a cultural acknowledgement for that peculiar Australian sensibility, or sensitivity, about animals. There is a proud Australian tradition of outrage in the event that any cruelty is visited upon an animal. I say ‘peculiar’ because there is no such outrage when the most egregious cruelty is visited upon humans.

Anyway, back to Killorglin. Due to the foregoing, the rest of the story takes on its own reality.

You see, the King, a goat, was paraded through town before being crowned by the Queen, an honour bestowed upon a local schoolgirl.

So we have the King (a goat) and Queen (a 12 year old lass) presiding over a three day festival featuring music, street performers and a horse fair that sees the town welcome up to 100,000 visitors.

Sorry, lads. I tried my very best to find a story to validate your ambitious claims. I guess it just wasn’t to be. The festival, the monarchy, the goat King and the girl Queen all predate the appointment of Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach. If it helps future campaigns, he was also the youngest Taoiseach, therefore we should not encourage the young. If it helps future campaigns, he is also of Indian descent (Ok, that may be a sore point in Australia at the moment), but it should discourage any ‘foreigners’ ever thinking they can contribute to their ‘new’ country, in anything other than a tokenistic sense.

They all predate the enshrining of marriage equality. To be fair, the Irish inquiry into sexual abuse by the clergy not only assisted the ‘Yes’ vote, but brought in a new guarantee for children across the country. Whilst the prospect of being interfered with by a member of the clergy will always be present, the chances of it not being investigated and prosecuted by the relevant authorities has been removed.

Don’t despair, lads. Maybe, we can use this as a template for our very own Fair.

Bearing in mind that the most significant import from Ireland to Australia is people, it’s only natural to assume that there would be an appetite for such a fair here. After all, more than 25% of Australians claim Irish heritage of some sort. That this swells to 100% on St Pat’s Day is right up there with climate change – a freak of nature. Apparently.

OK, the church isn’t as well entrenched as it used to be. But we can work with what we’ve got. We don’t have the same regard for Papal Bull down here, so we can work with Turn Bull. He is the only bull with a track record of turning on the mere glimmer of a red rag. We can dress up the Bishop’s’ and Abbott for clerical legitimacy. They all like to dress up anyway. There’s even a Cardinal down here for something. We can use him between his gigs at Court.

Bearing in mind you are trying to conflate all sorts of issues, our problem is that you haven’t gone far enough. The public don’t seem to be buying that equality is the same as freedom of speech or freedom of religion. We need to put more issues in to the mix.

Now, first we’ll need a name. “Puck Fair” is likely to be a problem. You know, proprietary interest and all that sort of thing. Whilst Australia has been fair phucked for a while now, “Phuck Fair” may be worth a try. It will certainly have appeal for the IPA/ACL mob. They have, after all, been phucking any notion of fairness for so long now, they would likely give it some historical recognition. Ah well, it’ll do for now.

Then there’s the King. We’ll need a King, don’t you think? Hmm, the Irish have done the goat. Aha, got it. We can use an Ass. Naturally, he will be referred to as King Phuck, not Phuck Ass. That would just be silly.

This works on so many levels. It validates Canberra as the venue, being the only suitable place to seat a monarchy. It ticks all the boxes. It is the recognised capital of Australia. And it’s full of asses. Also, there is no prospect of the animals being hurt. Between the politicians and the journalists, there is a well established tradition of kissing each other’s asses. A veritable love fest.

We can even have an Irish blessing for it. Póg mo thóin (Kiss my Ass).

This next bit may offend some of the more genteel readers, but we may need to tether a few politicians for the duration of the festival. It’s for their own good. The usual suspects may become a tad unsettled. They bray enough already. No point upsetting them further.

They may become spooked at the sight of so many asses, let alone develop identity issues. You know, “Am I a politician or an ass?”

The Queen can be decided through a ballot, a survey. By the end of this year we may have the perfect model for useless surveys. Naturally, the child will be kept well away from the asses. The braying would be intolerable. We may have to consider calling her “Princess Phuck”. For some reason, “Queen” has unacceptable overtones.

For economic reasons, we can only consider a two day festival over a weekend. Workers shouldn’t be encouraged to take a day off for the “Phuck Fair”. Naturally, those working at the “Phuck Fair” shouldn’t expect any extra wages. They are, after all, enjoying the “Phuck Fair” without having to pay entry. Any decent employer will forever chant “Phuck Fair” when any employee makes any request for such outlandish consideration.

Can’t you just imagine Canberra coming alive for a fun filled weekend of street performers, musicians and kissable asses? Even the politicians and journalists may hang around.

I have taken the liberty of looking over the ‘Puck Fair’ web site and it is like they have done the work for us. We don’t so much need the horse fair, there will be asses aplenty.

Perhaps a ‘Fair Ass’ pageant. We can have the music stuff. Instead of an Irish dance workshop, we can have our First People do something. Heck, get a few shandy’s into Joyce and he’ll do his own. Whether he would prefer to dance with a sheep rather than an ass is up to the High Court. The ‘Wobbly Circus Street Show’ can be the cross bencher’s parade. The ‘Captain Chaos Show’ is a shoe-in for Abbott. ‘Squawkabout’, well that’s got Pyne written all over it. As for the ‘Free Circus Workshop’, we can have a weekend sitting of Question Time.

So, lads, what do you think?

“Phuck Fair” will become the very essence of Australia, the very definition of Australian values. We can have a King Phuck and a Queen Phuck. Australians will be so busy celebrating Phuck all, they can forget, for a while, that that is all their politicians will give them.

Now, lads, I hope you take this with the sincerity in which it is offered.

With the benefit of so many distractions, it may be helpful to try once, just once, to add your voice to those decrying what our Christian government is doing to people.

Right now.

You profess to care for men, women and children.

Right now, our Christian government says that the lives of men, women and children are worth nought. If you could possibly lend the voice of your Christian values to those seeking no more than a fair go for those that need our help, it may add credence to your campaign.

Just trying to help.

What is History?

After listening to the hysterical comments this last week or so concerning “good” or “bad” history, I thought that I would add to the conversation with my own experience, and perhaps throw a little light on just what is “history”.

Most people know what history is as an identification piece, without knowing how it is brought to the attention of the general public. I say ”brought to the attention of”, because it is of no surprise to learn that most people do not go out of their way to seek history, lest it be about their own personal situation, eg genealogy.

History can be little more than a series of disconnected events that have to be brought together with rhetorical flourish that attracts the cultured mind to find common connectivity to a known outcome, and then to “join the dots” for that “Aha!” moment … when the incandescent flare flashes and all is revealed.

What cements the “reality” of those events as a “true history” is the evidence of the outcome of those rhetorical flourishes connected to a chain of seemingly unconnected events; what I would call the logical truth. Logical, that is, after the final outcome. The Ohhh! moment.

For instance, when the imperial colonisers decided that the land mass we know of as Australia could be “legally” claimed as “Terra Nullius”, they based their understanding of “unoccupied land” as that which was not farmed or worked in an agricultural way. A false history was deliberately created (they knew it was bullshit) to justify claiming that which was already “owned” by tribal societies who “worked” the land in a nomadic cyclic way in a seasonal cycle of traversing, harvesting, letting fallow and returning at a later season or year to re-harvest. (I have posted on this subject before: An Advanced Society).

In “Why Terra Nullius? Anthropology and Property Law in Early Australia” Stuart Banner writes that:

“The absence of Aboriginal farms was crucial, because the British were heirs to a long tradition of thought associating the development of property rights with a society’s passage through specific stages of civilization. Greek and Roman writers were unanimous in holding that property was a man-made institution.

“There is,” Cicero declared, “no such thing as private ownership established by nature.” They agreed that there had once been a time, long ago, when property was unknown, when, as Seneca put it, “the bounties of nature lay open to all, for men’s indiscriminate use.”

They knew of far-off primitive peoples like the Scythians, who lacked property even while the Greek and Roman civilizations were at their peak.

And they agreed that it was the invention of agriculture that gave rise to property rights in land. The reason the Scythians and other primitive tribes did not divide up the land they occupied, the classical writers believed, was that they were nomads who had never learned to cultivate the land. The Scythians “have no fixed boundaries,” observed the second-century writer Justin, because “they do not engage in agriculture…. Instead they pasture their cattle and sheep throughout the year and live a nomadic life in the desolate wilds.” It was only when “Ceres first taught men to plough the land,” Virgil explained, that land was first divided. When there were “[n]o ploughshares to break up the landscape,” Ovid agreed, there were “no surveyors [p]egging out the boundaries of estates.”…”

(We can now see why Roman history became “wedded” to the British imperial colonising designs).

So in effect, the Imperial British Crown invented their own version of history, and having once crossed this line, they had little choice but to declare: therefore, Captain James Cook “discovered this land”… this was neither logical, nor truthful.

Really, it was only going to be a matter of time before that little bit of bullshit was outed.

I have witnessed first hand how a “history” can be created..

It goes like this:

Ziedel’s secret carburetor

I was asking for a bit of background knowledge about a long deceased relative of mine from the local aged mechanic, Peter Pohl. He and his off-sider Vern run the only workshop in the district and have done so for near on fifty or sixty years! I don’t know, neither does anyone else … not even them!

“Name doesn’t ring any bells,” Peter frowned.

“He was a very inventive sort of chap … in the line of mechanical things,” I assisted.

“Oh, there were a lot of them about in them days,” Peter opined, “a lot of them. There was Pastor Ziedel, for instance. HE was a sort of genius. Do you know, he invented a carburetor that could halve petrol consumption in a motor? But the thing was, he was dammed clever how he done it.” And here Peter tapped the side of his nose.

“How so?” I asked.

“Well, you know he didn’t want anybody to find out how he done it, so he got those little jets and needles and seats and whatnot made in different places by different chaps so no-one person could put them all together. Oh … he was cunning alright.”

“So did you get to see how it looked?” I pushed on. Peter stopped, pulled up and looked at me in wide-eyed wonder.

“No! Of course not, it was a secret! Hell, he wouldn’t let anyone see how he done it … why, if he went to any motor event, he’d take that carburetor off and put the old one on so nobody could pinch his design. Oh, he was cunning … old Pastor Ziedel.”

“But if no one saw it, how do you know it worked?”

There was a pause in the response, which told me that this cynical line of reasoning had never before been broached, then;

“Whhyy … of course it worked, you ask anybody who knew of it. He had it on his old Holden for years … of course it worked … and dammed good too!”

“Well, I imagine some one saw it after he passed away. Was it in his estate when they went through his effects?”

“No, not that I ever heard. I suppose his son threw it out with a lot of other stuff.”

“What!” I exclaimed “I would have thought it would be a very valuable item.”

“Maybe, but because the old man was so secretive about it, I don’t suppose the sons would have known what it was if’n they came across it.”

And that is the wonderful way history is created!

We have a VERY serious problem

We have a very serious problem. A quite dangerous precedent happening with the deliberate covering-up of political damaging information by the mainstream media (MSM). This, combined with a never-ending onslaught by the Murdoch journalists to attempt to divide the community on ethnic, demographic, religious and personal life-style preference lines is slowly corrupting our community. We are already a divided nation on ethnic and religious lines, driven sometimes to fatal fever-pitch by right-wing shock-jocks feeding the Murdoch media hate-machine.

A study of past societies will easily demonstrate that a nation divided cannot stand, but it is also well documented that while leadership could be corrupt, if the people living under that tyranny are in the majority – united and acting with their core decency intact – that nation can rise above such corruption. This is the case now in Australia, I believe we, as a people, have a core decency that can rise above this corrupt government and once again restore the respect and honesty to governance that is required.

But … if this current condition of giving the Murdoch media a free rein to spread its vile base of division and hate continually through our community – the eventual result of such cancer could tip the scales so that if the majority of the citizens is persuaded to go along with the corruption promoted and practiced by this government and its vested interests – there will be little hope for long-term peace and equality in our community.

At this moment it is without doubt that it is the Murdoch media (above all other MSM outlets) which is concentrating its vitriol on the most vulnerable. The recent admission of the once Prime Minister Tony Abbott, to laying drunk in the building while a vote on the rescuing of the economy of our nation was being debated on the floor of the House demonstrates how inept and unsuitable for the office of Prime Minister that man was. Yet this most important and political dynamite information, while being well-known (and suspected along with other salacious hints of behaviour) in the Press Gallery circles and “insiders” of government, it was not delivered to the Australian people by those self-appointed guardians of democracy; The Fourth Estate, until just recently. Sure, the rumours did fly, but were not corroborated. In fact, I would go so far as to claim these facts – along with a host of other totally outrageous behaviour actions, including the rumoured flirtations with his Chief of Staff (that was a most gross insult to his marriage partner) – in itself ought to have disqualified him from holding any office above janitor for Alan Jones’s private dunny!

What has been happening is the deliberate and conspiratorial collusion – by mainly the Murdoch media and its employees – to have foisted upon our nation so that vested interests could lobby such a government to damage, destroy or implement policy disadvantageous to the national interests so as to facilitate an open-house, free-market, winner take all economy most suitable for the 1% and the devil take the hindermost.

This is now reached its most dangerous stage. The politicising of overseeing authorities, the castration of the office of Solicitor General, the corruption of the ACCC, the implementation of a ruthless ABCC to hit upon union activity, the strange and inconsistent behaviour of the policing and security agencies, the complicit behaviour of a certain magistrate in a recent TURC Royal Commission … and the list goes on. We have a serious situation in place that will warrant intense investigation as one of the first order if Labor gain office at the next election.

There will have to be some sort of investigative tribunal put in place to look into the connections between those vested interest institutions like the banks, the business council, energy suppliers, the above government authorities and the mainstream media (particularly those arrogant mouthpieces in the Murdoch media, who, while sheltering under the protective umbrella of their Australian passports seem only too willing to sell the interests of our/their nation out to an overseas national who is their paymaster – an act of treason if ever there was one, and a behaviour that should deserve the most stringent account before a court of law!)

There will have to be oversight of the MSM, particularly in regards to the Canberra Press Gallery. This “institution”, acting now as little more than a cabal of vested interests and lobby groups will have to be stripped of its press-status and admission to the the House Press Gallery and a complete review done on each and every member. They have shown past reluctance in the integrity of their responsibility of “frank and fearless” reporting of those representing our democracy, and if they cannot be relied upon to tell the truth or report the details relevant to our making a decision on who is to future govern the nation, then they do not deserve the privilege or right of entry to the heart of the Parliament.

I, in my own tin-pot way will be exercising my right from this day by serially blocking all MSM journalists from my Twitter stream that I do not feel have come up to a decent standard of honest reporting on the politics and politicians of the day. And that will certainly be every Murdoch journalist without exception. And I acknowledge it may not seem much of an action, perhaps even laughable in some quarters, but I am also aware, as should we all, that in this moment of history, Social Media is the major source of outlet for the distribution of information and disinformation … and by blocking them, I am protesting against the spread through my followers and their followers of the most vital distribution outlet of the Murdoch media.

They can go screw themselves!


Whence Australia Day

By Terence Mills

All this talk about changing the date of Australia Day, tearing down statues and rewriting our history seems to be missing the broader story of the arrival of the first fleet in 1788, a momentous feat of seamanship and navigation by any standards, bringing eleven wooden sailing ships half way around the world without the loss of a single vessel.

Even by comparison with the major voyages of exploration, the achievement of Arthur Phillip was commendable for that era.

By contrast, Columbus in 1492 was only at sea for a little over two months in his first voyage of exploration, leaving Spain on 3 August 1492 and sighting land – San Salvador in the Bahamas initially – on 12 October.

Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe was an immense undertaking for the 16th century, leaving Spain on 20 September 1519 with five ships and 270 men but the losses were enormous, including the death of Magellan in the Philippines. Just one ship, the Victoria, under the command of Juan Sebastián Elcano and a crew of 18 men, returned to Spain on 6 September 1522.

The epic Mayflower voyage was a snip in 1620 with the Mayflower departing Plymouth, England, on 6 September 1620 and arriving at Cape Cod on 9 November 1620, after a 66 day voyage.

Arthur Phillip’s voyage, with eleven vessels, left England on 13 May 1787 sailed southwest to Rio de Janeiro, then east to Cape Town and via the Great Southern Ocean to Botany Bay, arriving over the period of 18 to 20 January 1788, taking 250 to 252 days from departure to final arrival. Comprising two Royal Navy vessels, three store ships and six convict transports, carrying between 1,000 and 1,500 convicts, marines, seamen, civil officers and free settlers and a vast quantity of stores this epic voyage was a triumph and whilst precise numbers differ reports indicate the fleet comprised:

Embarked at Portsmouth Landed at Sydney Cove
Officials and passengers 15 14
Ships’ crews 323 269
Marines 247 245
Marines’ wives and children 46 45 + 9 born
Convicts (men) 582 543
Convicts (women) 193 189
Convicts’ children 14 11 + 11 born
Total 1,420 1,336

There is no doubt that European exploration and settlement of the new world had instant and long term detrimental and devatating impacts on native peoples, particularly in the Americas but no less in Australia and the Pacific region and we can’t change that.

But is this a reason to completely dismiss the historic significance and our national commemoration of the arrival of the first fleet? Establishing an outpost in the Pacific had become a priority for the British in an era when colonial expansion had become a frantic race of acquisition and had the British not settled Australia there is little doubt that the French would have.

Australia Day in the modern era should represent a celebration of the achievements of all Australians, migrant settlers and the First Australians. Whether this recognition takes place on 26 January or another date is beside the point. We should not allow the achievements of Arthur Phillip and the first European settlers and convicts to pass without recognition: to do so would not only be disrespecting their memory but also a denial of our recent history.

The Ultimate Job

By Kyran O’Dwyer

Imagine this.

A job with an entry level salary of about $200k that requires no qualification or previous experience. There is no dress code, no KPIs, no oversight. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

It’s not like those on Newstart. For about $16k ‘income’, they have to observe standards far in excess of the standards applicable to those who define their rules. Pick any one of the myriad of support services that most Australians consider necessary, and tell me the requirements for their paltry income is less stringent than those who imposed the criteria. Just one. Any one.

That’s before we start on ‘the perks’ of being a politician. Living away from home allowances, even when you are living in your own home. (Or your partner’s. Or your trust company. Or whatever). That such consideration should be given to the homeless is, clearly, an untenable proposition. Plus their other entitlements. Their expenses, their super, their hobnobbing with the likes of Twiggy, Gina, Adani, Rupert. If you thought a $200k entry level salary is good, your expense allowances will dwarf it. It’s expensive keeping up with appearances. Just ask Dorian Gray. It is simply logical that your employer, the taxpayer, should fund your every indulgence.

In addition, there are ‘post job’ bonuses, comprising an ongoing salary even when you finish working, with no restriction on receiving any other income. These ‘post job’ jobs are a certainty, given the number of people who will be keen to repay your ‘in job’ considerations. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

Understandably, these jobs only come up every few years. Some people do pre-job training with suitably qualified bodies. The IPA, the Liberals, the Nationals, the ALP, RTOs with credentials par excellence. Even though there are no standards for these jobs, some people still need pre-job training. Go figure. At least they are not interns.

There are 150 positions in the House of Representatives (HoR) and 36-40 in the Senate in any normal election year.

This may sound daunting, but don’t despair. In 2013, 1,188 candidates stood for the 150 HoR vacancies. That’s 7.9 applicants for every job. In the same year, 529 candidates stood for 40 Senate vacancies. That’s 13.2 applicants for every job. Bearing in mind that there are over 17 applicants for far more menial jobs, with far greater scrutiny, out there in the real world, this is an opportunity second to none.

Admittedly, the entry criteria may seem pretty tough, but it’s not.

Firstly, you cannot be entitled to the rights or privileges of a foreign power. This seems difficult, but it’s not. If you were born overseas, or your parents were, or your grandparents were, you will need to identify the relevant country or countries and establish how to renounce that citizenship. This internetty computer thingy makes it a very simple process. You would have to be pretty stupid to mess that one up. In the event you went through an RTO, you should ask for a refund of your fees.

Secondly, you cannot have been convicted, or be in the process of being convicted, for a crime carrying a penalty of more than one year’s incarceration. Now, that one’s not hard at all. Most people will recall a particularly long conversation with the police, particularly when it starts with “Did you bring your toothbrush?”

Thirdly, you cannot be an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent. This one is also easy. For a start, it is specifically referring to financial bankruptcy. Intellectual and moral bankruptcy are perfectly acceptable. In the off-chance you don’t know if you are a bankrupt, it will have been a rather lengthy process, with lots of paperwork. Don’t fret too much. “I don’t recall” is a handy phrase to learn. It’s not like it’s a ‘robo-debt’ letter, with all of its attendant obligations. In this rarefied space, temporary amnesia is not only convenient, but totally acceptable.

Finally, you cannot be in receipt of a government pay-cheque, whether it be a salary or a contract with a government department. Most people would know if they were receiving a benefit from the government, don’t you think?

So, that’s the entry criteria. Easy, peasy.

In the off-chance you did not understand the criteria, applied for the job and got it, don’t worry. There is no penalty if you ‘made a mistake’. You might lose the job, but you can keep the money. Any legal fees incurred in defending your stupidity will be picked up by the taxpayer. It is not, after all, a Centrelink application. Whilst ‘ignorance is no excuse’ in the real world, you have entered a rarefied space where being ignorant is a virtue.

The application process is even easier. You see, depending on which survey you want to believe, only 12 – 20% of Australians trust their politicians. My personal belief is that these figures are inflated. There are, of course, variables. ‘Trust’ is a word with a dictionary definition, but each person’s definition of trust is personal, even peculiar.

‘Politician’ is, in my opinion, another variable. Notwithstanding those variables, I’ve never met a person who trusts a politician.

To get the job, you have to convince people who don’t trust you that you are better than the other applicants, who they also don’t trust. You can say anything you like, in the full knowledge that;
a) Not many people will believe you, and
b) If they do believe you, that is more an indictment on their gullibility than your credibility. They deserve no sympathy if they are that stupid.

Therefore, you need never worry if your promises seem ‘over the top’. Nobody in their right mind believed you in the first place.

Now, here is the real beauty of these jobs. Nobody expects you to do anything. Passing bills through parliament is an illusion, peddled to the masses. These were the people stupid enough to give you the job in the first place. Like any illusionist, you will learn that the critical aspect is the theatre, not the substance. We have had over three years of government where sweet Fanny Adams has gone through Parliament. Even budgets are optional. In the off/chance there is any criticism of the lack of progress, there is no end of excuses. “It is everybody else’s fault” is as acceptable as “The dog ate my homework”.

Everybody knows that government by ministers is far more practical. No need to make an argument in Parliament. Just sneak out the back and make a deal with your cohorts. Whether it be launching military actions overseas, negotiating with rogue states to incarcerate the unwanted, demeaning and belittling the weak and the vulnerable, shifting departments, amalgamating departments. Anything at all. You name it, you can do it.

You will never be held to account.

Interested? Of course you are. So, here’s what you do. Don’t just enrol to vote. Enrol as a candidate as well.

Realistically, some are more likely to succeed than others.

Our Upper House comprises 76 representatives, twelve for each State, two for each Territory. That means Tasmania, with 537k people, get one senator for every 45k people. South Australia, with 1.72 mill people, get one for every 143k people. Western Australia, with 2.67 mill people, get one for every 223k people. Victoria and Queensland, both on 6.14 mill people, get one for every 512k people. And New South Wales, with 7.77 mill people, get one for every 648k people. The Northern Territory, with 266k people, get one for every 133k people. The ACT, with 402k people, get one for every 201k people.

The only difficulty in doing that maths is trying to explain how that is, in any way, equal representation. Don’t worry too much. As a politician, nobody expects you to explain anything, let alone represent your constituents in anything even vaguely resembling equality.

Our Lower House is slightly more representative, ranging from one representative for every 107k people in Tasmania to one for every 212k in Queensland. The average across all of the states and territories is one representative for every 163k people.

If we all enrol as candidates, the ultimate job will be a prize for relatively few. However, based on Australia’s performance to date, it will likely take the ABS/AEC years to work out the outcome. If there are several million candidates, all voting for themselves, there will need to be counts, recounts, distribution of preferences. Then more counts, more recounts, more redistribution of preferences. When all of that is done, the successful people will go to Parliament.

Some unkind souls have likened Parliament to kindergarten. Using that analogy, the High Court is, undoubtedly, our very own kindergarten cop. Before you know it, the newly elected parliamentarians will be facing scrutiny. When they get knocked off in the High Court they can walk away with their salary. Their replacements will be found and submitted to the same rigmarole. This will go on for a few years. Then we can call a new election and start all over again.

OK, Parliament won’t have sat, nothing will have been done, and there will have been incessant discussion of the most inane aspects of the most inane people.

The only difference between the above scenario and the current situation is that more people will have imbibed at the trough.

Come on, people. It’s 2017. Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for you. Whether you rely on the Constitution or an old religious tome, the defence is set in stone. That which was drafted and enacted so long ago, unbending to any winds of change, is now the shelter behind which you can cower from any future winds of change.

Yeah. OK. There are a few weaknesses in the foregoing. None of it, however, is intended to justify the status quo. It is merely an attempt to get a few more beneficiaries to the trough.

Mr Einstein’s definition of insanity was ‘doing the same thing, over and over again, expecting different results’. Based on that definition, the foregoing is insane.

The problem with the Constitution is not s44, or any of the other sections that come under the spotlight every so often. The only constitutional crisis we have is the document itself. Drafted and enacted more than a century ago, impervious to change. Until such time as this is rectified we may as well get as many snouts into the trough as we can.

Enrol as a candidate for the Ultimate Job. There is no downside.

Last Post on an Origami Government

The object of origami is to take a piece of paper and with dexterous folding, you produce a facsimile of a “real-life” object. Of course, the folding of paper gives an angular abstract of the desired image, but that is good enough, as the imagination does the rest. Such also is the dream of LNP/IPA society.

Planning, costing, promoting and selling of such a phony dream also has that “angular-edge” appearance of origami, and you have to ask;”Is it real, or are these sharp, flat lines of “Agile Politics” a sculptor’s fantasy?” Like a child in anticipation, with all the anticipatory hand gestures of the impatient to get a touch of the object, Malcolm Turnbull draws pictorial images of what he imagines the finished product will look like. And not having competent command of those Aussie vernacular words adequate for even the most simplistic description, he stutters, stumbles and finishes with the fumbling tongue smacking of: “Look! Look! It’s like this …”. Like a child, really. Like a little child.

Of course, his dream of “Corporate Democracy”, like his “Origami Government” is nothing more than that old nightmare of Fascism. The angular creases in the plan being the “lines in the sand” where “shit happens” … shit like union decapitation … democratic protest debased … social media curtailed and the social welfare net ripped to shreds! In a democracy guided by “bottom-line” considerations, any emotive considerations for retaining loyal employment will not be considered, blind obedience to “profit consideration” will reign and as in the land of the blind, the one-eyed (in every sense of the word!) entrepreneur and speculator will be king.

Consider the personality type of our new rulers; “Disciplined, methodical, tough-love, tougher-hate and control”. All the best characteristics of the budding tyrant, and a tyrant’s dynastic reign. There are numerous contemporary examples.

But I blame history, or rather, a lack of understanding of it. Because the positioning of this government and it’s “lay-down misere” political business plan is the standard blueprint of many authoritarian governments shown throughout history.

I have to agree this time with Machiavelli in his “Discourses of Titus Livius” when he describes:

“… when I see, on the other hand, the works of greatest virtu which Historians indicate have been accomplished by ancient Kingdoms and Republics, by Kings, Captains, Citizens, Lawgivers, and others who have worked themselves hard for their country, to be more readily admired than imitated, or rather so much neglected by everyone in every respect that no sign of that ancient virtu remains, I cannot otherwise than wonder and at the same time be sad: and so much more when I see in the civil differences that arise between Citizens, or in the maladies which men incur, they always have recourses to those judgments or to those remedies that have been judged or instituted by the ancients.”

That there are set-pieces of both legislation and policy that once put in place will force the people to change their behaviour to be obligated by those laws to obey them, and like the set rules of origami, guided by realistic logic and exactness, a fold MUST be committed in a certain place, at a certain angle with a certain intent, or all is wronged and the model a failure. The deliberate manipulation of our history, our laws, our language and our mores by this economic rationalist philosophy has but one intent, one direction and one ideal: TOTAL CONTROL.

Again to Machiavelli:

“ … from not having a real understanding of history, and from not drawing that [real] sense from its reading, or benefiting from the spirit which is contained in it. whence it arises that they who read take infinitely more pleasure in knowing the variety of incidents that are contained in them, without ever thinking of imitating them, believing the imitation not only difficult, but impossible: as if heaven, the sun, the elements, and men should have changed the order of their motions and power, from what they were anciently.”

Time may have moved on, but not the mind-set nor behaviour of humanity within any given condition. Which is why we still gasp at moments of drama in a Shakespearean play, why we still absorb with interest the romance story of Antony and Cleopatra, why an ancient religious doctrine can insinuate itself so deep into the puerile imagination of humanity so it will kill, maim and destroy down through history and still, in this age hold sway over a nation’s heart.

Our human condition captures us on that “carousel of time” we are mesmerised by rather than acutely aware of the repeating absurdities of our own behaviour, each generation believing they are inventing a “brand new wheel”.

Of course, having come this far on a well-worn track, it is of little effort to imagine where it may lead to from here. As with any “T-junction” we have two choices:

A : The same-old same-old; a mad dog-eat-dog scramble for wealth, position and power.

B : Equitable socialism with thorough regulation of speculation enterprises.

History shows perfect examples of the end result of “A”, while the relatively “new” ideology of socialism has yet to be tried WIDESPREAD on a democratically elected society. It is not untried and where it has been sincerely used (I’m thinking of certain Scandinavian States), one has to admit it has less dramatic social upheaval than that capitalist love child, laissez faire.

“In each of us there is that twist,

That in the end will come to this.

No matter the culture, the mother, the art,

Each to each,

Heart to heart.

My hair be silver,

My eyes still shine,

Each part of me is a part of thine,

I am the Earth, the trees, the vine,

Drink of me, heart sublime!”

The Right to Discriminate: your choice, or is it mandatory?

By Terence Mills

It’s started: the religious communities are letting us know that if we do approve same-sex marriage in the government’s postal survey, there will be repercussions and penalties to be paid and they will not hold back.

Over the weekend Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne fired the first salvo and let it be known in no uncertain terms that the Catholic church will dismiss from church-owned institutions teachers, nurses and other employees who marry their same-sex partner.

Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart, warned the church’s 180,000 employees they were expected to uphold its teachings “totally”, and defiance would be treated “very seriously”.

Archbishop Hart, who also chairs the powerful Australian Catholic Bishops Conference was backed up by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe (not to be confused with Tim Costello AO is an Australian Baptist minister and the current Chief Advocate of World Vision Australia), chair of the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education, who cautioned teachers against “undermining” their schools’ values if same-sex marriage became law.

So here we have a situation where Catholic institutions, particularly schools who are funded largely by taxpayers, are calling the shots and not only will they not support marriage equality, they will actively discriminate in their employment practices against same-sex couples who marry.

Taking the state of Victoria where Archbishop Hart holds sway, the bulk of funding for the Catholic system comes from the public purse. For example, the Catholic Education Commission Victoria (CECV) reported that in 2015 it received:

  • $440 million recurrent and $9.2 million targeted state government funding
  • $1.6 billion recurrent and $7.5 million targeted federal government funding
  • $96 million in school levies and almost $11 million from bank deposit interest and other income streams.

The pattern is similar in other states. So, were it not for taxpayer funding, many of these institutions would probably not exist and yet they see themselves as having a role in not only influencing but dictating policy over a matter that has no direct religious implications: neither churches nor ministers or religious celebrants will be required to conduct wedding ceremonies or to sanctify same-sex marriages under the changes to the Marriage Act likely to be introduced. But that introduces yet another problem with this postal opinion poll – we have not yet seen the proposed legislative changes that will, should the in principle argument get up, form the amended legislation – but we are asking the people of Australia to vote on something that will be constituted in legislation but we cannot see the foreshadowed legislation, because it doesn’t exist!

The churches already enjoy considerable freedom to discriminate in a range of ways. This includes discrimination against a person on the basis of their sexuality in relation to the employment of teaching staff, and the provision of education and training. The main religious exemptions to anti-discrimination law are set out in Sections 37 and 38 of the Sex Discrimination Act. This is provided that the discrimination is in:

… good faith in order to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of adherents of that religion.

Religious organisations, the Catholic church in particular adhere to these legislative exemptions and cherish the ability to discriminate. They see the possibility of changes to the Marriage Act as being the thin edge of the wedge which may ultimately diminish their ability to discriminate.

This Abbott inspired plebiscite, which has now morphed into an expensive, non-binding, voluntary postal ballot, is being engineered to create division and promote misinformation within our society and if the High Court gives it the go-ahead you can expect that to be considered as an official sanction to what will become an ugly and hate filled campaign from the religious extreme right.

Let’s just hope that our High Court sees through this sham plebiscite and its funding manipulations and calls upon the parliament to do the job that it is paid to do.

On religious freedom

Yes, I know, this might at first blush seem an odd choice of topic given our current circumstances but really, what can one usefully say about the political shenanigans that currently overwhelm any possibility of good governance?

One can only cling to the words of the late George Harrison: all things must pass, all things must pass away, and hope to dog they don’t take too damn long in their passing.

The erudite and decent Father Frank Brennan published this piece in the Guardian yesterday on the necessity to protect religious freedom as well as to support marriage equality. As far as I can tell from the piece, Brennan is arguing that while he hopes for the prevailing influence of good will all round, there must be room made for the religious to discriminate against same sex couples. He does not quite frame his argument in those terms, of course, however it seems to me that in this instance religious freedom equals the unchallengeable right to discriminate, on the sole grounds that the sexuality of some humans offends your religious sensibility.

If the religious are to be granted a legal right to discriminate against same-sex couples, they better provide some sound evidence of the need for that discrimination. Otherwise, discrimination on the basis of sexuality becomes normalised as “religious freedom” with no justification other than “it’s against my religion.”  I’m going to stick out my neck and declare that this isn’t good enough.

Why should your religious belief trump another’s human rights? On what basis does your religion condemn same-sex couples as humans you are entitled to discriminate against and therefore inevitably less fully human than you, be it in baking them a wedding cake or employing them in your schools?

And why should the secular state support you in your deliberate creation of a lesser class of beings?

It isn’t religious freedom to discriminate against others who don’t fit your vision of how humans ought to live. It’s religious exceptionalism. The language of religious freedom serves to obfuscate the reality: it is unjustified and unjustifiable dehumanisation of those whom it excludes.

Freedom of religion ought to mean, and in my opinion does mean, the freedom to practice your religious beliefs without oppression and persecution. It does not mean you are granted freedom to oppress and persecute those whose ways of being do not accord with your beliefs, and discriminatory behaviour towards such people is inarguably oppressing and persecuting them.

If your religious beliefs demand that you must, through discrimination, oppress and persecute a particular group of your fellow humans, perhaps you need to seriously consider the worth of that religion.

Religious freedom in this instance sounds an awful lot like justification for homophobia. And as long as the religious can’t offer sound reasons for needing this discrimination based on sexuality, it will continue to sound and look like homophobia. If it quacks like a duck …

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

She is to blame for everything

By Melissa A. Frost

I see myself as a bit of a social observer. I listen and watch: reading through reams of threads on Social Media, establishing the pulse of the populace.

In the last couple of years I have noticed an alarmingly increasing trend of alienated baby boomer single mothers. It’s subtle. Lying between comments of those Facebookers who exagerrate family get-togethers and family holidays. You know the ones. Those Facebookers who blast us incessantly with their perfect lives and their perfect jobs and their perfect children on our feeds.

These comments rarely get a Facebook like these days. We are all so well-educated about the narcissist and the sociopath. We all know the signs. Facebook is very good at reminding us about our flawed psyche.  In fact, we check ourselves sometimes. On those feeds! By exploiting those quick “Check your sociopath traits quiz”. Phew. Not I. Silly quizzes.

Nevertheless, our psyche and the way we interact with each other is important for our evolution … our trajectory. And in that evolution I have been witnessing a growing trend: the alienation of the baby boomer parent from their millenial adult children. Its a growing phenomenon.

I have been listening to stories from strong independant educated baby boomer single mothers who are been alienated by disenfranchised disgruntled millenial children. I listen to these stories in cafes, at work, read them on the internet, get glimpses of these stories between comments on threads of happy families, happy lives and happy loving children. These baby boomer single mothers are grieving. Perplexed by angry dismissive millenial adult children lashing out at their mothers of disappointment with their own lives. Ugly confrontations, screaming matches, involving everyone and anyone. Millenial adult children not needing their mothers physically but seemingly needing to thrash her emotionally. Why? I ask myself; Why? I dont have an answer. I only have observations.

Many baby boomers have done well. They grew up in a period of prosperity. But we know that baby boomer single mothers have not been advantaged by this prosperity. In fact, the ABS statistics suggest that 50-70 yrs old single woman are closer to the poverty line than we realise. These statistics are due to divorce, lack of superannuation funds, lack of secure housing, lack of job security, ageism and mortification. Maybe the key is self-sacrifice.

Women of this group are the great self-sacrificers. The resilient coping self-sacrificers. Forfeiting life’s comforts in silence to benefit their children.

So why do these millenial adult children lash out at this group? I dont have an answer but one thing I do know is that it is on the rise and growing exponentially. Parental alienation syndrome is alive and well in Australia. And baby boomer single mothers seem to be coping the flack, silently. Quietly between the threads.

Manufacturing Social Dislocation: The Road To Fascism

By Christian Marx

This week we have seen the murderous ways of the far-right. One woman is dead and many others injured as a result of a white supremacist who ploughed his car into a counter left-wing demonstration. This act of evil is the direct result of the proliferation of hate from corporate, mainstream media. This is a calculated attack on the very fabric of society. Why do the media propagate hatred and demonize minorities? The answer is simple. Their system of corporate exploitation is coming to an end and they need to distract and divide.

The wealthy 1% know that capitalism is in trouble. The majority are getting poorer, jobs have been offshored to India, China and other foreign countries for cheap labour. Intelligent people are questioning this rampant dislocation of economic and social systems in the West. However, many are fed a diet of anti-immigrant rhetoric, racial hatred, and attacks on the powerless and the weak.

Privatization has skyrocketed the price of utilities bills, been responsible for the deaths at the Grenville Tower tragedy (which was caused by corporate corner cutting on health and safety measures). Eighty people burned to death so a few thousand pounds could be saved by installing cheap fire insulation.

People are now blaming left-wing protesters for daring to counter protest the ugliness of Fascism. Apparently, according to many posts on the internet, this driver was justified to kill … because the left dared exercise their right to call out ugly racial hatred and Nazism. Apparently, this ‘good white boy’ just snapped due to left-wing harrassment. The world has f*cking gone mad! Several far-right posters on the very page that I run (Don`t look At this Page) have posted outrageous conspiracy theories and blame Obama, activists, the deep state … and a dozen other silly excuses. If this terrorist was a Muslim, they would have screamed for blood and confected fake outrage over the people who died. Let’s face it, the right are incredible hypocrites when it comes to terrorism. If the perpetrator is a white male, who has obvious Nazi views, it is the fault of everybody else. As one thug posted on DLATP, and I quote, “I have no sympathy for the protesters who were injured (and killed) – they deserve it and should not have been demonstrating.” How the hell does one deal with this level of psychosis?

These people are clearly lunatics, but this type of thinking does not emanate from a vacuum. Rather, it requires decades of careful programming via media and other vested right-wing interests. By far the biggest propaganda outlet is the Murdoch media. Pure evil just oozes from their disgusting rags and “news” services. Clear racial division and narratives are pushed, depending on the colour of the person’s skin, religious affiliation, political leaning, and/or socioeconomic background.

Anything remotely orientated towards social justice is labelled “communist” or leftist. Unions are constantly attacked and the poor and in particular minorities such as Aboriginals are continually attacked. This is all done for one reason: to protect corporate wealth and to distract and divide the majority who are being mercilessly exploited and attacked economically.

Despite this tactic repeated again and again throughout history, people never learn. Those who are poorly educated are particularly susceptible to this corporate brainwashing. They blame immigrants, blacks, the left, unions, George Soros etc, while their real enemy is in plain sight. The very people who they champion (rich capitalists) are the people destroying them via corporate terrorism.

The spotlight must be shone on war criminals and corrupt corporate mouthpieces who knowingly push this hatred and these conspiracy theories of the “white race being genocided.” What bullshit! We are all one race: the human race. Unfortunately, some are evil to the core and will inflict massive amounts of societal dislocation and war to satisfy their quest for wealth and power.

When you have Murdoch journalists such as Miranda Divine blaming the Greens for the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the press is horribly corrupted. She should be admonished for this level of disinformation. Worse still, the pundits on the US Fox News channel twist stories into complete fantasy, igniting the damaged psychs of people like the terrorist who drove his car into innocent protesters, who dared have a voice against the toxic ideology of Nazism.

Let us as human beings come together and directly expose this criminal cabal of psychopaths in the media. Recognize that these jackals seek to divide and tear society apart all in their quest for ratings and to protect the rampant theft by their 1% owners. Dick Smith has today voiced his disgust for the current system and quite accurately named the elephant in the room of economic greed. Unless the average person gets active and directly challenges these extremist right wing narratives and silly conspiracy theories, more innocent people will die at the hands of deranged Fox News viewers.

Christian Marx is a political and social activist interested in making the world a fairer place. He has a Bachelor of Social Science and has a keen interest in sociology, politics and history. He was one of the organizers of the March in March rallies in Melbourne and is the founder of the progressive news and information page, “Don`t Look At This Page”, and is also a co-founder of “The Global Revolution” website.

Malcolm, you’re cornered

There is a delicious irony in the marriage equality debate and “postal survey” becoming the wrecking ball that brings down the walls of Conservative Australia, especially that part represented by the archaic Tony Abbott.

The debate is about the right of one person to love another and to formalise their relationship in a way that is legally recognised. It is also about personal freedom — which the Liberals, even Abbott, claim to stand for. How ironic. How typically hypocritical.

Unorthodox marriage threatens the cornerstone of Conservatism, the church, and its self-proclaimed right to rule on a society’s moral standards.

Turnbull, while laughingly proclaiming himself “a strong leader”, will avoid the issues by not participating in the postal survey campaign. This choice means he has abandoned the battleground to Abbott. At the same time he has given the Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, the opportunity to campaign for the “underdog” for the next three months.

Turnbull has announced he will vote for marriage equality. He has brought himself undone regardless of whether Abbott or Shorten appears to be the better leader at the end of the campaign.

Those most interested in the issue, the younger people of the digital age and social media, will be receiving a letter and campaign material in their letterbox (if they know what that is for) and some will be “voting” in the survey for the first time. They will make their mark according to their view of the football game being played by a bunch of white, grey-haired people in that far away and incomprehensible joint known as the federal parliament.

If the survey majority is a “Yes” the authority of Conservatism, of the church, of Abbott and of Turnbull will be damaged. In the case of Turnbull, damaged because the “strong leader” did not participate. Lead, he did not.

Taken all together, there will at least be a crack in Conservatism’s castle wall and Australia will cautiously step a little further into the 21st century.

A short announcement …

Here … this may warm the cockles of your heart! And considering the topic of the day at the moment, it is quite relevant. It happened a long time ago here in this town near where I live now. I know of the family, but best not name them as I believe the “situation” is still sensitive. They have a long memory, these small town residents!

A short announcement.

As well aware as we are these days of those “Great Moments in History” where an event is celebrated on canvas, like, say, George Washington crossing the Delaware or Captain James Cook bearing up proudly on the bow of the Endeavor’s whaler boat as he broaches the sandy shore of Botany Bay, or even our own Colonel Light on Montefiore Hill with his determined arm outstretched pointing to the possible location of the future precinct of Adelaide (and how right he was!) … I’d like to draw your attention to those little moments in history enacted in those little places way off the beaten track that one must acknowledge, do deliver their own great moments within their own little worlds. Less, perhaps, “momentous” than “of the moment”!

Such an event happened on the evening of the 2nd of June 1953 – on The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth 2nd – at the Sedan Hotel front bar, where was gathered a regular small group of loyal local blokes, many bearing the Germanic names of that peoples that had been enemies in two wars of recent memory … but wishing to scotch any rumours of disloyalty to The Crown, the publican of the hotel called for silence with the ringing of a spoon on the rim of a schooner glass and proposed a toast to “Her Majesty The Queen”. THAT is the orthodox version of events. I have it on good authority, though I will not vouch for its exactness of detail, that another short announcement accompanied that toast that created a certain amount of “discussion” within that small community.

It went like this:

I doubt it goes without some knowledge in these small country towns, that certain individuals practice habits that are, shall we say, of a different complexion than the mainstream. Most accomplish these little peccadilloes in the secrecy and privacy of their own homes – by themselves and good luck to them – but of course there is a price to pay for all that secrecy. There is the paranoia that if discovered, the general consensus of “the mob” will excoriate and damn the individual in question to exile or worse. Such “difference” is a heavy burden to carry, particularly if one is working every day, shoulder to shoulder with his fellows in the fields. It wears on a chap!

Such a burden had for several years weighed heavily upon one such chap among that gathering that evening in the front bar of The Sedan Hotel (we shall not name names!). He had come to the decision a week or so before that he would share this burden with his fellows and take the consequences … whatever … he would “own” his idiosyncrasy. He had chosen that particular evening and he had steeled himself for the occasion with rehearsed lines and solemn mood to deliver to best advantage that which he wished to say. The fact that the publican had chosen – with his unfortunate royal toast to the newly coroneted queen – the very apex of that moment, the very inhale of breath so to speak, was inconvenient, but not a deterrence. He decided to press ahead.

The silence was heeded, the glasses were charged, the toast was made: “To the Queen!”..”Hear, Hear!” The schooners were just touched to eager, wetted lips when he made his own small announcement:

“I like wearing women’s clothes. I always have.”

There was a short brevity of spluttering chaos in the group.

I would not like to claim that he said it “gaily”, but rather, in a quiet, solemn voice. Soft, but determined. You know, there are some hesitations in the general hubbub of public gatherings where silence can follow momentous announcements. (I’m thinking of Julius Caesar about to cross the Rubicon and he says quietly; “Jacta alia est” (the die is cast). The legions, I suspect, fell silent. Or Horatio Nelson with his famous telescope to the blind eye: “I really do not see the signal”. There are others … there are others). Such a silence followed this announcement in the front bar of The Sedan Hotel. A full ten seconds silence. An eyewitness noted the ticking of a clock (two rooms away) for a full ten tocks. That record, I hasten to add, still stands! I suspect the shock of this fellow navvy, this rough-handed roustabout, whom they were more used to see in moleskins and blucher-boots, informing them of his preference for women’s petticoats and finery threw some small confusion into their male minds. It wasn’t long, however, “till the boat rightened itself”, the wave of confusion subsided and he was confronted with wide-eyed “enthusiasm”. Needless to say, his first suspicions of the possibility of estrangement, alienation and blind anger were quite sufficiently full-filled!


The “Perception of Excellence”

An interesting thing came to my attention over the last weekend. I was assisting my partner at an equestrian event where she competed in several classes with her two horses. She is a good rider, and I have been her strapper for around a dozen years, so both herself and even more so, myself, have been able to assess the standard of rider opposition and judging levels over those years.

Of course, as everybody who rides horses knows, it can all come down to “the horse on the day”. But there are consistencies expected and they are the judging criteria that make or break the ride. These criteria would be the ones handed down from eons ago using a set of standards of excellence for each level of competition. These standards were evolved from centuries of cavalry manoeuvres required to keep a squadron of horses manageable in a battle situation. I hardly need tell you what sort of discipline THAT would require! Of course, such “hard core” training has been eased somewhat to accommodate the use of sporting horses in a social day out.

But … a strange realisation came to me this past weekend. My partner had competed in two events of the same level competency, with the same horse, same people competitors and with myself observing. As I have said, I have been watching these competitions for around a dozen years and I am not deluded enough to “guild the lily” on my partners behalf, so I was surprised when in those two events she came second-last in one and second place in the other! … with little discernible difference in performance in both rides … BUT two different judges.

If you Google “Methods of training for horse riding”, you will come up with a plethora of individual styles, from “Rough-riding” to ‘Touch-therapy’ for horses. I won’t go into it. For my real purpose for this missive is to discuss “Perceptions versus Standards of excellence”. Sufficient to say that along with the creeping in of many and various breeds of horses, some quite unsuitable for the competitions they are entered into, along with the many and varied styles of training and riding of competition horses, has come softly, slowly, with generational change, the “sympathetic” assessment of horsemanship graded down from a set “standard of excellence” to more of a “perception of excellence” so that while both the horse and rider may be exhibiting those moments of the criteria sought for; “in-the-frame” composition (what gives the equestrian horse that perfect style of trot or canter etc), they both have not been brought there by setting the solid/correct foundations traditional in horsemanship to create that “frame”, but have been “confected” to behave “as if” it has been trained thoroughly in horsemanship skills via the use of advantageous breeding to create artificial “composition” (appearance), saddlery and bridle gear. THIS confected, cosmetic “perception of excellence” has permeated through many branches and skills of our society, demeaning excellence in manufacture, science and medicine to management to politics. It has damaged our society and left it vulnerable to persuasive propaganda that shifts opinions and sways decisions on little more than a created false-reality/instant gratification.

Self-esteem is now everything in our society. No-one is a loser – “there are many ways of skinning a cat” – but in some things, near enough is NOT good enough. And you can’t get always away with a “fake it till you make it” philosophy. In my trade in building, structure is everything and it is too late and too dangerous to get wisdom in hindsight. There ARE standards of excellence. In lens-polishing, for instance, a milli-point or two from perfect would be disastrous. As in any demanding profession, there ARE set standards of excellence that MUST be adhered to for quality to be achieved. We cannot let these slip, yet that is exactly what has happened in our politics – and in our parliament – and the judges of those standards have foolishly let themselves be persuaded that it was THEY who had “got it right” when they allowed the outrageous destruction of House Procedures to slide into the mire of LNP corruption that is the present government.

Like those sympathies that have corrupted the set standards of excellence in many skills, the MSM Press Gallery journalists were spoon-fed – in small increments over a long period of time – the perception that Labor were incompetent, even though they had moved swiftly to alleviate the hardships of the GFC. the collapse of Financial Advisers Securities, moved on Climate Change legislation, tried to apply regional refugee solutions, the NDIS, Gonski, the NBN. broadband – and all the rest – but somehow, all the Press Gallery could see was “leadership, leadership, leadership”. Why? because the moguls who owned them told them so. The LNP press releases told them nothing more. Their own egos sought to be the “first with the latest”. In short, they reported Labor as a lost cause because of a mistake with their “perception of excellence” and reported the Abbott opposition as the best thing since sliced bread, in spite of his many quite glaring and ghastly failings. Because of their failure to report with the “standard of excellence” which was once the cornerstone of their job-skill, their stupidity and gullibility is now written in Australian history and witnessed in this current fiasco of LNP governance.

This dangerous twisting awry of what is required to make an action “standard best practice” to accepting an action as “perceived best practice” has leeched into the electorate and allowed the lie of the “motherhood statement” to be accepted as a near-enough “perception of done-deed” so that with the LNP “200 policies costed and ready to go” and the “We will bring the ‘out-of-control’ budget back in the black by 2016” were embraced as actual policy promised and delivered. Or should I say: “Perceived as delivered”?

The electorate, by allowing its “self-esteem” to be stroked and massaged in this way, has given away democracy for the price of a couple of “magic beans”. Someone is going to have to tell them that fairy-tales do not come true, or that magic does not happen, or that God does not save little children from drowning, and economic rationalism is not going to deliver them a better standard of living. But with this whole-hearted and deluded embracing of a perception of excellence, it is going to be a bloody difficult job!

The “whitewashing” of the lower-class.

‏“First recorded in 1605-15, candidate is from the Latin word candidātus clothed in white (adj.), candidate for office (noun, in reference to the white togas worn by Roman officials aspiring for election to high office).”

I am going to use the term “whitewashing” in this article to denote the action of taking smart people out of the common pool of the population and clothing them in a whitewash of indoctrination or propaganda with the covert aim of neutering any future action on their part of radical protest.

Geoffery Bardon, a teacher who came to Papunya:

“… observed on arrival at Papunya in 1971, of the four tribal groups brought together there, the Aranda had been ‘detribalised’ and “soured” at the Hermannsburg Lutheran Mission, and that “the white man had made them earn a discontent and misery, for they had learned all the whitefella-ways, and about money, and how something or someone did not have any full worth or place because of money and other concerns” (Bardon 2004 p.7). (Christine Williams on Albert Namatjira).

The use of religious conversion to subjugate the indigenous peoples is an old “trick” of colonisers. It was used not necessarily to bring the natives close to “The Lord”, as to dull their inherited tribal totems and traditions … driving their practices and adherence underground and out of sight, if not into oblivion. As we now know, they failed.

“Albert Namatjira, being an early product of the effects of white culture superimposed on other ways of knowing and seeing, had despite the hardship, been able to carry his knowledge across to lineally-focussed painting, whereas so many Aranda people must have felt alienated at being misunderstood.” (Christine Williams on Albert Namatjira).

I recently attended a funeral service for an Indigenous person. It was a vibrant and moving ceremony, not as I would have imagined, but held in a church but without the overbearing Christian ceremony and given with random testimony from relatives and friends of the deceased. Many people were there, we three Europeans were but the few and the whole ceremony moved with a kind of flow of sympathetic emotion from eulogies to testimonies to graveside song and internment like a natural flow of water from source (mother) to destination (the burial site) to wake (tables overflowing with food).

As I say, the white influence or overbearing organisation was obvious by its absence. The beautiful care of the deceased a tribute to the inherent maturity of local Indigenous knowledge and confidence to take care of its own without “white-fella” control. No more the Albert Namatjira oppression. And it is only now a matter of time before what was wronged in the years since colonisation is righted fair and square. The Garma Conference has drawn a new determination line in the sand that Labor has given policy word to grant a voice in Parliament and MUST follow through with legislation if or when they gain office.

Same with working class aspiration. Not necessarily toward a middle-class consumerist lifestyle, but fair pay and conditions with social policies attached.

“Norm Gallagher helped to build up a powerful, national trade union organisation – the Builders Labourers Federation (BLF). He was General (National) Secretary for 31 years (1961-92). He was head of a downtrodden group in the working class – the labourers of the building industry

He was a tremendous organiser. The greatest working class organiser of them all. He became delegate/shop steward at 16 years of age and Victorian Branch organiser at 18 years. He became General Secretary at 30 years.

He did what was necessary. He had the will and determination where others failed. Norm gave everything. He gave his whole life. He devoted himself to builders’ labourers and the working class as a whole.” (Steve Black: A Tribute).

I started my working life in the building trade at 14, and can say that the BLF put the balls back into radical unionism.Put the balls back into the working-class conflicts and led the way with the BWIU to give power and voice to union demands. I don’t buy the bullshit that the likes of the right-wing in the halls of power and the Murdoch media painted about Gallagher or the BLF. I saw them in action on the multi-storey building sites and they were bloody good! They helped resurrect building workers form the most dangerous work-place environment to one of the safest … a position that is now being undermined by this LNP government.

I will make the extra point here to remind all that:

“He (Norm Gallagher) had been gaoled for three months for contempt (of court) for daring to criticise an Arbitration Judge’s decision on disallowing 1.9% wage rise to builders labourers. Norm had stated that the judge’s decision must have been written by the Master Builders Association. TV and radio had wanted his views; he gave it and that was Norm, always available. And where were those great bastions of free speech when Norm was gaoled for speaking these views? The media barons supported his gaoling.” (Steve Black: A Tribute). And/will ask: Why were those three ministers not jailed for THEIR contempt. Is there one law for some?

The “clothing in white attitude” of the Indigenous peoples and the “white-ing” of upper middle-class ideals and opinions onto radical policies thereby attempting to minimalise their effect and to attempt to “own” their radical direction won’t work anymore: Like the “Gonsky 2” proposal, the “under-funding NDIS alternative” and many other ameliorated compromises from the Right-Wing of politics. We have all become cynical of these measures to deny the majority a fair share of this nation’s wealth, health and education. The whitewashing of those with radical policies and opinions by cutting them out and rewarding them away from their support and “tribal” base will no longer work. Both the Indigenous and the immigrant ethnic working-classes demand the right of equal opportunity.

With the election of Sally McManus to the ACTU secretary and the radical approach along with John Setka, we have forces in place to confront the gross inequality current in our community and to break the back of the hopeless idealists of neo-Liberalism.

“In 1985, in a great miscarriage of justice, with the jury locked up for ten days, Norm was gaoled on trumped-up charges for so-called “secret commissions”. The judge who gaoled him was Judge Waldron. He happened to be the then Victorian State Premier, John Cain’s “Best Man” at his wedding thirty years earlier. Cain was the man overseeing the job of getting Norm and the BLF in Victoria” (Steve Black: A Tribute).


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