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Please can we take major issues out of the political wars!

I am not sure whether enough people will register, soon enough, that this government is not supporting a democracy!

At present, we are having fights in the political arena over an increasing number of issues which ought, rightly, to be divorced from politics.

Sexism is a national issue.

It pervades society at all levels, irrespective of the political views of those who are either keeping it alive and kicking, or those trying to drag the others into the 21st century.

I was an adult when I migrated here from the UK, and, because I was well educated and had an honours maths degree, I had never been aware of sexism in my years in the UK.

Coming straight to Darwin, in the NT, at the start of 1971, and remaining in the education arena, I did not experience any discrimination here, either – but I was horrified to hear stories from females who had, for example, studied engineering down south and who had been – in my opinion – incredibly badly treated.

Previously, because I was teaching mathematics up to university entrance level, all the schools I had taught at in the UK had been all-girls schools, and all – or almost all – of the teaching staff were female. And, I hasten to add – all, bar physical education teachers, were properly qualified, with appropriate tertiary qualification plus a Graduate Diploma in Education.

My teaching positions here in Oz have been in comprehensive schools, yet – over all my time of teaching maths at secondary level – the best maths student was always a girl and I never experienced any discrimination!

But looking back over Australia’s history, it seems to me that sexism has been generally entrenched here – along with a great deal of corruption – and getting rid of it is very much a work in progress.

I have now clocked up 50 years in Australia, and I am extremely grateful that it has all been in Darwin, as we probably have the most peacefully cosmopolitan population in Australia.

We still, however, have more than enough people who express their views with scant regard for politeness – many of my letters, which are all published in the local (Murdoch) paper (almost all of which would relate to the need for action on global warming) – seem to elicit a regular whinge, but I guess, for many people, they see that learning ends when they leave school.

I had an appointment today with a neurologist as a follow up from my (mild) stroke in mid-January. I was advised that I might have another stroke, and I should arrange, as I live alone, to have a daily phone call to check that I had made it through the night!

Not really reassuring!

Since 5/02/20, I have only missed one Wednesday, when I spend 2 hours in the afternoon, sitting in front of Parliament House, protesting government failure – whether the government be the NT or the National one – to take urgently needed action on global warming.

That one day was the day after I was discharged from hospital following my stroke!

The following week I celebrated a year of activism.

Today I could not stay for the full 2 hours because of the hospital appointment.

I am not a hero and I may not be having a very noticeable effect, but I believe in persevering!

(Just as an aside – my brother won a State Scholarship to Cambridge and went on to design aero-engines for Rolls Royce, while my sister studied medicine and became a surgeon, yet neither of my parents had tertiary education, and the UK government grants covered all our education expenses!)

Current news in Australia actually makes me wonder whether Australia deserves to survive!

We have a national Attorney General who is not fit for the position.

If he really did not commit rape, he should have welcomed an inquiry, to show a real understanding of the limitations of the law and of people’s understanding of how it works.

We have a Prime Minister who blindly follows a plan to gain and retain power, while not having any real understanding of how bad his policies – such as they are! – really are!

We have an Opposition Leader who cannot control those in his party who want to be in power, but have no real idea of how to use it.

We treat refugees abominably, ignoring our obligations under the treaties which former leaders have accepted should apply.

The total lack of empathy – in fact the actual opposition to empathy – demonstrated by senior government ministers is breathtakingly awful!

As noted earlier – sexism is rampant – particularly among people who ought to be setting an example.

Yes – there are both obvious and more subtle differences between males and females – but that does not mean that either sex is better than the other.

I was an adult before many architects worked out that the bench height in the kitchen needed to be a little lower, because women are generally shorter than men!

We still have much medical research conducted exclusively on the male of the species, despite the fact that the males represent slightly less that 50% of the population.

We have far less rigorous investigation of many strictly female afflictions like endometriosis, which I understand can be excruciatingly painful.

Strokes can exhibit quite differently in females than in males, yet this is not well known

A random search on Google tells us that:

Stroke tended to be more severe in women, with a 1-month case fatality of 24.7% compared with 19.7% for men. Conclusions—Worldwide, stroke is more common among men, but women are more severely ill. The mismatch between the sexes is larger than previously described.

Which makes me feel – simultaneously – both better and worse!

There are so many areas of knowledge which need exploring, yet we are stuck in a merry-go-round of assertions and misinformation, while our politicians make hay while they can, and to hell with the rest of us!

Earlier on, as I was writing this, there was a quite violent thunderstorm carrying on – showing a fact about the force of nature which we ignore at our peril.

Please can we work together more effectively.

Forget about being ‘better’ than others.

Concentrate on being better than we have been!

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

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7 comments

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  1. Andrew J. Smith

    Think Murdoch signalled in the UK’s Leveson Inquiry how media has changed in the Anglosphere i.e. it’s less about being informed by journalism based news, but using political PR techniques masquerading as news to reinforce messaging and talking points, in what Murdoch described as an ‘entertainment’ business….

    Nowadays, Murdoch on one side, along with Koch linked investors, there will be two more right wing news channels; mimicking Australia’s SKY After Dark and their need to mainstream social neanderthals and their ‘values’?

  2. Win Jeavons

    As a contemporary, l am sorry to hear about your stroke, amd hope there is not another soon. Stroke killed my husband, after limiting his later years ( died aged 89 ) but l have been fortunate so far.
    I follow your writing, as l was a Math , science teacher, who got a higher qualification in environmental science. I too deplore so much of what this government is doing and not doing for Australia, and taught and wrote about climate change for the last almost 40 years.
    I never experienced sexual harassment, but discrimination in the workplace, yes. But l have raised strong daughters and a caring son, with the support of an enlightened husband – though l had to do the enlightening.

  3. Stephengb

    RosemaryJ36 Ot is good that you survived your stroke, and how fortunate you were to have been blessed with teachers who encouraged your educational prowess. I was short sighted untill a mere month or two before my ‘eleven plus’, how unfortunate that for 6 years know teacher was able to understand why I was failing to learn much. There was of course the opportunity for the 13+, but not one teacher suggested that it was availble to me or that I might have a go. So I went to the secondary modern school that taught me to chuck bricks, make draught iron poker’s and form copper by bashing it to death with a wooden mallet and plenoshong hammer. At 15 my father took me to Singapore, where I stayed at school untill I left at 17+. In the Singapore white school, I learnt one year of French and learnt that as the son of a mere seargent I would not amount to much and my french/English teacher (lower case intended) decided that I was “too dumb” to be taught anything (except of course that I was dumb and would not amount to anything). I joined the RAF at 17+, where they discovered that I was sufficiently clever to be trained in Electronics, insrument, Radio, Engines or Airframe aircraft maintenance. Since then I led a very fortunate life of great interest and learning, but I never forgot my lowly seargents son position in life. I never got a degree, I could never afford the cost of university, however I taught myself Aeronaughtical Engineering, Law, Music and politics, and ended up with 6 figure salary. The point of this story ? Well. You came from a privileged background and achieved your destiny, I achieved my maximum but not my destiny because an ‘accident of birth’. No I am not complaining I am just trying to point out that ‘but for an accident of birth all of our lives would be quite different. Everyone of us are subject to the political descisions made by our so called democratic system, for all of us to be truly equal we need an equal democracy. We do not have that and we never will untill all of us can understand it is not the Left versus the Right, but the haves versus the have nots, the many versus the few. Hmmm I think Shelley wrote a poem in 1819 !

  4. Stephengb

    RosemaryJ36

    I am repeating my post because it managed to change from what I thought I had said.

    It is good that you survived your stroke, and how fortunate you were to have been blessed with teachers who encouraged your educational prowess.

    I was short sighted untill a mere month or two before my ‘eleven plus’, how unfortunate that for 6 years not one teacher was able to understand why I was failing to learn. There was of course the opportunity for the 13+, but no teacher suggested that it was availble to me or that I might have a go.

    So I went to the secondary modern school that taught me to chuck bricks, make wraught iron pokers and form copper by bashing it to death with a wooden mallet and plenishing hammer.

    At 15 my father took me to Singapore, where I stayed at school untill I left at 17+. In the RAF Singapore school, I learnt one year of French and learnt that as the son of a mere seargent I would not amount to much, 8n fact my french/English teacher (lower case intended) decided told me to my face that I was “too dumb” to be taught anything (except of course that I was dumb.

    I joined the RAF at 17+, where they discovered that I was sufficiently clever to be trained in Electronics, insrument, Radio, Engines or Airframe aircraft maintenance. Since then I led a very fortunate life of great interest and learning, but I never forgot my lowly seargents son position in life. I never got a degree (I could never afford the cost of university) however I taught myself Aeronaughtical Engineering, Law, Music and politics, and ended up with 6 figure salary.

    The point of this story ? Well. You came from a privileged background and achieved your destiny, I achieved my maximum but not my destiny because an ‘accident of birth’. No I am not complaining I am just trying to point out that ‘but for an accident of birth all of our lives would be quite different. Everyone of us are subject to the political descisions made by our so called democratic system, for all of us to be truly equal we need an equal democracy. We do not have that and we never will untill all of us can understand it is not the Left versus the Right, but the haves versus the have nots, the many versus the few.

    Hmmm I think Shelley wrote a poem in 1819 !

  5. RosemaryJ36

    Stephengb – I was hardly privileged. My mother, pre-marriage, and my father were both Civil Servants, but my mother supported us to do well in our studies. My recollection of my early childhood is of WWII food coupons and clothing coupons and making our own clothes.

  6. Bronte ALLAN

    Great article, as usual Rosemary J 36! I really doubt that the future of this once great nation of ours will survive IF we all reelect SloMo & his fucking bunch of idiotic so-called liberal/national Poiticians (sic), they have no “decent” policies, nor have any of them any real idea in how to run a country, except to pander to the whims of Mudrake & his rags, all their wealthy mining magnates, industrialists & the pastoralists, whom they ALL worship at the feet of! God help us in the future & I am not religious!

  7. Canguro

    Those of us old enough to remember can hardly fail to make comparisons between the ‘then’ and the ‘now, in relation to this country. I’m in my late sixties, my childhood was lived through the Menzies period; then the rapid cycling, through my teens, of Holt, McEwen, Gorton & McMahon prior to Whitlam in my early twenties then Fraser, Hawke, Keating, and on to Howard and the most recent crop. As a child and young adult I lived in the countryside; initially out from Adelaide, then in the Upper Murray region towards Renmark, then left home and worked in the far north of South Aust and in the north-east near Broken Hill, with a year spent in the bush in western Qld before a stint of some years in Adelaide prior to a shift east to Sydney for a further thirty or more years. After going through uni as a mature-aged student and coming out with a degree in agricultural science, the second phase of the mixed career path took me over much of rural NSW. All of this is to make the point that over these many years I have witnessed ongoing and significant degradation of the natural assets of this country, wherever I have travelled. The benefit of studying Ag Science for five years at a tertiary level helped tremendously in the sense of having some objective means of valuation of the cost to the environment as a function of contemporary farming practices; soil mismanagement, water resources poorly managed, criminal degrees of land clearing and habitat loss with the concomitant cost to uncountable numbers of wildlife – birds, animals, insects – along with flora loss; the wholesale onslaught against ‘pest’ species with toxic chemicals – pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, all in aid of the primacy of monocultural farming practices aimed solely at deepening the profit margins of land managers with little or no thought for the consequences of their practices, with the nest results of … loss of soil fertility and microflora, along with massive and permanent loss of topsoils through wind and water erosion – the most fertile part of the soil horizons, salinisation of soils through overclearing, rampant weed infestations along with rampant expansion of feral animal populations – pigs, goats, horses, donkeys, camels, buffaloes, cats, rabbits, foxes – it’s a horror story non pariel, and my utter disgust is that this has happened on the watch of both state and federal political parties of both stripes who promoted economic growth and jobs over environmental and resources stability and security… and what have we got to show for it today…? Most of our major river systems and riparian wetlands in ruins. A majority of our native bird species under threat, severe decline or facing extinction. Massive habitat loss and increasing with weak state and federal laws offering minimal protection and insubstantial penalties for unwarranted clearing and destruction. Many native animal species under severe threat from feral predators along with loss of habitat. Most native fish species under severe threat. National treasures like the Great Barrier Reef set to become an eco-dead zone in the near future. And we’ve managed all this in a little over two hundred years. White man’s burden. No wonder the indigenous folk are so distressed by the rampant destruction of their homelands. And idiots like Morrison blather on about the Canberra bubble while being totally blase about the house burning down around them, and chuckling overt lumps of coal brought in to the chamber as if they were naughty boys having a bit of a giggle. It’s sickening, truly.

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