Why this radical lefty is against Safe Schools

Like all of us on the side of sweetness and light, I was a big supporter of the Safe Schools program. A school based program to reduce bullying and teach children the importance safety, respect and of people being who they are and loving who they love sounded pretty good to me. Also, the politicians and media types who opposed Safe Schools were the usualmassivepackofmoronflavouredbigotbiscuits. Their criticisms of Safe Schools - that it was a recruiting campaign for gays, that heterosexual children are being bullied as a result of the program - were and are ridiculous.

I still support the message that love is love and families come in many shapes and sizes. We still need to make marriage equality a reality and break down heteronormativity. But I was looking through the Safe Schools lesson plans, saw this, and recoiled.

This lesson plan is part of a program featured on the Safe Schools website as "Our teaching and learning resource, titled All Of Us, is designed for use by school …

When it comes to who gets heard, naming and shaming still fails rape victims

It's well known that it's almost impossible for sexual assault victims to receive recourse through the criminal justice system. Now an act of going public about your experience, naming and shaming your attacker, has been hailed as a great act of achieving justice in the public sphere where none was available in the courts of law. Justice must be fairly available to everyone to be, well, just. But as a form of justice, going public is as capricious, arbitrary and unequal as the systems it was intended to replace. 
In writing this, my intention is not to criticise anyone who has come forward with their story of sexual assault; I am critical of the societal notion that going public is somehow a more reliable and direct way of claiming justice. You can't go public unless you have a public, and there's very little equality in who gets public attention and why. Many women would love to speak out about what happened to them, if only someone would listen.

This follows a recen…

Great Expectations

I always said that I didn't care what sort of grades my son got at school, I just wanted him to be happy.

This noble sentiment lasted exactly until Mr G got his first school report. 
He got top marks right across the board for his social skills, confirming what were already told at parent teacher interviews - "he's a great favourite with everyone, all the kids, even the visitors the classroom, he loves to have a chat and make friends". We already knew he has a caring streak to his personality (when he was two and a half, at a party, his father poured him a cup of soft drink - a rare treat - and he turned and handed it to his cousin because she didn't have one yet. What toddler does that?).
But his marks for academic performance left me reeling. This was not what I expected at all. We thought he was bright (doesn't every parent think their kid is bright?). His father has a degree, I'm completing one and realistically hoping to do a PhD before I'm fifty…

NSW Budget is a disaster for public housing

NSW has a state budget that’s the envy of the Western World, the government tells us. What budget disaster? Well a budget blow out happens when too much money has been taken and not enough spent. That's not a success, that's greed (and funny how conservatives, those advocates of small government, love to hoard public money in surpluses).

Oh the government has plans to spend the money:

 But what about those in desperate need of public housing? There are 60,000 current applications awaiting public housing in NSW. With little investment in new housing, what does that look like?

 The emergency waiting list for public housing in NSW in most places in 2-5 years. Emergencies – that’s people sleeping in their cars, couch surfing, people escaping domestic violence, families living in cramped motel rooms. Just getting on the emergency waiting list can take several months. You must prove urgent need you cannot meet in the private market and a need to live in the area you apply for – kid…

Bed Time

"Goodnight Nico"

"Goodnight brain. I hope you'll let me get a good night's sleep without too much bother."

"I will but - Nico. There's just one thing."

"This better be quick. What is it, brain?"

"Well, do you remember how your younger sister was massively into the band Hanson during the brief but eventful peak of their musical career?"


"And you know how you can for some reason remember the names of all the siblings in the Hanson family, even though you can barely remember the names of anyone you went to high school with?"


"Well, you know how the family had another baby in 1997?"


"And you remember your sister telling you about how Hanson announced at a concert she was named Zoe?"


"Well, Zoe Hanson would be 20 now"
"Yes she would."

"You haven't finished your degree yet... Do you think she's finis…

Moving on the homeless

Overnight Sydney City Council officers removed the 24/7 Street Kitchen Safe Space homeless camp which had been operating for six months in Martin Place, the financial and civic heart of the city. The camp was started last December as a place for rough sleepers to find food, help and solidarity, particularly vital after assaults and sexual assaults of rough sleepers in the previous few months, with homeless women particularly vulnerable.

Part of the reasoning the Council gave for removing the camp - alongside the inevitable redevelopment of the site - was that it was interfering with "reasonable comfort and convenience of other uses of Martin Place".
Because if you want to interfere with the comfort and convenience of users of Martin  Place, you have to pay. And once you've shelled out the tens of thousands of dollars for necessary permits, you can interfere to your heart's content, sending squads of English backpackers to hassle people on their lunch breaks into signin…

My Centrelink Payment Was Cancelled. The Reason Why Will Shock You

Sorry, I've gone for a clickbait title here, but honestly. You won't believe this, or maybe you will, but anyway. If you thought the man with possible schizophrenia having to go through the job search process was tragedy, this is just farce.

I've been on a medical exemption with Centrelink since last year due to mental health issues. They've assessed me as having 8 hours a week capacity to work, so I still have to do the whole job network malarkey, attending fortnightly appointments and applying for all the litany of jobs welcoming potential employees only available 8 hours a week. Which isn't great but that's life.
But then I developed a nasty foot condition called plantar fascitis, which isn't dangerous or anything, but makes walking pretty bloody painful. Getting to appointments was pretty much impossible. So I went to my doctor, he filled out a Centrelink medical certificate for me, I uploaded it to the Centrelink website, and went about my days, expect…