Slight Return


As I mentioned, I'm not going to write about work here for awhile. Partly because I feel like my job is taking over my life, but also because I want to get back to my old territory of disjointed political rants.

Of all of the Howard government ministers, Peter Costello can usually be relied on to put his foot in his mouth slightly less often than most of the others. He's not immune the poorly thought-out speech though. In an address last night, costello opnied that Muslim immigrants should embrace Australian values before being granted citizenship; dual citizens would be stripped of Australian citizenship if they failed to comply. Costello stated that Australia has one system of law (Aboriginal tribal law notwithstanding) and values, and those who don't like it should leave.

Which brings me to my two points:
  1. What the hell are Australian values anyway? Who decides? Alot of what is perceived as the Australian ethos is based on outmoded concepts anyway, the "outback mentality", an Australia that doesn't exist anymore, if it ever did (witness Howard's failed attempts at Referendum to introduce the word "mateship" to the preamble to the Constitution. Although the basic concept of mateship maybe a noble one, it is in itself divisive on gender grounds - and in any case is outmoded. Except for a certain small number of older men, no one in Australia actually uses the word "mate" to refer to each other.
  2. Even if these values are superior, or held to be so at the moment, they are not immutable. There is always room for improvement. To give just two, albeit significant, examples: until the 1970s Australia pursued an openly rascist immigration policy ("White Australia") and also forcibly removed Aboriginal children from their homes so that they could be raised in "white" society ("The Stolen Generation"). At the time, thse policies were seen as the Right Thing to Do. But times change, and a country has to change to improve as well. Australia cannot afford to seal itself off from new ideas and concepts, cannot afford to varnish now and call it good. One day, we may look back and see that we were wrong.

(Well, about many things we already are wrong now, but this isn't the post to go into that. Rest assured, I certainly will at a later date).

So I'm devising a new political rhetoric.

Non-problems need non-solutions! The politics of the bleeding obvious.

  • The Red Cross blood service is perpetually running low on blood supplies. 80% of Australians will require blood products at some stage, but only 3% are regular blood donors. Solution: if you've been an eligible blood donor, but haven't donated, you can't receive blood products.

  • There's a terrible kerfuffle at the moment about banning smoking in pubs and clubs. (Interesting, that anti-smoking groups want to ban smoking in establishments where adults go of their own free will, but don't seem much concerned by people smoking in cars where their are child passengers...makes you wonder who's health they're really concerned about). Solution: have smoking pubs and non-smoking pubs.

  • All those who whinge about dole bludgers taking the tax dollars they work so hard for, must implement a policy for their workplace to hire long-term unemployed.

  • And with all that's been said about abortion in Australia recently following the end of the ban on RU-486, the simple solution: Against Abortion? Don't Have One.


    Finally, on politics...I just can't resist this story. On Thursday, Tony Abbot was
    attacked by a psychiatric patient whilst visiting a hospital. I leave it to you for an amusing comment.

  • Comments

    1. You are not even a real Australian so what would you know?

      ReplyDelete
    2. Okay. If you're going to say something like this, at least put your name to it.

      ReplyDelete
    3. Well, I'll put a name to my comments.

      1. " Except for a certain small number of older men, no one in Australia actually uses the word "mate" to refer to each other." Wrong, wrong, wrong. While this isn't a favourite speech modality of mine, it certainly isn't restricted to a "small number of older men". It is a commonly used espression among a fairly broad range of society. It *doesn't* tend to get used too much around the younger educated classes. It *does* get used by the working classes, the pub drinkers, the middle aged and ... plenty.

      2. "Even if these values are superior, or held to be so at the moment, they are not immutable. There is always room for improvement." Yawn. The usual argument. I don't think anyone's ever proposed immutable unchanging values. This is a cheery oversimplification of a suggestion to recognise traditional concepts. Not something I'm necessarily a fan of, but I'm trying to be balanced. As far as "White Australia" goes, I've heard some distinctly non-PC views expressed by yourself and *anyone* who attempts to live inner-city without speaking Vietnamese or Mandarin periodically finds such solutions appealing.

      Next!

      "The Red Cross blood service is perpetually running low on blood supplies. 80% of Australians will require blood products at some stage, but only 3% are regular blood donors. Solution: if you've been an eligible blood donor, but haven't donated, you can't receive blood products." Nice idea. This does mean no blood products for male homosexuals, no blood products for people who've done a night in a police lockup, no blood for those with blood-bourne diseases, no blood for .... Well, I guess it does help with that Darwinistic viewpoint. Survival of the fittest, huh?

      "Solution: have smoking pubs and non-smoking pubs." Win. 100% spot-on. I want a club with two smoking sections - Mild and fucking full strength.

      "All those who whinge about dole bludgers taking the tax dollars they work so hard for, must implement a policy for their workplace to hire long-term unemployed." The people who whine the most about dole bludgers are in industries which won't hire someone with no work experience, no certifications and no skills. Don't forget "blue collar" industries mandate workcover certifications and the like.

      "Against Abortion? Don't Have One." Spot-on.

      ReplyDelete
    4. Thought out debate is welcome, whether or not you agree with me.

      Okay...

      1. One of the main reasons given in opinion polls for voting against the preamble, was that mateship was a dated concept. Australians are notoriously conservative when voting in referendums.

      2. It may be an old argument, but it's true. Governments are too defensive in this, dare I use the term, "post 9/11 world".

      3. Blood donors...the word was "eligible". The fact is, the majority of the 97% who don't donate blood are eligible, don't donate, then expect to get blood if they need it without contributing.

      The dole bludger thing is just my evil little fantasy. (And if implemented, should be accompanied by the harshest unfair dismissal laws possible!) Wouldn't solve anything, but it would be amusing.

      And I'm glad you concede the other points :)

      Alot of what I write is tounge in cheek (or would be if I wasn't tongue tied)

      ReplyDelete
    5. I don't thnk the 'australian values' comment refers to anything along the lines of wearing akubra's, calling each other mate, referring to your wife as a sheila, and owning a banjo.
      I think it is based on the idea of civilised western culture. Where our laws are that which reflect the common values and ethics of 90% of the worlds religions.
      The values and ethics both enforced and reflected in most of the middle eastern countries is one of chaos and religious fanaticism.
      I believe 'Australian values', in the context of the immigration debate should be defined as follows.
      Come here... live your life as you wish (respecting others, obiding by the law, etc) and if you want to worship and pray, do it in the privacy of your own house, temple, church, etc.

      The fanatical muslims are hell bent on making the world into a muslim state... why you ask? To make their god happy.

      Religion has taken a back seat in western society. Perhaps if the arabs did some reading about the crusades, they might understand how stupid they, in turn, are being.

      But hey... thats just the opinion of a blokey, matey, fair dinkum, fuckin' Aussie! So get me a beer you towel head, and then put the fuckin' cricket on for me!

      ReplyDelete
    6. I heard about the comments Costello made - All the radio said was "If the people who immigrate here don't like our values, go back to where to came from", and hearing that - I tend to agree with it. I'm sick to death of people coming here and then complaining because something doesn't comply with their values. It's known that this country is mainly a 'Christian' upbringing, meaning we celebrate Christmas. I have friends whose children can't even have a Christmas play because the word Christmas, Christ or Santa is used! The schools cant decorate with Christmas decorations because it's 'offensive' to some people & their religions - GRRRR it gets me so angry!

      ReplyDelete
    7. By the way, I love your photo blog.
      The rock art at Port Macquarie is awesome!

      ReplyDelete
    8. I resent having Xmas shoved down my throat...

      Seriously this wasn't meant to be divisive. Its just what I think, but don't listen to me, I am insane.

      ReplyDelete

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