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Showing posts from September, 2013

Not That Bad: A Look at the Abbott Government, So Far

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Following the ascendancy of the Abbott government, as those of us on the left shuddered at the thought of what was to come, moderates and the politically neutral urged us to give it a chance...maybe an Abbott government wouldn't be so bad. Well we can see now, three weeks in, the Abbott government haven't been that bad. They've been terrible, a shrieking disaster worse than we could have imagined already. Let's see what they've been up to, shall we?

In pretty much their first act of government, sacked Steve Bracks, whom the former Labor government appointed as consul-general to New York, showing petty rivalry was to be the order of the day (in 2007, the incoming Labor government didn't cancel any of the Howard government's diplomatic postings). 
Appointed precisely one woman to his new cabinet, giving a female representation of 5%, worse than Afghanistan. Of course the Liberal party has always rejected the idea of quotas for women, stating that they appoint …

On The Nestor Affair

Ask any Australian who they most hate, and paedophiles would be near the top of that list. Hate them, can't stand them, they should be burnt at the stake, along with anyone who supports them. Supports them, like say Brett Collins, who defended paedophile Dennis Ferguson's right to live in the community? Oh yes, absolutely awful. What about Tony Abbott? But then there will be a stunned silence.

Tony Abbott, with help from the media, has successfully crafted an image for himself drastically at odds with the reality. But one of the most astonishing things about all this is the fact he provided a character reference for a convicted paedophile - supporting supposedly the most loathed creatures in society - and "Mums and Dads" are unaware or think it doesn't matter.

The facts are these. Tony Abbott met John Nestor in Sydney in 1984 when they were both training for the priesthood. Abbott has we know left that vocation, but kept in touch with Nestor, meeting several times …

Breastfeeding, Zoe's Law and the Right to Choose

Tomorrow the NSW government will debate "Zoe's Law", the legislation named after the baby girl stillborn after her mother Brodie Donegan was hit by a car driven by a drug-affected at 32 weeks of pregnancy. Now, whilst no one could fail to have the utmost sympathy for Ms Donegan and her family, this is a deeply troubling piece of legislation. As the law stood when Ms Donegan was injured in 2009, the death of Zoe was recognised as gross bodily harm to her mother. "Zoe's Law" would, for the first time in NSW, define a foetus of over 20 weeks gestation as a person. We have been assured that the law will not affect access to abortion (which as it is, is technically a crime in NSW anyway) but it is hard not to be wary. A version of Zoe's Law was initially proposed in 2010 under the then Labor government; they commissioned Michael Campbell QC to determine if any review of the Crimes Act was necessary to allow for cases that cause death to the foetus. The recom…

Brawl on the Left

Pretty much the only good thing to come out of the election of the Coalition government last week was the lovely sense of solidarity it engendered amongst those of us who agreed what a dire thing the rise of Tony Abbott's brand of hypocritical conservatism is for the nation. We traded memes, and gratefully received the sympathy of the outside world, and knew that we may have lost the battle, but the war was still to come. We will unite and fight! We will hold Abbott's government to account, and ensure they're gone in three years time! We will do this together!
The solidarity couldn't last. It didn't. Within the week, the Left in Australia was back to its usual infighting, nitipicking, and generally tearing itself to pieces in a subconscious deathwish to apparently see a fit, determined Tony Abbott as Prime Minister for the next 25 years. 
The latest brawl in the family began when the redoubtable Ms Helen Razer published this piece on Sophie Mirabella in The Guardian,…

Election Day Diary

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Saturday September 7, 7:30 Finally, the day we've dreaded has arrived. It's like reverse Christmas - Tony the evil Santa is coming to take your rights and benefits away. DH and I had planned to work one booth each handing out how-to-votes for the Greens whilst the other looked after Little G, but we decide instead I'll do them both. Don my Greens t shirt and hipster-esque skirt for polling day. Debate ironing skirt - don't want to look like a scruffy hippy - remember I don't iron. Our house is ready, at least.



9:30 On the bus to my first polling place, and it's a little startling to look at my slack-jawed, vacant eyed fellow passengers and realise all these people vote.

10:00 St John's Church, Cooks Hill Cooks Hill is a fairly trendy and expensive inner Newcastle suburb, full of gorgeous terrace houses and people riding vintage frame bikes, so I was confident this would be a pretty good booth for us. As I arrive, there are Jaimie Abbott posters everywhere. Ev…

A Short Tale of Liberal Party Censorship

Following the Liberal party's embarrassing little "change of heart", over internet filtering, I've discovered a little example of censorship they do agree with. I'm not sure when it happened, but my Twitter account has been blocked by the official Liberal party Twitter account. One Twitter account usually blocks another for being offensive, or racist, or just plain trolling, often with good cause. But I'm a little confused here. Whilst I publish a lot of stuff that Liberals wouldn't like, I've never actually replied to them directly, nor used their name in a hashtag. I don't recall ever replying to any Liberal MP either. So how did they know to block me? Are Liberal party staffers following the #auspol and #ausvotes threads for unfavourable tweets, saying "looks like we've got ourselves a trouble maker here", and pre-emptively blocking? And are taxpayers funding them to do this?
I'm not saying I'm above any untoward behaviour …

The Joy of Gardening III

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"When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.” - Minnie Aumonier

Last year, I had a (small) veggie garden for the first time. I built a lasagna garden within some old beds in our garden, and planted a few herbs and lettuces as space would allow. It was a moderate success.


Some of the veggies did well - the rocket and basil went particularly feral - others not so much; the beds were in the shade of a large wattle tree and didn't get enough sun; also, I stated full time work in October, so really didn't have the time or energy needed to put in the work needed to keep the garden flourishing. Autumn came, most everything died off except the mint and parsely (a word of warning; mint will take over the whole garden if you don't watch it) and that was that.

Until a winter storm blew the tree down, and I took a voluntary redundancy, and I found myself with a massive potential garden bed on my hands and the time to fill it. But first it would …

Could It Be True?

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I had a really weird dream during my nap yesterday. (Okay bear with me here - I know studies consistently rank hearing about other people's dreams as one of the most boring things a human can experience right up there with getting caught up in small talk at a party with an accountant and trying to find mates for all your socks, but I promise this was not one of my normal dreams where an enormous talking hippo is flogging me with a 6ft long licorice whip to knit a ship and my high school science teacher is there for some reason).

Anyway, in this dream, it was an upcoming federal election. The Liberal party were fielding a candidate in an outer suburban/semi rural seat who was a family man, a fundamentalist Christian, who lived with his wife and six children on an isolated farm, homeschooling the kids to keep them free of the corrupting influences of school and the outside world. His Christian beliefs formed his political views on everything from asylum seekers (against it) to aborti…