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Showing posts from February, 2014

Changing for the Better

As regular readers of this blog know, I've been fighting an ongoing battle with the NSW Healthcare Complaints Commission. If you're coming to the story now, in 2011 prior to the birth of my son in a NSW public hospital, I requested a c-section on the grounds of prior sexual abuse...and was turned down. The full (and warning - rather graphic) story is here. And I've been suffering PTSD ever since.

Anyway, wanting justice and for it to never happen to another woman, I lodged a formal complaint with the HCCC, despite warnings from others that they can be rather useless. It went back and forward for months. Last week I got the final response. The nurse and hospital in question lied about what had happened, and the HCCC took their word for it. Case dismissed.

I cried. I threw things. Then this morning I woke up with a fresh determination. I had been planning to appeal my complaint with the NSW Health ombudsman, but I've decided to give up on complaining. I'll not get just…

Thoughts on Charlotte Dawson

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News came through early this afternoon that Charlotte Dawson - formed model, TV personality, survivor of internet trolls and bullies - had been found dead in her Sydney apartment. Given her history - which she bravely went public with - of depression, there was little debate on cause of death, and police have conformed that the death is not suspicious; it seems, then, almost certain that she took her own life.

Now, any death is sad, and liking terrible television as I do, I did enjoy her appearances on Australia's Next Top Model. But the more I think about it, the more it's bothering me, and I can't quite pinpoint why.

Is it because I've been facing some very dark times myself lately? And as Ms Dawson's friends and family begin a lifelong process of asking themselves how they could not have known, I can tell you it's hard to know. Not just that a person can hide the signs of their distress, they may not have the signs, in the short term; I can be reeling off witt…

Let Them Eat at Cafes: A Tale of Two Newcastles

There's no denying Newcastle has undergone massive changes in the last decade. Following the success of the Renew Newcastle project, the CBD is alive again, especially towards the east end; new cafes, bars, boutiques and galleries are springing up. And yet, as I read yet another blog post of "manufactured whimsy" (great term which I've borrowed from a commenter on another blog) about how lovely it all is, I wondered why the whole thing was leaving me feeling rather cold and left out. Then I realised why. Because I can't afford it.

The economic inequality which is, largely unremarked, tearing our society to shreds is writ large in Newcastle, as it must be in any locale undergoing gentrification. Lovely things are expensive. But when I read of yet another film festival or small bar opening alongside a Reddit thread by someone with a solid employment record who's applied unsuccessfully for 80 jobs in three months, it all rings rather hollow.

It wasn't always…

Responses to the Manus Island Violence

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Here, without comment, is some of the Internet's reaction to the violence on Manus Island. I've avoided social media; all the below are from mainstream media web sites.


Haha! Shot the stupid illegal in the arѕe. That’s fuсking hilarious. Why didn’t we think of that when they were running amok here?

 Hey they are free to leave at any time. Better option than rioting and causing terror.

 The asylum seekers are being treated as people. Unfortunately, their parents bred like rabbits. With the exception of the Iranians, all the asylum seekers are coming from places that have much higher birth rates than Australia.

Frankly if they were genuine refugees rather than economic migrants they should jump at the potential of resettlement in PNG where they could both contribute to its development and build a new life. What we have seen instead is an orchestrated tantrum that has resulted in the death of one of their number.

Legitimate refugee or not, if you are going to throw chairs and destroy …

How We Ruined McDonalds

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SYDNEY - McDonalds executives yesterday were forced to respond to the continuing speculation that plummeting sales figures may force the company to cease Australian operations. The speculation follows the decision of the Bell family of Newcastle to stop eating at McDonalds. A statement released by the office of McDonalds Australia CEO Catriona Noble said in part, "McDonalds has a long and proud history in Australia. Whilst we have been greatly affected by the loss of a key customer, we remain committed to a future here and are exploring all options to secure that future."


McDonalds plunge is attributed to the recent Bell family decision to stop eating at McDonalds. A family spokesman said earlier "Ms and Mr Bell are ideologically opposed to McDonalds, as well as disliking their greasy, unhealthy food, despite its somewhat addictive quality. However in recent times, with the construction of a new restaurant minutes from their home and lured by the free WiFi and covered pl…

My Feminism May Be Bullshit, But I No Longer Identify As Intersectional

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"My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit".

I first came across this sentiment at a feminist conference a few years ago. I confess the concept of intersectionality was new to me, so I looked into it, and of course it made sense; recognising that forms of oppression - racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism and so on - are interconnected and cannot be separated. Feminists need to consider the effects of race and class in their discussions. Sounds good. I firmly embraced the concept, slapped respect on it, and brandished it when I sent my feminism out into the world.

 In the last few weeks, I've been rethinking that position.

A Twitter hashtag, #reclaimingintersectionality, started trending. I didn't pay it much mind as I've long learned not to get into feminist arguments on Twitter - 140 characters doesn't leave much room for nuance - but I soon noticed tweets by women of colour in my twitter feed debating the issue, pointing out the term intersectio…

My Crowd Funding Failure & Judging The Poor

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Over the weekend I threw up a post about some of the things that have been happening lately; that I'm broke, and hope to get a job as soon as I get my licence, and asked if anyone could throw a few dollars our way to help it happen. I added a PayPal button and sent the thing live. I've seen a few other people do the same sort of thing to unexpectedly bountiful results, so even though I was on the verge of tears (of humiliation, of despair) writing the post, I was hopeful something would come of it, and shyly checked my PalPal account through the day.

De nada.

Nothing. Whenever I've been a bit more financially assured I've thrown whatever dollars I could at this or that cause, and hoped a little karma would roll back my way. Nope. It was like getting rejected by the whole internet, and did nothing to help my mood.

Well I did get something. People who contacted me to say they couldn't give any money, but "have you thought of...?"

Sad to say I have been in this …

Woody Allen, Bill Henson and The Art Defence

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In the ongoing fallout from Dylan Farrow publishing an open letter accusing her father, Woody Allen, of sexually assaulting her as a child, a pervasive theme is that members of the Hollywood elite have chosen to ignore the allegations, overlooking them in the glaring light of the lure of working with one of the most acclaimed directors of the modern era. Understandably, Ms Farrow is devastated by this, writing in her open letter "What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?"

Hmm. People willing to overlook accusations of impropriety towards a child because the accused is a great artist. Where have we heard that before? Oh yes, in the controversy that surrounds the career of acclaimed Australian photographer with a penchant for pictures of naked children, Bill Henson.

Now, the circumstances of Henson and Allen are…

Unloved Things I Like, #1: The Mall

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I've noticed on social media lately that whatever I like is decried by all the cool kids. Wishing to gently explore this, this is the first of a semi-regular series on the Unloved Things I Like.

You might think, as you saw me wearing a skirt made from furnishing fabric riding my cruiser with it's cork handlebars to the farmer's markets that my membership of the Portlandia fan club would be assured, but there's one key factor which forever disbars me from true Newcastle hipster status.

My love of the mall.


I betray my individualistic sistren by, rather than doing all my shopping in adorable little boutiques where the proprietor makes the stock themselves, having a decided soft spot for massive, sterile, air conditioned palaces of mindless consumerism. But they're so impersonal and anonymous, you say. Exactly.

I'm not sure extroverted people understand just how nerve-wracking shopping can be for those of us with anxiety. Walking into a tiny, personal little shop can …

Why This Ordinary Australian Will Be Marching in March

I'm an ordinary Australian, I think, by the standards of the right. I'm married and a mother. I've worked many years in private enterprise. I live in regional Australia. Heck, I go to church occasionally. I was even in the army reserve.

But I'd also be an ordinary Australian if I were a vegan lesbian living in Glebe and running an organic food co-op. That's the thing about Tony Abbott; promising to "unite Australia" whilst pitching a battle between his so called ordinary Australians, who support him and his vision, against the elites (and it is good to see that the right have finally dropped their coffee obsession, realising you have been able to purchase lattes in outer suburban Gloria Jeans for many years; lefties are now part of the "goats cheese circle". Well, whatever).

But as an ordinary Australian, and like so very many others, I'm incensed by the actions of the current Abbott government. I'll not reiterate why they're so bad - …