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Showing posts from June, 2014

Save Lillian's Youth Refuge

Hello dear readers, I've asked for your help a bit lately, but now I'm going to ask again to help out on a cause that is very dear to my heart.

Under the "Going Home, Staying Home" reforms to the provision of welfare services in NSW, the government has announced it's intention to close services and refuges that cater to women and girls only. Whilst "equality" is a noble goal, the reality is that women and girls are overwhelmingly at risk from family violence and abuse, with domestic violence a major cause of homelessness. Female only refuges are absolutely essential to provide a safe place for those fleeing abuse. But these services are being cut, and one of those is the Lillian Howell Project in inner Sydney, more informally known as "Lillian's".

Lillian's is a medium to long term refuge for young women aged from 14-19, run from a feminist ethos. Lillian's aims to empower young women by helping them to continue (or return to) their …

Good People Don't Vote Liberal

Of course one should know better than to look for coherent thought on Facebook, but I was nevertheless a little bemused to see a former colleague posting a meme calling for compassion, and end to poverty, for everyone to have enough to eat, and power, and health care. And I thought "hang on. Didn't you vote Liberal?"

And it got me to thinking about the dwindling ranks of those who think of themselves as good people - civic minded, concerned about the less well off, caring - but nonetheless vote Liberal. How do they justify their stance to themselves?

Despite Joe Hockey recently stating that the concept of society aiming to reduce economic inequality is an outdated, socialist notion, the Liberals no doubt believe that they do care about poverty, and they have a plan to reduce it - stripping income support from the disadvantaged, which to them represents opportunity; freed from the shackles of poverty level welfare payments, the poor and unemployed will be thus motivated to …

What Joe Hockey Gets Wrong About Welfare

Treasurer Joe Hockey gave an impassioned defence of the Budget to a choir of the converted, telling the right wing forum Sydney Institute in a speech that attacks on the budget constitute class warfare, and that the notion that governments should try to achieve equality of outcomes is an outdated relic of socialism. "We have moved on".

Well, at least they've admitted it: our government has completely abandoned the notion that we should at least try to ensure that no one is poor in a wealthy nation like Australia. Let's abandon the notion of social justice and equality to get on with the job of making money, and if the disadvantaged are too lazy to get on board (nothing else could be stopping them, surely) then that's just too goddamn bad.  

But Hockey is wrong not just by normal standards - those of simple human decency - but by his standards of neoliberalism. For far from achieving its ultimate triumph by destroying the welfare state, neoliberalism requires a func…

The Sorry State of Healthcare Complaints

Nearly three years after Baby G was born, I've reached the end of the official complaint procedure, through the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission. (If you've not read my blog before, the TL:DR is that when pregnant with Baby G I requested a caesarean at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on the grounds of prior abuse, was turned down, agreed to an induction under duress when I was ten days overdue, then when I refused permission to continue with the induction they went ahead anyway and wouldn't let me leave hospital until after two days of trying, my body stubbornly refused to go into labour and they finally carried out the c-section. The full, horrid story is here).

Anyway, the HCCC told me my complaint was being closed because the mental health nurse whom I was referred to denies I ever asked her for a c-section. I pointed out to the HCCC that I had a letter from RPA, dated a few months after Baby G was born, in which the nurse acknowledged that I asked her for…

Libertarians Are Idiots

Libertarians are idiots, #1

One of the quirks of the Australian electoral system is the profusion of minor and single issue parties; in the past we've seen such gems as the Hydroponic Tomato Party and What's Doing, a party solely comprised of the hosts of a boofhead late night football show. The AEC has cracked down on these in recent years, but there still exists such venerable defenders of the Westminster System as the Non Custodial Parents Party, the Motoring Enthusiasts Party (who through the Byzantine labyrinth of the Senate preferencing system, recently had a senator elected to federal parliament on a minuscule percentage of the vote), and the Outdoor Recreation Party (Stop The Greens).

Whilst tackling such matters of national import as deregulating paintball and allowing people to keep native animals as pets, their primary focus is a libertarian economic policy, including unrestrained mining, and removing all limits to access to national parks. This, they say, will allow …

A Letter Regarding Driver Testing

Dear NSW Roads and Maritime Services,

Well I have been attempting to get my provisional licence as an older driver, and I must say I have found myself rather perplexed by aspects of the testing protocol, and I write in the hope, I suppose, of having these issues clarified (as I doubt they can be resolved).

On Saturday, I failed a driving test at the Newcastle registry; asked to do a 3 point turn in an impossibly narrow street, I mounted the curb. Now, and as I pointed out at the time, no sane driver would attempt to do a 3 point turn in that street. It was explained to me that I might find myself needing to do so in a dead end street. Forgive me if I am wrong, but I thought it was the purpose of the knowledge test to ascertain that every potential driver had the ability to read a "No Through Road" sign? As I possess this ability, I fail to envision a circumstance where I would need to turn in such a street without prior warning to avoid such a situation. In addition, it is sta…