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Showing posts from June, 2011

Bring On The Nanny State!

My, the Australian Hotels Association are a pessimistic bunch. Whether it's anti-smoking laws, or gambling restrictions, or shorter trading hours, they're completely convinced that the next "draconian" Government measure imposed on them will cause the entire industry to collapse, killing local nightlife and putting lots of "ordinary Australians" out of work. Now, in the past I have written opposing alcohol trading restrictions in Newcastle , but I believed and still do, that Newcastle is a special case. The AHA however is the eternal boy who cried wolf on these issues, and in their latest missive, they've gone a little further than is comfortable. Claiming that it's partly in jest, the NSW President of the AHA, Scott Leach, has penned a missive decrying the nanny state in Australia. He's angry about regulations restricting pub trade and alcohol consumption, claiming that "In the United States citizens can tote guns, choose not to wear seat

Whatever Happened To My Friends?

The very clever folk over at Cracked recently published a piece on the upsides of turning 30 . It's true, there are several. For me, apart from my personal circumstances improving immesurably, there's also that pretty much no one in customer service intimidates me anymore and I can tell just by looking at bras if they're my size. But Cracked may be a little off. You no longer have to do many of the things you were once obliged to, like go mountain climbing or attend foreign film festivals, because the people who made you do them are gone. Or to put it another way; you lose nearly all your friends. I'm not entirely sure that it is a good thing. One thing that got me through my horrid twenties was the support of a close knit group of supportive friends. Where the hell are these people now? Sometimes there have been falling-outs, in other cases driftings away. Lifestyles have diverged, people have grown up and moved on. Sure, I no longer have to sit through six-hour long k

No One Special

Like everyone else, I've been quite taken with Go Back To Where You Came From , which screened on SBS this past week. Giving six "ordinary Australians" (five of whom held distinctly anti-refugee views prior to filming) a chance to experience a refugee's journey to Australia in reverse, it made compelling viewing. It wasn't perfect, sure. The right wingers came rushing to find fault. Most prominent of this brigade was Paul Sheehan in the Fairfax press . Unlike, say, a Bolt or an Akerman, Sheehan writes for people who are generally awake and facing the correct way in their chairs, but he is still an ideologue. Sheehan paints those opposing asylum seekers as the persecuted minority, victims of the "progressive argument about boat people" - the thoughtful few bravely resisting the left-wing onslaught. His comments about the show's methodology are largely meaningless - describing the moment where the participants believed their boat was sinking as an &quo

I Like The Way You Move

I've always been slightly irritated by people who take no notice of a cause until it directly affects them. There's nothing like losing your kids in some sufficiently unusual way to turn the apathetic into raging crusaders. I wouldn't mind, I just get ticked off by those who berate others for their apathy. Being a bleeding-heart do-gooder type, I've always professed empathy for those facing accessibility issues and disabilities. But I hadn't paid too much attention to what it all really meant until relatively recently, when as a result of pregnancy I developed a pretty serious accessibility issue myself. I'm fine and the baby is fine, but in a rare-ish complication I've got too much of a hormone that relaxes the pelvis for birth. My pelvis is so relaxed in fact that the ligaments can't really hold the bones in place, and even wearing a tight pelvic brace I can only walk very short distances before I'm in a whole heap of pain. Stairs, standing much, p

The Greatest Schmo on Earth

Anyone throwing a party to mark the one-year anniversary of the dumping of Kevin Rudd as PM? We're not, but I wondered if anyone else was. The man himself was planning a knees-up, but "postponed" the thing after too many questions were raised. I'm not surprised he wants to celebrate, though - his dastardly plan is coming along nicely. The government is in a bit of a state at the moment. Their poll numbers are terrible, nothing they propose goes down well, and Julia Gillard is held in almost universal contempt. Rudd is outpolling her 2 to 1 as preferred Labor leader, people viewing the Rudd leadership as the good old days. And why not? This is Rudd's master plan, I suspect; sail along on the popular early days of the Labor government, stand aside when the poll numbers started to fall, then step back in as party saviour when all hope seems lost and lead in triumph to the next election. Rudd knows very well that as little support as he has from his colleagues - espec

Death of a (Bookstore) Salesman

Growing up, we never had a bookcase in the house. The children were taken to the library, but adults reading as a leisure activity never seemed to rate. So of course we didn't really go to bookstores either. The realm of the bookshop was closed to me till about age twelve, when I started to go to the mall by myself. My goodness...what a world was opened to me. I didn't care much for clothing stores, and discovery of real music was still about a year away (when I listened to Nevermind in it's entirety on a friend's Walkman on a school trip to Sydney...another story!) but book shops set my imagination on fire. Libraries never had that effect on me and I don't know why. It wasn't the stories in the books that stirred me. It was the possibility that one day, just maybe, I would walk into a bookstore and see a book about me, or written by me, on the shelf. I visualised the blurb, my name in embossed metallic type, the author photo. I knew what I was put on this Ear

Why Haven't We Won the War on Terror Yet?

So it seems another al Qaeda bigwig has been killed . Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, reuptedly head of al Qaeda in Africa, was shot at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Mogadishu last week. He sounds like a dastardly piece of work, coordinating the US Embassy bombings in 1998. Mohammed is the latest in a string of terrorist high-ups killed recently, including of course Osama bin Laden. Meanwhile, the list of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan continues to grow depressingly. When will it all be over? How many al Qaeda leaders need to be killed to topple the house of terrorist cards? Where is the turning point, when President Obama - or his successor - climbs a podium in front of cheering soldiers and announces "today is a great day. The enemy has been destroyed. As we reflect on our sacrifices, we can look forward to our future - the War on Terror is over, we have won." Will that moment ever come? Is there even a plan, a list, an agreed-to set of conditions for victory to be d

Cheers and Jeers - On Certain Issues of Import

Bill O'Reilly has his Pinheads and Patriots segment. Stephen Colbert has Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger. Maybe I need similar categories for the people I do and don't agree with - Darlings and Dunces perhaps? Champions and Cockheads? Anyway, I've got one of each today - and at least half that number are not whom I might have expected. From the "and the horse you rode in on" files, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen has gotten himself in the papers again, declaring that same-sex marriage is a slippery slope that will lead to legalisation of polygamy and incest. Assuming Jensen was sitting upright in his chair when he wrote this (by no means a guarantee), it should give us all hope. He's certainly not the first person to express such a sentiment, and statements like this show how desperate the Homophobes for Marriage brigade has become. They insult everyone. The community can cope with lots of changes - including the definition of marriage changing f

Real Jobs - The Fair Pay Rally

Yesterday on a sunny but cold Sydney day, I headed along to Hyde Park for the ASU's National Day of Action on Fair Pay . Basically, the aim of the campaign is to bring wages on female dominated industries to par with those in male dominated industries, starting with community workers as a test case. Most community workers work in government-funded, independently run organisations - community NGOs - and our wages are far less than government employees or those with comparable skills and experience in other fields. For too many years, there's been a perception that community work is "women's work" and like other women's work, should be done for free, or very little. Now, no one gets into this field to make it rich. But we deserve just compensation. I've not been feeling too crash hot lately, so I just figured I'd go to the park, show my support and leave, but I got caught up in the moment and ended up joining in the march along Macquarie St to the NSW Pa

Why Are You Telling Me This?

Pregnancy is gross. We all know this, yet everyone acts like it's some great secret. Browsing in bookstores for pregnancy books (I'm an old fashioned kinda lady who likes her advice in treeware form), every second book promises to reveal "the true secrets of pregnancy that no one else will tell you!". Basically every one of these secrets is that your bodily functions go to hell, and your body becomes an erupting morass from which emerges uncontrollable, unspeakable sights, sounds, smells and fluids. It gets rather depressing. It gets so that someone could tell you that with every step you take, the baby will kick all your internal organs out your backside and you'll need to manually shove them back in, and you'd believe it. So yeah, I've been very thoroughly appraised of all the icky bits, and I'm finding out for myself what's true and what's just evil book editors going for shock value. Here are the actual things that no one told me: That for

It's A Hard Life. Well, Sort Of.

Reading this tweet caused me to feel something I never expected...pity for Barry O'Farrell. It's hard to imagine anything more tedious than the endless array of community and business events a politician has to attend. Just about every political staffer I've ever met expresses zero desire to stand for office themselves; a day that starts with breakfast radio, then a slog in parliament, followed by dinner in the car on the way to the Outer Suburban Succulent Gardener's Association Quarterly Dinner; then coming down from all that excitement to research for the next day's debate. The weekends involve a trip home to the electorate; further presentations, sports days, openings and shopping centre meet-and-greets, with maybe some time to see your family, providing you can remember who they are. The NSW parliamentarians are having a particularly hard time of it right now. See, there are these awful new industrial relations laws on the table. Barry O'Farrell was electe

Kids and Politics: Should They Mix?

Next week I'm dragging my helpless unborn child to yet another rally. Neither of us have much choice at this stage of the relationship. Already Pinky has had more involvement in politics than most people ever will; rallies, helping out with a campaign, leafleting and handing out how to vote cards, and being along to meet lots of the poobahs in the Greens - and I hope the picture with Bob Brown is something they'll be proud of one day. There's a school of thought that it's just as unfair and manipulative to raise children with political beliefs as it is with religion - although the former is usually derided by people who have no trouble at all with the latter. There's been much discussion, and derision, recently of a mother who declared that she was taking her 7 year old daughter to Slutwalk . Whilst much of the criticism came from those who just missed the point - not wanting their children thinking dressing like that is okay - others said they don't feel their