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Showing posts from April, 2013

Abbott Family Values

As we get ever closer to the federal election and still no sign of any substantial policies from the LNP, Abbott's flailing supporters have opened a new front on the campaign: family values. Of course Catholic father Abbott is a more upstanding candidate for Prime Minister than that shameful childless man stealer Gillard! The Abbott family will restore family values to The Lodge and the nation after the godless communism of the Gillard era. Roll on September 14. Family values are the last refuge of a desperate (to be Prime Minister) man. Abbott is playing this card with everything he's got, his family giving constant media appearances. Abbott hiding behind his daughters as they refute many of the accusations of misogyny and thuggery against him may represent a new low in Australian politics. Seeing the young Abbott women spin what a splendid guy their dad is, many of us say "wait a minute, I'm glad he treats his daughters well but his public record tells a different st

What Am I Doing Here?

I was recently saddened to read that one of my favourite lefty blogs, Turn Left, would no longer be regularly updating. And I was even more saddened when I read the reason why : "There were times when I would spend 5 hours and write what I thought was the most brilliant couple of thousand words ever put in one place. Few people would visit. And no one clicked like. Next time. Next time I would try harder, write better, polish more, research better, edit longer, do more rough draughts, less distractions, and I would write what I thought was my greatest piece ever. Few people would visit. And no one clicked like. Next time. I just have to try harder. Until I see how effortless it comes to everyone else, and I realise that no matter how much harder I try, my writing will never be well liked, my writing will never change anything." My heart broke a little reading that, because I know the feeling exactly. I've been there. I've been blogging now for nearly ten years,  the f

An Anzac Story

If I'm honest, I've always felt rather unmoved by Anzac Day. As a pacifist, even as a child it just never sat too well with me. And I despair at what Anzac day has become for some in recent years - an opportunity for drunken displays of nationalism (and for some, the message has been lost entirely - witness the cries of "Happy Anzac Day!" that spring up around this time). Part of my ambivalence may be put down to lack of personal connection. Being Irish, I thought the wars of the British Empire were nothing to do with us. I was rather astonished then to learn this week that one of my ancestors was an Anzac - my great uncle, Daniel Farrell . How did a boy from Dublin end up fighting for New Zealand? It's a fairly simple story. He travelled from Ireland to New Zealand, part of the great diaspora of Irish people that has been a constant throughout our history. Then he wanted to go home. There was a war being fought in Europe; signing up seemed like a good way to get

A Slightly Different Take On the News of the Day

Sydney Tony Abbott's scandal-plagued Coalition hit a fresh crisis Tuesday, just five months out from the election, as the most powerful of his Liberal State premiers, NSW State Premier Barry O'Farrell, defied Mr Abbott's stance on education reform by signing the state up to Prime Minister Julia Gillard's Gonski reforms, which Mr Abbott has been a vocal critic of. It capped off a disastrous week for the LNP, in which their lead in the polls continues to fall, Mr Abbott was forced into an embarrassing backflip after initially denying, then admitting, that his director of policy Dr Mark Roberts threatened to cut the throat of a Foundation director, and Mr Abbott's judgement was called into question following the widely derided billboard in which he falsely claimed asylum seeker boats were reaching Australia illegally. Speaking today at a press conference with Prime Minister Gillard, Premier O'Farrell said he was pleased to sign NSW up to the Gonski reform. '

Talking To The Liberals: A Plan To Just Possibly Change The Election*

Five months out from the election, and I think a lot of us on the left have sunk into a mild despair. The tone I'm picking up on twitter and other media is there's no longer any hope the ALP can pull something out of the bag on this one and an Abbott government is a horrid inevitability, like diarrhoea or The Biggest Loser. We've still little idea what Abbott's plans for Australia actually are; both the Coalition and their supporters respond to questions or criticism by criticising the ALP or Greens, rather than disclosing any policies of their own. We're left to imagine what their eventual plan for the country will be, other than running it into the ground and blaming Labor for the whole thing. With a massive majority, and based on Abbott's former statements and attempts to appeal to his now-massive base, it's not hard to imagine an Abbott government enacting any or all of the following: Ending Medicare funding for abortion Selling off Australia Post An end

Rape Proofing

Yet another case in the media proving just how far we as a society have to go in our attitudes to sexual assault. A judge here in NSW overturned the conviction of a man accused of raping his nine year old stepdaughter after a video was produced showing her being "affectionate" towards him at a wedding twenty years later. Good grief. How does one begin to unpack the extremely complicated feelings a person may have towards a parental figure who violated them? How can anyone assume that unless open hostility is displayed, no abuse could have taken place? Yet again, we've society setting rules on how victims of sexual assault should act, if they're legitimate; not too slutty, or butch, or friendly, or uptight, or drunk, or in this case patting the arm of a parental figure two decades on. At least we're talking about rape lately, which is a good thing, if it brings truth to light. In the aftermath of the Stubenville verdict and the death of Jill Meagher, I've been