Category: politics

Comments Off

Boat People – it’s not a one dimensional issue


The recent tragedy on Christmas Island is beyond words. My sympathies are with the families who are mourning those who did not survive. This post is written because of what has been said since they arrived and their boat disintegrated with some dying and others surviving heavily traumatised, and in a very small way I hope that some people read it and realise that kicking the boat people football is a very bad game.

Unsurprisingly, the recent tragedy has brought out the usual political pundits, kicking the ball all over the place, blaming the Government for the tragedy (both the executive and the legislative arms) and suggesting that as the Labour Government overturned the previous Liberal Government’s Pacific Solution, that they’re responsible for boats arriving to Australia, and that Customs, AFP, Immigration and/or Defence should have known that the boat was nearby (despite the weather and sea playing interference with radar, and the sheer size of territory they’re responsible for monitoring – press release via another website here).

Let’s start with the latter point because it’s fairly simple to address – and I’ve pretty much done so with the fact that a small wooden boat, in high (near monsoonal) seas is going to be hard to spot.  Let’s not also Public Service bash, which is nice and easy with a big conglomerate of faceless individuals, but as a former Immigration staffer, I can tell you that most Public Servants I worked with were left leaning, compassionate and dedicated human beings.  The type of people you’d actually want making the tough decisions that get made.

Continue Reading

Related Posts:

Comments Off

Wikileaks


I’ve been collecting articles for this post for the past two days (I would have written this last night but our home internet was shaped), so it will be link and quote heavy, but I think this is an important issue to post about and is going to take me the whole evening, so I hope you enjoy it while I settle down to write what’s on my mind.  And it’s going to be LONG.

What is Wikileaks?

Just in case you’ve not had access to the news and don’t know what Wikileaks is, and why I’d be blogging about it, Wikileaks is an organisation (to put it simply) that releases leaked information (typically about governments) to the media and wider world (currently hosted here).  This year (2010), they’ve published documents mostly on the US Government, causing it quite a lot of embarrassment – releasing leaked documents on the Iraq and Afghan wars and most recently (and what has caused the current shitstorm) it has started releasing over 250,000 diplomatic cables sent between US embassies and the US State Department, drip feeding their release in conjunction with several major media organisations.

Continue Reading

Related Posts:

Comments Off

Dear the USA


This post is partially inspired by Chally’s post at Feministe, though on different topics, and nowhere near as well written as her piece – which I’ve just re-read and have fallen in love with all over again.

But anyway… here are some issues that I would LOVE the USA to address, because they piss me off no end.

I don’t live in the US

As Chally pointed out, the world does not revolve around you, not even close.  You are not the only country that uses the internet, though that must come as a bit of a shock.  Internet sites are getting better at noting this, but really, if you are a multinational company, and you sell to countries outside the US, defaulting to the US (especially when you can figure out that my IP is from Australia) is just rude.

Not to mention the number of times when I first started on the internet and put AU as the country code in forums and was asked if I was from Austin…. no, there really are other countries out here.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read about a job vacancy listed in the LinkedIn groups I’m in and someone has listed a two letter state code, which I presume is somewhere in the US.  Oddly enough I’m not across your 50 states, where they are, what their capital cities are and how on earth to decode their state abbreviations.  If you’re a member of an international forum, for flying spaghetti monster’s sake, just spell out the state if it’s that important to you AND list that this job is in the US (so I can ignore the post and move to the next one).  Every other non-US role I’ve seen advertised lists the country – it’s just the USian jobs, which list two letter codes which could be anywhere, which piss me off.

So yes, start looking outside your borders, realise that there is an ENTIRE world out here, with people who use the internet, shop on the internet and who work and job hunt.

Continue Reading

Related Posts:

6

The Australian Christian Lobby is lonely


Clearly the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has not been feeling the love recently, so they decided to come out punching today and publicly declared (covered in The Age at least) that they were against Labour’s plans to fund a “gay rights advisory body”.  Before I delve too deep into the ACL, I want to cover a little bit about who they are and what they want to achieve.  From their website (link not provided deliberately):

The vision of the ACL is to see Christian principles and ethics accepted and influencing the way we are governed, do business and relate to each other as a community.

There is no sense in this vision of our wishing to see Australia a theocracy, but merely wanting to reestablish the rightful influence of those who believe in our Christian heritage.

Wow, I could spend this entire post and the remainder of time before I go to bed for my well deserved night’s sleep deconstructing that “About” page, but I’ll save that for another time (note to self – make sure you do that eventually).

So, the ACL… focused on Christian principles, not surprising, but want them to influence government, business and interpersonal relationships, not as a theocracy… no, no, no… but to “reestablish the rightful influence of those who believe in our Christian heritage” (emphasis mine).  Doesn’t that sound scary.  Those who do not believe in the Christian heritage of Australia (and I think the Aboriginal nations might have something to say about that), should not have influence, so no influence (or less) for Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, Hindus, the Christians that aren’t affiliated with the ACL, etc.

Anway… back to the article at hand now that I’ve provided a quick background on the ACL, though as things are relevant, I’ll probably dive in and out of their website to find useful factoids.

Sadly, the ACL is an incredibly vocal lobby group with very little transparency.  There is no clear record available (that I could find with a quick search) as to who funds them, how many members they have, which Christian Churches they work with/through.  Their board is a massive sausage fest, but that’s hardly surprising given it’s a Conservative Christian business.  They do come out and state that they are a “political lobby representing individual Christians and is neither denominationally nor politically aligned”, which means that they act on stuff that they are specifically interested in, versus what the Bible recommends, or what Churches want, or potentially even what their probably rather small (“Consistently maintained a growth rate of 50% annually in membership over its first three years as a national organisation” – much easier with smaller numbers) membership desires.  Though as I believe that only Conservative Christians would join this group (an en-masse sign up of everyone else would be funny), they probably are interested in what the ACL pushes.

But again, back to the article:

THE Labor Party’s plan to fund a gay rights advisory body is a disgraceful act and shows that the government is pandering to a small minority, says the Australian Christian Lobby.

Because listening to minority groups and ensuring their full participation in society is such a bad thing (and yes, we suck at racial minority groups, listening to them and helping them fully participate in society for the most part).  I do love how ACL completely ignores societal support for increased rights for the LBGTIQ members of society and family support that many TIQLBG have, who would also want the rights of their family members recognised.

”Most people treat abortion as a done deal [but] for us and for many Christians it is still a very topical issue and where candidates sit on that is very important,” Mr Ward said. [ACL chief executive]

Citation needed Mr Ward.  How many Christians is this an issue for?  Why is it an issue?  Which Churches?  Are the views of your Board (5 white men) actually relevant here?  What about for people who aren’t Christian?  Why does your belief system get to walk all over theirs? (That last statement is going to be a recurring theme here).

He said it was a ”disgraceful act of undemocratic process” by Labor to fund a government advisory committee that would advise cabinet on issues affecting the gay community.

”What Labor has done has identified a small minority, a very vocal minority with one issue, their issue: gay rights, and they have said ‘we will cater to your needs’,” he said.

Yes, because 10% of the population is a “small minority”, much like the ACL which would appear to be even a smaller minority, and the ACL is also “a very vocal minority”.  I’m beginning to see parallels.  So, Mr Ward and the ACL, are you going to stop now and go away like you’d like the BLGTIQ community to?

And stop with conflating all the issues that the QITLBG community has into a broad, brush stroke, pithy phrase.  Because the GLBITQ community has many issues that we’d like addressed and yes, they do relate back to human rights, that is true, that doesn’t make them any less valid than anyone else’s rights though.  I’m actually rather pleased that the Labour Party has committed to having a BLGTIQ advisory body.  It means that the issues that my fellow queer and trans* have may actually be addressed, such as bullying and suicide of queer and trans* teens, appropriate medical access for trans*, recognition of relationships, no discrimination on the basis of gender identity or presentation, hate crime legislation strengthened, and gender mutilation of intersex babies ceasing.  See, these issues are pity and can easily be summed into two words that are meaningless on their own.

”If they have got money to throw around, why don’t they throw it at child protection? Why aren’t they setting up a group too that will defend freedom for religion?”

Because Mr Ward, child protection and freedom of religion are already legislated.  Most of the rights I’ve listed above, and other issues faced by the LBIQTG community are not.  See, that really is very simple.  And since when did YOUR religion need protecting.  Christianity is privileged and has far more status in society than any other religion.

Mr Ward said more than 100,000 people used the Australian Christian Lobby’s site during the 2010 federal election.

And this is the most telling about the small size of the ACL, despite their very loud (and annoying) voice.  There are approximately 13.6 million voters in Australia (in 2007).  Of those 13.6 million voters, at the Federal Election in August ONLY somewhat more than 100,000 people visited ACL’s website.  That’s 0.735% of voters.  That’s sweet-fuck-all.  That last admission by Mr Ward really does show how irrelevant he and his lobby group are.  Though why they continue to get airtime and be seen as a source for “balance” is beyond me.

Now, back to the point of forcing me and anyone else who isn’t the same type of Christian or even Christian to live under your rules.  From ACL’s website:

Do you know?

That 12.7 million, or 64% of Australians declared themselves as Christians in the 2006 ABS Census.
That over 2 million Australians attend a place of worship every Sunday.

So although approximately 64% of of Australians declared themselves as Christians only somewhere over 2 million of them, or 15% of Australian Christians actively participate in their places of worship.  In the 2006 Australian Census, I marked myself down as Catholic, but I do not, and never would have, supported the ACL’s stance on GLBTIQ rights, abortion or euthanasia (well I probably would have when I was younger and not as well educated).  It’s a HUGE reach for the ACL to claim that they represent all Christians, where there are about 10 different grouped denominations who don’t agree on most things.  The ACL doesn’t represent the Catholics or Anglicans who have various Bishop Councils advocating on their behalf.  I have no idea about the Orthodox Churches but I imagine have their own lobby methodologies.  So who, really, does the ACL claim to represent other than conservative Christians?

And given that only 64% of Australia declares themselves Christian and only 15% of those who declare themselves Christian regularly attend Church services, why on earth does the ACL think that it can dictate to me and all the other non-Christians and non-ACL style Christians how we should live?  If they are so threatened by the GLBTIQ community, why don’t they just put their head in the sand and leave the rest of us alone to live our lives to our full potential?  For my sake, the sake of the GLBTIQ community, for the sake of women who should be trusted to make up their own minds about the suitability of an abortion, for the sake of people who want to die with dignity, please STOP giving these people a voice until they are at the very least:

  1. transparent about their membership
  2. transparent about their finances
  3. transparent about their decision making processes

Maybe then, as we’ll all be a bit more educated about their agenda and relevance, they might be allowed a voice, but right now, they’re a harmful distraction to important issues.

Related Posts:

01

Where is my vote?


If the USA is the “leader of the free world”, where is my vote as a member of the “free world”?  Who undemocratically appointed the US to leader and defender of freedom, democracy and the “American Way” without letting the other members of the “free world” get a say?  US politics increasingly impacts on other Western nations, particularly my own, Australia.  And since Australia is impacted by US politics, why don’t I get a say in their government, and be able to cast a vote in who gets to run the behemoth that rules the entire world?

Would the Tea Party be as powerful if other interested (non-US) parties had a say in what was going on?  Would Dubyah have been elected for a second term (or even a first) if the rest of the “free world” had been able to have their say?  I know that some would suggest that this is wrong, that another country’s citizens want to impact on the politics of different nation, but let me point out: Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and Honduras.  The US has a long history of “intervening” in other countries’ politics for their own reason, and since that seems to be traditional, maybe it’s time the rest of us members of the “free world” we started demanding our rights as part of the US tradition.

Inspired by this very happy story in The Age (trigger warning for descriptions of violence)

Related Posts:

10

29th Down Under Feminists Carnival


Down Under Feminists Carnival Logo

Down Under Feminists Carnival Logo

Welcome to the 29th Down Under Feminists Carnival.  Thank you everyone for your submissions which I have organised as much as I can.  I hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as I did, and that you continue to submit posts to an awesome carnival.  Thank you so much to Chally, of Zero at the Bone and FWD/Forward and Radical Readers and Feministe for organising this carnival and letting me host it.

Thank you to Chally, Jo, Mary and Deborah for hunting down and finding most of the great posts to include this month.  Thank you to everyone else who submitted their or other’s writings.

If I have used incorrect pronouns to identify any of the participants please let me know so that I can correct them.  Any misuse is unintentional and due solely to me being unfamiliar with the author of the post.

If I have misrepresented/badly summarised your post, please let me know and I’ll correct it.

So, this carnival is big and full of fascinating reading.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it all together.

This month’s optional theme was Awesome Women.

So, put your feet up, down, sideways or however you feel comfortable and enjoy.

Awesome Women

Ilaeria blogged about the three people who have had the biggest impact in her life, her mother and two grandmothers and share the lessons she learnt from them.

tigtog writes about Bell Hooks week at Hoydon About Town.  Deborah at In a Strange Land, during one of her Friday Womanist posts quotes Bell Hooks.

Deborah from In a Strange Land blogged about the anniversary of Sufferage for Women in New Zealand (17 September 1893) and the hard work that was put into gaining signatures for the petition that helped make is possible.

Mary at Hoydon About Town has been awesome and has developed a Firefox bookmarklet to make submitting blog carnival posts easier.  Please go and install so it is much easier to submit posts for the next carnival.

Media and society

Wildly Parenthetical at Hoydon About Town talks about Sexting and Slut Shaming and how bad the Minister for Home Affairs’s new campaign is for young women.

I spoke about Rampant Sexism in an edition of the MX where it suggested the women were different than men, that women should earn less than men for the sake of their heterosexual relationships and that women can steal men and that men can do nothing about it.

the news with nipples shreds an opinion piece in the SMH by Paul Sheehan.

Pickled Think writes about media and societal pressure on men to propose regardless of what their girlfriends may feel about marriage because it seems that their feelings aren’t important (all girls want to marry right?), and Pickled Think also discusses the patriarchal institution of marriage and the lack of the “big gay proposal”.  (The last line on the first comment is also gold).

Blue Milk demonstrates a little lesson in undermining women in power with thanks to the Courier Mail.

Blue Milk reviews Radical Act, a documentary about queer/feminist musicians in the USA, made in 1995

Ju at transcendancing has written a review of Glitter Rose, a short story collection by an Australian author doing interesting and challenging things with female characters.  The collection is published by a press that is also doing interesting and challenging things with a feminist focus in publishing.

Kim writes at Larvatus Prodeo about feeling sympathy for Stephen Conroy and the ongoing debate about the internet filter being more complex than liberties or the rights of adults.

Mary at Hoydon About Town wrote about #groggate and the outing of Grog Gamut’s legal name by The Australian.  The scary thing about The Australian’s justification is that they’re arguing for the outing of anyone who attempts to influence politics (or anything else) regardless of the wish for anonymity.

There are many ways that the less powerful are silenced, and conflating having something to hide or keep private with being not worth listening to is one of them, and insisting on identity disclosure is another. Not all pseudonymous writers are using pseudonyms to ethical ends, this is abundantly clear to anyone who has ever been on the Internet. But insisting that only those who name themselves and state their interest to everyone who lives in the country can speak is far worse.

Ariane at Ariane’s little world, adds to the discussion regarding #groggate by explaining that a person is not their job.

Image by Judy Horacek. Three panel cartoon of a Christmas decoration on a Christmas tree. The first panel reads, "I'm not a feminist but", the second "just hanging round being decorative is a bit boring", the third has the decoration walking away from the tree saying, "Actually I really am a feminist"

Bodies and health

Ariane calls bullshit on obesity being the root of all evil and society’s with  focus on fatness as a health issue.  Ariane also points out the negative health consequences of dieting.

Maia at The Hand Mirror discusses the politics of food and how our diet (what we eat) has changed, how food manufacturers want to make a profit from food and the impact that has.  Maia also posts a thread about why she hates The Body Shop and how conflating health and moral good or health and beauty are wrongMaia also posted a great 101 post on food and “healthy food” and how that is a misnomer.

Split Milk talks about why she doesn’t want to engage in discussions about dieting and how important fat acceptance places are.

Many fat activists also identify as feminists and in my opinion the most important tenet that those two movements have in common is a core belief in bodily autonomy. Advocating for fat acceptance is about asking for freedom from oppression and prejudicial treatment.

Spilt Milk also guest posted at Feministe about Fat acceptance: when kindness is activism where she discusses how acceptance of your body and kindness to yourself are activism.

Mimbles at Mim’s muddle writes about being fat and visible and includes links to posts that she’s found (some of which are in this carnival).

Michelle at The Red Pill Survival Guide writes about being fat and how societal sanctioned abuse of fat people is harmful.

You know what? Fuck you. You’re not me. You’re not that other person. You don’t know the circumstances surrounding why someone is the way they are unless they tell you. Yes, we all make superficial judgements but does that give you the right to be abusive or phobic? No.

Fat Heffalump shared her paper that she presented for the Australian Fat Studies conference this month.  She shares the effect that the “war on obesity” has had on her and most likely has had on others.

Sam at fat dialogue writes about her experience with Control Top Underpants and how important making people uncomfortable is as a really powerful critical and political intervention.

Julie at the Hand Mirror writes about Thin Privilege and how it isn’t all that great.

The Thin versus Not Thin dichotomy is yet another false division that just sets women against each other.  We need to fight, together, against a culture which judges us on our physical appearance, whether that appearance is one that conforms or not.

Steph writes at LadyNews that although Christina Hendricks is great, and the media acceptance of her not typically represented body type is also great, having her body shape/type as one to aspire to is not a good thing.

Pickled Think shreds an article discussing a new sitcom hopefully not coming to a screen near you, and how fat really isn’t coming back to Hollywood.

Health and disability

Jo at Wallaby writes about Accessibility and Sydney’s public transport, focusing on Sydney’s buses.

Michelle at The Red Pill Survive Guide (*trigger warning – discussion of suicide*) writes about World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, and talks about how she understands that level of despair.

Chally at Zero at the bone, writes about taking a sickie and how hard it is for people with disabilities to take a “sickie” for legitimate reasons let alone “bludging”.

Helen at FlyingBlogspot.com talks about her ordinary and what she does to manage day to day.  Helen also discusses how her ordinary may change with a review of her medication and trying some new treatment.

Race and Racism

Hexpletive blogged about the NSW Parliament amending the NSW State Constitution to finally recognise indigenous Australians as the first people in the State.

I wrote a piece about Boat People and how it should not be an issue.

Queen Emily at An Army of Rabbits discusses the concept of whiteness and the difference between white in Australia and white in the USA.

Jo at Wallaby writes a post about an anti-violence march asking some very pertinent questions for you to answer before you read Blue Milk’s post below.

Blue Milk writes about the march in Alice Springs by Aboriginal men to “stop the violence” and the lack of media coverage about positive Aboriginal stories.

Steph at 天高皇企鹅远 writes about japan ken and barbie, how they’re in Japanese inspired clothing and not actually Japanese, leading to the fetishisation and exotification of non Western cultures.

Chally wrote at Feministe about one of her favourite bit of cognitive dissonance.

stargazer at The Hand Mirror wrote about how collective responsibility is not productive, and states that, “i still don’t accept that i have any responsibility to apologise for the actions of someone i’ve never met and have absolutely no chance of influencing.”

the news with nipples writes Another burqa blog post and reluctantly gives Sergio Redegalli some of her time while she discusses how wrong his latest “art” work is.  Then asks why the debate about burquas is still being controlled by people who do not wear burqas.

LGBTIQ

Blue Milk talks about how Stephanie Rice’s apology to queer people was not adequate and points out all the flaws in that apology very nicely.

Steph at 天高皇企鹅远 went to WorldCon and discusses her experiences with two panels, one on queer themes in SF, which she had to walk out of and the other chaired by a trans academic which was a far more positive experience.

PharaohKatt at Distinctly Disgruntled (*trigger warning – discussion of suicide*) deconstructs Bob Katter’s comments regarding the apparently non-existent LBGTIQ population in his electorate, the high rate of suicide of LBGTIQ people and Bob Katter’s comments about suicide on a Q&A segment.

Fire Fly at The Long Way Home writes about Queer Femmes of Colour and their multiple burdens of authenticity.

I think the dynamic is deeply conditioned by internalised queerphobia. Specifically, internalisation of the double standard that there’s a threshold of queerness that someone has to prove in order to be ‘really’ queer (when there’s no such threshold for heterosexuality).

Intersectionality

Maia at The Hand Mirror discusses a proposed bill in New Zealand which would re-criminalise street sex workers and how the relevant political parties have voted.

It is specifically targeting street sex workers. Street sex workers do not generally have $2,000 to pay a fine. The fines, when they’re awarded, won’t have the magic power to stop someone being poor and working as a sex worker, it’ll just make them poorer. It won’t make street sex work disappear, it’ll just make it harder, more dangerous, and more marginalised.

Steph at vegan about town discusses how veganism, race and ethnicity intersect and how calling for China to be “wiped from the face of the earth” for the way they treat animals is hypocritical when every country mistreats animals.

Maia at The Hand Mirror also discusses how there is a connection between problems the way food is discussed and the problems with way food is produced and looks at this under a feminist framework.

Shiny writes about how she is all out of cookies and isn’t going to give them to people who meet basic human standards of decency.

Callistra writes about safety and safe spaces, what they can be and how they are created.

Safety and feelings of safe spaces are also a place of sanctuary. It’s an intimately known quality, where so much discussion has already occured that the system can meet your needs. It means when you’re miserable and need company to listen to, you have friends who can answer that need. Or if you’re miserable and need to talk; you know you can have these needs met. It means if you need to sit quietly and absorb group energy, you can do so without worrying what others might think, say or do. I noticed this as being ‘a place where you can exist without struggle of identity’.

Callistra also writes about what connections are and how they contribute to safe spaces.

Writing at The Hand Mirror, anjum writes about women in minority cultures, who as feminists want to criticise and change the culture, but who fear that it will only give ammunition to haters in the majority culture.

steph writes at vegan about town regarding exclusionary language in the vegan and animal rights movement in Australia and how veganism and the animal rights movement are often seen as white/Anglo-Saxon, middle-class movements.

Life

A Touch of the Crazy shares her recent life experiences, reflections and the importance of getting lost when travelling.

Pickled Think writes about surviving the Christchurch earthquake and how she feels right now.

Blue Milk writes about breastfeeding and how she felt when she first started and how she feels about it now.

Hexpletive writes about the 9th World Indigenous Women and Wellness Conference she attended and presented at in Darwin and then goes on to discuss the other Conferences and Conventions that she is interested in for the remainder of the year.  I’m going to have to look some of these up.

Spilt Milk shares an experience of encountering penis graffiti with her young daughter and recounts Helen Barne’s Young Adult novel ‘Killing Aurora’, in which the protagonist draws vagina dentata graffiti in response to penis graffiti.

Spilt Milk wrote about her childhood comforter and how that was taken away from her, and now how the childcare centre her daughter goes to wants to take away her daughter’s teddy bear.

Queen Emily writes at An Army of Rabbits, two (related) things that never happened to her in Australia, specifically the assumption that she’d been to church followed by an exhortation to keep god in her heart.

General Feminism

Chally wrote about how social justice can also be about staying silent and doing what is right for you versus the wider world (this post could fit under most categories, and I struggled to find the best fit).

Wallaby writes about how prioritising and choosing your energy drain is important for your wellness, and your choices in this regard should be admired, fostered and encouraged.

tigtog clearly states for the record why banning commenters and refusing comment publication is not censorship as blogs are privately owned spaces.

Women of Colour Australia has put a transcript up of their speech at NOWSA 2010.

the news with nipples writes about the petition put together by Plan Australia to make September 22 the International Day of the Girl.  You can sign the petition here.

Natalie at definatalie.com writes about her feral leghair and why she’s going to grow it.  She includes a great discussion about The Gruen Transfer and their discussion about redefining femininity based on advertising.

steph discusses at LadyNews the current Jadelle (a contraceptive implant) furore in the media.  steph advocates choice and education for women, which some of the quotes in the article also supported.

Megan at Craft is the New Black writes about the need for the ‘generations’ of feminism to recognise and celebrate each other’s worth.

In a post to mark Women’s Suffrage Day in New Zealand, Ele at Home Paddock writes of the need for us to exercise our hard won right to vote in the upcoming local body elections.

Violence

*Trigger warnings – posts in this section discuss violence against women*

The Dawn Chorus discusses Street Harassment and how when reporting it or writing down what has been said, the tone of what was said is missing which is one of the reasons why street harassment is often belittled or dismissed.

Blue Milk explains that asking is sexy and that without consent it isn’t sex and the comments are great too.

I don’t know why the idea has persisted that asking for consent is necessarily a clinical business – what is stilted about – more? do you want to? do you like? Because “mood-killer”? Are you kidding me? That moment when they close the space between you both and ask you to put your cards on the table – is this on or not, can I do this with you – is one of the most heart-flippingly exciting moments in all of existence.

Jo at Wallaby wrote about the treatment received by two women who had been sexually assaulted in different legal systems and how much those legal systems differed.

XY writes about why he won’t be walking in Reclaim the Night/Take Back the Night march and provides and excellent resource (if you need one) to explain to some men why they are not always welcome to march.

stargazer at The Hand Mirror writes about the governmental response to the task force for action on sexual violence and sadly how this seems to have been missed by the media.

AnneE at The Hand Mirror takes some relevant material from a paper on people who abuse their partners.

blue milk at Hoydon About Town writes about the strange behaviour of the state and society when a mother whose daughter was victim of incest is upset and protective of her daughter when pornography is displayed at a 7-11.

And isn’t it a strange world where police can be called in to protect your right to display pornography? So unquestioning are we about it that the newspaper article actually describes what unfolded as a “bizarre incident”. It is the same strange world where it is estimated that up to one in four girls will be sexually abused during their childhood.

Both Deborah from In a Strange Land and I wrote about Brendan Black and his opinion piece in Fairfax media on breastfeeding and breasts.  Unfortunately he fails terribly at being a feminist ally when he could have done very well.

Jo at Wallaby suggests that men should not go out alone otherwise they might, “be accused of, and/or commit, indecent assault, sexual assault, rape or other sexual violence.”

Related Posts:

Comments Off

Boat People


Shaun Tan's art from John Marsden's The Rabbits

(Stylised art work with rabbits dressed in English military style leaving a tall masted ship and walking onto a beach)

The first boat people arrived in January 1788.  They ignored local culture, forced their religion, language and mores down the true blue Aussie’s throats.  They forced the Aussies to dress like them and eat their food.  They killed the Aussies, raped their women, committed genocide on entire tribes, infected them with a host of diseases they’d never had contact with, stole their land, and continued arriving in increasing numbers until 1868 when transportation ended.

The next big arrival of boat people to Australia happened in the late 1940s after World War 2.  These arrivals were pre-arranged and so were housed in Migrant Reception Centres which were to “provide for general medical examination and x-ray of migrants, issue of necessary clothing, payment of social service benefits, interview to determine employment potential, instruction in English and the Australian way of life generally” (Wikipedia).  These boat people did not force their religion, language and mores onto Australia.  They were expected to assimilate and become good “New Australians”.

The next wave of boat people happened in the late 1970s when just over 2000 Vietnamese arrived by boat over the space of 5 years.  “The vast majority of the 90,000 Vietnamese refugees who came here by the mid-1980s were processed offshore in camps in South-East Asia.” (The Age).  Again these boat people did not force their religion, language and mores onto Australia.

Since 1999 (11 years), a bit over 18,000 boat people have entered Australia (Australian Parliamentary Library).  Australia typically accepts between 13,000 and 14,000 refugees a year (DIAC), so this number does not even put a dent in the number of refugees Australia accepted during these period.  These boat people also did not force their religion, language and mores onto Australia.

So the worst boat arrivals, in the way that they have treated Australian people, committed crimes against humanity, acted as terrorists, stole land, crushed culture and committed genocide would be the English back in 1788.  Nothing else comes close.

Related Posts:

Comments Off

Letter writing time


After reading a few articles in the Age about Wendy Francis I wrote her a letter.  For my international readers (if I have any), the Australian Federal Election is around the corner (less than 2 weeks away) and Wendy Francis is a candidate for the Senate with Family First, a Christian right-win political party who accidentally gained a Federal Senator at 6 years ago or so and who have a few seats in various State Parliaments.

Dear Ms Francis,

I am horrified to have read your comments today regarding equal marriage and LGBTIQ parentage.  You seem to believe that such would be a “social experiment with unproven results”.  It is not a social experiment Ms Francis, no more than any other individual who wants children is a social experiment.  A recent US longitudinal study showed that children of lesbian parents were, “rated significantly higher in social, school/academic, and total competence and significantly lower in social problems, rule-breaking, aggressive, and externalizing problem behavior than their age-matched counterparts in Achenbach’s normative sample of American youth”.

To suggest that LGBTIQ parents are lesser parents that heterosexuals parents really fails to understand parentage and how it has worked for so may people.  How many single-parent households are there in Australia?  Are those children growing up “parentless” because their parent’s relationship ended?  What solution do you have for those children in such cases?

Are the children whose parents either abandon them into care of have the children removed “parentless” if they are fostered or cared for by queer or straight people?

Are there really any studies that genuinely demonstrate the beliefs you hold outside the bible – a book that a large number of Australians do not subscribe to?

To compare the stolen generations to the issue of LBGTIQ parentage is incredibly offensive, as it is to suggest that legalising equal marriage is equivalent to legalising child abuse.

You are, as you have said, or been suggested to have said, allowed to have an opinion and to hold forth on it, provided it does not vilify or encourage violence against any particular group.  But before you hold forth on what you believe to be true, think about what harm you may be doing to others.  You may think that you are right on the basis of your religion, but for those of us who do not follow your religion, why should your religion impact on us?  Why should your words which I would suggest come from a deep seated fear and hate, be allowed to harm us?

You have said that homosexual community only represents a tiny percentage of Australia.  I’d personally argue that 10% is not a tiny percentage, but regardless of how small a percentage of the population is queer, why should they not have full equal rights with every heterosexual Australian?  Why cannot queer Australians participate fully in society as everyone else does?  Why can’t we ask for the same rights that you have?

Next time you think about discussing the rights of the LGBTIQ community, regardless of your religious blinkers, please sit down with a few of us and find out WHY we want equal rights, and think about how what you say may harm others, and try not to push your religion onto those who do not follow it.

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts

Comments Off

Queen’s Birthday Honours List – Sausage-fest


I wasn’t going to blog this weekend or until after my exams are done, but then I read the Queen’s Birthday Honours List as printed in The Age (gotta love the sub-editor who failed to notice “brithday”) and was absolutely horrified by the lack of female representation in the awards.  On my visual count (and I counted a total of 653 awards approximately), only 28% of the awards went to women.  All categories had an appalling representation of women.  Just looking at the police force and armed services and you’d think that there were next to no women in those fields.  Women make up slightly over half of the population, why are women making up far less than half of the QUEEN’s birthday list?

My count is as follows:

Order of Australia
Companion (AC) in the general division

Total awardees – 5
No of women – 1

Officer (AO) in the General Division
Total awardees – 21
No of women – 5

Officer (AO) in the Military Division
Royal Australian Navy
Total awardees – 1
No of women – 0

Royal Australian Air Force
Total awardees – 1
No of women – 0

Member (AM) in the General Division
Total awardees – 136
No of women – 33 – 35 (two awardee’s gender could not be identified)

Member (AM) in the Military Division
Royal Australian Navy
Total awardees – 2
No of women – 0

Australian Army
Total awardees – 8
No of women – 0

Medal (OAM) in the general division
Total awardees – 303 (approx)
No of women – 118 (approx)

Medal (OAM) in the Military Division
Royal Australian Navy
Total awardees – 2
No of women – 0

Australian Army
Total awardees – 5
No of women – 0

Royal Australian Air Force
Total awardees – 4
No of women – 0

Australian Public Service Medal

Australian Public Service

Total awardees – 17
No of women – 5

NSW Public Service
Total awardees – 11
No of women – 1

Victoria Public Service
Total awardees – 6
No of women – 2

Queensland Public Service
Total awardees – 5
No of women – 2

Western Australia Public Service
Total awardees – 1
No of women – 1

South Australia Public Service
Total awardees – 3
No of women – 1

Australian Police Medal
Australian Federal Police
Total awardees – 2
No of women – 0

NSW Police
Total awardees – 8
No of women – 0

Victoria Police
Total awardees – 5
No of women – 1

Queensland Police
Total awardees – 6
No of women – 1

Western Australia Police
Total awardees – 4
No of women – 0

South Australia Police
Total awardees – 3
No of women – 0

Tasmania Police
Total awardees – 1
No of women – 0

Nothern Territory
Total awardees – 1
No of women – 0

Australian Fire Service Medal
NSW Fire Services
Total awardees – 11
No of women – 0

Victoria Fire Services
Total awardees – 9
No of women – 0

Queensland Fire Services
Total awardees – 3
No of women – 0

Western Australia Fire Services
Total awardees – 1
No of women – 0

South Australian Fire Services
Total awardees – 2
No of women – 1

ACT Fire Services
Total awardees – 1
No of women – 0

Ambulance Service Medal (ASM)
Queensland Ambulance Service
Total awardees – 2
No of women – 0

South Australian Ambulance Service
Total awardees – 1
No of women – 0

ACT Ambulance Service
Total awardees – 1
No of women – 1

Emergency Services Medal (ESM)
Queensland Emergency Services
Total awardees – 3
No of women – 0

Western Australia Emergency Services
Total awardees – 3
No of women – 0

South Australia Emergency Services
Total awardees – 1
No of women – 0

Commendation for Gallantry
Australian Army
Total awardees – 3
No of women – 0

Distinguished Service Medal (DSM)
Australian Army
Total awardees – 4
No of women – 0

Commendation for Distinguished Service
Australian Army
Total awardees – 8
No of women – 0

Bar to the Conspicuous Service Cross
Australian Army
Total awardees – 1
No of women – 0

Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC)
Royal Australian Navy
Total awardees – 6
No of women – 0

Australian Army
Total awardees – 9
No of women – 1

Royal Australian Air Force
Total awardees – 6
No of women – 1

Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM)
Royal Australian Navy
Total awardees – 3
No of women – 1

Australian Army
Total awardees – 13
No of women – 4

Royal Australian Air Force
Total awardees – 4
No of women – 1

Total awardees – 653 (approx)
Total No of women – 183 (approx)
Percentage representation – 28%

Related Posts:

Comments Off

Tony Abbott – shut the f**k up


Tony Abbott, our delightful opposition leader, stated recently what Jesus would say and do regarding asylum seekers in Australia.  It showed yet again that Abbott’s Catholic beliefs are a cover for his arch-Conservative views and that he really has no idea what he’s talking about.  As a lapsed and possibly now agnostic Catholic, I know more about the bible than Abbot appears to.

Here is what he said recently, which really makes me wish he’d just stop talking and embarrassing the rest of us:

“Jesus didn’t say yes to everyone,” Mr Abbott said on ABC television’s Q&A program, according to the Herald Sun.

“Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”

Mr Abbott was quizzed extensively on his criticisms of the Rudd Government’s softening of Australia’s border protection policies and how that criticism squared with his own strong Catholic faith.

Asked what Jesus would do on the issue of asylum-seekers, he replied: “Don’t forget, Jesus drove the traders from the temple as well.”

“This idea that Jesus would say to every person who wanted to come to Australia, ‘Fine, the door’s open’, I just don’t think is necessarily right,” Mr Abbott said.

“(But) let’s not verbal Jesus, he is not here to defend himself.”

Ok, now lets look at what Jesus is actually attributed as saying on such issues:

Matthew 7: 1 – 5

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

So Abbott, don’t judge others because you do not have the authority to do so.

Matthew 19:14

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

John 13:34

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Both of these quotes would suggest that a welcoming and loving heart are the call of the day and not one that would willingly exclude others, whether it be from entering a country or seeking asylum.

And as far as Jesus driving people from the temple goes, the story is as follows:

Matthew 21: 12 – 13

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, ” ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.’”

Which has nothing to do with keeping asylum seekers from seeking asylum in Australia or any other country they can make it to and choose to seek asylum in.  Jesus spoke of befriending outcasts, the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 and, Zacchaeus the tax collector in Luke 19:1-2.  He healed Lepers (Luke 17:11-19) and others with diseases and disabilities.  He taught about humbleness and acceptance of others.  He is not the man that Tony Abbott keeps thinking he is.  And on a final note, a quote from Luke 18:9-14 that Tony Abbott needs to consider:

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Related Posts:

Previous Page Next Page

Random Posts Recent Comments

  • Katherine Says:

    This is why I don't follow certain famous people on Facebook and Tumblr anymore. Every time they scr...

  • Mindy Says:

    Wow Bec this is outstanding, and thanks for including me!...

  • Chally Says:

    This is so substantial that I won't even be able to get through all of it in one sitting! Thank you ...

  • James Smith Says:

    Did you really need more proof that christians are judgmental, arrogant, unforgiving, and intolerant...

  • B. Aaron Says:

    I am a big fan of the Out and About App (http://outandaboutapp.com.au/) It has helped me to find way...

  • les Says:

    Thanx for this headsup. As a new south welsh person i will be interestd in wot is in their program a...

  • kath Says:

    As always you writing is factual well researched and to the point. I love your style bec....

  • Joan Garvan Says:

    Thanks for the carnival some great stuff to follow-up. I am writing to alert you to the Pamela Denoo...

  • juliefairey Says:

    Wow thanks so much! I've been occupied a bit with other stuff, just getting back to blogging a bit ...

  • Rebecca Says:

    I'm glad you're all enjoying the Carnival. I enjoyed putting it together :)...

Tag Cloud

abuse bisexuality body body image catholic Christianity differences disability DUFC equal marriage exclusion family fat Feminism gah gender gender roles growing up health history identity Language lgbtiq me media mental health minority rights people politics polyamory privilege racism rape relationships Religion review sexism story stuff thoughts trans* travelling USA violence WTF