Why the Liberal party is just SO last season

June 6th, 2007

The good Doctor Washer, a Liberal party backbencher and 50 of his colleagues, is reminding the Minister for Foreign Affairs- Alexander Downer, why he, and his party, cease to remain relevant, by highlighting how out-of-touch this government is in relation to its foreign aid policy. Currently, Australian foreign aid money comes with a condition which prevents it from being spent on abortion advice.

“It’s repugnant, it’s an insult to women. I think that is just absolutely an insult. What is even more ridiculous or more repugnant is that we’re saying in these guidelines that if you go and have an illegal abortion where there is a 13 per cent chance of death on average and you happen to survive, we’re happy to give you counselling. Well, that’s good for those who didn’t die but for the 13 per cent, I think counselling dead people is pretty difficult. I haven’t found much success in it as a doctor, so that’s absolute lunacy.”-Dr Mal Washer.

It is clear how Australians feel about safe abortion services. And yet, with this data, this government remains influenced by Senator Brian Harradine, who retired some 3 years ago.

Now is the time to ensure that this aspect of the Harradine legacy is removed from influencing Australia’s foreign aid money. Moreover, it should never have been exported overseas to people who clearly require assistance, not moralising.


Hurdling Girdles

May 24th, 2007

I have been watching Kevin Rudd intently and frankly, I have been concerned about some of his statements.

Today, all that changed, when I heard how forcefully and naturally Kevin spoke about his wife- Therese Rein, her business, women, work and the realities of interpersonal relationships in the year 2007.

“The reality we are dealing with here is this is the age of professional women who run their own companies who have their own lives and are not simply the appendages of middle-aged men.”-the PM in waiting.

I had no idea I would be so pleased to hear this level of sincerity, in what, sadly, seems to be a radical view of women in society, coming from the mouth of a politician.

I guess it takes me back to the insufferable ritual the meet and greet with our current PM and his wife used to be. Thankfully my current work is nowhere near as ‘sexy’ as previous roles, and I am spared the cringe-inducing spectacle that is the PM and Mrs HoWARd.

At every meeting with Mrs Janette Howard, she was an insipid, beige-y, girdled, dour, lightweight, appendage-like chore of a woman.

Kevin Rudd is all the more attractive, now that I know that he is the appendage of Therese Rein.


Image from here

Minimum non-interventionism

May 6th, 2007

There has never been much doubt in my mind that Christopher Pyne is quite dim.

I used to love watching him in the days when, on Friday Forum, Lateline would pitch him against Mark Latham. Oh my, there were times when I even felt a little sorry for the pitiable, petulant, naive and bewildered Liberal Federal Member for Sturt. Today is not such a day.

Today, I am horrified at how very little the former Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Aging knows about drug misuse, drug abuse, drug addiction, rehabilitation and wellness. Christopher Pyne has come out today suggesting that Ben Cousins should speak out in support of the federal government’s war on drugs.

“Having been given a second chance and been through rehabilitation, it would be, I think, appropriate for him to join the government’s tough on drugs campaign, because young people in particular will be watching to see what he does in the future. One way to assist those young people would be for him to join the campaign against drugs. A person like Ben Cousins who has admitted to drug use and been rehabilitated can talk with first hand knowledge of the dangers and downsides of drugs use.” – Christopher Pyne.

This is what Brendan Gale– Chief Executive of the AFL Players’ Association had to say specifically about Ben Cousins and illicit drug use in general:

“If a person is apprehended, dealing or using illicit drugs, he’s dealt with under the illicit drug policy, and that is, it’s a diversionary approach. And the focus is on education, rehabilitation, rather than putting him in the criminal justice system. […] but as far as illicit drugs with no performance enhancing effect, where there’s a health issue, and a welfare issue, we provide a medical response, not a punitive one. And that is consistent with all the States and the Federal governments drug diversion principles and that’s something that all experts agree is the best way to change behaviour.”

Then we have Medical Director of the Victorian Addiction Centre- Professor Greg Whelan advising that Ben Cousins’ is at a crucial time in his recovery.

“This (recovery from addiction) is a lifelong problem, just the same as asthma or arthritis or diabetes or oppression are lifelong problems. The biggest risk is in the first three months after people start their treatment, because we know that statistically that’s the time that they’re most fragile and most likely to relapse back to where they were before.”

I’m certain that the Minister for Aging hoped that Ben Cousins could be trotted out in time for the upcoming election with a Drugs are bad message in an effort to breath life into the cadaverous heap that is the WAR ON DRUGS policy.

As usual, Christopher Pyne is a reductionist who really should know better. Shame on you Minister.

Update: Richmond defender and president of the players’ association, Joel Bowden, said the Government’s proposals went against “all the research and all the information we’ve been given”.


Image from here

‘Oversight’ takes on new meaning.

March 16th, 2007

All last week it’s been it goes to his character from the government, when we ask why we should take an interest in the character assassination on Kevin Rudd and who he has dinner with.

Then came news of Ian Campbell and his meeting with Rudd’s dinner man. Then we heard of Santo Santoro’s shares in a biotechnology company.

Our PM had earlier this week sacked Campbell and defended Santoro over news he had failed to disclose a share deal which had a conflict of interest with his portfolio responsibilities for the aged.

“I do not believe that the failure to get rid of these shares was… and other matters relating to them was anything other than inadvertent. Once the failure to expose them entered his (Senator Santoro’s) consciousness and he became aware of it, he took immediate steps, and he was quite open. And he got rid of them and profit was made, but it was not retained and he donated the profit to a charity. And I think that was the right thing to do.” – John HoWARd.

“There is no excuse for somebody not complying with the rules. I can accept you can overlook one, but you can’t overlook a score or more, no-one is going to believe that and he (Senator Santoro) doesn’t claim that.” – John HoWARd.

So, as I understand it, and analysing HoWARd’s logic and behaviour, he does not actually value rules, or codes of conduct. He operates on a Can I/we get away with it’ mentality. If that falls over there exists an arbitrary, unknown number where the ‘no excuses’ rule has to kick in.

Your behaviour is fundamentally dishonest- honest John.

Well it’s either that or John HoWARd is a poor judge of character.

Either way, I have seen enough of John HoWARd’s character to say no thank you.

Update: 1,2,3 and 4 remain an oversight


Image from here

Thank you; drive through.

February 28th, 2007

Last year I bought a house in the Blue Mountains of NSW.

When I catch up with people and tell them where I now live they say “Oh, so you’ve made a treechange.” I never used to say much, but lately, having been to a handful of community events and sampled my local shopping areas I flatly say “No it’s not a treechange.”

See, I have come to understand that ‘seachange’ and ‘treechange’ have within them the notion of deconstruction. The simplification of a hectic, out-of-control urban experience and the longing for the simple life. Frankly, my motivation is a lot less Jacques Derrida than that. I was, and am, motivated by the beauty of the landscape and in particular the beauty of my home.

At first I thought that I was all citified and I had to learn to slow down, but then I remembered that I am the same person I was when I lived in Darwin for 15 years. It really doesn’t get much slower and laid back than the top end of Australia.

I have come to the realisation that I am blunt and impatient in either hot or cold climates.

The final example of who I am and what I need, came last week when I attended a community forum organised by the local progress association where candidates for the upcoming state election spoke to we concerned voters residents.

We gathered, sat down and listened. Each candidate was given 15 minutes to talk, with extra time allocated for questions afterwards if needed. The independent candidate- Robert Stock, got bogged down in the minutiae of micro policies and seemed to lose himself, let alone his audience. Robert Stock was followed by the Liberal candidate Michael Paag who was big on macro, expensive rhetoric, but completely fell down when asked specific questions relating to his sweeping statements, such as “Which sectors of the state public service will the 20,000 ‘back-room bureaucrat’ jobs be cut from?”

Michael Paag was followed by the ALP candidate Phil Koperberg. Thankfully, and cheekily he said words to the effect

Having heard the Liberal candidate speak I am so impressed by what he and his government will do on March 25, 2007, that I am going to change my vote to Liberal, but I am a realist and l live in a real world…

By the time Phil Koperberg was done and the Greens candidate Pippa MacInnes stood up, I was barely able to pay attention.

To be fair, the throng and thrust that is my natural style as I push for clarity and logic in the answers to questions clearly irritated most of the polite members of my ‘new’ neighbourhood. I was reminded of a ‘girlchild saying’ where she would whisper in my ear “You can stop helping me now Mama.”

I am thankfully, SO not suited to joining my very sweet, polite, civil, but misguided local community. I am so pleased that this venture into community development is out of the way and I can now get back to the real world of broadband and blogging.

So, out of self preservation- theirs and mine, I will happily limit forays into my community to weddings and funerals.


L-R Robert Stock (IND), Michael Paag (LIB), Phil Koperberg (ALP), Pippa MacInnes (GRN). Many thanks to Matt for generously sharing this image.