Getting out to young GetUps. Idea #2

November 30th, 2005

Caring about the future

Original image from here

Getting out to GetUp

November 30th, 2005

Last night GetUp hosted a meetup in Sydney.

I went along. There were less people than I would have thought could be attracted to a movement such as GetUp in Sydney.  Admittedly, we were half an hour late and yesterday was an unseasonably grim, rainy night.

What surprised me was the age demographic. The GetUp team were the youngest people in the room by decades. The where-are-the-youth theme informed my entire evening. We listened to David, Jeremy, Toby and Lachlan.

Coming in late, I’m not sure what we missed, so by the time we were broken into groups of eight to brainstorm ideas for making GetUp bigger, better and faster, my contribution came down to ways of engaging youth in the alternative political debate. I have grand desires, but few ideas.

Inspired I take it upon myself to do some qualitative research.  I seek out the 20 year old girlchild.  For the 2.3 minutes that I had her attention she tells me that,

"Placards and protesting and feminism and left-wingedness is just so 80’s…Young people don’t care mama." 

"Why don’t you care? What has to happen for you to care? What would radicalise you?" I ask.

Girlchild’s answer, "Can I use your car?" 

It’s about getting their attention.  Now how do we keep it?

GetUP HoWARd   
GetUp out of your ennui
Images scanned from last nights meetup handout 

The tragedy of empty churches

November 28th, 2005

Tonight as I was watching The 7.30 Report on my ABC, ACTU President Sharan Burrow was filmed steering her way along the hallway towards Barnaby Joyce. It was hard to make her out over the 85,000 signed petitions she had piled high on her trolley. As the cameras looked on Sharan took the time to remind Barnaby of the salient points that concerned Australians had asked her to raise with him. As the cameras moved on, all that could be seen, was Sharan making point after point and Barnaby listening and nodding (as well he should).

Cut to Barnaby in the studio. In answer to a question regarding his concerns about the Workplace Relations Amendment (WorkChoices) Bill 2005, Barnaby said,

“I’m not going to have the Anzac Day march weaving its way through the marauding shoppers. I’m not going to sit in my church on Christmas Day and have everyone glance around because their husbands or wives are at work and the legislation has changed. Those things have got to be fixed up. We’ve got to make sure that Good Friday doesn’t just turn into another day at the shops.”


He’s just had 85,189 people’s concerns delivered to him in the form of a petition (with comments) AND Sharan Burrow – SHARAN BURROW to remind him that the new workplace legislation will strip away one hundred years of respect for workers’ rights, remove legal protection for many employment conditions and set a new low for the future workplace conditions of Australian workers.

What does he come up with? What does this man, this man that we have pinned our hopes on tell us is important to him? – Jesus, Church and the ANZACS. What percentage of the 85,186 people who signed the petition do you think were worried about being able to attend church on Christmas day? Eek, egads and all that.

In the brave words of Dame Edna Everage,

“What a friend we have in cheeses.”

What a friend we have in cheeses

One uterus, one vote.

November 26th, 2005

Women.  Who’d be one?

The rate at which we are abused, beaten and killed has increased by more than 50% in the last seven years in NSW. 

We are the owner-operators of the uterus.  With that, you would think came choice and power. However, even in the 21st century, in large parts of Australia, we still do not have a legal right to determine the contents of our uterus, if we choose to make it gloriously empty.

The anti-choice zealots get away with mauling our morals, spirituality and choices.

The health minister can have a conflict of interest- with impunity.

Then there’s RU486.  Banned in 1996 because of the staunch Catholic and independent MP Brian Harradine from Tasmania, whose vote was crucial to the coalition government as it did not have a majority in the upper house. That was in 1996, when women’s health choices were far less important than selling off Telstra. Almost ten years later- in what condition are women’s reproductive rights?

RU486 was then and is now a proven abortifacient which would be beneficial if added to the repertoire of choice a woman and her health professional could access.

A conscience vote on the status of RU486 is hinted at for Tuesday, 29th  November.  Since when does women’s health need a conscience filter? Is it because everyone feels that they have a right to comment on the coming and goings of the uterus?  Women (and their uteri) are 51% of the population and can determine their reproductive rights. Men comprise 49% of the population and can support a woman’s right to choice and self-determination.

Leslie Cannold puts the whole issue very succinctly:

“This is a vote about the integrity of Australia’s framework for ensuring the quality, safety and efficacy of the medicines we take. It is a vote about whether or not the Therapeutic Goods Administration or the Health Minister should make critical decisions about which drugs are made available to patients, and in what circumstances.”

Tuesday should be interesting.

Most of those voting don’t have a uterus – and even fewer have a conscience. 

voting machine 

Image from here

Empathy 101

November 22nd, 2005

Today John HoWARd attempted empathy.
With his complete failure of Concepts of Self Determination, Truth for Liars and expulsion from Sincerity for Bastards, I warn you, what follows is ugly.

Talking to ABC Radio he wondered out loud whether it was helpful for Kim Nguyen to be given false hope regarding her son Nguyen Tuong Van who faces death by hanging at dawn on 02 December 2005 in Singapore.

In the following quote our John patronises Kim by assuming that she can’t cope with the hopeless truth (as he sees it):

"I don’t know that we help her suffering by pretending that there are things that can be done that are going to bring about the change other than the only thing that would bring about the change and that is a change in the attitude of the Singaporean government."

Then he remembers who he is and injects his much loved fear element into the equation. 

"And the more international constructs that are brought to bear on the issue, the less likely rather than the more likely it is for the Singaporean government to change its mind."

He would have us believe that it is better to be pessimistic than optimistic and cannot conceptualise the notion of realistic. He has patronised and dismissed an amazingly strong woman, chastised two Lawyers, devastated an extended family and saddened almost everyone else involved.

The best that John HoWARd can offer Kim Nguyen is his tough-love.  He dismisses other suggestions and focuses on some archaic notion of paternalism. Tough-love is often described as abuse by the survivors of it. They state that it creates hurt and pain and they are not left feeling loved. It is a flawed notion, not dissimilar to fighting for peace. A flawed notion from a flawed PM.

You can stop helping now John.  

Hopefullness is necessary 

Image from here