The exchange of labour for money; work.

August 30th, 2006

I have been offered a new job. It is in my field, but would involve a 10% drop in wages as this organisation’s employee agreement is not as generous as my current one. Unlike other new jobs, this one filled me with all sorts of ethical dilemmas when it comes to my contract, as the organisation states:

“Successful applicants may be offered an Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA) with an attractive package.”

I have to consider what my values are worth. Can they be bought off for say, 10 – 20% more money than what an employee’s certified agreement offers?

What value can I put on a supportive, hi-tech, forward-thinking workplace, with fascinating projects where management say fuck like the rest of us?

How could I attend my union rallies knowing that I campaigned AGAINST AWA’s way back when Peter Reith and Cheryl Kernot got together and did a deal.

What if I take the extra pay and donate it to a good cause?
I am excited about my new, extremely complex and interesting work and will say “Yes please.”

Now for the navel gazing…

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Image from here

The pursuit of justice

August 27th, 2006

On Friday night along with about 1099 others I made my way to the City Recital hall to a GetUp! gig to hear MAJ Michael Mori speak.


It was fascinating (and refreshing) to hear someone in a US military uniform openly criticise his government and its structures. The Major’s flow chart left us in doubt that David cannot be released from the psychological horror that is Guantanamo bay. The Major was asked how he can keep his energy to defend David from sapping, year after year, against the structurally unfair and overwhelming odds, and he answered simply,

“Justice. Whether I am the prosecuting counsel or the defense counsel, my role is the same – Getting to the truth and being a part of a just outcome”

The most disturbing bit of data that came out of the night was the Major’s answer to the question,

“Given that Tony Blair did not tolerate Britons being kept in Guantanamo bay, do you think that president Bush and Co., if asked by HoWARd, would have released David Hicks?”

“Without a doubt”

The Major is a classic example of American culture for good – loud, brash, and without the slightest hint of timidity. It was no wonder that at the end Australians gave this man a standing ovation.


What would jesus do with $4000?

August 10th, 2006

How would you feel if you were unsure, frightened and vulnerable about your unwanted pregnancy and called a pregnancy counseling service for what you would expect would be clear, factual, information about your options. No religious spin, no agendas and no guilt-trips. This is the current range of options:

  • continuing with the pregnancy and keeping the child;
  • continuing with the pregnancy and giving the child up for adoption;
  • ending the pregnancy by having an abortion.

I have a good friend who is a therapist and he is currently treating a woman who amoungst other things was told by a pregnancy counselor that she should give birth to the baby as it’s early July birth date would entitle her to $4000 and

“Couldn’t you use $4000?”

Whilst my friend’s anecdote describing the unethical and unregulated nature of the pregnancy counseling sector, such behavior is not an isolated case if we consider a report coming out of data from SA.

I’m supporting Senator Stott Despoja when she says:

“It is disturbing that many women have been given misleading and deceptive information on pregnancy options at what can be an emotional time.”


E-mail me an address and I’ll happily send you a postcard.

We are human! resources.

August 5th, 2006

In the current political climate of WorkChoices and tolerance fatigue, can I just underline that underneath our uniforms, we remain human beings deserving of dignity, respect and a living wage.

Images from here

The personal is political

August 5th, 2006

Our Attorney General Phillip Ruddock has come out saying that nominating Terry Hicks, father of Guantanamo bay detainee David Hicks politicises father of the year. In saying that, the AG is not celebrating the nomination, he is criticising it.

I find this an astounding assertion. Past winners have included six powerful members of a political party, four of them Prime Ministers. How does their nomination not politicise the event and Terry Hicks’ does? Why would say John HoWARd’s politics, which are overt, not politicise the event. How can we be sure that he wasn’t nominated to give the Australian people a sense of father-knows-best liberal paternalism just after he was elected.

Past Recipients of Australian Father of the Year Award.
2005 Steve Waugh AO
2004 Professor Graeme M. Clark AC FAA FTSE FRS FAAS
2003 Dr Karl Kruszelnicki AM
2002 Steve Vizard
2001 Jim Rafter
2000 Stephen Biddulph
1999 Slim Dusty
1998 Khamal
1997 The Hon John Howard MP, Prime Minister of Australia
1996 Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair A.C.A.D.(ml)RAN(Rtd)
1995 Mark Taylor
1994 Sir James Hardy, O.B.E.
1993 Michael Chugg
1992 Rev Bill Crews, B.E.E.,B.T.H.
1991 Dr Bruce Shepherd, M.B.,B.S.(Syd),B.D.S.(Syd).F.R.C.S.(Eng). F.R.C.S.(Edin).F.R.A.C.S., F.A.Orth.F.A.M.A.
1990 Peter Doyle, A.M.
1989 Ken Done, A.M.
1988 His Excellency Rear Admiral David Martin, A.O.,R.A.N.
1987 A H Pollard, M.Sc.,M.Sc(Econ),Ph.D.D.Sc.,F.I.A.A.,F.A.S.S.A.
1986 Rev Dr Gordon Moyes, A.M.,B.A.,D.B.
1985 Sir Ian Turbott, C.M.G.,C.V.O.
1984 Prof. Peter Rowe, M.C.,F.R.A.C.P.
1983 Bobby Limb, O.B.E.
1982 Alan Davidson, M.B.E.
1981 Dr Bradney W Norington, Esq.C.B.E.
1980 J T Lees, Q.P.M., Commissioner of Police
1979 Neil McLeod,O.B.E.
1978 His Excellency Sir Zelman Cowen, A.K.,G.C.M.G.,K.StJ.,Q.C. Governor General of Australia
1977 Gary O’Callaghan, M.B.E.
1976 The Right Honourable Malcolm Fraser, M.P., Prime Minister of Australia
1975 Major General Alan Stretton, A.O.,C.B.E., Director General, Natural Disasters Organisation, Department of Defence
1974 His Excellency The Honourable Sir John Kerr, K.C.M.G.,K.St.J., Governor-General of Australia
1973 The Right Hon J L Waddy, O.B.E.,D.F.C.,M.L.A. Minister for Youth and Community Services
1972 Dr W G McBride, C.B.E.
1971 The Right Hon William McMahon, M.P., Prime Minister of Australia
1970 V.C. Fairfax, C.M.G.
1969 W.M. Leornard, C.M.G.
1968 His Excellency The Right Honourable Lord Casey, P.C.,GC.M.G,C.H.,D.S.O.,M.C., K.SU., Governor General of Australia
1967 Sir Lorimer Dods, M.V.O.
1966 His Excellency Sir Roden Cutler, V.C.,K.C.M.G.,C.B.E.,K.St.J., Governor of New South Wales
1965 Ald. W.H. Northam
1964 The Right Hon. Sir Robert Menzies, K.T.CH.,Q.C.,M.P., Prime Minister of Australia
1963 The Hon. L J Herron, K.StJ.,Q.C. Chief Justice of New South Wales
1962 Sir Norman Gregg, M.C.
1961 His Honour Judge Adrian Curlewis
1960 Colin Delaney, Esq. C.B.E., Commissioner of Police
1959 The Hon J. J. Cahill, M.L.A. Premier of New South Wales
1958 Ald. HF Jensen, Lord Mayor of Sydney
1957 Sir Edward Hallstrom, Kt.F.R.Z.S.

The AG is completely right in his assertion that the nomination politicises the event. The AG is really just very annoyed that Terry Hicks’ nomination highlights Australia’s complete isolation in the International thinking on David Hicks’ rights and Terry Hicks’ nomination for father of the year is being widely reported.

As a parent I can tell you that faced with the same situation that faces Terry Hicks I would be trying everything possible, everything improbable and all things impossible for my child.

Nominating Terry Hicks for father of the year is inspired, and I for one applaud Jon Stanhope the ACT’s Chief Minister for doing it.


Image from here