Flat-out Daddy and Flat-chat Mummy

March 25th, 2007

In the US, the Maine National Guard is using a unique method to help families connect to their loved ones deployed in Iraq. They’re life-sized cardboard cutouts. If your father (or mother) is deployed in Iraq, you can get a Flat Daddy to help keep the absent parent involved in family life.

“Many military units can provide families with a life-size cardboard cutout of their overseas warrior. The family can then take that figure to parties, put it in the passenger seat of their car, take it to bed or do whatever it is that families want to with a replica of their loved one. Named after Flat Stanley, a children’s book character who was squashed flat, the cutouts have been a surprise hit since they were introduced. In Maine alone, the state’s National Guard has given out more than 200 Flat Soldiers since January. Experts believe the cutouts are a useful psychological device, especially for children, that helps cope with the stress of long absences. It allows the family to genuinely feel the missing person is still involved in day-to-day life.”- Source.

In NSW, we have just had a state election where the winning Labor party Premier Morris Iemma, amongst other things, stated that the Coalition government’s WorkChoices campaign was a factor in their loss.

I want the federal Labor party to start giving out Flat Daddies and Flat Mummies to any children that tell a caregiver, teacher, Nanna, Pop, or friends that they miss their working parent, be they in or out of the military, and they don’t get to see enough of them. I want this done to highlight just how little work/life balance WorkChoices legislation affords the working parents of Australian children.

It would also remind Australians, in an election year, that we are still in an illegal war in Iraq!


‘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

Australian IWD projects; second highest in the world.

March 8th, 2007

The International Women’s Day website has a feature where you can search events that celebrate women, by country. The UK has 130, the US has 63 and Australia is advertising 108 events. Here are just five:

Time: 07:00am – 09:00am
Event: Brisbane IWD UNIFEM Breakfast
About: Our Guest Speaker is Malalai Joya, a 28 year old Parliamentarian from Afghanistan. This event will support violence against women projects in the Pacific Region. Cost: $45, concession $35.
Venue: Brisbane Convention Exhibition Centre, South Brisbane, 4101
Organisation: UNIFEM: The women’s fund at the United Nations. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programs and strategies to foster women’s empowerment and gender equality. Placing the advancement of women’s human rights at the centre of all of its efforts, UNIFEM focuses its activities on four strategic areas: (1) reducing feminised poverty, (2) ending violence against women, (3) reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls, and (4) achieving gender equality in democratic governance in times of peace as well as war.

Time: 09:00am – 15:30pm
Event: Women’s Business – It’s our Business
About: A celebration of International Women’s Day within an Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander perspective. Working towards healthier women in our Indigenous community which acknowledges mind, body and spirit.
Venue: Millwell Road, Maroochydore
Organisation: Indigenous Health Program: Aims to increase the number of research projects developed in partnership with the aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people and to increase the number of aboriginal and Torres Strait islander postgraduate students and researchers working on these projects.

Time: 20:00 – 22:00, 8 & 9 March production
Event: The Vagina Monologues
About: Bathurst Action Against Sexual Assault, Bathurst Theatre Company and Central West Women’s Health Centre present Eve Ensler’s award winning play, The Vagina Monologues. For tickets and information call 6333 6161.
Venue: Bathurst Memorial Entertainement Centre, William Street, Bathurst, NSW, 2795
Organisation: BAASA, Bathurst Theatre Company and CWWHC: All proceeds to local services to help end violence against women and girls.

Time: 10:00am
Event: WWILDS IWD 2007 Picnic Brunch
About: A Picnic to celebrate IWD, meet at Roma Street parklands by the lake near the Allee Bridge Lookout
Venue: Roma Street Parklands, 1 Parkland Boulevard, Brisbane, Queensland, 4000
Organisation: WWild: A Sexual Violence Prevention Service is a feminist organisation which recognises women’s position in society. We are a service that works alongside Women with Intellectual and Learning Disabilities in the area of Sexual Violence Prevention.

Time: 10:00am – 18:00pm
Event: International Women’s Day
About: The microphone is open to all women all day. At Ceremony of water & flowers for the women who have died. Including victims of war. Federal politics. The effect of being abused by clergy. State & Religion effect on women, the challenge today. Financial security for older women etc.,
Venue: 3 Lyons Street., Rye, Victoria, 3941
Organisation: Women’s Resource Centre: Celebrating our 25th anniversary. Feminist organisation. Financially independent.

Now perhaps Australian women do organise more events that every other country other than the UK,
OR, Australian women enjoy greater computer and internet access and skill,
OR, Australian women naturally gather and celebrate and this is one of the many ways they do it,
OR, Australian women are financially more independent and have more disposable income,
OR, Australian women are surrounded by more sympathetic and supportive men,
OR, Australian women think and act more globally,

We are just feisty, formidable, phabulous, feminists, and women such as us, occupy a greater proportion of the Australian population.

Today we celebrate.
Tomorrow we will continue to change the world!

Update: Still such a long way to go, when a girl can’t speak of her own body parts without punishment.


Image from here

Two dustbins barely enough to contain WorkChoices™

March 4th, 2007

There was no doubting that on a good day, the former leader of the ALP, Kim Beazley, could produce a stirring speech.

Kevin Rudd has recycled one of Kim’s gems regarding the WorkChoices legislation announcing that he will,

“Consign these laws to the dustbin of history. If you vote for a Labor government, we will get rid of them (the new workplace laws) forever and for good,” – Kevin Rudd

Kevin’s previously ‘soft’ stance on WorkChoices legislation is believed to have been changed by recent studies reporting that,

“Women and casual and part-time workers on AWAs get, on average, up to $4 an hour less than workers on collective agreements.” – Source.

A Queensland study of 300 upper to middle managers, 88% felt there should be protection against unfair dismissal. It is interesting to consider whether these managers are protecting their own jobs or those of their subordinates. I would suggest it’s a bit of both.

Professor David Peetz is an academic, whose industrial relations research is certainly worth considering, except of course unless you are everybody’s simple uncle J Ho. Thankfully, Kevin Rudd is a considerably more astute politician than the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations.

I am not convinced that two dustbins are enough to contain the refuse that is WorkChoices legislation. I could certainly hear the phrase “consign these (WorkChoices) laws to the dustbin of history” again and again before this year’s election.