It’s choir concert season again!

I’ve been doing a little bit of this, a little bit of that this week. I’m looking forward to this weekend though, as on Sunday (Oct 7th), MonUCS are putting on a concert with the MMO (Monash Medical Orchestra) and I will be going to see it. I’ve heard a little bit about the repertoire and it sounds really good. Tickets are selling fast. 😀

Here’s the Facebook event with ticketing link, should you be interested. The blurb says,

“MonUCS and MMO are thrilled to present to you our first concert together, ‘Convergence’. Led by the amazing Robert Dora, ‘Convergence’ features an exciting choral-orchestral repertoire.

Be blown away by Fauré‘s Requiem Op.48, featuring solo performances by Maria-Cristina Keightley and Oliver Mann. The popular hit This Is Me from The Greatest Showman Soundtrack will leave you dazzled, and an enchanting medley from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will get you pumped for its second movie release in November.”

Should be heaps of fun.

I’ve also heard of a number of other performances coming up this month, as October really is choir (etc.) concert season around here (and I love it).

This Friday and Saturday there’s a joint production by Monash University Centre for Theatre and Performance and Vision Australia. Facebook event here.

“Monash University Centre for Theatre and Performance and Vision Australia join forces to present FIGMENT, a work of immersive theatre created for sighted and vision-impaired audiences alike.
Created by Jolyon James and Simone French in collaboration with graduating students from Monash University’s renowned theatre program and clients from Vision Australia, this is a new approach to inclusive storytelling.
Figment questions how we perceive the world, exploring a colour cycle through non-visual means. The production aims to set a standard: creating work as exciting and accessible for vision impaired audiences as it is sighted audiences.”

In Perth, WA, the Perth University Choral Society (PUCS) are performing on October 13th. Facebook event here.

“The Perth Undergraduate Choral Society presents “A Light in the Dark”. Listen to composers through the ages conjure a magical journey of shadow and light. Be dazzled by the shimmering luminescence of Eric Whitacre, Thomas Tallis and J. S. Bach. Be chilled by the moving depths of Susan LaBarr, Gabriel Fauré and Morten Lauridsen. This will be a performance of truly beautiful choral music.”

The other one I have for you today is one from the FedUni Arts Academy, in Ballarat Victoria. Ticketing link here. It has a number of shows, from Thursday 25th to Sunday 28th October.

“Spanning one hundred and fifty years of toil, hardship, and devastating etcetera, The Sovereign Wife is one woman’s epic journey across our sunburnt country – from country Victoria all the way to the Simpson Desert.”

I’ll tell you about others as I know about them, or as the promo materials are released.

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Fandoms, Updated

Hi all. In the first few months of this blog, I posted about my fandoms. It’s a category all of itself on this blog because I’m a voracious reader who also watches a few different shows/ movies from time to time. I thought it was time to redo the actual fandoms post, instead of just editing the original – as I’ve done a few times.

Image taken from the header of this post via Google. Image is white writing on black text and reads: keep calm and join fandoms

Potential spoilers in the links and also a content note as I have to mention why I’m glad the Dr Blake Mysteries was removed from the ABC.

The link to the original is here. In it, I describe my love of Harry Potter (JK Rowling), Tortall and Emelan (Tamora Pierce), and a huge list of others, ranging from the well-known to the more obscure.

I’ll get to the old favourites in a minute, but first I want to celebrate two new ones. The first one is a series which has its first book in my original fandoms post. I’ve now read the second and discovered that not only is there a third book due out this month, but that the collection has a name: introducing the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers. The two books so far are A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit, and the third book that’ll be released soon is Record of a Spaceborn Few. I can’t wait! Becky Chambers has a really good way of worldbuilding her stories, and the story of how she became published is interesting. Books in the series have won some prestigious awards as well.

The second series I am adding to my Fandoms wall is, as promised, The Chaos Walking. I gushed about it a bit under a month ago, but I really like the character development of Patrick Ness’ stories, and the way he asks questions about human nature.

I’m going to also promote The Moorehawke Trilogy here, because while it was first placed in the “read once, really liked it, searched for more” section of this post, seeing it on the list made me realise I hadn’t done the final part of that. Celine Kiernan has other works out too, and judging from my memory of Moorehawke, they should be good.

Now, onto the “old favourites and other things” section of this post.

I separated Harry Potter and both of Tamora Pierce’s series from the rest because I think that they’re the ones I keep returning to. HP was my first major (second remembered) fandom and I love it for that, and the depth of many characters, and the idea of the magical world existing beside our own. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to critique it, when I see ways it could be better.

Tamora Pierce’s Tortall and Emelan worlds are put here because they’re fun mediaeval fantasy – that has lots of diversity, magic, and deep world-building. The Tortall world has had some new books come out relatively recently: Tortall: A Spy’s Guide and Tempests and Slaughter (book 1 of the latest series, the Numair Chronicles). I engage with her series’  critically as well, when I need to.

Some of the series on the original list I liked more when I was a teenager than perhaps now. I’ll still enjoy them if I pick them up but perhaps some of that is nostalgia.  LIke Rangers Apprentice, Deltora Quest, Rowan of Rin series, Rondo trilogy, Saddle Club, Warriors, and books by particular authors like Roald Dahl and Jackie French.

Some titles on the list, I’ll keep being involved in the fandom even if they’re not my primary ones at present. Most of the ones on the list fall into this category: Star WarsStar TrekHunger Games, DivergentTo Kill a Mockingbird, LotR and The Hobbit, His Dark Materials, Doctor WhoChronicles of Narnia* and Call the Midwife. Also to a certain extent it includes ones I read/watched once and liked, and maybe looked at the other works by the authors for a time: Earth’s Children series,  New Tricks, Vera, Dr Blake Mysteries*.

Two in that list have asterisks next to them because as I’ve mentioned before, I enjoy my fandoms with a critical eye, and for those two, in particular, there are parts of their stories that are uncomfortable. With Narnia, it’s CS Lewis’ treatment of Susan in the later books that gets my goat (as well as certain preachy elements). With Dr Blake Mysteries it’s that, while the show was fairly decent (especially series 1-3, and parts of series 5), the actor who played Dr Blake (Craig McLachlan) turned out to be Not Nice behind the scenes. (There was a big expose on that at the start of this year/ end of last year.)

 

What now for Manus?

Urrrrgh.

I bloody hate this situation.

I’ve made phone-calls, including to Peter Dutton MP (Minister for Immigration and Border Protection). I’ve also sent an email to my local member, Bill Shorten MP (Opposition Leader) and Shayne Neumann MP (Shadow Minister for Immigration).

See that below. This sickens me…. and I feel so hopeless and helpless about it.

Check out the statement from Shadow Minister for Immigration here:  http://shayneneumann.com.au/news/immigration-and-border-protection/former-manus-island-regional-processing-centre/ A lot more mealy-mouthed than I’d hoped for. Luckily I saw it when looking up his contact details and could address the icky bits in my email (they’re the bits in red). In the email, when I speak of the “current situation” I’m referring to the situation today. The angle I took was influenced by a phone-chat I had with a staffer from Shayne Neumann’s office.

 

Dear Mr David Feeney MP, Mr Shayne Neumann MP and Mr Bill Shorten MP,

My name is Clare Keogh and I am a young university student living in [suburb], Victoria. I am deeply concerned about the situation on Manus Island that has been unfolding for several weeks and escalated today. I am also keeping the people detained on Nauru in my thoughts, as they should not be forgotten either.
I know that the current situation is not Labor’s doing and that the centres, when Labor restarted them, was intended to be used for regional processing rather than indefinite detention. 
 
However, the fact remains that the current situation is not the responsibility of PNG but of Australia. There have been reports of AFP involvement in today’s crisis on Nauru, after all. 
 
By what right are the men’s phones being seized? By what right are their few belongings being taken and destroyed? By what right have their only means of getting water and shelter been destroyed? By what right has their access to even the most basic medical aid and food been removed? Why has Behrouz Boochani been arrested?
 
I understand that, as you are in Opposition, it makes it harder to make concrete change. But you and your colleagues should speak up about the situation still. Perhaps you are advocating for them behind closed doors. Can you explain, concretely, how? 
 
I am particularly concerned by some of the information that has been presented in the statement produced by Mr Neumann an hour ago: 
 

The situation at the closed Manus Island RPC could have been avoided if Malcolm Turnbull was clear from the start about refugees’ access to essential services at the alternative accommodation in PNG.

Turnbull has a moral obligation to work with PNG to deescalate tensions and guarantee the ongoing safety and security of these people.

Labor accepts that the former Manus Island RPC has closed as the result of a decision of the Supreme Court of PNG.

The men at the closed centre need to relocate to alternative accommodation – such as East Lorengau – to access security, health and welfare services.

Footage and reports from advocates who have visited the East Lorengau site make clear that the “alternative accommodation” at East Lorengau is not ready. No water, toilets, or showers. No power. Inadequate shelter for the tropical conditions. No security and no safety. The locals do not want them there. After all, Manus Island is a tiny part of PNG, with scarce resources for the local population.
 
Has anyone from Labor attempted to go and see conditions for themselves? Where has this idea that the offered alternative accommodation is acceptable come from? Why is the onus on the men to move there, rather than the violence to stop? The men have been asking us to listen to them about this. Why are you ignoring their voices? 
 
 
Nauru is also a small place that is struggling to care for all of its people. Yet today I heard news of a new contract being given to Canstruct to build more facilities (described as “garrison-type”) for those held there. There are children and vulnerable women on Nauru. Can nothing be done for them? 
I thought Australia was better than this. It makes me sick at heart to think of this going on, when it would be so much cheaper and more humane to fulfil our international and moral obligations and either bring them here or resettle them in another country who are willing and able to take them – like New Zealand – while working with other countries in the region to create a viable long-term solution. 
 
The idea that these measures are in place to “save lives at sea” or “protecting Australian borders” is rubbish. There are far cheaper and better ways of preventing people risking lives on boats to Australia, like investing in real regional dialogue and processing, providing support and resources to countries, like Malaysia and Indonesia, where the boats set out from. 
 
The current situation is a punitive measure created to encourage asylum seekers to think that going to Australia is worse than staying where they are. Now that has led to desperate people being treated like animals, denied even the most basic human rights. 
 
Please do something. This is a major sticking point for myself and many others in terms of voting. More than that, making a stand is the right thing to do. Have some political courage, listen to those who are experiencing the crisis, and act, please. The situation has gone on for far too long! 
 
If you reply, please don’t use an automated response but something real. 

Marriage Equality Essay

Last year I took a subject as an elective called Sex, Gender, Identity. It was an introductory subject that encouraged us to explore different aspects of those three things and how “the personal is political” (original quote author unknown). The final assignment for the subject was an essay which we could choose the topic from a list. I chose to examine marriage – the feminist critiques and marriage equality movement. The resulting essay gained me the highest mark I’ve ever received on an assignment. But more importantly, the research I did educated me about the topics and reaffirmed my stance on the issue. Below is an edited version of that essay. Please read.

I’ll note that I’m in a privileged position in writing this article. I’ve been raised in a heterosexual environment, I’m in a heterosexual relationship and I’ve had to learn about these things second-hand. So these are my opinions backed by evidence collected from academic sources as well as personal ones.

 

Marriage: an institution which involves formal recognition of the union of two people, conferring legitimacy on an intimate relationship (3). This formal recognition usually grants a range of social, religious and legal benefits, rights and responsibilities (3) and has existed in some form for centuries (14). At the moment, the most easily-recognised and legitimised marriage is monogamous and opposite-sex – it’s still considered the norm. Challenging this norm, same-sex marriages have begun to be recognised in many countries after the hard work and activism of advocates. For many, this is a positive step for LGBTIQA+ people and society as the gains are seen to outweigh potential negatives. However, other activists are not as sure, as they take a more radical view that marriage should be either changed completely or left behind together. I investigated these two competing discourses and drew conclusions for this piece.

Firstly, the positives. 🙂 It has been suggested that access to marriage is tied, metaphorically and/or physically, to full citizenship rights in society (9). Also, as the phrase, “equal before the law” suggests, in democracies, the law is a place where all citizens should be equal (8). Hence, marriage is seen as a pathway to acceptance and legitimacy, a way of demonstrating that what people feel for each other is real and valuable. A chance to throw a big party and show how much they love each other. The exclusion of LGBTIQA+ people could be and has been argued to be an intolerable discriminatory practice. It has been suggested that in order for LGBTIQA+ rights to advance, all formal barriers to full equality must be overcome (2)(4) before or while other steps are taken – like fixing anti-discrimination laws (10). Due to the prominence of marriage in society, it can be seen as symbolic of other rights and some have argued that governments which do not afford equal respect of and protections for both LGBTIQA+ and heterosexual intimate relationships enable and participate in systemic homophobia and heterosexism (4). It has also been argued that this inequality harms LGBTIQA+ people in substantial, material ways – from subtle exclusion to violence (1)(2)(4). I agree with this – I’ve read very compelling personal accounts from people over the last few weeks and before that (not to mention hearing the lived experiences of my friends) which demonstrate the truth of it (6) (11). I also agree with the contention that one way of combatting the harms is to work towards full equality, including in marriage, for all regardless of sexuality. Research shows that there are particular social, legal and psychological benefits to this.

Marriage can reinforce partnership bonds, facilitate parenting and generate levels of social support for those who participate (7). LGBTIQA+ participation in marriage widens the scope of marriage norms, as non-traditional roles and practices are expressed, intentionally or otherwise (1)(7), providing additional choices and freedoms. For example, with children. It could be said that the very presence of LGBTIQA+ people and families in so-called public spheres changes and destabilises the unconsciously accepted heteronormative view (1) of society. Hmm, maybe that’s why the conservatives get so grumpy about it. Well, they can suck it up, because change is a thing that happens. Changes to societal views of family and so on include what is seen as normal by children – everything from the gender of their parents and/or extended family members, to how gendered or egalitarian their household is. Research shows that in observing and learning about these practices and by educating each other, children become directors of change (1). After all, we’re products of where we come from, influenced by the personal world(s) we inhabit. And if those worlds are more equitable, so much the better. The presence of children also highlights discriminatory practices which occur within the current system which privileges marriage, particularly heterosexual marriage, over other relationships (4). To many LGBTIQA+ people, the idea of only being allowed something separate-and-different to marriage does not work if it’s not seen as legally and emotionally equal to it. Even if/when marriage alternatives were given equal rights, benefits, protections and obligations as marriage, it can be argued that LGBTIQA+ people are still discriminated against simply because they’re still unable to choose between marriage, a civil partnership, or something else (14).

But what about the feminist/queer case against marriage? Feminists have criticised marriage as being oppressive to women due to patriarchal structures of power for many years (14). These power structures are those which reinforce a socially conservative breadwinner model (5) – an opposite-sex relationship of mandated monogamy, working husband and dependent wife bearing the brunt of housework and child-rearing (9). If you think about it, this model has been – and still is – at the core of public policy for some time (5)(15). Non-traditional families – such as single parents, mixed-race partnerships, and LGBTIQA+ families – challenge the model. You can tell this from the way conservatives react. However, I’ve read concerns about whether the model is really being challenged (15). There’s an argument that marriage equality campaigns are being turned into binary debates of for and against. These leave little room for valid critiques of the social and economic institutions of marriage, and how the societal privileging of marriage marginalises other intimate relationships (9)(13). The argument continues that while the potential benefits of marriage should be recognised, the next or concurrent step should be to push for those rights to be expanded to all intimate consensual relationships. There’s a risk, activists argue, that not doing this would go against hard-fought-for feminist freedoms (12) and create a new tiered system within the LGBTIQA+ community of the socially acceptable marrieds held above the rest of the queers. This could lead to a reinforcing of conservative heteronormative marriage ideas, merely expanded slightly.

Despite this, there’s no question that many LGBTIQA+ people do want to get married (4), even as they recognise its pitfalls. Marriage as an institution isn’t necessarily seen as a good thing – but the equality before the law is (2). Marriage is a complex institution and we should resist the urge to press it into one box or another (5). If and when marriage equality becomes reality, then the contradiction of being separate-but-equal (13) is removed. It then becomes a choice for all, heterosexual and LGBTIQA+ alike, as to whether we’ll participate in marriage and how we could or would change the institution for the better. As it currently stands, some of the population have only a restricted choice and how is that choice then free or fair? Alongside this, we then work for the expansion of legal and economic protections, currently enshrined in marriage, to all relationships so that all intimate consensual relationships are valued (5). We could even go further and ensure that welfare rights are fair for all regardless of relationship, employment and monetary status (5). This then challenges the conservative understanding that defending the rights of women, LGBTIQA+ and other marginalised groups undermines committed caring relationships. At the same time, it dismantles the patriarchal heteronormative one-size-fits-all approach and works towards a more caring society, away from the outdated universal breadwinner model to a universal caregiver one. In this latter model, LGBTIQA+ people would be just as accepted for caregivers and caregiving as heterosexuals (5). This opens up possibilities for greater awareness on and attention to other intersectional issues. After all, attending to one issue does not prevent us from working on others and “those of us who are interested in fighting for justice and the flourishing of sentient beings in any of these contexts should be interested in fighting for justice in all of these contexts” (4, p. 77).

 

In other words, I’m in favour of marriage equality, as I’ve previously discussed. Btw, for me, my religious beliefs influence that view positively, as I’ve mentioned before as well. I’ll be unpacking that side of the argument soon too. If the postal survey goes ahead I’ll be participating in it and voting yes. I hope if you’re an Australian reading this that you will too.

If the postal survey goes ahead I’ll be participating in it and voting yes. I hope if you’re an Australian reading this that you will too.

 

References (these got a little muddled when rewriting this into a post, but I’d really encourage you to check them out):

  1. Bernstein, M. (2015). Same-Sex Marriage and the Future of the LGBT Movement. Gender & Society, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 321–337, DOI: 10.1177/0891243215575287
  2. Bevacqua, M. (2004). Feminist Theory and the Question of Lesbian and Gay Marriage. Feminism & Psychology, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 36–40, DOI: 10.1177/0959-353504040300
  3. Budgeon, S. (2009). Marriage, in Encyclopaedia of Gender and Society, O’Brien J, (ed.), vol. 2, Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, pp. 505-508.
  4. Callahan, J, 2009, ‘Same-Sex Marriage: Why It Matters—At Least for Now’, Hypatia, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 70-81.
  5. Ferguson, A, 2007, ‘Gay Marriage: An American and Feminist Dilemma’, Hypatia, vol. 27, no. 1, pp.39-57.
  6. Gadsby, H. (2017, August 17). “Probably a good time to repost my anti-plebiscite piece…” Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fhannahgadsbycomedy%2Fposts%2F10155675309518000
  7. Green, AI, 2010, ‘Same-Sex Marriage: Lesbian and Gay Spouses Marrying Tradition and Innovation’, Canadian Journal of Sociology, vol.35 no. 3, pp.399-436. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org.ez.library.latrobe.edu.au/stable/canajsocicahican.35.3.399
  8. Harrison, JB, 2015, ‘At Long Last Marriage’, Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law, vol. 24, no. 1, pp.1-60.
  9. Josephson, J, 2005, ‘Citizenship, Same-Sex Marriage, and Feminist Critiques of Marriage’, Perspectives on Politics, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 269-284.
  10. Lawrie, A. (2017, July 29). A quick guide to Australian LGBTI anti-discrimination laws [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://alastairlawrie.net/2017/07/29/a-quick-guide-to-australian-lgbti-anti-discrimination-laws/
  11. Lawrie, A. (2017, August 9). 2,756 Days. Frustration and love [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://alastairlawrie.net/2017/08/09/2756-days-frustration-and-love/
  12. Marso LJ, 2010, ‘Marriage and Bourgeois Respectability’, Politics & Gender, vol. 6, no. 1, pp.145-53, DOI: 10.1017/S1743923X09990572
  13. Merin, Y, 2002a, ‘Chapter 2: The Changing Institution of Marriage and the Exclusion of Same-Sex Couples’, in Equality for Same-Sex Couples, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 6-60.
  14. Merin, Y, 2002b, ‘Chapter 10: Alternatives to Marriage and the Doctrine of “Separate but Equal” ’, in Equality for Same-Sex Couples, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 278-307.
  15. Wilson AR, 2010, ‘Feminism and Same-Sex Marriage: Who Cares?’, Politics & Gender, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 134-145, DOI: 10.1017/S1743923X09990560
  16. Young, C & Boyd, S, 2006, ‘Losing the Feminist Voice? Debates on the Legal Recognition of Same Sex Partnerships in Canada’, Feminist Legal Studies, vol. 14, pp. 213–240, DOI 10.1007/s10691-006-9028-8.

 

#MIV2018 Update: Registration is OPEN! 

I’m so excited right now. If you’re interested, follow the links below from the email I received overnight. I’ll be doing that tonight after placement. It’s going to be a blast. Come along!

____________________________________


From the Convenors’ desk…

Hi groovers,

Exciting things are happening in Melbourne. At our AGM a few weeks ago we welcomed Cameron, Gemma and Justina to the committee and we’re glad to have them on board.

And now, for the news you’ve all been waiting for. We are so incredibly excited to announce that registrations for MIV 2018 are officially open!


Register now for the festival and secure your place in the Summer of 69.
We can’t wait to see you – there’s only 6 months to go!

Peace and love,
Alex and El xoxo

Reblog: Resolutions: Good or Bad

I find resolutions interesting. As I commented on Noelle’s post (linked below),

I like ones that are “commitments to try”, so to speak. You know they’re goals and things you’d like to do, but they’re not “have-tos”.

Setting unattainable resolutions can lead to trouble or so it seems – we gain only negative emotions when we revert to old habits after promising to keep to a path for a year.

I remind myself that these are goals, to be practiced and worked on during the year but not mandatory.

With that in mind, some ones for this year are:

  • Do well in my Masters coursework etc.
    – Ask for help if I need it and monitor myself so that the changes of this year don’t cause my grades to drop.
  • To listen twice as much as I speak;
    –   I’ll be addressing this in more depth later, but as I’m a talker and social person who also is a “Feeler” (high F in Myers-Briggs, for example), I worry about my ratio of talking to listening. So I’m working on it.
  • Alongside the above is my want to actively practice my Feeling
    –   Again, I’ll explain in another post, but cultivating my empathetic presence is important to me. These first two are very connected.
  • To get back into blogging
    – I fell off a regular blogging schedule a bit over the second half of 2016, but I’d like to be more consistent.
  • To get back into writing my story.
    – I’ve done quite a lot of backstory-work but haven’t actually done any story-writing for a while. I need to get back into that.
  • To be more active and finding more walking spaces.
    –   I’m not naturally a person who gets active, as I’m not sporty. But I like nature and I like walking and I know I ought to be sitting less. I’m not interested in overdoing it though, as I’m skinny enough as it is.

Idea taken from the post linked below:

What are your thoughts on setting New Years Resolutions? Have you completed yours in the past or are you one of those who forgets what they are? Come read about the good and the bad of setting reso…

Source: {DISCUSSION} Resolutions: Good or Bad

#BringThemHere

https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/refugees/bringthemhere/upload-your-own-bringthemhere-message

I did this yesterday:

ESP Bring-Them-Here_photo 1.jpg
The Equality, Sustainability & Peace (ESP) Group at La Trobe says: #BringThemHere!

We stand with those on Manus and Nauru – we love you and support you. It’s past time for the government to stop stuffing around and close the camps. Set up some humane processes, open up onshore and offshore detention centres and #bringthemhere to #letthemstay.

Momentum is building – join us!

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/aug/17/this-is-critical-103-nauru-and-manus-staff-speak-out-their-letter-in-full?CMP=share_btn_tw

 

 

 

Shared: what happened last Thursday – a hopeful take

The below text is from an email that I was sent last week on Friday. Hurrah for the development of politics of conscience (at long bloody last). Let’s keep it going.

———————————————–

This is a long email, but I’ve just returned from Parliament House, and I wanted to let you know exactly what happened.

Yesterday, Scott Morrison’s Government played games in the Senate and then fled the House of Representatives – leaving their entire policy agenda behind – to avoid a bill that would compel Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to transfer children, their families and anyone else in need of medical assessment and treatment from Manus and Nauru to care in Australia. 

But the Morrison Government’s cowardice didn’t stop Senators from an extraordinary coalition of conscience. They voted hour after hour after hour, up against a filibuster from the Government, Pauline Hanson and Cory Bernardi on the final day of sitting for 2018, to push the #KidsOffNauru legislation through the Senate. 

But the final Senate vote came one hour too late. By the time it had passed, the Morrison Government had already shut down the House of Representatives and literally fled the building. 

It was a bittersweet moment. But this legislation will still be waiting when the House of Representatives returns in February – and it will pass. When it does, within 48 hours of it becoming law, we will see the kids and their families off Nauru, and emergency flights of critically ill men and women from offshore detention touch down in Australia. 

But Clare, to come within one hour of passing a bill that would have brought children and critically ill people from Manus and Nauru to Australia BY SUNDAY was absolutely heartbreaking. 

Newly elected Dr Kerryn Phelps, who drove this Bill through in the first fortnight of her Federal career, slumped back in her chair as the Bill passed the Senate but the lights were already off in the House. 

These same scenes repeated themselves as Senators left the chamber. Senator Tim Storer who tabled the Bill, having worked night after night to finely balance competing considerations across the political spectrum, had his head buried in his hands. 

But the thing I most wanted to tell you, Clare, was that in that same moment that our politics most failed us, the incredible potential of politics and our democracy was also at its most evident. 

The extraordinary events of yesterday happened because politicians of principle genuinely listened to the people-powered movement in Australia, and the voices of those still detained. Politicians who knew that the treatment of those on Manus and Nauru isn’t about left and right – it’s about right and wrong. 

I watched the Australian Greens Senators huddle anxiously together outside the Chamber door (with Adam Bandt actually running across from the House of Representatives), trying to find a way through the Government’s filibuster. They knew they were just inches away from saving the lives of those in offshore detention, whose rights they had defended for decades. 

Greens Immigration spokesperson Senator Nick McKim stood shoulder to shoulder with Senator Storer to table the bill, working tirelessly with people from across the political spectrum hoping for a win especially for the oft-forgotten adults. As, McKim exited the Senate when it was all done, close to tears, all he could say was:“How can I tell those people in the camps they have to wait another three months for treatment, when they needed it yesterday.” 

I watched the women of the House of Representatives crossbench, Rebekha Sharkie, former Liberal MP Julia Banks, and Cathy McGowan embrace Dr Phelps and her Bill. They also stood in their own right to argue in different ways for a sensible solution to the medical crisis that has enveloped the children, and the adults in offshore detention. 

I watched Senator Derryn Hinch forced to battle Twitter trolls from his Senate seat, remaining emphatic that he stood with all kids, including those detained offshore – even as the Morrison Government cynically dangled legislation he had long fought for to entice him over to their side. He sat alongside Centre Alliance Senators Griff and Patrick, both weary and indignant at the antics of the Government playing with Parliamentary procedure to avoid following the clear desireof the Australian public to get kids off Nauru, and follow doctors’ orders with the women and men. 

There stood Andrew Wilkie and his staff, biting their nails as they watched the Senate filibuster and then the House of Representatives clock. Wilkie had put the initial #KidsOffNauru Bill forward in the House months ago, but had graciously worked with everyone else to help draft a new Bill and find a new pathway through the Senate to ensure it become law. He stood repeatedly in the House this week, as he has done for years and years, arguing for justice for the people detained in our name. 

And then, after so long of being ripped apart on this issue, I watched the Australian Labor Party. Penny Wong, on her feet for hours at the table in the Senate, stabbing her finger in righteous fury at the Government’s dirty tricks. Their Senators determined to hold, in the face of fear-mongering Government speeches about boats and borders, to the fundamental tenet that sick people should never be denied treatment. When Opposition Leader Bill Shorten stood before snapping cameras and said kids should be off Nauru late last night, he stood for the work of a united Labor caucus led by Shadow Immigration Minister Shayne Neumann, which went back and forth for months between lawyers, doctors and internal champions – intent on finding the way through, even from Opposition, to finally address the medical crisis offshore. 

What I saw yesterday was a coalition of conscience emerge. And it renewed my faith in the promise of our politics. 

I watched this coalition of conscience come together and come within one hour of delivering a historic defeat to a cruel Government which has let 12 people die on their watch in offshore detention. 

I saw politicians put aside party and ego. I saw them work together the way we always want them to. I saw them sneaking BBQ Shapes just off the Senate floor, because the filibuster meant they hadn’t eaten since 7am. I saw their faces crumple as they realised children would be spending another 3 months in detention, because the Government had thwarted them on timing. I saw them shake off the despair and go out with a grim smile for the media. And I saw them promise, on national television, that they would be waiting, when the Parliament returns on the 13th of February, to finally deliver care and safety to those offshore, and pass this Bill before the House so it becomes law. 

That’s why I wanted to email you right now even though the words aren’t polished and I’m still in my pyjamas. Because I want you to know that yesterday showed us that this fight is still worth it. I want you to know that every email you send, every phonecall you make, every protest you attend – it’s all worth it. 

Because while politics created the cruel offshore detention regime, it can also break it. 

Stay tuned for next steps. Because this movement won’t just sit waiting for February. We’re going to keep fighting, every step of the way alongside those people detained in our name. And now we know that we will win. 

Yours in hope, 

Shen and Renaire for the GetUp! team 

Ps. The Government’s going to come for this coalition of conscience before February. With Dutton’s usual lies about boats and brown men and what-not. We must be ready to fight back. 

Reblog: Labor, Outrage and Encryption. But Why? A Wicked Problem.

Insights from “The Red Window” about another political issue that got people grumpy last week.

She makes some good points, though does take a few swipes at the Greens because she’s partisan. She admits it. Don’t let that deter you from reading it though. It explains things quite clearly and is worth a read.

There has been a lot of vigorous debate on Twitter about the Encryption Bill and Labor’s role. Here is my take on how it all panned out and why. I think the WHY is important because no one seems to want to discuss that. The WHYs are just as important in politics as the Whats, Hows, and Whens. Please note, this is not a debate about encryption technology. It is my take on why Labor made certain decisions. Everyone can decide for themselves.

https://polyfeministix.wordpress.com/2018/12/07/labor-outrage-and-encryption-but-why-a-wicked-problem/

A political rhyme

I thought my first post back after my accidental hiatus /

Would be full of funny musings, an update on my life’s status./

(Free from uni, qualified at last, job hunting and house-move planning set my time steadfast.) /

Or, perchance, a recipe post, I’m overdue for a few of those; /

Plenty of good meals I’ve made in the past two months or so.

Instead, today, I share a rant of politics and power, /

And how a scummy gov’ment contrived to shorten the hour/

And day of parliamentary dismissal,/

To ensure they wouldn’t lose a vote on the floor; no it’s not apocryphal.

Bad enough the week before, they ignored the message sent /

By striking students out to plead and shake some common sense /

Into the minds of climate-change-denying politicians, who are proving remarkably dense. /

This week’s fight was for a different cause, another long-fought war;/

Of words and desperate actions to free those forbidden from our shore; /

Their only “crime” to have fled for their lives, to a safer haven/

Through a dangerous voyage not lightly undertaken. /

A passage that’s NOT illegal, despite what some may say,/

All they want is hope, and we’ve taken it away. /

For six long years, they’ve languished in island hellholes;/ it’s made many sick, with malaise physical and of the souls. /

They’ve bled and struggled and DIED there, out of sight and mind, /

Of the Aussie gov’ment, who are wilfully blind, /

To the cries of anguish from detainees and friends; /

Willing to #bringthemhere and let their trauma end.

And what about the kids? The nation began to ask. #kidsout became the rallying cry; was that too much to ask?

Momentum slowly built, then took off with a rumble; /

When a new independent stood and declared her trouble,/

With the current practices, and made her stand clear. /

“Support my Bill, it’s past time now to bring these people cheer/

And the medical attention that they so sorely need. /

The gauntlet thrown, the players aligned themselves one-by-one; /

Amendments saw Labor at LAST stand up strong. /

For a moment, we felt the gasp, of fresh clear air, /

Heralding a new way forward, the day was nearly here. /

But before we could release our sighs of relief, /

The government went and slammed the door, a thief!/

They knew they’d lose a vote but fought it all the same; /

Continuing their endless turn of passing the blame. /

They trotted out the tired lines of “stopping the boats” and “protecting borders”, /

Ignoring how we all know how they’re false orders,/

Designed to give a reason to an unreasonable crime,/

Of locking up the innocent, for fear and power sublime. /

Yet they call themselves Christian? That I don’t understand, /

When the foundation family once sought refuge in other lands. /

Today’s government has cognitive dissonance of the highest order, /

Drunk on power and influence, and an imaginary world order.

A fact they forget, or they’re choosing to ignore,/

Next year is an election year when we can settle the score. /

They’re on the nose already and can only delay so much,/

When their time’s up, it’s up, regardless of what they do to try to keep in touch, /

Their fake promises and tax cuts will be seen for what they are,

And if they try the racist dog-whistle, well it won’t get far – /

They tried it at a local level last month and it was found quite bizarre./

So angry people discouraged by the latest conservative gasp, /

Let’s follow the State example and chuck them out on their arse!

Another life update

I’ve been busy, these past few weeks. My final placement is nearly over. I’m nearly fully qualified! I just have to do a few tasks this week to finish strongly.

I hope that if you’ve got access to ABC or iview, you’re watching the program “Don’t Stop the Music”. It’s awesome! A great show about why music education is important and valuable. It also makes me reflect on my privilege.

For those of you who are voting in the Victorian state election on Saturday, the Victorian Electoral Commission’s website is a good resource for finding out which parties will be on your ballot papers. I’m going to use the lists to create my own how-to-vote card so I can think about it beforehand.

After it’s finished, I hope to get back into a blogging rhythm. I have some recipes to share, and other thoughts.

For now, enjoy some pictures of a rose in a family member’s garden; and a kick-arse Hufflepuff badger meme.

A red rose on a green stem is outlined by the flash of the camera against a red-and-yellow brick wallA Hufflepuff crest of black, silver and yellow, with a badger in the middle. Beneath the badger on the crest are the words: “just” and “loyal”. Above and below the crest are words reading: Do no harm but take no shit.

Busy, busy

Hi there! Oof, it’s been a bit longer than I intended since my last post. I’ve been keeping busy… I’m now halfway through my final placement and am starting to look beyond uni, putting feelers out there.

I have also participated in the LaTUCS semester 2 concert for 2018, last Thursday. Very fun indeed!

I’ve been cooking this and that – I hope to add to my recipe posts again soon.

I’m learning and growing and reflecting. Life is pretty good, if a bit hectic.

This week’s tasks include finishing my AHPRA registration (the thing that will allow me to practice as an occupational therapist!), learning different things on placement, and some adulting in the form of future-planning.

Hopefully, it’s not two weeks in-between posts when you hear from me next.

 

Life Update

I wrote this over the weekend, listening to the Les Miserables soundtrack. I kept getting snippets in my head after hearing songs from it the other week, so played the soundtrack to hear them fully. That led me to think about timelines and such, which led me to this interesting blog post, “Enjoy Les Mis, but please get your history straight“.

Anyway. The day you read this, I’ll be back on placement, ready for the next seven weeks. My last weeks of university for my Occupational Therapy course. The first week was good; may the rest be even better.

Below are some nice nature shots I’ve taken lately. The other weekend, I saw a camellia bush that had been bred to have two different colours of flowers on it (red and white with red stripes). Other highlights from that day out photographed included lots of wattle trees and other plants, as well as a koala in a gum tree that was a bit too far off to photograph properly.

 

 

 

Feminism…

I had hoped to write a bit more this week but haven’t. Today, I feel like sharing a couple of articles from Clementine Ford, Melbourne-based feminist and writer. Please read and consider them.

Men Continue to Show Themselves to be Uninterested in Women’s Lives

Clementine Ford on How Men Are Harmed by Toxic Masculinity 

Edited to add: read that reddit thread mentioned in the second article. It drives the point home very strongly. Stupid patriarchy. -_-

Here’s a picture of a kookaburra from a few weeks ago, because I feel like it.

Kookaburra sitting in a gum tree (only branches of the tree are visible, no trunk) in front of a building with covered windows.

End of a good week…

This week has been busy, tiring, fun, challenging and motivating.

My placement is going to be a ton of fun, I can tell, and a great learning experience. I have such a lot to learn, but my enthusiasm for Paediatrics has been noted.

I’m at a school, so for the next two weeks placement pauses due to the Victorian school holidays. I’m going to use that time to brush up on a few relevant things, including my knowledge of Auslan.

There are also a few fun things happening, as well. Events that mark the approaching end of semester. One of those is tonight, so I’m off to have a good time with my OT cohort.

Btw, happy Bi Day of Visibility! 💖💙💜

Lovely to see Spring showing up today. Blossoms and sunshine! Have a good weekend everyone.

Sunset behind trees, with a lake in front

Endings and beginnings

Yesterday, after two years on the executive committee (one as vice-president and one as president), I stepped back. I gave up the LaTUCS presidency, and the position was successfully turned over to the new president. I’ve had a lot of fun and given a lot of time and effort to the role. Now it’s someone else’s turn! 😀

Today, I start placement, working in Paediatric OT at a specialist school. I’m excited and looking forward to it – I wonder what’s in store? It’s my final placement, in the area that I really want to work when I qualify. So let’s see how it goes!