REBLOGGED from The AIMN: We Need A Feminist

I agree completely with what Kaye Lee says here. I think it’s a bit odd that the new Minister for Women is someone who appears to have a problem with being a feminist. There are several forms of feminism, Ms Cash. We’re not all completely radical….unless of course you think it’s radical to say that women should have equal rights and opportunities to men in all things as much as possible?
You’d think that sort of attitude would work towards raising the bar overall, not lowering it or whatever it is that some seem to think.

We need a feminist

Australia now has a female Minister for Women. The only trouble is, she isn’t a feminist.

Now I know many people attach all sorts of connotations to the term feminist, many critical, but all it means is an advocate for women’s rights, something we desperately need more of.

Unfortunately, our new Minister for Women thinks “that movement was a set of ideologies from many, many decades ago now”, a view she shares with Miranda Devine who used her own delightful turn of phrase, saying “feminism is now well past its use-by date. It has just become an excuse for unhinged individuals with Daddy issues to indulge a mean streak.”

I guess the bar wasn’t set too high when our previous Minister for Women spent International Women’s Day at a local fire station receiving an award for his volunteer service.

Then again, both Ms Cash and her predecessor come from the party that chose to hold its International Women’s Day lunch at the men only Tattersall’s Club so nothing should surprise. In fact Tony Abbott said the women should consider it a victory that they were allowed to attend, a mark of how progressive the Liberal Party were at breaking down the bastions of male dominance….for one day, invitation from a male member required.

There are countless examples of why feminists must continue the good fight. Here are a just a few that were brought up at the recent Ernie Awards.

Take the Matildas.

The discrepancy between the Matildas and Socceroos was laid bare when it was revealed Australia’s national female footballers would be paid less in match fees if they made the final of the World Cup in Canada than the Socceroos get for a single group-stage game. As it turned out, they reached the quarter finals, better than the men have ever done.

National women’s soccer, cricket, and basketball teams are flown economy as a matter of course, while the male teams travel in business.

When Nick Kyrigos got a bit flustered in a tennis match, he went for the age old “I fucked your old lady” sledge. Ok, that isn’t quite what he said – his pitiful outburst was even more cowardly.

Too often, when men fail, they need someone else to blame and so it was when our cricket team was annihilated in their recent bid for the Ashes. According to Ian Healey, it’s because having their wives and girlfriends on tour was a distraction. Funny how all the rest of us are able to go to work each day, focus on the task at hand, and then return home to our families in the evening.

With 63 women dead from domestic violence incidents this year, Australian of the Year Rosie Batty has had some success in bringing long overdue attention to this scourge. Her courage has been amazing yet she must endure people like Mark Latham whose many attacks include tweeting “@RosieBatty1 Australian of the Year dividing the nation on the basis of gender. You owe my wife daughter and mother a massive apology.” Seriously?

When much-loved and best-selling Australian author Colleen McCullough died earlier this year, the Australian newspaper published an obituary which began: ”Plain of feature and certainly overweight…” Will the peacock mentality never end? When will women be judged by their achievements and contribution to society?

If Malcolm Turnbull wants people around the world to say gee they really respect women in Australia, I would suggest our Minister for Women better realise that we need some advocacy to change the endemic disrespect and discrimination that is alive and kicking more than a century after the battle was begun.

We need a feminist.

My Soundtrack

I love music. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m a reasonably good singer, by ear especially but also by sight. I also know how to play the piano and clarinet, but I’m rather out of practice and find they require more work. (As an aside, this means my main protagonist of the current story – as well as others within that story – has musical talent too!)

Music, to me, is therapeutic – in songs I find a resonance to life. Music is good for the soul that way; especially church hymns that I know of, but also others. They’re so pure and strong. I also feel that music shows life – I’m the sort of person that has a soundtrack of sound in my head through the day. Music gives us a way to express ourselves.

Anyway. At the end of high school a few years ago, I realised that I can track with reasonable accuracy a set of songs which correspond to my school years. I’ve since expanded that to go beyond the school years, now I’m out in the “big wide world”. These songs were either songs that I sort of remember singing around that time; were a part of some form of performance I was involved in; or I found to have a resonance in some other way – usually because of events happening during that year, personally or otherwise.

I use songs as a representation of the year. I can give a roll-call of what was going on in my life then, just by looking at the song titles. For instance, the first three of last year’s songs all came on the radio shortly after we’d heard about MH17; given the tone of the rest of the year, they stuck, along with the fourth song. Also, every two years in primary school we had a school concert, with each class doing something – so that’s at least one from Prep, Two, Four & Six. Then in high school, I was involved in musical theatre productions in Seven, Nine and Eleven. Since then, last year (and now this year!) I’ve been involved with other performances. Can you guess what the productions were?

My favourite bands/ artists include The Beatles, Queen, Coldplay, Powderfinger, Green Day….Graeme Connors, Paul Kelly, Enya, Avril Lavigne, Yothu Yindi, Hunters and Collectors, Shane Howard, Archie Roach, The Yolngu trio and others. As I’ve grown older and grown to understand some things more my tastes have changed slightly – some songs I just don’t touch now and some songs I like playing more than I used to, simply because I understand the lyrics a bit better.

I have a few “music goals”, in seriousness and in fun:
* To be aware of what I’m listening to, most of the time – asking, what message is my ‘playlist’ sending?
* To listen to and eventually acquire more Australian music, especially songs from Indigenous artists. I’ve heard of some (including Graeme Connors, Archie Roach, Paul Kelly, Yothu Yindi, etc.) but I want more.
* To do the same with some “wrock”. That’s Wizard Rock, to the uninitiated – fan music. What can I say, I’m a geek. 😉 It comes in many flavours – a personal favourite is “The Bravest Man I Ever Knew”.
* To investigate some of the bands and songs on the list I’ve collected. Like my “To Read” list, I have a habit of adding a band or song to the “To Listen” list after hearing, say, one song or something. Then I don’t seem to actually get around to following them up. 😛 Once I do, some will probably be added to the “favourite artists” list above.

So, this is my soundtrack. What’s yours?

Prep: Thank You for the Music (re-imagined as, “…the Stories”), Who Put the Bop, You’re the Voice

Year OneChicken Dance, Hello World (Saddle Club!)

Year Two: The Bear Necessities, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (most songs from the musical), Go West

Year Three: Strawberry Kissin’, Macarena

Year Four: Monster Mash, Barbie Girl, I’m A Believer

Year Five: When You Believe, Wake Me Up When September Ends

Year Six: Help!, Stop Right Now, Time of Your Life

Year Seven: Bugsy Malone, Fat Sam’s Grand Slam, You Give A Little Love, Get Right Back

Year Eight: Trying to Get to Sleep (Poem, by me), I Believe

Year Nine: A Very Merry Unbirthday To You, Painting the Roses Red, Never Too Old To Be Loved

Year Ten: Disturbia, Quarter After One, Rhinestone CowboyChristmas Shoes

Year Eleven: FAME!, Bring On Tomorrow, I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker, I Am 16 Going On 17, Fix You, This is Africa, I Will Remember You, Landslide

Year Twelve: Keep Holding On, Let It Be, Lean On Me, If I Were A Bell, Time of Our Lives, Friends Forever, Lanterns

2014Stand By Me, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Lean On Me, What A Wonderful World, Leaps and Bounds, Anderson’s Coast, Solid Rock, etc.

2015Singing the Spirit Home (for a number of reasons), We’re Better Than This, dunno what else yet!


I’ll keep updating this as the years go on. 🙂


I saw this last week on Eden’s website, edenland. It’s apparently the creation of Útmutató a Léleknek, a Hungarian writer. I think it’s beautiful.

Do You Believe In Mother?

A parable by Útmutató a Léleknek 
In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.” 

“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?” 

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.” 

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.” 

The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.” 

The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.” 

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.” 

The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?” 

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.” 

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.” 

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”

After all, in my opinion an open mind is an open heart. Like that quote from Alice in Wonderland (maybe from the 2010 movie more than the book, I can’t really remember): [Alice:] “This is impossible.” [Hatter:] “Only if you believe it is.”
It is the Great Mystery….

Looking for Humanity? Sign Here….but the kids are All Right

First story: No Business In Abuse

I support this group. Wholeheartedly. Strip away the labels and what remains are people – locked up in appalling conditions as a deterrence measure. They deserve to be free. All they’ve done is try to find a safer place to live, reluctantly leaving behind their homelands which have turned to hellholes in one way or another.
Companies support this inhumane bull. So we have to fight back and show them that we don’t. The way to hit companies is through their profits unfortunately. We’ve got to hit them where they hurt. I believe the campaign is based on the anti-apartheid campaign…..

22 Sep 2015
By Max Chalmers

A group targeting companies profiting from offshore detention won’t be stopped by taunts or legal risks. Max Chalmers reports.

A group of activists, lawyers, unionists and church groups causing increasing headaches for immigration detention contractor Transfield Services say they are prepared to kick on with the fight despite the ‘real risk’ of legal action being launched against them.

The group, which has taken the name No Business in Abuse, has seen a coalition of refugee action and support groups come together to heap pressure on the lead contractor in Australia’s offshore detention facilities by trying to ensure there are broader business ramifications for those who partake in the detention network.

Shen Narayanasamy, Executive Director of No Business in Abuse – who is also the Human Rights Campaign Director at GetUp! – said the campaign was seeking to “dry up” Transfield’s opportunities for expansion by signing individuals and businesses up to a pledge not to work with businesses that profit from the detention industry.

“We’re not only talking to people about a particular company, we’re talking about the values basis on which detention is currently enshrined, which is based on the human rights abuses of vulnerable people,” Narayanasamy said.

As the lead contractor for the Australian funded detention camps on Nauru and Manus Island, Transfield has already faced a separate campaign of divestments,with major super fund HESTA pulling the plug last month.

No Business in Abuse’s campaign shifts the focus to future projects, trying to encourage those working in other sectors where Transfield provides services – including health care, schools, and hospitals – not to do business with the company.
Read more here at winston close – original article from new matilda.

On another note:

Check out this page. The kids are all right, people! This kid is awesome. Joel, aged 9, saw something and was moved to help. One of the important takeaways is what Joel says about the kids on the news just being “other children”. Children like him. Refugees are like us. They have similar wishes and hopes: for a safe happy future, a good place to raise their kids, a steady job. The big difference: they have to fear for their life. We don’t. So why not help out? I’ve mentioned ways to do so several times now. 🙂

Hats off to you, Joel. You rock mate. 😀

From the fundraising website:

“I’m walking 115 miles from my house to Hope Square, London, to help child refugees. I’m 9 years old.
Joel Condron
Email Verified
133 Facebook Friends
United Kingdom
1 Team Member

Contact See More Details

Hello, my name’s Joel…

…and I live in Oakham, Rutland with my Mum, Dad and little brother. I’m 9 years old and like cars, football, playing my guitar, Minecraft and Lego. I go to school each day where I learn, play and hang out with my mates. I’m an ordinary English kid living in a safe town.

Lately, I have heard stories on telly about other children that have had to leave their home towns and go on dangerous journeys because there are bad people around that are fighting in wars. The news calls them refugee children. Some of these kids have had to walk a long way sometimes without their parents to find a safe place to live. A lot of them are even younger than me.

Five (very cute) Syrian refugee children pose for a photo at Domiz Camp in Iraq

I want to do something to help them, so in half-term I am walking 115 miles from my house to the Kindertransport statue in Hope Square, Liverpool Street Station, London so that people can give money to help these children get food, water and somewhere warm and safe to sleep.”


Watch this video below:

I was inspired to write this note after watching the ending of The Chaser’s Media Circus on the ABC last night. Usually it’s a show I only like in small doses, but at the start of the show Mum said she’d heard about something that would occur during it.

See, Peter Greste was a panelist and according to Mum, he was going to receive a text about the pardoning of Mohammed Fahmy during the show. The story she heard was true – at the very end of the show, just as they were finishing the official business, the host was signaled by a crewperson who brought over a phone. His two teammates crowded round as he read the message and at first they – and the rest of the cast – were joking.

But Greste didn’t say anything. I could see him reading the text and his mouth dropped open in shock. “Oh my God.” He managed to say, his whole self slumping a bit in relief. The host announced the “breaking news”: Mohammed Fahmy had been pardoned and was free. They didn’t know about the fate of Baher Mohammed yet (he was pardoned too!). I was quite moved by the expression on Greste’s face, as relief gave way to surprised joy and then jubilation. I saw a glimpse of that smile of his, famous from when he’d faced the media after flying home earlier in the year. But this time, there was more joy and less tiredness to it – though still plenty of relief.

After explaining the text and accepting congratulations – including hugs from teammates and applause and cheers all-round, he went on to speak further. He apologised for feeling emotional – as if he needed to. I was getting a bit choked up myself. For as Greste said – they’d been fighting over “the past eight months” for this.

“This” was the right to be free. The three men are journalists. They had been convicted (after quite the wait) of “spreading false news and supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood”.

The fact is, it is the job of journalists to report on things that need to be known, regardless of consequences or whether or not the government(s) like what they have to say. All deserve to have freedom to do that. One of the main pillars of democracy is a free press, which is able to hold others to account. It is essential that the press are allowed to do this without fear or being beholden to anyone (not easy).

I could be a smart-aleck about this point and how true (or not) it is in places closer to home with regard to Murdoch and the recent Border Farce (for instance), but I won’t. At least, not much, today. Though it is worth thinking about.

The news of the pardon is a victory, though there is still some way to go. (I don’t think Greste himself has been pardoned yet for instance – he was just deported a few months ago.)
We must keep fighting. But for today, we can share Greste’s smile.


Boundless Plains to Share

Check out the article below. It explains things very well and suggests solutions.

If you want to show your support for a view of Australia as a compassionate nation, willing to do its bit and more to help – rather than the “out-of-sight, out-of-mind”, “lock-’em-up-and-leave-’em” policies of now, there are rallies going on frequently. It’s not always just the capital cities which protest – they just get more attention. Heck, my hometown had two sizeable gatherings last week when vigils to protest the deaths of refugees like Aylan Kurdi were held across Australia. The main protest I know of is the “Walk Together” protest/ rally on October 31st in several capital cities and other places. It’s a “welcoming” protest, so it is more celebratory, perhaps, than some of the others.

From their Facebook page:

Walk Together 2015 will be a huge celebration of diversity and a loud declaration that thousands of Australians believe we can become a nation known for our compassion, generosity and welcome.
Faced with increasing instances of fear and prejudice, it’s more important than ever for values of compassion and welcome to reign. For the sake of our futures, it’s time to Walk Together.

Saturday October 31st at 11.00 am in your city.

Click through below for local details:
Canberra: starting location: near Westside Acton Park, 3 Barrine Drive
Gold Coast:
Mt Gambier:
Sunshine Coast:

Want to volunteer? Host a walk in a city not listed above? Have questions?

There is actually quite a lot of support for a real solution that’s genuine. So this isn’t the only protest occurring, far from it. There’s another one on earlier, on October 11 in Melbourne for instance. It’s called “Stand Up for Refugees” and is aimed specifically at protesting “Operation Sovereign Borders”, the “Border Force Act” and all the unpleasantness surrounding that. (So is perhaps a little narrower in focus.)

Alternatively, if you don’t like traditional protesting for whatever reason, there are other ways to get involved. I mentioned some of them last week, among other posts. Personally I won’t be going to the Oct 11th rally probably – I’ll be elsewhere in Melbourne, attending a picnic run by “Land of Welcome”: “Welcome Home Asylum Seeker Picnics, Learning Each Other’s Food & Culture”. The best way to stop the nonsense of sloganeering and othering and ethnocentrism that’s going on right now is to actually go out and meet people and hear their stories, after all. Ignorance breeds fear, which leads to hatred, which leads to bigotry. But knowledge counters those things, leading to acceptance and then understanding.

Start the boats

By Kris BullenPREFACEWhat a complicated and emotive topic.The challenges associated with refugees and asylum seekers are as vast as the numbers that are actually fleeing their countries. I simply cannot cover all of the considerations in this article. I also don’t know all of the challenges. I am only one person who is not primarily focused on this topic. I can comment only on what I know and understand and I will look to others to help me where my knowledge falls down.

At the end of this article you will find a number of references to resources that are generally far more researched than what I have detailed here. I encourage you to have a look at these to assist you in your understanding of the issue as it has certainly helped me in furthering my understanding of the situation.

I must state from the outset that I don’t agree with making the seeking of asylum in Australia so dangerous that Asylum seekers choose persecution and starvation in other countries over asylum in Australia. Sure that solves our refugee problem but what does that mean about Australian culture? I think we must reflect on the fact that it’s not long gone 200 years since Australia’s border were irreversibly over run and changed forever. Maybe we should reflect on how that occurred and seek to avoid the legacy that left for the original inhabitants of Australia and it’s new settlers.


There are an estimated 42.5 million people displaced by persecution and conflict in the world.

In 2011 only 0.7% of the worlds refugees were resettled.

In the context of our migration program, the number of asylum seekers arriving by boat to Australia is very, very minor. It is less than 1.5 per cent of new migrants.

The USA, Canada and Australia provide 90 percent of global resettlement places.

As at Jun 30, 2015 there are a total of 4,472 people in Australian detention centres (whether in Australia or in offshore detention).

At January 31, 2013, 47 per cent of Australian detainees were Sri Lankan nationals, 13 per cent from Iran and 11 per cent from Afghanistan. Of those in community detention, the largest group were Iranian nationals (34 per cent), followed by Sri Lankans (18 per cent) and Afghan nationals (15 per cent). I have circled these countries in blue on the below map for your reference.

Australia planned to migrate 190,000 people into Australia in 2014-2015. These are skilled workers and their families. Additionally, in the same period, Australia expects to resettle approximately 6,000 refugees (pre 9/9/2015 announcement by then PM Abbott on increasing numbers by 12,000 over an undetermined amount of time).


The war in Syria has been relatively protracted (since 2011) and has caused more than 4.5 million people to flee the area to neighbouring countries. The Syrian refugee crisis is ‘Europe’s biggest refugee movement since the second world war’ and the reasons for the movement of people are diverse and surprisingly somewhat speculative however, this article provides a good summary. I have circled Syria in red on the below map for your reference.


I will attempt to detail the most common thoughts on the challenges associated with Immigration in general, not just with asylum seekers and refugees.


Challenge: Many people hold a sincere fear that among the legitimate asylum seekers, there may be a number of people present who seek to do damage to Australia whether that is through terrorism or other acts.

We must also be mindful that Islamic State has espoused the dispatch of their soldiers to foreign lands with the sole intent of destruction.

Response: It has been determined that, because of Australia’s exhaustive screening process, the chances of anyone entering the country intending to cause harm or damage is almost nil.

I would also remind Australia of our heritage, we are Australians, we come from the Anzacs, we have a proud history of fighting hard and smart, and winning. We need not be scared of any threats, but always cautious and prepared.  If there is a risk to our country or our fellow countrymen/women, isolate it, assess it and then deal with it with determination and conviction.

We shouldn’t let our fear of unknown and unquantifiable threats dilute or dissolve our compassion and humanity when people turn to us for help.


Challenge: Australia already has a rising unemployment rate, we can’t handle any more people that need to be supported.

Response: I haven’t yet read anything that suggests how to effectively tackle this challenge. Things that I reflect on personally are; how much it costs us for our current offshore processing (detailed later in this article) and what benefits to any party we currently see from our existing detention process.


Challenge: Australia’s welfare system can’t handle the additional burden of taking on the refugees.

Response: As above.

I have seen numerous documents justifying the small amount of welfare, asylum seekers who are located in Community Detention are provided. However I struggle to understand how existing Australians such as the elderly and the disabled, afford to live on the amounts paid to them in welfare, therefore I do wonder how someone who does not understand how Australia works, is able to live off less money. Ultimately I don’t think that justifying how much we pay asylum seekers in community detention, by displaying how poorly we support the asylum seekers financially, should satisfy us that we are doing the best by them and us.


Challenge: Refugees and immigrants don’t want to assimilate with Australians or their culture, they will just end up in a ghetto.

Response: Personally, I believe that this should be considered in the integration process. The current situation where we keep people in closed detention centres and then release them into Community Detention with a  few restrictions is negligent and really is setting everyone up for failure. If we don’t teach people about Australia and Australians, and we don’t provide Australians with the opportunity to interact with the asylum seekers, how can we expect them to assimilate? Personally I would welcome the opportunity for my family and I to be engaged in the assimilation process. I’ve always welcomed the opportunity to have conversations with immigrants and refugees as it very rarely fails to open my eyes to how lucky we truly are in this country, and how much of a difference giving these people the opportunity to work and live in Australia makes to them and their family.


From what I deduce, there are two distinct groups who make up asylum seekers

  1. People who flee because of persecution. These people are generally more likely to be granted refugee status.
  2. People who leave their country to seek a country with better prospects. These people are usually fleeing poverty and not necessarily persecution. These people are often referred to as ‘Economic Refugees’.

Response: I look at both of these groups and I see merit in why they are seeking asylum. If I was in their situation I would also be considering seeking a better life and better opportunities than what is possible in my country.

I certainly see why it is important to prioritise issuing refugee status for those asylum seekers who risk torture, rape or execution if they return to their country.

Further to this though (and I will detail this later in the article), I also think that, if both the Economic Refugee and the country in which they are seeking asylum, are both able to benefit out of an asylum arrangement, why wouldn’t an arrangement be put into place?


Challenge: There are widespread reports of asylum seekers destroying any and all personal documentation before they reach the borders of countries in which they are seeking asylum. There are many reasons for this including;

  • the intention to delay the process of refugee determination
  • hiding the true identity of the individual because they want a fresh start
  • panic and uncertainty causes people who are distressed to do things that may not seem logical to onlookers
  • nefarious intent (discussed under the ‘security’ topic above)

Response: To this I would state that we must remember that priority number one of our Government is to ensure the protection of Australia and its people. Everything else falls behind this.

People without documentation pose an unknown threat. This is one of the reasons that it takes so long to determine refugee eligibility. Therefore, I would suggest that we certainly need to keep the unknown risk contained until each individual is determined to pose no risk to Australia or her people.

We also need to let the screening process run its course. If the process can’t be sped up without sacrificing its integrity, so be it.


The Syrian refugee crisis has arisen from many factors,  one of which, regardless of how good our intentions may have been, is that Western societies have been more than willing to enter these lands to teach the population how to wage war on each other and provide the tools in order to overthrow one dictator or regime after another. The problem generally comes when there is never any realistic or practical plan as to how to stabilise the country once the objective has been achieved. It is usually met with the provision of security training for local security forces that are often abandoned and consequently become ineffective. I would suggest that our current situation is an opportunity to show the people how a peaceful democratic society actually functions and we should not turn our backs or be fearful (we should act with caution, not fear). This may be our opportunity to help them to understand the mechanisms of peace as opposed to the mechanisms of war.

I recently had two conversations with two separate people whom I consider very worldly and intelligent. I was surprised that both those conversations, when touching on the topic of immigration and refugees, covered the idea that there needs to be a controlled and democratic location set up within the borders of the lands that the refugees are trying to escape. This is where the refugees, when the crisis that is causing them to flee their homes and when it is safe to do so, should be returned to. I must admit, at that time I hadn’t looked that far ahead and considered this as a plausible option.

Australia is one of the very few countries where the border is extremely secure. People can’t walk, train, bus or drive across our borders. They have to come either by official means through the air or via unauthorised means on the sea. With our technology and our military, we are able to easily identify and transport the people who travel by boat. Australia is truly lucky that we don’t have the challenges faced by countries such as Germany. This means we have a unique opportunity to contain and isolate any potential risks that refugees may pose.

The refugees are fleeing to Australia, because it is safer and has more potential than the country from which they come. In my opinion, Australia can not and must not allow itself to change in order to reflect the culture that is the source of the oppression and the danger from where these people come. However, in saying that, Australia and Australians must be mindful of their multicultural past and accept that refugees don’t only carry the burden of a failing society, there are positive aspects of the culture that they come from and Australians should take the opportunity to learn more about aspects of other cultures while showing the asylum seekers why Australian culture is relatively peaceful and its government is relatively effective.

If we are to take on more refugees and asylum seekers, we must find a viable and sustainable way to do so. Australia is a business, just like any other country. We need to make sure that our expenses aren’t out of control and indeed, it is ideal if our revenue exceeds our expenses. Refugees and asylum seekers are just like me, my family, my neighbours and most other Australians, we are all resources. I work for my employer and in return, I am rewarded. In my case, my employer provides me with professional development and remuneration that I can use to sustain my existence and hopefully further my career. It should be the same for the refugees and the asylum seekers. They flee their country looking for opportunities. Australia doesn’t have huge opportunities as our unemployment rates and welfare rates are already so high. So what we must do is consider if we can create a mutually beneficial arrangement where the refugees and Australia, can work towards a sustainable (and possibly temporary) model where;

  1. the refugees assist in the development of Australian industry and economy while
  2. Australia provides them with refuge and develops the refugees understanding of Australian culture including;
  • our language
  • our history
  • embracing multiculturalism
  • the peaceful and respectful co-existence of varied faiths
  • the mechanisms of democracy and all of its associated systems and consequences.

In 2014, Australia spent $1.2b (that’s $1,200,000,000) on offshore processing. Now, I’m no accountant but I can see that for most of the year, there were about 2,200 people in offshore detention. So that equates to about $545,000 per person to keep them in offshore detention. Things that must be noted here include;

  1. This does not take in to consideration how many were actually processed in that time
  2. The government expects the per person cost to decline in consecutive year


  • We need to understand the facts.
  • We need to understand the situation.
  • We need to look to our past to see what has happened in history in order to address issues and situations such as this.
  • We need to make a plan that satisfies as many of the people, countries, laws and international requirements as possible. This means the satisfaction of short term and long term goals.
  • We need to implement the plan and encourage as many of the other lead countries and agencies to be involved as possible.

Australia is currently in a situation where it is suffering from extreme drought and we are facing some pretty tough economic times. In last weeks blog, I spoke of the farmers who have been devastated by drought in Western QLD. I proposed the construction of a pipeline that captures our reclaimed water and sends it West. The biggest problem with this is that it is extremely expensive and getting a labor force large enough to undertake the work required is logistically difficult as well as very expensive.

In light of the current situation, I think that Australia has been presented with an opportunity to help develop itself, as well as assist in the protection and development of people who seek refuge in our country.

We have an opportunity to engage skilled Australians to mentor and train refugees in skills that will assist them in one or more of many things including;

  • If peace and safety is brought back to Syria and subsequently the refugees are eventually sent back, we are in a position to send them back with skills and knowledge that will make them invaluable to the redevelopment of their country.
  • If the Syrian conflict persists, the time that is spent in detention has been effectively used to train the refugees in English, vocational skills, Australian systems, methodologies, expectations and requirements. Therefore they are more likely to be accepted into many countries as a skilled migrant and no longer as a refugee. The time will also have been used to assess suitability for integration into Australian society.

In order to do this I would propose that refugees be provided with a similar ‘award wage’ to that of apprentices and trainees, however because many of the expenses of the individuals are being met by the government, the government would garnish wages in order to pay for the costs of provision of essential services. When the refugees are assessed as being able to be released from detention, I would hope that the refugees are able to enter society (whichever that ultimately is) with knowledge, skills, self-confidence and some savings.

With the demise of the mining boom, there are huge numbers of highly skilled and experienced Australian workers who could easily lead a multicultural workforce in the achievement of these common goals.

Additional to this, I would say that we should not exclude Australians from undertaking the jobs that would be created from the above proposal. If Australian workers, apprentices or trainees want to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented, they would be more than welcome as this would assist in the assimilation process as both cultures could learn a lot from the interactions with each other.

It seems like an oxymoron but intolerance would not be tolerated by any party. Mutual respect, courtesy and professionalism is crucial for all involved.

If I can draw any comparison of what I have proposed to other existing frameworks, I would compare this proposal to the ChAFTA, where in this instance, Australia would perform a similar role to Chinese businesses and the refugees would be similar to the workers that China would bring in to work on their projects. The major difference is that the financial benefits of this proposal are kept within Australia, the physical assets that are created remain Australian (building a revenue generating asset for Australia again) and instead of just providing remuneration to the workers who come and go as needed, we are investing in their personal and their countries future.

I would also like to note that what I am proposing is a more humane version of what happened to many refugees that resulted from WWII. In many cases, refugees were held in countries until they were able to be sent back to their countries of origin. Often the intent of the refugee camps or ‘displaced person’ camps were simply to keep people alive. Today, in this case, we have an opportunity to do much more.




Kris BAbout the author: Kris Bullen comes from a blue and white collar background and therefore sees merit in the focus of most political parties, but he has become disillusioned by the combative political arena that has emerged. Kris believes that as a consequence of the unwinnable ‘battle for supreme political victory’, Australia and its people, culture and future have been forgotten.  Subsequently, in an attempt to redress the balance and return some democratic power back to the people, Kris is running as a Candidate for the Online Direct Democracy Party in the electorate of Fairfax.

REBLOGGED: Political Realities, Leadership Change and Why Democracy Won

Continuing yesterday’s theme. This time it’s John Lord laying out the reasoning.

Political Realities, Leadership Change and why Democracy won

There are those on the left who desperately wanted Tony Abbott to be Prime Minister at the next election. They rightly saw his unpopularity as Labor’s best asset. I thought that there was a greater imperative. As a believer in representative democracy first and foremost I felt that our political system would be better served if he was given the boot.

There is no individual in Australian political history who has done more to damage the conventions and institutions of our democracy, and indeed the Parliament itself, than the former Prime Minister. Personally, I hope he leaves politics altogether and takes the stench of his confrontational politics with him.

Abbott in both his tenure as Opposition Leader and Prime Minister had a breathtaking, pungent absurdity about him. A Christian man of unchristian demeanor.

Australia has never elected a person more unsuited to the highest office. He was a Luddite with little appreciation of science, the needs of women, and was out of touch with a modern pluralist society.

In hindsight the Australian people have learnt a valuable lesson. In future they should check out the credentials and character of the leader of the party they support. It was an experiment we cannot afford to have again.

The election of Malcolm Turnbull provides an opportunity to wipe the plate of democracy clean. Debate will now be able to take place without the negative pugilistic dog eat dog style of Abbott. It can still be assertive and robust but at the same time conducted with intellect and decorum. Given his sense of superiority (already displayed during question time) and ego don’t inhibit him perhaps his panache and wit might insinuate itself on the house and generally raise the standard of discourse.

Whatever you think of Turnbull’s policies, and he has many detractors in his own ranks, there is no doubt that he is a tough competitor with a formidable mind. One who can debate with true elasticity of intelligence and skill.

He will be a daunting opponent for Shorten and Labor. It is, however, an opportunity for Shorten to rise to the occasion and Labor supporters should challenge the party to also rise above itself.

Already the early polls are suggesting a resurgence of Coalition support. If Turnbull plays his cards correctly he will take many advantages into the next election campaign.

A ministerial reshuffle that rids itself of ministers with a perception of nastiness like Dutton should go over well with the public. As will a more refined and decent political language that no longer reflects Abbott’s crassness and sneering sloganeering.

Unlike Abbott who thought he was above the independent senators and the Greens, I believe Turnbull will seek to take them into his confidence to get legislation passed.

A major advantage he has is that the public are sick and tired of revolving door leadership. If my calculations or indeed my memory serve me correctly we haven’t elected a PM who has served a full term since 2004. That’s about a decade ago.

Unless he stuffs up in a major way the electorate will be reluctant to change again. Continuity of governance with the pursuit of ideology for the sake of it is not what the people want. Added to that is the fact that Turnbull is not beholding to the media. He has in the past told Murdoch, Bolt and Jones where to go.

During the Republic Referendum I worked assiduously for the Australian Republic Movement. I came to admire Turnbull’s capacity to present his case in the face of Howard’s rat pack that included Tony Abbott and Nick Minchen. Turnbull’s account of the The Reluctant Republic still resonates with me.

But if there is much to like about Turnbull there is equally as much to dislike. There can be no doubt that he has prostituted himself to gain power. All of those things that set him apart from the conservative wing of his party he seems to have been willing to capitulate on, and in so doing displayed an hypocrisy unworthy of him. He has spent the first week defending Abbott’s policies.

“No more Captains calls” he said. Then without even swearing a new Cabinet, he prostitutes himself (again) by reneging on his previously respected and long held beliefs on climate change. He then does a deal worth $4 billion with the Nationals and at the same time outrageously sells out the Murray Darling Scheme.

In his initial comments after becoming PM he made a big pitch about the future of innovation, science and technology. He would therefore know that a large part of our future is tied up in renewable energy. That the jobs of the future are in the technology sector, as is our economic future which makes his decision to stick with Abbott’s policy on climate change all the more disappointing. Conservatives around the world acknowledge these points, why can’t ours.

He has at this early stage left himself open to the charge that he is not his own man but rather a captive of the conservative right. It can arguably be said that the policies remain the same and an abrasive Prime Minister has been replaced with an eloquent but no less deceptive one. How he will prosecute the case for a Republic is unknown. It will be odd that we have a Monarchist Government led by a Republican Prime Minister.

Even the hypocrisy he shows on same-sex marriage has the smell of betrayal.

It is of course far too early to judge him but based on his immediate decisions it is obvious that he had to do deals to get the job.

For me his willingness to betray long held beliefs and principles has been nothing short of pathetic. I predict however that the general public will overlook it for what they will perceive as better attention to the economy.

As for the Leader of the Opposition. well according to the polls Bill Shorten is about as popular as Abbott was. He carts a lot of baggage that he will carry into the next election.

There is now no point in holding back on policies and allowing Turnbull to make all the running. He should in some way adopt the Whitlam approach, create a narrative, and release policy showing an innovative futuristic approach to economic issues and government. But above all Labor must attract the younger generations. It is the under 50s that will determine who governs.

Having said all that, if the polls continue in an upward trajectory Turnbull would be well justified in going to an early election. The next month will see Turnbull stamping his authority on the party and his leadership. He has the charisma to sell them and the public is in a buying mood. I can only hope that Bill also has something to sell.

REBLOGGED from The AIMN: I love Tony Abbott

I agree with what Victoria Rollison says at least in part. I came into my political understanding from the Gillard years onward. A lot of that understanding (of what I didn’t like, especially) came from watching Abbott doing what he did best: be the most negative attacker possible.  I’ll certainly keep up that momentum of disliking the policies and negativity. After all, if something is said with a smile but still stinks, it doesn’t make it better than something said with a sneer. On that note, it might be better to ensure that the ability to ‘smell the bull—-‘, even when it’s wrapped up in shiny packaging, is bottled and dispersed.

There is of course the old saying about ‘uniting against a common enemy’ as Rollison alludes to below. However, I think we have to be a little careful. I mean, can you really ‘bottle hate’ and then turn it into ‘something positive’? We must protest and protect our rights of course. But now, with the emergence of silver-tongues, providing a smokescreen for the ugly side which thrived openly before, we cannot afford not to explain why and then give alternatives. Otherwise, we’ll go nowhere fast. 

I love Tony Abbott

As I watched Abbott, my nemesis, get torn down by his own side I was literally clapping. I slept better than I had in a long time on Monday night knowing that I would wake up living in a country without Abbott as Prime Minister. Knowing that I would never have to hear the words ‘Prime Minister Tony Abbott’ ever again still makes me grin. But I must admit, as much as I hated Abbott, I also loved him too. I’m not claiming to some masochist love-hate fixation with the man who I literally hated in 200 blog posts over the last four years. The hate bit is obvious. But the love bit is more complex. I love Tony Abbott because he did what progressive have never been able to do for ourselves: he united us. I’m now hoping we can bottle that unity.

We know what we’re against: we’re against everything Tony Abbott is for. Let’s hold onto that. Let’s bottle that and never let someone like Tony Abbott run this country ever again. If we can do that, Tony Abbott’s legacy will be a gift to progressive Australians. Because a united progressive movement in Australia will never elect a conservative government ever again. We will never lose another election. What’s not to love about that?

The key to seeing the importance of the hatred of Tony Abbott in every pocket and corner of Australia is understanding that people like me and probably you, think far more deeply and regularly about politics than 99% of voters. When Abbott was elected Prime Minister, we knew him far better than the rest of the country. I remember the sense of dread at what was in store for us when I saw Abbott’s first cabinet assembled together for a photograph. Every one of the team was a wrecker. It wasn’t just Abbott of course. Turnbull was there too. Each and every Liberal and National MP elected to govern our country is equally responsible, and to blame, for every single thing the Abbott government did, or tried and failed to do. The rest of the country, who hadn’t been paying attention like we had, thankfully didn’t take long to catch up and to recognise who the Abbott government really was.

Abbott’s first budget, to politically informed progressives, was a predictable nightmare. To those who share progressive values, but who perhaps don’t think enough about politics to even realise they have progressive values, only had to look at the policies presented in their stark reality to understand that Abbott’s government didn’t fit with their sense of what was ‘right’. It didn’t fit with Australian values. Their policies just weren’t fair. To put it simply, Abbott’s government has done progressives the favour of widening our movement to voters who never realised they were progressives until they hated Abbott.

I’ve seen many commentators talking about all the mistakes Abbott made which led him to losing his job after becoming a national joke and the most hated Prime Minister in Australia’s history. A two year blip. Sure, it was humiliating and frustrating when Abbott gave Prince Philip a knighthood, when he promised to shirt-front Putin, when he ate an onion and pretty much made everyone cringe on a daily basis with his obvious stupidity and awkward sloganeering. But those things on their own didn’t make him hated. If he was a positive, inspirational leader who hadn’t wrecked the economy, who hadn’t lied about his plans and then went about stripping funding from education, health and welfare, who wasn’t an obvious misogynist, who hadn’t waged culture wars on the Human Rights Commission, on wind farms, on the ABC and SBS, who hadn’t shut down the car manufacturing industry and spent most of his energy trying to scare voters into believing there were ISIS bogey-men under the bed through an ever growing collection of flags, all the awkward, sometimes creepy stuff would be an aside. It might even be weirdly endearing, if Abbott was a good PM. What Abbott did, which progressives need to acknowledge as a good thing, is to reveal what politicians with conservative values will do to the country given half the chance. Every single policy that Abbott produced in his first budget was a policy that he, and everyone else in his government, including Turnbull, have spent their entire political careers waiting to introduce and would introduce again given the opportunity.

Many commentators also say Abbott’s problems were bad communication skills, a lack of a narrative, an over-reliance on slogans. But they are wrong about this. It’s far simpler than that. Abbott’s policies were rejected because Australians in the majority did not like them. Abbott might have done a great job of covering up his conservative, neoliberal values whilst in opposition and the lazy, inept mainstream media was his accomplice in this game. But the blunt, uncharismatic, unintelligent, unsubtle Abbott couldn’t keep the game up for even a day once in power and that’s why everything unravelled for him so quickly. He showed who he and his colleagues really were, and then there was nowhere to hide.

So by loving Abbott for this outcome, what can progressives learn? We can learn that Australia doesn’t want a conservative government, even if it comes dressed up in a shiny, expensive Malcolm Turnbull suit. We can learn that progressives can unite and make things happen. Whether they vote Labor, Green or even accidentally voted for Abbott, if they hated Abbott, they have progressive values and so they need to be reminded they will hate Turnbull too. We Marched in March, we ranted on Twitter, we shared on Facebook, we wrote and liked Open Letters, we grew the Independent Media, and we collectively hated Abbott. So let’s bottle this hatred and make it something positive. Let’s make sure Australia never elects a conservative neoliberal wrecker of a government ever again.

Six months gone

Today, Friday 18th September, is 26 weeks – or six months – since I “Shaved for a Cure”. Wow.

I can still remember how it felt….it was a strange experience and good at the same time. And look: then and now.


Just this week there was a story showing just how some of that money is being used, beyond the day-to-day practicalities. It gave me a good feeling.

[Text copied from email I received:]

Exciting news today! Leukaemia Foundation supporters have aided a world-first double discovery to defeat one of the most aggressive forms of blood cancer, acute myeloid leukaemia.

Leading Australian researcher, Associate Professor Mark Dawson, and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre team in Melbourne, have uncovered vital new leads on how to outsmart the deadly disease based on how acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) fights back against treatments.

Two discoveries have been announced today – both aided by the Leukaemia Foundation’s National Research Program.

Discovery 1 – AML cells grown in a laboratory dish

This research team is the first in the world to have successfully grown and maintained AML cells in a laboratory dish. This gives us unprecedented access and insight into how they work, so we can find new, faster, and better ways to target and destroy them.

Discovery 2 – New understanding of how AML grows resistant to chemotherapy

AML stem cells are particularly aggressive and most people with this disease will become resistant to therapy over time. Sadly on average, only 25% of people with AML will live for five years.

Until now, we have not known why AML stem cells became resistant. This research has uncovered how the cells respond when under attack by chemotherapy, which means researchers can propose new treatments to effectively ‘turn-off’ cancerous genes in AML.

The Leukaemia Foundation’s Head of Research & Advocacy, Dr Anna Williamson, said it was exciting to see another example of the Foundation’s support of “very talented researchers with great ideas” delivering important new knowledge.

“Each year, around 900 people in Australia will be diagnosed with AML,” she said. “This double discovery is a game changer. This advance in our understanding of leukaemia stems cells is opening the doors to new treatment approaches not just for AML, but other types of leukaemia and blood cancers more generally.”

“As the Leukaemia Foundation receives no ongoing government funding, we thank all of our generous supporters who enable us to continue supporting this and other ground-breaking blood cancer research.

To read the full research story and our response, click here to visit our website.

After Celebration Comes Work

We-ell! About bloody time – he’s gone. Gone, gone, gone! 😀

Now, we’ve had a few days to digest the news….
Let’s talk.

Turnbull has a hard slog ahead of him in many aspects, if he were to try and be genuine to the things he’s said previously. Based on the past few days, he isn’t bothered about that – he just wants to keep his hands on the top job.

Turnbull’s a much smoother salesman of the pitch. Whether it will be any different is the real question. Somehow, I doubt it. He’s just a bit too self-assured and smug for me to really trust him with any of that. He’s either a hypocrite or a opportunist – and perhaps both.

44 votes were against Turnbull in the ballot. That’s a good number of people who might be resistant to him in his own party because they have their own agendas. But to keep their jobs, they may well “put up and shut up” – at least for now.

The important thing is government policies – the person in charge only matters in terms of how much they agree with the message and how they sell it.

Now, it’s Labor and Shorten’s (as well as the Greens and others) turn. They have to step up to the mark and fight the policies as well as the people. They can’t just “win by default”. As a thinking person who cares about the state of things, I like that. Maybe we’ll finally see a real bit of easily-discernible difference between the Coalition and Labor?

We can only hope (please!).

If not? Well, we’ll just have to do their work for them. Again. And again – until they all get the message.

As Shorten said at the recent ALP National Conference: Bring. It. On.


REBLOGGED FROM THE AIMN: below is one of many articles from recent days about the spill and other government things which links to others and sums things up very well.

Abbott’s gone, so where to now?

For many of us the demise of Tony Abbott has seen our wish fulfilled. And it comes with an enormous amount of relief and satisfaction. But his demise also changes the dynamics of the next election, but for now that’s another story.

Tony Abbott has been good for us in one respect and we can thank him for that. The AIMN and countless other sites have thrived on his collection of stupid leadership gaffes and atrocious policies.

Some of us may be feeling a sense of emptiness. Tony Abbott, after all, was our signature dish. It is unlikely we’ll ever have a more inept Prime Minister served up for us.

But our work is not yet done.

As John Kelly rightly reminds us, we may have a new Prime Minister but we still have a failed government. And we will carry on fighting this government.

And on the other side of the political divide Jennifer Wilson points out – what many have been silently thinking – that Bill Shorten might not be the best person to take on Malcolm Turnbull. And we will carry on agitating for a better opposition.

And are we happy with the new Prime Minister? Certainly not when he simply carries on with his predecessor’s ineffective policies. Take climate change, for example. Kaye Lee reminds us that:

So far, Malcolm Turnbull has said there will be no change to the Coalition’s climate change policy.  He needs to rethink that.

Yes, he does. And we will be arguing the case why he does.

And elsewhere, Van Badham over at The Guardian warns us that Turnbull will still be ruling ‘from and for the big end of town’. Wasn’t Abbott also doing that? Wasn’t that what we were also fighting against? Looks like nothing changes for us in that regards.

Any emptiness we might have felt with the demise of Tony Abbott will quickly be filled while we are still faced with the horror legacies he left us.

So where to now? Answer: we keep heading in the same direction. We at The AIMN will be.


Check out this article for more explanation:

And if you want a cruder version of things, look here: