The ‘other’ House: A strategic guide to really making your vote count. (For progressive voters’ eyes only.)

Another good article. This time about how to make your vote count in the Australian Senate…

Progressive Conversation

You don’t hear much about the election for the ‘other House’ in our Federal Parliament – the Senate. There’s no polls predicting who will win. Parties don’t do a special launch of their State/Territory Senate candidates. You don’t get letterbox drops or see State Senate candidates plastered on our local electricity poles. And yet the outcome of the Senate election will have a huge impact on the next three years in Australia, because Senators are just as vital to the working of Australia’s democracy as our MPs in the House of Representatives.

Further – as I wrote recently – for the majority of Australian voters, despite what our politicians would have you believe, your vote in the Senate is arguably more important and can have more of an impact than your vote in the House of Representatives. Despite this, these’s very little information available to the average punter both on who is running for the Senate and how…

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Was Brexit really democracy in action? (#ItsTime)

Largely focuses on Britain’s recent EU referendum (I refuse to use its tacky other name). The article makes a few points which are applicable to those inside and outside Britain. We need to stand up for truth in politics and from our pollies – that means, BE INFORMED and VOTE. In that order!

Progressive Conversation

Over thirty-three millions Brits exercised their democratic right to have a say in whether Britain should remain in the EU or leave last Thursday.

But did they?

Was the Brexit vote democracy in action – or politics at its worst?

Democracy is a serious business

Democracy is a serious business – as the people of the UK were reminded last week. About eight hours after the polls in Britain had closed, Google reported that British searches for ‘what happens if we leave the EU’ had more than tripled as many ‘Leave’ voters started to come to terms with the implications of what they had done. The next day a number of ‘Leave’ voters expressed “voters’ bregret” at their decision to leave the UK – with one voter saying:

I was really disappointed about the results. Even though I voted to Leave – this morning I woke up and the reality did actually hit me.

A…

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Positive Action for Refugees

Hi.

In the upcoming election (which will be my focus for posting this week), remember:

Last time I talked about not being silent. Implicit in that call was a promise to do something, or some things, to help. Currently, I connect with refugees in my local community and support them through going to rallies, to luncheons and other fundraising/ activism community events.

I also follow a number of pages through social media, who suggest further things to do.

One is Sister Jane Seeks Asylum. Sister Jane is a nun who set up camp in from of Parliament House in Canberra last December (in Advent) to raise awareness about Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers. Right now, she’s running a “Make a Ripple” campaign – each week listing actions one can take to help – like sending phone credit to Manus, so the men there can keep in touch with their families. Check it out!

Here is a Pledge one can take, supporting the action we want to see. Somewhat symbolic, but sets out the objectives clearly, asking that the signer commits to working towards these goals:

  1. Immediate release and settlement for all those suffering at our hands;
  2. End mandatory detention; 
  3. Raise the refugee intake substantially;
  4. Safe and just passage of asylum seekers to Australia, with no punishment based on means of arrival;
  5. Give permanent settlement visas, citizenship with full rights including work and family reunion.”

Here is Julian Burnside’s explanation of why we should care, as a reminder, with some potential humane solutions.

Also, if you’re so inclined, here is an open letter from CAPSA (Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum): http://jss.org.au/capsa-open-letter-june-2016/
They, too, have a list of points:

  1. Offshore, mandatory and indefinite detention are wrong.
  2. The principle of deterrence, by which people who have already tried to come to Australia to seek protection are treated harshly in order to stop others doing the same, cannot be justified morally.
  3. People seeking asylum in Australia should live in the Australian community. Those sent to Nauru and Manus Island should be returned to Australia
  4. Those living in the community should have the right to work, access to basic services, and to some financial support if they cannot find work.
  5. Children should not be held in detention anywhere, but be housed in the Australian community with the full range of services necessary for their welfare.
  6. In the Catholic tradition, if people are to live with dignity their family ties are essential. People should have the opportunity to be reunited with separated close family members promptly once they are found to be refugees

 

Finally, to end on a happy note – a post on Facebook I saw:

The kids are all right, I reckon.

 

 

 

What the F*** are We Doing?

TRIGGER WARNING – graphic imagery about food and mentions of rape, torture, murder.

Look, I wanted to write a positive refugee week post. I really did. I’ll do that tomorrow – positivity is important.

Right now, though…

Manus Lives Matter. A really good reminder from Sister Jane Keogh about how the men on Manus are people too. This sentiment is brought into sharp context when things like the image and situation below pop up in my newsfeed…

EW

Ew. Shudders. And this is the standard we give to them?

Along with the injuries. The deaths. The rapes.

This is what my effing govt is subjecting desperate people to?! I don’t know how much better it would be under Labor, either. I don’t think it could be worse though.

Why can’t we have some politicians with principles on the front benches of Labor & the  Coalition stand up and drag the rest of their parties into a better place instead of a blooming race to the bottom?!
(I understand there are some working behind the scenes, but I mean someone or some people at Shadow-/ Cabinet-level or higher to have the actual political courage, decency and will to be public about it and work towards it. Something like Fraser did.)

They say they’re stopping “deaths at sea”. Do you know what stops “deaths at sea”?? Proper fricking processes like true multilateral co-operation, high supported intakes, and BLOOMING HUMAN DECENCY! 
We are better than this, for goodness’ sakes.
/rant over. This just makes me so despairing sometimes….
Hang Parliament and elect people of decency, dammit!
(Here’s a link to a website comparing the Greens, Labor and Coalition’s policies on asylum seekers. You see the problem.)
By the way, the trauma counsellor whose article I pointed to on Tuesday has been sacked for speaking out. They want us to be silent – but I. Will. Not!
As a health sciences uni student, I cannot. As a Catholic, I cannot. As someone with a reasonable sense of empathy I cannot.
I will keep talking about these situations and highlighting what’s going on until something changes.
“Before you vote, think of the children on Nauru.” – statement from activist group Grandmothers (& Friends) Against Refugee Detention.

Refugee Week: Chasing Asylum

Hi everyone. I’ve been absent a few weeks because my scheduled posts ran out completely, just when the uni calendar went to exam mode. I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, but it’s still pretty busy.

Anyway.

TRIGGER WARNING for links to torture, rape & violence. 😦

This week is Refugee Week in Australia. Last week, I watched the film Chasing Asylum. It’s a film about asylum seekers trying to come to Australia and the conditions in Nauru, Manus Island and Indonesia, as well as a bit of a history lesson in past politics from the 70s and Fraser to now. It was a very good summary of events and conditions. Hmph. Populist politics of fear is what’s driving the determination to keep asylum seekers away from Australia. It’s led to a lack of political will to do something humane instead.

I wish the film could be shown on public television. People need to see it.

Here’s the website for the film: http://www.chasingasylum.com.au/
Check if there’s a screening near you, or host one.

Here’s the trailer for it:

You might have seen this article, too. It’s horrifying.

Hmph. This election, I’m voting for a party that denounces this stupidity and promises to fix it!

I’ll post about the better things of Refugee Week tomorrow.