Equip yourself for life…

Sepia-toned photo on beige background of Sir John Monash in WWI Australian Imperial Forces full army uniform. Has stripes and peaked hat of a General. Over Monash are words in white: Peace A Cantata for John Monash. Behind him is an indistinct motif of the Shrine of Remembrance and a steamer ship.

Front cover of concert program

The title is taken from a quote by Sir John Monash: “Adopt as your creed that you will equip yourself for life, not solely for your own benefit but for the benefit of the whole community.” 

On Saturday evening, after months of hard work (including many rehearsals in the final few weeks), the John Monash concert was held. 

It was an amazing experience. There were 29 songs. 13 of them were massed choir pieces, along with pieces for the children’s choir and soloists, all accompanied by a talented orchestra and conducted magnificently by Dr David Kram. David was also the composer, while lyrics were written by poet Kevin O’Flaherty or taken from speeches or letters from Sir John Monash himself. The soloists were Lisa Ann Robinson (Soprano), Michel LaLoum (Baritone), Kristen Leich (Mezzo Soprano), Eddie Muliaumaseali’l (Bass). The orchestra was a hand-picked selection of Melbourne’s finest. 

The concert celebrated the life and values of Sir John Monash. He was an Australian army general in WWI, whose ingenuity enabled a decisive victory in Amiens, France which hastened the Allies victory. But he was so much more than a general. He was a peace-maker, born of migrant parents, Jewish, educated and intelligent, a firm believer in democracy. He was a keen advocate for those under his command, an engineer, lover of music and languages; a family man. 

The Cantata demonstrated this through song – if only all history was explained this way! 😉 It also had some great songs about the peacemakers and the folly of war – the experiences of nurses, Indigenous men, family waiting back home for news, Turkish and Australian soldiers at Gallipoli, and the children of France. 

It was a wonderful experience to take part in. On one level, I sang with friends and my boyfriend, so had the shared connection of that. But more than that there was the music itself. The songs involved a few tricky-to-master parts like fugues and synchopated timings, as well as some entries on high notes. And the songs are memorable – the way lyrics and music worked together evoked images of the song’s message. Everything from the dread and anguish of a pink telegram (MIA soldier now confirmed dead), violins and the timpani sounding like planes strafing and machine-guns) to the importance of peace. It was beautiful. 

I do mean beautiful. It was a evocative Australian story, told through song. At the end of the Cantata, as we sat down after our final bows, I felt incredibly moved. A sense of awe swept through me. I wanted to sit with the feeling for a few moments, it was that strong. 

I cannot thank More Than Opera, the Melbourne company who supported the concert, enough for the chance to be a part of it. I’ve had concert songs float through my head every day since and they still bring a smile to my face. 

Let there be peace! 

Watch this! Lecture by Professor Patrick McGorry

Professor Patrick McGorry is a leading researcher in the field of mental health. Read a bio here. He was Australian of the Year in 2010, recognising his pioneering work in early intervention. Here’s a lecture from him. Today, he’ll be speaking to my OT  cohort in the afternoon! I’m so excited.

#Lest We Forget

Today is a day of reflection and commemoration (not celebration) for many Australians. We do this in different ways. The marches and speeches and so on are one way. I saw another way via Facebook last night, when the floodlights of the MCG were off and thousands of people stood in silence for a minute – you could only see the light of their phones, across the ground.

The link I’ve embedded below is another. We should remember those who fought and died as well as those who returned home wounded in body and spirit.


It’s also worth reflecting that the first ANZAC Day – the landing at Gallipoli – was 102 years ago and was part of a war they’d called “the war to end all wars”. Yet so many more have followed…

As said by Costa A here:

“ANZAC Day is about remembering how awful war is, how many Aussies died because of it, how many Aussies were brave enough to put themselves in harm’s way to protect us, and how – out of respect for all of this – we have to work as hard as we can to avoid the need for future wars. This means combating climate change, not taking the bait of dickhead Islamic extremists, and learning from our (Iraq, Vietnam) mistakes. Having a big strong tough-as-fuck army is important too. But it’s a Plan B we wanna have to use as little as possible. #lestweforget “


Uncomfortable Compassion

The Easter period has begun. In the media (social and otherwise, especially on blogs), there are many reflective pieces. Mine will be short, as I have quite a few of those posts in my inbox already.

I had a thought, earlier today: part of the ceremony is that we use the same words, year after year and even the same songs. It is ritualistic, rhythmic, symbolic yet containing truth. An old story, passed down through the years. It is up to the priest to bring anything new to it – if they wish to. (In that light, I ought to say that a lot of the stuff I talk about below has been influenced by things I’ve heard religiously-trained people say and what they’ve taught me, as well as things I’ve researched from other religious sources.)

One thing I’ve noticed about both ceremonies (Thurs and Fri) is how explicit the text is that Jesus loved his friends. His teaching wasn’t the distant, high-and-mighty sort, after all. He was down-to-earth, empathising with those He taught. Especially with His disciples, “whom he loved” as the text says. I believe that His companions were men and women, by the way.


It’s Holy Thursday, otherwise known as Maundy Thursday. The readings tell of the first Passover (after all, Christianity developed from Judaism). Then of how Jesus took supper with his disciples and washed their feet.

Jesus knew he’d been inciting trouble from those in power by preaching the message of non-violence, compassion and forgiveness to each other. He was a rebel, in a disenfranchised community. The people in charge were greedy traditionalists who wanted everything to stay the same – it suited them, after all. They targeted Jesus and He knew it. Not that it stopped Him – He had a vision (from God, you could say) and was not intimidated by others disagreeing with him.

In the supper, Jesus offered up bread and wine as His body and blood – basically asking his disciples to not forget Him or His teachings, after He was gone. I like to imagine that, before or after that “surprise” from Jesus (depending on when exactly it happened in the meal), the group would have spent time laughing and talking and sharing stories. A true communion between good friends who shared a common purpose. I believe there were more than just the Twelve there. It would have been like a big party, with strong bonds between all.

Before supper, though, Jesus gave His disciples another example of what his mission meant. He washed their feet. In those times, people wore sandals and walked around streets that were dirty due to animal and other wastes, I believe. So one of the things that ‘important’ people would do would remove their shoes and have their feet washed when they arrived home inside. Usually, a servant (or slave) would wash the feet of the master of the house and his guests (‘her’ guests was rarer). Jesus was a Teacher and a ‘Master’ (addressed as such at points in the Bible). His disciples were like servants in a sense – certainly lesser than Him in the parlance of the time because they were learning from Him and not the other way around.

For Him to wash their feet was the greatest of role reversals – hence why Simon Peter was so adamant that “no, Lord, you will not wash my feet”. Jesus was just as stubborn, though. In the end, He washed all of their feet, with a joke for Simon Peter when he was overeager (Jn 13:10). Jesus went on to explain why he did it (Jn 13:13-:17). He was manifesting a visible form of compassion.

Another way of explaining it is this song, often played during the ceremony of Holy Thursday (while the washing of the feet is re-enacted): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgz_xsdbEks = The Servant Song.

Pope Francis washed the feet of refugees of different faiths this year. He’s washed the feet of prisoners and other people who are marginalised or outcast in some way. This shows what we need to do, symbolically and physically: welcome the “stranger”, even the inconvenient one, or the one we might not think to help first. Welcome them with love and compassion and leave your judgements at the door.




REBLOGGED: Alternative to Offshore Detention

Agreed! Genuine regional processing is the way to go.
Other links are at the bottom. Also, here is this link to another post of mine outlining the ‘genuine regional solution’ idea (from Daniel Webb).
The important thing is to remember the humanity. Refugees are people, just like us, with hopes like ours. We’re only a few steps – degrees of separation, if you will – of facing a situation like theirs.
Remember that – and spread the word.

Today, as I write perhaps, the Labor caucus is scheduled (I believe) to debate whether or not offshore detention should be part of their policy. I have written an email to my local MP, Catherine King, about this. I republish it here.

Dear Ms King MP,

I hear that today Labor will be debating its offshore detention policies, possibly as I write now. Please, I beg you, vote for change. Close the camps.
We have heard of many horrors being perpetrated against those who have come to us seeking protection. The rapes of women and children on Nauru; the deaths of men, Reza and Hamid. Now, even Christmas Island is tainted by death, with the death of Fazel. This is a disgrace. When will it end?
You and other Labor caucus members have the power to stop it. As Shadow Health Minister, surely you are concerned by the risk to the health of these people? They are more than detainees, more than numbers, more than labels such as ‘boat people’. They are people who have made an unimaginable choice, to leave behind everything they knew and seek safety by throwing themselves at our mercy. In response, we have treated them terribly. I am ashamed.
There is another way. Julian Burnside and other human rights lawyers have spoken freely about the different, humane ways. Ways that would still involve background checks and probably a clearly limited form of detention. Ways that are fair, not fearful. The current policies continue because of fear. It is fear politics, demonising one group of people in order to get the rest to agree. We do not need to be protected against asylum seekers. We will not be ‘overrun’ by ‘boat people’. I reject the politics of fear.
The current model of processing for asylum seekers is also hugely expensive. Other models, as well as being more humane, are cheaper. It’s a win-win.
Please, Ms King. Do the right thing and reject offshore detention.
There are many asylum seekers in the community in Ballarat – families and young people in community detention, or who have had their claims accepted. Many of them came from offshore detention and have friends still there. They want a fair process too. Ten days ago, I was part of a group of at least fifty people who walked around Lake Wendouree in support of a welcoming Australia. There were all sorts of Ballarat people there. I am not alone in wanting to free the refugees from the camps and process them in a more humane way.
Abbott and his ilk may have used the Bible and his Catholic faith to push for the deterrence model. I, as well as many other Catholics in my community, are ashamed of this. We want a better, more humane solution.
Say no to inhumane offshore detention.
If you don’t – though I hate to make this about politics rather than people – then I’m afraid you have no chance of regaining my primary vote.
Yours in hope,
Clare Keogh

An alternative to offshore detention – WRITTEN BY JULIAN BURNSIDE

by winstonclose


by | Nov 4, 2015 | Asylum Seekers, Human Rights | 0 comments

The  present system of dealing with asylum seekers who arrive by boat is cruel (intentionally) and hideously expensive.  There is a rational alternative to the  intentional cruelty of the present system. That system reflects the attempts of both major parties at the last election to outdo each other in their promises to mistreat a particular group of human beings.

And it’s expensive.  The current system costs between $4 billion and $5 billion a year.  That’s a big number: think of it as one million Geelong chopper rides each year!

Australia’s treatment of boat people needs a radical re-think.  It is shameful that we are now trying to treat asylum seekers so harshly that they will be deterred from seeking our help at all.  It is shameful that this deliberate mistreatment of asylum seekers has been “justified” by describing them falsely as “illegal”, when in fact they commit no offence by coming here and asking for protection.  It is shameful that the deliberate Coalition lies about asylum seekers have not been roundly condemned by the Labor party.  It is shameful that, out of an alleged concern about asylum seekers drowning in their attempt to reach safety, we punish them if they don’t drown.

There are better ways of responding to asylum seekers.  If I could re-design the system, I would choose between two possible models.

A Regional solution

Boat-arrivals would be detained initially, but for a maximum of one month, to allow preliminary health and security checks.  That detention would be subject to extension, but only if a court was persuaded that a particular individual should be detained longer.

After that period of initial detention, boat arrivals would be released into the community on an interim visa with a number of conditions that would apply until the person’s refugee status was decided:

•  they would be required to report regularly to a Centrelink office or a post office,  to make sure they remained available for the balance of the process;

•  they would be allowed to work;

•  they would be entitled to Centrelink and Medicare benefits;

•  they would be required to live in a specified rural town or regional city.

A system like this would have a number of benefits. First, it would avoid the harm presently inflicted on refugees held in detention.  Prolonged detention with an unknown release date is highly toxic: experience over the past 15 years provides plenty of evidence of this.

Second, any government benefits paid to refugees would be spent on accommodation, food and clothing in country towns.  There are plenty of towns in country areas which would welcome an increase in their population and a boost to their local economy.  According to the National Farmers Federation, there are more than 90,000 unfilled jobs in rural areas.  It is likely that adult male asylum seekers would look for work, and would find it.

However, even if every boat person stayed on full Centrelink benefits for the whole time it took to decide their refugee status, it would cost the Government only about $500,000 a year, all of which would go into the economy of country towns.  By contrast, the current system costs between $4 billion and $5 billion a year.  We would save billions of dollars a year, and we would be doing good rather than harm.

A variant of this would be to require asylum seekers to live in Tasmania instead of regional towns.  As a sweetener, and to overcome any lingering resistance, the Federal Government would pay on billion dollars a year to the Tasmanian government to help with the necessary social adjustments. It would be a great and needed boost for the Tasmanian economy, and Australia would still be billions of dollars better off.

Genuine regional processing  

Another possibility is to process protection claims while people are in Indonesia.  Those who are assessed as refugees would be resettled, in Australia or elsewhere, in the order in which they have been accepted as refugees.  On assessment, people would be told that they will be resettled safely within (say) two or three months.  Provided the process was demonstrably fair, the incentive to get on a boat would disappear instantly.

At present, people assessed by the UNHCR in Indonesia face a wait of 10 or 20 years before they have a prospect of being resettled.  During that time, they are not allowed to work, and can’t send their kids to school. No wonder they chance their luck by getting on a boat.

Genuine offshore processing, with a guarantee of swift resettlement, was the means by which the Fraser government managed to bring about 80,000 Vietnamese boat people to Australia in the late 1970s.  It worked, but it was crucially different from the manner of offshore processing presently supported by both major parties.  In addition, other countries also resettled some of the refugees processed in this way.  It is likely that Australians would be more receptive to this approach if they thought other countries were contributing to the effort.

A solution along these lines would face some practical problems.  At present, the end-point for refugees who reach Australia via Indonesia is a dangerous boat trip.  You have to be fairly desperate to risk the voyage, which probably explains why such a high percentage of boat people are ultimately assessed as genuine refugees: over the past 15 years, about 90% of boat people have been assessed, by Australia, as refugees lawfully entitled to our protection.  If the end-point is less dangerous, it is obvious that a number of people will set out who are not genuine refugees.  That would cause a problem for Indonesia, and Australia would have to help Indonesia deal with that problem.  But since our current system is costing about $5 billion a year, we can probably work out some arrangement with Indonesia which suits them and us.

There is another problem.  Because we have been indelicate in our relations with Indonesia in recent years, the Indonesian government may not be receptive to an approach like this.  Their reluctance may be softened if Malaysia was also recruited for a similar role.

Both of these solutions have these features in common: they are effective, humane, and far less expensive than our present approach.  But more than that: they reflect the essential decency of Australians – something which has been tarnished and degraded by our behaviour over the past 13 years.

TO READ more articles from JULIAN BURNSIDE click on =   http://www.julianburnside.com.au/



REBLOGGED: Not Pretty Enough?

Hypocrites. Hmph.

Am I not pretty enough?

by Kaye Lee

When I recently saw a photograph of Julie Bishop’s boyfriend David Panton sitting next to her in the official delegates section on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly, I wondered what the reaction would have been if that was Tim Mathieson sitting next to Julia Gillard.  Imagine the outrage, the questions, the accusations.

For some reason, Julie Bishop has been treated entirely differently to Julia Gillard in so many ways.

When Ms Gillard did a photo shoot for an article in the Weekend Australian, Julie Bishop accused her of behaving like a “fashion model or TV star” rather than a politician, adding that posing for magazine covers was “not my style”.

who weeklyIn the last two years, Bishop has appeared in Who Weekly, The Australian Women’s Weekly, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire talking about her portfolio as well as fashion and fitness.

Unlike Gillard she has not been criticised for her magazine profile or her cultivation of social media and the blogosphere.

When Scott Morrison talks about childcare funding there is no Sophie Mirabella screeching from the other side to the childless Bishop “You won’t need his taxpayer-funded nanny, will you?”

There is no Bill Heffernan suggesting she is unfit to lead Australia because she is “deliberately barren” or George Brandis labelling her as “one-dimensional” because of her decision not to have children.

Bishop has largely avoided scrutiny of her time as a lawyer and her treatment of dying litigants.

She has never been grilled by radio shock jocks on the private lives and business dealings of her various partners.

Rather than having Germaine Greer telling her she has a fat ass and Anita Quigley telling her to “get a stylist her own age”, Bishop is always described as “stylish”.


When, as deputy, Julie Bishop stabbed a first-term sitting Prime Minister in the back she was just doing her duty. Perhaps it was acceptable because she didn’t have the temerity to think she could be leader.  Why would she when she is “living the dream” as Foreign Minister.

Did Julia Gillard cop the abuse because she was the first female PM? Was it because of the nastiness of the Abbott era unleashing the hounds?  Was it due to the vitriolic campaign by conservative commentators and the Murdoch press?

Or was she just not pretty enough?


REBLOGGED: A Flag for the Future

What do you think? (Especially Aussies.) I like #5, #7, maybe #8, #12, #18 or #19 (though for the last two I’d colour the stars white, not green and/or yellow)….
Maybe if #19, right at the bottom, had the features (wattle and white stars) in ‘dot-painting’ style? Or maybe #19 with the background an imprint of an Indigenous dot painting…
I’m open to ideas. To those who might think it’s ‘not the time’ to focus on this…if not now, when? At least let’s start a conversation… The comments over at The AIMN are illuminating.

A flag for the future

In November this year, Kiwis will be asked to take part in a postal referendum in which they will rank five flag alternatives from most to least preferred.  In March there will be another referendum in which they will be asked to choose between the current New Zealand Flag and the preferred alternative design selected in the first referendum. The results of both referendums are binding.

It struck me, as I watched the people protesting against a mosque being built in Bendigo, that I now associate our flag with racism and colonialism. It has become a symbol of intolerance, a cloak or brand meant to be worn by real Aussies – the sort who took part in the Cronulla riots, the sort who want to stop immigration, the sort who want to relax gun laws, the sort who attend Reclaim Australia rallies and campaign to ban halal certification for food.


It’s time we reconsidered our ‘patriotism’ and our allegiance to a flag that no longer represents our country. Our flag should symbolise more accurately the nation to which we all belong rather than the notion of White Supremacy.

Here are a few suggestions.

Ken Done Williamson 1

Rieben Bob Bradley

Ralph Kelly Aussie Push

brendan Jones Poulos

Couzens Sunburnt

Markwick https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/64/Australian_Flag_Proposal_%28Southern_Horizon%29.svg/320px-Australian_Flag_Proposal_%28Southern_Horizon%29.svg.pngJames Parbery Williamson 2

Ausflag 1991 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/47/Seven_Golden_Stars_2012.svg/320px-Seven_Golden_Stars_2012.svg.png


Do any of these inspire you?

Note:  The original artists and the meaning of their flags and some more alternatives can be found here and here.

[The ones below come from  the comments on the AIMN article.]

https://i0.wp.com/www.flagsaustralia.com.au/images/Coulin.jpg  https://i0.wp.com/www.canberratimes.com.au/content/dam/images/3/1/t/b/c/image.related.articleLeadwide.620x349.31ss7.png/1391208735070.jpghttps://i0.wp.com/www.australiandesignreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/New-Australian-republic-flag-design-John-Warwicker-Professor-of-Design-at-Monash-Art-Design-Architecture.jpg


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.


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: https://theconversation.com/minus-abbotts-obsessions-imperious-new-pm-must-mend-fences-and-the-economy-47490

And if you want a cruder version of things, look here:  https://truthseekersmusings.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/pig-lnp-meet-lipstick-turdball/

Well Now, This is Interesting!

Sitting on the train home today, I planned a post in my head about how the student union magazine at my uni has published one of the pieces from this blog. To be specific, it’s the one titled, Abbott and The Strange State of Aussie Politics. That’s a very nice feeling. 🙂

Then, I got home and discovered – from the car radio – that Turnbull has challenged Abbott! Ooh er. Things just got interesting. (Cue intense music.)
There had been rumblings for days from various people questioning and suggesting when a spill would occur. “Everyone” seemed to know it was a given – the question (even up to early this afternoon) was when. We have our answer now and the jockeying has begun.

Pundits speculate – will Turnbull actually get in? According to his camp he has the numbers, but we can’t discount a third person (I’ve heard both Julie Bishop and Scott Morrison mentioned) grabbing hold of the contest. The one thing that I think is certain is that it is highly unlikely that Abbott will be PM tomorrow morning.

The thing is, if Turnbull were to ascend to the leadership…just because he’s distanced himself from Abbott in word doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily do so in deed. He can blather on all he likes about the need for “economic leadership” and less “policy on the run”, but the fact remains he’s still a very sly snake-oil salesman type. Also, he’ll still be leading a party which is full of right-wingers with a few moderates. How much change can we really expect?

 (image via GetUp Facebook)

Remember, it was the whole government – or at least the cabinet – that contributed to (via GetUp Facebook again): attempts to “deregulate university fees, cut the aged pension and Family Tax Benefits, introduce a 6 month wait for young job-seekers to access income support, not to mention unwinding all progress on climate change action and putting our renewable energy industry in jeopardy”. Do you remember that cringe-worthy photo – among others – of Hunt, Abbott and Dutton et al. hugging after repealing the price on carbon? Turnbull is a snake-oil salesman who would (as someone close just said) smile as he kicked you in the teeth.

So I’d say, not much will change. But you know, if he was to become leader, then that could mean a more interesting contest come election time. I’d still be going for Shorten & Labor.
Of course, that’s thinking Turnbull will get in and not (as I mentioned above) Morrison or Bishop – or someone completely different.

Even if the unbelieveable happens and Abbott, say, gets in by one vote again (shudders), his only real option is to call a Double Dissolution election – and then he’s out on his behind anyway.

Whatever happens, I’ll be watching – and so will many other Australians, because Abbott is (finally!) on his way out (I think). Real “good government” – the sort that makes good decisions rather than constant gaffes for instance – could really be just around the corner. Not a moment too soon.

Now, what next?

And many more which I couldn’t be bothered searching for….