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

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

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

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

A political rhyme

I thought my first post back after my accidental hiatus /

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

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

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

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

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

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

And day of parliamentary dismissal,/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Through a dangerous voyage not lightly undertaken. /

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

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

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

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

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

To the cries of anguish from detainees and friends; /

Willing to #bringthemhere and let their trauma end.

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

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

When a new independent stood and declared her trouble,/

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

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

And the medical attention that they so sorely need. /

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

Amendments saw Labor at LAST stand up strong. /

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

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

But before we could release our sighs of relief, /

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

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

Continuing their endless turn of passing the blame. /

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

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

Designed to give a reason to an unreasonable crime,/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So angry people discouraged by the latest conservative gasp, /

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

Who Really Inhabits the Refugee Activism Space?

Every day, it seems, there are things going on in the world that are just plain awful. I glance at them and pick a few to get properly worked up about. Then I take action about those things in some way – like going to the Palm Sunday rally. It was blooming cold and a little wet, though luckily most of the wet had occurred the day before. Still, there was plenty of people there – some reports said 5,000. We listened to the speakers – of different faiths and backgrounds, young and old, male and female – give witness to the truths as they saw them. Including one articulate woman, Idil Ali, who had the courage to speak truths to the power of a dominant force in the refugee movement, the Action Collective. She’s part of RISE – Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees, a group that is run by refugees, for refugees. Why aren’t they more mainstream I wonder? Is it because they don’t quite fit the narrative that other “mainstream” activist groups want to send?

See video here:

At all of these rallies, the dominant presence are the loud, sometimes confrontational, people from the Refugee Action Collective or Network. There are other groups too – I need to do some investigation at some point into how the groups are connected.

In the lead-up to Sunday’s rally there was some friction – as mentioned in the video I think. It’s reminded me that we all need to be critical thinkers as activists, to make sure that the cause we’re fighting for is what we really think it should be.

I have a little motto for these things that I was given last year after hearing from a good speaker. Solidary and allyship, three bits of advice = 1. don’t be a dickhead – it’s their space/agenda/issue, not “yours”; 2. respect the main people affected by l-i-s-t-e-n-ing and following their lead in actions; 3. remember that issues are all connected (i.e. climate change issues are connected to refugee issues are connected to land rights issues and so on). Or, as RISE say, “Nothing About Us Without Us”.

A failure to listen properly has caused hurt here. But if that’s acknowledged and the wake-up call is heeded, things can improve.

There were some really good messages during the speeches. A moment that touched me was when one speaker asked us all to make hearts with our hands as she took a photo to send back to Nauru, to show those waiting in limbo that we’re still here, still pushing for change, still wanting to bring them here with us. Pressure is key – things are shifting. we can keep building momentum. Four years in limbo is far too long – let’s create change.



Revising Reality

I agree with a lot of what Pavlak says here. (My one or two minor quibbles are due to differing worldviews and are not relevant to the post.)

Basically – even though it wasn’t perfect, Meryl Streep’s speech made a lot of sense to a lot of people. Also, the incident that got her angry DID happen, even though some prominent Trump supporters (and Trump himself) are now saying it didn’t. (*Eyeroll*)

Of course, it’s not a perfect speech. It doesn’t exactly do much critical analysis of Hollywood for perpetuating ableist stereotypes – in fact, she applauds actors and Hollywood for being able to step into different people’s shoes and so on. See Carly Findlay’s Facebook page for some awesome links about this, as well as supportive links. 

Also, I now can’t get “Think of Meryl Streep“, a song from FAME! The Musical out of my head… It talks of saving up one’s emotions to use at a good time. It also comments on the perception that making a scene emotionally is bad, outside of acting, though it does so unintentionally. (Feminist and critical analyst of what I hear, read and watch? Moi? You jest…) It’s a good song. 

Speeches like Streep’s are important, even if they’re flawed, because ableism exists in society in very casual ways so always needs a rebuttal. See this link for an example.

To prove that the mocking of the disabled reporter did occur, Pavlak has included video of it. Warning for ableism. Pavlak dissects things very well in the article linked below.

I’ve seen some pieces flying around the internet lately about “The Mandela Effect.” In short, this refers to the sensation that you’re living in some kind of parallel univer…

Source: Revising Reality

Meryl Streep Speaks

This speech is powerful. Please watch. She uses her speech at the Golden Globes to call out the mocking of a disabled reporter by the USA’s President-elect and his views on immigration (without directly mentioning his name). She raises some good points about privilege, power and people.

Take to the High Road

Yes, I’m doing one of “those” posts, the sort that many people on social media are doing at the moment. Why? My reasons are that I am a global citizen (and a woman, at that) who is affected, even peripherally in Australia. I am also a bit of a politico and a proud social justice advocate and friend of different people. So, this stuff matters.

I was pretty pissed off about the results when I first heard. I mean – seriously? Trump as President??  O_O

I’m disappointed because of what that means.
I’m also disappointed because I liked Clinton. I didn’t agree with everything she said, but I liked her. She’d have been good. Now, America will go from two great terms of a great President, Barack Obama, to a wanker like Trump?

I’ve seen things going around on Facebook saying “If you voted for Trump, unfriend me”. I’m not doing that. In part because, looking at my feed, I don’t really have to – pretty much all the people I regularly see things from are on the same page as me. I am able to ignore any who aren’t – I have that privilege.

Unfriending and ignoring is a good strategy in the short term to avoid being swept into a pile of bad emotions. That’s my first thing: if you’re rattled by what’s going on atm, step away, as much as you can, at least for a little while. I’m doing that. Engage with people around you who share your views to build support. We will eventually need that support to unite and fight back (globally, in our different areas) against the separate-but-connected stupid sh** that’s been building in different places.

Another reason why unfriending purely on voting won’t quite work is that I recognise that this situation occurred from a mess of factors/reasons and that some people who voted Trump voted for legitimate (i.e. not sexist/racist/power-hungry/other stupid fear- & control-based) reasons. Like – the anti-establishment feelings and all that, especially in places where industry has been down and people have felt left behind or forgotten about? I get that. Unfortunately, they’re lumped in together now with the -ists mentioned above, the ones who I wouldn’t want to have on my feed in the first place. Trump et al – as I see it – have only used that anti-establishment support to shore up his ugly sexist/racist/etc. base. That challenge will have to be negotiated at some point: I don’t think your “great America” and his are the same. (For those whom it is the same, well – that’s a whole other kettle of fish.)

I am going to draw close to my “tribe” so to speak. If there’s something this has reminded me of, it’s how we can support one another. I’m also going to choose to, as my friend put it, “see the love not the hate”. Which does not, as she explained succinctly, mean ignoring hate – it means calling other people on their sh**, while “spending my life turning today’s ****storm into something worthwhile” by helping others however we can. For example, the “Take My Seat” badges initiative. I’m getting on board!

As I saw elsewhere on Facebook: “We must keep doing this, and other things, and other things, because we clearly have to take responsibility for connection and community into our own hands. No-one in power is worth a tinker’s cuss when it comes to this stuff. How people get to run the joint when they have the emotional intelligence of a kilo of lead poisoning is beyond me. But there you go. And those of us who have some, well, obviously we need to share it around.” ~ Fiona

We’re in for a bumpy ride as global citizens in the next little while (with bumpiness increasing in certain directly-hit areas). We can pull through though – and be the change we want to see. Let’s harness that – the power of kindness, rather than fear.

So cuddle your pets and hug your friends and family, arrange meet-ups and just generally affirm each other. Walk through nature and share funny/cute/etc. things – seek out joy and hope. We’ve been knocked a few times this year, but we’ll keep fighting.

You know what? Something I really hope for is that these events, this year – if they’re not the peak, then they’re the start of a crest of unpleasantness. My second hope is that the events will cause us progressives, in all forms, to unite more strongly, more globally, and see off the sh**. Maybe it’s a long shot, but sometimes, that’s the best shot. (The link is an awesome song I heard yesterday when searching for distractions.)

Thinking about this just made me remember this, too:
The important quote starts at 0:43.

Sums it up well, I reckon. There are a bunch of other quotes from different fandoms I could use, too.




Open Letter by RISE


Letter to the Australian Public – Re:Proposed legislation to ban refugees and asylum seekers who come on boats from entering Australia – 31/10/2016

On behalf of our members and governing staff from over 30 of the refugee and ex-detainee communities in Australia, RISE urges the Australian public to say NO to the Turnbull government’s plan to introduce legislation to ban asylum seekers who arrive by boat from ever being allowed into Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s proposal to impose a “life ban” on refugees and asylum seekers who have arrived since 2013, as well as future refugees who will be arriving to seek protection, will be tied up with the “No Advantage Policy”, which was crafted and designed under the Labor party.

Therefore, we urgently request the public to resist the Australian Prime Minister’s proposed legislation to ban refugees and asylum seekers who come on boats from entering Australia. You can contact your member in the House of Representatives and ask them to not to support it. Find your member, Australia as a nation should treat refugees, who come to seek protection, with respect. Instead Australian politicians past and present have used it to become the utterly politicised issue it is now in Australia.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s proposal only serves political parties like One Nation, Pauline Hanson, and her followers will be proud of their White Australia policies. These fear-mongering leaders will only boost the attitudes of racists and xenophobes, but will not bring justice to our refugee community.

Men, women and children are trapped in Nauru and Manus, held hostage by the Australian government and are used as political pawns. This is deliberately designed discrimination and well managed by Australian politicians. There is enough evidence that Australia’s treatment of refugees is barbaric, and that treating survivors of persecution in this way should not continue.

There are over 65 million displaced refugees around the world. Many are languishing without proper protection in interim camps. Australia’s discriminatory, human rights-violating “offshore” processing system for asylum seekers who arrive by boat adds tally to the interim camps and keeps refugees in isolation. Deterrence measures may lower the number of asylum seekers in Australia, but it is not a just and humanitarian solution for people trying to cross borders by boat, or any other form of transport, desperately seeking a place where they can be safe.

To lobby for international action, click on the following links and raise your concern:
UNHCR Geneva
UN New York
World Human Rights Watch ,
High Commissioner for Human Rights ,

Treating refugees as the problem or as political pawns is the REAL problem.

Link to the letter :…/

‘Nothing About Us Without Us’

Carla’s Facts To Consider Number Four: Yes, Race Is A Social Construct … But That Doesn’t Mean It Doesn’t Exist

I was taught in Yr 12 Sociology that “race didn’t exist”, so since then I’ve tried to use ethnicity instead. It’s only come to my attention recently that it’s more complicated then that. This explains it perfectly.


Race is a social construct. Seriously. While people may look physically different depending on where they were born or their parents’ birth of origin, biologically we are all the same. That’s a fac…

Source: Carla’s Facts To Consider Number Four: Yes, Race Is A Social Construct … But That Doesn’t Mean It Doesn’t Exist

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. 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.