Australian Healthcare is Endangered

See these articles by thatladydoctor and drmarlenepierce. Australia has a very good healthcare system that enables healthcare for all through the use of bulk-billing and so on. But in the age of privatisation, that’s under threat. Also under threat is the value of General Practitioners and the time it takes to treat a person properly. Apparently it’s a women’s problem too!

I think they raise valid points. As a woman, I like to see a female doctor – it just makes me more comfortable. I also value being listened to (who doesn’t?) and not just treated. That takes time. Also, I don’t get sick that often and I know what to do for little things (i.e. rest, keep up fluids, use over-the-counter pharmaceuticals like cough lozenges for a sore throat or ibuprofen for a bad headache/cramps…) When I do go to the doctor’s, unless it’s for something like a uni-mandated health form, it’ll be because I need someone who is knowledgeable about something that’s been worrying me. Also they should be non-judgemental – my body, my choice and all that.

Also, as I said when sharing the first article on Facebook the other day, as an OT I’m going to be working with GPs and other health professionals to ensure my clients are cared for in the best possible way. You know what helps that? Giving health professionals the respect they/we deserve – which includes proper pay and support through not gutting systems like Medicare.



Walk Together 2016!

On Saturday (tomorrow) I’ll be walking in my hometown, hopefully with lots of people. It’s a celebration of diversity and showing we welcome all. Whatever your ethnicity, ability, manner of arrival, gender or sexuality… We welcome you. Let’s show that this Saturday!

From the website:

“Walk Together 2016 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.

Join us – in your city; Saturday October 22

There are events in many capital & regional cities across Australia:

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: Torrens Parade Grounds
Walking to: Elder Park
Invite your friends!

Time: 10.00am
Starting at: Kurilpa Park (Outside GOMA)
Walking to: Emma Miller Place
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: Lake Burley Griffin
Walking to: Lake Burley Griffin
Invite your friends!

Time: 5.00om
Starting at: St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral
Walking to: Christ Church Anglican Cathedral
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: Princes Park, Battery Point
Walking to: Parliament Lawns
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: Parliament House, Spring Street
Walking to: State Library
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: St George’s Cathedral, St Georges Terrace
Walking to: Expresstival Festival, Forest Place
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: Belmore Park (next to central station)
Walking to: Victoria Park
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: Gateway Village, Lincoln Causeway, Wodonga
Walking to: Gateway Village, Lincoln Causeway, Wodonga
Invite your friends!

Time: 3.00pm
Starting at: Uniting Church Lawns in Todd Mall
Walking to: Uniting Church Lawns in Todd Mall
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: Indigenous Playground Lake Wendouree
Walking to: Indigenous Playground Lake Wendouree
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: Lake Weeroona
Walking to: Lake Weeroona
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: Brian Mc Gowan Bridge (near roundabout at the Stadium)
Walking to: Memorial Park (Mann Street, opposite Gosford Anglican Church)
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: Queen Square Moonta.
Walking to: Queen Square Moonta.
Invite your friends!

Time: TUESDAY 25th of October, 10.00am
Starting at: Dandenong Park, near Magistrates Court
Walking to: Dandenong Park, near Magistrates Court
Invite your friends!

Time: 10.00am
Starting at: Southport Broadwater Parklands
Walking to: Southport Broadwater Parklands
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: Prince’s Square
Walking to: Royal Park
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: 91 Wembley Road, Logan Central
Walking to: Logan Gardens, Civic parade, LoganCentral
Invite your friends!

Time: SUNDAY 23rd October at 2.00pm
Starting at: Newcastle Museum
Walking to: Civic Park
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.30am
Starting at: the Rotunda at Queanbeyan Park
Walking to: picnic at the Rotunda at Queanbeyan Park
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: Under the Mine Whistle Murray Street Wonthaggi
Walking to: Murray St between Woolworths and Mitchell Community House
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: Cottontree Park, Maroochydore (near war memorial)
Walking to: Cottontree Park, Maroochydore
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at:
Walking to:
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at:
Walking to:
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: The Old Court House, High Street
Walking to: The Rose Garden, Aldinga Road
Invite your friends!

Time: 11.00am
Starting at: Wollongong Mall
Walking to: McCabe Park
Invite your friends!

REBLOG: Togs or Swimmers?

I love language…..

Togs or swimmers? Why Australians use different words to describe the same things

Is Australia about to descend into civil war over whether a deep-fried potato snack is rightfully called a “potato cake” or a “potato scallop”? From some recent headlines, you might be forgiven for thinking so.

A series of maps showing differences in words used across Australia sparked fierce debates online over the virtues of calling a barbecued sausage served in a single slice of bread a “sausage in bread” or a “sausage sandwich”.

Given that these maps were put together as part of an educational activity for students participating in the Linguistics Roadshow, the huge interest in the way Australian English is used across the country took us by surprise. But, perhaps it shouldn’t have.

It’s often said that Australian English doesn’t vary much geographically – and it’s true that we don’t find the same striking linguistic differences across the country as in some other corners of the English-speaking world.

However, past and ongoing research has shown that there are some regional differences. Among the most obvious are the words people use for the same thing, such as swimwear – preferences for “togs”, “swimmers”, “cossie” or “bathers” vary markedly across the states and territories.

A very interesting article from The Conversation. Read the rest here.

Of Course Language Develops, Even in Oz….

I read a certain article in the paper last week and was perplexed and annoyed. This article below by Thomas Batchelor explains why, very articulately.

Relax ‘Straya, You’re Not Talking Like Illiterate Drunkards – WRITTEN BY THOMAS BATCHELOR

by winstonclose


By on November 1, 2015Civil Society

The Australian accent does not indicate laziness, stupidity or a liking for alcohol, writes Thomas Batchelor.

This past week an article initially published in The Age on Australian English has been picked up by the wider media in Australia and elsewhere in the world. Whilst at a first, uninitiated glance makes it appear to be an interesting and humorous linguistic quirk in our Australian accent, the article reveals certain archaic and often racist attitudes towards the languages and dialects of the world, as well as simply being fairly wrong in its conclusions.

Dean Frenkel, a lecturer and tutor in public speaking and communications – not linguistics, the first warning sign of a poorly constructed assessment of language change and sociolinguistics – starts his article by writing that Australian English was born out of alcoholism and laziness.

The arguments he uses to back this apparent laziness are a variety of sound changes that have occurred in Australian English.

These include what we call ‘intervocalic tapping’ – where a t sound is pronounced similarly to a d in between vowel sounds, like when people say budder instead ofbutter – and transformation of l into w and y sounds, as in the famous ‘straya.

In addition, several vowel changes are cited, including the a in standing becoming more like an e (so it sounds like stending, and the changing of the vowel sound innight to sound more like noight.

For someone unfamiliar with the field of linguistics, these sounds seem to be fairly ‘lazy’, but really they are not; and besides, sound changes in languages all over the world is often in part pushed by the constant desire for ease of articulation and communication.

These changes mentioned are in fact quite common in the world’s languages, and are not reflective of some unique alcohol driven laziness in Australian English speakers.

For example, the process called l vocalisation – through which l becomes pronounced like a w or y sound – is an accepted, modern standard in languages such as Croatian, French and Polish. It is accepted to such an extent that the l often doesn’t even appear in the written language any more. For example, Latinbellumbecame Old French bel, and then eventually Modern French beau, yet French is rarely considered a lazy language in the same way Frenkel accuses Australian English of being.

More concerning is where Frenkel accuses Australians of talking “at two thirds capacity of our articulatory ability”. If this is a way of measuring the intelligence and ability to communicate of a speaker, it is a shockingly archaic method.

Languages vary wildly in the number of sounds they possess (termed a phonetic inventory) Rotokas has just 11 sounds in Rotokas. The !Xóõ language of southern Africa has about 107 (plus two tones). English sits somewhere in the middle, with a fairly average number of consonants, but more vowels than average – about 5 vowels is average out of surveyed languages in the World Atlas of Language Structures, whereas we in English possess 16 to 23.

Measuring the laziness of people by the number of sounds they utilise in their speech thus has implications that the range of sounds used in a language is a signifier of their speakers’ intellectual ability. This is demonstrably false, and languages of all kinds manage to articulate complex ideas and communicate in wide varieties of contexts effectively and efficiently – a key motivator of language itself, and what makes humans unique among species thus far studied.

Sure, sometimes there are communication problems between groups and individuals, but this is more an issue with individual speakers not using appropriate language for a particular context, for example using the wrong kind of terminology or being vague in instructions, rather than an issue with the language itself.

Frenkel’s assertion that rhetoric and elocution are necessary additions to the curriculum to rectify this so called “problem” furthers an idea both racist and classist in nature, and rooted in what is termed “prestige” varieties of language.

A prestige variety of a language is a variety which has become, through social power or a multitude of other ways, a variety considered to be “the” correct variety of a language, and thus the superior way to speak.

Generally, the prestige variety of a language is associated with a wealthy upper class, one with social and political power, such as the metropolitan French of Paris or Received Pronunciation, aka the ‘Queen’s English’ of the English upper classes.

These varieties dominate in media and are constantly spread by the desire for individuals to act and speak like those with more social power; as a means to rise up through society.

Enforcing this on people, and looking down on speakers of varieties that are not part of this prestige, is a problematic thought. Working class speech is demonised in the process, and forced to separate further as they are labelled and thought of as unintelligent simply for the way they speak.

An extreme parallel can be seen in African-American Vernacular English (AAVE), a dialect spoken largely in working class African-American communities, which – whilst being its own deep and fascinating dialect, complete with tenses and aspects Standard American English does not possess, such as one termed the habitual aspect – is regarded by society as a dialect only spoken by unintelligent individuals.

This is an attitude driven by both racism – that African-Americans cannot have their own fully fledged dialect – and this omnipresent concept of prestige in the white, upper class spoken variety of English.

Whilst prestige itself is something that may never disappear, being a fairly automatic process regardless of social structure, acceptance of non-standard varieties is vital to combating racism and classism in society.

Language is an ever-changing thing, both incredibly influential on and influenced by society and its attitudes.

Attempts such as Frenkel’s to enforce archaic ideas of articulation reflecting intelligence are futile in the face of the ever marching process of language change, and reflect deeper bigotry based on the way people speak.

Don’t stress about how you’re speaking, you’re doing just fine, Frenkel’s the one who’s wrong.

Thomas Batchelor is originally from the UK but has lived in Australia for over a decade. He is majoring in linguistics at the University of Sydney.

TO READ more articles from NEW MATILDA click on  =


Walk Together and Say Welcome TOMORROW


Displaying photo.JPG(
(Me in July this year at a pub in Brunswick if I remember correctly…. I love seeing these posters about the place!)

A reminder that the “Walk Together – Say Welcome” event is tomorrow, Saturday 31st October. It begins at 11:00 (AM) across Australia – many groups are meeting a bit before then (around 10:30 or so). If you’re in Australia, I hope you’ll attend an event. The pinned post on the blog homepage has more specific details, or go to

I hope the weather is good for it with the way it’s been so topsy-turvy lately! 😛
Remember, Slip, Slop, Slap, Slide (and Seek at the end). It’s going to be fun, but the sun will probably be strong.

I hope some of you can make it!!! Quite a few local celebrities/ personalities/ stars are attending….

An article in several newspapers yesterday about the latest social cohesion survey results by the Scanlon Foundation is a cause for righteous happiness.

“What makes Australia unique,” says Markus, “is its acceptance of immigration and cultural diversity. And it’s strengthening.”

The mission of the Scanlon Foundation is to measure how this migrant nation hangs together. The figures are subtle. Old White Australia is not yet a corpse but Markus found in 2015, “lowered experience of discrimination, heightened acceptance of immigration and cultural diversity, and more positive future expectations”.

So get along to your local Welcome Walk and prove that! We are one but we are many, as that song goes (I have a soft spot for it). We’re certainly not defined by those who would wish otherwise. Let’s show that across Australia tomorrow.

(Does the link below work? I bet it won’t….It’s supposed to “embed” a video – of the sort that the Welcome to Australia organisation have been sharing throughout the past few weeks – but we’ll see how that goes.)

I’m looking forward to it….and I hope to see you there if you’re in my area!

In many of the places there will be live music afterwards. There will definitely be some sort of picnic. So come on. Let’s Say Welcome, people. 🙂

Young and Free? We Can Do Better than That….

Adding to the post I put up this morning, have a look at this:

The national anthem, like the flag, says something about us as a nation – or it’s supposed to. It’s supposed to represent us. Right now, it doesn’t – not really. An alternative is suggested below, having been around since 2009. I like it. What do you think?

P.S. Would appreciate being told whether the formatting works. This article was originally published on The Conversation and this is the first time I’ve tried their resharing option like this.


<h1>Young and free? Why I declined to sing the national anthem at the 2015 AFL Grand Final</h1>

<span><a href=”″>Deborah Cheetham</a>, <em><a href=””>University of Melbourne</a></em></span>

<p>It’s every performer’s dream. To stand in front of the largest live audience you are ever likely to see and perform the national anthem. Last month I was invited by the AFL to sing Advance Australia Fair at the 2015 Grand Final. I knew it was honour to be asked but I simply can no longer sing the words “for we are young and free”.</p>

<p>Don’t get me wrong: I wanted to find a way to make it OK. I told the event organisers that I was available to perform but I made it a condition of my appearance that I would be permitted to replace the words “for we are young and free” with “in peace and harmony”.</p>

<p>To their credit the AFL gave my request consideration but decided that they were not able to openly support this change of lyric. So I made the only decision I could make – I turned down the opportunity to sing the national anthem in front of more than 90,000 people at the ground and potentially millions more watching on TV.</p>

<p>People aware of my career will know that I have sung the anthem for significant occasions in the past. So why not now?</p>

<h2>The silence around Indigenous culture</h2>

<p>Let me be clear: it was an honour to be asked. The problem is, as an Indigenous leader I simply can no longer sing the words “we are young and free”. For that matter, as an Australian with a strong desire to deepen our nation’s understanding of identity and our place in the world, I believe we can and must do better.</p>

<p>Over the past half-century Australians have come to realise much about the persistence, sophistication and success of Aboriginal Australia. The 1967 referendum, the <a href=””>Bringing Them Home Report </a> (1997) and the <a href=””>Apology to the Stolen Generations</a> (2008) have all caught the nation’s attention and raised awareness of our shared history.</p>

<p>But many people have remained content to leave it there, to settle for what little information they received during school years. For such people, most of Australia’s Indigenous cultures remain unwrapped, unacknowledged and unexplored.</p>

<p>They are content to know that Indigenous culture exists without troubling themselves to find meaningful engagement. More worryingly, though not surprisingly, many still toil at a kind of all-consuming denial, which demands an extraordinary amount of commitment and energy to maintain.</p>

<h2>Not so young and free</h2>

<p>Our national anthem tells us that we are young and free. Blindly, many Australians continue to accept this.</p>

<p>But it’s not true. Setting aside for a moment 70,000 years of Indigenous cultures, 114 years on from Federation and 227 years into colonisation, at the very least, those words don’t reflect who we are. As Australians, can we aspire to be young forever? If we are ever to mature we simply cannot cling to this desperate premise.</p>

<p>How much better would it be if were to finally acknowledge the nuanced and sophisticated society discovered by those who arrived 230 years ago was deliberately and systematically overlooked? What if the next person to sing the anthem at the AFL Grand Final were to reach beyond the Western imperial history and harness the power of 70,000 years of accumulated wisdom and knowledge?</p>

<p>If it is time for Australia to grow up then how is this to be done? I believe that as a nation we can’t mature until we value, understand and embrace the fact that we alone in the world can lay claim to the longest continuing culture.</p>

<p>In terms of our national anthem I have written and spoken about the need for change for some time.</p>

<h2>A new song</h2>

<p>In 2009 I was privileged to help launch alternative lyrics penned by Australian legend Judith Durham in consultation with Muti Muti singer songwriter Kutcha Edwards.</p>

<p>The words are as inclusive as they are beautiful. Please take the time to read the words below and imagine the day when we can write (or sing) the next chapter in our nation’s development.</p>

<p>I believe one day we will sing these words at grand finals and other important events and that they will serve to bring us together.
Australia, it’s time to sing a new song:</p>

<p>Australia, celebrate as one, with peace and harmony.<br>
Our precious water, soil and sun, grant life for you and me.<br>
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts to love, respect and share,<br>
And honouring the Dreaming, advance Australia fair.<br>
With joyful hearts then let us sing, advance Australia fair.<br></p>

<p>Australia, let us stand as one, upon this sacred land.<br>
A new day dawns, we’re moving on to trust and understand.<br>
Combine our ancient history and cultures everywhere,<br>
To bond together for all time, advance Australia fair.<br>
With joyful hearts then let us sing, advance Australia fair.<br></p>

<p>Australia, let us strive as one, to work with willing hands.<br>
Our Southern Cross will guide us on, as friends with other lands.<br>
While we embrace tomorrow’s world with courage, truth and care,<br>
And all our actions prove the words, advance Australia fair.<br>
With joyful hearts then let us sing, advance Australia fair.<br></p>

<p>And when this special land of ours is in our children’s care,<br>
From shore to shore forever more, advance Australia fair.<br>
With joyful hearts then let us sing, advance … Australia … fair.<br></p>

<img alt=”The Conversation” height=”1″ src=”; width=”1″ />

<p><span><a href=”″>Deborah Cheetham</a>, Associate Dean, Music, <em><a href=””>University of Melbourne</a></em></span></p>

<p>This article was originally published on <a href=””>The Conversation</a>. Read the <a href=”″>original article</a>.</p>

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 Parbery Williamson 2

Ausflag 1991

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.]

Let’s Walk Together

Hi everyone. I’ve finally finished my assignments. Well, I have a couple of online quizzes next week, but the big assignments are over at last. There’s only one more week of uni until the semester is over. Not counting exams, which are about three weeks away now.

The week before exams, on the 31st October, I’ll be attending an event in my hometown. Do you remember a few weeks back I talked about the “Walk Together and Say Welcome” event? Details are posted again below. Btw, blog posts about refugees now have their own category, if you’re looking. There’s quite a few. Want to look?

Do you want to show your support for a view of Australia as a compassionate nation, willing to do its bit and more to help – one where all are supported, no matter what ethnicity, age, religion and method of arrival they may be? To say a firm no to the “out-of-sight, out-of-mind”, “lock-’em-up-and-leave-’em” policies of now? Then on Saturday October 31st, come and walk with us.

We are walking in many cities and towns across Australia. It’s a “welcoming” protest, so it is more celebratory, perhaps, than others. Celebration is an act of defiance in itself on this topic. Refugees and people from all walks of life are welcome in Australia – we will not be ruled by the politics of fear.

The links below are just those that have begun to be organised already – there may well be more. It’s not just the capital cities which protest – they just get more attention.

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 – followed by a family-friendly picnic or gathering of some sort. Put it in your diaries! We’d like to see as many people as possible at the walks.

Local links to details of walks below – for more, go to :

Gold Coast:
Mt Gambier:
Sunshine Coast:
Wagga Wagga:

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