Tuesday, December 19, 2017

'Ending the Violence in Indigenous Communities'

Just watched https://youtu.be/l9eZzN_CEso and was very much in agreement with what Jacinta Nampijinpa Price said. 

My own experience:
Having worked as a remote area nurse/midwife in the NT at Borroloola, Kalkarindgi, Lajamanu, Maningrida and Timber Creek; in WA at Meekatharra, Carnarvon, Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing; in Qld at Hope Vale, Weipa, Bamaga, the Torres Strait Islands - Thursday, Horn, Masig/Yorke, Iama/Yam, Poruma/Coconut, Warraber/Sue, Ugar/Stephens, Erub/Darnley, and Mer/Murray Islands; in NSW at Moree, Mungindi, Warialda, Boggabilla and Warialda I have saw the violence against women and children, wife beatings, sexual assault and STD's in children as young as 6

I first worked in an indigenous community in 1977. The fact was any time I reported abuse nobody higher up in health, wefare, police/justice departments wanted to listen or do anything. Many conferences held to 'plan how to fix the issues in indigenous communities' were so political and rarely had indigenous people participating. Also the truth of what was happening wasn't really acknowledged. It was as if the cultural laws were used as an excuse and so much for equality under the law. 

One of the saddest that I recall was a 13 year girl in a remote outstation camp being raped by an uncle recently released from prison who was supposed to keep away from that community. He breached parole and captured 2 girls, one managed to escape and go for help. I went out with police to accompany the girl back. We arrived at 1 am and all in the camp were asleep. No adults seemed distressed or comforted the girl. She was being fostered by an aunt. When she was 9 she witnessed her mother being murdered by her father when he put an axe through her mums head. Her brother committed suicide. This was her reality. We drove back to town with the girl and the perpetrator in the same vehicle. I took her to my flat for the night until welfare would arrive in the afternoon. She became so happy because I made her meal of eggs on toast,  She watched cartoon videos and laughed. She was very glad to be safe in that moment. She seemed resigned to whatever would happen. So many women and kids seemed to think the life they had was the norm and their families seemed to want everything that happened be kept in the community with the tacit complicity of authority. 

As a white nurse I had little power within the health department with managers keeping to the general attitude to leave problems for the community. All I could do was treat individual women and children and try to offer support as I was able, which wasn't much. Preventative actions or reporting didn't progress in all my years 'out bush'. Everything remained hidden. 

One day I'd love to see more indigenous women speak out about the truth of the ongoing violence as I think that's the only hope for the future of women and children in indigenous communities.

'Ending the Violence in Indigenous Communities'
National Press Club of Australia
 Thursday, 17 November 2016
Jacinta Price is an elected member of the Alice Springs Council. She is a Warlpiri/Celtic woman who has grown up in Alice Springs.  Councillor Price is passionate about improving the lives of indigenous children, addressing tough issues such as domestic violence and helping build a unified community.  She has also performed various professional roles within the Arts, including Assistant Curator at the Araluen Galleries, Assistant Curator at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, and Project Manager at Desart. She has worked as a Cross Cultural Consultant for the past 17 years.  Councillor Price has co-produced and performed as part of the indigenous children’s television program Yamba’s Playtime for seven years.  She is currently the co-founder and director of Yangapi Productions, which produces the popular children’s TV series.  Councillor Price is passionate about music and is a nationally acclaimed singer-songwriter who has performed to audiences around Australia since 1996.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

What Can Anyone Do or Say - Drain the Trump!

Donald Trump, currently the President of the United States of America, is an egotistical, insensitive, erratic, immature, gaudy, bigoted, misogynistic liar who needs to be terminated.  The slow moving special prosecutors investigation will, hopefully be very thorough and lead to indictments and impeachment proceedings.

Trump has no intelligible political thinking and merely repeats his lies loudly and often.  He just reacts to perceived insults and takes flight to his fantasy world at Mar-a-Lago.
When the unthinkable happened and he was elected President some thought that his over-the-top personality masked a savvy businessman. Not true!  What you see is what you get.
We've all been numbed with tweet after tweet at breakneck speed purporting a new scandal, lie, hoax or fake 'Trumpism'.  Once it hits the mainstream media the constant barrage of speculation and op eds is mind numbing.  It's almost impossible to follow and is a major distraction to real changes going on within US Government laws and funding.
The appointment of inept Trump 'picks' and the unfilled top positions that remain has turned the White House and Government into disarray.  See Political Appointments by Donald_Trump

In the nearly nine months since Trump took office, multiple high-level hires withdrew from the confirmation process, and several senior advisers have resigned, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus and former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

President Trump’s 2018 budget contains the largest dollar cuts to programs for low- and moderate-income people proposed by any President’s budget in the modern era, reflecting a strikingly imbalanced approach to reducing the deficit or offsetting the cost of its proposed tax cuts.  See Trump Cuts 2.5 Trillion

Looking at how he treats those around him, issuing orders and then back-flipping, praising to the max then undermining, putting people in his highest pick favorites category then firing them, it's a wonder anyone subjects themselves to the continued humiliation his tantrums produce.

We all fail to understand how such behavior translates into wide popular support especially with such blanket statement as:-
  • Register all Muslims in America
  • Round up the families of suspected terrorists
  • Ban all Muslims from entering the country
  • Carpet-bomb ISIS-held territories in Iraq 
  • Using nuclear weapons

Whatever pop into his head he says.  So many lies and no consequences except perhaps the destruction of the USA and a nuclear war.  See Trump lies listed New York Times

In the end no matter how many protests - No Balls Statue - are held it may all be too late. . . . . . 'sad '.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Skepticism in Today's World of Fake News!

I consider I am a skeptic but not a cynic.  When people I know support an idea without any evidence or even evidence that it is false I find it extremely difficult to change their mind.  Against all odds they will continue to defend their belief.  They will not accept they may be wrong.

I believe those not willing to question their position will close the door to their ideas being examined.  They may and often do attack when I question their assertions. 

I think the value of skepticism is it reveals flaws in popular trending beliefs by the use evidence and proof which many will still continue to dismiss.  Most ideas are at least debatable but the believer refuses to debate.

The things that I actually talk about with my friends, ideas in which intelligent, educated people see potential value, are not in that class. What I see as "settled science", such as climate change, vaccination, fluoridation etc., still produce counter arguments to the scientific evidence but can still be debated as they are still within the ballpark of scientific plausibility. 

As a thinking person I would search for credible results that contradict any preconceived notion I may have. A skeptic can be surprised by what we find which is exciting as new knowledge always is!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Era of Neo-Tribalism

The old rules don’t apply anymore!

A fractured political culture has divided the left and right more than ever before.  The right and left identify and associate with others who agree with them and automatically oppose positions held by the 'other'.

Distrust of each other leads to the new tribalism that may end up in destroying our society.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

'Living' on Newstart in 2016 at Age 61

My personal experiences with having to be dependent on Federal Government income support payments was having to access the Carer Payment as a carer for my mother following a CVA (Stroke) in 1999.  Prior to taking on this role I'd been employed for 30 years as a Remote Area Nurse, Nurse/Midwife, Clinical Nurse Consultant and Team Leader in many states of Australia and overseas.  All this time I paid my taxes.

The Carer Payment certainly helped but during 17 years as a carer but it was insufficient for all expenses so I had to access my Superannuation and used all these funds for living expenses and equipment to improve my mothers quality of life.

In April 2016 I ceased as my mothers carer as by this time I'd become physically and mentally incapable of continuing to provide adequate care.  I needed to get myself sorted. Luckily my younger sister was able to take on the role of carer.

Having notified Centrelink that I'd ceased to be a carer I entered the dehumanising and convoluted beaurocracy that is the Australian Government Department of Human Services.

They have no real right to apply the words 'human' or 'services' to anything they do or in reality avoid doing for Australian citizens applying for some form of assistance.

I am now attempting to survive on Newstart Allowance with virtually no chance of employment.  At 61 years of age I'm not entitled to the Aged Pension until November 2020.



2016 Fereral Govt Response to Newstart - rate cut.

The design of the newstart Allowance as a short-term solution is badly flawed given the alarmingly high rate of long-term unemployed people in the system.

Long-term Newstart recipients are more likely to be older workers; have a partial disability or mental illness; face communication or language barriers or lack marketable skills; and have low levels of formal education.


Treasurer Scott Morrison says 'the age pension should not be regarded as an entitlement for all, but rather a "welfare payment for those who do not have the ability to save enough to fund their own retirement".

More than twenty years since compulsory superannuation was introduced the system is not yet efficient enough at meeting its objective to "supplement or replace" the age pension, he said.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Australia's Class War Persists

Tough love" is just the right phrase: love for the rich and privileged, tough for everyone else. 
Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things.
Just in case you were under any illusion that this government cared about poor people or working families, its top business adviser came out last night slamming the minimum wage, the NDIS, Gonski reforms and the carbon tax.

See: from NOVEMBER 12, 2013 article that holds TRUE today  http://thehoopla.com.au/war-poor/

Make no mistake: the war on the poor persists. The Aussie “fair go” is a lie; dead and buried.
Maurice Newman, head of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, gave a speech NOVEMBER 12, 2013 at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia function from which we gained a very good insight into what kind of advice the government relies on
Among the policies he criticised were: the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Gonski school reforms, wages for being too high (although presumably not his), and industrial relations for being too rigid.
On the same night, Q&A hosted a panel made up entirely of business leaders: David Knox, CEO and managing director of Santos; Carol Schwartz, chairman of Our Community and Founding Chair of the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia; John Symond, founder and chair of Aussie Home Loans; Elizabeth Proust, chair of Nestle Australia; and Graham Bradley, non-executive chair of Stockland Corporation, EnergyAustralia Holdings and HSBC Bank Australia.
The first question was about business confidence and Graham Bradley offered the opinion that the new government was doing well by consulting with the business community, which he felt would lift the confidence of business and “ordinary Australians”.
Really? Would ordinary Australians really be happy that the new government is listening to people who say that the poorest people in this nation are actually being paid too much? And that casual and shift workers should have their penalty rates taken away so that business can make more money to pay top management more (whose wages it is out of the question to ever question at all)? Really? Isn’t this what the last conservative government was kicked out for?
I couldn’t reach my remote control in time to block out Aussie Home Loans’ John Symond – a real man of the people – banging on about an “immoral tax” on business hiring.
You want to talk about “immoral taxes”, Mr Symond? How about the tax on superannuation for low and middle income earners the Coalition is about to reimpose while giving a tax break to 16,000 people with more than $2 million in super? Or the tax on tampons? Or the regressive GST? Are the taxes on business in Australia so immoral that they failed to make you a multi-millionaire?
In his stirring speech, Newman “excoriated the Labor government” for – among other things – the “class warfare particularly aimed at business”, reported the Australian Financial Review.
This is where the Labor government has also done the poor a disservice. It’s time to stop denying there is class warfare in this country. There is. The rich are waging war on the poor and they’re winning.
The widely reported Credit Suisse 2013 Global Wealth Report which found that Australia was one of the world’s richest countries – second only to Switzerland in average wealth and the richest in terms of median wealth – also found that Australia was the OECD’s eighth most unequal country.
In the last decade in Australia, the richest 10 per cent enjoyed almost 50 per cent of the growth in incomes. The richest 1 per cent had 22 per cent of the gains, The Age has reported.
Not yet as bad as the US, but we’re on our way.
Only when the battle lines of the class warfare are clearly drawn and the war cries are loud and clear, can we get down to the business of fighting poverty properly.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas - Buy Nothing

The “Buy Nothing” movement may be a great idea but is it possible? As consumers we Australians are large buyers of goods.  

In Australia November 28 was 'Buy Nothing Day' and those participating have different reasons on why they feel this is a good idea.  For some it's making life about more than 'stuff' and owning so much.  They see life as simpler with less being better. 
Some see less demand for manufactured goods helping save the environment. Another group simply can't buy up big as they don't have the money, and if they do it'll be on credit and create debt.
What do you think?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Paris Attacks

Disproportionate Media Coverage of Paris Attacks is usual given our media.  Is it also us as the audience that don't respond to news about people 'not like us'.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Greyhoud Racing Live Baiting Horror

The Queensland government commission of inquiry into the greyhound industry gave Mr MacSporran wide powers as allegations of animal cruelty are of significant public interest.

Trainer Tom Noble was refused bail in an Ipswich court, where he faced allegations of intimidating a witness as well as several charges of animal cruelty.  Noble banned for life from the greyhound industry.  Twenty-seven other trainers have been suspended pending the conclusion of investigations by the state body.

Representatives from the greyhound racing community recently met with Racing Queensland operations manager Declan Martschinke to discuss potential changes to the industry in the wake of the live baiting scandal.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Eligibility Requirements Changes Set to Hit Pensioners Hard

Brisbane pensioners are set to be hit with both the loss of their benefits and a massive rates hike, and the loss of their 40 per cent rates discount, Labor's lord mayoral candidate has warned.

Brisbane City Council offers a 20 per cent remission on rates for people on a part-pension, up to $420 a year, with the state government contributing a further 20 per cent, up to $200 a year.

The Abbott government announced the changes in the eligibility requirements in its budget handed down in Canberra last week, which would see about 91,000 lose access to their part-pension.

Labor candidate Rod Harding said he estimated about 4500 Brisbane ratepayers would be among those 91,000.

Mr Harding, who watched part of Tuesday's council meeting from the public gallery at City Hall, said they would be faced with the double blow of losing their benefits and having their council rates discount taken away as a result.

"The cruel reality is that a retired part-pensioner who may only be losing as little as $100 per year in their pension will be hit by (Lord Mayor) Graham Quirk with a rates and charges increase of more than $1000," he said.

"A part-pensioner currently paying $2900 in annual council rates and water charges will suddenly see their bill increase to $3500 – a massive increase of $600 per year.

"At these rates, Graham Quirk will suddenly be pocketing an extra $2.5 million a year in rates and charges from people who certainly wouldn't be classified as rich.

"I don't believe the Brisbane City Council should be making a windfall gain from these retired part-pensioners."

However, according to the council's policy, the most part-pensioners could lose in rates remissions was $620 a year, not "more than $1000" as claimed by Mr Harding.

Facing questioning from the Labor opposition in the council chamber, Cr Quirk said there were no plans to change the council's policy.

"The rules around eligibility for rates discounts on pensions have not changed in this place for decades," he said.

"They have applied the same under Labor administrations as they have under this (administration) and that is the lists provided by the federal government in relation to eligibility form the lists of those people who are eligible for rates discounts.

"That has always been the case."

Cr Quirk said Labor had the opportunity to change the system during its time in administration.

"There is no change of policy in this place and the same policy will continue," he said, before directing his comments to former Labor administration finance chairman Kim Flesser.

"Cr Flesser, you were the finance chairman and you had the chance if you wanted to change the policy," he said.

"You chose not to in the years you were there as finance chairman ... this policy has been in place for decades."

Outside the chamber, Cr Flesser said he never sought to change the policy because there were no changes at a federal level to necessitate such a move.

Mr Harding said, as lord mayor, he would Labor introduce a "grandfathering" of the 40 per cent rates discount to insulate part-pensioners from the sudden increase.

"I believe it's incumbent on council not to grab a windfall from retirees as a result of an eligibility change by the federal government," he said.

A spokesman for Cr Quirk said Mr Harding did not take into account those moving from a part to full pension.

"So any 'million dollar windfall' is pure speculation," he said.

"Council estimations are that 1781 part pensioners will lose their pensions, offset by approximately 974 pensioners moving from part to full pension."

Monday, December 8, 2014

Finding Happiness In Spite OF Other People

Why do we expect people to do what we want? Why are we surprised when we say they act unreasonably?  We can become angry when people 'let us down'.  Are we expecting too much?

I think we are.

Realistically people will be people!  This sounds trite but if we accept it we can find happiness.
If we don't take everything personally or think people are doing something just to annoy us we can 'get over ourselves' and get real!
People in our lives will fail and muck up - take it as a given!

Say to yourself - hey we are all human and will all fuck up so when we see it happen no need to be angry.  Just look at the persons good stuff and accept the rest as a part of them.

This doesn't mean accept anyone and everyone as you need to be real about the fact some people shouldn't be in your life if you want to be happy!  If you can say a person is bad for your happiness then remove them from your life!

Many of us are waiting for happiness to arrive. We believe if we’re not happy now we will be when . . . . .  happens!

Daily annoyances that seems trivial can have large impacts on how we feel.  The other side to happiness - sadness and depression are real.  With happiness comes sadness. Life is a balance!

The human experience is connecting to people with all types of emotions. A hard time lets us find our greatest strength.  You will know happiness when it comes because of having experienced the opposite.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fear Politics

They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin

It seems politicians and the media are hand in glove manipulating the public and running a 'beware the boogeyman', 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' blitz to produce fear and anxiety and throw out reason, tolerance and debate!

The Government says a threat to Australians from Islamic extremists is immediate.

Australians fighting in Iraq and Syria and will return home and kill us in our beds!

Apparently we need massive spending on counter-terrorism and our privacy sacrificed to 'battle' this threat.

Tony Abbott wants to presents as a leader for this fearful world but are we looking at the 'Emperor with no clothes'.  A one sided press would have us believe otherwise.  Flag waving - team Australia!!

If the terrorists aim is to instill fear then our own government and media are allies to their cause as we now live in continual panic mode. 

Fear is a natural emotion. Letting it rule us is a choice. Acting like sheep is a choice.

We can do better!

There be dragons!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Team Australia ?

What is this 'Team Australia' of the government and Tony Abbott?

The newly branded Australian nationalism of 'Team Australia' is being weighed as all are expected to accept the threat of terrorism and invasion of boat people's is a 'clear and present danger' to our lives and country and linked to our national identity.

Those opposed to anything with this label are disloyal too Australia.

So would you want to be on this team? What does it mean?

Does it mean we must agree to deregulate education,  rip Medicare apart and repeal benefits and social security so those reliant on government assistance will be worse off.  Income inequality and the wealth gap will be wider than ever.  At the same time wanting to reduce company tax rates and repeal laws that the powerful and rich in our society want removed.

Doesn't seem like a 'team' I'd want to join!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

War On Illicit Drugs in Australia? Working?

It appears that Australia has failed to control drugs

A report titled “The prohibition of illicit drugs is killing and criminalising our children and we are letting it happen” from Australia21.

The report co-author Bob Douglas, a former President of The Public Health Association of Australia, said the war on drugs was “conceptually unsound. The Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol, and [the prohibition on drugs] essentially passes the control and the distribution and the promotion of drugs to criminal gangs. It’s not worked anywhere in the world. “The drug market will always be able to outbid law enforcement.” . . . “Our prisons are chockablock with people with drug problems, and we’re making criminals of our kids.”

Report can be downloaded at Australia21.

  • Are we doing the right thing by criminalising its use?
  • Should we evaluate the use of heroin treatment for addicts in a controlled, medically supervised trial?
  • Has the 40 years of experience of a law and order approach to drugs failed?
  • Should Australia be legalising, regulating, controlling and taxing all drugs?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cyclone Ita! You Beyatch!

Our rainforest garden 3 acre block blow apart by cyclone Ita!  WTF!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Australian Medicare - Universal Health Care NOT FOR SALE!

Tony Abbott insists the Liberals are the best friends of Medicare yet as Prime Minister he is talking of co-payment by patients for all appointments with their GP's.

Medicare is a safety net for all who can't afford visiting a doctor.  Now so-called unnecessary visits to the doctor are to be be discouraged. But how to decide who are time wasters in a doctors waiting room.  What are unnecessary visits?

Discouraging doctor visits is not the brightest idea!  Adverts encourage people to go to their doctors with a variety of symptoms and warning signs.  Early detection and treatment saves health costs in the long term.  If parents having to think twice before taking their children to a doctor because of costs they'd have little sympathy for those who claim the co-payment is an incidental expense.

Why not simply increase the existing Medicare levy on taxable income so that the extra cost burden would be shared fairly between rich and poor. 

Or do we want a private health system like the United States.   

If we believe that the basic principles of Medicare are not negotiable then they are not for sale.

Friday, March 7, 2014

An Artists Inspiration!

The Gap The mark of an artist is the ability to take a blank sheet of paper and come up with a creative work.

To tell the difference between artists who have really made the transition to being professionals and those who are still trying to find their feet it is their attitude or inspiration.

Look at any well-established artist and you'll see that they have a system and a set of tools that they have developed - habits of mind and tools which they know from experience can be used to produce art. It's not that you need to give up on inspiration as it can yield amazing and unexpected results but it doesn't arrive on demand.  A technique or art tool can be used more easily when the artist understands what it can do and how.  Between theory and practice our mind must examine what it means to be an artist.

1. Slowly discover, with the sense of freedom life around you - explore through your artists medium

2. As a beginning don't think about finishing - always think about beginning

3. Ignore everyone except your inner voice

4. Work on several paintings simultaneously - paint, paint and paint some more

5. Show yourself on the canvas - have no fear

Put on the 'commercial' hat only after putting down the brush!

Do what pleases and excites you!  Your art will live!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Diets - the Fallacies! The Experts?

Sticking to a New Year’s resolution to get fitter and healthier - which involves weight loss - is already proving difficult.  Knowing the stats that in a year or two it is probable the weight I may shed will be back to where I am today.

BUT WHY!! Is it my failure of willpower? Is it the dietary changes that doom me to failure?

Considering obesity linked disease such as diabetes my future health and quality of life is something I need to resolve NOW!

Conflicting information on how to eat healthy and maintain a healthy weight and the major increase in rates of obesity / diabetes would make one think conventional wisdom may be wrong.
In my parents day very few people were overweight.   Apparently in the war years what with rations and growing their own food people were leaner and healthier than we are today.

Now with more published on diet and weight loss than ever we are getting fatter and fatter!

Is it that nutrition research has many theories but no proof.  What foods help us live a long and healthy life.

Is the mantra on dietary fat and high cholesterol correct?  Is the evidence there?  So called experts disagree.

What is clear is modern people are eating too much and not exercising enough. So as an individual I will stop believing experts have all the answers and challenge myself to get healthier by moving more, eating less crap and more minimally processed foods and being kind to myself .

Before making umpteen dietary restrictions I'd like some more evidence.  Is that too much to ask?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas - Bah humbug!

Christmas muzak in the stores
Days of childhood slip away
Many places caught in war
Our world seems to decay

A focus on all being so "perfect" 
What is consuming all about
Social excess all tinsel bedecked
Causes hold their hands out

Be grateful for who I am
Excessive rumination is a buzz kill
Focus on the bigger meaning or dam
Myself to never fulfill
Good things about Christmas - um
Gratitude for others being near
Christmas pudding with a plum
Which won't be around for another year

Break free from the past
Make Christmas your own
The world is so vast
Let your home be your zone!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Savage Art Cuts - the Bastards!

The link - Savage Queensland Arts Cuts! This is the source of text!
 Tamara Winikoff - Executive Director, National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA)'

'The Queensland arts sector is reeling following the announcement by the Arts Minister of the complete defunding of 15 arts organisations and cuts to a number of others estimated at 30%.
Conversely, the major performing arts organisation have had a substantial boost, with the Queensland Ballet being able to double its budget in just two years and funding increases to La Boite, CIRCA and Camerata of St John’s (Brisbane).

The small to medium visual arts organisations have been particularly hard hit. For fear of becoming a further target, organisational representatives are loath to make any on the record comments, but one said to me, 'This Newman Government simply supports the kind of arts that provide diversionary entertainment activity.

Perversely, some organisations which have lost operational support have received project grants. As one director commented wryly,  'I’m going to extract your skeleton. Now go and dance for me!' Another said, 'It doesn’t make Queensland look progressive, creative or diverse. People with any vision or ambition will be leaving, taking their enterprise out of this state.'

It is estimated that at least 10 staff across the visual arts may be lost to the sector altogether. There is perhaps too cavalier an attitude in government to this kind of loss for a state that had only recently succeeded in building its cultural profile.

With the triennial funding being announced as a lump sum, precise annual figures are not yet available. However, given the statement in the Arts Minister’s release that, 'The organisations …will use government investment to leverage other funding and grow their business,' it is likely that the cuts will increase over the next three years with the view that alternative financial sources must be developed or responsibility transferred.

Queensland has for some time been complaining that the Australia Council, does not distribute funding equitably and Queensland is missing out.  For a conspiracy theorist the cuts could be seen as calculated to force the Australia Council to pick up sole responsibility for supporting the newly defunded organisations.

Queensland Centre for Photography (QCP), Media Art Asia Pacific (MAAP) and Feral Arts are three which have completely lost their triennial operational support.  A number of other existing triennial clients such as Artisan, the Institute of Modern Art (IMA), and the two regional organisations, KickArts and Umbrella Studios have received cuts of around 25 %. Others like Eyeline magazine, Museum and Gallery Services Queensland (M&GSQ) and Umi Arts have had approximately 10% shaved off while Flying Arts with a regional remit have stayed about even.

Knowing that regional organisations KickArts and Umbrella Studios have experienced sizeable cuts of around 25% (which will mean sacking staff and cutting programs), one has to view with some skepticism what the Arts Minister has said in his media release that, 'Regional Queensland is a big winner, with organisations to be funded including…. KickArts.'

Kick Arts has been focusing considerable energy on trying to generate income through retail sales in their Cairns CoCA shop and through the sales of Djumbunji Press prints. The Government itself acknowledges that Cairns has been hit by a downturn in tourism and KickArts will be feeling this pressure on their business alongside most other tourist related programs in the city. The timing of the funding cut therefore, couldn’t be worse.

Some other decisions also seem counterintuitive. An organisation like Media Art Asia Pacific (MAAP) which has just recently won the prestigious Australian Arts in Asia Award having been nominated in five categories, is one which has lost all its funding. Entirely congruent with the ambition of the ‘Australia in the Asian Century’ policy, over its 15 year history it has produced 7 international media art festivals across Brisbane, Beijing and Singapore, with representation from 14 countries.

MAAP director Kim Machen says that though they have been given $40,000 for the Land, Sea, Sky project, they have lost their core funding of $100,000 and without it, they’ll lose the $50K they get through the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS) managed by the Australia Council. What will now become of their travelling exhibition planned in 2014 for Korea and China?

Queensland Centre for Photography QCP has worked diligently over the last 10 years to build not only a credible organisations but one which flies the flag for Queensland and Australian photographers interstate and overseas. They, like MAAP have been one of the few modestly resourced small to medium organisations which is actually exporting artworks by Queensland artists overseas rather than importing  work for local audiences. Perhaps Edmund Capon in his TV series ‘The Art of Australia’ was wrong in his estimation that Australia has outgrown its cultural cringe.

According to the economist Professor Mark H Moore, who spoke recently at a Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) forum on how arts organisations can measure and articulate the public value of what they do, 'one of the things to consider is how the producing and consuming of art would create a civil and political culture in which one might like to live.’ This must now more than ever become a pressing question for Queenslanders.

With Tony Abbot in Canberra and Campbell Newman in Brisbane -OMG!

Tony Abbott does not want diversity of funding to support emerging, challenging and progressive art styles and seems to be taking Australia backwards to a bygone era.

‘What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year…’ 
 ”I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.”
“If you want to know who to vote for, I’m the guy with the not bad looking daughters”.

Asylum seekers:
 ”Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”
“I don’t think it’s a very Christian thing to come in by the back door rather than the front door,”

Climate Change:
“Climate change is absolute crap”.

 “The existing definition of marriage,”  “I probably feel a bit threatened (by homosexuality), as so many people do.”

Indigenous Australians:
 “There may not be a great job for them but whatever there is, they just have to do it, and if it’s picking up rubbish around the community, it just has to be done.”

“If I don’t speak they can’t see me and it will all go away”

The WWW:
 Slow, filtered internet.

International Aid:
Planned $4.5-billion cut to the aid budget would hurt some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities, particularly in Africa.

Arts and entertainment:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Macaroni and Beef - The Internet Classic- Author unknown

"A couple of weeks ago we decided to cruise out to Ryan's Steakhouse for dinner. It was a Wednesday night which meansthat macaroni and beef was on the hot bar, indeed the only night of the week that it is served. Wednesday night is also kid's night at Ryan's, complete with Dizzy the Clown wandering from table to table entertaining the little bastards.  It may seem that the events about to be told have little connection to those two circumstances, but all will be clear in a moment.  We went through the line and placed our orders for the all-youcan- eat hot bar then sat down as far away from the front of the restaurant as possible in order to keep the density of kids down a bit. Then I started my move to the hot bar. Plate after plate of macaroni and beef were consumed that evening, I tell you in all, four heaping plates of the pseudo-Italian ambrosia were shoved into my belly. I was sated.  Perhaps a bit too much, however.  I had not really been feeling well all day, what with a bit of gas and such. By the time I had eaten four overwhelmed plates of food, I was in real trouble. There was so much pressure on my diaphragm that I was having trouble breathing. At the same time, the downward pressure was building. At first, I thought it was only gas which could have been passed in batches right at the table without too much concern.  Unfortunately, that was not to be. After a minute or so it was clear that I was dealing with explosive diarrhea. It's amazing how Macaroni and Beef  grease can make its way through your intestines far faster than the food which spawned the grease to begin with, but I digress.  Entering, I saw two sinks immediately inside the door, two urinals just to the right of the sinks, and two toilet stalls against the back wall. One of them was a handicapped bathroom. Now, normally I would have gone to the handicapped stall since I like to stretch out a bit when I take a good poop, but in this case, the door lock was broken and the only thing I hate worse than my wife telling me to stop cutting my toenails with a pair of diagonal wire cutters is having someone walk in on me while I am taking a poop. I went to the normal stall. In retrospect, I probably should have gone to the large, handicapped stall even though the door would not lock because that bit of time lost in making the stall switch proved to be a bit too long under the circumstances. By the time I had walked into the regular stall, the pressure on my rear was reaching Biblical proportions. I began "The Move."  For those women who may be reading this, let me take a moment to explain "The Move." Men know exactly what their bowels are up to at any given second. And when the time comes to empty the cache, a sequence of physiological events occur that can not be stopped under any circumstances. There is a move men make that involves simultaneously approaching the toilet, beginning the body turn to position ones rear toward said toilet, hooking ones fingers into ones waistline, and pulling down the pants while beginning the squat at the same time. It is a very fluid motion that, when performed properly, results in the flawless expulsion of poop at the exact same second that ones rear is properly placed on the toilet seat. Done properly, it even assures that the choad is properly inserted into the front rim of the toilet in the event that the wee stream lets loose at the same time; it is truly a picture of coordination rivaling that of a ballet dancer.  I was about half-way into "The Move" when I looked down at the floor and saw a pile of vomit that had been previously expelled by one of those little bastards attending kids night; it was mounded up in the corner so I did not notice it when I had first walked into the stall. Normally, I would not have been bothered by such a thing, but I had eaten so much and the pressure upward was so intense, that I hit a rarely experienced gag reflex. And once that reflex started, combined with the intense pressure upward caused by the bloated stomach, four plates of macaroni and beef started coming up for a rematch. What happened next was so quick that the exact sequence of events are a bit fuzzy, but I will try to reconstruct them as best I can. In that moment of impending projectile vomiting, my attention was diverted from the goings-on at the other end. To put a freeze frame on the situation, I was half crouched down to the toilet, pants pulled down to my knees, with a load of vomit coming up my esophagus. Now, most of you know that vomiting takes precedence over poop no matter what is about to come slamming out of your rear. It is apparently an evolutionary thing since pooping will not kill you, but vomiting takes a presence of mind to accomplish so that you do not aspirate any food into the bronchial tubes and perhaps choke to death. My attention was thus diverted. At that very split second, my rear exploded in what can only be described as a wake ... you know, as in a newspaper headline along the lines of "30,000 Killed in Wake of Typhoon Fifi" or something similar. In what seemed to be most suitably measured in cubic feet, an enormous plug of poop the consistency of thick mud with embedded pockets of greasy liquid came flying out of my rear.  But remember, I was only half-way down on the toilet at that moment. The poop wave was of such force and of just such an angle in relation to the back curve of the toilet seat that it ricocheted off the back of the seat and slammed into the wall at an angle of incidence equal to the angle at which it initially hit the toilet seat. Then I sat down. Recall that when that event occurred, I was already half-way to sitting anyway and had actually reached the point of no return. I have always considered myself as relatively stable gravitationally, but when you get beyond a certain point, you're going down no matter how limber you may be.  Needless to say, the poop wave, though of considerable force, was not so sufficient so as to completely glance off the toilet seat and deposit itself on the walls, unlike what you would see when hitting a puddle with a high-pressure water hose; even though you throw water at the puddle, the puddle gets moved and no water is left to re-form a puddle. There was a significant amount of poop remaining on about one third of the seat rim which I had now just collapsed upon. Now, back to the vomit... While all the pooping was going on, the vomit was still on its way up. By the time I had actually collapsed on the toilet, my mouth had filled up with a goodly portion of the macaroni and beef I had just consumed. OK, so what does the human body instinctively do when vomiting? One bends over. So I bent over. I was still sitting on the toilet, though. Therefore, bending over resulted in me placing my head above my now slightly opened legs, positioned in between my knees and waist. Also directly above my pants which were now pulled down to a point just midway between my knees and my ankles. Oh, did I mention that I was wearing not just pants, but sweat pants with elastic on the ankles. In one mighty push, some three pounds of macaroni and beef, two or three cokes, and a couple of Big, Fat Yeast Rolls were deposited in my pants...on the inside...with no ready exit at the bottom down by my feet.  In the next several seconds, there were a handful of farts, a couple of turds, and the event ended, yet I was now sitting there with my pants full of vomit, my back covered in poop that had bounced off the toilet, spattered on three ceramic tiled walls to a height of about five feet, and still had enough force to come back at me, covering the back of my shirt with droplets of liquid poop. All while thick poop was spread all over my ass in a ring curiously in the shape of a toilet seat. And there was no fucking toilet paper. What could I do but laugh. I must have sounded like a complete maniac to the guy who then wandered into the bathroom. He actually asked if I was OK since I was laughing so hard I must have sounded like I was crying hysterically. I calmed down just enough to ask him if he would get the manager. And told him to have the manager bring some toilet paper. When the manager walked in, he brought the toilet paper with him, but in no way was prepared for what happened next. I simply told him that there was no way I was going to explain what was happening in the stall, but that I needed several wet towels and I needed him to go ask my wife to come help me. I told him where we were sitting and he left. At that point, I think he was probably assuming that I had wet just a bit in my pants or something similarly benign.  About two minutes later, my wife came into the bathroom not knowing what was wrong and with a certain amount of worry in her voice. I explained to her (still laughing and having trouble getting out words) that I had a slight accident and needed her help. Knowing that I had experienced some close calls in the past, she probably assumed that I had laid down a small turd or something and just needed to bring the car around so we could bolt immediately. Until I asked her, I'm sure she had no idea that she was about to go across the street and purchase me new underwear, new socks, new pants, a new shirt, and (by that time due to considerable leakage around the elastic ankles thingies) new sneakers. And she then started to laugh herself since I was still laughing. She began to ask for an explanation as to what had happened when I promised her that I would tell her later, but that I just needed to handle damage control for the time being. She left.  The manager then came back in with a half dozen wet towels and a few dry ones. I asked him to also bring a mop and bucket upon which he assured me that they would clean up anything that needed to be cleaned. Without giving him specific details, I explained that what was going on in that stall that night was far in excess of what I would expect anyone to deal with, what with most of the folks working at Ryan's making minimum wage of just slightly above.  At that moment, I think it dawned on him exactly the gravity of the situation. Then that manager went so far above the call of duty that I will be eternally grateful for his actions. He hooked up a hose. Fortunately, commercial bathrooms are constructed with tile walls and tile floors and have a drain in the middle of the room in order to make clean up easy. Fortunately, I was in a commercial bathroom. He hooked up the hose to the spigot located under the sink as I began cleaning myself up with the wet towels. Just as I was finishing, my wife got back with the new clothes and passed them into the stall, whereupon I stuffed the previously worn clothing into the plastic bag that came from the store, handing the bag to my wife. I finished cleaning myself off and carefully put on my new clothes, still stuck in the stall since I figured that it would be in bad taste to go out of the stall to get redressed in the event I happened to be standing there naked and some little bastard kid walked in. At that point, I had only made a mess; I had not yet committed a felony and intended to keep it that way.  When I finished getting dressed, I picked up the hose and cleaned up the entire stall, washing down the remains toward the drain in the center of the room. I put down the hose and walked out of the bathroom. I had intended to go to the manager and thank him for all he had done, but when I walked out, three of the management staff were there to greet me with a standing ovation. I started laughing so hard that I thought I was going to throw up again, but managed to scurry out to the car where my wife was now waiting to pick me up by the front door. The upshot of all this is that I strongly recommend eating dinner at Ryan's Steak House. They have, by far, the nicest management staff of any restaurant in which I have eaten."

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mainstream Media Bias! Julia Gillard - Tony Abbott

Why is Abbott still a total misogynist- why does the media ignore the amazingly strong speech Gillard gave in parliemnt on 9 October 2012 in response to a motion of no confidence in Peter Slipper as Speaker of the House.  Julia Gillard's words were strong and full of passion - watching the full speech on You-Tube shows a different Gillard who shows she cares about this topic. 
On the tape Abbott, appears weak and he looks more and more guilty as her speech goes on!

The media failed in its reporting of this speech and mostly was was well off the point.  

Why was mainstream media analyses of the Prime Minister’s speech was so off the mark? In her speech she condemned text messages from Peter Slipper, and expressed concern for turning Parliament into a kangaroo court BUT then the remainder of her speech is about the underhanded tactics of a total misogynist - Abbott.  The media must come from an alternate universe as their reporting of what occurred was totally biased and focused on Peter Slipper what they saw as a diatribe - would they have reported in the same way if a male politician was so strong in a speech?

At the time Tony Abbott was saying how he was ‘woman friendly’ with his wife saying what a nice man he is (throw up) while at the same time directing totally uncalled for comments at Gillard referencing her dead father and calling shame on Peter Slipper - pot calling the kettle black!

Finally Gillard got sick and tired of the gutter politics and stood up and said that's enough! Good on her!  Yet no one in the media raises the sexism shown against our elected Prime Minister.  Though politics is a dirty business some attacks on Gillard are cowardly.  The bullying is accepted.

Come on media – open your eyes and report what is going on!

March 2011 a motion was moved at the party's Federal Divisional Council "that this Council notes the actions of the Member for Fisher in accepting nomination by the Labor Party for the position of Deputy Speaker and competing for this position in opposition to Mr Bruce Scott MP nominated for this position by the coalition parties and expresses its concern over the ongoing negative publicity directed at the Member for Fisher and the resulting damage to the Liberal National Party and requests the Applicant Review Committee to take note and take action as deemed appropriate".  Matter was deferred without discussion to the party's state director.   

So now the Liberals aren't liking Peter Fisher so much!

September 2011, Slipper raised concerns of alleged branch stacking by Brough.  There was growing pressure over how the LNP would determine preselection of candidates for the seat of Fisher with Slipper threatening to resign from the party if not re-endorsed.

November 2011, Harry Jenkins, a member of the Australian Labor Party, unexpectedly resigned as 26th Speaker of the House of Representatives.

24 November 2011, Slipper was nominated unopposed and installed as Speaker.  Slipper's acceptance of Labor's nomination as Speaker was considered a "renegade" action and opposition leader Tony Abbott threatened to expel him from the Liberal caucus for his action. Slipper resigned from the Liberal National Party on taking the Speaker's seat and continues in parliament as an independent representative.

So now the Liberals aren't liking Peter Fisher even more so and behind the scenes are looking for ways to undermine him! 

20 April 2012, Slipper was accused of misusing Cabcharge vouchers—an allegation acknowledged as being investigated by the Federal Police. Also accused of sexually harassing a member of staff, James Ashby. Ashby, a 33-year-old gay man, alleged that Slipper sexually harassed him on a number of occasions, via mobile phone text messages and in private conversations.

22 April 2012, Slipper stepped aside from the speakership, meaning he would not take the Speaker's Chair, while investigations into the alleged travel-related misconduct were conducted. The Coalition, as well as Rob Oakeshott, Andrew Wilkie and Tony Windsor, called on Slipper to continue to stand aside pending a resolution of the sexual harassment claims.  The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, as well as other senior Opposition figures such as the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Eric Abetz, called for Slipper to resign until Ashby's claims were investigated. The Government said it was a legal matter and that they would not be asking for Slipper's resignation.

27 April 2012, Slipper released copies of Cabcharge documents for at least two of the dates in question (a third group of documents contained illegible dates) along with a written statement saying they were clearly in his handwriting, therefore disproving the allegation he handed over blanks. The Government initially agreed, but various questions about the documents, including whether the payments were inflated and even whether Slipper signed them all, were raised in the media.

29 April 2012, Julia Gillard announced that she had spoken to Slipper and he had agreed to stay away from the House.

8 May 2012, Slipper resumed the chair as Speaker and read out a statement denying the allegations against him. He then formally requested that the Deputy Speaker, Anna Burke, take the chair in his absence.

9 October 2012, a motion of no confidence in Peter Slipper as Speaker of the House was narrowly defeated by one vote. Julia Gillards speech was in response tho this motion. 

9 October 2012 Peter Slipper later entered Parliament and announced his resignation, saying: "I leave this position without rancour, with a great deal of sadness and, more importantly, with a great deal of regret because I believe that, given the controversy which has occurred in recent times, that it is in the interests of the Parliament that I should take the course of action that I have personally chosen to take."  He moved to crossbench as an independent member of the House of Representatives after his resignation.

12 December 2012, Federal Court Justice Steven Rares dismissed the sexual harassment charges against Slipper saying that he had "reached the firm conclusion that Mr Ashby's predominant purpose for bringing these proceedings was to pursue a political attack against Mr Slipper and not to vindicate any legal claim he may have for which the right to bring proceedings exists." 
8 January 2013 the Federal Police summonsed Slipper alleging three offences in relation to allegations concerning the use of Cabcharge vouchers.

January 2013, Slipper was summonsed to appear before court facing charges of dishonesty relating to alleged use of Cabcharge vouchers during 2010.  According to documents released by the court, Slipper is alleged to have used Cabcharge to pay for hire cars to visit a number of wineries in the Canberra region in January, April and June 2010.

February 2013 Slipper's lawyer has described the Cabcharge fraud case against his client as "mystifying" and questioned whether the matter would have been handled differently if it did not involve the former parliamentary Speaker.  “In my experience matters of this amount aren't dealt with through the court system,” he said.   Mr Russo said he did not understand the political process, but said there was no precedent for this type of prosecution.

Ongoing - ??

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Child Abuse Inquiry - George Pell

Archbishop George Pell says he welcomes the Child Abuse Inquiry!  Bullshit! 

He says claims are exaggerated and the Catholic Church had been targeted and is not the main culprit.  He says he doesn't deny 'misdoings' in the Catholic Church but to it being exaggerated.

Cardinal Pell is Australia's most senior Catholic cleric.  

He said he did not believe the public was cynical about the church's moves to combat sexual abuse but thinks the press reports stating that the church is covering up is general smearing.

Of the many victims of childhood sexual abuse in the church, some have taken their own lives though nobody knows how many.  Many times, they were told that it was their own fault and that they deserved it.

It's well and truly overdue that a Royal Commission is held into the truth of this abuse!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

%$^#&*# Feral Pigs!

Blinkin' feral pigs have raided the garden just as the gingers and shade plants were looking their best and ready to come into bloom!  *$%^@(% feral's! With two miniature foxie's we haven't the canine resources to do much.  Diesel petrol apparently puts them off so has been sprayed around and we wait to see what happens!

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Agony of Two Flat Tyres - Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!

Yes I know anyone can get a flat tire but two flat tires at the same time, on the same vehicle, well that's enough to have a whinge about!
 Having first the rear tire blow and taking forever to remove the wheel to take to tire repair shop was bad enough - as the wheel on the disability scooter hadn't been removed since purchasing - never having had a puncture - yes so I know that is lucky - but the luck had run out!!  

So after trying out every spanner socket in the tool kits finally found one to fit then had to try to get the nut off.  Amidst much colourful language finally got the nut off only to find the wheel was stuck tight!  So the ol' WD40 came out and after a lot more cursing finally got the darn wheel off and to repair shop - that was the only good news as cost $18 (very reasonable) and done within 1/2 hour of arrival!  Great service!  

So that afternoon the front tire which must have had a slower leak was flat - %#$%%#^&*#*& - so same again except the nut on front tire had to be a different type and so search for correct spanner again and again wheel nut was so tight - WD40 and muscle power again until finally got it off and to the tire shop - again great service and repair.  

Finally all done and scooter operational again - so whinge over!!
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