Quick Update

In an email (to rude and crass to reproduce here ;p ) a friend asked a few silly questions that made me realise I hadn’t posted a couple of quick updates on some stuff I mentioned before.

The new job is going well – I sold my first computer yesterday and I feel like I’m finally starting to get on my own two feet and not asking a bazillion questions every day (I’m down to about a million instead!). Went out for drinks on Friday night after work (over-did it on the alcohol front, but, oh well) and I had a great time.

My friend is out of hospital. Seems her apendics, despite putting on a pretty frock for the doctors once it had been ripped out, was the cause of her pain and she is on her way to a full recovery.

Went and saw The Devoted Few on Saturday (two nights in a row at the Annandale – a first for me I think!) and they were awesome as usual. Definitely getting tighter and more animated every show. Can’t wait to see them on the 23rd at the Metro.

That’s all for now. Starting to get back a little into the blogging groove (as you may have noticed). Feels good…

More on Family First

From a friend via email:

Fearing the worst, I went to their web site, and -read- their policies.

http://familyfirst.org.au/policy.php

Said reading is actually very, very relieving. I imagine we were all fearing the worst after the Christian Demagogues err…. Democrats. The whole set of policies reminds me most of something that the Salvos would write. And my opinion of the Salvos is about as high has it gets for god botherers (apologies in anyone on the list is Christian).

Stand out “leftie” policies:
Free dental, reduce HECs, drugs = health problem, paid maternity leave, pro-refugee, benefits for casuals & part-time workers, pro-environment, don’t sell Telstra.

Stand out “uh oh” policies:
marriage = boy + girl, embryonic stem cell research = bad, pr0n = bad

Stand out “right wing” policies:
lots of tax & small business reforms, but leave unions and award system alone.

I’d still prefer the Greens, but at least it isn’t Harradine or Nile. And at least they’ve proved that you can be conservative christians without being RWNJs

Here’s a full summary:

Health:

  • pro-medicare
  • free universal dental (go Karl 🙂
  • emphasis on indigenous & rural health
  • change medicare to support the mentally ill
  • improved care of the elderly.
  • emphasis drug abuse as a medical problem, push rehab:
    • — HARM MINIMIZATION — egad, the magic words!

Housing:

  • more public housing
  • pro 1st home grants, want to improve housing affordability

Education:

  • pro-choice
  • reduce HECS
  • increase funding to unis
  • up to $3k a year of education tax deductions per family for kids

Economics / industrial relations

  • economic rationalists / small “l” liberals
  • VERY pro small business
  • support minimum wage / benefits for part time & casual employees
  • think current awards and union system isn’t bad.
  • paid family leave, paid maternity leave
  • unpaid parental for casuals / part-timers

In favour of migration, and measures to increase birth rate

Environment:

  • pro-alternative energy
  • pro-conservation, bio-diversity
  • want incentives for recycling / waste reduction

Asylum seekers:

  • sign Refugee Convention
  • fast processing of refugees
  • pro-repatriation
  • housed within the community via supervised hostels
  • federal assistance to refugee / community integration
  • deport people who AREN’T refugees, but allow people detained
    • for long periods by Howard, or those on long term temp.
    • protection visas to apply for perm residency

Random stuff:

  • Pro-reconciliation, pro-feminism (unsurprising, given that the party leader is a female aboriginal)
  • Against homosexual marriage 🙁
  • mandatory ISP level pr0n filtering
  • joint custody the default in divorce
  • against the war in Iraq, but pro helping rebuild
  • in favour of small government
  • pro ADULT stem cell research, anti- embryonic stem cell research
  • Against the sale of Telstra

Of course – go check it out for yourself, but thought it worth passing on.

DFUOFF

Thinking – maybe we should start a new lobby organisation – Don’t fuck us over Family First (DFUOFF) ;p

Main charter is to lobby Family First to block the or significantly alter damaging legislation. We just keep hammering them with public outcry and apply people-pressure to counter-weigh the political pressure they are going to be under. Probably won’t work, but it can’t help. Secondary goal is to keep Labor on the ball. What do you think? (I’m only half kidding btw)

That Fucking Election

I think this is a first – my friends have blogged – here, here and here – about the election before me!!!! Way cool – the blogging that is, not the result!

Welcome Tahne, btw 🙂

Well, well, well… Bitterly disappointed would be an apt description of how I feel about the election. And pretty fucking scared about what’s going to happen next. It’s going to take a lot of work to undo what is about to happen – I could have handled the Libs in the House of Reps, but now that they also control the Senate, we have lost the last remaining safeguards that we had politically from the mess that the Liberals have been trying to inflict.

I note, with a bitter sense of irony, that the Libs have not mentioned policy once in there ads during the lead-up to the election, we now are being barraged.

Goodbye Telstra. Telstra is our primary communications carrier and has been responsible for establishing the infrastructure that the other carriers rely on to provide their service. It also makes a shitload for the Government every year. Guess what folks – we are about to sell one of the most successful assets and give up control of our means of communication to the private sector. Nice one. Fuck service in the bush (which is attrocious) – this is going to affect every single one of us as prices increase, service drops and we have to pick up the bill by refilling the government’s coffers with our tax money that Telstra used to bring in.

Goodbye Medicare. The Howard government has consistently attacked Medicare and tried to reduce it’s coverage for all Australians. Their plan has always been, and can be clearly seen in policy and public statements, to create a two tiered health system – one for those that can afford private health cover (while simultaneously propping up the big-business interests of said private health care companies) and the other, minimally supported system for the poor fuckers that can’t. Having had a friend in hospital recently, and having it take 12 hours to get a single test done (while dosing my friend with morphine to ease the immense pain she was in, and a total of 15+ hours before a specialist could see her, I can only imagine how shitty it’s going to get. In the waiting room when we arrived (at 3am) there was a guy who had been sitting there for five hours waiting to have his broken elbow tended to. And it will only get worse.

Goodbye public education. Similarly, the Government has been hell bent on abolishing HECS and restructuring university research to benefit big business and corporate interests, while weakening the institutions in place to protect the interests of students – the very people that should be the focus of policy. In addition, they have been pushing a two-tiered policy within Primary and Secondary education, propping up private schools with grants while letting the public education sector financially falling into squalor. No needs-based funding in education under the Libs. Public education, in and of itself, provides a tremendous benefit to business and the economy and the gains made in this regard over the past 25 years will be largely rolled back. It is only a matter of time before the economy suffers because of this – and it will be future Governments, not Howard, not Costello, not Nelson that will be stuck with a tremendous up-hill battle to rebuild the economy as other countries like China and India continue to make massive progress.

Goodbye human rights. This Government has been party to institutional abuse of refugees and flaunting of human rights standards since before the last election. To this day there are refugees that were in detention at the last election who are still incarcerated under an inhumane and disgusting set of laws introduced by this government. This government believes it has the right to indefinitely detain a person who has not broken any law. It is a disgusting blight on us as a people, as a nation. And it will not be resolved.

Goodbye environment. From failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, to propping up big-oil interests in Australia (Shale Oil) and with our neighbours (Timor Leste), to a completely short-sighted and brain dead lack of vision on alternative fuels, this government is going to continue to exacerbate an already dire situation.

What shits me the most about this entire situation is that Howard claims to be supporting the “battler” – but when you look at his policies they are the antithesis of what is good for the battlers that have voted the muthafucka in. If only the battlers, so susceptible to the fear mongering that Howard is renouned for, could see how fucked their situation will be in four years time (even worse in eight years). I applaud Labor for not slinging mud in their advertising campaign, but I can’t help but think they should have scared the bejesus out of Liberal voters by explaining how Liberal policies will make their life more difficult.

Our politicians are so short sighted – the next election is the horizon and no further than that. The Beastie Boys have a track on their new album with the line: “It takes a second to wreck it. It takes time to build.” And the Liberals, with full control, will be doing a lot of wrecking with a lot of time to do it in. With at least three years before he has to worry about buying votes again, we are in a lot of trouble.

This whole system does not truly represent and support the people of this country. The people of Australia do not support the War on Iraq, they do not support refugee detention, they do not support the FTA. And they didn’t support the GST. And yet as a country we are stupid enough to vote the same idiots back in. Sometimes I think, well, we deserve what we get if we’re stupid enough to vote him back in. But I also think that despite the fact so many people fell for the advertising campaign so carefully crafted to be devoid of substance and maximising fear, they deserve better than what they got because they just can’t see the damage that will be done.

It all feels rather hopeless though – how do you change change the systemic problems that are going to cause this kind of crap to keep going on and on and on in perpetual motion? How do you increase awareness of the issues in people that are already too busy to keep across the things that affect them directly, let alone the things that will affect them indirectly or in the future?

I don’t know. I’m still in my “OMFG what have we done!?!?!” mode of thinking. Perhaps in time I will be able to think differently and more constructively. Ultimately that is the key. And we need to start thinking now about how we can minimise the damage that will be done because if we late until next election it will be too late.

Election 2004

From a friend who I feel expresses the sentiment well:

Last ditch election pitch…

Wherein I try to convince you that, no matter what your political beliefs, you should put John Howard last.

Starting from the left and moving rightwards:

Even if you believe that the political system is inherently corrupt and a device for manufacturing consent, that a change of governing party only changes things at the margins (and you’ll get no argument on either from me), you should still vote, and still preference Labor over the Liberals. Why? Because corrupt as the system is, the Liberal Party under John Howard has done nothing but corrupt it further. While democracy may be flawed, there are far worse things out there, and Howard moves us towards them. And electing Labor will change things only marginally? Certainly – but it will, perhaps, arrest some of the radical rightwards currents Howard has fostered in this country.

If you’re a traditional social democrat, the choice is pretty obvious… do you choose the party that has debased the institutions of social democracy, or the party that needs those institutions to survive?

If you don’t care, and you’re just worried about the economy and your interest rates, consider this: since the introduction of the floating dollar, the dismantling of tariff barriers and the entrenchment of Reserve Bank independence, the Federal Government has virtually no say over the macroeconomy. On interest rates, the measures introduced by the Liberals – negative gearing and the first homebuyers’ grant – have caused the sort of real estate boom that leads, eventually to a hike in rates. These days, governments have ceded much of their power to the forces of international capitalism. You don’t get a vote for them – but you do get to vote on how your tax money is distributed here. Schools and hospitals, anyone?

If you’re a classical conservative, surely you should be worried that the Howard government has run down the institutions that keep society running in an orderly fashion. They have disrespected the courts, attempted to override the constitution (the first border protection bill), ignored the Westminster conventions of ministerial responsibility, and politicised the public service and intelligence agencies so that they no longer provide advice without fear or favour. How can this be good for the nation?

If you’re one of those libertarians, the fact that the Howard government is the highest taxing government in Australian history should give you pause. And what is the government doing in bed with people like Family First, who want to regulate your behaviour in private? For all his talk of choice, Howard is one of the most paternalistic, nanny-state interventionist PMs this country has ever had.

Okay, rant over.

It’s sooooo important that we, as a people of a fair, honest and decent country, get John Howard out. I can’t express the disappointment I’ll feel if we, as a nation, cannot see past his fear-mongering and lies, to vote for change. I can only hope. Use your vote well…

Election

I’ve been too busy this week to blog the election shenanigans. Besides – I’ve probably said enough over the past few months about it anyways – so I don’t need to tell you to NOT VOTE FOR HOWARD!!!! He is bad for the country – even if you agree with some of his policies (I can’t say I do) the man himself is, as Labor have (welcomely) pointed out in their ads, UN-BELIEVABLE.

From the Tampa incident, “Children Overboard”, the SIEV-X, refugees, the “War on Terror”, the Kyoto Protocol and global warming and the War on Iraq – Howard and his co-horts have lied and manipulated the fear in the community to divide our country and alienate and isolate us internationally.

Although economically things have been going well, Howard has been milking previous gains and stealing from our children’s futures (environmentally, financially, and intellectually) to keep things afloat. They have no plan for the future (see their ads – tell me where amongst them any policy has been put forward) and they have been irresponsibly attempting to “buy” votes with a ridiculous spending spree that, gladly, hasn’t been matched by Labor.

Their ideology is slanted to the corporate class, despite claiming the “battlers” as his own. From head to toe Howard, Ruddock, Nelson and Abbot have been wreaking havoc with our country. Please, please, please do your part tomorrow to get rid of him out of office.

I’ll be voting Labor in the House of Reps (we have a Labor-Left candidate in our electorate) and the Dems in the Senate. Choose wisely, and lets send this bastard home!!!!!!!!

Mac vs. PC

No – I’m not starting a flame war – just had my first “PC user fixing Dad’s Mac” phone call. People use strange logic to justify their decisions about choosing a computing platform is all I’ll say – the bigotry runs deep 😉

Blog-less

Well – two days down in the new job – challenging and fun, but still no sign of the iMac G5! Found out I’m now working with Kerry Nettle‘s sister-in-law (I think I got that right).

Been out of blog contact for a couple of reasons – 1) I was away most of the weekend making coffee for a friend’s cafe, 2) started the new job and still settling in, 3) a friend is in hospital with some unknown illness that is causing her a lot of pain (they thought it was that dastardly appendics, but alas, the pain continues even after its removal! Going to see her again tomorrow morning).

So – blogging will be light until the weekend…