Perhaps we all should move on

Tony Abbott’s mild suggestion to the rally at the Tent Embassy that it’s time for them to move on has sparked a wave of support from most non-Indigenous Australians.  Whilst I have no issue with his right to express an opinion, I neither have no issue about how it was received.  We are all free to make our own judgements.

I find it ironic, however, that his comment was delivered on January 26, a date we, as a young country, have not moved on from ourselves.

What are we really celebrating on January 26?  We are celebrating nothing more than the birth of a British colony.  A colony that was founded simply by hoisting the Union Jack on Aboriginal land and as the colony grew it was evident that the original inhabitants had to be exterminated for the colony to prosper.

And it did.

In 1901, following our federation, we were no longer a British colony.  Yet each year we celebrate that moment in our history that bound us to the English crown.

If we are no longer a British colony why do we continually remind ourselves that we were?  And we are no longer a ‘white Australia’ yet it is only the white history we fervently celebrate.  How can we expect ‘black’ Australia to move on while ‘white’ Australians are free to revel in the past?

I partly agree with Tony Abbott’s words when he said:

“I think the indigenous people of Australia can be very proud of the respect in which they are held by every Australian.

“I think a lot has changed since then, and I think it probably is time to move on from that.”

Where I disagree is the emphasis on Indigenous Australia moving on.  Perhaps we all should move on.

We are no longer a British colony.  We are no longer a white Australia.  We are the best country in the world and that is what we should be celebrating.  Less than half of the Australian population are of British origin.  Let’s celebrate as one instead of alienating most Australians on January 26.

Open forum: when should we celebrate Australia Day?

It is apparent that January the 26th isn’t the choice date to celebrate Australia Day for Indigenous Australians with many preferring to remember it as Invasion Day, being the anniversary of the day Arthur Phillip hoisted the Union Jack on Australian soil.

Many non-Indigenous Australians, too, don’t like that date as it links our past with our English heritage and in doing so, we do not celebrate something that helped forged our identity.

I’d like Australia Day to be the day when we one day become a republic, but that’s in the future.  Hopefully, not too far in the future.

Would anybody else like to see Australia Day moved?  I’ve put together a few dates which you may wish to mull over.  Or maybe you can come up with a better suggestion.  Anyway, here’s the list:

January 1:  the day of our Federation (1901) but also a public holiday in Australia, which doesn’t matter, we’ll have the next day off too.

April 25:  currently ANZAC Day but arguably the event that brings out our patriotism more than any other day of the calendar year.

June 3: in 1992 the High Court delivered the Mabo decision and effectively ended the erronous concept of terra nullius, belatedly recognising prior Indigenous ownership of the land.

September 25: in 2004 Port Adelaide won the AFL premiership.

October 25: in 1616 Dirk Hartog was the first European to set foot in Australian.

November 18: my birthday.  Why should I celebrate it alone when we can have one big party?

December 3: the Eureka Stockade began in 1854.

So on what date should we fire up the barbie?

Australia Day means BBQ

Image by J.Clarke via Flickr

Where’s Tony?

A quick post to kick the week off.

It’s not speculation about a leadership challenge – that’ll come next – but the latest Galaxy Poll shows Kevin Rudd is still the preferred leader of the ALP.  Ignore news.com’s headline that Rudd is the preferred PM.  That was not the question.  The headline reads:

Galaxy poll shows twice as many voters back Kevin Rudd as Australia’s preferred leader.

The question was:

Thinking just about the leadership of the Labor Party.  Which one of the following do you believe would be the best choice for the leader of the federal Labor Paty?

Does it really matter who leads the party while we have the Coalition leading the polls coupled with this extraordinary claim from Andrew Wilkie:

The bad news for Ms Gillard’s leadership came as independent Andrew Wilkie  yesterday said he would consider a no-confidence motion against the government  over the Australia Day riot if the Coalition put a motion to debate the issue in  parliament.

How much juicier can the news get?

Perhaps a poll on the Liberal leadership could throw a cat amongst the pigeons.  But maybe that’ll bring a result most unsatisfactory to the Murdoch media.  In the meantime, there’s too much to throw at Labor.  They want Julia Gillard removed whereas they clearly want Tony Abbott to stay.  He toes their line.

Such a poll sets the scene or more leadership speculation over the coming days, weeks and months.

I would liked to have seen a poll released that focuses on both parties.  They’ve put Julia under the spotlight, but where’s Tony?

Punday

That master of wit, rabbit, has expressed his desire for another Punday. After the fun of the last one, how can I refuse?

Here’s the (true) story to build on.

Watching the stars one night as a lad on Kangaroo Island, my eyes followed what I thought to be a satellite moving across the sky.  On the farm, away from city lights, just about everything the night sky had to offer was visible.  Amongst the millions of stars it was not uncommon to see a satellite going on its heavenly path.

But on this night the object of my focus did not behave like a satellite.  After traveling across the horizon in a seemingly straight line it stopped for the briefest of moments – less than a second – and shot upwards at an unbelievable speed and was soon out of sight.

Satellites can’t do that.  Nothing made by human minds and hands can do that. I had seen something from another world.

It was clearly from another world because it shot away from the Earth. But why?  We’re they bored?  Did they receive new orders?  Did I frighten them off?  Was their work here done?

I’m sure that after all these years of these unanswered questions, rabbit will offer a logical answer.

The Dolphins Cry

A warning before I start, there are images in this post which may upset some, so proceed with caution…

I was forwarded an email by a friend recently that I wanted to share, I have changed some of the wording, but you will get the gist…. after all a picture tells a thousand words.

Some of you may have seen the Academy Award Winning documentary “The Cove” for those of you who haven’t, here’s a link to the preview.

There are also many who would assume that this slaughter of whales and dolphins is only performed by the Japanese… You would be wrong.

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Not the National Press Club – Scuttlebut Alley

“Gossip is a sort of smoke that comes from the dirty tobacco pipes of those that diffuse it; it proves nothing but the bad taste of the smoker”
[George Eliot “Daniel Deronda”]

Yesterday ABC24 televised the National Press Club speech given by Mr. Anthony Albanese,  then took it off the air to show a State of the Union speech by President Obama.

Usually, the NPC is also shown on ABC2 but not yesterday.   Viewers were instead treated to Mapping The World, and missed the entire question and answer segment of the NPC.  

WHY ABC?

The main stream media have all but ignored the speech given by the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Leader of the House, the Honourable Anthony Albanese MP.

It wasn’t difficult to find a copy of the transcript:-

http://anthonyalbanese.com.au/speech-to-national-press-club-government-with-a-purpose

Do the “journalists” have a problem with this?   If so, what?

Are they not permitted to report the contents of the Minister’s speech, or are they simply happy to put their names to third rate tabloid nonsense?

Or maybe they fell about after the long lunch laughing at their own jokes?

Update: Aboriginal Tent Embassy. This is clearly not on Pip’s topic, but that’s what this blog is about, being vibrant and accepting newsworthy items as they eventuate. At the request of Catching up, confirmed by Pip. Here is the photo referred to on wixxy’s Hey True Blue topic. (Min)

Another photo has now become available:

Do Me A Favour…

Some of my opinions are often seen as straying a bit left of centre,  and on occasion I may put things across a little bluntly, but I rarely ask for anything more than an open mind.

So with that in mind, I have a favor to ask of the gay community.

Not really a favour, probably more of a suggestion, or bright idea, you may well say.

Although you may think this idea is strange, and a bit funny, I am as serious as a heart attack.

I would like the gay community to adopt the Southern Cross as a symbol.

The Southern Cross is an iconic symbol of our country, that has been hijacked by bogans and racists, much to the dismay of the rest of us.

I, for one, would like to see the Southern Cross being used as a symbol of love and unity, rather than a symbol of fear and hatred.

I’m not suggesting you go and get tattoo’s, but maybe some T Shirts, pink Southern Cross pict badges for profile pics, some signage in clubs and shop front windows, maybe even some Southern Cross decorated floats in the Mardi Gras parade, that should get some coverage.

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“Will You Walk Into My Parlour?”

A quick glance at recent headlines reminded me of a question I put to fellow whisperer ‘Catching up’ recently.

“Has Wilkie done a deal with Abbott?

Just asking the question seemed a little out of place at the time, but now, I’m far from sure about the answer.  

Whether ‘deal’ is the right word or not, something has changed over the last few days,  just as Mr. Wilkie’s statements changed.

ANDREW Wilkie has warned Labor will pay a high price for its pokies reform betrayal, vowing to pursue “warmer” relations with the Coalition, to vote against key budget measures and even to bring down the government if it acts improperly.

.

The government now views the other elements of its September 2010 power agreement with Mr Wilkie as void, and Ms Gillard will no longer meet regularly with him and will deny him access to Finance and Treasury briefings. But the government’s $340 million commitment to Royal Hobart Hospital will be honoured.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/julia-gillard-to-pay-for-betrayal-andrew-wilkie/story-fn59niix-1226250813763

That makes sense.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/37069309/The-Hon-Julia-Gillard-and-Andrew-Wilkie-the-Parties-agreement

Mr. Wilkie has dealt himself a Joker for the time being at least as the government is still intent on progressing the pokies reform and has released documents which show it will pay clubs at least $37 million to trial poker machine restrictions in the Australian Capital Territory.

The Government has now released the offer it sent to Clubs ACT on Friday, promising to compensate for and fund the changes to all pokies.

It promises to pay clubs a monthly compensation fee totalling $36 million for the year, and is also offering a total of more than $1 million for training, specialist workers and business planning.

A committee will then review whether more payments are needed during the trial.

New pokies plan

  • Original deadline abandoned.
  • Pre-commitment built-in to new machines from 2013.
  • 12-month trial of mandatory pre-commitment in 2013.
  • Trial to end early 2014 and be reviewed.
  • Poker machines to display electronic warnings.
  • $250 limit on ATM withdrawls.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-22/pokies-fallout-deepens-as-trial-cost-revealed/3786972

The real road-block in Wilkie’s way is the powerful cashed-up lobbyists, and if he thinks for a minute that an Abbott-led Coalition government would upset it’s powerful corporate friends he’s a fool.

An Abbott government might put forward some sort of legislation in an effort to please Wilkie and to wedge the Labor party, but it would not be intended to harm the Clubs and pubs and their pokies profits.

For the Coalition this is about bringing down the government, not the pokies industry.

Another point to consider is the Coalition’s desire to see this man out of Parliament….

A potholed pokies path.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/trials-and-errors-on-potholed-pokies-path/story-e6frezz0-1226250740991

Craig Thomson

THERE is little doubt that Australia has a gambling problem and in particular, a poker machine gambling problem.

The worst of the problem exists in NSW and there is a side to this story receiving very little attention.

The Wyong Shire local government area in my electorate on the Central Coast has the fourth highest number of poker machines in the state.

In 2010, $80 million was lost by Wyong residents on pokies.

We are talking about an area where the average income in 2009 was $39,694.

Nearly a third of the area’s wage and salary earners are paid less than $20,800 per annum. This is incredibly disproportionate and clearly something needs to be done.

After reporting these comments from Mr. Thomson in The Daily Telegraph,

The Prime Minister’s decision at the weekend was a victory for common sense.

It was timely and important.

The PM provided judgment and skill to course a path that is sensible and logical.

It is something that I and many NSW Labor MPs have been calling for – a comprehensive trial so that ultimately any legislation that comes before parliament is backed by scientific research.

Given the lack of evidence for a “silver bullet” for this issue, this is a commonsense approach. To do otherwise would have flown in the face of proper policy making.

It would have put the horse a mile in front of the cart, hoping the cart kept up.

This way we can be sure what works and what doesn’t.

Mr. Thomson makes the point that less than 2 per cent of the poker machine takings go back to the community.

news.com twisted the above words into something quite opposite….no surprise in that.

This is what came out of the propaganda machine:-

Craig Thomson undermines Julia Gillard’s reason for breaking her pokie promise, as her plan was improper policy making

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/craig-thomson-undermines-julia-gillards-reason-for-breaking-her-pokie-promise-as-her-plan-was-improper-policy-making/story-e6freuy9-1226250774602 

There is another factor at play here and that is the role of some States.

Law shift is pokies jackpot for clubs:

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/law-shift-is-pokies-jackpot-for-clubs-20120122-1qc94.html

ONE of Sydney’s premier leagues clubs stands to reap a financial benefit from a state government decision to make it easier for registered clubs to gain approval for up to 150 poker machines in new areas of the state.

The move significantly lowers the bar for the approval of poker machines in clubs established next to new housing estates or new development areas.

When Opposition Leader Tony Abbott offered one billion dollars for the Royal Hobart Hospital Mr. Wilkie rejected the offer.

Mr Wilkie described Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s offer of $340 million to redevelop the Royal Hobart Hospital as the only credible offer, despite the $1 billion put on the table by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

”I couldn’t even have confidence that they would find that $1 billion, particularly on Thursday after the black hole appeared in their costings,” Mr Wilkie told The Age yesterday.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-election/wilkie-defends-rejecting-1-billion-hospital-offer-20100903-14uhf.html#ixzz1kL4wlzVO

So,  Mr. Wilkie  has been around the block….firstly,  as a member of the Liberal party, twice as a Greens candidate, then as an Independent candidate in a Tasmanian state election,  and finally winning as an Independent and until a few days ago, being a player in the federal Minority government.

Currently, he is “warming” to the Coalition.

A backward step?

Tuff Tony: update

To recap our topic from the weekend:

  • So we now have it, here at last is the Liberal Party’s Policy on asylum seekers
  • ALL asylum-seeker boats that are found to have started their journeys in Indonesia are to be turned around
  • A Liberal government will TELL the Indonesian president that Australia will no longer accept boats which embark from that country
  • More Navy vessels patrolling our waters.

He (Tony Abbott) however has conceded, repeating his previously stated proviso, that it may not always be safe to turn around every single boat and that he ”would rely on advice from Navy commanders in each case”.

Yesterday, Tony Abbott received his advice from Former Chief of the Defence Force Admiral Chris Barrie (ret), who predicted that “Naval officers ‘would disobey’ orders to turn back asylum-seeker vessels under an Abbott government”.

It is highly unlikely that Admiral Barrie was advocating mutiny, but rather was indicating that “Policy can’t override international law; nor can it tell a commanding officer what decisions he must make at sea at the time”. Admiral Barrie added that commanders would always put safety ahead of policy.

One might consider that Admiral Barrie, having had to later contradict his original statement to the Senate Select Committee enquiry into A Certain Maritime Incident, by admitting:

“After speaking at considerable length on Sunday with Commander Banks, the commanding officer of HMAS Adelaide, I have now reached the conclusion there is no evidence to support the claim that children were thrown overboard”, that he is full aware of the implications of the politicisation of the ADF.

Given the tragedies at sea including many boat disappearances, the majority of which go unreported, Tony Abbott’s recent statement is cruel in its irony:

“The navy has done it safely before” … Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott.

The international relations implications Australia/Indonesia regarding the Opposition’s policy as espoused by Tony Abbott, was worthy of a one-liner from the Murdoch media:

A radical policy departure, this has far-reaching and unpredictable consequences for Australia-Indonesia relations.

Reported in the Sydney Morning Herald is that “the conclusion United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Indonesian authorities and a former naval chief as dangerous and breaching international law.”

Factual information has been provided by Saud Usman Nasution, chief spokesman for Indonesia’s national police:

“As far as asylum seekers go, they fall under international law. You can’t turn them away. You have to hand them over for processing to UNHCR, just like Indonesia. We don’t turn them away, we hand them to UNHCR for processing.”

From the UNHCR:

Richard Towle, said: “Any such blanket approach would potentially place Australia in breach of its obligations under the refugee convention and other international law obligations, and – as past experience has shown – is operationally difficult and dangerous for all concerned.”

Craig Emerson: “In boats there are votes”.

Tell Me Lies

Hi there trendsetters, hip shakers, and sports fans, I trust you all enjoyed your time off, and have recovered from any drastically large uplift in the volume of alcohol consumed…

I have been a bit absent of late, and it’s not for the religious reasons that you are no doubt assuming…. I have actually been rather busy, despite the holidays. I have been doing something that our local Liberal MP’s may have read about in a book, I have been out talking to residents.

For those of you who don’t realise, I live in Sydney’s Hills Shire. Don’t get me wrong, I quite like it here, but living in an area that is dominated by Liberal politicians, and religious nuts, often one and the same, it does have its occasional drawbacks.

So, “what have I been so busy chatting to people about?” You may well ask…Well allow me to explain.

Here in the Hills Shire, in February and March last year, we all heard time and time again how wonderful things were going to be with a Liberal government in control of the state. Things were finally going to get done around here now that our local MPs, in particular David Elliot, and Ray Williams, who suddenly appear at election time, now get to experience being a part of government, rather than opposition. Streets would be repaved in gold, birds would sing, the sick would be healed, I was ready to start bathing in champagne, but alas, things have not turned out quite the way we had hoped.

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