Saturday, 18 May 2013

Julia Gillard First Girl PM

Think  'The Sound of Music'...

How do you solve a problem like Julia. ...
Blah de blah de blah ha ha ha.....

Many a thing you know you'd like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand?'

Oh Blah de Blah de Blah de Blah ha....

When I'm with her I'm confused
Out of focus and bemused
And I never know exactly where I am
Unpredictable as weather
She's as flighty as a feather
She's a darling! She's a demon! She's a lamb!

She'd outpester any pest
Drive a hornet from its nest
She could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl
She is gentle! She is wild!
She's a riddle! She's a child!
She's a headache! She's an angel!
She's a GIRL!  

AND THERE IT IS! She's a bloody girl. The first girl to be PM which is ironic because Australia was one of the first countries in the world to give the vote to women but one of the last in the world to elect one as PM. 

The outrage, that we who spawned the likes of Germaine 'big arse' Greer, were not the first to elect a woman PM! 

Anyway....though initially the press thought Julia was going to be stoic and wooden throughout, she did reveal her emotions on a number of occasions, crying in parliament after the floods in Queensland and especially after the shocking inland tsunami in Toowoomba and the heroic actions of one young man. 

She held back when her Dad died, at least in parliament. When refugees were smashed to death on the Christmas Island rocks and during the terrible bush fires and cyclones and the shocking treatment of our cattle overseas and the meltdown in Fukushima, she was cool and professional throughout. Many, many tears must have been shed behind doors. I know they were in our house.

One does wonder if the spin doctors tell Julia exactly when crying would best enhance her chances of re-election...though this does sound a wee bit cynical and if she is anything like me, tears can be rather unpredictable and I'm sure those she wept in parliament after receiving a card from some disabled kids and their families, were indeed genuine. The photo taken by Sophie Deane is gorgeous.
AND of course how could anyone forget the Prime Minister's misogyny speech. We all cheered when she delivered her withering expose of Tony Abbott's puffed up sexism. Having a woman in the country's driver seat has created the opportunity to get the issue of sexism against women out in the open. It's a shame that Germaine Greer, Australia's most famous feminist export, was herself responsible for a sexist jibe toward our first girl PM. Oh, the irony!

My husband uses that term to describe something powerful, such as a big truck or an earth mover. So, in that sense, she is a big arsed PM; a powerful woman. Germaine however was unfortunately referring to her derriere and consequently our foremost feminist academic and author appeared to be perpetuating those old sexist attitudes she herself has declared war on. How strange! Anyway...I'd rather be 'big arsed' than 'dumb arsed' any day and I can think of a few in parliament who would fit that description.

AND, Julia, our first woman Prime Minister has attempted and in some cases achieved some admirable things, specifically the price on carbon, the NDIS, Gonski funding for primary schools, Marine Sanctuaries and the cancellation of the fishing super trawler The Abel Tasman. Although there are now new threats to our fisheries that the government has not responded to.  

Julia's legacy will be far from perfect as she missed the mark on some vital issues such as the watering down of the mining tax which has led to a a huge drop in revenue and consequently cuts to funding for universities and single parents. In this round, some really big arsed mining billionaires won and education, single mums, foreign aid, forests and the environment lost out.

Julia's government has reinstated inhumane measures against asylum seekers, such as off shore processing and the incarceration of children in detention. 

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young showed her despair in parliament, over the Government's treatment of asylum seekers. 

Sarah works directly with asylum seekers and refugees and sees first hand the effects our legislation has on them. Those of us who have fought for years winning some hard earned rights for asylum seekers, all felt despair when those rights were wiped out by short sighted politicians. And now it's back to square one.


This is what Sarah Hanson-Young had to say about it.

The Government is working with Libs to suspend standing orders in the Senate as we speak to excise the entire mainland from Australia's migration zone. Shameful & inhumane. Removing Australia from our own migration zone will not save peoples lives or care for refugees, but it will subject children to more harm.

Julia's government has approved new coal and coal seam gas exploration and mines and supported uranium mining. 

They have not encouraged renewable energy developments or the  manufacture of renewable energies here in Australia nor the development of sustainable manufacture or sustainable agriculture. 

AND our forests have suffered under Julia's big arsed government. More ecosystems have been damaged, more species are under threat and have become extinct, more forests destroyed, more rivers, land, ocean and air polluted thanks to her unacceptable policies on the environment. 

BUT don't get me wrong! It would be whole lot worse under Tony Abbott's big arsed leadership. It would be insufferably worse.

That's why I'm voting Green in the coming election because I know the Greens have the intellect and ethics to stay with the issues and not jump to the tune of the coal, uranium and coal seam gas mining industries, or the racists, sexists, homophobes and the extreme right or left. Have I forgotten anyone?

The Greens have the forbearance  to stay with problems until they find long term solutions. The Greens are not afraid to stand up for what is right; to stand up for the vulnerable who cannot speak for themselves, to stand up for vulnerable ecosystems, animals,oceans, forests and for standards of education and those who are marginalized including asylum seekers.

We support sustainable and ethical industrial development, agriculture, manufacturing, forestry practices, mining with conditions and fair and sustainable business practices. 

We believe that renewable energy is the way of the future and that if governments continue to support dirty fossil fuel energy, they will take the country backwards.

We know that there is no time to waste and that the decisions we make now will determine our survival into the future.  

So if you are sick to death of short term, knee jerk reactions and want big 'arsed' sustainable, humane, long term solutions, then simply vote 1 Green. 


Friday, 10 May 2013

Mother's Day 2013. Can you keep a secret?

Here's the thing. I made some truly spectacular mistakes in my day and each time I thought I'd die from embarrassment or shame and then I didn't, die that is, but was left with a terrible memory of what felt like failure. For example....

The last time I was a candidate in a Federal Election, I said yes to a debate that I should never have said yes to. The room was full of the opposition and I was booed out the door. The paper ridiculed me on its front page. I felt embarrassed and obsessed for at least a month but I did not give up! Repeat; I did not give up.

Another time, a community group I belonged to lost a very big funding cheque (that's funding not 'f#@*ing') which I'd forgotten they'd given to me for safe keeping and possibly banking and I swore I'd never seen it and found it years later in a file in the back room. Oh, that's where that went! It hadn't been cashed and another had been written but I couldn't believe I had made such a mammoth mistake and walked around in stunned silence for days.

I was a hopeless bookkeeper so our accountant banned me from helping with the nightly tally for our family business because I accidentally made a $100,000 mistake. He said that if he didn't know better it could look like I was doing something illegal.

When we lived in Winslow, a small country community 17 km north of Warrnambool, I belonged to a kindergarten driving pool. One lunch time, on my way to do the pick up from kinder I was running a wee bit late so I stepped on the gas. Being the secretary of the kinder I knew how annoyed that teacher was when parents were late and in this case it would mean five extra kids eating into her lunch hour.

On the outskirts of Warrnambool the speed limit was 60 kph, which I felt was a little unreasonable when it was still more or less an open highway with paddocks on either side and so I stepped up a few kph s. Suddenly there was the sound of a siren and I was pulled over. I wound the window down thinking the policeman would understand that I was late for the kinder run. 'Is it an emergency?" he asked. 'Yes.' I said. 'I'm late for the kinder run.' and he gave me that 'I don't think so' look and told me I had been doing 90 kph in a 60 kph zone which meant an immediate withdrawal of my licence for 6 weeks! I could drive the kiddies home but that was it. And we lived 17km out of town! The teacher, my husband and the car pool mums were literally going to kill me.

And then there was the day I forgot to pick up my daughter from school. I was at a friends and lost track of the time. My poor little, lonely daughter was sitting on a chair in the hall and if looks could kill I'd be dead.

But that's not all. I'd forgotten that James my son, who was in prep, was going with the school down to the Blue Hole for a fishing expedition. I was supposed to pick him up early at 2.30 pm but forgot and was surprised when I answered the front door and there was James with his kindly teacher who for my punishment, thank you very much,  handed me a bucket of water in which flip flopped a great big live bream.

James wanted to keep it as a pet and take it to bed with him. David was away on one of his many business trips, so I had to ask a friendly neighbour to kill and clean it. Having managed to prize the large fish head away from James's tight little fisted hands at bed time as he screamed into my face (which I felt it was just punishment for my crime), we kept it in the freezer for him to admire at his leisure (every two minutes) and also to show it to his Dad hopefully without the dead fish odour. (On second thoughts, I should have left it in the pantry!)
I still have the picture of James, taken by said teacher, proudly holding his very big bream. Thanks teacher. (Oh the shame!) James' photo even made it into a fishing magazine! But for me the day will be forever remembered as the day I left my poor little fisherman sitting on that lonely bridge with his large live flipping fish.

When my daughter Skye was in early secondary school there was a parent teacher interview appointment (one of oh so very many). We had agreed that Skye would meet me in the car park when school was over and we'd go in together. (Not sure why but it seemed like a good idea at the time!)

I waited just outside the front door but she didn't arrive and as I sat there the clouds gathered and it began to hail so I dashed inside. The place was empty so I approached the front desk and asked the secretary if she'd seen Skye. She said that Skye had thought I wasn't coming and (it was before mobile phones) she tried to ring me at home but when there was no answer she had walked home...across town in the weather. She asked me if I knew that my daughter had a cold. I asked her why she hadn't checked the car park or at the very least rung a taxi for her. She answered with a withering scowl (which told me what a dreadful and complete failure of a mother I was) and said 'I am not her mother!'.

Poor Skye. I drove around looking for her and finally found her trudging along our street, her good woolen uniform completely drenched and never quite the same. I was so angry with her for not sticking to our plan but she swears the plan was that I'd meet her inside. Dear God Almighty I felt bad that day!

In the eyes of the world mothers are either sinners or saints and rarely something in between but somewhere in between is actually where, under a mountain of guilt, we all live. Mother's day, with all its corny sweetness, offers us a brief respite from all that guilt and a chance to straighten the halo and soak up some of the glory of the myth of motherhood. And the next day, the routine and mistakes begin again, ad infinitum!

I guess my point is that, though a bit bruised and wounded, I lived  through these and many more mistakes, to finally see the funny side and they did get funnier over time.

And the other point is, many of the mistakes were either worked out or through and became a a whole lot of learning experiences. Mostly, I learnt not to try to do it all myself but rather to delegate (book work, some housework and some babysitting and oh man that's another story).

Last Saturday there was an interview with Noni Hazelhurst in the Age. Noni said that when she was filming Play School in the early days they would tape it all in one hit, mistakes and all. The producers wanted the actors to work through their mistakes on TV for the children to see, in order to model 'problem solving'.

Good old Play School. I knew I loved it for a reason (beside the fact it was a knock out babysitter). And in the end, I guess that's what life is; one long problem solving lesson and probably, in the end, largely what being a mother is all about too.

But the late great President Roosevelt said it much better than I...
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

Just Plain SEXY!

I love sustainability. It's so very sexy.

If a man utters the word 'sustainability' in a favourable light, then at least in my mind, sexiness follows.

Now hang on. Put the brakes on. I simply mean that all sins are forgiven (big noses, shortness, baldness even bad breath) and there is peace and hope because that's what the word means to me. Sustainability means hope... and sexiness.

When a man uses his creativity to find a way for us to live without hurting the earth or each other, well, c'mon, you've gotta admit, that's very a good and wholesome way.

When a woman finds solutions to our over use of the earth's resources, from my perspective, that's pure and saintly but I'm sure she could be sexy too, depending on your orientation. Hell, I think I'd find her a virtuous way, of course.

Oh stop pulling that face! I'm not being licentious. I just think that, (thinking now), well sex is good and natural and attraction is sustainable. (As long as we don't breed like rabbits.)

Most of us (unless we're rampant teenagers) are generally attracted to healthy, positive and kind people....people who believe in sustainability...if you catch me drift.

Here's a picture of a man who believes in sustainability. He has a sexy, you wouldn't wanna mess with me kinda look...but doesn't the fact that he raises grass feed sustainable cattle on his sustainable farm add to his allure? It sure works for me.
Will Witherspoon

Witherspoon's the NFL's best-fed player, and he has himself to thank for that. Originally purchased as a hobby farm and a place to relax, the pro linebacker's Missouri getaway quickly turned into Shire Gate Farm, a grass-fed, Animal Welfare Approved farm that includes hundreds of heritage breed White Park cattle, chickens, and sheep.

Farm animals raised on pasture drastically improve soil health, naturally allowing the earth to sequester and store more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

And then there's Salma Hayek....
Salma Hayek

Known more for her efforts to raise awareness for domestic violence, the sexy Latina is also an avid supporter of environmental causes.

In fact, she traveled to the Arctic with other celebrities and politicians on a trip organized by the nonprofit Global Green to raise awareness about the plight of indigenous people who are suffering some of the most severe effects of climate change.

And here's William McDonough who invented the term Cradle to Cradle. He's not a looker but who cares? He invented Cradle to Cradle. That's enough for me. ( But he does have nice sustainable blue eyes.)

William McDonough is an advisor, designer, thought leader, and author. His vision for a future of abundance for all is helping companies and communities think differently. Together they are changing the world.
William McDonough is a globally recognized leader in sustainable development. Trained as an architect, McDonough’s interests and influence range widely, and he works at scales from the global to the molecular.
Time magazine recognized him as a “Hero for the Planet,” noting:
“His utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world.”
In 1996, McDonough received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, and in 2003 he earned the first U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for his work with Shaw Industries. In 2004, he received the National Design Award for exemplary achievement in the field of environmental design. McDonough is the architect of many of the recognized flagships of sustainable design, including the Ford Rouge truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan; the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin College; and NASA’s “space station on Earth,” Sustainability Base, one of the most innovative facilities in the federal portfolio.
McDonough has written and lectured extensively on design as the first signal of human intention. He was commissioned in 1991 to write The Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability as guidelines for the City of Hannover’s EXPO 2000, still recognized two decades after publication as a touchstone of sustainable design. In 2002, McDonough and the German chemist Michael Braungart co-authored Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (North Point Press), which is widely acknowledged as a seminal text of the sustainability movement. Their new book, The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability–Designing for Abundance (North Point Press, 2013) came out this spring.
McDonough advises commercial and governmental leaders worldwide through McDonough Advisors. He is also active with William McDonough + Partners, his architecture practice with offices in Charlottesville, Virginia, and San Francisco, California, as well as McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, the Cradle to Cradle consulting firm co-founded with Braungart. He has co-founded, with Braungart, not-for-profit organizations to allow public accessibility to Cradle to Cradle thinking. These include GreenBlue (2000), to convene industry groups around Cradle to Cradle issues, and the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (2009), founded at the invitation of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to create a global standard for the development of safe and healthy products. McDonough also co-founded Make It Right (2006) with Brad Pitt to bring affordable Cradle to Cradle-inspired homes to the New Orleans Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina.
Now that's what I call SEXY with a capital S!

And here are two of my favourite sexy people, the clever NSW Greens MP, Cate Faehramm and Bob Brown. Lovely, sexy sustainable Green Party people.

And here are two more.

Bob again. He does rather feature and he's standing next to the lovely Greens Senator, Larissa Waters.

Some links to more sexy sustainability. Have fun!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Napthine's $10 million for cancer $2 million for jumps racing and zero for trains.
May 8, 2013, 4 a.m.

THOSE at the heart of the campaign had known for a week, but for others the excited phone calls started coming in fast yesterday afternoon.
The state government had agreed to fund $10 million for radiotherapy services in south-west Victoria. They might have been just a few words uttered in State Parliament but they were what hundreds of families battling cancer and thousands of supporters had waited years to hear. 

Premier Denis Napthine is gaining mileage from the allocation of 10 million dollars toward a radiotherapy center in Warrnambool. In 2011 we received an MRI machine and both of these developments are a step closer to the establishment of a cancer treatment centre. The campaign to build this centre is called 'Peter's Project' and was started by Vicki Jellie whose husband Peter died from cancer a few years back.

Big, big celebrations here as 'Peter's Project' is the darling of all sides of politics and this move firmly enshrines Denis Napthine as our most popular premier ever. Not that the Liberals need any encouragement as it has been a Liberal stronghold for over sixty five years!

It is very good news. However.......

I believe that a cancer treatment centre should be a part of a larger project which incorporates preventative measures. The statistics on cancer are not good.  In the 1950s  the rate was 1 in 30 and today it is 1 in 2. That's a staggering increase! Think of the increased cost to the community in physical and emotional suffering and the financial cost of treatment.  The fact is that 50% of our community will eventually get cancer, unless of course, we can learn how to prevent it.

Some blame the over use of chemicals in industrialised agriculture which has been attributed to the growth of the fast food industry, first from the United States in the 1950's with companies such as MacDonalds and then around the world. The fast food industry is also implicated for it's use of corn syrup, chemical additives and trans fats. 

Others blame the chemicals in our clothes, our homes, our water, our toiletries and also our overuse of plastic on everything especially our food and there is the pollution of our water and air due to the constant demand for economic growth and fossil fuel energy. Some even blame GM and some say that there is a cancer gene or perhaps many different cancer genes.

We know some things can increase the risk of certain types of cancer but we also need a lot more money for cancer research to find out exactly what is responsible for the huge increase in the rate of this potentially deadly disease. Some even call it an epidemic.

Last week Napthine was aglow at the Warrnambool Races which of course is the home of the notorious Warrnambool Cup, the longest (and cruelest) hurdle race in the world. Did you know that the Victorian government gives two million dollars of tax payers money to jumps racing annually? This is what the RSPCA thinks of the funding of such a cruel sport.

This year, just a handful of protesters stood at the gate. The horse who accidently jumped the wrong fence and injured onlookers last year, actually won the jumps race this year. Oh heaven! Such a good news story. All is well! All is saved! Black Caviar each yer heart out! 

The local newspaper had a picture of Napthine champagne toasting Gai Waterhouse who of course, along with Napthine, ferociously supports jumps racing and her son Tom who causes his own brand of  misery through the advertising of gambling during sporting matches. Such an ethical family!

There is a group that helps rehabilitate racehorses after they have been abandoned by the racing fraternity. It's called Racehorse Rescue. Here is the link.

AND that's not all! The Victorian Government has allocated zero money to public transport and V Line is now saying that by 2014-16 they will not be able to service all commuters during peak times. V Line desperately needs more trains. If there were more trains, fewer people would need to use their fossil fuel dependent cars, which give off polluting fumes throughout cities creating health and environmental consequences. But the Napthine government is instead funding new tunnels promoting the use of the car. I wonder if Napthine realizes how illogical this is? Of course he does. Silly me.  

So now we are faced with overcrowding on trains and further greenhouse gas car worship with the funding of road tunnels.

The week before the races Napthine was soaking up the glory at the Macarthur wind farm despite the fact that his government is making it harder for new wind energy investment whilst sending wind turbine manufacture overseas. This is costing Victoria jobs and revenue. I refuse to put more than one picture of Napthine in this post so instead I include a photo of the very ethical Green MP Greg Barber at the Macarthur wind farm. 

And then there is the dreadful forests Bill that will lock in bad forest practices in Victoria for years to come.

Of course, this is I why I support the GREENS. We need them to make all the good things happen, including a comprehensive cancer prevention and treatment centre in Warrnambool. After all, we know that 'prevention is better than cure'.