Thursday, 25 June 2015

Why have Labor supporters gone AWOL on forests and renewable energy?

What has happened to Labor?

Over the years I've realized that Liberal Governments care little for native forests or the endangered species that depend on them and I'm quickly losing faith in Labor as well. Unfortunately, these days there are few differences between the two parties.

Right now, a tragedy is unfolding in the Toolangi State Forest. Victoria's fauna emblem, the Leadbeaters (Fairy) Possum has been listed as critically endangered due to un-profitable, tax payer funded logging activities by the Victorian State Government.

The situation is blindingly and tragically simple. The Leadbeaters Possum needs the forest to survive, so the Government owned VicForests, must cease logging immediately.  VicForests runs at a loss so why do they continue to operate?

The Greens support the formation of a Great Forest National Park which will protect our native forests and the unique species of flora and fauna that depend on them.

Why aren't Labor supporters outraged over their party's decision to keep logging Toolangi despite the imminent demise of our state emblem.

And where's the membership protest over the party's decision to support the Federal Government's reduction of the Renewable Energy Target, not to mention the introduction of forest furnaces as a form of renewable energy. Where is everyone? Are they missing in action? Are they all too stunned from watching The Killing Season to challenge these ridiculous policies?

Burning forest waste sounds like a good idea but the truth is, medium to large wood fired generators are very inefficient and require huge volumes of wood to produce a small amount of energy.
Existing forest based biomass power plants in the USA emit at least 50per cent more CO2 than coal, for the same energy produced.

No surprises that the Greens voted against this Bill. The reduction of the RET is a very bad move for our country and its people.

Why are ALP supporters so silent on these issues? Why aren't they outraged?

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Reflection On Abuse

Sometimes it's not that simple.

I've cried a river for the terrible crimes committed against innocent children in the Catholic Church. I feel overwhelmed, speechless and kind of paralyzed by the enormity of the impact on our community's beautiful, innocent babies and their families and friends and on and on. I also cry for those who have suffered in other institutions, in families and communities who suffer now, throughout the world. I wish we could prevent all children everywhere from ever experiencing such terrible suffering.

But even though I've stopped going to Mass because I feel so conflicted over the Church's responses to the crimes of those monsters, I do also feel uneasy about the wave of social media hatred toward the Church and in particular George Pell.

Anger is certainly justified when it's directed at those who knew of these crimes and who allowed them to happen...deep anger, hurt, betrayal and disgust and also, guilt and shame for ever having  belonged to such a group, institution or community.

However, isn't the lynch mob mentality, believing every negative you read or watch without having the facts verified, a bit like the French execution of the aristocracy? I believe that if we knee jerk all the time, every time we hear the name George Pell or Catholic we are in fact, perpetuating some of the evil of this whole sorry mess.

I believe, we owe it to everyone involved, especially those whose lives have been ruined, to do our best to make sure we have our facts straight before we start ruining the lives of more innocent people.  We must be careful not to fall into the same trap as those we condemn. We must be better than that, otherwise, we perpetuate the cycle of abuse. More hurt is caused  by lumping everyone who simply existed in the church at that time, in the same basket as those who knew. I know that most Catholics, including most nuns and priests and my very young self had no idea that such abominations were taking place.

We've all lived through and still live in a culture of abuse.

Though my memories of abuse and prejudice were nothing compared to those who were being savaged by pedophiles and I could never have comprehended that such terrible experiences were even possible,  sexism and prejudice against my faith were a strong part of my childhood.

Kids threw stones at me on my way to school because I was the only Catholic kid in the street. I was taunted because I had red hair. I was overlooked and laughed at and teased. I sometimes felt wounded, confused and alone but I was also determined. I learnt to speak up, to stand up for what I believed in and to stand up for those around me, for those who had no voice or those who couldn't find one. It made me loud and forthright and now I'm a Green in a blue ribbon seat. Hello prejudice my old friend.

Most of my teachers were strong female role models as were the women in my family and I think this helped me to stand in my power...though I still have my fair share of insecurities.

It makes me wonder if some of those kids who had no voice or confidence were being traumatised by adults. As far as I know none of the schools I attended were infiltrated by pedophiles.

All men, are listened to and taken more seriously than women. Sometimes I ask my husband to approach people because I know they'll listen to him. Women must strive harder than men for less reward. This is the way it still is for me and most other women in our culture today.

And we all know the dreadful statistics on domestic violence...right here in our country: our homes ,our places of work. Don't you feel horrified by this?

I'd certainly welcome a royal commission into sexism and domestic abuse. I hope it will happen very soon.

Nowhere was and is the culture of abuse more prevalent than in the Catholic Church. I was lucky enough to live during a brief time of enlightenment within the church. It was the time of the peace movement and coupled with the Second Vatican Council, it had flow on effects within our Church. We thought we would change the world and as women we were empowered by the energy and freedom of that time. Nuns started wearing civvies and curling their hair and priests wore jeans.

But then along came another wave of knee jerk, right wing, conservatism and the Church followed suit. With it the culture of shame, guilt and secrecy returned. When you think of it, the culture in the Church was a pedophile's paradise. Priests were held in such high esteem they were rarely questioned. We used to call it the 'boys club'.

George Pell was my principle at teacher's college and he was definitely one of those boys but he was also very kind to me. Perhaps it was because I was the only one in class who could or who dared to answer questions on theology, philosophy and the teachings of Aquinas. He seemed an intelligent, kind man who listened and helped me overcome some difficulties with an especially nasty nun who refused to pass my English Method essay...because she thought I'd dyed my she said. I asked another nun to read it and she took the matter to George Pell who acted immediately. He was very sensible, though I do wonder if he would've reacted as quickly if the nun had been a priest?

I've heard from some enlightened Mercy Sisters that he was no friend of theirs.

So, no matter the outcome, hear this from me who is on your side: think twice before condemning someone to prejudice and abuse. Try to refrain from zealous condemnation of those who have not been found guilty or you may find yourselves sounding like those you're condemning and even, in a round about way, becoming the abusers!