Drugs are bad mkay

So before the zero people who read this have a go at me for not posting for ages and how blogs need tender loving care and constant attention for them to work…

1) I went on honeymoon (it was amazing)

2) Then I got really sad about the state of our world and how we are really up shit creek (non Aussies who certainly aren’t reading this: up shit creek = screwed, in trouble, fucked)

3) This sadness meant I coped by watching alot of Black Sails (hello, get on it people) and Bitten (the werewolf version of Days of our Lives – errrrmagerrrrrd) and taking up then quitting healthy eating

But now I’m back, namely because a very cool friend posed a question about legalising drugs and I opened my mouth to rant and then realised I needed to do alot more research before I became what I hate: an ignorant opinionated fuckwit.

opnionated fwit

So now I bring to you a post on drugs!

My friend actually asked what my opinion was on legalising drugs – but when I started thinking about all this, in my mind this question was too hard to answer without having an in depth look at drugs, their effect on us, the laws around drugs and all that shit. Therefore, I’m kind of being a pain in the ass and changing the topic to the decriminalisation of drugs.

In Australia, over 26,000 people were surveyed in 2010 for a Federal Government drug survey. The survey showed some key things: positive and significant reductions in daily smoking; mixed findings on alcohol consumption and a small overall rise in illicit drug use (and if you’re whingeing about my sources, piss off or go click the hyperlink, I’m not footnoting here, its a goddamn blog).

So, what the hell does this all mean? Let me get my opinion out the way first (lame you say, oh well, you are on my site!), and then we can go over to the legalities and the decriminlisation of drugs.

I have often had people accusing me of being judgemental and intolerant of drug use. I think for some of those years, I was judgemental – after all, as a 15 year old, opinionated, loud, attention seeking girl – I wanted people to go somewhere else to smoke (not in MY FACE) and get high. Eventually, I learned to differentiate between evil people (rapists, serial killers, law makers who restrict abortion) and people who took drugs (my best friend, hot guys on a night out, my uni lecturer, all the cool movies at the time). My stance on drugs for me didn’t change, and I also didn’t hang out with my friends when they were high – I wasn’t on the same wavelength, and they didn’t want me there.

unicorn

I have seen, read and heard the arguments about the impact recreational drug use doesn’t have – many people have told me I’m wrong to think it affects health and wellbeing, and they quote all the reasons why it is awesome and all the famous genius people who have saved human kind whilst high. I don’t disagree with any of that – and I try not to judge people for wanting to have fun and get high.

But there is also a different side to the story. I have witnessed dope having an adverse effect on people around me. I have alot of friends who smoke dope regularly, and more who smoke it heaps and heaps. Most of them are totally fine, but some have suffered for it. A friend of a friend has been almost ruined by it – and seeing him suffer and struggle means I can’t agree when people say it is harmless and has no impact on long term brain function, how we feel about ourselves and our mental health.

I’ve had major ‘discussions’ with people who eat healthily and treat their bodies as temples in the gym, who then go and take pills all weekend. Really? You’re claiming white bread will ruin your body and mind but ecstasy chased with diet soda and vodka won’t? Get fucked!

Further to my personal opinions, I think the discussion on legalising dope for its recreational use is short sighted in a global sense. I don’t think this is the biggest issue – I think utilising hemp products for many other uses is much more important than whether someone can roll a spliff and have a legal puff on the weekends.

Right, now I’m outed as a straight laced do gooder, I don’t expect or need others to share my opinion. All I ask is what you ask of me, that you don’t ignore the medically proven negative effects drugs can have, and in turn I won’t ignore all the medically proven positive effects some illicit drugs.

Last year at the 2013 Federal Election (where Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party formed government) the Drug Law Reform Party (DLRP) ran for seats advocating for a Royal Commission into Illicit Drugs to explore the the health, economic and social costs and the impact on crime and corruption that drugs have. I think a Royal Commission is a fantastic idea! The issue with the DLRP though was that it already decided what it wanted from the Commission. The DLRP already had policy stating it wants Australia to legalise the production and sale of drugs like New Zealand, Portugal, Switzerland and Colorado and Washington have tried – this is all explained here, and where alot of my information for this blog originated.

Perhaps the Royal Commission would also have this as a recommendation, but we actually need to be less prescriptive with our research!

The very cool and forward thinking countries above moved away from strict drug guidelines with varying degrees of success. Comparing countries is pretty darn hard but a good way to try and predict the impacts on slow moving Oz.

As this very cool website says, it is crucial to distinguish between providing a drug for therapeutic purposes, decriminalisation (which reduces legal penalties for drug personal use) and commercial legalisation which would allow the substance to be sold to the public, like alcohol and tobacco. Switzerland provides heroin as part of treatment for people dependent on opiates, but has not legalised drugs for the wider population. Portugal decriminalised personal use of illicit drugs but continues to prohibit production and trafficking; Colorado and Washington are in the process of legalising cannabis though the details are not yet clear; New Zealand is planning to legalise synthetic substances if they prove to be safe, although none are yet tested.

WHAAAAAT?

So a case study: Portugal has been dabbling in the drugs and law thing for 12 years. It eliminated criminal penalties for drug users. Since then, those caught with small amounts of marijuana, cocaine or heroin go unindicted and possession is a misdemeanor on par with illegal parking. Experts are pretty pleased with the results, but some still have concerns about normalising drug use, especially as they are now seeing the next generation of kids coming through high school knowing exactly how many pills they can carry without getting in shit. Is that the point of this whole thing? To encourage teens to not get busted with pingers? I think not.

In America, the land of creative and colourful law making (ha!), they have a War on Drugs (dum dum duuuuuum!) This scary war is based on harsh enforcement measures such as long prison sentences, mandatory minimum sentences for first time offenders, pretty crappy theories on providing methadone and other pharmacotherapies for drug dependent people, and the refusal to provide needles and other equipment for people who inject drugs.

Wow – way to kick people whilst they are down! Thankfully, this is not the same here in laid back Oz. In Australia, we focus on extensive treatment programs (read: methadone), community based needle exchanges, and initiatives to prevent prison time for offenders. In some states people who are charged with drug possession offences, and have no record of violence, can avoid convictions if they attend a treatment program (check the link above, this is all there set out by Australian Drug Foundation’s Head of Policy, Geoff Munro in response to a request from The 7PM Project for analysis of the Drug Law Reform Party’s election platform).

In 2012, a national report into illicit drugs recommended decriminalising ecstasy and dope under a government controlled program aimed at helping curb addiction.

Read – contrary to popular belief socially (ie FB posts about legalising dope because it is awesome), the aim isn’t to encourage people to use it, it is to manage addiction.

The 52 page report proposed to establish a government supplier for dope and pingers. The report lists the following which you can also read in detail from link above.

The drugs would be available to people over 16, who would then be supported by counselling and treatment programs. The report also recommends similar programs for heroin users. Professor Bob Douglas says it is clear prohibition is not working, and Australia needs to have a serious debate about legalising controlled drug use.

One of the arguments for legalisation is that it would reduce the black market and criminal networks associated with the drug trade. Other arguments include moving the problem away from police and the criminal justice system and concentrating responses within health. Again – from a health point of view, drugs are still bad! We could also collect tax revenue from drugs as we already currently do from gambling, alcohol and tobacco.

The alternating research says that calculations assuming drugs – namely dope, heroin, cocaine, and could be made legal, and the price paid by consumers would remain the same is silly. Further, creating a legal market for drugs would create a powerful industry that will try to reduce regulation and public accountability, just as alcohol and tobacco producers and retailers oppose every attempt to control them (see more here, as suggested by this still awesome site).

The strongest argument against legalisation is that it would result in significant increases in drug use. We know that currently legal drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco, are widely consumed and associated with an extensive economic burden to society – including hospital admissions, alcoholism treatment programs and public nuisance – this is all in the survey I mention off the top. So why create an environment where this may also come to pass for currently illegal drugs?

The moral argument against legalisation suggests the use of illegal drugs is amoral, anti-social and otherwise not acceptable in today’s society. The concern is that legalisation would “send the wrong message”.

An alternative to legalisation is decriminalisation, which means a reduction of legal penalties. This can be done either by changing them to civil penalties, such as fines, or by diverting drug use offenders away from a criminal conviction and into education or treatment options (also known as “diversion”), which is what Australia currently does.

Decriminlisation doesn’t address the black market and criminal networks of drug selling. The moral arguement about the message we send about drugs also applies here.

In Oz, we have already decriminalised dope: we have diversion programs (all Australian states and territories), and have moved to civil penalties (such as fines in SA, ACT and NT – dem be da smart states). According to the research here, the case study of Portugal suggests that drug use rates don’t rise under decriminalisation, and there are measurable savings to the criminal justice system.

So what do we do? Where do we go with all this?

From my delving into the internets and thinking about all these issues, I guess I’m still coming back this: I don’t believe anyone, whether they be 60 or 16, should be encouraged to use drugs that can be harmful. It is such a complex issue and we haven’t even gone into the legal drugs – alcohol and tobacco is legal but grog kills 3,000 Australians and puts 70,000 into hospital each year. You all know from first hand baking experiments and weekend benders that drugs don’t have to have a negative effect. But how many of you also know that these same experiments and benders can lead  some people to addiction, mental health issues and more?

For me, the decriminalisation of illicit drugs seems sensible – and it seems to be in line with what we already try and do in Australia. That is, recreational use isn’t criminalised and the support network via health and medical funding is geared towards support and treatment rather than a strike system and leaving people isolated without help. This system is also less preachy and less uptight about recreational uses for drugs and seeks more to educate and work with the community – kind of like how we deal with underage drinking!

So – who knows – this post has contributed to nothing except making people hungry, bored and frustrated – please leave constructive comments below if you feel the urge, respectful discussion is always welcome (we don’t need to relive stories from your glory days, we are talking law making, not the perfect hash cookie…)

 

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My most unpopular post yet?

So, I haven’t been around for a week, pesky life with all its trials and tribulations have halted my blog musings and inspiration. But I’m back! And I had originally decided to write about asylum seekers. Yes, that pesky subject I get banned from yelling about at public dinners, get shot down for mentioning on Facebook and feel like slitting my wrists at night when I’ve spoken to people near and dear to me who don’t seem to give a shit about people desperate enough to leave their homes and come over to Australia in search of freedom and safety.

Why am I bothering, you ask? All you people (yes, the three of you who have promised you read this) probably aren’t the issue here are you? And also, apparently blogs should be short and sweet and talking about this is going to take all day…

too bad

Refugee and asylum seeker issues are really complex and tricky to navigate – mostly because people don’t understand the law, and they are fearful of the unknown. I apologise if this offends you – my aim isn’t to read my three readers like they are dumb, I know for sure that actually, you’re all quite clever. I use this tone for this article to hammer the point home, nothing more.

What is the difference between an asylum seeker and a refugee?

An asylum seeker is someone who is seeking international protection but whose claim for refugee status is not yet determined. Ie – in Australia, people coming across in unregistered boats are asylum seekers, as their claim for refuge has not yet been processed. For everyone out there who says they disagree with this definition, nice one chumps, this isn’t an opinion, it is a FACT.

A refugee is someone who has been recognised under the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees and is anyone who is fearful of being persecuted and cannot stay where they are in danger of being persecuted.

So both refugees and asylum seekers have the right to come to Australia. Both groups have the right to seek protection and safety in Australia, there is nothing illegal about this.

Note: an economic migrant normally leaves a country in order to seek a better life somewhere else. We are not discussing economic migrants here – we are discussing refugees and asylum seekers.

So douchebags arguing that people are coming across on illegal boats calling themselves refugees and asylum seekers just to get the dole and a cushy living go read blogs elsewhere!

Evidence shows, proves, hammers into our heads etc that in the height if the War on Terror (seriously I don’t have time, use Google) 97% of Iraqi and Afghan applicants who arrived by boat were granted refugee status, during the Pacific Solution (again, use Google but shit job John Howard) 70% of people who were detained in Nauru and Manus were found to be refugees and in the last 2 years, 91% of illegal boat people were granted refugee status – so suck it – references here on page 8.

In reality, it would take 149 years to fill the MCG once with asylum seekers coming by boat. BOOM.

This tiny, minute infographic also demonstrates the tiny amount of people we get seeking asylum by boat and in general in Australia… so what the fuck is the big deal?!

GsNJNwuI-UM   anxiety

Ok, so what about queue jumpers then? Surely they should be taken out and shot for jumping the queue? Suck it again idiots, there is NO SUCH THING AS A QUEUE.

too bad and ur stupid

Seriously, there is no queue. And no, this is not my opinion. It is a FACT. The concept of an orderly queue does not accord with the reality of the asylum process.

“Implicit in this view is that Australia should not be bothered by people seeking asylum under the Refugee Convention and that genuine refugees should go to other counties and wait patiently in the hope that Australia may choose to settle them.” Paul Power, CEO of Refugee Council of Australia (see link here.)

I’m sorry, what? Refugee Convention? Yep, The Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (CRSR) is a United Nations multilateral treaty that defines who is a refugee, and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum. So did Australia sign this convention? YES. We also have some other you know, important obligations… LEGALLY. AS IN WE MUST. These obligations include a shitload for human rights (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention against Torture, etc etc and then all these protocols to these treaties).

So in terms of how we treat asylum seekers and refugees, we actually have to treat them like they are human beings. The argument that they chose to come here illegally, and deserve to be punished for it, is wrong. The argument that they deserve to be locked up with no way of knowing if their status as a refugee is being processed is wrong. Do you know how long it takes our country to process these humans? It takes so long we have all this time to create pictures about how long it takes…

asylum_-infographic

See that blue circle on the bottom left? WTF.

Some more common (dickhead) myths about asylum seekers and refugees:

– they get a cushy life in Australia and take all our jobs and live off welfare and shit

Well, they either live off welfare or they take your jobs. It can’t be both. Many refugees and asylum seekers are skilled workers with qualifications and degrees/ experience in the workforce. Quantitative data, and anecdotal evidence demonstrates that when granted visas for Australia, asylum seekers and refugees integrate into society and contribute positively to our society. And on to welfare. No asylum seekers are eligible for Centrelink payments of any kind. A small percentage of asylum seekers get access to the Red Cross Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme for a limited period of time. This scheme provides for an income that is 89% of what a person would get if receiving Newstart Allowance. Permanent refugees are eligible to receive Centrelink but just at the same rate as an Australian permanent resident, and they don’t steal it off someone else eligible for the allowance.

– we are generous with how many refugees we take in Australia

Right now, Syria has 2million refugees because of civil war (again – have you heard of this? If not, Google it – just because the first world isn’t openly fighting in it, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening) and we have committed to take 500 refugees. Out of 2million. Just 500. Get it yet?

2m-Syria-graphic-every-15-seconds

– Australia has no room, or money, or anything to take care of these people, we are full. Full of shit.

Australia provides just 13,750 places each year in total for refugee and humanitarian entrants to Australia. This figure includes all people who we receive onshore and offshore and by boat. Refugee and humanitarian entrants make up just 6.6% of the places in our overall permanent immigration program in 2010. The lowest it’s been since 1975. And remember all those dudes/ chicks you met last weekend at the pub with British accents? They flew over and are overstaying their temporary visas… they are more illegal than the refugees. Why aren’t you complaining about them?!

Lastly. Even if you have disagreed with some of the above:

stupid is as stupid does

Please think about this –  Our asylum seeker policies in Australia are breaking people. Political rhetoric from all sides of politics (doesn’t matter if you’re red or blue, they all speak the same language on this) is based on fear, fear and more fear. If we are worried about losing our jobs, our money, our space, our way of living and our easy way of life – we won’t be asking for the truth.

In this country, we rarely question the status quo and ask about the people on the boats, the people who are so scared they run away from the only place they have called home to a strange destination where they know they’ll be separated from their wives/husbands/children, put into jail and treated worse than our actual criminals.

On Manus Island last week, a man was killed in a riot. 77 asylum seekers had been injured. Oh, you think these people normally just riot for no reason? They fled from violence, why do they want it here? The answer is they don’t. The reason is they are desperate, they are damaged and they are hurt. It is not a case of us versus them – that shouldn’t even be a factor.

Google the long list of things that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees gave to the Abbott Government and recommended to change. To change so Australia wasn’t breaking International Human Rights Laws. Oh, did I mention children are there? Yep, on Manus Island. Kids.

We already know from a study conducted 10 years ago (and fucking common sense I might add) that being placed into detention  affects the health, well being and development of children. It also contravenes our Human Rights laws.

And now I’m exhausted and have lost track of the argument, although I think it is pretty clear. There is no such thing as an illegal asylum seeker. We can afford to process them and grant them visas for living and working in our country. We have a legal responsibility to protect their human rights. We have a moral responsibility to protect them from harm.

I AM A REFUGEE

Thanks to those who read this diatribe, I hope it filled you with the desire to do something about this issue. And for those who think I just pull shit out my arse – I won’t bore you with my education, but I’ll give you one (note this isn’t hippy propaganda, the stats and research is from the government):

http://hoydenabouttown.com/20100706.7790/asylum-seeker-fact-sheet-and-myth-buster/

http://www.lawcouncil.asn.au/lawcouncil/index.php/australia-s-international-human-rights-obligations

http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/docs/resources/0907_ALP_Fringe.pdf

https://theconversation.com/from-white-australia-to-stopping-the-boats-attitudes-to-asylum-seekers-15244

http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2013/march/1365643273/robert-manne/tragedy-errors

https://www.humanrights.gov.au/asylum-seekers-and-refugees-guide

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/asylum-seekers-personal-details-made-public-on-website-immigration-department-concedes-20140219-32zx8.html

https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/r/stat-as.php

http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2013/september/1377957600/christos-tsiolkas/why-australia-hates-asylum-seekers

http://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/national-inquiry-children-immigration-detention-2014-discussion-paper

 

 

 

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My Wish to You

After being 40 degrees yesterday, it is raining and the roads have flooded today. Therefore, unless you’re lying in bed watching Strictly Ballroom (best movie EVER, and I do mean ever, and yes even compared to Compote or The English Patient or The Muppets) and dreaming of becoming Tina Sparkle when you grow up, you more than likely need some help getting through the day.

Alas, you’re in the wrong place, I don’t feel much like helping today! Ha!

Instead, I wrote a poem. It isn’t as good as things that are published, otherwise I’d be typing to you from a gold bathtub surrounded by various luxury items I can’t describe because I don’t know they exist. My poem is kind of like a ruminating way to hope for a better future. Whatevs, don’t bag me for it. And also don’t scrape it or steal it or whatever for a year 3 project or something, cos as bland as it is, it is mine, and I’ll find you and kill you and no one will ever find you.

My Wish for You

Let your mind be free of rumbling thunder,
Let your eyes see clear blue skies.
Let your wisdom guide your body,
Let your hands help others to rise.
Let one voice become many,
Let their ideas grow in colour and light
Let people in positions of power,
Allow their conscience to join the fight.

Let our trees grow tall and old,
Let our animals run wild and free.
Help our world preserve its natural gifts,
And open all our eyes to see.
Let us see those who have nothing at all,
Let us stop collecting more than we need.
Let us give life to another’s worth,
Let us turn our backs on greed.

Let the violence lie dormant and forgotten,
Let the hurt be washed away.
Let our resources be used for inspiration,
And welcome a fresh, clean day.
Let our histories be told strong and true,
Let us amend for mistakes of the past.
Let our dreams be shared and pure,
Let our good intentions be the last.

© solatetotheparty

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Politics and Poo

Recently, a close friend private messaged a group of like-minded friends on Facebook and shared a link listing (in numerical order) all the alleged broken promises and poor decisions Prime Minister Tony Abbott had made since being elected in 2013. The list had my blood boiling before I got past #10, and I asked myself what I could do about it.

Firstly, this list was obviously one side of the story, there is always at least one more side to it. So I thought I’d post a few broken promises to my Facebook wall every hour and see how it all went down. I publicly predicted that I’d lose “friends” (FB friends are a crock of shit – I like having as many as I can, obviously, to feel like a real person and not insignificant in the world – but really, they aren’t actually your friends unless you see them in person or have their phone number – are they?!) and that by the end of the day even the most die-hard political fans would be hiding my status updates and my feed in general.

I didn’t measure this, I have no idea how many friends I had before I started, and I literally cannot be bothered looking at how many I have now (read: I’m checking every 2 minutes hoping I’m more popular!)

I also knew the risk. I have a diverse group of real friends, in the real life world. A lot of wonderful friends live in the country, and have intense agricultural and farming interests. These interests have been traditionally served by the Liberal Party, and the Nationals. I worked for a year as Media Advisor to a Liberal Senator, and made close friendships with amazingly smart and talented people throughout the Liberal Party at the Federal and State levels (not to mention I was exposed to Liberal leaders Abbott, Turnbull – Opposition Leader at the time, Bishop plus heavy hitters for other parties including Xenophon, Wong and some other amazing senators). I also have friends who associate with the Greens and Independents, and then more friends who are inactive members of the Labor Party. I knew the risk of offending those near and dear to me was quite high.

But I decided whingeing about it privately wasn’t good enough, I needed to put my money where my big fat mouth was (and really, although it was a Thursday, I was definitely seeing myself as this cat)

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I posted on average every hour during the work day last Thursday 6 February 2014. I was assuming my day would be like this (even though it wasn’t Friday)

My first post was this: Tony Abbott did this on 29th January – Cuts the wages of Australian troops deployed overseas by almost $20 000 per solider and following with the comment “I’ve committed to posting something every hour about what he is doing – I know I’m going to lose traction and also have ppl de-friending or hiding my news feed, but keep watching and sharing if you can!”

Comments were in support for troops receiving as much as possible, and most people had no idea the PM had done this, and were not in favour.

guns

My second post was this: Tony Abbott did this on 18 January 2014: Defunds all international environmental programs, the International Labour Organisation and cuts funding to a range of international aid programs run by NGOs such as Save the Children, Oxfam, CARE Australia and Caritas. Again, people liked this post and expressed outrage over cutting of aid funding.

imagesCAQCENYO

My third post was this: Third hour of posting, wondering how my friend count is faring. Tony Abbott has systematically undermined and put at risk “everyday Australians”… not sure how these people fit under Hockey’s “age of entitlement”… I’m sensing a theme here! Feb 4 – Abbott supports a reduction of penalty rates and other Award minimums in a submission to the Fair Work Commission’s review of all Awards. Lies to the Australian public about the wages and working conditions of factory workers at SPC in Shepparton, blaming them for their own potential job losses. 28 Jan – Abbott intervenes on the side of Toyota to support cutting Australian workers wages and conditions. 1st January (when no one is looking) – reduces tax breaks for small business and fails to publicise it. Way back in December – Abbott refuses to support jobs at SPC at the cost of hundreds of jobs. Again, people liked this post and were supportive of the workers.

STICK WITH ME, IT GETS BETTER!

My fourth post was when the shit hit the fan: Lunchtime appetite killer: last September Tony Abbott appoints only one woman into his cabinet and blames the women for his decision, saying he appoints “on merit” and then makes himself Minister for Women. This was where a heated discussion with a friend about sexism, feminism and reverse sexism began. Comments were about merit, and that if women hadn’t been chosen, they must not be as good as the men. Comments were about not having a female ‘quota’ as that discriminates against men, and by focusing on women we swing too far away from promoting men.

Truly, this conversation left me surprised and disappointed – and not specifically with my friend. The fact there is such a dangerous lack of understanding (in my opinion) out there about equality and discrimination, whether it is applied to women or other minorities, appalled me. I spent the better half of the day (cough, working, cough) trying to provide stats and data to prove that female equality was a real issue, here, in our country. I was able to find this by an amazing Liberal Party member, Sue Boyce, who said:

“The gender problem within the Liberal and National Parties is systemic and extends to the organisational wing. There has only ever been one female Federal President of the Liberal Party: Chris McDiven who was federal president from 2005-2008.
Business in Australia recognised decades ago that simply waiting for substantial numbers of talented women to walk through the door wasn’t working – our parties must do the same.
In Queensland only six of the 30 LNP candidates (including sitting MPs) for the 2013 election were women.
The number of sitting women MPs rose from three to four when Michelle Landry joined Teresa Gambaro, Karen Andrews, and Jane Prentice. There are 18 men. We won’t improve those numbers by waiting for women to knock on the preselection or Cabinet door – we need to go ‘outside’ and genuinely look for answers to the question ‘Why don’t women of merit want to join us?'”

And then the trusty Australian Bureau of Statistics said this:

Men continue to earn more money than women in the country. Australian men earn an average of 17.53 per cent more than women with a weekly average of $1,518.40. The figure is higher compared to women who have an average of $1,252.20 per week. The gap between the earnings of Australian men and women is $266.20. This amount was considered to be the highest since 1994 when the Australian Statistics Bureau placed weekly earnings data in digital form. According to a research report in July by the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Australia has one of the most sexist employment markets in the world with more women who are not promoted as often as men and consistently underpaid. In occupations where women dominate like primary teaching, childcare and nursing, men still earn more with $1,150 compared to $999 for women. Trade Union president Ged Kearney blamed gender discrimination, low wages and outdated workplace culture, especially for the small number of women who are holding management positions.

Arguing the point here had made me exhausted, especially because my factual information above appeared to be falling on deaf ears.

woman

I reluctantly stuck with it and my fifth post, which was met with deafening silence:

Bit exhausted after the last post, but I promised (until 5pm)! One very close to my heart – and this isn’t just about asylum seekers, so even if you don’t want them near you, controlling information is not ok: Abbott scraps weekly media briefings on asylum seeker issues to avoid public and media scrutiny

imagesCAWKYVJ4

And my last post:

Last one for the day: Abbott seeks to wind back the World Heritage listing of Tasmania’s forests, exempts Western Australia from national environment laws to facilitate shark culling, fails to provide the promised customs vessel to monitor whaling operations in the Southern Ocean, axes funding for animal welfare, starts dismantling Australia’s world leading marine protection system, overturns the “critically endangered” listing of the Murray Darling Basin, approves Clive Palmer’s mega coal mine in the Galilee Basin which opponents say will severely damage Great Barrier Reef, approves the largest coal port in the world in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and… I can’t go on…

What is the fucking point of this post? Well, to be honest, my primary aim is to again bring these issues up and make sure I have screamed them from every platform I can. And my secondary aim is to document the difficulties I have with the way we think about political expression.

I didn’t set out to browbeat anyone into submission with my posts. What I wanted was for people – my Facebook friends – to care enough to engage in a discussion. I don’t mind if people disagree, and I certainly don’t want everyone to think the same way I do (except I’m right so….!!!)

I was really excited, then, on Saturday night, when some other close friends brought it up at a party and we were able to have an open, honest discussion about equality for women with me being called a bra burning lesbo or other such insulting, derogatory names.

So thank you to those who care enough to engage in discussions about our future, and thank you to those who are able to keep an open mind. To those who refuse to question the doctrines they have been brought up on, shame on you – you make up part of the reason why women aren’t equal to men in 2014.

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Uncategoriseable

Yes, I know uncategorisable is not a word. But it will be (perhaps by losing the e?)

ANYWAY. I’m turning 30. A lot of people have suggested this must be depressing for me, so for a while there I tried to feel sad.

And then I realised they were chumps and that age is a state of mind… or something.

Whilst in my self induced pity party, I did have this deep epiphany that I should do something more, something meaningful, something better with my life, and my oodles of spare time that seems to get chomped up staring out the window. And then like this:

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I decided I’d leave improving the world to the amazingly talented people who are already successfully blogging about raw food diets, the best child rearing habits and their special abilities in creating poison free soap and shampoo from everyday garden ingredients (I’m not paying anyone out – I truly mean these people are having positive impact on the world – just don’t expect that from me.)

Stop! Don’t leave yet – you’ll still find me waxing lyrical about my morning green smoothies, hatred of palm oil killing innocent animals and yelling from the rooftops that everyone needs to watch Blackfish (seriously, you’re a shit person if you refuse to watch it, unless you’ll never recover for the rest of your life, and then you have a decent excuse)…but you’ll also find I like to talk about my strong cheeseburger cravings and my penchant for romance novels too.

So what is this blog actually about? Well apart from being SO late to the party in terms of writing for the internets…

Like some outstanding people before me (like Mamma Mia in our country – am sure this is blog suicide to link to them, because that page totally rocks and is seriously huge over here and it is much better than this, so really I’m doing you a favour by linking it so you can read that instead.)

I’d like to discuss a whole range of issues that matter to me and I think should matter to lots of people.

Sometimes, we will escape harsh reality to wax lyrical about celebrity fashion, and sometimes I will subject you all to an especially vitriolic rant about the state of politics in Australia. Sometimes I may just post my favourite YouTube music clip (illegally most likely because I really don’t get how this shit works) and we can all have a virtual dance session together.

Unfortunately for people looking for a specific blog, this one can’t be categorised and has no helpful search words – there will be some news, some opinion, some ridiculous thoughts and some escapism thrown in for good measure. Hopefully on any given day, it will appeal to you!

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