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Joe Toscano for Northcote

The Victorian Legislative seat of Northcote is located approximately five kilometres north east of Melbourne. It includes the suburbs of Alphington, Fairfield, Northcote, Thornbury and parts of Preston. The electorate is bounded by Darebin Creek in the east, Merri Creek in the west, the Yarra River in the south and Bell St in the north. It is approximately 25 square kilometres in area and approximately 55,000 people reside in the electorate. It is rapidly becoming gentrified. Significant pockets still have people on old age, disability and single parent benefits living in the electorate.

The Need for Sport

It’s easy to dismiss professional sport as the opium of the masses. The mass hysteria that accompanied Richmond’s inexorable march to Grand Final victory can be dismissed as a juvenile response to a sporting event. We can lament all we want that the passion, tears and jubilation that accompanied Richmond’s Grand Final victory after 37 years in the wilderness was wasted on a football match.

It's A Gas

The term “it’s a gas” is derived from the use of helium gas as a public entertainment medium in the early 20th century. It became synonymous with a good laugh when it was used as a dental general anaesthetic in the mid 20th century. “It’s a gas”, a good belly laugh could be used to describe the current energy crisis if it wasn’t so serious.

Anti-Corruption Commission Hobbled

The once powerful New South Wales Commission into Corruption has been sidelined by a host of parliamentary changes that have ripped out its legislative incisors. Nothing highlighted this more than the findings it recently delivered on a number of very shady deals that had been hatched by three former New South Wales Labor Cabinet Ministers while in power to enrich themselves and their families.

No No Nanette

If I hear Melbourne’s Archbishop Hart again, I'm going to scream. Considering the Catholic Church’s abysmal record on childhood sexual abuse, within the Catholic Church, you’d think they'd show a little bit of contrition. No, not Archbishop Hart. First we had to put up with the Catholic Church’s position on the mildly reformist voluntary euthanasia bill before the Victorian parliament. Now we have to put up with Archbishop Hart’s comments on marriage equality and the Catholic education system.

Inalienable Rights and Marriage Equality

I'm irritated about the marriage equality survey, not just because it is going to cost the community 120 million dollars, because the Liberal/National Party couldn’t make up its mind about marriage equality but for much more important reasons. One of the most powerful sentences uttered in human history is the Eureka Oath. The oath was taken by Ballarat miners on the 29th November 1854; “We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties”.

We've Taught Them How To Die

Indigenous peoples across the planet have carried, and continue to carry, the burden of colonisation. The single most important lesson learnt by indigenous peoples from the colonisers is how to die. First nations people around the world suffer from the same side effects of colonisation. Poor health, high infant mortality rates, alcoholism and drug abuse, poor educational and employment outcomes. Whether you look at the lives of the Inuit people of Greenland or Australian Aborigines in central Australia, colonisation’s legacy is largely negative.

Public Housing is Everyone's Business

Public housing is not just the business of the 63,000 tenants who currently utilise public housing in Victoria. It is not just the business of the 43,000 Victorians on the public housing waiting list who will never access public housing. Public housing isn’t just the business of the homeless. It is everyone’s business.

Hedge Funds Gambling

I wonder how many Australians realise their future is determined by unaccountable hedge funds and currency trade speculators who ultimately determine the value of many of the world’s currencies? Currently they have stopped betting on the US dollar because there are few signs the US Federal Reserve will significantly lift interests rates in the near future as a consequence of the United States’ legislative paralysis that has occurred since the Groper became President. Their attention is now focused on the European Central Bank and the Australian Federal Reserve.

Why Homelessness?

Why it is so difficult to address homelessness in a society as rich as Australia has always baffled me. Despite the conga line of individuals and organisations that provide services (some government funded and others privately funded), homelessness is and continues to be a major issue. I’ve always thought the privatisation of homelessness is the single most important stumbling block to eradicating this scourge.

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