joe.toscano's blog

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.

An Alcove in Parliament House

On Wednesday 5th July at the Defend And Extend Public Housing Australia rally on the steps of the Victorian State Parliament in Spring St, Melbourne, I noticed a tall 30 something unshaven lanky man join the rally. He listened intently to all the speakers. At the end of the rally he came up to have a few words with me. He told me he was from Ballarat and was homeless. He wanted to join Public Interests Before Corporate Interests (PIBCI) and wanted to know if he could use his mother’s address in Ballarat. He told me he wasn’t on the electoral roll. I told him it didn’t matter.

Very Organised Crime

Money laundering, ripping off people, stealing their money, thumbing their nose at the law it seems like a page from an organised crime serial you’d see on television. Unfortunately it isn’t fiction, it’s real. No, it’s not the local drug dealer down the street or even the rapidly disappearing SP bookie. It’s not the kid with a gun or knife robbing the local milk bar or an outlaw motorcycle gang trying to make a name for themselves. It’s not corrupt politicians, standover merchants or organised crime figures.

Cuckoo Bird Scorned

Bye, by President Donald Groper. Talk about a soap opera that makes the Bold and the Beautiful look like a show about real people. The Groper is rapidly pulling up his Republican Party drawbridges. I’ve said many times before the Groper has the same problems Malcolm Turnbull has, the political party he has laid his cuckoo egg in has discovered the egg and is in the process of pushing it out of the nest.

Dreaming of Equality of Opportunity

Every time the Labor Party goes on a reformist tangent the Liberal National Party starts screaming about “class warfare” and “equality of outcome”. Over the past forty years this country has been in the midst of “class warfare”. Not the type of class warfare you’re thinking about, when the have nots have asked for a few more crumbs to be brushed off the ruling class’ table, but an insidious type of class warfare that has seen wealth being distributed from the poorest section of society to the richest.

Creation and Evolution

If you believe in creation irrespective if it’s an indigenous dreaming creation story that stretches back over 2,000 generations or a biblical creation story which only stretches back 200 generations, life’s easy. Creationists are given the world on a platter. It’s a given, it’s there you don’t have to worry about how it came about and more importantly, how it’s all going to end.

Chasing The Dollar

Pressure from the community as a result of access to basic services becoming more and more difficult has forced both the Turnbull led government and the Shorten led Opposition to consider policies that will rein in the opportunities people with disposable income have to legally minimise their taxes to almost nothing. One measure that has been introduced and spruiked by the Federal government is the extra tax that will be paid by transnational corporations operating in Australia that have made a mockery of the taxation system.

Problem Gamblers

There is no question that approximately 40% of people who regularly play the pokies are problem gamblers. Addiction is one way many people cope with disappointment, loss and loneliness. It’s not unusual to see an older cross section of the community regularly visit pokies outlets. It’s easy to denigrate and dismiss people with a gambling addiction for “a problem of their own making”. The damage caused by gamblers is akin to the consequences of throwing a rock into a pool. The ripples that are caused continue long after the rock has disappeared from sight.

Three Cornered Contest

The G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, highlights there are an increasing number of people, not just in Germany who are unhappy with the direction the world is going in. Forty years of neo-liberal experimentation have only succeeded in concentrating power and wealth in the hands of a very small minority. When less than 20 people have more wealth at their disposal than the poorest three billion (yes, 3 billion!), you know there is something not right with the world.

Life Expectations

bA child born in Australia today can expect, on average, to live 82.5 years. As a country we have the third highest life expectancy in the world after Switzerland and Singapore. Considering we have almost three times the population of Switzerland and seven times the population of Singapore and we have a very high immigrant population from all over the world, we must be doing something right.

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