joe.toscano's blog

All Guns Blazing

The Turnbull led government has had a significant impact on the Fair Work Commission’s decision to significantly reduce penalty rates in the hospitality and retail sector. Penalty rates for Australian workers working on days and times other Australians traditionally have off, is one way some of Australia’s most poorly paid workers are able to make ends meet. Removing penalty rates is a direct attack on some of the poorest and least organised workers in this country.

Julie points the finger

Julie Bishop, the Australian Foreign Minister, is right to be “deeply concerned” about atrocities carried out in Myanmar on Rohingya Muslims and expects a “thorough, credible and impartial investigation” into what is happening in that country. Institutionalised discrimination against Rohingya people in Myanmar is a decades old problem. Gang rapes, disappearances and killings have been a hallmark of Myanmar’s military response to any resistance by Rohingya people to the treatment that is regularly meted out to them.

Political Hemlock

The Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party is about to commit political suicide. Hard pressed by the Greens in over half a dozen inner city seats – including Richmond, Brunswick, Northcote, Flemington, Albert Park and Williamstown, to name a few – they have hitched their wagon to Minister Foley’s public housing suicide mission.

Apples and Bananas

You can replace an apple with a banana but you can’t change an apple into a banana unless you're a magician or someone who can feed the multitudes with a few loaves of bread and fish. It’s pretty obvious when you think about it, so why are the words public housing, social housing and community housing interchangeable in the mouth of the Housing Minister, Martin Foley, and a host of other people who should know better?

Divided Nation

Words are everything in political debate. They mould attitudes and create social and political movements. When the word refugee becomes synonymous with political terrorism and the movement led by Pauline Hanson calls itself One Nation, you know things aren’t what they seem to be. The great majority of political refugees are trying to get away from political terrorists while the policies that are thrown into the political arena by One Nation are a recipe for a divided nation.

Eureka Australia Day Medal

What is the Eureka Australia Day Medal? For years I’ve been disgusted by the types of people who receive honours on Australia (Invasion) Day and yuck – the Queen’s Birthday. If I was really honest I can’t imagine two worse days for people to be honoured in this country, but that’s another topic. I’m not saying all Australians who are honoured on those days shouldn’t receive those honours, what I am saying is the usual suspects seem to receive the highest honours year after year after year – retired politicians, business people, celebrities etc etc.

Checks and Balances

Most Australians would be surprised at how few constitutional checks and balances exist in this country. President Donald Groper can sign all the executive orders he wants but unfortunately, for the little emperor, a significant number of checks and balances have been incorporated in the United States constitution to protect citizens from the arbitrary exercise of state power.

Street Cred

I'm currently in the process of going through decades of pieces of paper that have grown so high and take up so much space, they need to be culled. Some people call it pre-death downsizing, I call it culling.

Collective Amnesia

Collective amnesia is a central component of every day existence in a community that has no time for the past. Life is all about now, unfortunately for societies like Australia, the past fashions the present. I'm not going to bore you with the significant crack that has developed in the Australian colonisation myth. The national confusion surrounding Australia / Invasion Day is slowly, very slowly (like a man moving a mountain with a spoon) seeping into the minds of an increasing number of Australians.

Inside and Outside

Housing affordability is as we all know, a critical issue in Australia today. Over the past two decades state governments and successive Federal governments have pursued a policy of privatising public housing. Defend And Extend Public Housing (DAEPH) was formed three months ago to ensure the case for public housing was at the forefront of the housing affordability debate.

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