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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.

Planting Seeds

Political activists are at their very core, farmers. Like farmers we plant seeds, water, tend to them and wait for them to grow. Sometimes we plant seeds on barren ground and they never grow. Other times we plant them in fertile soil but don’t have the time and resources to water and tend them and they grow and wither. Sometimes future generations discover the seeds you planted on barren ground, replant them and tend and water them until they blossom. Sometimes those seeds grow beyond our expectations.

Completely Intolerable

It’s ironical the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi, has labelled the flying of the West Papuan Morning Star flag on the roof of the Indonesian Consulate in Melbourne as “a criminal act that is completely intolerable” – The Age 28th January.

What’s a criminal act and completely intolerable is the Indonesian takeover of West Papua and the resultant deaths of over 500,000 West Papuans over the past 60 years as a direct consequence of the Indonesian annexation of the country.


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