Monday, November 29, 2004

woman + government = mother. Is that the only answer?

"From Tuesday 26 October 2004 when the Fourth Howard Ministry was sworn in, the functions of the Office of the Status of Women transferred to the Department of Family and Community Services. These changes will be reflected in templates and official documents as soon as possible. Please bear with us in the interim."
"[...] the Honourable Senator Kay Patterson MP's title changed from the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women to the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Women's Issues. Also, the functions of the Office of the Status of Women transferred to the Department of Family and Community Services, and the Office's name is now Office for Women. These changes will be reflected in templates and official documents as soon as possible."
This is what you see when you go to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Office of the Status of Women website.
"The (Family and Community Services) Department will now also be responsible for gender issues and the Office of Status of Women will move to FaCS from The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C)"
This is what you find when you look for Office of the Status of Women data over at Family and Community Services.

I postulated this in an earlier post and am devastated to find that women have lost 'status' so soon!

I have to go now.
There are bras to burn!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Garage Sale at Peter Garrett's house.

Some of the stuff listed for disposal:
  1. Yurt
  2. Solar panels
  3. 'SORRY' t-shirt and matching pants
  4. Jabiluka mine protest t-shirt
  5. Yvonne Margarula's phone number
  6. Map to Pine Gap
  7. Credibility (hurry on this item, only minute quantities left)
Perhaps hypocrisy makes you sick?

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Kicking wheelchairs

The Federal Government is considering a system of coercion and incentive to get disability pensioners off welfare and into the workforce.

According to Peter Dutton, the Minister for Workforce Participation:
"The disability support pension shouldn't be seen as a way of life, of a way to opt out of work requirements, and I think the Australian taxpayer would also ask that the Government look very closely at this."

"[...] the majority of people there is a willingness to participate to look for work. For those people that we think aren't there legitimately, then we need to try and adopt some coercion, and that's unfortunate in that minority of cases."
"We want to make sure that those people who are most deserving of government assistance, that those who are most disabled enjoy every support from the government, and we want to make sure that we can work with the sector to see that we can quarantine and provide every assistance to those people, and we don't want the Labor Party going forward with a scare campaign from here."
Does it make you wonder who will be deserving and legitimate and who will be undeserving and illegitimate? What criteria will be used to determine who is who?

Does a wheel chair, a caliper, a walking frame (with unsteadiness) get you classed 'deserving'.

'Undeserving', will that be the people with the Central Nervous System disorders such as
  1. Multiple Sclerosis
  2. Epilepsy
  3. Parkinson's disease
  4. Anxiety disorder
  5. Bipolar disorder
  6. Depression
  7. Schizophrenia
  8. Rheumatoid arthritis
  9. Huntington's chorea
  10. Alzheimer's disease
  11. Chronic fatigue syndrome
  12. Guillain-Barré syndrome
Face it Dutton, the general public does not like to be exposed to people with disabilities. It makes most of us uncomfortable.
Do we look away?
Do we offer to help?
Do they see our pity?

The very next time my workplace recruits a new staff member,
in the spirit of this Peter Pan world that Peter Dutton envisages,
I am going to have as Selection criteria #1
"Must possess a disability. Our preference is Chronic fatigue syndrome. To that end we run a peer-to-peer support group every second Wednesday in the Parent's room. Please bring medical evidence confirming your condition so that we can claim our subsidy."

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

1981 barefoot and pregnant. 2004 cashed up and exercising choice.

In a new 20-year report Diversity and Change in Australian Families
by the Australian Institute of Family Studies it has been found that since 1981, the role of women within the family has changed significantly.

"Since 1981 there has been a decline in the percentage of traditional male breadwinner couple families and a rise in female breadwinner families. In 2002, 81% of men in couple families were the main breadwinners, compared with 91% in 1981."
"There is still evidence of the view in much of the community that for women, children should be a more important priority than employment."
I can tell by the quote above that Tony Abbott, Christopher Pyne and John Howard were interviewed.
Unfortunately, these men are also have the power to take us (as women) back to the lack of self-determination in the 1950's.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Grogblogging 2004

On a humid, rain soaked spring night in Sydney Grogblogging 2004 unfurled.

I liked unfurling.
Furled and unfurled near me were:
  1. moo cow
  2. completely biased
  3. darp
  4. will type for food
  5. deltoid
  6. weezil from s'truth? strewth!
  7. georg from psephite
  8. darkie from psephite
  9. minty twat :)
  10. daily flute
  11. ian
  12. mark
  13. peter
  14. dave from fulmination of thought
  15. flashman
  16. agent fare evader

Pandagate shirts were popular and gorgeous. More than one person suffered from the inevitable blogspot identity confusion...

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

a free society and other dreams

I was going to comment on Downer et al and their plan to make Australia larger. I suspect this is so that we (please exclude me in that we) can mine the Barrier Reef and further buttress 'fortress Australia.'

Then I had an opinion about the proposed changes to the Government's national security agenda, but I seem to have reached my fill of outrage at how quickly this government is rolling back basic human rights.

Then in my wanderings I came upon this and I got to a place beyond incredulous.

Let me tell you why.
I was very young when I first saw Bob Dylan perform live in Australia. I was dating an older man who bought me a ticket to see him play Festival Hall in Melbourne. It was an amazing time and I can remember feeling alive and vibrant and on-the-verge-of-having-my-voice-matter. As said, I was young. This is what young people need to do. They need to be able to explore who they are and what they believe in with minimal top-down scrutiny.

The older man fell by the wayside (metaphorically; not literally), but my love of Bob Dylan stayed strong and he was as important an artist when I saw him again much later (supported by Patti Smith) at the Darwin amphitheatre.

What is happening to us (and in us I include the US) when we read much more than is appropriate or necessary into young people making a political statement? I feel very old and I feel I have let this generation of young people down.

I am currently playing all my Bob Dylan songs to my teenage children and if the AFP try and question any young person in this house they will all point their fingers at me and say.
"That political stuff that's not ours, that's our daggy mother's crap music."
...and my heart will break (again) as I realise that the young already seem to know that they are beaten and don't bother to engage in the political debate and when/if they do a world of hurt comes down on them...
"You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud"
Masters of war - Bob Dylan circa. 1963We should support the youthful journey of exploration, searching and questioning. Instead we are complicit in the quelling of peaceful dissent.

Shame on us.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Privacy & Medicare Item # 35643

I apologise that I missed this when it was published.

It is evident that Health Minister Tony Abbott has been fomenting this ill horror for some time.

Women will be required to declare abortions on their Medicare paperwork under a plan being considered by the HoWARd Government.

I can only assume that HoWARd (and others) ordered Tony to keep his social engineering to himself until the subject could be considered without the sensitivities of an imminent election.

I can just imagine the conversation:

Tony: "There are far too babies being killed John"

John: "Babies killed? Where?"

Tony: "Abortions. Morning after pills. Me, Nick, Ando, Kevin and God, we're not happy"

John: "Listen Tony, if you keep quiet; Lie if you are directly questioned; Avoid media scrutiny of your agenda, then I'll provide extra money directed to mothers who give birth to babies from midnight on 30 June this year. How does 3 thousand dollars sound? That should keep a few of them from aborting until after we win and then it's all yours. Save as many as you can. Make it as difficult as possible. We'll never stop the rich ones, but we will stop quite a lot. Use every Government Department that's relevant. And Tony, remember my name is out of it"

Julie Robotham says it best.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

No waiting at Pregnancy Counselling Centres

Abortion Grief Counselling Association (AGCS) has sent letters to all members of federal parliament asking them to consider strategies to cut the number of abortions, including a ban on coercion.

"Across Australia the (pre-abortion) counselling is a smorgasbord of what some would consider to be state of the art counselling through to plain old sales pitch to vulnerable people in crisis, with the occasional outright coercions,"
"We recommended strategies that give women more time, ensure they are adequately warned, a legal penalty for those who coerce women to abort and for the training of health care providers to identify and treat abortion trauma." - AGCS national coordinator Julie Cook.
There are stringent, regulations on Counsellors. Can we make that assertion for politicians?

If you know of someone who coerces their clients (on any issue) call their peak body and report them. The organisation will take your complaint seriously and the offender will be banned from practicing if an allegation is proved.
Get them out of the system.
transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): co·erced; co·erc·ing
Etymology: Latin coercEre, from co- + arcEre to shut up, enclose
1. To restrain or dominate by force
2. To compel to an act or choice
3. To bring about by force or threat
Counselling is about offering information, choice, options and support.
Your assertion that counsellors are motivated by the desire to socially engineer is without basis.

Your legislation is beyond naive.
If you plan to impose "legal penalties" on those that coerce women into having abortions, be prepared to prosecute fathers, boyfriends, partners, casual lovers and husbands in this policy.

Happily pregnant women do not search for alternatives to 'being pregnant.' They buy baby clothes, they telephone all their friends and family, they name the spare room the nursery and paint it a 'calming' color, and they stay busy being happily pregnant.

Unplanned pregnancies exist, let the information, choice, options and support continue.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Vale Lenin

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Battalions and families are interchangeable

The Army - Patriarchal, hierarchical, unilateral.
That's how the Governor General wants to see the family.

There are strict rules regulating gender and roles in the Military. In Australia women are still banned from direct combat roles.
"To be eligible for service as a Commando (ECN079) you must be male. All Commando (ECN079) positions are direct combat positions and Government policy currently precludes women from being employed in these positions."
The GG seems to imply the same 'gender roles' rule in terms of women raising boys.

"Boys in many cases are growing up without access to a male role model either at home or in primary school. A lot of boys are going to grow up with a big problem of how to be men, how to treat others and so on."
Boys do know how to be men.
Men are the only ones eligible to be called absent fathers.
Boys observe their absent fathers being men.

Boys observe men all the time. Perhaps the GG is advocating that boys observe men such as Soldiers.
It seems the GG just doesn't think that the current community construct of maleness is appropriate.

The GG goes on to state that:
"The rate of relationship breakdown is horrific. We've got a million kids now living with a single parent, mostly women and most of them through no fault of their own are probably doing it very hard. Not to apportion blame in any sense - relationships do break down - but I'm wondering whether it's not time to look at whether we are properly preparing people for relationships . . . boyfriends to girlfriends, fiance to fiancee, defactos, husband and wife and so on."
Yes, Sir, apply military thinking. Medcat 4 the "unfit for duty" and put pressure on better outcomes from Recruiting.

Are you and PTE Abbott, SPR Pyne and MAJ Howard advocating for conscription, Eugenics or Social Darwinism Sir?

Saturday, November 06, 2004

51st State?!

Howard told us that it was about trust

"This election, ladies and gentlemen, will be about trust. Who do you trust to keep the economy strong, and protect family living standards? Who do you trust to keep interest rates low? Who do you trust to lead the fight on Australia's behalf against international terrorism?"
Bush told the US the issue boils down to trust

"This is a campaign of trust. Who do you trust to secure this country? Who do you trust to lead with firmness and steadfast resolution to protect the American people? Who do you trust to adhere to the values that most people agree with? And who do you trust to get this economy growing?"
Now the echolalia is concerning Women's reproductive and human rights.

Sarah Maddison addresses the comments made by Howard's Health Minister, Tony Abbott:

"His personal views are no mild aside, they are an attempt to influence public and parliamentary opinion in order to change the rules in relation to Medicare funding for terminations. Abbott believes there is an abortion epidemic in Australia, and he thinks he has the medicine to cure what he considers to be a national tragedy."
NARAL addresses the comments made by Bush's administration:

"President Bush had to pull out all the stops to beat back the mobilized opposition he faced in this campaign. He will face an even bigger mobilization if he now tries to pack the Supreme Court with new anti-choice zealots. Not even George Bush could keep a straight face claiming that this election gives him a mandate to roll back women's rights."
Is this where we want Australia heading?

As at 20 October 2004, we have Jim Peacock, President, Australian Academy of Science as the only Australian signatory to the World Leaders Statement in Support of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

Where is the Prime Minister?

Where is the Minister for Health?

Who will advocate to protect what happens in the Uterus?
My grandmother did.
My mother does.
My father does.
Their children do.
I do!
My partner does.
My daughters and sons will,
and their sons and daughters will.

Never will it be morally permissible for a Government to legislate away a woman's right to her reproductive choices.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Occupying a redundant timeline?

I am overwhelmed with a sense of feeling alien to my species.

The majority of Americans have also been Classically Conditioned.
Who's next? The British?

I am now officially describing myself as Homo Sapien Sapien Evolved.

There will be no inter-species frolicking!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Inflicting shame and guilt where a healthy libido would frolic.

I have always been apprehensive of Tony Abbott's ability to separate his arrogance, his faith and his portfolio since he took over the role of Health Minister from the clueless Kay Patterson.

Now I am terrified.

I'm not too old to remember the panic on the faces of my girlfriends as they asked around trying to procure an abortion. It was never information that was reliable or accessible. Still, they all succeeded in terminating and went from pregnant to not pregnant. They were all forced to obfuscate the truth.

Very few women are open about terminating a pregnancy, yet we know it is a widespread surgical procedure.

Despite the silence there were often tell-tale signs.
  1. Their boyfriend (if they had one) would have sold his car/motorbike
  2. She, usually vibrant and hopeful, would be wrapped in a coat of shame and guilt.
Why are we even discussing diminishing choice and reproductive rights?
Back to widespread shame and guilt?

They were having sex.
They were not making babies.
The two are very different motivations.

We all desire intimacy.
Sex is intimate.
Sex precedes unplanned and unwanted pregnancy.
Unplanned and unwanted pregnancy is devastating.
Intimacy should not be wrapped in fear.

Don't be silent Tony.
Yell loudly that you as Health Minister will advocate strongly to not only maintain the reproductive rights of women, but to improve access to safe and free abortions.