Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Collusion in the coalition even deeper?

Just how much shared behaviour is expected of members of the coalition of the willing?
Just how willing is this government (with HoWARd at the helm) prepared to be?

How much have we swallowed already?
What will happen with the Senate's findings?

Image from here

Saturday, March 26, 2005

A long weekend in March; a perfect time to reflect upon life and non-life

In the wake of the legality, the religion and the politics relating to who can decide what life means for you, or me, or Terri Schiavo, I have been moved to research a "living will."

"[In NSW] An advanced health care directive or "living will" is a written statement which contains information about the medical treatment which you desire. It comes into effect only when you are no longer able to make your own decisions. In NSW, advanced health care directives are not supported by legislation, unless they are part of the appointment of an enduring guardian. However, if a potential decision maker, such as a health care worker, guardian of the Guardianship Tribunal is aware of the existence of your advanced health care directive, it is likely to be influential when decisions about your health care are made. An advanced health care directive should be up to date and consistent with anything you have said to the decision maker previously.

If you do nothing about planning, as discussed above, the Guardianship Act will apply to you by identifying persons who are best able to make decisions on your behalf."
It was this observation made by the rude one that moved me to action...

"[...]compares Schiavo's situation to abortion, infantilizing her, taking away her voice completely. And there's the truth of the matter, no? Those who want Terri Schiavo to be forced to live need those miracles because it will be as if she has come full-term, like a fetus. It is paternalism, sexism, and degradation.
In the end, it is her husband who, with the agreement of every court that's heard the case, wants to give voice, give agency, to the adult."

Image from here

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Independent Senator can't grasp determinism or Karma

"Senator Lees was ousted as leader of the Australian Democrats in 2001 partly for compromising with the Howard Government over the GST."
"Outgoing independent Senator Meg Lees"
The sooner that Meg Lees gets the hell out of politics the better.
Not smart enough by a long shot Meg, to not see this coming...

Image from here

Monday, March 21, 2005

Christian religions shout Hallelujah (for now)

You can be reconsidered a worthy potential Australian if you convert to christianity.

Previously, the Immigration Department has viewed conversions to Christianity with suspicion. But yesterday a spokesman for the Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, confirmed the only reason for reconsidering 30 cases of people currently in long term detention was their new religion.

"All these people had exhausted the [assessment and appeals] process and failed. Once you have exhausted the process and failed, you're over. You've had your go and that's it."
- Spokesman for the Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone.

Once Australian, are you free to find Haile Selassie, Guru Adrian, or the Seventh Day Advent Hoppists?

Or will it be structured like a fiance visa? If the conversion doesn't end in consummation within six months then out of Australia you go?

HoWARd denies religious bias, and a new immigration worker gets moved to media liaison...

Image from here

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Can you make mine a soy go?

When describing the conditions of Australia's 450 extra troops, Lieutenant Colonel Noble said:
"Inside [the compound] it's basic, but it's got the essential things that we need, an area to fix vehicles, it's got a gym, place for soldiers to sleep, it even has a coffee shop."
Shopping centres have gymnasiums and coffee shops Sir. War zones are dangerous, and no amount of frothy coffee can mask that.

The experience of war to those that go and those left behind is traumatic. War is the last resort and that is why we marched today.

We should never have been part of the Coalition of the Willing and that statement is as true today as it was two years ago.

Image credited to Ann Hermes

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Who am I, and can you control me?

Senator Abetz is proposing legislation that could potentially curb my political opinions and those of anybody having any.

One of the reasons that blogs and sites such as JOHN HOwarD LIES.COM are so popular is because voters that want to read a less sanitised media are naturally drawn to the world wide web.
Clamp down and I will just slide off - HoWARd lies style...
If asked I'll say:
"Suki Lombard was not my core identity"

Friday, March 18, 2005

Melbourne bloggers show Sydney grrrl a great time.

As I sat at Spleen,
giggling at the premise of meeting bloggers whose physical identity I did not know (except for Barista), I found myself smiling at everyone who made eye contact with me (or my bits) instead.

This turned out to be a very successful tactic as I met:
  1. Nabakov
  2. Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony
  3. Northcote Knob
  4. Vincent
  6. Gummo Trotsky who navigated the waters for Tugboat Potemkin
  7. The GG (and The Lady Livia) There Aint no Sanity Clause
  9. Kent and Amy who want to blog
  10. boynton
  11. Laputan Logic
  12. Mallrat from Brave our Burbs
There was wine, yummy food, enthusiastic discussion and some bloggers who would have passed each other on the way to lectures, long before our online words would have us meet...

A fun night out was had by this Sydney grrrl.
Thank you to all that made it memorable.

Image from here

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Filial-social bonding (with subtitles)

Am immersing myself in hugs, kisses, culture, language, gossip and food as I spend time with family in Melbourne.
Most are in Australia at the moment so I'm taking the opportunity.

Oh my, how I love the food!

You'll know I'm coming back as you look in the southern sky and see a Boeing 737 listing to the left...

Friday, March 11, 2005

The difficulty in assessing a negative

Community Development work has been steadily losing respect, popularity and funding from Governments and others in positions of power since the 1970's.

This is primarily because CD work by its very nature is hard to quantify. It can also be too political. We are now assessing everything we spend healthcare money on (and I'm all for due diligence). But how can we prove that putting support in place today and maintaining that support and building resilience and strength can help 23 people in 3 years from now? What of recurring biyearly funding applications that demand to see snapshots and outcomes?

Let's just use Autism Spectrum Disorder as an example. You are the carer of a 3 year old child who has been diagnosed with severe Autism Spectrum Disorder. You have an older child who is at school. Naturally you want your children to go to the same school. You make some enquiries and find that the Education department can support your child into mainstream education, but there is a two year waiting list to find and train the right support person for your child.
You hear about the local ASD support group which was started by the CD worker attached to your Community health centre and attend. You hear similar stories from other carers. You begin a letter writing campaign to your local MP. You hold stalls in the local community and raise money to buy paints and cardboard to write placards to take on the bus you hire to attend State parliament to agitate for recognition, funding and change...

CD work, not too popular with governments who prefer to keep like-minded people separate because to put them in one place creates the impetus for structural change and they can't be having any of that.

This new money will address the most acute cases and probably reduce completed suicide rates, however, I'm with Professor Hickie that this will do very little to improve the day to day lives of those that live in our community struggling with non-acute mental health issues.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Heading south

I will be in Melbourne for a while this month.

Barista is organising a loose colony (in all senses of that phrase) of Melbourne bloggers and friends and I will be there.
We are to gather at Spleen, at the top end of Bourke St on the south side, next Tuesday, the 15th, from 6.30.

Please come if you can.

If you can plan your life ahead, leave a comment. And maybe put a note on your own blog.

Images from here

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Wellness is a holistic notion

Yesterday on International Women's day women celebrated. As with most hearty celebrations, the day after is rough.

If we assess data from the Women in Australia 2004 report released by Kay Patterson, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women's Issues, the current state of the mental health status of Australian women is of particular concern.

Older Australian women present with the highest rate of anxiety disorders with 16% of women 45-54 years of age reporting Agorophobia, Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Social Phobia (page 172).

This data is also disturbing when we look at overall mental health figures for women. Women have higher rates (than men) of mental and behavioural problems (page 171).
These include Bipolar Affective Disorder, Depression, Dysthymia, Hypomania and Mania (page 173).

I wonder how much of a causal link can be drawn between mental health wellness and workforce participation.

With outcomes such as these The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act, introduced into Parliament on 22 September 1999, replacing the Affirmative Action Act 1986 gathers much dust under the Prime Minister and his Minister assisting.

I would advocate for more mental health initiatives starting with the tripling of Community health centre funding. CHS centres could offer stress relief massages, reading and blogging groups and other 'pampering' events.
Workplace counseling options could be expanded to include a monthly 'celebrating achievements' session. Mentoring programs, a real commitment to work-life balance...
"All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
-Arthur Schopenhauer

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Honouring my International women

International women’s day focuses my memory on the amazing women that have touched and shaped my life.

Friedricke and Elise, both of you in different ways, taught me about unconditional love, discipline and inner strength.
Else you gave me permission to play and redefined being female.
Gertrude, my, so complex and sad, you forced me to learn patience and helped me understand "Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light."
Mrs. Woods you proved that a woman can have both - profound beauty and profound intellect, Karin you reconfirmed that.
Anna you redefined mothering and gave us all permission to do the same.

My greatest homage is to the women that I never met that mothered my mother's mother's mother…
I thank you.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Can I have this version of work-life balance too, please?

Mr. Downer, I too am a public servant.
I also have my leave cut short when my country needs me. Can I work from my hotel room for a week while I attend to my tan in Cairns? Whilst it won't improve my driving skills it does raise the aesthetics in the environment.

I promise I will look at everything that is delivered by courier to me.
I will leave the security, logistics and cost of it all up to my Boss, but I am available from 8 pm until 10 pm every evening.

Yours Sincerely,
Suki Lombard
Australian Public Servant

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Lê, Bolt and Schubert

On our ABC's Insiders program this morning Andrew Bolt and Marion Lê discussed Asylum seekers returning to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Bolt postulated that Afghanistan and Iraq are now liberated and hasn't this country [Australia] with help, by these acts of liberation helped more refugees than any other action has?

Well, when did not agree and stated that in relation to Afghanistan, outside of Kabul, there is lawlessness, Bolt talked over her saying that is not what Misha Schubert said. Schubert had to wait until the end of the show to correct Bolt and chide him for verballing her. Bolt remained petulant and refused to acknowledge either of these women's expertise.

Bolt, it is for men like you that Dale Spender published Man Made Language in 1980.

Read it, before you get anywhere near an intelligent, dissenting woman again!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

NZ's UN Ambassador upholds Australia's credibility with the world's women (and men)

Despite US lobbying, public support for Washington's initial abortion stance was limited to the Vatican delegate.

Is anyone surprised by this outcome when the US delegate offered the rest of the world this,
"We have stated clearly and on many occasions ... that we do not recognise abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our reproductive health assistance."
or this,
"US policy on AIDS prevention for adolescents: We emphasise the value of the ABC - abstinence, be faithful, and correct and consistent condom use where appropriate - approach in comprehensive strategies to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS and the promotion of abstinence as the healthiest and most responsible choice for adolescents."
We here in the Pacific region thankfully don't subscribe to the US model. New Zealand's UN ambassador Don Mackay, speaking for his country, Canada and Australia, had this to say,
"The text of Beijing is unequivocally clear. We should not spend hours splitting hairs over phrases that mean the same thing."
Thank you New Zealand for Australia's use of Don Mackay.

Image from here

Friday, March 04, 2005

Feeling less squeamish

Family First make this government all, but lactate.
It is widely believed that this fledgling political force is a party aspiring to become a permanent third force in Australian politics.

In a meeting with Mr HoWARd, Family First chairman Peter Harris and Victorian senator-elect Steve Fielding pressed for Government concessions on a lengthy list of issues. One such issue, raised by Peter Harris could mean pressure to end (or put a time limit on) the current policy of indefinite detention,

"Stealing someone's life by keeping them in detention for many many years is something that is not acceptable any longer, so we've lobbied the Government on that basis and they are very receptive to that issue."
This leaves me feeling slightly better about the new Senate.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

More good quality Perspective

Most of my family learnt English by listening to the Radio. ABC radio was consistently the choice of English learners in our neighbourhood.

Once again, ABC radio, via Radio National teaches me language.
Tonight Julian Burnside edified the airwaves.
These were my favourite of many fine words,

"Tact is kind; diplomacy is useful; euphemism is harmless and sometimes entertaining. By contrast, doublespeak is dishonest and dangerous.
Doublespeak uses language to smuggle uncomfortable ideas into comfortable minds."

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

"Mama, I hope my Uni doesn't fall over..."

Yesterday the girl-child went back to Uni for the final year of her Degree.
I like to chat to her and compare my Uni experience with hers.

She displayed disappointment at the changes she has observed in the 3 years she's been at Uni. These include, student union services diminishing, access to lecturers and their individual time diminishing, number of student to tutor ratio increasing (if tutorials are offered at all), and overall student numbers diminishing, she describes it as...sad,
"It's sad mama, there are no places left to meet up. We don't stay at Uni any longer than is necessary 'cos the parking is just too expensive (public transport from here to there would take 2.5 hours one way.) No one seems to care anymore. All my lecturers seem so defeated and it's rubbing off on us. I hope my Uni doesn't fall over."
She tells me that only 25 percent of people she began the course with are still attempting to complete it.

What are we allowing this government to do to our tertiary education? Or should the question be "What are we allowing this government to not do for our tertiary education?"

As described by the girl-child, the 2005 University experience has lost much of what was delicious about being at Uni. The endless debates and discussions after, before and during seminars. The cross pollination of disciplines as you inadvertently sat with a group of anthropology students and were delighted by what you found. What fun to know if, after listening, you were more a multi-modal or out-of-Africa type of person...

Ok, I am a romantic and I accept that not everyone wants the same Uni experience, but is the best we can do now a form of 'assembly-line' learning?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

An inclusive society

Today I have my optimistic pants on and choose to believe that this government is not creating a compliance regime for people who are currently on Disability Support Pensions. 700,000 DSP recipients. There's enough for one for every medium-sized business in NSW.

My workplace could apply and become all manner of disabled person friendly.

We could look forward to learning the basics of sign language, understanding the finer points of recharging the battery of a wheelchair, carers coming and going, sharing the refrigerator with tiger balm, voltaren and poultices, colleagues on flexible work hours and working from home regimes, and of course, all those water dishes for all those support pets, companion animals and guide dogs...

Pleeaase Boss, pleeeaaaaaase can we get a disabled person?