If you’re a regular reader here, you’ll know that I do like a little rant now and again. Politics, religion and marketing-speak are my particular betes noire at the moment. In the last couple of weeks though I’ve got so agitated about so many things that I just haven’t felt up to blogging about them. Cynicism and apathy are setting in. What’s the point? Is the whole world mad (but me, of course)? But if I don’t put fingers to keyboard soon, I’ll give up and I know that I usually feel a lot better for getting things off my chest and onto my blog.
1. Having complained bitterly about the $50 million the State Government is going to give to World Youth Day, I wrote to Greg Smith, my State Member of Parliament. No reply. Wrote again two weeks later. Still no reply. Now I hear that Kevin Rudd is also promising $15 million dollars to help pay for travel and accommodation costs. If I wanted to donate money to the Catholic Church, I would do that myself and at least get the benefit of tax relief on the donation.
2. Then I read last week that a Government diktat had gone out to State schools that “schools are not places for recruiting into partisan groups”. Great, I thought. They’re going to close faith-based schools. But apparently this ruling only applies to what the Government perceives as teaching of a political nature. So teachers have to be careful to avoid being partisan when presenting lessons about economics, social history etc . . . but can still treat schools as recruitment centres for any number of crazy beliefs as long as they can be classified as “religious” and not “political”.
3. Last week I watched a debate on ABC television about the new Work Choices legislation in which one of the panel (unfortunately I didn’t make a note of his name) was extolling the virtues of the new rules. Under the new laws, according to him, employers are now free to pay their staff more!!! I’ve seen no sign of this during the course of my work and I certainly had no idea that under the old legislation there’d been any cap on the amount an employer could pay his workers.
4. Then we have the situation in the remote Aboriginal communities, which is being debated in the Senate as I write this. I’ve lived in one of the communities affected by these laws and could fill half a dozen blogs with my feelings on the subject, but more skilled writers than I have already taken up their pens. But so many questions still remain unanswered. Why drop the permit system, which will allow paedophiles and alcoholics back into the communities? Why stop the CDEP programme? Have you ever heard of people being taken out of work and onto benefit, BY THE GOVERNMENT? The word is that this has been done because the Government can’t “quarantine” CDEP money, but can tell recipients how to spend their welfare payments. And why does the Government need to examine every Aboriginal child, which they say is not just for signs of abuse but in order that “their health problems can be identified”. With no medical training, I think I pretty well identified the health problems within my first week. And haven’t health workers in the Territory produced tomes on the subject – all ignored? The legislation is racist and indiscriminate. Surely international human rights law cannot allow an entire race of people to be treated like this? Not saying “Sorry” for errors in the past is one thing, but recreating the horrors is unforgiveable. Have they learnt nothing? (No need to answer that. The answer is obviously “No”.)
So that’s it – what’s been bugging me for the last week. And, yes, I do feel a bit better for writing it.