A Reply To Comments10 March 2009
You’re a great bunch. I’ve had lots of comments lately – maybe the lure of a prize this month, or maybe you’re all waking up after a long hard winter (Northern Hemisphere) or a long hard summer (down here).
So I’d like to comment on your comments.
First of all, Liz (in England) wants to know if schoolgirls in Australia wear trousers. Well, I’ve certainly never seen any in Sydney but maybe others could enlighten me. They tend to wear the same pleated skirts we wore when we were young.
Secondly, WittyKnitter pointed out an omission from my last post. I also noticed that the stepfather who made this poor 9 year old girl pregnant doesn’t appear to have been excommunicated, but I forgot to mention it. Child rape in Brazil is obviously not considered such a mortal sin.
And thirdly, Judith (who’s also in England). She’s been away lately so rather quiet on my blog. But she’s back!
On the subject of maternity pay, I understand the problems you talk about but we already have those. Australian employees may not be given maternity PAY, but they do get maternity LEAVE (presumably employers would rather their staff didn’t give birth in the Ladies Toilets). They are entitled not to be sacked and to have their jobs left available for them. So there is already the problem of filling a temporary vacancy until such time as the employee decides whether she intends to return to work.
Judith also mentioned compulsory voting. I have mixed feelings about that (I’ve discussed it here before) but the argument that is used here to counter hers is that nobody is FORCED to vote. If they wish to protest or just don’t fancy any of the candidates, they can put the blank paper straight into the ballot box – or write obscenities on it if they wish. But they HAVE to turn up.
And Judith also talked about crossing the road. (Note to Judith – and I can say this because she’s my sister. If you’re going to introduce other subjects before I get the chance to, I’ll run out of things to say. The Australian method of crossing the road was on my list. Remember I have to blog every day this month!)
When I first came to Australia in the 70’s, I got stopped by the police for crossing the road when the little green man wasn’t showing. I had no idea it was actually against the law. A few weeks ago, I was waiting at a junction to cross with lots of other people when it dawned on me that no car had driven past for quite a while. As far as I could see in all directions, there were no vehicles moving. I think the lights had broken. So I crossed the road. Nobody else did.
What I find strange is that Australians have a reputation for being anti-authority but I find them much more law-abiding than Europeans. In England and a lot of the rest of Europe (have you ever been to Paris?), so many of these rules are just treated as guidelines.
Thanks for all your comments. I’ve heard from 23 of you in the first week of my blogathon. Please keep them coming.