Surely not

I watched “The Book Thief” last night and, yes, tissues were needed.  It is important, I think, that we are reminded of that period of history…..  book burnings…. anti-intellectualism…

Meanwhile, the Australian Government has ordered a cleansing of the national curriculum….

 

Mediocracy – Government by the Mediocre

Australia has a new government.  In a representative democracy, the stupid, wilfully ignorant and the greedy have as much right to be represented in our Parliament as I do.  And such people are well and truly represented in our current Parliament.

Our Prime Minister is an embarrassment.

Prime Minister Abbott is a climate change denier.  He believes that the science behind climate change warnings is “crap”. He became leader of the Liberal Party (now there’s a misnomer if ever there was one) when he and his fellow deniers back-stabbed their then leader, Malcolm Turnbull who was working with the government of the day to develop a bi-partisan approach to addressing the problems of climate change.

His first act in government is to introduce legislation to scrap a price on carbon.  He also wants to raise the debt ceiling by 40% to half a trillion dollars.  This from a man who talks about fiscal responsibility but has done nothing but scrap taxes, remove government services, antagonise our neighbour, Indonesia and blow out the budget deficit.

The fact that we elect such governments is a poor reflection on the ability of Australian citizens to critically analyse policy.  We are no longer a nation whose ethos is “a fair go for all and a helping hand for those in need”.  Under John Howard’s government we became a nation whose ethos is “look after number 1 and blame the victims.”  This government is taking us further along the loony “tea party” route.

I despair.

 

The Zeitgeist and I

I’m afraid to say that the zeitgeist and I have irreconcilable differences. This, of course, is a sure sign of my getting old.

This is not a problem. I’m quite happy to look on what is known as “popular culture” with a mixture of amusement and disdain. Although I must admit that the large number of TV shows which glorify bullying and greed is disturbing. The good thing is I do not need to watch such shows.

We will be going to the polls sometime in the next 3 months. What looked like being a rout of the government is now a much closer contest following the replacement of Julia Gillard with Kevin Rudd as leader of the Labor Party. The Labor Party has accepted what the so-called Liberal Party has known for years – appealing to Australians’ inherent sexism and racism will gain you votes. I vote for the Greens because they are the only party which is serious about addressing the problem of Climate Change. At heart I believe I am a liberal and although I support the welfare state and access for all to quality education and health care, I have strong libertarian leanings. I detest the Nanny State and I am strong believer in personal responsibility and choice. I don’t know why anyone would start a small business with so much government red-tape to be addressed throughout the life of a business. But enough of this “sound and fury”.

I am enjoying our winter. I have been reading some poetry, watching baseball (MLB), catching up with family and friends and being quite content with my life.

Things have been happening on the Law Reform front. The ACT government has responded (largely positively) to the Law Reform Advisory Council’s report “Beyond the Binary – legal Recognition of Sex and Gender diversity in the ACT”.  The federal government has also issued Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender.   The federal government has also included sexuality and gender identity to its anti discrimination legislation.  Small steps but in the right direction.  In 1995, Democrats Senator Sid Spindler introduced anti discrimination legislation to protect the LGBTI community.  It is a pity that he died before seeing his vision finally implemented.

The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on….til next time.

Another year

“Oh wud some power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us” – Robert Burns

I need to lose a couple of kilograms.  They just attached themselves to my belly sometime over the Christmas period (ie early December to early January).  I have managed to get rid of all the chocolates and shortbread I was given for Christmas (by eating them, of course).

I love Christmas!  Christmas Eve was shared with my three daughters and their husbands, seven grandchildren, one (an only) beloved ex and her husband.

Christmas Day lunch (turkey with the works) was at beloved ex’s home with family and Canberra relatives.  After lunch, I drove to Sydney to share dinner with my brothers and sisters and their families.

I spent a few days down at Jervis Bay with my sister and her husband and managed to get in a number of swims in the beautiful waters of the Bay.  It is a beautiful part of the world and one day I just might move there.  On Sunday we visited Bundanon, Arthur Boyd’s home and studio on the Shoalhaven River.  Just wonderful!

Bushfires have been raging across Australia since the weekend.  So far there have been no human deaths but quite a few homes have been lost, particularly in Tasmania.  The extreme weather events will continue and we still dig up coal to sell to other countries to slowly make our planet uninhabitable due to extreme weather events.  I despise the coal industry!

Before Christmas I won one of 20 double passes to see a preview of the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition at the National Gallery followed by a delicious breakfast. I’ll be going to the exhibition again when my sister visits in a month or so.

I have no great plans for the year ahead.  Life is good and I’m quite happy just going with the flow.

A Sad Day for Democracy

In the federal Parliament yesterday, the leader of the opposition, Mr Abbott, defied 112 years of convention, by seeking to have the Speaker of the House, Mr Slipper, dismissed  after the publication of some text messages which revealed Mr Slipper to be a sexist misogynist.

Of course, Mr Abbott must have been aware that his friend of many years, Mr Slipper, was misogynistic. Mr Abbott himself is a misogynist, a point clearly made during the Prime Minister’s defence of the principle of the Independence of the Speaker. Mr Abbott’s hipocrisy was also on show for all to see.

The Prime Minister made it quite clear that the Speaker’s words were offensive. She was not defending the man – she was defending a fundamental principle of Speaker independence.

Mr Abbott has signalled that in any future Parliament where the coalition has the numbers to govern, the Speaker will only hold the post for as long as she/he does not displease the government. This is a trashing of the Westminster tradition and a sad day for democracy.

Mr Slipper had the grace to resign from the Speakership and apologise for the offense he caused. Mr Abbott should also resign as Leader of the Opposition and apologise for his misogyny and his trashing our parliamentary system.

For a Few Dollars More

Clint Eastwood spoke to a chair at the Republican Party Convention.

In the past, he’s talked to the trees, the stars and the breeze.

It’s all rather sad, really.

Rambling

It  is now just over 12 months since my doctor leaned over and poked me in the belly, made me stand on her scales and gave me a lecture on being overweight.  It took a day or so for my resentment and indignation to abate.  I knew she was right.  I had no excuse for not exercising.  And thus began my habit of walking regularly and eating well.

Last Sunday was a particularly fine Winter’s day here in Canberra so I decided to do some walking in a nearby Nature Reserve and this time I took my camera.

A 10 minute walk from my home finds me on a track alongside farmland.  Half and hour later I’m in the Nature Reserve.  Just before entering the reserve, there is an old bush cemetery where the remains of BFF’s great-great-great grandparents were buried.

The Brindabella Mountains form the western border of the ACT.  Just over the mountains is the valley where Australian writer Miles Franklin grew up.

The Pinnacle is a grandiose name for a hill in the Nature reserve which offers sweeping views of the ACT.   The beauty is that you can hardly see any man-made structures.  We are so lucky to live in Australia’s “Bush capital”

Just before reaching the Pinnacle, there is an outcrop of rocks from which some lovely views can be seen.

Here is Black Mountain From the top of one of these rocks.

I came across a kangaroo on my walk. It was standing about 30 metres in front of me on the track.  We stared at each other for about 30 seconds and when I made a move to get my camera from my backpack, it bounded away.

The walk took me just under 3 hours but included several stops for taking photos, having a drink of water and snacking on an apple.  I’ve lived where I live for over 30 years now and only discovered the beautiful nature park that’s practically on my doorstep last year.  I’ll be having many more walks through the reserve in the years to come.

Meanwhile – here’s a photo of grandchild No. 7 together with a photo of the chicken and leek pie I baked for the Winter Solstice back in June.

Well, that’s enough rambling for the moment.

Carpe Diem

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