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….

 

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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.

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.

Goodbye to a wonderful man

I have only just heard the news of the death of Professor Alfred Steinbeck.

I first met my dear professor (as I came to call him) in February 1997 when I attended his consulting rooms in Bondi Junction following a referral from my doctor.

The Professor was a first-rate endocrinologist and probably treated thousands of trans folk over the years.  We had a long chat and to my surprise, he prescribed estrogen injections and anti-androgens on that first visit.

I saw him every three months after that until late in 2002 when he decided that I no longer needed to see him.  He was there when I transitioned in 1998 and was there for me when I had SRS in February 2002.

We often hear tales of  “gate keepers” and about the hoops we have to jump through in order to access treatment for gender dysphoria.  I never felt that.  I felt I was always in control of my journey from presenting as male to presenting as female.  And it was because of the kindness and respect shown to me by professionals such as Professor Steinbeck that I felt this way.

The professor has been such an important person in my life.  I am deeply grieved at his passing.

An obituary appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Good-bye dear friend.

Dragface

When someone from a privileged group in society assumes the guise of someone from a less-privileged group in order to mock and belittle the less privileged group IT IS WRONG.

Whether it’s a white person wearing blackface to mock and deride people of colour or a man putting on a frock to mock and deride women (including trans women) IT IS WRONG

Just saying…

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