Well that is a huge relief. With the postal survey confirming a vast majority of Australians believe in fairness and equality, social media has erupted with joy. For members of the LGBTIQ community especially, the prospect of the anti-equality campaign winning must have been an awful thing to contemplate, so I get the emotion around the occasion, but for me the main feeling is one of relief and having cleared the first possible stumbling block.
Bit of a dad joke I know, but it sums up the situation quite well.
There is certainly good reason for many of us to cheer The High Court’s decision yesterday that determined five of our national parliamentarians were invalidly elected.
To the lay-person it seemed hard to believe that a legal defence of not knowing the relevant laws would stand up well- when is it effective in any other area of law, after all- yet I still wondered if they would find a way to weasel out of facing consequences.
Aside from this, many people will also cheer this verdict as what they see as a rightly deserved smackdown for the government’s self-righteous hubris and hypocrisy when this scandal originally broke. You will probably recall the gleeful enthusiasm with which Turnbull and other Coalition MPs- along with their media cheerleaders- ripped into the Greens for breaching the Constitution, before suddenly going very quiet on the topic once the focus turned to their own party.
Can something be hard to believe yet predictable at the same time?
Because that was my initial reaction to the Turnbull government’s decision this week to abandon the Clean Energy Target, recommended by its own chief scientist and supported by both the Prime Minister and Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg.
It is hard to believe that a government, supposedly governing in the interest of the electorate could make such a decision, but it is also predictable because this government has repeatedly shown itself to be beholden to both its own extremist right wing faction, and the puppeteers in the coal industry who pull their strings.
I've written a number of times about my experiences with injury and the recovery process. However, aside from actual race reports and reviewing hikes I have done, I’ve written much less about my experiences since fully recovering.
The thing about setbacks is they certainly do put you back in certain aspects of your life but they can often have the effect of sharpening your focus and desire to achieve certain goals. Remembering the advertisers’ favourite caveat that individual results may vary, I thought I would share a little more of my experiences to illustrate this.
"Don't politicise sport," has been the catch cry of conservatives this week when they finally figured out who Macklemore is and that one of his most popular songs was unashamedly written to support marriage equality five years ago. I can see how that slogan is kind of catchy, even if that horse bolted years ago (remember when we refused to play sport with Apartheid South Africa). Still, I get the appeal and I can even sympathise, as I often object to situations being exploited for political gain.
I feel the request rings a little hollow coming from creeps like Abbott, Dutton, Hanson and Morrison though. If we are going to talk about things that shouldn’t be politicised, here are a few other examples they might consider:
I have been a little slack about updating this site in the last few weeks, as life sometimes gets a little busy. That certainly hasn’t stopped or slowed the pace of events that draw our attention. Having been asked why I hadn’t made any comment on a few of these issues, my only answer was that I had got a bit busy. Not wanting to let a lot of it go without any comment at all, I thought I would wrap a few of these issues from the last week into a single post.
Firstly, I had no problem with the photo of Turnbull at the footy with a beer. As anyone that reads this site often would be aware, I’m not shy about criticising our PM. I actually think he is doing an absolutely dreadful job and the only good thing I can say about him is that he is not Tony Abbott or Peter Dutton. But if I criticise every action he makes, regardless of whether it is justified, just because I don’t like him; my criticism loses credibility and just becomes white noise. I made the same comment about recent criticism of the HCC.
Not since Crowded House have I seen this much fuss over chocolate cake.
For anyone that has been lucky enough to miss the hysteria, Woolworth’s decision to decorate some of their cakes with the phrase, “Happy Special Person’s Day,” prompted an angry online response from one shopper, which garnered supportive overblown outrage from all the usual sources.
Now you might well be thinking, “Checkmate, Quietblog,” after I said three days ago the stories about a push to rename Father’s Day were massively overblown. Or you could have done a bit of research instead, in which case you probably wouldn’t.
I don’t get all of my news from what you might call quality sources. I also flick through the trash news sites such as Newscorp websites to get an idea of what sort of news is being reported that I wouldn’t otherwise read about and how conservative commentators are lying to my friends. This is where I come across the push to ban Fathers Day that I wrote about on Saturday.
Another headline that I saw spawning a number of follow up articles was about a video going viral showing an aggressive racist copping a beating from another woman. Now I take the words, ‘going viral,’ with a grain of salt. After ‘patriot’ and ‘Australian values’ it is probably one of the most frequently abused terms of the recent years.
If didn’t occasionally check in with The Mercury to see what Rupert Murdoch wants Tasmanians to worry about, I would never have realised how powerful Hobart City Council reportedly is. It turns out they have the unilateral power to ruin Christmas. Wow.
The HCC rightly cop a fair bit of flak for many reasons (such as the infamous Christmas tree installation in Salamanca). But for all their flaws, they are obviously doing better than the suspended Glenorchy and Huon Valley Councils. It is also a hard argument to make that they have handled any matter as shambolically as Kingborough Council’s handling of the proposal for the Kingston Beach Surf Lifesaving Club redevelopment.
I know I am setting a pretty low bar at this point and I’m certainly not suggesting that this is a valid performance standard to judge councils by. I’m more drawing attention to the backlash every decision of the HCC receives. Not only are they roasted on social media, they also receive such negative headlines, you might think they were a Labor government. Now don’t get me wrong. Their handling of some matters has been decidedly poor, but when we complain vociferously about every decision they make, public criticism becomes white noise instead of effective feedback.
Happy Father’s Day to all the awesome dads out there (especially mine) and all those who trying to be awesome dads. I’m not really one for making a big deal about special occasions, but I like anything that reminds us to show appreciation for people we care about.
In recent weeks, I have seen a number of articles about a supposed ‘push’ to rename Father’s Day to be more sensitive to those who are excluded from the day. Like most people, I reacted to this pretty dismissively and ignored it the first few times I saw it mentioned. But the headline was obviously good clickbait for the outraged responses it elicited, as commercial news websites continued to run stories around it and even online polls.
Particularly after we have lived through the dishonesty and Orwellian double-speak of the Abbott-Turnbull governments, it is easy to fall into the trap of assuming all politicians lie and being largely unaffected by demonstrated examples of this. But that is a mistake. We should expect them to be held to account or we should vote them out at the next election.
“Did you hear about the terrorist who drove a vehicle into a crowd of people?”
“The one in Barcelona? Yeah it was all over the news all weekend. Couldn’t miss it.”
“No, the one in Charlottesville.”
“Oh I heard something about that, but was that terrorism?”
“Let’s see. A guy used lethal violence against civilians he perceived as political enemies. That fits most definitions of terrorism.”
“Why isn’t it being talked about the same way as London or Barcelona?”
“Do I even need to answer that?”
“Sadly, you don’t.”
From this side of the Pacific, Trump’s inadequacy seems incredibly self-evident and when they are not worrying about the spectre of nuclear war, many Australians laugh condescendingly about how any Americans could still vote for Trump. It is hard to overstate the role of Fox News and its even more malignant cousin, Breitbart, in explaining this phenomenon. They push a narrative so far from reality you can scarcely understand how people believe them. But obviously they do.
But before we congratulate ourselves for not making the same mistakes, let’s make sure such praise is deserved.
I’ve voted in more elections that I can remember, but even so, today I took a few minutes to ensure my electoral details were correct. If Brexit taught us anything, it’s that when you don’t take part in voluntary voting processes you leave yourself open to awful results.
So my message to anyone reading this is please do the same and check your enrolment at www.aec.gov.au. Actually it is more than this. Make sure you are enrolled to take part in the plebiscite AND make sure you vote YES!
I don’t think there is anything new to write criticising Trump (at least until his next set of tweets). That is all being covered pretty well from many angles, so I‘ll just make a couple of comments here about what might happen in the future.
While I always leave open the possibility for him to surprise me- rarely a week goes by that he doesn’t surprise me to some extent- I believe there is a very real likelihood that Donald Trump will not see out the full term of his presidency.
Whether he is impeached for his connections to Russia or resigns amidst staggering public disapproval, increasing bipartisan hostility from Congress and an inability to enact legislation, the likelihood of a Pence administration taking over before the next election seems to strengthen with each passing week- especially ones where Trump refuses to condemn Neo-Nazis.
The federal Liberal Party is truly pathetic, but never let it be said they won't explore all options to avoid doing the right thing.
So now we are spending 120 million on a national opinion poll (calling it a plebiscite is a little generous). I’m not going into the idiocy of such economic vandalism, as that is pretty self-explanatory.
I wrote last week that the Coalition's marriage equality circus could somehow be the end of Turnbull as our Prime Minister. The released transcript of his conversation with Donald Trump shows it will not be a sad day when he does go (although none of his likely replacements are any reason to cheer).
If you haven't read the appalling transcripts, published by The Washington Post, here is a link.
It is hard to fully comprehend this lack of humanity towards vulnerable people. Turnbull's words make crystal clear the fact that the victims of our illegal offshore detention facilities have been thoroughly checked and are no threat to the country. The only reason they continue to be held in cruel and unsafe offshore detention is for appearances.
The contrast couldn’t be more obvious. Two politicians discover they have dual citizenship and resign apologetically. Two more discover the same thing, but take no responsibility and employ any means of desperate sophistry they can come up with to cling to their jobs.
It is often commented that you never really know what politicians stand for because you can’t trust their word anyway. Certainly the Abbott and Turnbull governments have sunk to a new low in this regard and I appreciate why people find it difficult to judge politicians on their policy promises these days.
But you can also judge people and the parties they represent on their character. And in this regard you couldn’t find a more stark difference than over the recent dual-citizenship debacles.
Two years ago one of my first articles on this site considered the arguments for and against marriage equality. Since then, nothing has happened to change the fact that there is no reasonable argument for denying same sex individuals the right to marriage equality.
In that time a large number of countries around the world have actually realised this and changed their laws accordingly- with little reported consequences other than a number of people were happier. Who would have thought?
And yet it is being reported this week that this could be the issue that finally detonates the Turnbull government.
There is a reason cars have a reverse gear.
Sometimes we have to go backwards in life and right ourselves, before we can keep progressing towards our goals. If everything was easy and we never had difficulty or faced failure or challenge, we would actually lose a lot of satisfaction from life, I suspect.
But this can be easily forgotten.