Young woman makes a mistake and apologises. No significant harm is done. Everyone moves on. I wish that was the story from last week, but sadly that was never going to be the case and everyone had to weigh in. Admittedly, in the interest of balance I reluctantly felt the need to have my say as well.
Now that hopefully all the paroxysms of outrage about Yassmin Abdel-Magied have subsided it would be great if the Australian people didn’t go back to apathetic sleep and can rediscover their rage about other offensive things people say and do, because her post wasn’t close to the most appalling public statement made last week.
I’m not going to equivocate about this. In my view Yassmin Abdel-Magied made a serious error of judgement yesterday and her words were in poor taste. Some of the reaction was hyperbolic and confected, but that doesn’t change my opinion of the original post.
I have said in the past I really don’t like seeing significant national events used for political purposes. And just as I have criticised right wing ideologues like Roberts, Leyjonhelm and others, I have to use the same standards when judging the behaviour of left wing activists who at other times I have found myself supporting.
ANZAC Day is an important day to many Australians when they feel greatest connection to those lost in war. Abdel-Magied misjudged that badly and her perceived indifference to the sacrifice of our soldiers and their families caused varying levels of unnecessary offense to many.
Turnbull’s announcement that the criteria for Australian citizenship is to become more difficult for prospective applicants is Liberal party’s divisive politics at its best. Instead of attempting to win back dismayed moderates who once felt the Liberal party had some basis in fairness, the government is once again trying to fan our fears around immigration so that it can look like it is doing something about it. If One Nation hadn’t bombed out so badly in the WA election it would probably have asked “are you a Muslim?” outright.
I don’t actually disagree with the rhetoric that citizenship is a privilege that shouldn’t be given out too easily. I have actually known a number of friends who have attained their citizenship and they have described it as a difficult and stressful process already. If you weren’t committed to making Australia your home, you wouldn’t bother.
I love it when I have the opportunity to share inspirational stories on this site. Last year I was particularly fortunate, as I was lucky enough to meet Paul Pritchard and Peter Wheatley, as well as joining the team from Just Like Jack in the Point to Pinnacle.
I thought it was about time I share the story of another amazing guy I have been lucky enough to meet in the last year. I am not shy about saying I consider myself a pretty decent runner, but I am in awe of what Ben Hirst is capable of.
Despite the amazing things this guy has already achieved and his knowledge that there is still more he will accomplish, Ben is a very humble and down to earth guy, who is always encouraging of other runners regardless of their abilities.
Thank you to the organisers and speakers from today’s Palm Sunday rally, which focused on the plight of refugees in offshore detention. The forecast thunderstorm never came but the steady rain no doubt kept crowd numbers lower than we might have otherwise hoped. Still, I would guess there were over 100 hardy and determined people at the Hobart event (Donald Trump counted a million, maybe 1.5 million) and hopefully many more in capital centres around the country.
Well done to the Hobart City Council for following Fremantle’s lead and having the courage to discuss changing the date of Australia Day. As it is both an emotive and controversial issue right now, it must have been tempting for councillors to steer clear of the inevitable controversy, but the right choice and the safe choice are not always the same.
As I said, many people will not agree with this decision. I myself only fully accepted this in the last 12 months (not that the date was important to me, I just didn't think changing the date would change anything- but like I said, I have realised that was a flawed argument) so I understand that others may be not quite ready to do the same. And that is why we need leadership from our elected representatives- exactly as Hobart City Council is showing- to keep pushing the conversation forward in a measured inclusive tone. A few years after we eventually do change the date (which I have little doubt we will do), a lot of people are going to realise they had nothing to fear from the change. That is the value of political leadership that can withstand what it recognises as temporary and ill-informed criticism (take not Malcolm Turnbull).
Mark Latham is an intolerable pig, but thankfully his commitment to freedom of speech and aversion to political correctness means he would have no problem with me saying that.
For a time his lack of polish served him well in politics, but it seems like the older he gets, the more bitter, jaded and aggressive he becomes. I was a little surprised any networks were still interested in him after his more recent series of public attacks on domestic violence campaigner, Rosie Batty, and a number of other gaffes, but I shouldn’t have been.