Archive for the ‘Refugees’ Category

Feminists don’t let friends vote for Tony Abbott

August 6, 2010

With a Federal election campaign in full swing, one that is a contest between Australia’s first female PM and one of the most sexist and racist party leaders we’ve seen in a long time, it seems weird that I haven’t written much in this here blog.

Perhaps my lack of blog inspiration is due to my disappointment in Gillard, or perhaps it is because Abbott has the tendency to send me into such a despondent rage that anything I write about him or the election tends to be inappropriate for a public forum…

I think Wandering Person pretty much sums up the way I feel about the election campaign so far. She writes:

it’s been banal, completely lacking vision or inspiration. gillard and abbott are so busy trying to race one another to the centre they have both completely lost touch with reality. abbott’s grasp on the concept was tentative to begin with, but i guess i expected and hoped for more from gillard. not just because she is a woman, but that is a large part of it. i really do believe, and maybe i’m naive, that there’s something good and worthy underneath the partyroom warpaint, but it took her approximately one week to disappoint me with the lindsay-inspired bigotry of insisting that people who were worried about boatpeople weren’t racist or narrow minded and they had a legitimate point of view. i don’t care how expedient that is and how good it makes all the redneck cowards out there in the electorate feel, it’s just plain wrong. there are a few really crucial issues on which politicians should be leading the public not following their lowest common denominator bleating, and this is one of them. how about standing up and saying ‘we are a country built uneasily, but built nonetheless, on generations of migration, we have the space and the prosperity to accommodate people who are fleeing violence and persecution, it is our humanitarian duty to do so and i call on australians to take a good hard look at the utterly selfish motives underlying any desire to abrogate that duty.’

So while all this electioneering has been a little bit ho-hum, I am still continually angered by Tony Abbott, his comments and his policies. He’s trying to appeal to the “woman voter” but scratch the surface and it becomes clear how un-woman-friendly he is. To help assuage my anxiety and dread at the prospect of Abbott as PM, I’ve finally written something. The links below illustrate just a few reasons why the Mad Monk is not suitable PM material. Please leave further examples in the comments.

Some Further Reading (or Why you shouldn’t vote for Abbott):

Cox writes:

“It sounds good: six extra weeks and at replacement salary, not the minimum wage. But it’s not as good as it sounds. For a start, it entrenches sex discrimination as it doesn’t replace the carer’s pay unless they are the mother. This means it is not a real workplace payment and will do nothing to shift the current gender imbalance of parenting by encouraging more sharing of roles.”

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Pondering the ‘boat people issue’

July 8, 2010

In reference to that boat people image with the tallship from a few years ago, I’d like to propose a new t-shirt:

If you can’t see the image above, it’s a photo of young Australian sailor Jessica Watson with the words “Boat Person” over the top in black lettering.

All this scare-mongering about “boat people” is making me sad. It’s like having Howard back in office. I am so disappointed that Gillard’s government is doing the ‘tough on refugees’ thing. Actually, disappointment is a massive understatement. But I am having trouble expressing just how angry I am about the way Australian governments continue to treat asylum seekers. I’m fed up with the way asylum seekers and refugees are demonised, while the racist, ignorant and fearful sections of our nation are pandered to by both major parties in the lead-up to the Federal election. It’s fucking disgusting.

For more information on this topic:

* Hoyden About Town has an Asylum Seeker Fact Sheet and Myth Buster.

* The Refugee Action Coalition has a number of campaigns and rallies.

* The Refugee Council of Australia has a facts + stats page.

* Archived online resources can be found at Refugees Australia.

Some commentary on this issue:

* Barrie Cassidy at The Drum writes, Gillard, asylum seekers and more appealing logic.

* And I love what John Birmingham had to say at his Blunt Instrument blog:

I know I am totally in the minority on this. That Gillard, and Abbott for that matter, are actually speaking to, and for, the majority on the boat peeps issue. But you know what? The majority can kiss my arse.

EDIT: I just found this piece in the National Times by Associate Professor Jane McAdam: Gillard’s asylum policy smacks of ‘burden shifting’.

She writes, and I agree wholeheartedly:

True leadership is not about pandering to insecurities based on ill-informed assumptions and fears, lurching from poll to poll. It is about transcending the chatter to educate, enlighten and take the nation forward through meaningful, informed conversation.