September 15, 2014

Open Letter To The Cruel Australian Government: An Austerity Suicide

added by Penny Carter

In the UK they are called Austerity suicides, people on disability pensions, or suffering cancer, or returned soldiers, who are judged by ATOS – an IT company – of not being disabled enough and get their benefits cut. To combat less than 1% alleged fraud, the conservative government told ATOS to reduce benefits by 20%. Meanwhile politicians can claim moat cleaning as a tax deduction.

Pre-election last year, many predicted similar things would happen in Australia. Guess what – that is what has happened. Under 30 years old no unemployment benefits for you. Just as well those bill can wait 6 months. Dementia payments, cut. School kids bonus, cut. Payments to orphans of military personnel, cut. What wasn’t cut faces a massive fee rise – TAFE, university, everything. $7 to see a doctor? it is the cost of a cup of coffee – except people who count every penny never spend $7 on a cup of coffee, that is a days food.

Anyway, until a couple of years ago, my life was good. Loving husband, nice house, good job. Until the day I came home from work and my disabled sibling was on the front doorstep. My family decided that my siblings care was my responsibility, since I worked in aged-care, child-care, disability-care, violent-young-offender with multiple-mental-disability.

My other siblings couldn’t do it, one was a nurse who looked after Prime Ministers wives and ambassadors, other was a geographical engineer, another a lawyer, I was told that care for my sibling was “beneath them, but right for you”. Such a loving family. I flashed back to when I was kicked out of home when I was barely 15 while my siblings were showered with houses, overseas holidays, university education, cars. Meanwhile I was living in a car under a bridge trying to go to school and stay alive. My sibling was not a cute child who people would grow to love, but a morbidly obese, pyromaniac, who used physical violence to get anything they wanted if they ever heard the word NO.

After a few months with my sibling living with us, the house was completely trashed, my husband (after being threatened with having the police called because he wasn’t going to buy pizza for dinner) reached breaking point and said although he loved me, he didn’t sign up for that. I couldn’t keep any food in the house, or it would all be eaten within a day of shopping. I couldn’t work steady hours, I was always being called home – like the time my sibling was naked on the roof demanding to watch Teletubbies or the police would hear about it. Neighbours said I was cruel for not allowing Teletubbies, the fact that Sibling had smashed my beautiful big screen only a few weeks before was somehow a sign of my cruelty. Friends stopped visiting, I ended up with thousands and thousands in doctors bills, Siblings and my own (broken bones, punches in the head, repeated straight arm punches to my neck) my house was reduced to basically a stove and a bed and I was eating one meal a day and scrounging an occasional shift.

I couldn’t leave Sibling alone, and I couldn’t afford anything else. I was at the end of my rope. And still people said I was selfish – I had lost my house, my marriage, my friends, almost lost my job, I was on the verge of losing my sanity. I have lost everything and people tell me I should give more. I would lull myself to sleep at night fantasising of putting Sibling in my car and driving through a red light, or overtaking a petrol tanker and breaking suddenly. Locking Sibling in a room and burning down the house was another frequent dream.

There is no help. This was not my problem and not my responsibility, but somehow I have lost everything in the past year as a result. So, no, I will no take the easy way and kill my Sibling. That would make me the bad guy and my family would be able to say it was all my fault.

There is no help, no assistance, nothing. I am not eligible for financial assistance, yet the bills keep piling up. The Gillard Governments NDIS was suppose to stop situations like this from happening. The nation cannot afford to look after the most vulnerable – not when there are wars to wage, planes to buy, Joe Hockeys mortgage to pay off, fuel subsidies to big miners and nearly a billion dollars to Rupert Murdoch.

Food is optional, an hour of uninterrupted sleep is a luxury, I have a debt that I will never get out from under (because it is beneath my highly paid other siblings to help out), this is the rest of my life, and no one should have to live like this from a vibrant adulthood to a decrepit old age. I have tried everywhere for assistance, financial, social, even home help for an hour so I can sleep, no, that is not an option for me, my situation is not the worst out there.

My family have bleed me dry, taken everything, even hope for the future. I can see no way out, I can’t live in an Australia where someone like me can get out of this situation I have found myself in. I have nothing more to give, I have nothing more for them to take. Instead the only thing I have left is my own life and when I am cold, Sibling will be someone elses burden, for the rest of their lives. And the idea that someone else will have deal with Sibling cheers me no end.

So thank you to the family who abandoned me at 15 then burdened me with this, thank you to the Australian government who has decided I am not worthy of help, thank you to friends and family that walked away when I needed help. I am finally free, let my spirit soar because the weight of this has finally been lifted.


May 8, 2014

How we can defeat the Right (part 3): Know Your Enemy, in 1 word and 3 sentences

When I ask people why they buy Murdoch papers and subscribe to Murdoch TV and spend all day analysing Murdoch trollumnists and court jesters they will at some point say “Know Thy Enemy”. Just exactly what they learn about thy enemy from the movie packages and sporting channels I do not know.

However, so that you never need to purchase another Murdoch product and further fund his propaganda machine, I have summed up the Right-wing in one word and three easy sentences. It will explain their motivation and predict their next moves.

What is the one word that explains everything about the Right, what they do, what they have done, what they will do?

1 Word

Now for the three sentences that expand on that a little.

Sentence 1
Their greed is unlimited, they wanted everything, all the money, assets, resources, and all the power; in order for them to have everything, you must have nothing.

Maybe I need a longer sentence.

Sentence 2
Everything every Right-wing government and corporation has ever done is about transferring wealth from the poor to the rich (themselves), they will reduce your wages and spending power in order to concentrate the wealth, power, and assets in the hands of the few, and when you have nothing and your wages are $2 a day you will have no ability to defend your rights and assets (private or community) as they are ripped away and given to the already rich.

‘But,’ you say, ‘why would Abbott and his ‘boche’ government do this, the Australian economy was one of the best in the world under the ALP government’.

Sentence 3
Your enemy does not care about you or want what is best for you or Australia, and they never will; the sick will die, the poor will starve, the old will freeze, austerity suicides will rise, and they will never care about you, you are nothing to them, except for your cheap labour and the taxes you will pay to fund their parasitic lifestyle, and they will do and say anything to maintain their wealth, power and assets, and to achieve this they will deliberate crashing the economy means they can bring in austerity which will slash your wages, increase your taxes, and remove your services.

There you go, now you know Your enemy.

Ask most people what they want out of life, and they will probably tell you “to be happy”, ask one of the self-appointed elites, the 1%, and they will tell you “everything”. GREED.

In order for the Right-wing and the 1% to get their hands on your assets and have you working for slave wages the Abbott government will deliberate destroy the economy. It is difficult to convince a happy, prosperous nation to privatise assets and reduce wages while people have a secure, high-income job and can buy what they want.

Austerity means poverty, and with poverty comes fear. For the 1% to continue fueling their wealth and feeding their greed, more and more of the middle class need to be plunged into the worst abject backbreaking poverty. At this point, Abbott and his government (and unelected, faceless men) will “rescue” us, by selling our assets to their mates, reducing our wages, cutting our services, increasing our taxes, “for the greater good”.

People will die, they will go hungry, they will be forced to choose between heating and eating, the old will give up on life, the middle class who have lost everything will commit suicide, the sick will die because health care is an unfunded luxury, the disabled will be allowed to die because we can’t afford it, but, it will be “for the greater good”.

Now, here is the thing, I don’t need to sit around all day studying the Right to work out what motivates them (hint: it’s Greed), or analysing what they have done in order to predict their next move (hint: reduce what you have so they can increase what they have), I just need to see the results of their actions which are destroying people, communities, the environment, jobs, hope, our future and prosperity. The end results tell me what they are doing is wrong and hurting people, who cares why they are doing, it needs to be stopped.

Do the gedankenspiel (thought experiment) – choose any Right-wing politician, any Right-wing media outlet, any Right-wing policy and apply that 1 word and 3 sentences, you will find everything they do fits into that pattern: lowering your wages, increasing their profits and removing your ability to defend your rights as they are stripped away.

Let’s take Gina Rinehart as an example:

If Gina has $100 and I have $1, how much more does Gina want? $1

If Gina has $1000 and I have $10, how much more does Gina want? $10

If Gina has $10,000 and I have $10, how much more does Gina want? $10

If Gina has everything and I have nothing, how much more does Gina want? Everything I will ever have in my future.

The greed is insatiable, it will never be satisfied.

We are not people to Gina, Tony Abbott, Rupert Murdoch, faceless corporations and Right-wing politicians, we are a means to an end, we are no different to them than a machine that can be put to work to create money for them. They want you broke and desperate, that way you will take any scraps they want to hand out ($2 a day wages anyone?), if the government reintroduced slavery, work houses for the poor, and debtors prison they would be happy.

Meanwhile, if you need to keep clicking their links, buying their newspapers, paying for their Foxtell and then spend all day analysing, discussing, examining, dissecting, their Right-wing propaganda, from Right-wing columnists, trollumnists and court jesters, funding their propaganda, don’t kid yourself that you are “knowing thy enemy”, what you are actually doing is Not Knowing Your Friends. The money you are giving to Murdoch to tell you what to think that is money you are not spending on left / centre media, which withers in the darkness. Meanwhile, the Right is becoming even more powerful, and their media is used a weapon for shaping public opinion and steering government policy.

One last thing… how does this help defeat the Right?
As soon as Tony Abbott is no longer useful to Rupert Murdoch, when Abbott starts costing Murdoch money, he is finished.

So, stop funding Rupert Murdoch, refuse to buy his sh!t, don’t give his propaganda more power by talking about what his court jesters say as if what they say is relevant, do not see everything through the Murdoch propaganda filter. If you take away Rupert Murdoch’s money the Right-wing elites will turn on themselves, and they will take their greed will destroy each other.


May 5, 2014

How we can defeat the Right (part 2): You’ve Got To Fight For Your Right To Vote

Voting is a right, use it. Protect that vote, fight any attempts to make it “easier” by kicking you off the rolls.

Enroll to vote, make sure you are in the right electorate, know your candidates and when you vote, vote properly.

Watch out for postal votes which return envelopes are addressed to a political party.

Watch out for aged-care facilities in which party hacks collect votes on behalf of residents, especially when ballots are filled-in in pencil.

Watch out for anyone voting on behalf of the aged or non-English speakers.

Come election time, make sure your less-than-mobile, non-Liberal-National party loved ones have access to a polling place, consider it quality time together – take them pre-poll voting then take them for a coffee.

The following links are for the state and federal electoral commissions, you can easily check you are enrolled and enrolled properly at these sites:

Australian Electoral Commissions

Here is why voting is important:

It doesn’t matter who you vote for, a politician always wins.
If you vote for the lesser of two evils, you are still voting for evil.
Don’t blame me, I didn’t vote, voting just encourages them.
The only way to defeat the major parties is by not voting, for anyone.

This is just a selection of sayings people have invented to discourage you from voting and turning their own ignorance into a virtue.

As Emma Goldman may or may not have said: If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.

Guess what – they won’t make it illegal, not yet, they will just sit back and wait while you voluntarily give up your right to vote.

Voting does change things, that is why Right-wing governments all over the world are pushing to disenfranchise voters, that is why the move is on in Australia to have voluntary voting and voter photo ID.

Voter photo IDs laws punish the young, who may not have got around to getting their driver’s licence and the poor who may not have licences or passports. Also, photo ID requirements don’t prevent voter fraud, they just prevent voter impersonation.

The Right want to create a scandal about voter fraud which will result in only the Right voting – and vote they will, they never see their vote as a burden.

Besides, all the voter restrictions – IDs, literacy tests, restricted hours, voting tax – will not affect any party or organisation that wants to commit voter fraud, they will have to resources to circumvent any restriction. All moves to eliminate voter fraud entrenches fraud and eliminates legitimate voters.

Voter fraud is not a problem in Australia, and any reasoned attempts to convince the Right there is no problem is met with “conspiracy theory!”, they will tell you the left relies on fraudulent votes, which tells you they are creating a solution to a problem which doesn’t exist, the fact they say the left relies on it, is clear they are targeting left-wing voters for disenfranchisement.

While we are talking about fraud, do we really think any party that has lost a Premier, a couple of ministers and a few more MPs at the NSW ICAC (that’s, Independent Commission Against Corruption) really cares about eliminating fraud?

The Right-wing openly brag that the more people they can prevent from voting the more their vote goes up. People who already feel powerless will feel their vote doesn’t make a difference, and stay at home on election day.

If you don’t vote, you increase the power of the voters who do vote to choose government.

Do not believe anyone who tells you that they want voluntary voting to make your life easier, to relieve you of that burden of once every three years going to your local polling booth and putting a piece of paper in a cardboard box…
These are the people who want you to work until you are 70 because age pensions are less important than their gold passes. Do you really think these people want to make your life easier?

Voluntary voting favours the Right Wing, repeating that for all the Lefties who say voting should not be compulsory: Voluntary voting favours the Right Wing.

One study found that in the 1996 election in Australia, compulsory voting reduced the vote share of the victorious right-wing Liberal Party/National Party coalition by five points. Another study looked at the interwar period (1918-1941), when Australia first embraced compulsory voting, and found that the policy benefited the left-wing Labor Party by about seven to nine points.
What if it were illegal NOT to vote? – The Washington Post

The difference when there is voluntary voting is almost 10% (M. Mackerrasa, I. McAllister) in favour of the Right. Imagine how difficult it would be for the Left to win any election stating 10% down, now try to tell me that voluntary / compulsory voting is all about making your life easier.

If the Right can encourage people to not use their voting rights they can go a long way to ensuring permanent Liberal governments – well, except for when Murdoch wants to show he is in charge and flips the government, to send a wake up call to the Right to not take his support for granted.

Voluntary voting is on the IPA wishlist, if there is anything that should be a great big red flag that this isn’t going to benefit ordinary people, you haven’t been paying attention to the IPA.

When you say what’s the point in voting, a politician always wins, you are making the case for voluntary voting. Meanwhile, those in power want to take away your rights, permanently, they are motivated to vote (or restrict your voting) because they know exactly how powerful it can be. That is why they Right are doing all they can to make it more difficult for you to excise that right to vote.

For those who say that voting is a burden – Nelson Mandela went to prison for almost thirty year, hard labour, to get the vote. Women suffragettes died in the fight to get the vote. African-Americans in the United States were lynched daring to register to vote. These are burdens, voting is not.

One more thing: when you voluntarily give up your rights – whether it is the implied right to free speech, association, or voting – because you see it as a burden, you are making it easier for governments to take away my rights, and having my rights taken away makes me sad : (

Maybe what Emma Goldman should have said: If voting changed anything, the Right would make it voluntary.

Because much of the feedback to Part 1 was along the lines of “that’s good and all, but how about some practical solutions”, these will come in part 3, 4, etc. Future posts will cover Civil Dis/Obedience; Educate, Agitate, Organise; Don’t Get Mad, Get Organised; Get Your Hands Dirty, Keep Your Conscience Clean; Silencing The Opposition; Go To The Mattresses, Go To The Barricades; Hold The Media To Account; Appeasing Bullies Never Works; Good People Don’t Always Do Good Things; Stop Funding Those Who Enslave You; Wake Up! And Smell The Fascism; “Be Nice” Is Censorship; It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To
May 2, 2014

How we can defeat the Right (part 1)

This post is the first in a series on how we can stop the Right. It might seem an overwhelming challenge, but it can be done.

The first thing those who want to stop Tony Abbott and his boche must do is have faith in ourselves. Sure, we all have our moments of self-doubt, but I believe that those who oppose Abbott have the intelligence, compassion, creativity, strength, patience and talent to do this. We can do this.

Sí, se puede

Spanish for “Yes, it is possible” or, “Yes, it can be done”.

The phrase Sí, se puede was popularised by union leader and civil rights activist César Chávez and UFW’s co-founder Dolores Huerta, of United Farmworkers during the 1972 rallies.

Yes, we can

Before I took an interest in Australian politics (#auspol), I was an activist – until I realised that everything I was fighting for, human rights, animal rights, environmental rights, would be impossible under an Abbott government. Knowing that under an Abbott Liberal-National Government we all lose, even the rights to protest, I switched focus, to fighting against the Abbott Opposition, and now the Abbott Government.

My background in activism has shown me that there are a lot of things we can do, beyond talking to each other on social media about how bad things are and without the need to join a major party.

I see too many people on social media wanting to be saved, literally, they think someone will save them “the Guardian coming to Australia will save us”, “XXX blog will save us”, “XXX journalist will save us”, “a Robin Hood tax/person will save us”.

We can save ourselves.

If only people realised how powerful they are, WE are. It is not hopeless, it is not time to give up, we will not lay down and die.

Never surrender your power

Alice Walker said ‘The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.’

Do not let anyone tell you that the situation is hopeless, do not believe anyone who tells you that you are powerless. Anyone trying to convince you that you have no power is worried that you will know just how powerful you really are and start to use that power.

If you don’t think we need to Fight Back, you aren’t paying attention

If you were living in France during the World War Two occupation by Germany, under the Vichy government, what would you do? Would you keep your head down and wish and hope and pray and think, or would you realise our very futures are being destroyed before our eyes for the benefits of an elite few and join the Fight.

If you are fighting (not the Right-wing Black Ops style, I mean, happy shiny smiley people, glittery, polite fighting), then I’m your girl, I’m your foot-soldier, I will stand with anyone prepared to fight.

If you are not yet ready to fight for your future, our future, I can wait until you are, and then fight by your side if you want me to.

We can do this.

We made a promise we swore we’d always remember
No retreat no surrender
Like soldiers in the winter’s night with a vow to defend
No retreat no surrender
– Bruce Springsteen

March 24, 2014

11 rules of politics I learned from television


The following is a list of 11 rules of politics I learned from watching television. Once I understood this, interpreting why our politicians behave the way they do was easy.

1. Give people what they want, know and expect
“Clever things make people feel stupid and unexpected things make them feel scared.” Fry, Futurama: When Aliens Attack

Don’t talk down to people, you will come off as elitist, but don’t talk above them either, you will come off as patronising. Relate to people as equals.

When people feel scared – budget emergencies, terrorist attacks, invasions by boat people, random crime – they retreat. This is why sales of comfort food soars during national crisis, people crave the familiar.

2. It’s better to seek forgiveness than ask permission
This is Gibbs’ Rule 18 from NCIS.

This is how Australia is being governed at the moment, politicians see what they can get away with (new taxes, travel rorts, closing manufacturing), and if that doesn’t work, they apologise. Or, rather blame the voters for not understanding the governments pre-election promises, or say it wasn’t really policy… or just straight up lie about and take credit for defeating their own bad policies.

We are being governed by screaming front pages and opinion polls – if you can’t generate outrage and publicity, Abbott will bleed you dry then grind you into dust.

Abbott will go after the most vulnerable and unloved because if you can’t hurt him in the polls you are defenceless and an easy target ripe for the picking.

Australians can no longer expect a government to do what is right but unpopular, or do what is fair and just – we have to fight for it, and fight hard.

Those who want to destroy our way of life stay up late nights (or pay people to do so) thinking how to rip off every last dollar and every means to stop them – we have to build our response to that.

3. People want to be lied to, it makes them feel better

“People like being lied to. They just don’t like finding out they’ve been lied to.” Barney, How I Met Your Mother

Don’t believe me? Ask Julia Gillard, (There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead but I am determined to put a price on carbon), look at the endless publicity that “broken promise” received – which was actually an election promise fulfilled. We are going to destroy our own future, our own environment and the planet our children will live on because “She Lied” got Abbott into Government.

4. Follow The Money

A phrase that became associated with the 1972 Watergate Scandal, but is actually from the 1976 movie of that scandal All The President’s Men.

Politicians are motivated by money, greed and power. If a politician does something that makes no sense or hurts a large segment of our communities and you are wondering why: follow the money.

5. People watch the news and read News Limited publications not to be informed of new things, but to have their prejudices reinforced

As any evening current events television show demonstrates. Unemployed teens, dodgy plumbers, shonky mechanics, gay single mothers who arrived in this country by boat who want your job – all of them are the reason your life sucks.

It is classic distraction so you don’t look at the real cause of inequality in this country. You are not to blame. It is not because politicians are giving their mates tax breaks while cutting your wages.

Our budget emergency is caused by the disabled, the unemployed, the single parents, and the old aged pensioners – not the hundred of millions in subsidies and tax breaks given to big miners, 80% of which are foreign-owned. No, it’s not the miners, it’s the immigrant woman who cleans your offices at 3AM on $28,000 a year who is responsible for all this nations problems.

6. Calling people ‘dumb, racist rednecks’ might make you feel better, but it is not going to make them listen to anything else you have to say, and sure won’t change their vote

Watch Bolt, SkyNews, any news show on Foxtel, Insiders, or breakfast television. You will see an endless parade of rich, white men claiming how victimised they are.

Attacking right-wingers feeds their power, they get to play the victim, they get to scream how the Left are being mean (in right-wing speak, standing up for yourself and speaking the truth is often portrayed as ‘mean’ and accusing the Left of being mean is a very effective weapon, it gets them to back down).

It is better to ignore the racist, redneck trollumists and commentators, that diminishes their power.

7. You can get away with anything if you are cute, funny or the loveable rogue… or give good headlines

Any television show where viewers vote off the other contestants, for example Big Brother or various talent shows. If you are the only thing the viewers are talking about, even if you are the player they love to hate, expect a twist that will keep you in the game, until your shock exit will get the ratings.

The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. Even if everyone hates you, as long as they are talking about you and not your opposition, then you win.

8. Lie to others, but not yourself

Any reality show where the contestants vote off the other players, such as Survivor or various cooking shows. In this case your audience is the other players, they are the only ones you have to play to. In this case, tell the viewing audience your strategy, that way even if you are portrayed as unpleasant, the audience will be on Team Villain since you have already let them in on your strategy, you have invited them onto your team.

In politics, sometimes the audience is not the voters, but the cabinet, or a particular business. In this case appealing to the media mogul or mining magnet is the only thing that counts, not how much you are despised by the rest of the country. Once the voters can see through that strategy, it loses some of its impact.

9. People prefer someone they can have a beer with, someone they can relate to

As almost any sporting show will demonstrate – it’s not about skill, or winning – this is why male sport gets airtime. If it was just about talent and winning, the Australian women’s cricket team would be all over television and netball would be prime time.

This is one reason smart people are demonised as ‘inner city elites who sip chardonnay’, usually sneered by shock jocks with an income greater than all the teachers in a public school put together and a mansion with harbour views.

10. If they’re shooting at you – you know you’re doing something right
The West Wing, The Midterms

Another way of saying that “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” – Winston Churchill

If they are coming after you, whether the social media trolls or the front page of a News Limited publication, it means someone, somewhere is worried about you.

Similarly, if you are being ignored, it might also mean they are worried and are denying you the oxygen of publicity.

11. Marionettes only dance if you pull their strings
Related to this: Puppets don’t speak, their mouths only move when the puppet-master puts their hands up their ah… and they just mime what the puppet-masters say.

A marionette is a puppet which is controlled by strings from above, such as The Thunderbirds.

If our politicians are puppets and marionettes, we need to shine the spotlight on the puppet-master. Once you see who is pulling the strings, the act loses its illusion of reality.

September 9, 2013

The election is over, this blog is now on ‘hiatus’

The team of contributors here at Turn Left want to thank everyone who read, visited, subscribed, shared, liked and commented on this blog.

Clicks, comments and visits are like gold for blog owners, and this was appreciated.

However, now that the election is over, this blog will cease being updated regularly. Comments won’t be moderated or replied to.

Posts will stay up thou, too many hours were spent created the words and graphics that went with this blog to just delete everything.

Oh, and Corinne Grant, for encouraging your fans to troll and abuse the former editor of this blog, you are the biggest loser in Australia.

thank you everyone,
The Turn Left 2013 team.

August 30, 2013

“If Tony Abbott wins, it will kill me”

Post written by -99- for Turnleft2013

When Tony Abbott talks about saving money by axing community support programmes, health care, reducing aged pensions to pay for North Shore CEO babies, removing school kids bonuses for those already living in poverty, health budgets, red tape, green tape, Tony Abbott is playing with the life and death of real people, these are not just a means to balance the budget, it’s not just about numbers in an economic report, these are real people.

I work in the care industry – aged care, disability care, youth at risk, child care, home care for temporarily disabled, violent young offenders. It’s a tough job, and no where near paid enough for the work we do. I found one of my colleagues sobbing this morning, when she calmed down enough to speak, she said “If Tony Abbott wins, it will kill me”. This is her story, posted with permission.

My colleague, Donna* (not real name) is the primary care giver for her disabled sister. People hear ‘disabled sister’ and think cute 10 year-olds still in strollers or wheelchairs. This sister is an obese, violent adult, and Donna became her full time carer when their aged parents could no longer cope.

Donna, like many of us in this industry are on contracts, which means, we work when our agencies ring us up and ask if we’d like a shift. It’s irregular, not-stable, and if you knock back a shift, you may not get called again, as a contractor, there is no sick leave, no superannuation, no benefits. (One time I was violently assaulted by a client and had my shoulder broken, very close to my neck. I had to clock off work in order to go to the hospital.)

Donna’s sister has destroyed most of her possessions, is obsessed with fire and even though there are no matches or lighters kept in her home, the sister still finds a way to light fires. The sister takes great delight in playing radios all night and all day, and randomly turning lights on a night if Donna is trying to sleep. Donna’s social life is zero, she can’t leave her sister alone, and friends have stopped visiting.

Donna’s sister eats all the food in the house, and if she won’t eat what Donna cooks, she will take Donna’s food, and if the sister doesn’t like it, will throw it out. Donna was a healthy size 8-10 a few months ago, she says she has lost nearly 15 kilos, leaving her nothing but skin and bones. Donna tells me she is living on apples at work and hot water with sugar at home, if she keeps anything else in the house the sister will eat it. The food bill is astronomical. The sister says if she doesn’t get sausages, pizza, chips, meat pies, cola, she will call the police and say she is being abused.

“I’ll call the police” is a common threat, you can’t work in the care industry with a criminal record. If the police are called, Donna will be unemployed, and unemployable.

Donna has begun knocking back shifts due to needing to care for her sister, and is getting deeply in debt.

The sister has recently begun hitting her arms while driving and squealing with delight “you’re a bad driver, give me a turn” if she in anyway doesn’t drive in a straight line. She won’t sit still, and randomly removes her seat belt, Donna is a risk of losing her licence because the sister thinks it would be funny.

Donna told me that she needs NDIS to come in, she is not coping, she is broke, in debt, sleeps maybe 3 hours a night, can’t work regular hours, eats nothing, and the stress levels would kill most people. She says she has fantasies of burning down the house with her sister in it, or driving her car off a cliff, or putting blood thinning medications in her food. I don’t blame her, if it was me, I would have walked away a long time ago.

Donna says the only thing that keeps her hanging on is the hope of NDIS. She says if Tony Abbott forms government and doesn’t honour NDIS, her only escape will be killing herself, and let the government deal with her sister.

August 8, 2013

While I have rice, I will share it with those who need it the most: Why inequality matters

This election is crucial to determine the future of our country… But don’t we say that at every election? Or do we just say that when the predicted outcome looks like it might be close?

Tony Abbott will deliver one of the most devastating attacks on workers, communities, and the environment that any government in Australia has ever attempted. Queensland’s Newman and Victoria’s Napthine are just the warm up act, testing the boundaries.

Those PM Gillard and PM Rudd policies that Abbott wants to repeal are those that are concerned with looking after the most vulnerable in our society – children, the disabled and their carers, the lowest paid workers, women, the sick, the elderly, public servants who look after the vulnerable.

When Tony Abbott promises to bring industrial relations back to the middle, by implementing “Work Choices Mk II”, it makes me question what he would consider extreme? Tony Abbott wants to slash red tape and green tape – leaving us a nation whose only protection from those who would profit from us risking our lives so they can save a few dollars, will be whether we can afford a law-firm to fight for our rights.

The red-tape that Tony has said he will slash, it is not a burden on business, it’s the rebar that helps keep factories standing, it’s the fire alarms in nursing homes that helps stop our grandparents dying in their beds from smoke inhalation, it’s the safety harness that helps keep the apprentice teenager from falling off the roof, it’s the net that stops walls of buildings from falling on people walking along the footpaths, it’s what help us know our drinking water won’t burst into flames as it leaves our taps as the CSG fracking moves into our neighbourhoods.

Under Tony Abbott you will only be allowed to exercise those rights you can afford to defend. Everything else will go, in the name of profits, for a select few. We will become a nation of 1%ers dining on caviar and lobster with 99% deciding on whether this week their $2 a day wage will be spend on heating or eating.

Andrew Leigh, ALP, Federal Member for Fraser, has written an article well worth reading titled ‘Why Inequality Matters, and What We Should Do About It‘. In this piece, Leigh includes a quote from Gavan Daws who studied the prisoners of the Japanese during World War II

‘I began imagining that if human beings were worked and starved and beaten to the point of death, they would be reduced to barely functioning skeletons, scraps of biology, with… all national culture and character tramped out of them. Not so. … all the way down to starvation rations, 1000 calories a day and less, to 100 pound of bodyweight and less .. the prisoners of the Japanese remained inextinguishably American, Australian, British, Dutch.

‘The Americans were the great individualists of the camps, the capitalists, the cowboys, the gangsters. The British hung on to their class structure like bulldogs, for grim death. The Australians kept trying to construct little male-bonded welfare states. [Unlike Americans] Australians could not imagine doing men to death by charging interest on something as basic to life as rice. That was blood-sucking; it was murder. Within little tribes of Australian enlisted men, rice went back and forth all the time, but this was not trading in commodities futures, it was sharing, it was Australian tribalism.’

I am not prepared to sit back and watch as Tony Abbott and his Liberal team get elected without fighting all the way til the polls close in Western Australia on 7 September.

I am not going down without fight against an Abbott-induced austerity.

I refuse to do nothing while Tony Abbott dreams of turning Australia into a nation whose national characteristics are greed, smallness, dead-hearted, narrow-mindedness, hate, pettiness, bitterness, jealousy (a nation in Tony Abbott’s own image).

I will not accept that our future is that of an American gangster, who will profit from the deaths of others, so they can hoard all the rice.

While I have rice, I will share it with those who need it the most.

July 9, 2013

Why I see joining the Liberal party as a feminist act – GUEST POST

This guest post by Diane Murphy is posted to show what alternative views there are out there. Thank You Diane
Australian democracy is the chickens voting which fox will guard the hen-house.

The Left wing are arguing over who will be the boss chicken, while the Liberal party are deploying foxes to the hen houses. I’d rather be a fox than chicken.

That sounds rather cynical and mercenary. It probably is. However, if we are going to have an austerity government under Abbott, I won’t go quietly. I will do whatever it takes to protect my family. If the Left would rather fight about the colour of the ties, they aren’t fighting for our future or our communities. The best protection won’t come from a Labor party at war with itself, and it won’t come from a Greens party who refuse do anything unless it is perfect for everyone, meaning nothing ever gets done.

People may read that and accuse me of collaboration, or disunity, or abandoning the Left or being a traitor. The reality is I’m Scared! I’m scared of an austerity that bites hard, long cold hungry winters, austerity suicides that are happening in parts of Europe, and the echos of fascism creeping into policy, shutting down access to information, limiting free speech, restrictions on free travel, privatising profits and socialising losses of taxpayer assets. If it comes down to a choice between feeding my family and upholding some mythical left-wing ideals where everyone looks after each other – I choose my family.

I watched the former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who I campaigned for, cross the floor with a look of what might have been smug pride as she voted NO on the issue of marriage equality.

I knew at that moment, this Prime Minister did not represent me, and would rather capitulate to unions to maintain power than fight for the rights of all Australians. It is the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employee’s Union (SDA), who stage witch-hunt to ferret out any possible gay or marriage equality supporting shop stewards, Joe Bullock who got the top spot on the WA senate ticket for the ALP ahead of Louise Pratt. Bullock, a man who is anti-choice and anti-marriage equality, got the Number 1 position over a sitting senator, where was the “Captains pick” or intervention for Pratt that Penny Wong received when she was relegated to Number 2.

Someone who votes to deny a huge section of our society access to rights that ex-Prime Minister takes for granted as having access to, is not what feminism means to me.

At least Kevin Rudd is man enough to know that his marriage is not threatened by ending the exclusion of certain adults from marriage.

I watched a party I campaigned for condemn single parents, the vast majority women, to a life of poverty, and when you are that far down as single parents raising a family on New Start most of them are probably never going to rise to upper middle class. Also, taking time out to raise a family will affect their superannuation when they reach retirement age, all those productive years where the fathers of those children are adding to their super, and the primary care parent sees their economic situation go backwards.

Makes all the rhetoric coming from Labor MPs about looking after “working families” a sick joke. Working families – except for retired older Australians, single parent families, unemployed trying hard to retrain, or even a happily involved gay couple who are prevented from making official their family with a marriage certificate.

I have watched a government I’ve voted for passed hundreds of bills in three years of minority government condemn boat refugees to hell on earth behind the razor wire, as a compassionate refugee policy was one that the ALP just couldn’t find the numbers (or willingness) to pass. The lesser of two evils is still evil.

Tony Abbott’s mantra of “turn back the boats” is no more compassionate than anything enacted under this current Labor government, but if he takes the keys to the Lodge in September, he knows he won’t be turning any boats around. Tony Abbott knows that is just a slogan, and it works, because the Labor government has failed to give voters any reason to not be afraid of boat people. People are worried about their jobs, and get condemned as racist, rather than exploring the reason why people are worried.

The last week in Federal Parliament saw valedictory speeches from Judi Moylan and Mal Washer, the conscience of the Liberal party not recontesting their seats, leaving the attack dogs and misogynists and Tea Party to fill the void.

The last week of Federal Parliament also saw the first female Prime Minister dumped and replaced by the man who had been white-anting her for three long years. This has already been covered by many fine political commentators, Give PM Julia Gillard credit where credit is due, is just one well-worth clicking example, this issue doesn’t need rehashing here.

This would be the least likely time that an educated, left-leaning feminist would be filling in forms to join the Liberal Party.

The last week also saw something inspirational in the Senate. During a debate on a “back door” plan to get marriage equality into Australia, the Queensland senator Sue Boyce crossed the floor. Part of her speech in the led up to that moment, she said:

I am pleased that I have the option within the Liberal Party to exercise a free vote, an option that, I would point out, is not available to those in the Labor Party or the Greens unless a conscience vote is agreed to by the party. Within the Liberal Party, one always has the option of exercising a free vote. If we are to vote on this legislation, I will be voting for this bill, because I think it advances the cause of same-sex marriage in Australia.
Thursday, 20 June 2013

This past couple of weeks not only saw the dumping of the Prime Minister, but the events that led up to that, the accusations of starting a gender war for daring to mention abortion, the Convoy Of Cleavage and Menugate. In a discussion with my sister Jo, I said that other countries are having mass demonstrations for food, jobs, public transport, public parks and hospitals, Brazil, Greece, Turkey, Bangladesh, and we are a nation that talks about ties and cleavage (meaning we are so prosperous, our people aren’t taking to the streets to protest for food, health, jobs). Jo said she would write about it. I warned her, if she wrote even slightly negatively about Convoy Of Cleavage she would accused of fascism by feminists claiming she is victimising them (by being mobbed and trolled and abused by people calling themselves feminist), she will be accused of lacking humour (by people who over react whenever Tony Abbott says his gaffes are just jokes that got lost in translation), she will be accused of disunity (achieved by rounding up their clique and trolling her blog). Guess what? Exactly that happened. Dissenting voices and differences of opinion are drowned out by sheer numbers of trolls one can round-up.

While feminists were attacking anyone who stepped out of line regarding the Convoy of Cleavage, the men of the Labor party were drawing up their plans to knife the first female Prime Minister. Tell me who was distracted by pointless stunts, it wasn’t Tony Abbott, a common criticism directed to the Leader of the Coalition. And yet to disagree with these left-wing feminist was met with hysterical wailing that they were being victimised.

There is nothing empowering about the constant cries of “I’m a victim”. To spend your life claiming to be a victim of everyone who disagrees with you is infantising. It removes your power to act on your own, you are a victim of someone else’s actions. Right-wing women don’t do that, they know they have power, independent of how others behave, and they use it.

There is nothing empowering about the herd mentality of the Left that crushes or crusades against someone who disagrees with you, but good on you for taking the time out of fighting the Right-wing neo-conservatives pushing for austerity to troll little blogs, Liberation Achieved!

The group think of the Left, where you are as entitled to your opinion as the next person, as long as it is the same as the next person. Just do not goosestep out of line or the leader of the herd will claim you are victimising her, you are attacking her rights to her opinion.

What makes a bigger statement about freedom and empowerment – Sue Boyce crossing the floor or trolling the blog of someone who you disagree with and then bragging about it to your clique as “Just commented, and that really WAS a criminal waste of my precious time. Off to bake for the kids.”

One is childish, one is empowering.

I think Boyce wins.

The Left is currently in the grip of a mania for unity, the destabilising by Rudd, encouraged / caused by the media has demonstrated the old saying “disunity is death”, especially in the face of a united Right, who know that they can put aside their differences and unite behind a leader, at least until the election is over.

The group-think, herd mentality of the Left, which needs consensus to prove it is united, results in the Left seeking and destroying any dissenting opinion which deviates from either the most charismatic, or who ever has the numbers, or the lowest common denominator, not the fairest or the best, as Mike Carlton (hero or villain of the Left, depending on the content of his latest column) says: Amazed at the number of people who think I should not have an opinion unless it agrees with theirs.

The path a left-wing feminist walks is even more precarious than a left-wing non-feminist. She must conform to feminism and conform to the Left wing, and if the ongoing saga of Rudd V Gillard has shown us, sometimes those two things are not compatible, especially with the gay-hating, abortion-opposing blokey culture of the union movement.

However, the Left does not own feminism. A women at any place in the political spectrum can identify as feminist. Although I suspect when women of the Right call themselves “feminist” is it usually to define themselves against something the Left has done. If the Left calls out some behaviour, for example sexist menus, women of the Right will challenge that with “I’m a feminist, and I don’t feel like a victim of menus”. If a female supported Kevin Rudd in the caucus ballot that toppled PM Gillard, female Liberal senators will get hysterical that they “betrayed the sisterhood”, women aren’t supposed to do anything on their own, apparently, unless all women are brought down to the same level or they are betraying (this idea infects feminist critics on the Left and the Right).

Women of the Right are less likely to identify with feminism for several reasons:

a) they see any success of theirs is not due to collective consciousness, whether feminism or unionist, but down to their own hard work, talent and making their own luck (taking advantage of / exploiting a situation),

b) they don’t see themselves the same as other women, they are exceptional, the Right doesn’t need quotas, all the Right-wing women in Parliament are there because they are not like other women, they are exceptionally talented, they are special, they are elite,

c) they don’t seen any special bonds of sisterhood with other women (why should they, they are better than mere other women), they don’t see the glass ceiling as needing to be cracked, they have found a trap door and locking it behind them once they have climbed the ladder, (it is why women of the Right will use other terms instead of feminist while preaching the same principles eg, Sarah Palin’s “Mama Grizzly’s”),

d) they talk about feminism as a way of silencing the opposition, if they claim to speak from a feminist position, it muddies the water and weakens the Left’s position of working to raise the standard of living and ensure the Rights of all women, not just a select few,
it is also a way of making the interests of the select few seem like it benefits the interests of the many (Nannys for CEOs, allows women of calibre to breed, how can that not be feminist? all you minimum wage, working class women complaining about your tax dollars going to women on incomes over $75,000 – you mean, you hate feminism?),

e), the Right sees the way to achieve success is to keep everyone else down, only one person can stand on the top of the mountain, it will be them, and standing on the bones of their rivals, they can climb even higher, it is about success of the individual, and there can only be one winner,
the Left tend to see success as a plateau, and while someone else is downtrodden and enduring poverty we are not a successful society, and you achieve success by raising the plateau, not by pushing someone else down.

A rising tide lifts all boats, a phrase popularised by Bill Clinton to increase the standard of living for all, has been adopted recently by parts of the Right to mean the success of the few will eventually rise the tide for those living in poverty. It is a deliberate misinterpreting of ‘tickle down’ economics. We are all the boats, but in Tony Abbott world, Gina Rinehart is the tide who will lift us all out of poverty with $2 a day wages.

As the feminist Naomi Wolf has pointed out, the Right are just as feminist, if not more, than the Left:

Because feminism in the 1960’s and 1970’s was articulated via the institutions of the left – in Britain, it was often allied with the labor movement, and in America, it was reborn in conjunction with the emergence of the New Left – there is an assumption that feminism itself must be leftist. In fact, feminism is philosophically as much in harmony with conservative, and especially libertarian, values – and in some ways even more so.

The core of feminism is individual choice and freedom, and it is these strains that are being sounded now more by the Tea Party movement than by the left. But, apart from these sound bites, there is a powerful constituency of right-wing women in Britain and Western Europe, as well as in America, who do not see their values reflected in collectivist social-policy prescriptions or gender quotas. They prefer what they see as the rugged individualism of free-market forces, a level capitalist playing field, and a weak state that does not impinge on their personal choices.

Many of these women are socially conservative, strongly supportive of the armed forces, and religious – and yet they crave equality as strongly as any leftist vegetarian in Birkenstocks. It is blindness to this perfectly legitimate approach to feminism that keeps tripping up commentators who wish to dismiss women like Margaret Thatcher, or Muslim women, or now right-wing US women leaders, as somehow not being the “real thing.”

Read more here

Maybe the Right don’t clamour for labels such as feminist or sisterhood, but they don’t feel the need to try to squash everyone in the same box and label it feminist either, they just get on with exercising their own personal power over their lives. While the Right is dominating the media, business, industry, the narrative and the context, building a war chest to fight the election, the Left is corralling people who don’t share the sense of humour in a little box, labelled traitor.

The same tactics misogynists used to bring down PM Gillard are now being used by Left-wing feminists to criticise anyone who supports Prime Minister Rudd. It is apparently disunited to not support the Prime Minister. If that is what left-wing feminism is, I want no part of it, do I have to unquestioningly support everything women do in order to protect myself from being trolled, bullied, abused, accused by those calling themselves feminist? It would seem so. Do I have to promote your cause, while you ignore mine or the Prime Minister I support, in order to not be accused of being divisive? Apparently. This is not feminism. This is fascism.

I don’t want to spend my life like these women crying “I’m a victim of your fascism” if someone disagrees with me, I don’t want to roll over and play dead to keep up the pretense that we are a united community, we are not, I’m a left leaning feminist who would rather advance in her career and look after her family and serve her community (geographic not ideological) than to submit to people who abuse others in the name of feminism. I don’t want to spend my time trolling and abusing in the name of freedom. I just want to get on with living my life in the way I want, as long as it harms no one else – and isn’t that what feminism is about?

The Liberal party is the party of the individual, they don’t force others to conform or attack them because they think differently, they are a celebration of entrepreneurs and success, they don’t play the victim, they just get on with getting things done.

“The West Wing: The Portland Trip
Congressman Skinner: You know I never understood why you gun control people don’t all join the NRA. They’ve got two million members. You bring three million to the next meeting, call a vote. All those in favor of tossing guns… bam! Move on.
Josh Lyman: It’s a heck of a strategy, Matt. I’ll bring that up at a meeting.

I don’t believe I would be holding the Liberal party accountable, nor do I think I would be making myself any less of a target come the Austerity Revolution.

if we are on the Titanic, I chose to be selfish in first class, and look after my family, than fight it out in steerage once all the lifeboats are gone, and the call goes up “every man for himself”. Currently the Left are arguing about the colour of ties, the gender of the Prime Minister, who held the knife, and what colour the exit signs are, and were the life-jackets ethically made by non-sweatshop labour, meanwhile, the country is drowning.

That is how I see the next three years under an Abbott austerity-government. Brutal and harsh. My best chance is to join the Liberal party.

Maybe our democracy is the chickens voting for which fox guards the hen-house, however, the song Cows With Guns by Dana Lyons, ending with the cows being rescued by Chickens In Choppers.

Diane Murphy, independent blogger

July 7, 2013

Tony Abbott, I want money, I want lots of money, Just give me money

I want money, I want lots of money, In fact I want so much money
Give me your money, Just give me money

Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford

What does the biggest story in the country today look like in the Mainstream Media (MSM)?

It is non existent.

What does the biggest story in the country today look like on social media?

It looks like a thoroughly investigated exploration of Tony Abbott being forced to pay back taxpayers after using our money for his private money making adventures, promoting his book Battlelines.


Journalist Margo Kingston has done the investigation for No Fibs, and the Australian media has ignored this story completely.

This is just one more example of the disconnect between what the MSM is ramming down our throats, and what the people are clamouring to read. The biggest story on the No Fibs website, is barely a ripple in the MSM pond.

The silence in the MSM over anything to do with Tony Abbott and his Liberal Party, including the lack of examination of Coalition policies, this close to an election, is bizarre. Especially considering the frenzied media obsession with the former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and every aspect of her life (shoes, jackets, earlobes, private life, 20 year old work history, friends, parents, hobbies, dog; anything and everything to avoid talking about her governments policies, legislation, and AAA economy).

The book is Battlelines, the “author” Tony Abbott, and he flew around the country promoting the book, raking in the profits, and changing the Australian taxpayers to fund his promotional tour.

The amount in question is just under $10,000. Compare this to former Speaker, Peter Slipper, who has been hounded by the Federal Police for under $1000 for visiting a winery on a Cabcharge voucher.

In a No Fibs exclusive: Abbott forced to repay $9,400 he charged taxpayers to promote his book. Here is a very small extract:

EXCLUSIVE: Abbott forced to repay $9,400 he charged taxpayers to promote his book

By Margo Kingston
6 July, 2013

The Opposition leader, Mr Abbott, was forced to repay taxpayers nearly $9,400 after receiving travel expenses to promote his book Battlelines in 2009.

The repayment occurred after Mr Abbott publicly denied the allegation through a spokesman, who stated:

“All travel undertaken by Mr Abbott has been within the entitlement. This is a blatant attempt by Labor to smear and mislead.”

To read the full article: No Fibs: EXCLUSIVE: Abbott forced to repay $9,400 he charged taxpayers to promote his book

Forced. Does this suggest Tony Abbott would not have repay taxpayers otherwise?

What Tony Abbott really needs to understand is: the taxpayers of this country aren’t his personal ATM.

The Flying Lizards: Money (That’s What I Want)