Politics Rants

Being a Good MP

My recipe for being a good member of parliament:

  1. Understand that your position is as a representative for the Australian People, with a focus on your local constituency.
  2. Leave your biases at the door; this includes personal feelings and religious leanings (or lack there of). Surround yourself with people who have differing opinions.
  3. With each Bill that comes across your desk ask: How will this make life better for the people of Australia? Seek out those who will be affected by the Bill and hear first-hand their opinions.
  4. No deals! Don’t do things you know are not good for the people because it might get you something else, even if that something else is better for the people. It’s your job to do the right thing by the people and to call out those who don’t want to do the same.
  5. Transparency is key. Open your diary, your expenses, your office. How often are we told by the government: “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” While it’s a BS line and the people have a right to privacy, you as a politician are a representative of the people and where your interactions as a politician are concerned you should feel they have an absolute right to know these things.
  6. Get amongst the people. You can’t be a very good representative from atop the ivory tower. Meet with your people often, listen to their opinions and grievances. You don’t have to have answers for them then and there, in fact I implore you to listen more than you talk. People want to be heard. As a representative of the Australian people you also need to get amongst all the people. Visit areas that have issues, see what you can do for them.
  7. Be honest in your interactions. Along the lines of Transparency. Don’t say one thing and do another. If you tell someone you’ll get back to them, get back to them. Own your mistakes.
  8. The future is your goal. Short term wins are not the focus. Too many MPs are there for their term and think only of the now. What will this get for me? Will this get me reelected? If there is a short term win that sacrifices a long-term plan, abandon the short term win for the long term goal.
  9. Understand your position ends when your time in parliament ends. There are no other employment positions where your benefits continue after you leave your place of employment. Work to end continuing entitlements that are beyond those other Australians receive for politicians after they leave office. Our former PMs have gone on to do million dollar speaking engagements, book deals, appointments to numerous boards; all while receiving a parliamentary pension and continuing entitlements for staff and travel. That’s all after a time of being some of the highest paid politicians in the world and receiving a bunch of entitlements while in office which likely saw them spending very little of the money they were receiving.
  10. Do no harm. It’s an all encompassing rule. A catch-all to round out our list. It’s not hard to be a good person. Be one.

It’s not a definitive list, it just came off the top of my head, I’m sure it can easily be improved, but I guess what I’m saying is it isn’t hard to not be an ass and I don’t know why our politicians seem to have a problem with it.


Black Friday 2019

I say F*CK OFF to all of these businesses who are having Black Friday sales that read like “15% OFF EVERYTHING*” then have in much smaller letters… “Exclusions apply”

That’s not EVERYTHING numbnuts!

Further it seems that the big camera retailers are doing this, both Teds and Digidirect, and BOTH are excluding the majority of camera lenses and the new camera bodies, which are of course the things most people want to buy.

It should be illegal for them to say “EVERYTHING” in a headline of a sale when it is clearly not most things… just look at Ted’s exclusion list:

“*Excludes Canon lenses, Fujifilm GFX and GF lenses, Instax Mini 9 Moments Kit, ProFoto, Panasonic Lumix GH5, S1H and S Lenses, Nikon Coolpix, D850, D3500, D5600, Z50 and Z 85mm, 24mm lenses, Olympus EM5 MK3, Sony A7 MKIV, A9 MKII, A6600, RX100M7 and Sony lenses, GoPro cameras, DJI, Blackmagic, Giftcards, Total Care Packages, and Tamron 28-75mm.”

I can’t share Digidirects because being the dodgy buggers they are they don’t seem to list them anywhere I can easily find.


Morrison is Deluded

Our Prime Minister… the leader of the party that leads our country (through a coalition and some tenuous favour-found friends).. says we mustn’t be instilling anxiety into our children over climate change. Taking a swipe at Greta Thunberg and the massive global school strike. 

He says he doesn’t have deep conversations about emissions reductions with his 10 and 12 year old girls.

As for anxiety in children. I don’t know about my peers, but as a kid in the 80s the threat of nuclear war scared the bejesus* out of me. Kids know when shit is going on, whether it’s hearing about it on the news, or overhearing it when parents speak about it, or just through their peer network. You don’t need to be the one telling them about something when it has the chance of wiping them out… they’ll hear about it.

Thankfully back then it was all about posturing and a couple of computer errors that almost saw us annihilated by our own actions. But those actions are easy to curtail, we just don’t push the button.

Morrison said “We have to give them that confidence that they’ll have not only a wonderful country and pristine environment to live in, but they’ll also have an economy they can live in as well.”

He wants us to lie to the children around us? Sure let’s give them hope, but let’s not outright lie to them.

Today we have climate change, which of course scientists have been harping on about since the 1980’s but we haven’t been listening. Instead, here in Australia, our seasonal drought periods of months have become decades long. Farmers are literally dying as their land dies around them.

The government can’t come to their aid without admitting the problem. Our land is far from the pristine pastures of the past.

Scott Morrison can’t control what his kids know. Kids are more connected to the world than we were in my youth. They have more power to mobilise and it’s good to see that some are paying attention.

Was the global climate action strike a heartfelt move by all those who participated, probably not, many likely did it to take the day off school. But there will be many others in their ranks that will be inspired by what they were a part of and will take pride in being part of something greater and will continue pushing for a change that needs to happen to protect their futures.


Reality Bites

So I delved into the comments section on a recent news article, it was on the subject of “The Block” what it was about isn’t really important… one comment I read there was though, I nearly wrote the same thing on Facebook this morning when seeing all of the posts from people who were loving Australia’s win over England.

Anyway, the comment reads:

“Look at all these passionate comments. If only you people put half the passion into our leaders and laws and regulations, we might have a much better country.
Reality TV. Best thing at making people ignore reality.”

And sports does it too. It’s why even in bad times there is always money for Entertainment and Sports, it helps control the people and stops them thinking about how the government is f**king with their lives. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Newstart is a lie

When 62-year-old Ricci Bartels asked her question on QandA last night it left the politicians scratching their heads.

Ms Bartels wanted to know how she, at 62, was expected to survive in Newstart having been made redundant three years ago, after working steadily for 46 years.

Being pre-retirement the, somewhat liveable, old-age pension isn’t an option for her. So Newstart is her only option for government assistance.

The problem is our government frames Newstart recipients as 20-somethings laying around on their parents lounge watching daytime TV instead of looking for work, being “dole-bludgers” as the rhetoric goes.

It’s a form of propaganda to turn those working against those unable to find work.

Perhaps it’s because a large percentage of people don’t like what the do for a living that it’s so easy to sell the narrative these people on Newstart are “living the life” while you’re slaving away. Seems, particularly during the summer months the imagery accompanying these stories includes some kind of beach scene, showing people laying around on the sand in the sun.

I’ve received Newstart… one single part-payment when I was 18. I left my job in the local New Zealand Natural Ice Cream shop, and Penrith and moved to Coffs Harbour. I was lucky my boss at the time “fired” me so I could qualify for payments immediately. I was also lucky that being young I walked into a job in Coffs Harbour at Igloo Deli… with the two-three weeks in between when my employment ended, I applied, and was given details of a payment I got a new job.

My Newstart was at risk because I moved from a metropolitan area like Penrith to Coffs Harbour a regional town, something that is highly discouraged when you’re unemployed. Though moving to a regional town to get a job is highly encouraged and somewhat expected, even though you’d likely have to move away from your support system of family and friends.

The next time I looked into getting Newstart was when I was made redundant from Murdoch Magazines when they sold to Channel 7. But Newstart was a no-go for me. At this time I owned property and had my redundancy payment sitting in my bank account, so I would have been ineligible. Further, the form that was about 4 pages when I was 18 had somehow grown to a small book of 20+ pages of information that was required. The process was hard.

Again, thankfully I was employable, have a partner that was still employed and had that redundancy payment to live off. I found a job after moving to Victoria so it was all good.

But that isn’t likely always going to be the case. The industry I work in will likely be phased out in the next 20 years as computers take over. So there will more than likely be a gap between when I no longer have a job and retirement age, especially as the government keeps raising the age of retirement.

I could keep writing, but this is going on far too long, and I have actual work to do. But I really wanted to post to say that constant vilification of these people is tiresome and worrying.

Scott Morrison’s “Hand up, not handout” is divisive and destructive to our society. People are people, they deserve respect and dignity, and if our government can’t supply that, we need a new government.


Get Off the Rock!

Uluru is a sacred site to Aboriginal Australians. They have ALWAYS, in my living memory, been requesting that people respect their beliefs and choose not to climb the monolith. This isn’t a new request, it’s just that they have a little more power to make the request a demand in recent years.

When we have some folks screaming for religious freedom, we only need look at these three white people ‘debating’ whether non-indigenous people should be allowed to continue trouncing all over a sacred site to see that there is only one religion people want to protect!

It would be great to see what they would think if people started abseiling the Vatican, or St Paul’s Cathedral, or some other white Christian symbol of religion.


A Little Goes a Long Way

I think it’s weird we all run from the notion of socialism, but we are a democratic-socialist nation.

  • Health care
  • Education
  • Roads
  • Social Security
  • Government
  • Parks Services

All paid for via taxation, as a society we pay for these.

In addition to this:

  • Medical Research
  • Science Research
  • Telephony/Communications
  • Power
  • Banking
  • Public transport

All often originate as tax-payer funded industries or businesses and over time have been sold off to private industry, to the expense the tax payer who often loses access to ongoing profits from the businesses they helped establish.

With the services we still pay for, the ones in the top group, these are often sold to us as “free” services. But this is something we need to stop doing. They need to be referred to as tax-funded services.

We need to do this so when the government says “Hey, we’re awesome, we’re going to give you a tax cut. Massive tax cut for some people, aren’t we great?” we can say back… but what are we going to have to give up to get this meagre cut? What services are you going to be taking away?

Over the past few years we have seen freezes on Medicare, removal of some services from health care. We’ve seen cuts to education and other health services.

Nothing is free; we need to ensure our essential services continue to be well-funded. When things are privatised we end up paying a lot more for it than we do via taxes. When a market is opened to competition we’re told it makes things cheaper, but it never has. Banking has never been more expensive, energy has never been more expensive, higher education has never been more expensive… competition = lower prices and better choice for the consumer is a lie.

Essential services is not a misnomer. They are essential. We need health, education, and infrastructure to keep our society strong and continuing. We need every Australian to ask the question… what are you taking away before saying “Yay, I’m getting a tax cut!”

Rants Religion

Folau Fail

There was a time when Israel Folau was quite happy to support equality and to “tackle homophobia” in sport. He was a proud supporter of the Bingham Cup*.

But in recent times he has been quite aggressive in his proselytising and claiming that homosexuals and other enemies of his god are destined for hell.

Good question to ask is what happened between then and recent times, what has radicalised him in this way?

I of course don’t believe in his god, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, but I do understand that he has voice and a platform which he has since chosen to use to spread hate and to vilify people who don’t believe in the unprovable garbage he believes.

*The Bingham Cup is a Rugby Union competition made up of gay teams from around the world in honour of Mark Bingham, a passenger on Flight 93 who fought back, with other passengers, against the terrorist on Sept 11, 2001 and prevented the plane he was on reaching it’s populated target. Mark played with a local rugby team in his home city in California.