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06 March 2017 |
International Women's Day was founded in women's rights movements across Europe, demanding better labour conditions as well as calls for suffrage. So though these days it is primarily about celebrating the achievements of women, it is rooted in feminist protest and activism. In the spirit of the 2017 theme #BeBoldForChange, I think we should change it up a little. While it is important to look back on the achievements of feminism, we should also look back to learn how to be better for the future.
06 March 2017 |
The theme for this year's International Women's Day is 'Be Bold For Change'. This involves an aspiration for action, assertiveness urgency. Because the changes required are considerable, in number and in scope. Statistics still reflect a 16 per cent gender pay gap. While there has been some movement of gender diversity on boards (25.3 per cent as at 31 January 2017), only 17 per cent of CEOs in Australian companies were women. The attitudes that underpin such dire statistics run deep.
06 March 2017 |
In the current climate, minorities and oppressed communities are branded as 'divisive' when attention is drawn to the void which exists between those with power and those without. This allegation stands firmly on the understanding that our 'unified strength' against a common enemy will bring about the change we so passionately fight for. But often the assumption is that all parties are to unify with the majority, that those of lesser power should fight for equality in a way that those in power see fit.
05 March 2017 |
This week marks the anniversary of the triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown) that hit northern Japan on 11 March 2011. The event took over 18,000 lives, and initially displaced 470,000 people. Six years on, 127,000 are still without a permanent home. Delays have been caused by the sheer physical scope, pre-existing regulations and other restrictions. These are all understandable. What is less easy to accept are the disruptions caused by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
02 March 2017 |
Two irreconcilable views of the ideological position of the Turnbull government are now in circulation. One, held by those who once had high hopes that Malcolm Turnbull would lead a small l liberal government, is that the Coalition clearly is conservative. The other, advanced by South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi when he deserted the ship to form the Australian Conservatives, is that the Turnbull government is not conservative enough, maybe not even conservative at all. Both views can't be right.
01 March 2017 |
The Fair Work Commission decision on penalty rates removes any doubt that young people might have still had about their place in the economic order. The four-yearly review of awards in hospitality, fast food, retail and pharmacy found that Sunday penalty rates 'do not achieve the modern awards objective, as they do not provide a fair and relevant minimum safety net'. But whose safety net? Unfair to whom? These industries are already notorious for exploiting young workers.
28 February 2017 |
It is a commonplace that our political discourse is much impoverished. Speeches are built around sound bites. The Trump administration is experimenting with letting go of speeches and communicating within the limits set by Twitter. In such a world there is little space for more complex rhetoric, for cultural reference, for reflection on historical precedents, or for wondering. Our politicians' words leave no echoes. It is worth musing on what may be lost in the thinning of public discourse.
23 February 2017 |
In the footage of one violence protest, I was shocked to see a handful of my homeless clients, draped in Australian flags, engaged in street battles with anti-racists. These young men had experienced alienation, exploitation and poverty - all the things the Left is supposed to fight against. Long, uncomfortable conversations don't make for good social media content, yet if Australia is to stare down the threat of a rising alt-right it won't be done by yelling at right wing fringe groups across a police barricade.
21 February 2017 |
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Australia this week is having precisely the opposite impact to what he no doubt intended. Instead of shoring up support for Israel's flagrant disregard for United Nations resolutions condemning its continual annexation of Palestinian land, it is driving a deep wedge into what was previously unflagging bipartisan Australian political party support for Israel. Australia's connection with Palestine actually predates the creation of the state of Israel.
19 February 2017 |
In these duplicitous times it's not surprising to find Nineteen Eighty-Four cited. In Airstrip One, WAR IS PEACE; FREEDOM IS SLAVERY; IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH - a Nineteen Eighty-Four equivalent of a Tweet with plenty of character space left to add insults. And all facts are alternative, as in the news, 'Oceania is at War with Eurasia', which becomes before your very eyes, 'Oceania has never been at war with Eurasia.' For events closer to home, Orwell's Animal Farm is disturbingly apposite.
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