Quizzically Musing

Watching the madness

Archive for January 2011

Who locked up the children?

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This article today runs with the opening phrase of “Julia Gillard locks up …” 

No, Julia Gillard doesn’t lock up anyone.  WE, the Australian citizens are locking up these children, just as we did under Howard (which the article also refers to).

Prime Ministers do not do these things personally.  Prime Ministers and parliaments (assuming we are indeed a democracy) are simply doing what WE, the citizens, ask them or tell them or let them do.  WE are personally responsible, every single one of us.  For WE give the power.

Time for us to voice our disapproval of what our representatives are doing in OUR name.

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Written by Robyn Dunphy

January 30, 2011 at 11:05 am

Australia cops criticism…

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… and rightly so.  While my personal page is off-line as the topic is considered sub judice currently, naturally the two articles I discuss here are close to my heart.

Australia has again been highlighted as the only developed democracy without national human rights law.   Perhaps if we did have such a law, my family and I wouldn’t be in the position we are currently in.  It has been interesting, as I discovered neither the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 nor the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 are scheduled to or declared under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act.  I was not aware of this until last week and I am horrified.  I hope all Australians are horrified at such a discovery.

The second article was written by Malcolm Fraser.  Malcolm Fraser was Prime Minister of Australia from November 1975 for seven years.  I remember him well, as I had recently arrived in Australia in February 1974.  Malcolm has been involved in humanitarian work for many years.  He points out the regression in Australia’s policies since that time 35 years ago when we welcomed Vietnamese refugees.  That community is now, he tells us, nearly a quarter of a million strong and contribute greatly to Australia.  What changed?

What I have learnt about Civil and Human Rights in Australia over the past year has been enlightening: yet not in a way I would have ever expected.  It has been a sad year for me personally, of course, but I cannot consider only my personal situation.  I am horrified when I consider the possible extrapolation of my situation across the country.  I am still haunted by the images of the Christmas Island tragedy and the Christmas Island detention conditions.

It is time: time Australians stood up for what is right.

Airport Security contradictions

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I was not at all surprised to read this article today: in fact I had been discussing something along these lines over the weekend.

I bought an airline ticket over the web. I checked in on the web.  Not once, anywhere, was I asked for identification.  Realistically, I could have been anyone.

We have these wonderful new machines to scan travellers, yet we don’t check their identity?  Something, somewhere, just doesn’t make sense. 

Yes, I know, I used my credit card to buy my ticket.  So?  There is no such thing as credit card fraud?  When did that miraculously happen?

Personally, I’d rather know that someone in authority actually had checked WHO was on my flight.

Not to mention the “I am so special” passenger in front of me today who didn’t want to follow civil aviation regulations and stow his bag as required. Row 1 of the plane – so no “seat in front of you” for him.  Just who did he think he was?  First he argued with the cabin crew before takeoff, then prior to landing he shoved his bag under his seat, which is where MY bags were correctly stowed.  He pushed my stuff out from where it should have been.  Jetstar, take note: watch your passengers as they shouldn’t be allowed to inconvenience other passengers.  Not only that, stuff fell out of his bag and rolled backwards down the plane, including Lynx deodorant – I hope it wasn’t an aerosol!

Written by Robyn Dunphy

January 9, 2011 at 10:31 pm

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Back to how it was?

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Flying between Australia and New Zealand was once a bit like a domestic route.  When I first arrived in Australia from New Zealand, I didn’t even have a passport.  It wasn’t needed.

Today I ran across this article in The Age discussing progress on plans to return to the “old days”, or something similar.  Seems this has been on someone’s drawing board since 2009.  I hadn’t heard anything about it before today, but perhaps I just missed it, despite the fact both countries are close to my heart.

It would be nice to dash across the ditch with much cheaper airfares: the suggestion is 30% cheaper.  It seems the problem is not enough domestic gates at our airports.  It is all a bit confusing.  It appears not all of the airline industry agrees with the proposal.  Our change in Prime Minister seems to have impacted the plans as well.

I think it would be good for the tourism industries of both countries if it could be achieved, but of course a lack of physical gates to depart and arrive would be a bit of a problem.

I’m surprised there hasn’t been more coverage of this proposal. Or did I just miss the reports?

Written by Robyn Dunphy

January 9, 2011 at 9:47 pm

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Digital media versus the broadsheet

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The Age carries a very interesting article today by Brigid Delaney on the digital media and what we get.  Brigid is right: most of the web versions of the papers don’t tend to offer the same depth (unless you look for it) as the paper version.

More worrying, as the article points out, is the “snippet” approach to reading the news by those of the digital age.  For my age group, I am probably not the norm.  I too read the news on the web most of the time.  Every now and then I will actually go and buy the real thing.

I remember being at a workshop on some professional development topic or other with a variety of people.  One of the other attendees was in charge of web site content and gave a short presentation about her work.  The way of writing for grabbing attention on the web is quite interesting (I would fail miserably) for there is a need to grab the attention in that first headline or sentence.  Writers know they have a very limited attention span to work with, so must get the message across in a matter of seconds.

Are we becoming a world that knows very little about a lot?  Is what we know even remotely accurate?  Are we, as the article suggests, concentrating only on the banalities around us?  Paris Hilton gets more attention than asylum seekers for example.  How much do people REALLY know about the whole asylum seeker debate, which let’s be fair, is far more important than Paris or LiLo.  Look at how much screen space was devoted to the St Kilda nude photo issue lately (which yes, I agree, I commented on myself), or how Fevola only has to sneeze to capture the digital front page – of even the broadsheets!  Yet are either of those local stories really front page news when compared with much else that is happening in the world?  Are the floods in Queensland less important that Fev?  I think not.

I often click on a headline or “breaking news” only to find the article is in fact five lines that tell me nothing.  OK, so I now know some guy was arrested somewhere, but I don’t know the details and will probably never find out.

Are Twitter and Facebook becoming almost our defacto news feeds?  After all, what do you have on Facebook? A page titled “News Feed” – but it isn’t.  How many people say they learned of something on Twitter?  How much can you learn from 140 characters?  Twitter is a great way to spread misinformation, though.  Retweet something often enough and it almost becomes accepted fact.  Look at the celebrities using Twitter to deny transgressions!

There is nothing truer than we get what we ask for.  As a population, it seems, we are asking for banality.  That is what we will keep getting, unless we ask for something else. 

Written by Robyn Dunphy

January 4, 2011 at 10:30 am

Fruity Fones

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They’ve had another glitch.  Apple that is.  Yes, I know, I’m a bit late catching up on the news.  Not really, I did see the news initially, but really; aren’t we all a little over the stuff Apple have had go wrong in 2010? 

Seems 2011 started off just as badly.  What puzzles me is recurring alarms were OK.  Just individual alarms for January 1st and 2nd went ….. well, no, they didn’t go, that was the problem.  Why on earth the 1st and 2nd?  Or have there just not yet been reports of the bug impacting sleepy heads on the 3rd yet? After all it is still on January 2 in a large part of the world and only 8am in Australia on a public holiday.

Never been a fan of the iPhone.  For two main reasons – it was not a multi-tasking device when it first came out (although I gather the latest lot solve that problem) and it has a capacitive screen.  I can’t use a capacitive screen because of my fingernails.  I like my fingernails, I’ve had them a very long time and I’ll de darned if I was chopping them off simply to use the latest (at the time) gadget. 

Sure, I agree, for a lot of people it is a fine little toy.  Smartphones aren’t for everyone.  I never cease to be amazed at people who want to buy the latest and greatest, which is usually an expensive toy, yet use phone calls and text messages only.  Not even the calendar: they carry a paper one!   Like buying a car with an amazing speed limit but only ever driving around town at 50kms an hour.  I don’t get the logic.  There probably isn’t any logic to get.  It is more about saying “Look what I’ve got!”

I’m just more into required function that bragging rights, I guess.  Don’t expect me to be driving around in a Ferarri any time soon.  I can’t afford one, but even if I could, they are the most difficult things to get in and out of.  I know that because a hopeful suitor once arrived to collect me in one.  Even at 18 I wasn’t impressed.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

January 3, 2011 at 8:15 am

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