Quizzically Musing

Watching the madness

Archive for April 2011

HeraldSun screams “thugs”?

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I broke my silence on this already: I will continue.

Thugs?  Could we possibly have some rational reporting instead of headlines designed to feed moral panic?

Do they publish any of the ASRC myth busters: no, they take the line of what they think sells papers!  No thought for the damage it does!

Irresponsible reporting, in my view.  Very irresponsible.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

April 26, 2011 at 11:30 am

I tried – I really did

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When Villawood went up in flames I tried to stay quiet.  I posted a comment to a friend on Facebook and that was the extent of my activism.

Today I read some comments in The Age that just make me despair of any hope for mankind.

Four Detainees still on Villawood roof screams the headline.  I do have to commend The Age for presenting far more balanced reporting than the HeraldSun.  I read articles in both papers earlier in the week.

The bit that forced me to break my silence was this:

Meanwhile, acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan today condemned a rally outside the centre, planned for Monday by the Refugee Rights Action Network.

Mr Swan said the rioters’ actions could not be defended and the rally would be inappropriate.

“I don’t think that’s necessarily appropriate at all. There has been unacceptable behaviour by people inside the facility,” he told reporters in Cairns.

“We cannot, in any way, condone the sorts of acts and behaviour we have seen at that facility in recent days.”

Mr Swan refused to be drawn on the police’s decision to deny food to the four protesters still on the centre’s roof.

No, I do not condone the specific behavior either, but I sure as hell understand it.  Just because we do not condone something does not mean we cannot understand it and fight for change when WE are the ones causing the behaviour in the first place.  The Refugee Rights Action Network has every right to protest to highlight the inhumane treatment of these poor people.  Unacceptable behaviour inside the facility?  Only AFTER unacceptable behaviour on our behalf outside the facility.  Let’s be real about the chicken or the egg here!

These people have an INTERNATIONAL RIGHT to seek asylum, to seek safe refuge.  They get here and, despite what much of the media might like us to believe, we treat them badly.  We have been criticised,  rightly so, for our policies.  But we treat them so well, you say?  Really?  Remember the sanitary products?

What makes US so damn special that we can treat our fellow humans this way?  You, yes, you reading this: you think this can never happen to YOU?  Think again, for what will YOU do if Australia gets invaded (or similar) by a regime you are terrified of?  Will you seek asylum somewhere?  But you are special, aren’t you, so you wouldn’t think of you ever being in the shoes of these poor people in Villawood.  Think again.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

April 23, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Who do we want running the country?

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Katharine Murphy writes a very interesting piece on the increase in “influence peddlers” in today’s edition of The Age.

We all know there are lobbyists.  They’ve probably been around as long as politicians in one form or another.  It does seem the whole thing is just getting a bit out of hand.  It is the PEOPLE who should have access to politicians, not highly paid representatives of interest groups.  The people never get a look-in.

I am not considering the sides to any debate here, I am only considering the influences on those debates.  Australia has long been a country that has been good at saying “only in America” about anything we thought “too American”, yet as time goes on we seem to adopt more and more American trends.  While we may not yet sue for a hot coffee, we have certainly become more litigious.  Now we seem to be lobbying our little hearts out in a similar style to the USA, or at least heading in that direction.

Katharine’s article is a must read for any Australian that is concerned about where this country is headed.  For our children and our children’s children.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

April 16, 2011 at 9:07 pm

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Bitter Divorces

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I’ve heard of bitter divorces, but this one, reported in the HeraldSun, certainly has a twist to it.

The marital home was sold, it seems prior to the marriage breakdown.  Rather than split the proceeds, the husband put cash in about 400 envelopes and sent it all to charities.  Who gets $395,000 in cash?  Imagine walking home from the bank with that in your briefcase.  What bank these days hands over $395,000 in notes anyway?

He then soaked his bank statements in a bucket to make paper mache.

Apparantly, the husband wanted to “eliminate the cause of the divorce”, which he saw as being primarily greed.   I get the distinct impression his approach may not have been overly successful.

I’m not sure what will ultimately happen in this case, because he has nothing now and you can’t get blood out of a stone.

Strange people in the world.

 

Written by Robyn Dunphy

April 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Posted in Family, News, Relationships

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A Question of Free Speech

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Most of Australia is probably aware of the case currently making the front pages.  If not, read a report in The Age here.

In the USA, Freedom of Speech is enshrined in the constitution.  Not so here in Australia, where it is “only implicitly recognised” in the constitution.  Australia also has stringent antidiscrimination legislation.  According to the report, this case is seen as a case that may well bring the collision of free speech and antidiscrimination in this country to a head.

I have long been a critic of  those who claim the right to free speech to get away with blatant discrimination.  In my view, free speech comes with responsibility.  We have a human responsibility to not discriminate against others.  Even if we have hold personal views that are effectively discrimination, we should not be voicing them or publicising those views.  The outcome of this case will be interesting.

The case also raises questions about what rights any one of us has to define ourself.  In Australia many, many people are born of cross-cultural marriages.  They go on to marry someone from yet a third culture.  We are a mixed up, muddled up lot in this country, my own family included. 

I didn’t read the articles at the centre of this case, so I am not going to offer an opinion one way or  the other on the articles themselves.  I am certainly watching the case with interest.

Where do we draw the line?  How do we marry freedom of speech with antidiscrimination?  Given what we see happen in other countries, do we even consider freedom of speech a right everyone should be entitled to?  How “free” should it be? 

Written by Robyn Dunphy

April 3, 2011 at 1:24 pm