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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Not In Our Name

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Getup has launched a campaign to stop Australia sending children to Malaysia as part of the “asylum seeker solution”.

I am proud to put my name to the cause and it is somewhere amongst these 31,654 names.

Not in our name

Not in our name

I quote from the email sent to me by GetUp:

To see it all you need to do is grab a copy of The Age. The ad also appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday. You might need a magnifying glass to see your name but that’s a good thing. It means that the response was so overwhelming that we could only fit in everyone’s names by squeezing them in with small font.


You may have also heard that on Sunday the High Court put an injunction on the Malaysia deal. This will temporarily halt the transfer of asylum seekers to Malaysia. The final outcome of the case may still be weeks away but this is exciting news and you can read more about the court case by clicking here.

We must stop this happening.  Join the cause!





Written by Robyn Dunphy

August 16, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Global Public Debt – a simple perspective

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Global Financial Crisis, round two.  Global Public Debt.  The words on everyone’s lips these days.  I am not an economist, but everyone seems to have something to say, from Twitter to eminent university professors, so why not me?

I Stumbled (literally, on the website) upon this interesting little debt clock and map this morning at http://www.economist.com/content/global_debt_clock.

Global Public Debt - Three Nations Compared

Global Public Debt - Three Nations Compared

Take a look at the actual map, it is very interesting.  All the VERY red (i.e. in big trouble) countries are the ones we like to think of as being the world leaders or the most advanced civilisations or something equally complimentary.

Of course, in Australia, politicians LOVE to use the debt situation as a way to attack each other.  Looking at the media, it seems that is reasonably common globally. Looking at the figures to the left, we could be a lot worse off than we are.  I am NOT saying this to support the current Federal Government (I have my own personal little battle with that lot), I am simply making an observation about the information as presented by www.economist.com.

I’m a mother and an accountant.  Debits and credits translate into “how much money do I have” and “how much have I spent“.  Yes, I’ve had to borrow, so I have personal debt.  Don’t many of us?  Do I have more debt than I can repay?  No, I don’t (provided I don’t get hit by a bus any time soon and I have insurance against that possibility).

There are so many commas in the numbers to the left, I actually get confused!  Are  we are talking billions, trillions or something greater?  Eight trillion, creeping up to nine, for the USA, depending on which scale of magnitude you use (yes, globally we can’t agree on magnitude).  

Let’s look at the per person debt.  So far, Australia is still, compared to the other two, remarkably healthy, although I can’t say I like how dark pink we are on the map!  I am well aware of how all the economies are intertwined these days, so essentially I consider us rather lucky we aren’t sitting at USA or UK levels.

On top of my own personal debt, I only have to pay off another $11,462 of the public debt.  If I was in the USA I’d have to pay off another $28,350 and I may not have a job, given the unemployment levels in the USA.

I have read a bit about people being up in arms in the USA because the current solution is spending cuts but no increase in taxes on certain groups that many feel should be paying more tax.  Let’s face it, governments get their “income” from taxes (unless the country owns natural resources and generates revenue for the country from those resources).  Countries have budgets, just like any household or business.  Clearly someone’s been overspending!  For a long time! 

This puzzles me.  The USA policy of “fend for yourself” means that they don’t have the same funding of education, hospitals, medications and so on that we do in Australia.  How did they spend so damn much?  What on?  I could read umpteen articles and find a myriad of arguments, as everyone has a perspective.  I’m not going to, because the bottom line is simple to this simple mother.  Spend more than you have, print money you don’t have and guess what happens – you end up in the red.

I remember some years ago, when Bush introduced his first budget, global analysts stating the USA would pay about ten years down the track.  Seems those analysts were not far off the mark.  While it is now hard to find those old articles, I quote from www.economist.com again:

The most important legislation of his first year in office was a $1.35 trillion tax cut that handed an extra $53,000 to the top 1% of earners. At his farewell press conference on January 12th Mr Bush called his tax cuts the “right course of action”, as if they were an unpopular but heroic decision. They weren’t. The budget was in surplus in 2000, and both Mr Bush’s main Republican rival, John McCain, and his Democratic opponent, Mr Gore, also wanted to cut taxes, but by less, so as to pay down more debt and shore up Social Security (public pensions). Mr Bush’s much larger tax cut reflected his, and his party’s, belief that lower taxes restrain the size of government, empower individuals and are good for both growth and Republican prospects.


We all know on a personal level, if we borrow money and have to make repayments, those repayments chew into our disposable income.  If we tighten our belts, we will be OK – if we keep spending at the same rate we were without an increase in money coming in, we’ll end up owing even more.  Is this difficult logic?  What applies in our own households, in our company boardrooms, even to our children’s pocket-money, applies equally to countries.

Some of the poorest countries owe the least.  No-one will lend those countries anything!  Same with poor people – they are not a good risk to lenders, so while they have little, usually they owe little as well.

What will happen?  My crystal ball is in for repairs, sadly, but while everyone is running around blaming everyone else, there is little likelihood of a good solution.  You are up the creek without a paddle, guys, so get your acts together and work in a bi-partisan way to fix the messes you either created or inherited. 

That’s what we pay you for!

Written by Robyn Dunphy

August 7, 2011 at 8:33 am

Posted in News

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The Malaysian Solution? (via Australian Immigration Blog – Grant Williams)

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Still image from the documentary film "Wa...

Image via Wikipedia

I have written several articles in the past about Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers.

Today I would like to draw attention to Grant William’s writing on the topic.

I’d really hoped not to have to write this article but the signing of the ‘refugee swap deal’ with Malaysian followed by the arrival of the first boat post signing makes it impossible not to respond. Before I start… I’m already on record (other posts and newspaper articles) as an opponent of the mandatory detention of asylum seekers. I have no vested interest in this, as my business has never received a single dollar for processing Humanitarian v … Read More

via Australian Immigration Blog – Grant Williams

Child “beauty pageants” in Australia?

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I’ve been watching the media coverage of Australia’s first US style beauty pageant for children.  I don’t like the idea.

Australia has always had beautiful baby competitions, but they were always babies or toddlers competing as, well, BABIES or TODDLERS.  Not primped and preened to within an inch of their adult lives, looking highly sexualised.  As a mother, I just cannot condone these competitions.

I read an article some time ago, when the competition here was first announced, about parents from both sides of the argument actually threatening members of the “other side” of the debate.  What are we becoming? 

Children should be allowed to be children.  No, I don’t see it as a “bit of fun” for the whole family at all.  I see it as parents trying to live their dreams through their children, at the expense of their children’s innocence and childhood.  The children would surely be better served by their parents listening to their reading or reading to them, than traipsing around being flaunted as mini-adults. 

Am I being “old-fashioned”? No, I don’t think so.  I think I’m being practical and responsible.  You may have a different view.  Please share!

Written by Robyn Dunphy

July 31, 2011 at 8:58 am

Posted in News

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The religion in schools battle continues

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Further to my article Religion in public schools – NO!, I particpate in the FIRIS campaign to stop this.  I am publishing this email I received today because I want to spread this as far an wide as possible.  I am still stunned we have a state government with a foundation principle of individual freedoms and yet we have to fight this?  Unbelievable!

Martin Dixon is quoted as saying, “I’ve gotten no complaints”.  Really?  I know I’ve personally written to him twice, so there is two complaints.  I don’t think this campaign by FIRIS is exactly an endorsement!  Besides, what terrible English!

Let me repeat, from the party’s web site:

We believe in the inalienable rights and freedoms of all peoples; and we work towards a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives; and maximises individual and private sector initiative.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Dear friends and fellow parents,

Thank you for personally communicating how unfair and intrusive the current policy of SRI is to you and your family. If you haven’t already, you will be getting a formulaic response from Minister for Education Martin Dixon.

His letter is intended to make you feel helpless and to make you go away. The message contained in Martin Dixon’s letter is “talk to the hand”.

Even so, you are making an enormous difference but this isn’t a one round match. Right now, Martin Dixon fears the group who assert that they have a right to use our schools as a “mission field” more than he fears you.

If you want to hear Martin Dixon’s thoughts, listen to this 7 minute interview he gave on talk radio:

Derryn Hinch on 3AW interrogates Martin Dixon

This is in lock step with ACCESS Ministries.

ACCESS Ministries has been repeated exposed as liars, and it is clear that they are methodically exploiting our schools Listen to the evidence . Martin Dixon has chosen to ignore this, so far. He’s instead decided to play semantic games, and he’s counting on your acquiescence.

Instead of recognizing that the Victorian Teachers Union, leading religious educators, many religious leaders, and of course the majority of parents have all complained about his policy… Martin Dixon has gone public to defend ACCESS Ministries by saying that no one has told him “personally” that “ACCESS Ministries has forced religion down a child’s throat”.

Unfortunately for Martin Dixon, people are actually looking at what ACCESS Ministries do in our schools, and one leading curriculum expert described their lessons as:

”primitively anti-educational … a crude form of missionary indoctrination that went out of style in the 1950s”

Martin Dixon thinks he can be a propaganda officer for ACCESS Ministries and their activist mob who assert they have a “God given open door to reach children in our schools”. He thinks he can write you a “non response” letter and dump this mess on principals and teachers. He can’t. We won’t let him.

We will not accept this disgraceful performance, and we will not allow our schools to be open to sectarian interests of any sort, religious or otherwise, to commandeer parts or the whole of public education.

This means that you will have to keep pounding at the door. You will have to write again, you will have to call, you will have to explain to your friends why they should care and what they should do. The Minister of Education can ignore the Union, he can ignore religious educators and he can ignore the honest and progressive clergy. The one faction he can not ignore is: YOU.

The Minister of Education does not works for ACCESS Ministries, he works for YOU. He is an elected public servant, and as a parent with children in the school, he is answerable to you, and not the board of ACCESS Ministries.

If you haven’t already written to Martin Dixon about this, do so now. If you already have dig it out and resend with reference to his dismissal. Make it personal and make it clear that you are not going away.

Find your MP here

The men who are in charge of implementation of the Minister’s policy are:

Dennis Torpy, Sr. officer for Student Wellbeing: torpy.dennis.v@edumail.vic.gov.au

Duncan McGauchie, Chief of Staff for Minister Dixon: duncan.mcgauchie@minstaff.vic.gov.au

Additionally, Barry McGaw, chairman, National Curriculum Authority: bmcgaw@unimelb.edu.au , should hear from you as well, because of his comments today in the Sunday AGE who ran another story reporting on the controversy over SRI today.

The website remains the best way to keep abreast of the news on this issue, so please keep encouraging your friends to register their emails with the campaign: http://religionsinschool.com/news/

Do not give up, this system will be changed and you will be the reason that it changes.

Thank you for your ongoing help,


PS: Here is a an easy cut and paste for the emails:







Written by Robyn Dunphy

May 29, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Posted in News