Quizzically Musing

Watching the madness

Posts Tagged ‘Victoria

Ted Baillieu – a real Liberal at last?

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Politics has taken a bit of a back seat in my life lately but I was pleased to read this article in today’s edition of The Age.  Budget tells us much about Ted Baillieu the man.

I’m not going to attempt to delve into the state budget details: what I am interested in here is a leader who looked to help the marginalised and disavantaged in our society.  For some reason, over the last couple of decades, the view of Liberal philosophy by the “man in the street” seems to have changed.  Even I changed my vote once at Federal level in frustration at what I perceived as an idealogical shift that seemed to put us more in line with the American Republicans, so perhaps the party was itself driving the changed view.

Politics is, it is said, a dangerous game.  I do not consider it dangerous for the politicians: it is a dangerous game for the people.  While the politicians are busy point scoring, they are often using us, the people, as the football.  I’d like to believe we can have more genuine policy and less crap tit for tat media sound bites.  I don’t want to read about how bad one side thinks the other is all the time, I want to know what the alternatives being offered are! 

I trust Ted lives up to Farrah Tomazin’s assessment.

I’m feeling very encouraged!



Written by Robyn Dunphy

May 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Legal lunacy?

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I should not have been surprised when I read this.  But I am surprised.  This is nothing short of utter stupidity in my view.  Bureaucracy or red tape or something gone nutty.

Read the full article for how one in receipt of such an order is supposed to crystal ball the problem, but the crux of it is:

Allow him to explain. ”I received a County Court suppression order warning me that under the Serious Sex Offenders Act I could not identify a respondent or broadcast any information that may lead to the identification of that respondent ‘without the leave of the court’.”

Fair enough so far. But wait: ”When I went to see whose name I could not legally use, the suppression order said the man’s name had been suppressed. So I have a court order telling me I cannot name a person whose name they won’t tell me – but if, by a fluke, I do mention a name that happens to be the one they have suppressed – I am breaking the law.”

Whoo, seriously weird. Browser phoned the Justice Department, which flicked us on to the County Court where a spokeswoman told us: ”Ahhh, most of the time the names are there. On rare occasions they are not. If they are not suppressed in the Magistrates Court and you follow the matter through, you will know who that person is. And sometimes they are suppressed after the first directions hearing. Before that time the name will be published. But it can be tricky, I agree.”

When I was working through my husband’s shambles of a protection visa case I came across all sorts of things that made me shake my head in utter amazement.  I’m actually not sure what is worse – or maybe both are cut from the same cloth.

What the hell has happened to plain old every day common sense?

I’m totally ignoring the big news of the day, on the basis it is no surprise: we have another election result so close that again no result will be known  for days.  What did worry me about the election was the terribly low voter turnout.  Where is democracy going when even in a country where voting is compulsory, we seem more prepared to pay a fine that exercise our democratic right? 

And so the world turns……..

Written by Robyn Dunphy

November 28, 2010 at 12:09 am

Posted in News, Stupidity

Tagged with , , ,

Another dead heat? Voting in Australia…..

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Chamber, Parliament

Elections!  Arrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhhh!  This time it is Victorian State Parliament.  We just had a hung Federal election and it looks like we could get a hung Victorian one as well if some of the commentators are to be believed.  While I rarely agree with Andrew Bolt about anything much at all, I have to say he is rather on point with his assessment that this looks like another “dead heat” in the making.

Farrah Tomazin of The Age is saying rather much the same thing.

The headline banner of the HeraldSun says “On a Knife Edge”.

I have a sense of deja vu.  Impending doom of another two week wait for independants to clutch their moment of power while staring at the TV cameras like deer caught in the headlights.  Maybe not quite, but there is no situation like a hung election result to give an amazing amount of attention to a few – sometimes just one.  There was once this senator from Tasmania, I believe………

We Victorians will all dutifully trudge to the polls tomorrow at our local primary school, the church hall, the this or that building to have our names marked off the role and put our numbers in the little boxes.  Those of us who forget will be fined if we don’t have good reason for foresaking our democratic right to vote.  To Americans the concept of compulsory voting is indeed strange.  They think it is undemocratic.  But then I have had Americans swear they live in a republic, definitely not a democracy.  I’m not sure what they teach in American schools about “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.  At least we have the sense to hold elections on a Saturday.  Can you imagine voting on a Tuesday, a work day?

I like the fact Australia makes it a family thing.  Children pop along with their parents and grow up with the idea voting is the normal thing to do.  The odd sausage sizzle adds to the flavour of the day.  We could do without all the “how-to-vote” cards but I guess it just goes with the territory.  How many really follow those things anyway?

In the Federal election we had a record number of “informal” votes – in fact, if I recall correctly, we had a record number of actual blank votes.  Perhaps I should explain a little.  You see, having been a scrutineer myself in another life, I can personally attest to the interesting things one finds on ballot papers.  Interesting anatomical drawings are not uncommon.  Swearing is also popular.  Blank is actually quite unusual.

People in Australia have been making quite a political football out of asylum seekers of late, especially any that happen to cross the seas in a boat.  To those people who want to see us treat these people to the conditions of places such as Christmas Island and then send them home, I suggest as you exercise your vote on Saturday, you take a moment to reflect on how lucky you are to be able to stroll down to the polling station, kids in tow, grab a snag from the fund raising sausage sizzle and wander home in peace.  With your hands still attached to your wrists.  No bullet through your head.  No risk of your wife or daughter being raped because you had the audacity to vote.

Treat your right to vote with the respect it deserves and while you are doing it, have a thought for those who flee from regimes where it is perilous to attempt to achieve the freedoms we take for granted.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

November 26, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Laws or no laws, the numbers are bad

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Children.  Vulnerable, dependant, lovable, cute: they can also be little horrors as any parent knows.  Adults of this world are responsible for ensuring the safety and upbringing of our children.

Today’s edition of The Age carried a story that should make all of us stop and think, irrespective of our voting preferences.  I’m happy to let the politicians argue over our laws: what we do or don’t have and is it enough.  What I DO know is that the numbers in the article are not what we should expect from a civilised country.  “… more than 1000 incidents in 2009-10 that were classified category 1 ...” and “More than 21,100 category 2 incidents were reported – events that seriously threaten clients or staff.”

Australia is a signatory to the Hague Convention of 1996 and to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The latter specifically states:

Article 19

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.

Australia (not just Victoria) has had some really horrendous cases of child abuse lately.  The field of child protection cannot be an easy field to work in: I expect the stress levels would be quite high.  Clearly from the article in The Age, the staff turnover is very high.

As I mentioned in an earlier entry, Hilary Clinton made famous a Nigerian proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”. 

On the numbers given, this village, our village, is clearly failing a great many children.  While we can attempt to protect the children most at risk, to me this is a reactive process.  We have to find a proactive approach at look for the sources of the problems.  Why are so many people placing children in these situations?  What can we do to minimise, if not prevent, this happening?

A while ago I wrote about “Moving Forward” and covered several aspects of the state’s “rules” relating to protecting children and how there seemed on the face of it to be considerable contradiction when looking at the larger picture.  My comments there are also applicable to this entry today.

The best most of us can do is NOT turn a blind eye.  We are members of the village.  It takes a village to raise a child.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

November 24, 2010 at 10:49 am