Tag Archives: politics

Political Profiles with Ms Robin: Senator Penny Wong

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Penny Wong in a blue suit with arms crossed standing in front of green foliage. Quote: I used to be more of a nerd than I am. Not a computer nerd, just sort of nerdy. I like the notion that the Senate is actually where you legislate, where you look at stuff.

Captain, oh my Captain. How I wish thee were a minister and not a senator so that thee could become Prime Minister of Australia. Senator Wong is quite simply the best person in Australian politics. She can manage to give the vibe of an eye roll without being so petty as to resort to an eye roll. She is one of Australia’s most popular politicians and it’s because of two simple things, which should be common in politics but are unfortunately rare, she’s firm but also fair.

In 2016 Senator Brandis tried to language police Senator Wong, trying to shame her for using standard expressions instead of formal English at all time, she responded with this ripper, ‘Would you just like to be pompous for the whole day, or only this question?’ And I swear a bit of excited wee snuck out when I heard that. In 2018 when Michaelia Cash, our Minister for Women FFS, decided to randomly slur all the younger women in Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s office rather than answer a question posed to her. Senator Wong wasn’t even in the hearing, heard about the outrageous slurs against women being made be our Minister for Women, rocked up to the hearing, demanded an apology, refused to accept Michaelia Cash dodging the issue, and indeed got an apology. I know who our real Minister for Women is, Senator Bloody Wong. Furthermore, in 2011 when David Bushby meowed at her during Senate she gave him such an unimpressed look that I thought he might just whither and die. Later he claimed he wasn’t being a sexist fool, yeah right mate you meow at men all the time, but Senator Wong was having none of his shit. She responded, which was important for all women, because it is past time for us to ignore these constant, sexist microaggressions and time for them to stop. #timesup. Senator Wong said, “It is just extraordinary. The blokes are allowed to yell but if a woman stands her ground, you want to make that kind of comment. It’s not schoolyard politics, mate.”

When she first assumed office in 2002 Senator Wong was one of only a handful of women in higher political positions and certainly the only gay Asian female candidate. In fact she was the first Asian born member of an Australian cabinet, the second openly gay member and the first openly gay female member. Things have changed in terms of diversity thanks to Senator Wong’s impressive lead but we still have a long way to go. In 2013 Senator Wong was appointed as Leader of the Government in the Senate and was the first woman to hold that position. Late in the same year when Labor lost government she was appointed as the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, she is the first woman to hold this position also.

Senator Wong was appointed Minister for Climate Change in 2007. She made significant advances in funding renewable energy, in particular solar and wind power. She also helped to develope the government’s emissions trading scheme under the Rudd government which was to significantly reduce our greenhouse emissions. In 2010 she was appointed as the Finance Minister and helped develop Australia’s budgets during the Global Financial Crisis. Australia has been praised as standing relatively secure during this time. During this time Wong most notably implemented a policy to ensure women are considered for senior positions in both the government and corporations. She truly is our Minister for Women and I cannot think of a better politician to discuss on International Women’s Day. On top of this Wong was instrumental in changing Labor’s policy in regards to Same Sex Marriage. Labor had initially opposed SSM but through work by Penny Wong and other members of Labor the policy was changed and they began to actively campaign for a change in Australian marriage laws. From January 9th 2018 on SSM has been legalised in Australia.

In 1997 Pauline Hanson released Pauline Hanson: The Truth in which she claimed that by 2050 Australia would be run by an Asian, lesbian Cyborg… named Poona Li Hung. She actually named it! Let’s not unpack all of that right now because this is Senator Wong’s entry not Pauline Hanson’s. But Australia is more than happy to drop the cyborg bit and bring the date forward for Penny Wong. Please become our supreme ruler, we love you.

Senator Wong sitting in front of a grey background with her hands folded in front of her. Soft but cheeky smile. Wearing blue suit with purple and white vertical stripe top. Quote: You can choose not to be interested in politics, but you can’t choose to be unaffected by it.

Read about my views on being a dyslexic writer here.

Read about my thoughts on author branding here.

Read my profiles of the Australian Book Industry here.

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Mark Latham is a BEEP

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So… it’s Postnatal Depression Awareness Week,  we’re all wanting to #bePNDaware … What does Mark Latham do? Write a revolting article shaming women with mental illness. What does The Australian Financial Review do? Prints it. They print this ridiculous article that shames women who take antidepressants, shames women who want a career, shames women who struggle with this whole motherhood thing at all. Because apparently your child’s smile should be the only antidepressant that you need and if you need more you are selfish and hate your children. Apparently Mark Latham knows this because he is a Stay At Home Dad, who has lots of leisure time, tends his garden and cooks gourmet meals, single handedly. Where the fuck are the kids that you are taking care of whilst you are doing those things!!! Either they are in school being cared for by others or you have help where other take care of them also.

And correct me if I’m wrong… but doesn’t Latham have a little bit of an Anger Management problem? One that is evidently not responding to his rigorous treatment of smiles from kiddies as he is still doing the aggressive handshake stand over combo he loves so much.

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So maybe,  just maybe, this article is an anxious lashing out because he’s so deeply insecure about his own situation. Mark Latham,  I invite you to see your GP and get a Mental Health Action Plan drawn up. Don’t shun treatment. You don’t have to live your life in such an angry way. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Please reach out and get help, because as you say yourself, your kids are the most important people in the world and they deserve someone who can model compassion and contentment not just dominance.

If you or someone you know has postnatal depression you can find good resources on the following sites:

  1. Gidget Foundation http://gidgetfoundation.com.au/
  2. PANDA http://www.panda.org.au/
  3. PIRI http://www.piri.org.au/
  4. Black Dog Institute http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
  5. Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au/ 

Memoir of a Teacher: Chapter 2, Nothing to be Frightened of

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Memoir of a Teacher: Chapter 2, Nothing to be Frightened of

Continuing on with my inspired memoir from yesterday in honour of #NaNoWriMo and my dear friend Pete. I’d say enjoy but how could you not?

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Memoir of a Teacher: Nothing to be Frightened of

I don’t believe in frogs, but I miss them. That’s what I say when the question is put. I asked my brother, who has waxed philosophical whilst drunk in pubs in Wollongong and Newcastle, what he thought of such a statement, without revealing that it was my own. He replied with a few words: “What a load of Wank.”

The person to begin the second chapter of my illustrious memoir with is my maternal grandmother, Grandma Cindy, although neither her first nor last name is Cindy, that was her dog’s name. She was a secretary in Edinburgh until she married my grandfather, Arthur James. He may have had a snazzy nickname like Arty, King or Jimmy Jim Jim Jaroo but as he died when my mother was fourteen I never met him so can’t really comment. He was an architect with a certain Scottish dash to him: a man without a tartan, which my grandmother often lorded over him, but born and raised there no less. By the time I knew them, my grandfather was ashes under a rose bush and my grandmother was living in Wollongong an hour away from her nearest child. Grandma was an avid church goer; she was in the choir, on the board and working in the op shop. She was petite, outwardly very opinionated, and had the paper thin skin of old age that made me live in constant fear that she might burst open at any given moment. Her wardrobe was full of kilts, not necessarily in her tartan, and beige petticoats of every length. She had regular appointments with God and being Godly and had bern advised she was a top notch sheila. Mainly by me, I thought she was the cat’s pajamas.

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My brother remembers that once, when he was very small, he went into Grandpa’s garden and pulled up all the flowers. Grandma yelled at him until he howled, then turned uncharacteristically white, confessed everything to our mother, and swore she would never again yell at the children. Actually, my brother doesn’t remember any of this — neither the flowers nor the yelling. He was just told the story repeatedly by our mother. And indeed, were he to remember it, he might well be wary. As a soccer player who has suffered from severe concussion, he believes that memories are often false, “so much so that, on the Cartesian principle of the rotten apple, none is to be trusted unless it has some external support.” I am more trusting, or self-deluding, so shall continue as if all my memories are true. Yet also acknowledge that my siblings’ memories are probably nothing more than rotten apples.

Our mother was christened Anne Margaret although my father often spelt it Anne Magarat. She hated the Rat, and complained about it to anybody who would listen, whose explanation were genereall that Dad was a bit of a turd at times. She has followed in her mother’s footsteps and goes to church and tries to run as much as possible.

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In my childhood, the three unmentionable subjects were the traditional ones: periods, politics, and sex. When I got my first period I thought I was dying of cancer, my father still refuses to mention who he votes for and sex I worked out. I’ve got three kids to prove it.

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As for religion, this was discussed at length my father would tell me if I didn’t follow his church exactly I’d not only go to hell but get a belting and my mother would yell us how much better and cooler her church was and put equal amounts of pressure, through guilt rather than fear, to tow the line. Consequently I developed huge social anxieties around going out for public rituals like picnics, dinners and dances.

As my parents are still very much alive I think I’ll leave the “appropriation” there and start thinking of the third chapter of my highly anticipated memoir.

This was of course taken from Nothing to be Frightened of by the brilliant Julian Barnes.  Read the real thing here http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/05/books/chapters/chap-nothing-to-be-frightened-of.html?pagewanted=all

Read the first chapter of my “memoir” here https://riedstrap.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/memoir-of-a-teacher-a-red-hot-tip-for-nanowrimo/

The Phoenix: the passing of Gough Whitlam

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The Phoenix: the passing of Gough Whitlam

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The passing of Gough Whitlam,  an iconic Australian politician,  has stirred many feelings amongst the Australian public. For me I admired how once ousted Whitlam picked himself up, dusted himself off and set about taking his life in a different direction but still bringing about change to the Australian public. He embodied the phoenix rising from the ashes. This starkly contrasted with another recent Australian former politician, Kevin Rudd, who when ousted set about quite an aggressive campaign to claw his way back into his previous position. The changes he had wanted to bring to the Australian public had been all but forgotten and all he wanted was the position. He couldn’t see the forest for the trees. These two ex Prime Ministers demonstrated two very different approaches to adversity and ruin. Rise up and away from the adversity and continue on to live your dream in a more liberated way, or, become so obsessed with one detail that the bile and the hatred flows out of you destroying yourself and those around you.

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Your move, how will you face adversity?  Whitlam it or Rudd it?

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