Welcome to Janet's Blog

I first used this blog to publish "Trash" before I knew about ebooks. I wrote "Trash" twenty years ago. The novel explains why, in the original version of "If not for the tomatoes" Annie wrote: "We had aliens come and tell us". It wasn't Al Gore at all.

Annie isn't the hero of "Trash", but she has her own story ( a much more polished novel). Go to smashwords.com and look for "Tipping Point". (Follow the link to the right.)

If you're a first time visitor to my blog, try reading "If not for the tomatoes" first. (It's the short story in Annie's future - look in 6/5/07) This is only half the story, though. The complete story that inspired Tipping Point appears in my other blog as "Our choices".

To begin reading "Trash", start at 17/6/07. (Many apologies for the poor navigation.)


Thursday, 26 June 2014

Open for business

On his recent overseas trip, Tony Abbott told the world that Australia is open for business.

An image lurks in my mind, painted worse by my agreement with the sentiment expressed. The cartoon depicts a distasteful vision of a whore (Australia), legs akimbo, with the caption: "Open for business." I shudder at the way this image connects with my own sense of being violated by Mr Abbott's actions as Prime Minister.

As a citizen of Australia I feel responsible for the decisions being made in my name. I cringe with shame at the way we are treating asylum seekers, people so desperate they put themselves at risk as they flee, seeking a safe haven. Australia now sends them to Papua New Guinea. Does Mr Abbott have any idea of the violence endemic in PNG society? Our detention policies are barbaric.

His three word slogans are wearing thin. Stop the boats. Axe the tax. Ditch the bitch.

The harshness of Abbott's conservative (I'm trying not to say fascist) ideology is not supported by the evidence. As "necessary" budget cuts hit those who can least cope, HILDA research reported that "in 2001, 23 per cent of people aged 18 to 64 received weekly welfare payments."(1) In 2011 that had dropped to "18.5%".(2)

While the air force has new planes, the budget makes less available to support education, people with disabilities, senior citizens, workers on low incomes, the environment and more.
Less will be spent, in our growing population, to care for people's on-going health (a measure that saves money in the long run) in the name of increasing medical research. Medicare is being dismantled while money is poured into mining. Does poor Gina need a helping hand?

All of the budget measures suggest an ideology that has no compassion for the most vulnerable members of our society.

Abbott also wants to lead other nations in dismantling carbon pricing, saying it will endanger jobs. Yet
around the world countries are surviving their efforts to tackle climate change through carbon pricing. There are even robust examples of countries that have thrived in moving to a greener approach to life. Changing to new technologies can create jobs.

I keep thinking of a joke that went the rounds of the e-mails:
Question: Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

PLATO: For the greater good.


J.R.R. TOLKIEN: First, the Chicken, sunlight coruscating off its vibrant, silken coat of feathers, approached the silently ominous road and scrutinized it intently with the obsidian-black eyes. Every detail of the thoroughfare leapt into blinding focus: the rough, granulated texture of the surface, over which countless balding tyres had worked relentless thread through the ages; the innumerable fragments of the stone embedded within the lugubrious mass, and the dull black asphalt itself, pitted with crevices; and then it crossed.

DARWIN: It was the next logical step after it came down from the trees.

MARK TWAIN: The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.

BASIL FAWLTY: OH, Don't mind the chicken, it’s from Barcelona.

TONY ABBOTT: There is no evidence that the chicken exists, and I am not going to risk the jobs of hard working Australian families while attempting to deal with a non-existent threat.

Of course, it's an old joke. Abbott's name replaces John Howard's.

Meanwhile Clive Palmer is showing signs of becoming an environmental warrior, standing next to Al Gore. Does a mining magnate have more environmental conscience than our Prime Minister?

Or have I missed the punch-line?

Footnotes (1) and (2) - statistics drawn from "The Age" 16/6/2014

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