An Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006 Survey of Literacy found that 46.8% of adult Australians had a literacy level that was “insufficient to meet the complex demands of every day life and work in the emerging knowledge-based economy”. This quote is from a PowerPoint hand-out from my recent training to be a tutor of adults with literacy issues. And we are talking about people with English as their FIRST language. It is a pretty shocking statistic, don’t you think?
So if I was to produce a series of books for adult literacy students, do you think a market exists for such publications? The Read Write Now! people who ran the training course I attended said there is a very limited pool of resources for this group of people. Most resources are targeted at those with English as a second language and their needs are different.
Some of you may know that I am also doing a course in Professional Writing and I need to come up with an idea for a publication. My idea is: Words for Work, getting to first base…
So, if you were on the look out for this book, where would you start looking? Please take part in my poll today and you will make me one very happy blogger :-). Choose as many answers as you wish.
WordPress is encouraging bloggers to take on a divisive issue so I have decided to swim with the sharks on this one!
Our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard is doing it tough but I still support her government. Many don’t. Her opponents think she should resign and go away quietly. Julia is our first female Prime Minister. She challenged the former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, in a leadership ballot three years ago and she won. She has faced two more leadership ballots, the latest one being Thursday 21 March 13. A national election will be held later this year.
Julia has taken on some enormous challenges and I believe, has implemented significant legislation such as: a carbon pricing system; a new tax on the “Super” profits of mining companies; her team have managed to keep Australia out of recession and employment has increased under their leadership.
Criticism directed at our Prime Minister is very personal and her crimes include:
she has a “twang” in her voice made fun of by the media
she has a big nose
she is an atheist living in a de facto relationship (she doesn’t push her personal beliefs on to others)
some say she has a big bum (I am sure mine is probably bigger but we won’t go there!)
Why are these issues important? If she was a man, would these issues get any air play in Australia? I don’t think so.
I confess I don’t support her policy on asylum seekers and the decision to process them off shore. I have great compassion for people escaping their repressive and dangerous countries and wanting a better life.
One cannot help but admire her inner strength against such incredible pressure and criticism. She is an inspiration along the lines of Maggie Thatcher but the other side of the political spectrum.
It is not my intention here to build a defense for Julia Gillard or to give an account of her government’s performance. I am trying to express my opinion and hopefully stimulate some debate about our Prime Minister and perhaps about women in leadership generally.
Western Australia has a State Election coming up soon. Twenty years ago I decided to have a go at becoming a politician myself and, lucky for me, I was unsuccessful 🙂
Am I alone in becoming more cynical as I get older? Politics can be very exciting when one is in the thick of it. I am not sure what that part is that makes it exciting. I am sure power has something to do with it. I would like to believe it is the hope of making a positive difference in the community. Below is a snippet from my election material in 1993. I still believe the same today and try to make a positive impact, even in a small way, in the community I live in today.
Parliament House, Perth – Western Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yesterday I was in Perth and was waiting for my husband to pick me up after an appointment. I looked across the road from where I was waiting and realised it was the Electorate Office for Greens’ Member of Parliament, Robin Chapple. This brought back some memories for me…
We had been interstate on holidays (vacation :-)) and had a stopover in Perth before returning home to the Newman in the Pilbara. It was only a few weeks out from the State Election. I picked up a copy The West Australian newspaper. It was all doom and gloom about four seats that were at risk of being lost and, if that happened, there would be a change in Government.
When I saw that Northern Rivers Electorate, where we lived, was one that was predicted to be lost, I felt I had to do something about it. My husband at the time, and I were already very involved with the local political parties. I suggested to him that I could run for the seat to help defeat the opposition. He was supportive of the idea.
When we got home I discovered several messages on my phone (we didn’t have mobiles at the time). It was Robin Chapple, from the Greens Party. He was planning to run for the Greens for the Upper House and suggested I run for the Lower House. With our preferential voting system, if I didn’t win the seat, I could choose where to direct the votes that I received. I would be able to support the current local Member of Parliament to retain his seat against the Opposition. It was one of those times when everything seems to fall into place.
I said to Robin that I could only stand for the Greens if I was comfortable with what their policies were. He was able to give up a comprehensive run down of what they believed and hoped to do. It aligned closely with my values and ideas so I agreed to give it a go! The local paper described me as a respected Shire Councillor and community worker :-). I only had a short time to campaign for votes and had a great time of it. I even went as far as kissing babies on election day.
It was an exciting time and a lot of hard work. I don’t regret what I did, but if you asked me to do the same thing today, I would just laugh and say “No way! You must be kidding !”
And the result: our local member retained his seat in parliament but we lost government. Robin Chapple didn’t win his seat but he persevered and eventually was successful – which brings me back to the beginning of this blog!
Each year on the 26th January there is a Public Holiday to celebrate Australia Day.
The journey of the First Fleet (eleven ships) commenced on 13 May 1787. The ships were sent by the British Admiralty from England to Australia. The fleet’s goal was to set up a penal colony on Botony Bay in New South Wales (where it had been explored and claimed earlier in 1770 by James Cook). The Fleet, with the leadership of Arthur Phillip, arrived between 18 and 20 January 1788, but found Botony Bay was not suitable.
An alternative site was found and named Sydney Cove. According to Wikipedia “On 26 January, early in the morning, Phillip along with a few dozen marines, officers and oarsmen, rowed ashore and took possession of the land in the name of King George III. The remainder of the ship’s company and the convicts watched from on board the Supply.” Some contact was made with local aborigines.
Australia Day is sometimes called Invasion Day by many of the country’s Indigenous people. There is a concerted effort to communicate issues on reconciliation, communication and cooperation over land rights and the wider needs of the Indigenous Australians. In January 1988, a highly visible Tent Embassy was established and became of focal point for the aims of many of the the local Indigenous people. “One of the aims of the embassy was to be seen by the many thousands of Sydneysiders whom the organisers claimed did not know, and rarely even saw, any Aboriginal people “(Wikipedia).
The Tent Embassy still stands today and a comment (misquoted, but thoughtless) by the Leader of the Opposition set off a chain of events on this year’s Australia Day. The Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition were trapped in a building surrounded by angry Indigenous people and their supporters. People heard that the Opposition Leader said on radio, he wanted to remove the
Image via Wikipedia
Tent Embassy. Tempers flared as protesters banged on the glass walls of the building where the function was being held. Security people were called in to rescue the PM and Opposition Leader as they feared for their safety.
There was a lot of coverage of the incident in our local media and I believe it had a few seconds of air time around the world. It has rekindled a range of negative feelings and attitudes and set us all back to some degree. Personally I didn’t condone the violence and fear of the protest, however I believe the Indigenous people have a valid right to be recognised as the original inhabitants of this land. They were here for 30-40 thousand years before the First Fleet arrived and they have not been recognised as the original custodians of the land. It is time this is dealt with, sensitively and appropriately.
Queen Elizabeth II is visiting Western Australia today to open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). It is a BIG deal to the City of Perth. Security measures are incredible. It seems that they decided on a pre-emptive strike by deciding there were SOME people they didn’t want anywhere near the City or the Queen and so they wrote and told them they could be arrested if they came anywhere near where the action is. These are people who may be environmental activists or just “known” to the police. I can understand why they would want to do that, but surely it is a crime against these individuals’ civil rights.
Apart from the paranoid officials, most people are happy to see the Queen visit our shores. She is an amazing woman and she has maintained her dignity throughout many a family scandal. As a parent, I can empathise with that!
A few years ago there was interest in Australia becoming a republic. There was a referendum with some “ill worded” questions and the result was a resounding NO. With the Queen being 85 years old, many people seem to be happy to see her live out her days as our Queen. There is not much enthusiasm for Prince Charles to become our king though! I think the republican movement will come to life when, and if, that time arises.
So, when I said it is the Queen or nothing, I was expressing my lack of anything exciting to write about today. It is a lovely spring day and I spent some time mulching the front garden to prepare it for a hot summer ahead.
I was at work in the office in Perth. It was pre-Christmas 2002. I rang a colleague to remind him about a meeting the following week. He responded, “I will be gone by then!” He took me by surprise as I didn’t know anything about him leaving his job in the Goldfields/Esperance Region.
He was taking 12 months leave without pay to follow his passion and work on a breakfast radio program in Kalgoorlie. He did volunteer work there and loved it. They offered him a paid job and took it with both hands.
My next question was, “Who is going to do your job? ” No-one was appointed at that stage. He suggested I ring the boss if I was interested, and I was. I got on the phone to Larry (the boss) and expressed my interest in doing Steve’s job for 2003. He was agreeable – great news!
I threw in another request, “Can I live in Esperance (and not Kalgoorlie) and do the job. He said he couldn’t see why not. Within the space of one hour, I found myself agreeing to be transferred 700kms south-east of Perth to beautiful Esperance.
We agreed I would start in the new job in February 2003. I had to find some office space and some accommodation. I still had two of my sons living with me in Perth so they agreed to stay on and rent the house from me.
So in February 2003 I started my adventure working in the Goldfields/Esperance Region of WA. It was a quick and impulsive decision, but one of the best I have ever made. I had a great time and covered 30,000kms in driving in the region in 12 months.
I lived on my own after sharing with my three sons for many years. I could choose what music I listened to; I had full authority with the remote control; the house stayed tidy all the time; I could enjoy the silence; and I only had to cook and shop for me.
My base was in Esperance and I travelled to Salmon Gums, Norseman, Kalgoorlie, Coolgardie, Boulder, Menzies and Laverton . I met some great people and saw some incredible parts of outback WA, dotted with mining communities.
I wonder what surprises are ahead for me this year!