The idea for this post came from some questions raised by Eric Tonningsen‘s blog Awakening to Awareness.
So, what do you like to talk about? I don’t mean the casual exchanges and polite conversations with people who pass through our lives.
I have a real desire for deep and meaningful conversations – usually in a one on one situation. I like to think about possibilities for our shared future. I search for answers to the questions about why we still go to war knowing the enormous costs – especially to loss of life, property and our shared interests and history.
I also love talking to children aged from about three years old and above. I love the simplicity of how they see the world and I marvel and how much a child can see from such an early age.
It is also good to hear the wisdom of people who have lived a long life without becoming embittered by it. There is so much we can learn from our elders.
People who have hit rock bottom in their lives can also have a great clarity about what is important and how to do it – or at least where to start that journey.
Issues such as euthanasia, the death penalty, the customs and beliefs of other cultures and religions are also stimulating topics. I do not like to argue and very much believe in the philosophy of ‘live and let live’. I can sustain a conversation with someone whose views are totally different than mine and accept that they have the right to believe as they choose. I also hope others will offer me the same respect.
Scientific topics are interesting but my depth of knowledge is limited. I try to keep an open mind. I also hope the scientists will keep an open mind as well and not defend their ideas for the sake of protecting a point of view. Science itself is evolving and we learn new things each day and sometimes dispose of past beliefs in the process.
I also like to listen to good jokes. I am not very good at telling them though 🙂
From mid-morning until now (9:00pm) I have been captivated by the unfolding of yet another leadership challenge in the Australian political system. It went to a vote and former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd defeated the current Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, in a ballot for the leadership. The vote was 57 to 45.
I have never seen so much political analysis and speculation as the experts tried to fill in the time while the politicians were changing the landscape. I know many people will be pleased with the outcome and yet others will be very disappointed. I am inspired by the strength and courage of Julia Gillard and I believe she will be remembered as one of our greatest performers in Australian politics. I know some will disagree with me and I respect their right to do so.
I am grateful that I live in a democracy where these debates and differences can be dealt with without blood shed. I hope we can now reflect on the positive achievements of the past three years and move forward with strength.
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.
“The 1975 Australian constitutional crisis (sometimes called “the Dismissal“) has been described as the greatest political crisis and constitutional crisis in Australia’s history. It culminated on 11 November 1975 with the removal of the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam (elected in 1972) of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), by Governor-General Sir John Kerr. Kerr then appointed the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Fraser, as caretakerPrime Minister. When the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, went to seek the Governor General’s approval for an election, the Governor General instead dismissed him as Prime Minister, and shortly thereafter installed Malcolm Fraser in his place. Though Kerr, who died in 1991, continues to be reviled in some quarters, Whitlam and Fraser later reconciled.”
Gough Whitlam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was 18 in 1972 and voted for the first time. It was an exciting time in politics in Australia. The Australian Labor Party had been out in the wilderness since Prime Minister Ben Chifley was defeated by the Liberals in 1949! Gough Whitlam was elected as Prime Minister and leader of the Australian Labor Party after a landslide victory.
Today’s blog is not about history though! It is about people and how we perceive them with the limited knowledge available to us at the time. I, and thousands of others, hated John Kerr and Malcolm Fraser for bringing down the elected Government of the day. Even at 18 I could see a great injustice against our democratic rights to have the party we voted for to remain in office. Great offense was caused and outrage ensued. Passions were ignited! Malcolm Fraser spoke like the “upper classes” and we believed he “was born with a silver spoon in his mouth”! He is remembered for his use of the phrase “Life wasn’t meant to be easy”. Our reaction was… “What does he know about the working classes – his life appeared to be very easy indeed!” It has been fascinating to see the retired Malcolm Fraser in action. It seems that a lot of our hatred of the man was misdirected. It is said that he is one of the most misunderstood Prime Ministers in our history. Today he speaks out about the harsh treatment of refugees and is often on the side of the disadvantaged in the community and against the views of the big L liberals. It just goes to show that we only see what we want to see in a person. Perhaps memoirs offer an opportunity to tell the story of the misunderstood or, less kindly, it is the opportunity to rewrite history in a different light. Skip forward now to 2012 and today I am reading “Malcolm Fraser, The Political Memoirs” by Malcolm Fraser and Margaret Simons. I still find it hard to warm to the man but I feel I can better understand his side of the story and elements of his personality (or some would say, lack there-of). He was incredibly shy and not good in social interaction or in finding friends. This was seen as arrogance and snobbery.
We mustn’t be too quick to judge our fellow men and women.
I was in Perth earlier this week. I had some time to fill in so, instead of catching a bus, I decided to walk to my destination. I had my camera handy and had fun taking photos along the way. The gardens at Parliament House were looking really pretty so I thought I would share some with you!
English: The Mount Whaleback mine at Newman, Western Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I lived and breathed politics at one time in my life. The left side of politics was under threat in Newman (iron-ore mining in the North West of Western Australia). Robe River Mining had taken on the Unions and beaten them – it was a bitter fight. Other mining companies tried to shake off the unions and there were lots of strikes – lots of nasty name calling as well.
I didn’t work for the mine but I did some casual work with the local Labor Member of Parliament. I then took on the Secretary’s job at the local ALP Branch. I loved it. All sorts of issues came up and I wrote letters to anyone and everyone. I realized that one person writing one letter can make a BIG difference to a community. I represented the branch and that had some impact.
We fought against issues like “fly-in, fly-out” contractors. They came to work for two weeks on and one week off. They didn’t contribute anything to the community infrastructure – in fact services were under threat as the number of school children reduced so teachers were withdrawn etc.
I’m not so passionate about politics today. I still believe that one person can make a difference though. Cynicism can take over if you let it!
The politicians visited town often and the local ALP branch members used to put them up over night. It was so interesting to get the inside story. I know they worked incredibly hard with long hours every week. Is it the power that drives them to keep going? My lads gave up their beds for the night so that a couple of them could stay over. One of them left their silk dressing gown behind once and I had to parcel it up and send to his wife with a message I hope she believed!
Sometimes I would get up in the morning and find one of them doing my dishes. That was a pleasant sight 🙂
Image via Wikipedia
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.
That’s my thoughts on the matter 🙂
Cheers for now
This article is very interesting and well written.
via Lazy Optimist