Tag Archives: Campbell Newman

Hey, Mr Tamborine Man

3 Dec

(With thanks to @ForrestGumpp for the title, and for reminding me of Dylan’s song)

I’m sitting in the Mt Tamborine library, availing myself of free wireless for three hours. It’s the most delightful little library I’ve seen in a long time, the kind of library in children’s story books with jolly librarians and interesting-looking customers. Something fantastical could happen in this library.

Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin’ ship…

Mrs Chook sits opposite me, researching some nasty-sounding nasal surgery she’s been guaranteed will fix her blocked nose. She keeps asking me to tell her if she ought to have it done or not, but why anyone would ask my opinion on something like that, let alone someone who knows me as well as Mrs Chook does,  I don’t know. I can’t even decide what to have for breakfast, after four months of sustained stress that has left me exhausted, and second-guessing every step I take.

My weariness amazes me…

We’re here because my Archie family has just moved up from the coast to live here, but now they’ve gone to Hawaii and we’re looking after the dogs and luxuriating in the panoramic views from their front windows, views that stretch from the Gold Coast to Mt Warning. It’s  about five degrees cooler than the coast and a good deal less humid. Watching the sun rise out of the sea made me teary this morning. Followed by a hike through an enchanting palm grove with enormous and ancient red carabeen trees, then coffee, lime and coconut scones at a North Tamborine cafe and the world is looking a whole lot better than it did a few days ago.

Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow…

In the forest we startled large groups of what look like very small wallabies, Mrs Chook is researching them as well to find out what they are. They squatted, staring at us gravely and with surprising trust.

We just had a fight about a picture she says is them and I say isn’t. This may not end well.

I haven’t watched the news, read a paper, or given a stuff about politics and politicians, so I have nothing to contribute to whatever is going on. All I know is when you just can’t take anymore, head for the natural world and immerse.

Let me forget about today until tomorrow…

But…Campbell Newman is doing his best to stuff up Queensland’s natural beauty, and the mayor of the Gold Coast is trying for a cable car from Surfers to the top of the mountain. It never feckin ends, does it?

Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.
 
Though I know that evenin’s empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming.
 
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to 
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.
 
Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin’ ship
My senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel to grip
My toes too numb to step, wait only for my boot heels
To be wanderin’
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way
I promise to go under it.
 
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to 
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.
 
Though you might hear laughin’, spinnin’ swingin’ madly across the sun
It’s not aimed at anyone, it’s just escapin’ on the run
And but for the sky there are no fences facin’
And if you hear vague traces of skippin’ reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time, it’s just a ragged clown behind
I wouldn’t pay it any mind, it’s just a shadow you’re
Seein’ that he’s chasing.
 
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to 
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.
 
Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.
 
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to 
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.
 
Bob Dylan

What is it with conservatives and vulnerable people?

29 Jul

The refusal by Coalition states to put money on the table for the NDIS trials early this week makes no sense. If it was a purely political act, then one has to wonder what they imagined it would achieve. Every way you look at it the decision reflects badly on them. Premier O’Farrell (NSW) and Premier Baillieu’s (Victoria) back down two days later looks like a  win for PM Julia Gillard, while their initial refusal looks decidedly lacking in understanding and compassion for people living with a disability, and the carers the scheme is designed to assist.

Campbell Newman, aka the Butcher of Brisbane, continues to withhold financial support  from the scheme, and as a bonus has withdrawn a $6.50 payment to taxi drivers who transport disabled people, for whom accessing a taxi requires a good deal more time and assistance than Mr Newman needs to hop into his car.

What is it with conservatives and vulnerable people?

It’s hard to believe the conservatives involved in this particular decision to boycott assistance for the vulnerable actually thought “Well it doesn’t matter, they are disabled, they aren’t like us, so what do we care because they are weaker so they don’t deserve showers every day and a life.”

Anymore than Adolf Eichmann thought about the lives of the Jews his organisational talents and ideological commitment combined to ensure were efficiently despatched to their deaths. What Eichmann, O’Farrell, Baillieu and Newman have in common is that they failed (and in Newman’s case, continue to fail) to acknowledge that they were and are dealing with human beings. Human beings with particularly difficult challenges, in the contemporary situation, and I include those who care for disabled people.

Yes, I know there’s a big difference between Eichmann and the Coalition, but they are on the same continuum, a continuum that denies the humanity of others unlike themselves. What is so chilling about the politicising of NDIS is that someone made the choice to politicise it, and to entirely disregard the human beings affected by that choice.

It’s really a case of blaming the victim. If you are unfortunate enough to be born with or incur a disability that affects your life, conservatives are not going to make it easy for you because there must be something wrong with you to be disabled in the first place. Like the poor, it’s your own fault. Social structures are not responsible, it’s the behaviours and cultural patterns of the poor that put them where they are.

In short, many conservatives seem to share an attitude that causes them to blame the poor for their poverty and the vulnerable for their vulnerability. There are some who claim this contempt for the “weak” is a feature of the fascist character.

Then there’s the psychological theory of projection, in which the subconscious denies his or her own fears and emotions, and ascribes them to others. Accepting the inevitable vulnerability of being human can be quite a challenge. Nobody wants to feel powerless, or at the mercy of others. Seeing those who are powerless and vulnerable can provoke anger and repulsion, because they are living reminders of what we could be at any moment. Disabled. Poor. Seeking asylum. Responsible for another human being who cannot live without our assistance. At the mercy of others. Not in control.

People who are unable to come to terms with their own vulnerability can react with great antagonism towards those who are in some way injured, and in need of care.  One way of dealing with these extremely uncomfortable feelings is to frame the vulnerable as entirely different and lesser than oneself, thus creating a distance, an illusion of safety and an illusion of  invulnerability. Bad things happen to them, not us, because they aren’t as good as us. The ego can pretend to retain control over the uncontrollable.

However we frame the conservatives’ contempt for people living with a disability and their carers, the bottom line is, it is very unsettling. In my opinion, the two premiers would not have backed down had there not been an angry public reaction to their decision. What does this say about the men and women of the Coalition? Nothing good, I fear and it should cause us to think hard and long about an Australia governed by men and women incapable of seeing others as human as themselves, because they are overtly vulnerable in some way.

I give the last word to George Harrison:

Have you seen the little piggies
Crawling in the dirt
And for all those little piggies
Life is getting worse
Always having dirt to play around in.

Have you seen the bigger piggies
In their starched white shirts
You will find the bigger piggies
Stirring up the dirt
And they always have clean shirts to play around in.

And in their styes with all their backing
They don’t care what goes on around
And in their eyes there’s something lacking
What they needs a damm good whacking.

Yeah, everywhere there’s lots of piggies
Playing piggy pranks
And you can see them on their trotters
Down at the piggy banks
Paying piggy thanks
To thee pig brother

- everybody: -
Everywhere there’s lots of piggies
Living piggy lives
You can see them out for dinner
With their piggy wives
Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon.

Is Fairfax “Daily Life” having a laugh?

5 Apr

I just read this piece by Clementine Ford at the Fairfax “women’s business” Daily Life website. Ford’s piece is called “Stop telling women what to wear.” It’s worth a read.

But just look at what surrounds it. Net-A-Porter.com fashion ads. Advanced style icons. The best style on the street. Stockholm style. The look of the day sizzle reel. Search for all the latest fashions here. Daily style with fifty different fashion looks. The article boldly titled “Stop telling us what to wear” is embedded in more fashion advice than a woman can poke a stick at.

We’ll let them have their whinge, says Fairfax. But everyone knows what’s really important. Everyone knows they LOVE being told what they should wear so when they’ve finished reading the article and getting all riled up about the patriarchy controlling them,  they can just click on to any one of these options and CHOOSE A LOOK. Nobody’s telling them which look, for God’s sake. They have FREE CHOICE.

But wait! There’s more!  “Advanced style icons” features a 72-year-old model! We can look forward to being told what we should wear even into old age! That’s a relief. Even if I can’t remember the name for whatever, at least I’ll know how I should dress when I’m trying.

Truth is, I’m not a subscriber to the “patriarchy makes us do it” theory of victimisation, and there’s plenty of good female role models who don’t appear to be overly concerned about their appearance. We need to find out how they managed that, then teach our girls. However, the disregard for its content demonstrated by situating Ford’s article in the middle of a blitz of fashion advertising is interesting. Is Fairfax having a laugh?

I’m about to take off for a few days, venturing across the border into the cultural wasteland that Queensland has apparently become in the few days since Campbell Newman took office and axed the Premier’s Literary Awards. There’s an interesting piece here in New Matilda, in which Mark Fletcher argues that the axing is no loss.

Happy holidays, may your chocolate be good chocolate, and may you not eat more than is healthy for you. On the other hand, everyone needs to indulge now and again. Just make sure you are fashionably dressed when you throw up.  See you next week!

The Chocolate Shoe

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