Tag Archives: Queensland

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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Goal attained pass the chocolate, and Baby Love

22 Nov

I decided that for one week I wouldn’t get on Twitter, look at my blogs, listen to the news on radio or TV, and check my email. Except for one slip when I flitted through a room in which someone else was watching the Obama visit (Barack who?) I passed my test with flying colours and I have no idea what happened last week. What’s more I couldn’t give a rabbit’s arse.

The reason for this utter lack of interest in the uncertain and treacherous political world is one brilliant seven-week-old baby boy, entrusted by his Mum and Dad  to me and Mrs Chook  for a large portion of the week. Armed with gallons of decanted breast milk, we took him out to coffee, several lunches and a few dinners, and bathed in his reflected glory. In the wet, hostile heat of  the tropical Queensland afternoons, I turned on the air con, laid myself and the baby on the bed, and enjoyed post-prandial naps to the award-winning soundtrack of baby dreaming.

I swear he acquired at least a hundred new sounds during the time he was with us, and he learned to pee like the Bellagio fountains every time I let him go naked for a bit of kicking exercise. He also learned to poke himself in the eye, how to give his new Captain Calamari toy a good walloping, and the names of a whole bunch of vegetation when Mrs Chook gave him  botanical lessons in the garden in the mornings.

The Dog, I have to say, was beside himself with jealousy and behaved very badly, digging enormous revenge holes in a garden we didn’t own, necessitating surreptitious night visits into the empty block next door for bucketfuls of soil.

All this bonding caused me to reflect on the long journey home about love. The human capacity for love is infinite, and every time I have cause to remember that it strikes me as miraculous. A new being enters the family and snuggles into his or her place in the heart, and the heart expands to accommodate without so much as a murmur.

It was worth every minute of giving up all distractions to focus completely on loving. We are beings with a breathtaking, mind-blowing capacity for love. Immersion in the political world doesn’t seem to be conducive to accessing those capabilities. A little bitty baby on the other hand, took me to a place I never want to leave, though I know I will. I also know I can get back whenever I want.

That old grouch Bob Dylan put it nicely:

When evenin’ shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love

I’d go hungry, I’d go black and blue
I’d go crawlin’ down the avenue
Oh, there’s nothin’ that I wouldn’t do
To make you feel my love

Thank you, Archie Baz, and your Mum and Dad.

Become a school chaplain: no qualifications needed, just believe in God

28 Jun

Here is the description of the School Chaplaincy Program taken from website of the Department of Education,Employment and Workplace Relations:

This voluntary program assists schools and their communities to support the spiritual wellbeing of students. This may include support and guidance about ethics, values, relationships, spirituality and religious issues, the provision of pastoral care and enhanced engagement with the broader community.

School chaplains are not required to have any qualifications at all, in any field. Yet they are charged with the responsibility of “guiding” students through the minefields of relationships, ethics, values and spirituality.

It’s intolerably negligent of the government, and schools participating in this program,  to permit any one in a school community to “provide guidance” to school students in the complex and sensitive areas of ethics, values, relationships, and spirituality, without any training at all in these areas, or any other for that matter.

The provision of these unqualified “support” chaplains in our schools is costing us $165 million over three years.

Do we have unqualified nursing assistants in hospitals? Do we have unqualified teachers’ aides in schools?

The program overview continues:

While recognising that an individual chaplain will in good faith express his or her belief and articulate values consistent with his or her denomination or religious belief, a chaplain should not take advantage of his or her privileged position to proselytise for that denomination or religious belief.

I read this with utter incredulity. The chaplain is not required to have any qualifications, but the chaplain is permitted to articulate beliefs and values consistent with his or her denomination or religious beliefs.

As the school chaplains have no qualifications in the areas in which they are supposed to provide “guidance” for students,one can safely assume the the government doesn’t really expect them to do that. Or if the government does expect them to do that, this is a bigger scandal than that of the unqualified installers of pink batts.

Scripture Union of Queensland is a prominent supplier of school chaplains.From their website:

Working alongside other caring professionals, SU QLD Chaplains care for young people’s spiritual and emotional needs through pastoral care, activity programs, community outreach and adventure-based learning.

Most importantly, SU QLD Chaplains provide a personal point of Christian contact, care and support for students, teachers and their families within their schools.

And there we have it. School chaplains are in public schools to promote Christianity. That’s the only thing they are “qualified” to do. All the job requires is a belief in the Christian god.

It’s dangerously negligent for the government and schools to let  untrained chaplains loose in schools, giving them an entirely unearned privileged position advising students on relationships, ethics, values and spirituality. The only thing they can possibly do is advise students from a Christian perspective. In the wider world, we have a choice about who we go to for guidance and advice. Nobody forces us to go to the Christians or any other religious group. Yet in our public schools students have as their source of guidance the unqualified religious?

What happens to, say, a student struggling with their sexual identity who thinks they might be gay? Given the dominant Christian perspective on homosexuals as articulated by the Australian Christian Lobby’s Jim Wallace, which is to lovingly expel them.

The questions for Minister Peter Garrett are: why isn’t this money being used to provide more qualified counsellors in schools? Why is the government financially supporting religious activity in public schools? Why is the Minister putting children at risk by offering them guidance from people who are totally unqualified to give it?

This is a completely unacceptable situation from every perspective. Our students are entitled to qualified non-religious counselling when they’re in difficulties. To offer them religious proselytising instead is despicable.


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