Just so you know, though I was in Wollongong tucked up in bed at the time. Or sweating like a pig in bed…
Now to revisit September 2016.
Posted on September 17, 2016 by Neil
The first two came my way at Diggers yesterday. Terry the retired wharf labourer is a regular. He’s about my age so like me he lived through the Korean and Vietnam War periods and more, seeing things from a wharfie’s perspective. It was delightful then to be able yesterday to introduce Terry to the Major-General.
Major General Brian (Hori) Howard served in the Australian Regular Army from 1959 until 1990. Amongst his many military appointments he commanded a battalion and an infantry brigade, was Director General of Operations and Plans for the Australian Army, instructed at the British Army Staff College, and served in several overseas countries including Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Japan, and Uganda. He saw operational service in South Vietnam for which he was awarded the Military Cross. He successfully completed the Canadian Armed Forces Command and Staff College and the Australian Joint Services Staff College. Major General Howard’s last military posting was as Director General of the then Natural Disasters Organisation, (now Emergency Management Australia), Australia’s national counter disaster organization. For this service he was awarded an Order of Australia.
In 1990 Major General Howard was appointed by the Minister as Director General of the NSW State Emergency Service(SES), the organisation responsible for dealing with floods, storms, land and inland water searches, and the majority of road accident rescue outside major cities. He was responsible for setting up a modern emergency management and rescue system for the State…
— source (pdf)
Terry and the Major General got on rather famously…
The other day my post concerned two of the weirdest and most rancid maiden speeches you are ever likely to encounter. But we did hear quite a number that were rather different, as Alex McKinnon noted:
It’s a perverse dynamic; people who tear down and divide get rewarded with airtime and column inches, while people who do the difficult, tiring work of building something up get ignored. But while major news outlets publish and broadcast Hanson’s speech, some very different speeches from newly-elected pollies have flown relatively under the radar. It’s worth taking the time to watch and listen to the words of these new politicians who in their humility, bravery, and willingness to be vulnerable, reveal a dignity and cause for hope that people like Hanson do their best to extinguish.
First, “young fogey” Julian Leeser, Liberal Party MHR for Berowra in Sydney, a wonderful personal account of his father’s suicide and its impact.
…I felt a great emptiness ripping at my stomach. I went to the garage and saw the car was missing.
We called the Police and later they came round to tell us that they’d found my father’s body at the bottom of The Gap at Watsons Bay…
…the day he died the music died with him, and it was years before I could listen to his music again without tearing up.
Over the past twenty years I have gone back over the week leading up to my father’s death too many times – and I keep thinking back to the signs he was giving us…
Suicide, they used to say, is a victimless crime, but they never count the loved ones left behind.
In the past 20 years we have changed our approach to suicide, depression and mental health.
And while there has rightly been a focus on the mental health of adolescents and young people, we must remember that people suffering at other stages in their lives are equally important.
And sadly the number of older people taking their own lives is increasing – my own father was fifty five.
In these past 20 years, we have spent millions on mental health and suicide prevention. Every government has tried – but despite all the good will, it is a fight we are losing.
In my own electorate we have had more than 100 people take their own lives in the last eight years. And across Australia eight people die by suicide every day….
Second. Indigenous Labor Senator from the Northern Territory, Malarndirri McCarthy.
Yuwu bajinda nya-wirdi kulu kirna-balirra yinda nyawirdi nyuwu-ja barrawu, bajirru yiurru wiji marnajingulaji ngathangka, bajirru yirru li-wirdiwalangu ji-awarawu li-Ngunawal Ngambri barra jina barra awara yirrunga, bajrru li-ngaha li-malarngu marnaji anka nya-ngathanya bii, li-ngatha kulhakulha, li-ngatha li-nganji karnirru-balirra.
Yes, let us begin. You are there, senior one—Mr President. We have no word for ‘President’ in Yanyuwa, so I refer to you as ‘senior one’. And I thank you for this place, and for all you others also here with me, and you, the traditional owners, the Ngunawal and Ngambri, for this country. This is your country…
My kujika has allowed me to see both worlds—that of the Western world view and that of the Yanyuwa/Garrawa world view. I am at home in both. I am neither one, without the other. But what of those who cannot balance the two and what of those who do not have the same?…
I think of the women in my life struggling still just to survive—I call them my mothers, sisters, my friends—who endured tremendous acts of violence against them, with broken limbs, busted faces, amputations and sexual assaults. I stand here with you. My aunt who lost her job that she had had for 10 years without warning simply because she spoke out about the lack of housing for her families, I stand here with you. To the descendants of the stolen generation still seeking closure, I stand with you. To the people with disabilities forever striving for better access to the most basic things in life, I am with you.
And then there is my young cousin-sister who struggled with her identity as a lesbian in a strong traditional Aboriginal culture. Her outward spirit was full of fun and laughter, yet inside she was suffocating from the inability to find balance in her cultural world view and that of the expectations of the broader Australian society around her. So one night she left this world, just gave up, at the age of 23.
To the sista girls and brutha boys who struggle with their sexual identity, I say to you: stay strong, I stand here with you. To the people of the Northern Territory and the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands, I stand here with you.
Bauji Barra. Thank you.
Finally, MHR Labor for Cowan (Western Australia) Anne Aly.
…Today I stand here not just as the first graduate from the university named in her honour to be elected to the federal parliament but as the first of Egyptian-Arabic heritage, along with my colleague the member for Wills, Mr Peter Khalil, and the first Muslim woman. I mention the latter points not to claim any special accolades but because they mark a significant moment in the history of this nation, especially right now and especially given the circumstances of my election…
My parents arrived from Egypt at the Bonegilla migrant camp in Albury Wodonga in 1969, later settling in the outer suburbs of Sydney. Despite having qualified as a textiles engineer, my father, like many migrants, ended up taking a job for which he was overqualified, though no less grateful. He became a bus driver, and together my parents built a life for themselves and their three children. I started my schooling at a Catholic school and I ended it at an Anglican school, having attended several public schools in between. Those years shaped my view of Australia and my place within it. Coming from a practising Muslim household, I would read from the Bible and sing hymns at morning chapel service while fasting for the holy month of Ramadan and celebrating the holy days of Eid. When I asked my mother what I should do during chapel service when we read the Lord’s Prayer, she responded that I should also bow my head in prayer and remember that we all worship the same God. Most importantly, I learnt that the values that make us Australians are measured not by the colour of our skin or by our religion or where we were born but by our dedication to the fundamental principles of equality and fairness…
I have worked with former violent extremists, I have become an advocate and a patron for victims of terrorism, I have advised the families who have lost sons and daughters to violence and hatred, and I have mentored young people who have sadly fallen prey to such dangerous ideologies. I have seen the worst of humanity, and I have often despaired, but I have also seen its best through the eyes of people like Phil Britten, Louisa Hope, Jarrod Morton-Hoffman, Gill Hicks and Michael Gallagher—all of whom have survived terrorist attacks; and through the work of organisations like Together for Humanity; the Bali Peace Park Association; and Youth Futures WA, which provides essential services to young homeless people in Cowan; and, of course, the inspiring young people who have worked with my own organisation, People against Violent Extremism—or PaVE…
Personally, I have mentored young people who have, sadly, fallen vulnerable to radicalisation, and I have helped families divert them from a destructive path. The ripple effect that reaching out and changing just one life can have on entire communities cannot be underestimated. I was most moved by the words of one young man who, in a quiet moment of contemplation, whispered to me, ‘If it wasn’t for you, I’d be dead or in jail.’ I am pleased to say that that young man is now successfully enrolled in a university degree, is a leader in his community and is looking forward to a bright future.
The fight against terrorism is a fight for reason, and we cannot afford to let it be hijacked by populism or by party politics. This is not the sort of issue where pointing out the gaps in our policy response should attract accusations of being soft on terrorism or insinuations of appeasement or, even worse, supporting terrorism. We have to get this right, because the currency here is people’s lives. That is why I will continue to argue for a reasoned, balanced and, above all, smart response to the threat of terrorism.
Our response to terrorism needs to be intelligent and proportionate…
Here then we have had five Australians who so far as I can see in their diversity bear little resemblance to the paranoid rantings of The Revenant of Oz. May such prevail.
Posted on September 19, 2016 by Neil
See my 2007 post:
I introduce my old friend The Mufti of Watsons Bay thus on Who’s Who:
The Mufti was my neighbour in 1988-9 and has become a good friend who has helped me in many ways. Even he would admit to eccentricity. In some ways a total Tory, he shares my desire to see the back of John Howard. It is amazing who the Mufti knows: he’s even had afternoon tea with the Queen. He was an Anglican priest but reverted to Islam a couple of years ago. Not a terrorist.
Nor too strictly Muslim either now. He called in today. I hadn’t seen him or even spoken to him for possibly a year. In fact I had been feeling a bit guilty about that. But it turns out he has been overseas quite a bit: Zanzibar for one! Looks tanned and terrific, especially for a man of 77. The Rabbit has met him.
Posted on September 23, 2008 by Neil
Thought you should see where these pictures come from — and I am a messy person, and I didn’t clean up specially for your visit either, I’m afraid. This is what my lair looked like on this day.
The Mufti of Watson’s Bay gave me this screen for my 50th.
The screen now resides at M’s in East Redfern….
Posted on September 23, 2016 by Neil
So let’s start with the National Anthem:
Australians all let us rejoice
For we are young and free
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea:
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare,
In history’s page let every stage
Advance Australia fair,
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.
Beneath our radiant Southern Cross,
We’ll toil with hearts and hands,
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands,
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share,
With courage let us all combine
To advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia fair.
Seems quite a few of our modern self-appointed patriots and their groupies and hangers-on don’t subscribe to tosh like that. Last night I watched (until growing horror and nausea forced me to pull the plug) a weirdo we’ll call Adolf the Incredible Hulk on an ABC2/JJ forum called Hack Live. Back in 2015, by the way, The Hulk posted this fan-pic on his Facebook:
See that last comment from The Hulk himself? “There should be a picture of this man in every classroom and every school and his book should be issued to every student annually.” With three likes…
OK, so ABC2 decided to give the creep a forum last night. You can read their account:
Tonight’s show came a day after an Essential media poll showed that 49 per cent of Australians support a ban on Muslim immigration. So where did our panel stand?
First up, UPF leader [Hulk] got things going by saying that he believes Australians feel ostracized in their own country.
People who are proud to be Australian are “immediately made to feel racist, or uneducated bogans,” [Hulk] said.
At this point he was – literally – dominating the debate…
Lawyer and community advocate Lydia Shelly [wearing a hijab] said [Hulk’s] far-right views and those of radicalised Muslims were like “two sides of the same coin.” but [Hulk] wasn’t buying it. “I haven’t beheaded anybody, I haven’t killed anybody, so I think that’s a bit of a long shot,” [Hulk] said.
Former soldier who served in Afghanistan, Andrew Fox Lane, pointed out [Hulk’s] past convictions and his attitudes towards women that have been posted online. Andrew warned against a blanket ban on Muslim immigration and said the rhetoric around the debate has become too brash, and should be more pragmatic instead…
Truly – the bloke made some conspiratorial claims about who controls the migration of refugees, which was met with claims he believed in the Illuminati – but tbh, after he dropped that “so what”, it was game over.
Put simply, [Hulk] was given an audience tonight. He was given viewers. He was given everything he needed to put his case across… And he shat the bed with patently racist and nearly goddamned fascist ideas. He alienated anyone who might have wanted to understand his frothing fear of Islam, while only speaking to those who’ve already made up their minds…
I do fear for my country if these far-right terrorism fear-struck nutters like The Hulk dominate in the future. As I wrote on 15 September this year:
For example, The Revenant says her patriotism “will never be traded or given up for the mantras of diversity or tolerance. Australia had a national identity before Federation, and it had nothing to do with diversity and everything to do with belonging.” I on the other hand put diversity and tolerance at the core of my patriotism. I think “fair go” captures that. For more see my 2011 series Being Australian.
Multiculturalism in Australia is conditioned by compatibility with the citizenship pledge.
I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people,whose democratic beliefs I share,whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey.
There is scope there for 1,001 individual or cultural variations. Assumed is a sufficient degree of integration both for the welfare of the individual and for community harmony – but this depends above all on willingness to accept difference as part of our freedom as citizens.
Reject all self-styled “Patriots” and support the better country we have been working so hard to bring into being.
Search here under patriot.
NOTE: In case you wondered, I use pseudonyms for certain individuals or groups to minimise my contribution to their ego-googling. I have no desire to add to their online presence more than is necessary in rejecting their ideas.
Related reading: Peter Hartcher, Our new threshold of intolerance: Australia is on the cusp of a dangerous crisis.
… Turnbull has shown repeatedly that, while harsh on terrorism, he is an advocate for tolerance and unity. Shorten and Turnbull and all leaders need to protect this deep national equity. Yet we now know that this, while necessary, is not sufficient.
Australia is on the cusp of joining the West’s dangerous crisis of cohesion.
Posted on September 27, 2016 by Neil
Do go to the source, Picture Sutherland Shire, for (currently) 465 images.
Yesterday I wrote: “We spent much of 1953-4 looking for Russian spies in the bush in West Sutherland, being excited further that they were building Australia’s first (and still only) nuclear reactor just across the Woronora at Lucas Heights.”
And here is Sutherland Shire Council Chambers in 1954, the year of the Royal Visit:
Note which flag flies highest. We were still “British Subjects” in those days.
At Federation in 1901, ‘British subject’ was the sole civic status noted in the Australian Constitution. The Australasian Federal Convention of 1897–98 was unable to agree on a definition of the term ‘citizen’ and wanted to preserve British nationality in Australia. An administrative concept of citizenship arose from the need to distinguish between British subjects who were permanent residents and those who were merely visitors. This was necessary for the Commonwealth to exercise its powers over immigration and deportation. Motivated by the nationalism of Arthur Calwell, the Minister for Immigration 1945–49, this administrative concept was formalised in the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948. In 1958 the Act was amended so that naturalisation could only be revoked if obtained by fraud. This prevented a naturalised person being stripped of citizenship and deported.
Throughout the 1960s, Australian citizens were still required to declare their nationality as British. The term ‘Australian nationality’ had no official recognition or meaning until the Act was amended in 1969 and renamed the Citizenship Act. This followed a growing sense of Australian nationalism and the declining importance for Australians of the British Empire. In 1973 the Act was renamed the Australian Citizenship Act. It was not until 1984 that Australian citizens ceased to be British subjects.
Next to Council Chambers was the Library. In 1954 I was a frequent borrower. The children’s books were in the room to the right of the front door.
And local shops that I would often have been in. The car could even be our Standard Vanguard, if this photo was taken around 1953. We had graduated to a Vanguard Spacemaster by 1954.
Not exactly crowded is Sutherland’s main street, is it? I suspect too by the light that this is summer.
Posted on September 29, 2016 by Neil
Yesterday a superstorm led to a total power failure in the entire state of South Australia. Think about that:
- South Australia has the highest rate of renewable energy in Australia
- The ‘one in a 50 year’ weather event ‘couldn’t have been prevented or foreseen’
- SA to be an example for other states and territories when planning for significant weather events
So, maybe not….
We haven’t heard the last of this though.