Thursday, March 29, 2012

Qld.: Woolworths part-timer takes  "safe" Labor seat for the LNP

He does have a degree so he is no dummy but it does show how toxic the Labor brand has become.  Tony Abbott is going to be leading another large band of happy warriors in Parliament next year if not sooner.  Surely the Federal Greens and independents will now want to unshackle themselves from the corpse that the ALP has become

Campbell Newman's emphasis on politicians being servants of the people is very refreshing  in the context of Green/Left arrogance and is in keeping with my prior impression of his attitude.  I think he will  be in power for a long time, mercifully for Queensland

HIS last job was part-time at Woolworths, he lives with his parents and now he's a Member of Parliament.

Neil Symes claimed by a whisker the long-time Labor stronghold of Lytton, on Brisbane's bayside, at the weekend's Queensland election.  It was a win even the LNP did not predict.

In a sign of how much voters turned on the Bligh Government last Saturday, the 23-year-old will now swap his meagre Woolies deli pay packet for a six-figure salary and the surrounds of State Parliament in his first full-time job.

Premier Campbell Newman yesterday warned his large team they were not elected "for personal or financial reward" and were expected to act as servants of Queenslanders.

Mr Symes lives at southside Wishart - beyond the bounds of his new electorate - but said he was planning his first move out of home and into Lytton soon.

That would be a big step for Mr Symes, who said his parents helped out by easing his weekly food and rent costs "depending on circumstances".

But the newly-minted MP insisted he could still relate to the battlers he now represents because he learnt a lot door-knocking during the campaign.

"I know that petrol prices go up, I know that the cost of food goes up and electricity and water . . . so that's where I can relate to the people because I've seen it firsthand," he said.

"I was actually working in the supermarket sector through the seafood and delicatessen departments, so that's what I bring to Parliament is a good work ethic."

He replaced one-time ALP deputy premier and former attorney-general Paul Lucas, who retired after 15 years.

Before that, the seat had been held since its creation in 1972 by former federal Labor president and Queensland deputy premier Tom Burns.

Mr Symes narrowly beat Mr Lucas's expected successor and local identity Daniel Cheverton, who conceded via Facebook on Monday.

More than half (46) of the LNP's 77 MPs are parliamentary first-timers.

Mr Symes completed a criminology and human services degree in 2009 but put the skills into action for only about nine months while working at an Acacia Ridge community centre.

Since then, he has worked an average 30 hours a week at the Garden City Woolworths, quitting in January to contest the March election.

Mr Symes said he wore the badge of youngest LNP MP with "real honour".


How delusional can you get?  Carbon tax will turn tide in our favour, says Gillard

It's clear that she is from Labor's reality-deprived Left faction.  Doesn't she realize that everybody who can will put their prices up and blame it on her tax?

JULIA Gillard intends to tough out her dramatic collapse in support in opinion polling, convinced the looming introduction of the carbon tax will allow her to regain control of national political debate by exposing Tony Abbott as a scaremonger.

But Labor insiders are continuing to warn that the Prime Minister's broken promise over the introduction of the $23-a-tonne tax has so badly undermined her public standing among voters that she must address the integrity issue and change her political style. As Ms Gillard and her advisers put their faith in seeking to shift the political debate towards the economy yesterday, the Coalition chimed in on cue with an internet video ridiculing her claim on Monday that voters could trust her to manage the economy by highlighting her pre-2010 election promise not to introduce a carbon tax.

The mocking came as federal Labor reeled from the latest Newspoll, which shows its primary vote plunged three percentage points to 28 per cent in the past fortnight -- wiping out recent gains and pushing the party to its record low of 26 per cent recorded last September. The poll, published in yesterday's edition of The Australian, was taken nationwide last weekend, as voters in Queensland hammered the Labor government of Anna Bligh out of office, stripping it of 43 seats in its worst result on record.

Yesterday, despite calls within sections of Labor for Ms Gillard to change her style, government sources said the Prime Minister understood the serious implications of the Queensland election result, but believed that after the carbon tax was introduced on July 1, voters would see the dishonesty of the Opposition Leader's campaign to convince peopel they would be harmed by the new levy.

This would allow Ms Gillard to regain the ascendancy and begin to focus attention on Mr Abbott, particularly over the economy.

Ms Gillard, visiting South Korea for a nuclear safety conference, said she accepted that Labor needed to listen more to voters across the country. "But my job is to both listen and lead and that's what I will be doing as Prime Minister," she said. "I will be continuing to deliver the important policies that will make a difference for the future of Queensland and the future of the country."

She would not comment on the Newspoll, but said she believed the "lived experience" of the carbon tax after July 1 would expose the "silly claims" of the opposition and the "occasional shock-horror headlines" about the carbon tax, and focus public attention on government compensation for people to help them cope with the effects of the change. Despite her comments, a senior Labor source in Queensland said that if federal Labor did not heed the message about broken promises, it risked a repeat of the Queensland rout.

"The voters could not have been more clear," said the source, asking for anonymity. "They are tired of spin and they don't like broken promises."

Mr Abbott, continuing his annual Pollie Pedal fundraising event, said the Prime Minister was "in denial". "I think the Queensland election is a verdict on governments which don't tell the truth and I think that's a real problem for the Prime Minister," he said.


Kate Ellis under fire over nanny slur

Stupid woman

CHILDCARE Minister Kate Ellis has been accused of inciting class rivalry after saying the childcare rebate should not be extended to nannies because they were chauffeurs and chefs hired to do the ironing.

Ms Ellis accused Tony Abbott of intending to cut assistance for low-income families by extending the non-means-tested rebate - which allows families to claim 50 per cent of approved childcare costs, with a cap of $7500 - to the unregulated nanny sector.

"I think that when we have a look at nannies we see that they're often chauffeurs, they're often chefs . . . some of them do ironing, some of them do the washing and the household chores," Ms Ellis said yesterday. "Tony Abbott has made clear that any nanny subsidies will come from 'the existing funding envelope'. That means cutting the assistance given to families through the childcare benefit or childcare rebate. The nanny industry is unregulated and there are no quality assurance requirements in place. This new policy is undeveloped and uncosted and will hit hard-working, low-income families who rely on childcare the hardest."

Opposition childcare spokeswoman Sussan Ley accused Ms Ellis of inciting class war and said she was wrong to say the Coalition wanted to deprive women of existing resources. "I'm sure Labor would be delighted to make this some sort of class war; well, it's not, and again proves why Kate Ellis shouldn't be in the job," she said. "The Coalition's call for a Productivity Commission report is simply reading that mood and looking at what real families are saying and doing to care for their kids. What is the minister scared of? Whether it is using a nanny, grandparents or occasional care, parents are voting with their feet to find realistic and affordable options."

Former University of Canberra chancellor and director of McCarthy Mentoring, Wendy McCarthy, said childcare centres did not always meet the needs of working women, citing the 24-hour childcare centre established at Star City when she was a director of the Sydney casino. "We put in 24-hour childcare but we found . . . most people don't want to take their kids to work and pick them up at 4 o'clock in the morning," she said. "I think we should demolish the argument about nannies being just for rich women . . . (It's) such an old argument, it's just horrible. The system assumes that we still live a life of Monday to Friday, nine to five, and I just think you've got to get over it."

Feminist academic Eva Cox said subsidising nannies could lead to calls for cheap labour from overseas.

The director of Melbourne's Leading Nanny Agency and mother of three Annie Sargood slammed Ms Ellis for what she said was inverted snobbery.  "The childcare benefit is actually paying for chefs in childcare centres and cleaners who come in after hours, so why can't a nanny come in and do the same thing in a home environment?" she said.

Mr Abbott yesterday said the Coalition, if elected, would ask the Productivity Commission to consider how childcare could deliver for families in regional and remote areas, and for shift workers.


Talking out of their vaginas

Eve Ensler wrote a play called the Vagina Monologues and, following this, helped begin the V-Day Movement to end violence against women and girls. She came to Australia last month to deliver the annual Australian Human Rights Centre lecture in Sydney.

The ABC interviewed Ensler on its news analysis program, Lateline (Ensler, We don't own our bodies: Ensler, 2012). The ABC describes this program as ".a provocative, challenging and intelligent window on today's world." They continue to say, "Lateline engages the foremost experts or commentators. to bring you penetrating insights from a range of perspectives (ABC, 2012)."

The foremost expert or commentator who interviewed Ensler was Emma Alberici, who has some twenty years experience in journalism.

This, dear reader, is what passes for "an intelligent window" in Australia today.

Alberici begins the interview with a general question about her play. Ensler opens up with how "everyone" was scandalised with the word "vagina" in the 1990s. She claims that "you could say `Scud Missile' on the front pages." but, apparently "if you said vagina the whole world went crazy. "

The next part is worth quoting verbatim:

"And I think part of the reason of doing the play was that so many women I had interviewed had not only, not said the word vagina, they never saw their vaginas, they didn't know what they looked like, they didn't know how their vaginas functioned, they didn't know what gave them pleasure. They didn't even know their vaginas were their own."

In the 1970s I attended college in Scotland. In my class, a Computer Science course, the gender mix was 50/50. Every single woman on that course knew the word vagina, and a whole lot of other words for the vagina. Twenty years later, when Ensler wrote her play, and the word vagina has mysteriously vanished from the western woman's vocabulary?

I'm glad that Ensler points out that they had never seen their vaginas. I immediately became aware that I have never seen my own anus.

The real question, of course, is: so f*cking what?

To what level should a woman understand how her vagina functions? For example, should she be able to discuss in detail what part Bartholin's glands play?

And why? Does Ensler know how her thyroid glands work? Does she understand how wax gets in the outer ear? As long as she knows which end to stick over the toilet, where to put the tampon, etc. does it really matter?

Ensler's final statement, that women ".didn't even know their vaginas were their own," is feminism at its finest. Alberici doesn't ask "Who did they think their vaginas belonged to?" Or, "Were they just renting them?" Or "If I kicked them in the vagina, who did they think would feel it?"

Ensler tries to paint herself as the radical who is not afraid to break taboos. And to do this she will use any word she chooses, no matter how upset the establishment gets. The fact is that when the play was written and first performed in the nineties, the word "vagina" was seen as a proper and polite term to describe female genitalia. You could have "The Vagina Monologues" on a bill board and in neon lights. It may have been titillating, perhaps, even risqu‚, but certainly short of scandalous in Western society in the nineties.

Ensler informs us that in China the play was banned because the Chinese only had vulgar and derogatory words for vagina.

Speaking of scandalous and vulgar words, the Vagina Monologues uses the word "cunt" 30 times. Now that word, all by itself, ensures an "Adults Only" rating in Australia. You can say it in a play with that rating, but you won't be having "The Cunt Monologues" in neon on Main Street.

But Alberici doesn't ask if it was the translation of "vagina" or "cunt" that caused the Chinese such problems.

In fact, the Shanghai Drama Centre was told by the Chinese authorities who banned the play that ".it does not fit with China's national situation (USA Today, 2004)." Did Alberici ask Ensler if she was surprised that a Western play written by a "Human Rights Activist" was banned in China in 2004? No, she just lets Ensler give us the sacred babble.

There are two serious aspects about her play that Alberici should have raised with Ensler, particularly given the "Human Rights Activist" tag.

The first is a section of the play which deals with the seduction of a girl by woman, which involves the woman giving the child alcohol as part of the seduction. In one version of the script I found the girl is sixteen (Ensler, Vagina Monolgues Script - The Dialogue, 1996). However, there have been reports of other versions of the script where the child was aged as young as thirteen (Swope, 2006).

In January this year a 29 year old female teacher was found guilty of the crime of having sex with a sixteen year old female student in Melbourne, Australia (Lowe, 2012). Also, note that the legal age for drinking alcohol in Australia is eighteen.  In other words, Ensler's play is describing an act that is illegal in Australia, as well as immoral anywhere.

Ensler's monologue describes the seduction from the point of view of the child. It concludes:

"You know, I realized later, she was my surprising, unexpected, politically incorrect salvation. She transformed my sorry-ass coochie snorcher [vagina] and raised it up into a kind of heaven."

In other words, this manipulation into a sexual act was good for the child.

This blas‚ attitude is also seen in another monologue in the play, where Ensler's heroine dominates women during sex. The dialogue explains:

"Sometimes I used force, but not violent, oppressing force, no.  More like dominating, `I'm gonna take you someplace, why don't you lay back, enjoy the ride' kind of force."

So clearly, according to Ensler, domination and child sex abuse are alright when done in a feminist context. When men rape its rape, when women rape it's "salvation," so "lie back and enjoy the ride".

Alberici does not ask one thing about this. How's that for "a range of perspectives"? That's the "let's ignore it completely" perspective.


1 comment:

Paul said...

I have been witness to two fatal paracetamol overdoses (both intentional) and its not a pretty sight. It is a riskier drug than most people realize, as is Ibuprofen though for different reasons. That said though, this death would have been a shock to all and completely unexpected. It appears she had a particular sensitivity that was probably not understood by anyone at the time, herself included. There has been however a bit of a move to dish out Paracetamol like lollies, thanks to the proliferation of acute pain service teams who come in, make recommendations then leave.