Monday, May 23, 2016
School sports carnivals have got a problem
Em Rusciano gets something right
YESTERDAY, I was taught a valuable lesson by a bunch of eight- and nine-year-old kids that I think you may want to hear.
I was helping out at my youngest daughter’s athletics carnival (yes I was an elite hurdler, yes I did qualify for world juniors and win my first national title when I was 10. So what? Stop bringing it up) when something caught my eye.
My kids go to an awesome school. However … how do I put this? It has more of an academic/performing arts/paint pictures of your feelings vibe to it than an incubator for elite athletes vibe.
If it was a “knit your own tampon” or “public speak your way out of a hostage situation” or “re-explain the theory of relativity using five different maths equations” race, they would totally nail that sh*t though.
I was standing at the finish line of the 60m hurdles when the first bunch of kids came barrelling through. They were the under-nine boys and one of the lads caught my eye (he had a knitted green and white striped frog beanie on).
I said hello and asked him how many ribbons he felt he may acquire today. Upon reflection that may have been a thoughtless question as moments before he’d finished exactly last in his event, but I’d already forgotten that because: awesome hat! His response floored me. It amused me so much I nearly had an asthma attack.
He said, with both hands on his hips and a deep sigh that belonged to an 80-year-old war vet, “Probably none, I’ll probably just get a few of those (points to participation ribbon) and a bunch of ‘well dones’.”
The tone was unmistakeable. It said: “I’m sick of your sh*t, don’t patronise me with your well dones and participation awards, I know the score.”
It made me wonder, do we give out participation awards to make the kids or the parents feel better?
I decided to conduct subtle interviews with every kid I saw today and NONE of them wanted the participation ribbon. Most of them down right sneered at it. They all understood that someone is going to get to the line fastest, jump the highest and throw the furthest. They all got that some people are better at sport than others and none of them seemed too fazed by that.
Look, if we weren’t giving out the first, second and third place ribbons and the day was just about having fun and being outdoors, great! Let’s go on an Oprah Christmas special ribbon giving spree: “You get a ribbon, and you get a ribbon and you get a ribbon, riiiibonnnnnn!”
However WE DO give out the first, second and third place awards, so what message are we sending them? “Hey kids it doesn’t matter if you win but if you do win you get a special prize and accolade, but it doesn’t matter, but it does, and the rest of the kids get a generic thing because they’re not special like the kids who won, who aren’t special, but they are ...”
Confusing huh? Imagine being a kid then!
I worry we’re getting to a point with kids sport where we’re attempting to shield them from feeling disappointment and loss. Isn’t that the stuff that builds resilience and resolve? Doesn’t it foster the need to improve and learn and grow?
After my highly scientific research at the track I’m now of the opinion that we don’t need to bother with participation awards.
For three reasons:
1. The kid’s don’t want them. They’re well on to us, the jig is up mates.
2. It’s OK to fail! Don’t be afraid to let your kids feel the sting of defeat. Let their little hearts get a ding or two, help them identify what they can learn from it and then they will grow and be better next time.
3. Don’t reward them for just showing up. It makes them grow up feeling entitled. You’re not doing them any favours — want and need create drive.
All that being said, of course not all kids are going to be the best at all things at all times and that’s OK, as long as your kid finds something he or she likes doing then they’ll be all right.
By the by, old mate frog beanie totally won his 100m … Not that it mattered, but it did, but it didn’t.
David van Gend from The Australian Marriage Forum responds to questions on marriage equality
Q. What is Australian Marriage Forum's opposition to same-sex marriage based on?
The heart of our opposition to same-sex 'marriage' is that such an institution would deliberately deprive future children of either their mother or their father, and that is an injustice we should never contemplate. It hurts children if we break the bond with their mother or father, and same-sex 'marriage' is just a new government policy for breaking that bond. We never learn.
We also oppose same-sex 'marriage' because it is untrue – a legal fiction with no foundation in nature. Marriage is not a social invention to be cut to shape according to political fad; it is a social recognition of timeless natural reality: male, female, offspring. Only a terminally demented culture like the modern West would seek to repeal nature and build our society on an artificial foundation.
We also oppose same-sex 'marriage' because it is a package deal that brings with it the entire radical rainbow agenda. Once homosexual relations are normalised in the central institution of society, that gives the LGBT lobby the big stick of anti-discrimination law to normalise homosexual behaviour in the school curriculum, and to silence conscientious dissenters. Think 'Safe Schools' and Archbishop Porteous. 'Marriage equality' is not ultimately about marriage; it is about sexual radicals getting the legal clout to push their values down society's throat.
Q. Are you only opposed to the proposition of equal marriage or is the opposition to equality under the law for LGBTI in general?
Same-sex couples already have exactly the same legal status and benefits as any de facto or married couple in Australia, with no discrimination whatsoever, and we do not oppose that.
Same-sex couples already have full relationship equality with other couples, but their relationship is a different thing to the great natural project of marriage and family and they need to find a different word.
Q. What are your thoughts on homosexuality? Do you believe it is a normal expression of human sexuality?
My thoughts are that homosexuality does not define a person: he or she is a unique, transient and beloved creature like anyone else, and if a person happens to experience same-sex impulses that is merely a puzzling aspect of their emotional makeup; it is not who they are.
Homosexuality is clearly not normal in a statistical sense, since only 1.2% of the Australian population identify as homosexual while 97.5% identify as heterosexual.[i] In a clinical sense I agree with Dr Robert Spitzer, the gay-friendly psychiatrist who led the campaign to delete homosexuality from the APA's Diagnostic & Statistical Manual in 1973, who described homosexuality as "a form of irregular sexual development". It is not a mental illness, but nor is it normal, and for many years Spitzer argued against "the acceptance of the view that homosexuality is a normal variant."[ii] We should not form public policy on marriage or sex-education based on the false view that homosexuality is normal.
Q. In an Australian Marriage Forum advert it states that "The radicalisation of sex education and usurping of parental authority is (in our view) a main objective of the homosexual revolution." Can you explain this further? What do you believe is the end game for LGBTI advocates? Do you believe that legalising same sex marriage will lead to other reforms, if so what could they be?
The logic is simple: if the law says homosexual "marriage" is normal and right, schools will be obliged, by anti-discrimination law, to teach that homosexual behaviour is normal and right. There is no option. Parents today can push back against the 'Safe Schools' program - but parents will be sidelined and treated as bigots if they object to such material once homosexual 'marriage' becomes the law of the land.
Parents need to understand that the genderless agenda is a package deal: if they vote for 'marriage equality' they are voting for 'Safe Schools' on steroids and agreeing to relinquish control of their child's moral education to sexual radicals.
If they vote for 'marriage equality', based on President Obama's executive order this week to all 96,000 public schools in the US, parents are voting for their daughter to have to share change-rooms with disturbed young men who claim they are women – all on the basis of genderless 'equality'.
The end game of any revolution is to remake society in its own radical image: that is achieved largely through controlling the education of the next generation and by silencing dissenting voices. Think 'Safe Schools' and Archbishop Porteous...
Q. Some commentators have observed that the debate between progressives and conservatives on issues such as Safe Schools, Gayby Baby, marriage equality etc is part of a "culture war" between left and right. What are your thoughts on this?
Wait for my book in a few months time. There will be a chapter on cultural Marxism and its many and varied fellow travellers and their relentless attacks on marriage and family over the last century.
Q. Are you concerned that language used to describe the push for LGBTI inclusion - eg the flyers we saw recently protesting the AFL's upcoming Pride game, comparing legalising same sex marriage to the stolen generation - could be damaging for LGBTI young people and their families?
I am concerned at the emotional blackmail used by supporters of same-sex 'marriage' which claims that any and every statement of opposition to same-sex 'marriage' is "damaging for LGBTI young people and their families" - so we had better just shut up and let them be the only voice in the public square.
Examples: in the Sydney Morning Herald, Justin Koonin, convenor of the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, specified our full-page ad in The Australian (10/8/15[iii]) as an example of the "bigoted opinions that we know cause harm to same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people". [iv] In an earlier report about our television ad aired during Mardi Gras in March 2015[v], the director of Australian Marriage Equality, Rodney Croome, said our ad was "actually harming the many Australian children being raised by same-sex couples". [vi]
Do you see how this game works? If anyone makes the case for keeping marriage between man and woman, the mere act of raising such an argument is "actually harming" children. There is only one solution: say nothing. Breathing a word makes us culpable for depression and even death in young people!
That is shameless emotional blackmail designed to silence one side of a serious debate.
I am astonished at the portrayal of LGBT young people and families as so fragile that they must be protected from hearing any discussion about homosexual marriage and parenting. How condescending! And it goes with the pathetic proposition that we should overturn the foundational institution of society as a form of psychological therapy for LGBT young people and their families. There are less radical ways to help them feel loved and respected.
Federal election 2016: refugee advocates are really NIMBYs
Greens MPs and refugee advocates who are calling for a huge increase in the humanitarian migrant intake and the end of offshore processing live in affluent inner-city areas that take just a fraction of Australia’s refugees.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale, who is campaigning to more than triple the nation’s humanitarian intake from 13,750 to 50,000 people, lives in the Surf Coast local government area, close to Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. The area settled fewer than five refugees from 2010 to last year.
Australian Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs, who has been critical of the treatment of asylum-seekers, is listed as living in the City of Sydney, which took in just 247 humanitarian migrants, and before that lived in the high-wealth area of Woollahra, in Sydney’s inner east, which settled just 14 refugees over five years. By contrast, Fairfield in Sydney’s west received 5816 humanitarian migrants over the same five-year period while the Greater Dandenong area in Melbourne’s southeast took 3899, and Brisbane settled 3862, according to the Department of Social Services’ settlement report.
Former Labor leader Mark Latham questioned this week what the Greens had against refugees because their inner-city strongholds had taken in very few humanitarian migrants. “They say they want to welcome them into Australia but they won’t welcome them into the communities where they themselves live,” Mr Latham told Sky News’s The Bolt Report.
In Victoria, Greens MP Adam Bandt is campaigning to be re-elected to the inner-city electorate of Melbourne. His local government area of Moonee Valley took only 151 refugees over five years.
Mr Bandt said his electorate was full of people who had come from all over the world as refugees and anyone who claimed Melburnians did not want humanitarian migrants living near them had “not been here recently”. “If the government wants more humanitarian migrants to move to Melbourne, they’ll be welcomed with open arms,” Mr Bandt said.
Similarly, Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young’s local government area of Mitcham, in the foothills of eastern Adelaide, took just 114 humanitarian migrants over five years. However, she said many communities were “happy to welcome people in need”.
“Both evidence and history have shown us that, when they’re given a chance to rebuild their lives in safety, people seeking asylum become some of the most innovative and hard working citizens we’ve ever had,” Senator Hanson-Young said.
Barrister Julian Burnside QC has spoken out passionately against Australia’s policy of “stopping the boats” and of sending asylum-seekers to Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island and the impoverished nation of Nauru. Mr Burnside lives in Hawthorn, in Melbourne’s inner east, and his local government area of Boroondara received just 79 humanitarian migrants over five years.
However, he has been sheltering refugees in his home since 2000. He said the suggestion refugee advocates were hypocritical for calling for an increase to Australia’s humanitarian intake while living in inner-city areas was “completely misconceived”.
“The people who don’t have refugees living near them are the ones who miss out,” he said.
Mr Burnside said he and his wife, Kate Durham, had housed mainly Hazara Afghan refugees and had gained from them “a really deep-seated understanding that they are just human beings like us”. “They’re not perfect, they’re not terrible, they’re just human beings who are doing their best to get along,” he said.
Mr Burnside said his wife’s “spare rooms for refugees” initiative, set up in 2001, had resulted in people from all over Australia offering their home to refugees. “We had more rooms on offer than we had refugees able to take up the offer,” he said.
Refugee lawyer David Manne helped to derail in the High Court former prime minister Julia Gillard’s plan to send asylum-seekers to Malaysia and has criticised Australia’s policy of sending migrants offshore. Mr Manne is listed as living in Melbourne’s inner-north City of Yarra, which settled 190 refugees over five years.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s office estimated this week that if the Greens proposal of taking 50,000 humanitarian refugees annually was adopted it would cost about $7 billion over four years, while Labor’s proposal to increase the intake to 27,000 would cost about $2.3bn over the same period. The Coalition supports the existing intake of 13,750, which rises to 18,750 in 2018-19, with a one-off extra intake of 12,000 Syrians this year.
Australia Post again
IN THE week before her wedding day Michelle Cominos should have been putting the finishing touches to the venue, welcoming guests from near and far and looking forward to a new chapter in her life.
Instead, she just "cried and cried," says her husband Con who puts the blame squarely on Australia Post, accusing them of sending vital paperwork for the couple’s wedding day not only to the wrong address but to the wrong state.
The pair estimate the costs for the Greek orthodox ceremony, including travel arrangements for the guests, was upwards of $25,000 but it was all at risk due to the wayward $13 parcel.
Australia Post has said it is stumped as to how a parcel intended for a priest in Brisbane ended up languishing in a post office box in Sydney. But it has discovered the Sydney address was for a Greek Church.
The publicly-owned body has been under intense scrutiny in the last month since it announced it would charge some customers for holding undelivered parcels in post offices. In recent days, Australia Post has also had to defend claims its automated systems are sending parcels on unnecessarily epic interstate road trips in the wrong direction.
Mr Cominos, from Emerald in central Queensland, told news.com.au his nuptial nightmares began in September 2015 when he sent the couple’s notice of intended marriage documentation to an orthodox priest in Brisbane via Australia Post’s Express Post Platinum service.
The pair hoped to have an orthodox ceremony but with no priest of that denomination in the regional town they had planned to fly the minister in.
"The law says we’ve got to have paperwork in one month and one day before the wedding so we sent it on 18 September which was well and truly a month before."
But by the middle of October the vital wedding documents hadn’t arrived. "He rang us the week before and said where’s the paperwork? I can’t marry you without it," said Mr Cominos.
With only days to go before the wedding, the desperate pair asked Australia Post to find their marriage documents only to discover they had ended up 1500km from where they were posted and were now in Parramatta, western Sydney.
"Platinum Post is supposed to deliver in three days outside metro areas and it was delivered in three days, but to Parramatta not Brisbane," said Mr Cominos.
"It had the priest’s name on it and an address in Mount Gravatt. How on earth can you get Parramatta, Sydney, out of that? It would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad."
The missing marriage paperwork meant it was now illegal for them to wed.
"It caused my wife a lot of trauma," said Mr Cominos. "She broke down and just cried and cried you’ve got these a***holes denying everything and then they add insult to injury to only give me a lousy $13 to make up for it."
Mr Cominos said delaying the big day would have meant cancelling the hotel as well as airline flights and the reception.
"Everything would have been thrown out the door. We couldn’t have booked again for months afterwards and everything would have cost more and more.
"If the CEO can get $2m they can afford to compensate my wife for the trauma caused."
With 70 guests about to arrive in Emerald, the couple had to act fast and headed to a local magistrate, successfully persuading them they should be granted special dispensation due to the mail debacle.
But the delay meant they now had no priest. Thinking on their feet they called a nearby minister who, despite being from a different denomination, agreed to perform an orthodox ceremony.
"A local pastor did some quick homework, had a look at YouTube, got the gist of how to do the orthodox service and just worked it out," Mr Cominos said.
"Australia Post almost ruined my wedding day."
Australian election 2016: Would-be senator Angry Anderson says he feels Australia's 'pain'
Time has mellowed Angry Anderson. "I feel pain in this country," the former Rose Tattoo frontman told the dozen or so people gathered at a north Sydney golf club on Monday. "I feel anxiety, frustration, anger."
The self-described "baddest boy in Australia" was launching his latest Senate foray, this one with the Australian Liberty Alliance, the political wing of a cluster of groups opposed to halal certification and the "Islamisation" of the west.
After a stint with the Nationals, and starring role in the "ditch the witch" rallies against the carbon tax, Gary Anderson has turned to one of Australia’s newest parties to push his politics. "Do we want to be governed by a power in Europe?" he began his remarks on Monday.
"My vote is Europeans can govern Europe. Australia, as long as I have breath, will fight to preserve that we are masters of our own identity." (Few appeared to disagree.)
For the ALA, too, Anderson’s candidacy is a winner. Keen to shake off the prefixes "far-right" and "anti-Islam", the movement is rebranding. It now spruiks "smaller, smarter government", and a "pro-Australia" outlook. "We have more than 20 policies," one of its candidates, Kirralie Smith, told the crowd.
But the technocratic planks of its manifesto – public-private partnerships in healthcare, upping super contributions to 15%, free university lectures for retirees – still labour in the shadows of its more controversial policies.
Anderson said he supported the ALA’s Trump-style ban on immigration from Islamic countries, excluding non-Muslim refugees. "I’ve read history," he said. "I don’t want history to repeat itself. I don’t believe we have policies in place to address the issue of Islamisation."
The 68-year-old has featured in a series of SBS’s Go Back to Where You Came From. A critic of Muslim immigration, Anderson was taken to Afghanistan to meet persecuted Hazaras, to see if their plight softened his views. It worked – sort of.
"I went to Kabul … And I found a group of people who we traced from Melbourne, the Hazara people. And they came here, and to their horror, they were subjected to the same pressures and the same discrimination that they ran away from.
"So they leave that environment, to come to an environment that doesn’t tolerate that, and then we confuse them by allowing the very people they ran away from, to come here, and persecute them here!"
It was pointed out that Hazaras are Shia Muslims and, under the ALA’s policy, would be banned from seeking asylum in Australia.
"The complexity of the policy as it stands, I’m not across that," he said, shrugging. "But one of my best mates, he runs a foundation called Save Our Sons, he’s a Syrian Muslim, I take advice from him because he is one, he’s Muslim.
"He says there are clear definitions within the community, which the government’s immigration policy, that we suffer under, has not looked at. We should be listening to those people."
Smith, a campaigner against halal certification, interrupted: "We will have parameters for persecuted peoples, absolutely. We’re talking about a pause, so we can get measures in place."
Did that include banning Hazaras? "That’s yet to be determined … As we go, obviously, in whatever effect we can have in government. But we want to start somewhere."
It was perhaps inevitable the launch of a rock star’s political campaign, on a fringe party’s platform, would lead somewhere unexpected. Monday’s launch included an attack on Waleed Aly – just hours earlier crowned Australian TV’s most popular personality.
"Who said he’s the most popular?" Anderson said, when a journalist raised the award.
Smith agreed: "He’s not the most popular, that’s ridiculous anyway. It’s a very closed industry."
The ALA had no problem with the likes of The Project’s host, she said: "If Waleed Aly was someone who subscribed to the Qur’an … we would have a great problem with that.
"He actually discredits the Qur’an because he doesn’t follow it, he doesn’t obey it," she said. "We have a problem with the ideology. While he is not representing the Qur’an, following Muhammad, [being] an example of a Qur’an-following Muslim, we have no problem with that."
What Anderson lacks in close study of ALA policies, he might recover by channelling its members’ overriding sentiment: anger.
One woman in the audience, Judy, said she had left the Liberals for the ALA. "I’m being told I’m a racist and a bigot," she said.
Smith asked who else had recently left the Liberal party.
Almost every arm in the room was raised.
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