I am a woman, who, like many, hears the rhetoric of overwhelmingly male politicians telling me they act on my behalf. As though I was a child. As though they know better about my body and my hopes and my struggles than I do.
It doesn’t wash with me.
We are judged on what we do. All of us. And we must hold the current government, the current prime minister to account.
This government continues the cycle of rape, torture, deprivation and degradation inflicted on the most helpless of this planet; women and children. It threatens doctors, counsellors and social workers who speak out about their suffering and torture. Australian doctors. Australian social workers. Australian psychologists. This government is threatening its own citizens for doing their jobs! (as it did the Human Rights Commissioner)
It debases and dehumanises those who begged us for help – no different from the Nazis and the treatment of Jews, of foreigners, of people whose skin colour is anything but white.
The world has been watching. And the panic we see now is a panic born in the hearts of the desperate that they must run, now, before the world closes its borders to them as Australia has done.
We, the luck country, are responsible for the bodies washing up on shores around the world. We began this climate of ‘turn backs’ – this turning our backs on the suffering of others.
If Malcolm Turnbull wants to set his government apart from the mean-spirited and morally bankrupt policies of his predecessor, Abbott he must ACT TO REMOVE WOMEN AND CHILDREN FROM DETENTION.
Nothing else will send a message to the women of Australia that he is listening.
Otherwise the women of Australia will know that their voices count for little in the face of arrogance and male privilege. And it is those two things which see more than an Australian woman a week killed in domestic violence.
Release women and children from detention now. To wait will cost more lives.
Make no mistake. Australia is responsible for the dead children washing up on European shores.
The world has looked to us for leadership and followed suit.
Close the doors.
Punish the desperate.
Render them stateless.
Torture them behind razor wire on god- forsaken islands in the tropics.
Leave them to the mercy of brutal guards, paedophiles and rapists.
Forbid them human rights and its commissioner.
Forbid government accountability.
Smother us in secrecy.
We are the Dehumanists:
Europe has watched us turn towards Hitler and his ‘solutions’ with impunity.
They will follow suit.
And the stark white bodies of children will blind us
In this great dark night of our soul
Perhaps it’s the sign of the times but it seems to me governments, whether they are religion based, like the Catholic Church, or Westminster based like the current federal government, have found an effective way to deal with their crimes. Simply ignore them. They have banked, and it seems, correctly, on the public’s apathy. They have invested millions in misinformation and spin and the public have swallowed it without thought of the terrible digestion problems which are to come.
You can’t swallow corruption and remain healthy.
Today there is news of a child on Nauru who has been carrying the pain of a broken arm for a month. Doctors on the impoverished island have begged for specialist help which should be forthcoming from a country of such wealth, such as Australia. But today we hear the child will be spirited away to India. Ten thousand kilometres accross the sea. Not because he will receive the best possible care. Not because Australia takes its responsibilities of Duty of Care seriously. Not because he is a terrorist, or a criminal, or a threat to our security. But because he is a genuine refugee. And we all know, in this lucky country, that to be found genuine and true, and honest and honourable, well, those appear to be crimes. Children especially! You just can’t risk caring for children. Or mothers of children. Or fathers of children. Because to have a child when you are poor is the equivalent of premeditated blackmail. At least according to Team Australia.
"Erfan could've been brought to Australia yesterday ... He should've been brought two weeks ago when it became evident that the bones were not properly set, were misaligned.
"But because he is a refugee and not an asylum seeker, the Government refused to take responsibility."
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said if the claims were true, it was incomprehensible.
"If this is the case, the Government really needs to clarify," Senator Hanson-Young said.
"You couldn't make this stuff up, what on earth is going on?
"This is a family who are found to be refugees, they are genuine refugees, they've been dumped on Nauru by this Government, the boy needs medical assistance, just bring him to Australia and let him be relieved from the suffering of a broken arm."
Senator Hanson-Young said Australian taxpayers would be left to foot the bill if the transfer went ahead.
"If it's true, it's just total madness," she said. ABC News 4th June 2015
So well done Australia! Onya Tony! What a happy and safe place you’re making this world!
Your policies lead directly to those mass graves on the Thai border. And graves like them. You and people smugglers – working together to ensure the very worst of human behaviour. You both prey on asylum seekers. You both show no compassion. Smugglers dig the graves and you push the women and children in. Ask yourself this, what would a smuggler do with a hundred asylum seekers when Australia has shut its doors? Did it not occur to you these people could be killed before ever stepping into a boat?
When Australia closes its doors people will die. It’s that simple. It was that simple for the Jews in World War Two – the lesson to the whole world of what will happen when you take away a person’s right to flee – or worse, hand them back into the hands of their oppressors.
Australia is the new Germany – or perhaps the new Austria (notice how similar they are in spelling!) since that country gave birth to Hitler. And his policies are alive and well in our treatment of the worlds’ most helpless.
Any country which accepts a man as the Minister for Women really isn’t interested in truth and integrity.
But I’m praying, I am praying so hard, that the Australian people will prove me wrong.
After a 10-month inquiry, which covered both the Labor and coalition governments, the commission concluded detaining child asylum-seekers violated international human rights law and caused them significant mental and physical harm.
SBS world news
Holding the government to account is the mark of a democracy. Even in Tony Abbotts Team Australia there is a need for an umpire. One elected to ensure its conduct is fair and humane. To tell the self-proclaimed captain his team has broken the rules. To protect us all from bullying and abuse.
Such an umpire is Gillian Triggs, our Human Rights Commissioner.
Would you trust a government which vilifies and belittles its own Human Rights Commissioner? Which, because it doesn’t like the umpire’s verdict, throws a tantrum and demands her resignation?
Would Tony treat a male Human Rights Commissioner with such open hostility and lack of respect?
The aggression directed at Gillian Triggs is unprecedented. No former Liberal or Labor government has sunk so low as to try to remove the umpire. No democratic government in the developed world has behaved this badly, or been so out-of-control.
Clearly, Tony hates intelligent and strong women.
Her report, commissioned by the very government calling for her resignation, on our treatment of children in detention found Team Australia wanting. But not just Team Australia: the former Labor government also. Successive governments in fact.
The significant issue here is that Team Australia are the only ones who can improve on our treatment of children. They hold the power to make things better. They are, as they constantly remind us, The Government.
What a tragedy that the Abbott government has squandered its opportunity to alleviate children’s suffering, choosing, instead, to try to shoot the messenger.
Gillian Triggs, our Human Rights Commissioner, is made of strong stuff. And despite his tantrums Tony can’t rid himself of the messenger, or her findings.
Thankfully, Gillian, - is 2.5 years into a five-year statutory term that is legally protected to prevent political interference.
The results of her Commission belong to us all and are for all of us to ponder and act on. The misogyny and vitriol directed at this woman for doing the job she was asked to do is something we, as a nation, will also ponder.
As a woman I’m tired of little boys like Tony, the school yard bully cat-calling anyone he thinks he can intimidate.
It won’t work with Gillian. It won’t work with the majority of women in this country. Because we’re all tired of a government which demonstrates so little respect for us.
Tony calls himself captain. So did the criminal in charge of the Costa Concordia.
A Christmas wish
A world in which women and children are safe and free to be themselves.
Where there is gender equity.
Where respect for women so permeates the fabric of society that misogynist men cannot gain support.
Where the environment and our care for it is as natural to us, and as prominent in our minds, as google.
Where our government begins to actually care for the people in its care.
Where the burden of living is shared equally as is the care of children.
A society which supports women’s rights supports human rights.
And now for a Christmas cracker to make you laugh…..
Gough Whitlam. My Super Hero.
I was not yet eight years old when Gough Whitlam became Prime Minister. I could not have predicted that the positive changes he brought to my life would have carried on for over forty years. And not just in mine, but in my mother’s and grandmother’s , sister’s and brother’s.
Growing up on an invalid pension in Blacktown, his long arm reached out to pull us, all of us, up out of despair. He was our Superman.
These things were personal gifts to me. And I want to say thanks for them now, though I have been conscious of how precious they have been throughout my life.
Thank you for Medicare. Without it my mother would have died. It’s that simple.
Thank you for my education, for the chance to go to university, free of debt. For the money you poured into schools, for the building programs which brought opportunity to the disadvantaged.
Thank you for working for equality and equal pay for women.
Thank you for ‘no fault divorce’. It too saved lives.
Thank you for recognising and working toward recognition of indigenous rights to this land, for your respect and humility in seeking their voice.
Thank you for ending conscription and bringing the boys home from Vietnam. You began the very night of the election. You saved lives.
Thank you for caring for the national parks and preservation of wilderness.
Thank you for the money you poured into the Arts and Literature and Cultural Heritage. For the renaissance of film and theatre in the 1970’s.
Thank you for creating a positive multicultural society which was an example to the rest of the world. Thank you for SBS.
Thank you for bringing the sewerage system to western Sydney, for recognising that we had waited too long for a service others took for granted. For respecting our dignity….
Because of you there was food on our table, and we had hope. My eight year old self could dream of a future with fewer limitations and greater equity. My mother could afford her medication and my grandmother could afford to care for us.
I am old now, Gough. And I used the gifts you gave me to get an education and go to university. And I still believe in what mattered then. I’ve been moulded in your image.
Education. Equity. Compassion. Care. Generosity. These are the gifts brought to me in 1972. And they are with me still.
The greatest threat to Australia’s security is the current government.
Rule by dividing and terrorising the Australian population with misinformation and racially charged political stunts.
Add to our desperation by making us poorer, less able to afford education and health-care.
Continue to blame the previous government for budget shortfalls without tackling the wealthy who exploit the nation.
Perpetuate the torture of children in government care - their physical and sexual abuse.
Alienate and disenfranchise young people, especially young men.
Fail to represent over fifty percent of the population – women.
Belittle and mock human rights.
Expunge ourselves of our international obligations – shipping our poor and desperate to compete with the poor and desperate in Cambodia.
Do we feel proud?
Do we feel safe?
We have never been more afraid in our lives.
How many of us are wise enough to know the real extremists are the men in suits who are throwing away our security for political point-scoring? They know exactly what they’re doing: Play the ‘Security Card’ as their predecessor played the ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction Card’. All lies. All spin. All designed to make this nation fearful and force our children to grow up afraid and without hope. Such is the banner of Team Australia.
Let us hope those of us on Team Humanity can hold on long enough to bring about positive change.
Hold this government to account.
A true leader will unite people, not single out and persecute minorities. Destroying in a few short months a nation which was one of the most integrated and peaceful in the world.
Ask yourself why the government talks about human rights as though they only belong to white, male, Australians.
Ask yourself how a Christian country can bomb a country in abject poverty and disarray? Do we not hold Christians to account as we hold our Muslim brothers and sisters? Did Jesus tell Christians to slaughter the non-believers? It would seem, by our actions, that he did. And yet, I find it impossible to locate the scripture which insights me to hate my neighbour as Team Australia would have me do.
Lets look forward to the truth emerging from the spin and am comforted that Abbot and Murdock cannot control the internet, or what young people will discover in the months ahead.
They will vote for a government which will give them:
A safe and stable place to live
Clean air and water
Hope of finding a stable job and not just a short term contract.
A fairer tax system where the wealthy pay their share and big business pays fairly for resources.
A sense that Australia respects its international obligations and can be relied on to work toward a better world.
None of this is possible with the current government.
And a people without hope is a terrorised nation.
And so it is that the greatest terror threat we have on these shores today sits in Parliament House with a PM on his door and an armed guard designed to keep us, and the truth, out.
(I know that government should have a capital G, but I cannot bring myself to give it one. It would imply a respect I cannot feel. So for the grammar purists, I apologise)
Emma Watson: Gender equality is your issue too
Date: 20 Sep 2014
Speech by UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson at a special event for the HeForShe campaign, United Nations Headquarters, New York, 20 September 2014
Today we are launching a campaign called “HeForShe.”
I am reaching out to you because I need your help. We want to end gender inequality—and to do that we need everyone to be involved.
This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN: we want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality. And we don’t just want to talk about it, but make sure it is tangible.
I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.
For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”
I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called “bossy,” because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents—but the boys were not.
When at 14 I started being sexualized by certain elements of the press.
When at 15 my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn’t want to appear “muscly.”
When at 18 my male friends were unable to express their feelings.
I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word.
Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive.
Why is the word such an uncomfortable one?
I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights.
No country in the world can yet say they have achieved gender equality.
These rights I consider to be human rights but I am one of the lucky ones. My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter. My school did not limit me because I was a girl. My mentors didn’t assume I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day. These influencers were the gender equality ambassadors that made who I am today. They may not know it, but they are the inadvertent feminists who are. And we need more of those. And if you still hate the word—it is not the word that is important but the idea and the ambition behind it. Because not all women have been afforded the same rights that I have. In fact, statistically, very few have been.
In 1997, Hilary Clinton made a famous speech in Beijing about women’s rights. Sadly many of the things she wanted to change are still a reality today.
But what stood out for me the most was that only 30 per cent of her audience were male. How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?
Men—I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too.
Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother’s.
I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less “macho”—in fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49; eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either.
We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.
If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.
Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals.
If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are—we can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.
I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too—reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.
You might be thinking who is this Harry Potter girl? And what is she doing up on stage at the UN. It’s a good question and trust me I have been asking myself the same thing. I don’t know if I am qualified to be here. All I know is that I care about this problem. And I want to make it better.
And having seen what I’ve seen—and given the chance—I feel it is my duty to say something. English statesman Edmund Burke said: “All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men and women to do nothing.”
In my nervousness for this speech and in my moments of doubt I’ve told myself firmly—if not me, who, if not now, when. If you have similar doubts when opportunities are presented to you I hope those words might be helpful.
Because the reality is that if we do nothing it will take 75 years, or for me to be nearly a hundred before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work. 15.5 million girls will be married in the next 16 years as children. And at current rates it won’t be until 2086 before all rural African girls will be able to receive a secondary education.
If you believe in equality, you might be one of those inadvertent feminists I spoke of earlier.
And for this I applaud you.
We are struggling for a uniting word but the good news is we have a uniting movement. It is called HeForShe. I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen to speak up, To be the he for she. And to ask yourself if not me, who, if not now when.
- See more at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2014/9/emma-watson-gender-equality-is-your-issue-too#sthash.BbjY8M7g.dpuf
Free ALL Children from Detention. Now. Without delay.
An educated man would see little purpose in punishing a baby.
A decent man would protect frightened women and children.
A civilized man would not pull a child out of school and incarcerate her.
These children and their parents have obeyed the law. They have fulfilled their international obligations and kept the conventions set down by the United Nations.
Have you Mr Abbott?
It seems to me that you see fit to free only children incarcerated by your predecessor. And only those on the mainland. And only those who are under the age of ten. You draw lines of distinction outside the Australian definition of ‘child’, outside the international protocols on the treatment of children, outside the recognised concept of ‘last resort’.
You do your country no favours in breaching what is decent.
You are responsible for the torture of children on Nauru.
You are responsible for the sexual and physical abuse of children on Christmas Island and Manus Island.
You do not represent the people of this nation.
How can the torture of children represent us as a nation?
These are your policies, enacted by your government, adhered to despite public protest and international condemnation.
You are breaking laws Mr Abbott. Laws agreed upon by civilized nations designed to make this world a safer place. A place where women and children have no need to run from fear.
But there are, as I write this, two children running. Two lost and frightened children who were loved by their communities and accepted by their fellow Australians. You took them to an adult prison without bothering to verify their ages. You and your government.
So don’t congratulate yourself, Mr Abbott. Not now. Not yet.
Not before you find in yourself some humanity. Some humility. Some empathy.
And let them ALL. Every child, woman and man, locked inside the gulags of your making. Let them ALL free.
Shining a light in the darkness.