Sometimes I think of giving up reading the newspaper. It can be pretty discouraging.
One day recently, as I turned the pages, I found myself thinking: “I should do a Facebook post on that. And that. And that.” And so it went. Until I had a list so long it was way too long for a Facebook post. I wrote it anyway, and then decided to reproduce it on my blog as well. So, here is my list of ten items from one day in the story of social (in-)justice.
1) CLIMATE CHANGE. Australia’s Environment Minister will be too busy repealing the carbon tax to attend the UN Convention on Climate Change.
2) ASYLUM SEEKERS. There are 63 people in the middle of the standoff between Australia and Indonesia over a boat that got into difficulties. These people had the appalling misfortune to get trapped in the crossfire over Australia’s spying practices. [Note: Later the same day, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection announced that those on the boat would be taken to Christmas Island, but would not be resettled in Australia.]
3) RACIAL DISCRIMINATION ACT. The Prime Minister and the Attorney-General are introducing legislation to repeal a section of this Act – the section News Corporation journalist, Andrew Bolt, was found guilty of breaching. Presumably that discussion was on the table when Bolt had dinner at Kirribilli House recently.
4) ANTI-WOMEN VIOLENCE. The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, expressed outrage about violence against women in her recent Boyer lecture. “Wherever I go around the country the rape crisis centres and women’s safe houses are full, resources are overstretched and countless more women are awaiting refuge from horrific circumstances.”
5) MALE CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE, on the somewhat brighter side, is a group initiated by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick. It aims to have women occupying fifty percent of senior jobs in a decade; no mention at this stage, however, of representing the cultural diversity of Australian women.
6) MARRIAGE EQUALITY. Malcolm Turnbull, Communications Minister, has called for a conscience vote. Tandberg’s cartoon speech bubble reads: “You’ll need a seconder”.
7) SELLING THE FARM CAUSES LONG TERM PAIN. Probably no surprise, but privatisation of government services comes at a cost, despite the rhetoric about competition and choice. For example, the State Electricity Commission in Victoria was sold for $20 billion in 1992. Since then, the cost of electricity to households has increased 170 percent.
8) ENDANGERED BLUEFIN TUNA AT RISK. Not even the fish are immune from the wrecking-ball it seems. Our new government has apparently reneged on a commitment to introduce stereo video monitoring; Japan and New Zealand are not impressed.
9) TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP (TPP) AGREEMENT. Something secretive is happening in this area that is causing concern to those on the critical edge. My initial response to a request for comment was that I did not feel well enough informed. The person making the request argued that is precisely the problem; lack of information is undermining democracy. [Note. I did subsequently come across an article in the Financial Review that was similarly alarmed by the secrecy surrounding the TPP – although the concerns about secrecy, silencing, and transparency of this government are more general as well.]
10) FILL IN THE BLANK. ______________________________ There must be a tenth item, and probably many more; please feel free to add to the list. [Note. One suggestion, posted on the 2020socialjustice Facebook page, related to the government’s decision to merge or scrap twenty advisory bodies, because they “are not focused on the Government’s priorities” according to our new Prime Minister. I think the Prime Minister might be referring to his own priorities – not necessarily consistent with those of the people.]
Written By Joan Beckwith, PhD
2020 Social Justice
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