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What a cesspit the Australian political landscape is 26 June 2013

Posted by uggclogs in Life.
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It has been a really long time, I would say years, since politics have had any substance in this country. I am frustrated.

I am sick of the personalities and the low-blow personal attacks. As if anyone cares?

I am sick of the so-called major topics that are being discussed. They are distractions and unhelpful.

Boat arrivals. There are such few people that arrive by boat to this country. It is a travesty that so many people perish on the way over – surely there is a solution out there that doesn’t require locking people up on islands out of sight? Surely most asylum applications can be processed and dealt with in a timely manner rather than having these people wait, in limbo, for years?

Gay marriage. It is going to happen, so why is this such a major political play thing? Stop telling people what they can and can’t do in their lives. If it isn’t hurting anyone (and no, being ‘offensive’ to you does not qualify) then what do you care what people want to do with their lives?

Misogeny. Oh, please. Stop reducing my life experience to something out of a 1950s magazine. In today’s Australia, women can have what they want. So take it! But everything involves choices. And if you chose not to take it, that’s fine, too. That is the whole point. If I as a woman choose having a family and therefore do not become a CEO before my 35th birthday, I do not see myself as a failure, because they are my choices and they make me happy. And guess what? If I choose to focus on career and aim to lead a company by my 35th birthday, guess what? In Australia 2013, I can do that, too! It would take a heck of a lot of overtime and focus, and very hard work, but it is my lack of commitment and drive in that field, not my gender, holding me back.

So what should we be talking about?

Family Tax Benefits 14 May 2013

Posted by uggclogs in Life.
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There has been a lot of talk in Australia lately about broken promises. The Federal government decided to implement a few of new taxes over the last couple of years; the carbon tax and the mining tax. The former was a tax on polluters of carbondioxide, and the latter was a tax on mining companies.

The government was promising all these lovely benefits to ‘average Australians’ and ‘families’.

Turns out that neither one of these taxes has actually amounted to a whole lot of revenue for Australia. At least far less than projected. So all these promises were suddenly unfunded. So now the government (still the same) has had to scrap some of these promises as the economy is likely to run into deficit when budget is announced tomorrow.

One of these promises was higher “Family Tax Benefit A” which was scrapped earlier this month. It got me thinking – what is this benefit? And why is Australia already forking out billions of dollars for this benefit?

The Australian Tax Office states that the Family Tax Benefit Part A is paid for each child.

Now, I know children are expensive. You need a bigger house. A bigger and safer car. Clothes they grow out of and food. Never ending food. And school fees, uniforms, books, school outings. And then there are the activities, the sports, the music, the scouts (or similar) all the things you choose to expose your child to to make them into well-rounded individuals.

But I am going to edge out on the controversial branch here, and ask the question – Isn’t it a choice to have children?

I sure hope to have children one day, and I am sure that time will be difficult financially. And I will want to provide them with the best I can offer. But does that mean that all of Australia must pull together and pay for the brood that I pop out? And until the age of 16 (as the ATO currently states) or up until 20 in some cases?

I simply cannot agree with that.

Whatever happened to courtesy? 11 April 2013

Posted by uggclogs in Argentina, Life.
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I am astonished with the vitriolic outpouring that I have seen in the news and on the streets regarding the late Margaret Thatcher.

What I do understand is that she was a polarising person. Many people hated her and what she stood for. Many people felt that their lives were ruined and that she would not budge on issues, no matter what. She was a strong, determined woman (first female Prime Minister, nicknamed the Iron Lady by the Russians, etc.) who at times was hard-nosed and unrelenting.
Yet enough people agreed with her views to vote her into office. Several times. So love her or loathe her, she was in power because the majority of the people who voted in the UK at that time put her there.

From a neutral stand-point, I can see why someone would dislike her. She made decisions that weren’t popular, and she stood her ground against the mining unions. And the Argentinians. And others who disagreed with her.

But to sum it up, she served her people. She did what she thought was right for Britain. And you are perfectly entitled to disagree with all of that, and feel like she made Britain into a worse place. But I do not believe that anyone who becomes Prime Minister of Britain and is voted back on several occasions believes they are doing the wrong thing. They make the decisions they make because they believe they are right.

And honestly, all of this can be eulogised respectfully, fiercely, and powerfully, without resorting to pettiness. Resorting to chanting ‘Ding dong, the witch is dead’ and celebrating in the streets upon the news that she had passed away is low-brow and detestible. Bob Carr, the Foreign Minister of Australia, decided that her death was the perfect time to point out that she was also racist.

So I return to my headline – whatever happened to courtesy?

And no, I don’t want anyone to start waxing lyrical about the virtues of Margret Thatcher if they fundamentally and visciously disagreed with her throughout her life. If everything she stood for was repugnant to you, there is no need for crocodile tears.

I am not claiming that no bad things should be said about the dead or that ‘if you don’t have anything good to say, say nothing at all’.

What I am saying is twofold. Firstly, the dead can no longer defend themselves, so your perfect opportunity to speak has come and gone.

Secondly, say what you want to say about the woman, say that you were (and still are, and always will be) opposed to her politics and who/what she represented. Say that you think the world would have been a better place if she had not come to power. But don’t dismiss that she had a profound impact on the world, on Britain, on Europe.

Don’t lower your opportunity to change the world into a better place by resorting to petty children songs. If you don’t agree with it, change it. Make your views heard. Talk with people. Listen to people. Get into politics to implement policy if you believe strongly enough.

At least she did.

I feel for the demonstrators in Iran 16 June 2009

Posted by uggclogs in Life.
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I have been meaning to blog all weekend, but all of my possible topics have seemed menial and irrelevant compared to the news coming out of Iran.

I myself am not an election observer, and can therefore not say whether the result was either ‘stolen’ or ‘irregular’. But the incredible violence that the demonstrators have been met with is unacceptable. And I say this unequivocally.

If you wish to follow the latest updates, you can do so on twitter, or you can have them updated for you at the Daily Dish or the Huffington Post.

I am troubled. I will keep following the news.

UPDATE: There seems to be a lot of unverifiable information being sent around, and a lot of conflicting information also.  But I am appalled with the violence.  It must end for the people of Iran, this is no way to live.  I am thinking of you.