Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Political Donations

Posted: February 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

So you may have heard, the PM of Australia is now having to answer to the people and the media why he personally donated $1.75m of his own money to his party immediately before the last federal election.
Or perhaps you heard of the now former Health Minister using taxpayer dollars to fly herself and partner to the Gold Coast with no notice (on a private jet – costing taxpayers ~$20,000!) and ended up buying an apartment “at a whim” worth almost $1m.
Or maybe the incident where the former Speaker of the House decided she did not want to be stuck in traffic on her way to a fundraising event, so decided to hire a helicopter to fly over the freeway traffic below, and billed the taxpayer $5000?

There have been plenty of examples of this sort of spending, and many more during the election campaigning. Signage, TV ads, Brochures, Automated phone calls to show us that they care…

Would it not be easier to implement a single fund. All political donations go into the one fund. It then gets divided up between the parties based on how many seats they currently hold (or for new micro parties, based on a predetermined amount per running candidate.

This would ensure that all parties were on a level playing field. It would ensure that “Big Mining” were not “buying off” a particular party, rather, their money was going into a pool for all parties. This way, each party would have a relatively balanced ground to sell their policies, ignoring who had more funding, or who donated to who. Focussing on policies!

It would also show the Australian public how each party could work within a budget.

If all spending was to be accounted for, and all spending stopped 1-2 weeks out from the election (when there is a media blackout anyway), the parties could then tell us how much they had left over (which would be returned to the pool for the following election, or spent on infrastructure etc) The voting public would then see if they received ‘value for money’ throughout the campaign, seeing how well each party could secure good business deals for printing, advertising, resources etc, as well as seeing that they are able to balance the books in a timely manner. After all, most parties carry on about “balancing the budget”, expecting people to liken the federal budget to a household chequebook, when they could not be further apart. Rather than talk the talk, show us your walk! Balance an electoral campaign, limit wasteful spending that usually amounts to numerous flyers that go straight to the bin, and spend wisely.

In this current climate, I think we could do with this level of scrutiny.

An amazing insight into what the end of funding for Safe Schools really means…

Writing in Shadows

Dear Prime Minister,

I wasn’t sure how to address your government’s latest announcement yesterday. The age old belief that announcing unpopular moves late on Friday no longer has the same power it did in the years before social media. Social media now means an unpopular announcement now trends on Twitter within minutes of the announcement and, if it’s on a Friday, that announcement has the weekend to fester and build momentum.

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As a designer, people sometimes seem to think of my role as ‘auxiliary’ or perhaps ‘unrequited’ in their industry. Some even go as far as to request designs done for them at no charge, because “It should be easy for you, you are creative” or my favourite “We will give you exposure, and perhaps set up some regular work for you with us”.

Unfortunately, “Exposure” does not pay the bills…

Many seem to think of a designer’s work as a glorified hobby that does not deserve recognition or even payment. Whilst many of us do indeed enjoy designing various things, and perhaps even do the odd design for no charge, for us, this is our job. This is something that pays our bills, keeps food on the table and our families off the streets. I have never heard of someone asking an accountant or a lawyer for free services, in exchange for ‘exposure’, but somehow, creative people are deemed less important.

Take note, every single thing that you have purchased that is in packaging has been designed by a Graphic Artist.
Every single man-made product you have held in your hand, experienced, viewed or touched has been designed by  Product Designer.
Every single store you have walked into, walked past or walked through has had its layout, lighting and shelving designed by someone in those fields.
The lawyer has their stationery, document templates and all other formal documents designed to some extent by a designer, as does the accountant’s personalised cheques, advertising materials and even the software that gets you a refund.

Every single industry on this earth has a designer involved at some level. They work hard, they work long hours and often forego important events in their lives to get the job done. In one position I worked, it was not uncommon to be sitting around an empty office, talking with the cleaners as I waited for an executive to make final changes for an urgent press ad that had to be submitted that night. I could have easily been sitting at home with those I love, spending time with them, hearing about her day and perhaps watching some TV together, but instead, I was made to wait on someone else decision until 11:30 at night sometimes. This was with no extra pay, and in fact, it was expected of me on a regular basis.

More often that I would care to admit, I have had to chase down clients, pestering and pressuring them for many months after the final artwork has been submitted for my payment, which had been invoiced (meaning I pay taxes on it) but not received. (Still paying tax on money not received!) With one client, I chased them for 6 months for a few hundred dollars. Eventually they paid, only to ask me a few days later for further designs.

In what other industry is this level of disrespect acceptable, when my work would not only benefit your company, but also potentially make your company some or even considerable money?

I recently read this amazing article on a blog, which tells of the trickery used to keep people in design positions. It uses our own self-pity to keep us docile and willing to work under these ridiculous conditions. Even if you are not a designer, it is well worth a read!

A Short Lesson in Perspective

This has been written by Julian Burnside, QC. A well-respected Barrister based in Melbourne, and a Human Rights Advocate.

winstonclose

The cruelty and indifference of Serco and Border Force continue to astound.

Mojgan Shamsalipoor was in year 12 at school in Brisbane and was taken into detention. Then she was put in detention at BITA, the detention centre in Brisbane.  Then she gave an interview to the ABC, and she was moved to detention at Wickham Point in Darwin, despite the fact that her husband (Milad Jafari, a permanent resident) lives in Brisbane.

Mojgan

Her removal from detention in Brisbane was brutal.  She was dragged out in the middle of the night by the hair.  Five or six Serco guards were invovled in the exercise: to remove a young woman from detention in one place and move her to Darwin, 3000 kilometers from her husband and friends.  In the detention trade, this is known as…

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Congratulations USA!

Posted: June 27, 2015 in Uncategorized
I am predicting a surge in USA holidays either in coming weeks, or next June/July, in time for summer. Hawaii will be booked for many years to come, boosting their tourism and their local economy.
The surge will be from thousands, tens-of-thousands of gay and lesbian couples, fed up with waiting for Australia’s government to act on this issue, and wanting to get married to the person they love.
They will most-likely not be religious weddings, rather, they will be celebrant-run weddings. On the beach, in parks, outdoors or in registries. (for all of the religious folks saying “its Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve!”)
In the end, Australia’s inaction on this is not only an embarrassment to us as a progressive country, but also a massive slap in the face for the local economy, tourism, celebrant, designer, venue, fashion, and jeweller industries.
Millions of dollars will be sent offshore, yet again (After NZ, Ireland and some other countries beat us to it) and guess what? The world still turns, and a reign of fire has not fallen on the heathens…
 
In the words of John Lennon, All You Need is Love, LOVE is All You Need.

This was broadcast almost 48 years to the day. When it was broadcast, interracial couples were only barely accepted in some parts of the world, the Civil Rights movement was in full swing, Women’s Rights was in its infancy, and the Aboriginal people of Australia were still classed as animals, under the Flora & Fauna act.

Isn’t it amazing to see how quickly the world can change when there is a desire to change it for the better?

I congratulate the USA (and Ireland, and of course New Zealand) for seeing the common sense in passing these laws and allowing human beings to marry the person that they love most in the world.

Hello

My name is Patrick, and I have always been a Labor voter and supporter since I was first allowed to vote.
I have been known to have many a heated argument, defending policies with friends, family and strangers.
I have recently read that Labor, if they win at the next election, will take an even tougher stance to asylum seeker arrivals.
As a new visitor to the Broadmeadows Detention facility, I find this news to be disappointing.
This nation has been built on the blood sweat and hardworking backs of immigrants. We have all grown up with people from other countries surrounding us, either in our schools or our communities.
It is what makes Australia such an amazing and unique place to live. Until recently, we have been an envy of other countries all around the world. When travelling, I have always been proud to tell strangers that I was Australian.
This has ended now. I am now vocally ashamed to be Australian. When did our values as a country change so drastically?
We have essentially turned our back on the very piece of international law that has built our country into the great power it is, the UN Convention of Refugees, 1952. The piece of legislation that saw so many of our Italian, Greek, Maltese, German, Polish and many other nationalities settle here after World War 2, and has assisted so many other people to settle here when their countries were being ravaged by wars, famine, terror and disaster.
Friends of mine who travel now tell people they are from New Zealand, as it has become too shameful to admit that they are from a land who does not respect people from other lands or with other beliefs.
I currently visit the Broadmeadows Detention Facility (MITA) specifically to spend time with the ASIO negatively assessed Tamil men. These men have been held in detention without charge (at least, none they have been informed of) for five or six years, and in some cases, longer than six years. This is at the same time as we have Domestic Violence Perpetrators serving 3 month suspended sentences. Drink Drivers serving 2 years but being released on good behaviour, and rapists being released on parole, often reoffending, as seen in the Jill Meagher case.
In recent days I have been listening to many in the media and even politics complaining that Indonesia has breached International Law by executing the two men, but there has not been any mention that our current government do the same every single day, leaving people in detention for over six years without charge.
I ask, with the LNP practically handing you the leadership of this country on a platter with their disgusting abuse of human rights, their ignorance for international treaties and recommendations by the United Nations, Amnesty International and the Human Rights Commission, not to mention a common disregard for human decency, with Tony Abbott and his imbeciles constantly opening their mouths to the sound of completely farcical and moronic statements, press releases and god-forbid their foreign speech bluffs… with all of this, how can you now say that you will not only side with the LNP policies, but take them further?
This not only relates to the Asylum Seeker policies, of course. This also includes Metadata, Equal Rights for Same Sex Marriage, the Maintaining Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities, as well as a spate of smaller policies that the ALP have somehow not blocked, or even raised concerns.
Not so many years ago Labor held a convincing lead in the polls over John Howard. Although he was unpopular at the time, he was nowhere near the level of incompetence or danger of the current ‘leader’ of the LNP. How is it that Labor can now only manage a very slim margin of preference over this bumbling fool?
This is the least successful government of our great country that I have known. Please ask yourself why it is that Labor cannot have a convincing lead in the Two Party Preferred polls?
I fear that the Labor party has lost its way. It has lost its vision of a better Australia for all, and is now only trying to win votes in the polls. It is a dirty race to the bottom.
I do not want to vote for the Greens, however their humanitarian policies leave both major parties far behind. This is where your voting constituents are headed, and in droves. I feel my arm is being twisted and I am being forced to leave this once great party, and all in the name of common decency to innocent people who are only wanting to be treated with the dignity that they deserve.
Please try and remember your way, remember that without freedoms, justice and decency, we are no better than many of the countries we are currently at war with.
I look forward to your reply, and even the ability to discuss my concerns further, but as I have seen with past emails to members of Parliament, i expect a templated reply that does not answer any questions but “values my input into important matters.”

I’d be happy to tell you why I choose to visit the detention centre in Broadmeadows.

I began visiting after hearing Julian Burnside QC speaking of the atrocious and sub-sub-standard conditions within the offshore centres. I simply couldn’t believe the media were not reporting on it! After all, we hear of every Kardashian update, or The Block eviction, why do we not hear about our own government’s treatment of these people in need?

We asked Mr. Burnside afterward if there was anything we could do, as only a few members of the public, with no means to change laws or make any noticeable difference. He replied simply “Yes, visit them, let them know they are not in it alone and that people in Australia care for their wellbeing and futures”.

We arranged to visit in the following weeks, and since then, I have always done my best to leave my everyday baggage outside, listen to their troubles, help them when I can and always offer them a hug.

So in answer to the original question, I visit the people at Broadmeadows because they have become my friends, and a part of my family. I have since taken my mother to visit them, and now she is always asking how they are, as they ask about her. She cares for them as she would care for her own children, even knitting them winter clothing. They all ask “How is mum?”.

The Negatively assessed Tamil guys at Broadmeadows, as well as all other people I have met there, are some of the nicest, most sincere, caring and kind-hearted people I have ever met. This country would benefit from their compassion, humour and many talents, if only they would stop hearing the word “Illegal” and actually spent the time to meet with the real people in these situations.

These innocent people have been detained for six years without charge, without sentencing, and with no end in sight. ASIO have vowed to keep them detained until circumstances change. They will not disclose their reasons for incarcerating these people, making it virtually impossible for them to defend themselves in a court of law. In another cruel twist, the asylum seekers cannot return home, as they have been granted Refugee status here in Australia. They are permitted to stay, but only as prisoners in the care of Immigration, never being charged with any crime.