Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

Malcolm Fraser – Gough Whitlam Oration 2012

Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The shearer at the pearly gates

The shearer knocked on the pearly gates
He looked tired and worn
The keeper asked 'what do you do?'
He said 'a shearer, for 50 years I've shorn'

The pearly gates flew open
As Peter rang the bell
'Come in my boy and bring your harp,
You've already done your time in hell'

The trope of workers leaving the hell on earth to go to heaven is common form the convict days to the present.

A railway version published "Eveleigh News" the news sheet of the Eveleigh Loco Shop Committee goes like this:

A man stood at the pearly gates,
His face was worn and old
And meekly asked the man of fate,
Admission to the 'fold'.

"What deed can you account for
To gain admission here?"
"Why I worked at Eveleigh Loco
Until my dying year."

The gate swung open sharp,
As St. Peter touched the bell,
"Come in," he said "and take a Harp,
You've had enough of 'Hell'.

In 1893 Henry Lawson wrote in a similar vein in his poem St Peter:

Now, I think there is a likeness 'twixt St Peter's life and mine
For he did a lot of trampin' long ago in Palestine
He was 'union' when the workers first began to organize
And I'm glad that old St Peter keeps the gate of Paradise

When the ancient agitator and his brothers carried swags
I've no doubt he very often tramped with empty tucker-bags
And I'm glad he's Heaven's picket, for I hate explainin' things
And he'll think a union ticket just as good as Whitely King's

When I reach the great head-station -which is somewhere 'off the track'
I won't want to talk with angels who have never been out back
They might bother me with offers of a banjo meanin' well
And a pair of wings to fly with, when I only want a spell

I'll just ask for old St Peter, and I think, when he appears
I will only have to tell him that I carried swag for years
'I've been on the track,' I'll tell him, 'an' I done the best I could'
And he'll understand me better than the other angels would

He won't try to get a chorus out of lungs that's worn to rags
Or to graft the wings on shoulders that is stiff with humpin' swags
But I'll rest about the station where the work-bell never rings
Till they blow the final trumpet and the Great Judge sees to things

And the Frank the Poet in his 1829 epic "A Convict's Tour to Hell" penned these lines:

At length I found that happy place
Where all the woes of mortals cease
And rapping loudly at the wicket
Cried Peter, where's your certificate
Or if you have not one to show
Pray who in Heaven do you know?
Well I know Brave Donohue
Young Troy and Jenkins too
And many others whom floggers mangled
And lastly were by Jack Ketch strangled
Peter, says Jesus, let Frank in
For he is thoroughly purged from sin
And although in convict's habit dressed
Here he shall be a welcome guest

Sunday, March 08, 2015

International Women's Day March 8 2015

International Women’s Day is an occasion to celebrate the achievements of women around the world. It is marked to provide an opportunity for us all to reflect on past struggles and to come together to plan and act to make the world a more equal place.

The first International Women’s Day was observed in 1911, with women and men marching in cities across Europe. In 1975, International Women’s Year, the United Nations set the date for 8 March, and this remains the day for its observance in Australia.

This year marks 40 years since International Women’s Year, and 20 years since the fourth World Conference on Women adopted the Beijing Platform for Action. These anniversaries of two significant moments in the progression of women’s rights globally form an important part of the theme for 2015.

As in other countries, in Australia there is much to celebrate, just as there remains significant work to be done. For example:

The new Queensland State Government has women in the majority of ministerial positions, including a woman as Premier and Deputy Premier.

Rosie Batty being named Australian of the Year means the issue of domestic violence, which affects the lives of far too many women, is gaining more public attention than ever before.

Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases data showing that the gender pay gap is increasing and is the biggest it has been in 20 years.

State and Federal Governments are cutting funding to services which have provided important support and protection for women for many years.

So take some time to celebrate the milestones and come together to take action to ensure that we can continue to make progress toward the goal of gender equality.

This year the Sydney march is being held next weekend, on 14 March, meeting at 11 am at Sydney Town Hall. People will be marching in solidarity with women around the world experiencing inequality and injustice as a result of gender. People can also join the conversation online or join events around Australia and the world.