Why we should hate Colin Barnett

3 Sep

Hate is such a strong word, yet it can be fully justified if the thing or person of which you are speaking about is such a vile and disgusting being. I am speaking about none other than the premier of W.A, Colin Barnett.

Even typing his name and seeing it written on my screen only a moment ago brings a small amount of shame to myself for degrading my computer this way. Therefore, henceforth, the said premier shall be referred to as Bullfrog (those who have seen images of this putrid excuse for a human will know what I mean). For nearly two years he and his cronies at the Western Fascism Factory have been fear-mongering everyone in this state. From his rash of budget cuts to an endless stream of pandering to the rich and elite, he has almost accomplished his goal of driving W.A further backwards and delivering it the redneck reputation that we so deserve.

This week, the sly bullfrog of a man got ever so closer to his goal with his evil plans to acquisition land in the state’s north. Despite the fact that the traditional owners of that land are Indigenous Australians and that this land is agreed by the Commonwealth to be left alone, the bullfrog has inflated his already oversized and grotesque chin in an act of defiance to the federal government, not to mention 50,000 years of heritage.

As insensitive and thoughtless as this plan is, there is nothing that comes close to the rampant love-love relationship that the bullfrog has with the mining companies. Rio Tinto, BHP and Woodside must be squealing with absolute delight right now at the decision from the amphibious conservative. Now they can not only increase profits, but they can trample on Indigenous culture at the same time – it’s as if Christmas has come 4 months early this year! Perhaps their stockings will be filled with some of the new cole that the government also wants to start mining in this state as well.

The bullfrog is very quickly alienating W.A and it’s people from the rest of Australia. There were minor rumors of secession a little while ago, I’m sure that the eastern states would be very quick to sign the papers advocating this right now.

Bullfrog doesn’t just have conservative, right-wing ideas, he is the unholy embodiment of them. Last year he was the new improved Stubborn Bullfrog as he was the only state leader in this country to reject then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s new health deal. Bullfrog looked more smug than ever and we didn’t think that his chin could inflate any more than this point in his swamp-like career. However, just like his kin who spend the early part of their lives transforming from tadpole to amphibian, he truly evolved into his own when he made the move this week to acquire land; land that is already recognised as belonging to the original custodians of this country – Indigenous Australians.

This is why I hate Colin Barnett. Not just this reason but also the fact that he is the very embodiment, the living icon of all that is wrong and extremely shitty about this state. We are a bunch of ultra-conservatives with no sense of respect for the rights of others or for the marginalised. All that matters to us is the bottom line and how much profit our beloved overlords, the mining companies, make each year.

Bullfrog runs this state right now, but not for long Bullfrogs do not have a very long life expectancy, 7 years or thereabouts.

It’s only a matter of time, Bullfrog.

Our New PM – Slideshow

30 Aug

With a caretaker government still in place after the fallout of the election on the 21st, Australia is still without stable leadership. So here are just a few of my ideas of who should come in and take over if a decision can’t be made by the three independents by the end of this month:

New Leader

Education Revolution – The Real One

11 Aug

One of the political debates in this country right now is centred around the concept of an ‘education revolution’. This is something I have argued many – timesbefore. Although my argument was based mostly on the economic principal of a free education supplied by the government and paid for by taxes (as well as health and social services) the focus is meant to shift more to the specifics of exactly what our education system needs to become in order for Australia to progress any further.

What we have at the moment is a 200+ year old system based on text books, chalk boards and grades. No matter how technologically driven a classroom may be or how innovative a teacher is in their ideas, there is no escaping the aforementioned system. This is simply because it is a system endorsed highly by the corporate and government sector.

The corporate sector wants pen pushers and numbers people. They don’t want creativity, no matter how much propaganda we see stating otherwise. The government wants these same type of people to work for them in the public sector as well – including teachers who, as part of some cruel joke, go through this system only to become the ones pushing a new generation through the same closed-off environment.

The concept of the classroom is one I have quite a problem with. I cannot simply stand in front of my students day in and day out and dictate an outdated curriculum to them. This is something I avoid doing at all costs. However, the unfair part of this story is that people are now after ‘results’. Results based on the overall grade a student gains. Let me be blunt – if the student is not suited to that particular subject, then they should NOT have to study it. Yet they are, because there is such a limit of choice in the curriculum.

Students want to experience something they call the ‘real world’. Yet they don’t have a clue how things work outside of their sheltered classroom because, until they reach senior school, they have no idea what a workplace looks or feels like, what is expected of them and how to interact with new people.

Let’s do away with lesson plans and the concept of one teacher per classroom. Let’s do away with programs that teach to an exam or to a text book. Let’s start to develop a curriculum where students will actually contribute something worthwhile to society.

This is my plan for exactly how that will happen:

The creative students can do the following – spend a year developing, working on and launching a marketing campaign for a local charity organisation. They could also develop software that other students at the school could use. They could work on the publicity for the school – saving administration hundreds of hours a year as well as money.

Technically minded students will spend the year either helping out with medical research at a partnership hospital. They could do engineering work at an airline or they could design and build renewable energy sources for the school to use – which would cut down on greenhouse emissions and save the school money as well.

The students with a keen interest in literature and academics could be the ones writing student-centred curriculum or designing websites devoted to learning, not just for their school but for all schools, to share their knowledge, create partnerships with international schools, meet new people and to take part in international studies and student exchanges.

Practically minded students could work in a number of trades for their school and their community. Carpentry, maintenance, building, steel work. They could also work very closely with the technical students in building the school’s renewable energy sources.

Of course, students could jump from one area to another if they choose – a student may think that working on a creative project will be fun, but then become bored because they feel as if they would prefer to work on something more technical that requires specific knowledge. No doubt, there would be much crossing over and working together between all students.

My next point is about age and development:

Not all students develop at the same age. Some peak early in the classroom while others may take a few extra years. Why should all students in the one class be the same age? I certainly don’t share my workplace with only other 28 year olds, so why should a student spend most of their time socialising with people their own age?

If someone shows signs of being ahead of other students academically, then they should be allowed to work with older students. If they have completed a number of worthwhile projects for their school and community and proved they have the ability to contribute well to society, then what is to stop a school from allowing them to graduate early? What is to stop them from going on to tertiary studies or gaining employment and really contributing, fulfilling their potential?

Yes, I understand that children need to learn the basics of Maths, Science, English and the Humanities, however this takes place mostly in primary school, and even there, the classroom environment that we have now should change dramatically to a point where students are working and contributing similar to how they would be in high school, particularly in the upper years of primary school.

Students should also not be limited by what the school or the departments deem to be the only necessary texts and learning materials. They should freely be able to choose what resources they require to complete their learning. This is the same constriction that the workplace puts on the adult – not being free to choose and decide what would work best.

My next point is about the ability to think for ourselves. Sadly, many adults do not know how to do this. They are dictated to and nod their head every time their boss speaks. This is exactly what students are becoming. No longer do we have a class full of teenagers who question what the teacher says. They simply repeat back what has been said in class as if they were a parrot. Research requires the skill to differentiate useful information from useless information and to dig for facts and statistics. What will students do when they enter a research field one day and are unable to decipher any information without being told what to look for? Where will our great minds come from?

Yes, we will probably have a good amount of skilled tradesmen and technically minded people, but where will the new information come from? Our new discoveries, who will find them? Where will the creativity we witness in the media and entertainment industry come from?

The reason why this situation is like this today is because of years of conditioning students to believe everything that is said. I refer to you to a post from earlier this year in which a student publicly stated in class that teachers were smarter than students. I find it hard to believe that he was joking, it was said with so much conviction. I have since been asked if it were a joke. I wish that it was so.

Many people in the media and in politics would be quick to dismiss this fad as being the fault of the Internet or the entertainment industry. How many times can those two elements in our society be the scapegoat for a problem which is, in actuality, the fault of the two accusing parties?

No more lies, please.

To answer the question, this is my idea of an education revolution. Students actually LEARNING because they are contributing. They are thinking for themselves. They have an understanding of how the real world works.

Too many times I am having to explain to students that the concept of the ‘real world’ as opposed to the school world is a myth. There is life outside of school of course, but if you do not experience that life as much as possible before leaving school, then you are in serious trouble. School, sadly, does not adequately prepare our students for that life. Until something is done and our politicians wake up and realise just how outdated our current system is, then they will continue to be lost in a world that they are not ready for.

Identity Lost

10 Aug

Counter culture has served its purpose. The days of individuality in western society are now over. It was put to rest at the end of the 60’s. It resurrected again in the 80’s, 90’s and again today – ironically, causing us to take on the appearance of zombies – lifeless, emotionless, no independent thought process at all.

Any attempt to appear rebellious, to go against the status quo is to ultimately conform. This is self-evident in the herd-like behaviour of, not only youth, but now also those members of generation x approaching their late 30’s and 40’s. The desire to own that new large flat screen LED television, or to ensure that their children have an iPod each as well as a matching iPhone or Blackberry to match is the new way to keep up with their neighbours.

Of course, this is nothing new. Materialism was the ID tag of the 20th Century, however it has since carried over and picked up the pace with some hostility and resentment towards any endeavor to be ‘yourself’. To just BE.

The reason I began this post by stating that counter culture had served its purpose, is simply because it no longer functions as a means to rebel or to appear different. It is now, very much, a part of the capitalist mechanism which, unfortunately, drives this world. We are no longer identified by who we are, but what we own. The individual is now a myth, crucified over 50 years ago in order to pave way for comfort and material satisfaction. Our only gratification is through a credit card purchase – 300 hundred days interest free of course, no deposit!

I am, however, speaking in generalities – as always. You can not simply lump mankind into this one large mess which we ourselves have created.

There are still pockets of resistance to the machine controlling our world. Not all of us are slaves to capitalisms beck and call. We still have our own free will and ability to make decisions based upon personal beliefs, personal tastes, personal needs.

Mass-manufacturing, in any form, may also be on the way out. There is no evidence to support this case, however, if you look back over history, everything since human-kinds ability to come down from the tree and walk upright, has been in cycles. There have been empires that have come and gone. Whole civilisations have disappeared, leaving only fantastic architecture as a testament to their existence. Leaders have made their mark, and have been eliminated, or just faded out of view. New technologies have arrived – some purposeful, some purposeless.

What this is saying is that eventually all things must come to an end. Whether it be tomorrow or in a years time, in a decade or in a century, is not the point. The point is that the cycle will eventually end.

We are currently living in an imperialist society. The US is the empire, it has extended its arms into most western and eastern nations. The very concept of globalisation is an imperialist theory that was put into practice years ago so that today each nation has also lost its identity.

Again, this cycle will come to an end. There is only so much conformity and loss of identity that people can take.

One day, counter culture will again serve the purpose of eliminating the herd, the mob. We are still far from that day, but we are also close enough to sense that it is arriving and that it will arrive. However, like I have stated in previous posts, it does not only come down to that day arriving on its own, it is fully dependent on the people taking action – people power!

Another thing that history has taught us is that anything is possible. If you have the people, all set on the same goal, great things can be achieved. The formation of workers unions is a great example of people power, particularly here in Australia – achievements such as winning the 8 hour day, gaining wage increases and receiving benefits that are in line with our basic human rights are only a few examples.

On the flip-side, we are also vulnerable to having those rights taken away when complacency sets in. This is exactly how Work Choices was introduced in Australia. If we become far too comfortable in society (and distracted by other ‘problems’) then we lose what we have fought so hard for.

What we have lost today, is our identity.

It is now time that we has a people took it back.

End the slavery.

End the complacency.

End the herd.

Bring on the revolution!

Transformation

6 Aug

Another political cycle is about to come to an end in this country. A political cycle that, like most others, leaves us disappointed and without any hope of transformation gratified.

In just under 3 years, much has taken place in the world. Our unfair market system has rendered the homeless situation even more hopeless. Many numbers amongst the rich have become slightly less richer. The economies of the world fell swiftly. Our brothers and sisters in Europe were the hardest hit while those in nations on the continents of Africa and South America continued suffering under the imperialistic domination of the United States.

In Oceania, there are unjustified sighs of relief that the impact has not (or will not) show its full potential and will not be a mirror of the northern and western hemispheres.

Although so many among us appear to be relieved due to the fact that our industries have recovered and markets appear stable – we are so quick to forget that these facts mean we are still slaves to a corrupt and destructive capitalist system. The more complacent we become with our own lives and what we call ‘the system’, the more it tightens it’s chains on us all.

What we are failing to see is that, even if this is a precursor or not to a larger market recession, the system has to change. Right now there are far too many of us content with an unjust system because their own lives appear comfortable. Comfort is, in the opinion of many of those that have fought the system, something that negates any progress and change we could hope to create. Ignorance is bliss to many and, unfortunately, this applies to the majority of our brothers and sisters.

The only answer that we have is to take action. The revolution will not appear on its own. It will not topple the dictatorial regimes, the banks, the oil companies, the imperialist US, the fascist right-wingers the churches and those dictators who falsely claim to be on the left.

The transformation only occurs with action. For every action there is a reaction, this is something that we must remember.

Here, in Australia, we are more than ever at our social crossroads. It is not too late to undo the work of the past decade – the Northern Territory intervention which reeks of racial profiling. The Australian Christian Lobby’s stronghold over our government. Our inhumane asylum detention centres. The thug caste that the Howard years created – responsible for race riots in Cronulla and the vicious beatings that Indian university students are suffering in Melbourne. Our insistence that marriage should only be between a man and a woman – forgetting that this is also an abuse of human rights since we ignore the science that sexual orientation is determined at birth.

These are the things that must be eliminated within our society if Australia is to ever progress. We must realise our position within the region where we live – the change that could take place forever throughout Asia could easily begin with us as a beacon of that change and the good that it brings. However, this is to be done in a non-cynical fashion – without sweet-talking non-action and simply a slight tweaking of the current system.

It needs to be  revolution – a complete transformation, not just a change. If it doesn’t take place this way, then we are doomed to repeat the same cycle that we have been repeating since 1901.

Our Slippery Slope

8 Jul

When the illogical choices are the ones made by our supposed leaders and mistakes of the past are continually made, is it time that we organised and fought?

An unfair system that compounds in abuses of human rights, preference for the rich and powerful and the desecration of our world is one that simply CANNOT be allowed to stand any longer.

At this time, it is urgent that we not only become openly defiant and vocal about change, but we need to take stronger action. An election is not the answer for change of any kind, not positive change anyway. Unfortunately, what is seen far too much right now is apathy bordering on outright nihilism. If it isn’t that, then we have views of people reinforcing the ideas of the current system. Sadly, there are plenty of people who fall into the latter category.

In a couple of weeks, Australia’s leadership has changed. We have seen one conservative traded for another. We have seen one person’s ideals repackaged and represented as someone else’s. Soon, we will be voting at polling booths to decide if the current leader should stay or be replaced by another clone of the conservative variety. I use the term ‘variety’ quite ironically, since really, there is none, and hasn’t been any in Australian politics for a long time.

Not one policy made in 14 years has been beneficial to humanity, to the majority, to our rights. In fact, policy has been made, legislation has been passed (even if unconstitutional) that has ensured a fair amount of human rights abuses have taken place. Since we are not the policy makers, we are not capable of passing law, we are virtually powerless to make this change.

Or so it would seem.

What our society should desire, what it NEEDS, is activism, more of it. The very fact that, as a whole, Australians are simply allowing these conservatives to get away with each abuse and misuse of power is the very reason why they should begin taking an interest. It’s because, with each desecration of our rights, a slippery slope forms. One policy is directed towards one area of our rights, another follows.

Take the ‘clean feed’ for instance. Senator Conroy’s idea of the Australian super firewall is actually the brainchild of the Christian Lobby. The ACL has had the hold of government ears for quite some time now and it is only a matter of time before this fundamentalist and non-secular organisation is responsible for many more abuses coming our way.

When our rights to monitoring and self-censoring are gone, then so is our own concept of responsibility. The government would love very dearly to regulate and control our Internet access, yet when it comes to regulating and controlling private enterprise, we are given the Mr Hyde treatment.

When those given refugee status or asylum seekers being held in detention off-shore have lost all of their rights, do not believe for one second that any of you born here in this country will be safe. Like I said, it is a slippery slope and it will only become worse.

A government which continually makes the decisions which have desecrated our rights in the past, is only doomed to continually repeat them, over and over again.

Where Are We Headed

23 Jun

I wasn’t alive in the 70’s, so that means I missed out on the Whitlam government years, the dismissal and the recovery of left-wing politics in Australia afterwards.

I was only very young growing up in the 80’s so I didn’t fully appreciate Bob Hawke’s Labor taking victory in 1983 (although I did meet before the election as a 1 year old, I believe there’s even a photo of it that my parents have somewhere)

I was still in primary school when Keating took power from Hawke and then won another election for the ALP against John Hewson’s Coalition. I was only just finding my political feet, even if they were last place to my Nintendo and NBA trading card feet at the time.

I was 14 when, after 13 years in power, the ALP crumbled to a coalition headed by Howard, Fischer, Downer and Costello. On the back of Howard’s decision not to refute a far-right and dangerous Pauline Hanson after her maiden parliamentary speech, my anger and dislike towards Howard and his coalition was something I carried around for 11 years.

It was issues such as the mistreatment of asylum seekers, privatisation of industry after industry, the backflip over the promise of not introducing a GST, Work Choices, sending troops to Afghanistan and then Iraq that made me question why this government was continually voted in by the people.

Then I remembered another question; who were they up against?

Beazley never came close. Disconnected from the public, uncharismatic and unfortunately, unpopular.

Simon Creane – well, he never actually contested a federal election as leader but he definitely makes Kevin Rudd look like a Hollywood star.

Mark Latham. Now, we had a man here. A man who could have done the job.

I respected and admired Latham from the moment he took on the leadership of the ALP. A straight-talker, no nonsense about him and very strong in personality. However, it was this strength that would also be his downfall. Unfortunately, Latham wasn’t listening to his PR people as his relationship with the media crumbled.

This was all after a source close to me in Canberra told me one afternoon that the word coming out from our nation’s capital was that Latham would win in 2004.

Hope was there. I’m usually not a hoper. I either think something will happen or it won’t. Sometimes I’m surprised but that doesn’t give me hope other times. This time, however, I was as happy as you could get around election time. Latham was going to become our PM, the ALP was back in, no more Howard, no more Costello, no more Abbot!

The weeks leading up to the election left me bitter and extremely disappointed. Was this the last roll of the dice for the political left? Had Labor now, so cynically, abandoned their grassroots support and original ideologies for what was going on in the polls? They had turned into a marketing corporation shortly before Latham’s slide in popularity began. Disillusionment was just around the corner.

Since then and before 2007, the ALP were a compromising party. Lacking in vision and the ideals that brought them to power in the 70’s and 80’s. They were now basing their actions on the polls, the absolute worst thing a political party can ever do. To lose your ideals and sense of purpose is far worse than losing an election.

Where are we headed now?

The ALP is going to ballot. They are voting, as I type this right now, on the future of this country. Rudd or Gillard?

Does it make a difference? One is an old school socialist (yes!) and the other an obsessed bureaucrat. However, with Gillard’s surprising endorsement by the right-wing faction of the party which includes the AWU and a number of other power brokers, does this spell the end to a party that, in it’s very constitution, describes itself as a socialist party? Does Gillard have a price to pay if ALP members, including members within parliament as well as outside, tick her name?

Is this a slide to the right?

Is this the end of the opposition we organised against Howard’s regime and his quasi-fascist policies?

Let’s hope not, otherwise Australia is headed into a dark area and it will be hard to get out of it.