Saturday, April 28, 2007

Day2: The Intelligent Houso's Guide to Labor's Great Uranium Debate

Today the conference voted on Kevin Rudd/ Mike Rann's amendment to Labor's platform on Uranium.

What the debate was NOT about:

Whether we should have more Uranium Mining or No Uranium Mining at all.

What it was about

We're already on the slippery slope to nuclear proliferation hell. Should we enjoy the strawberries on the way as we slide to eternal perdition .. er .. eternal pollution? Oh alright, DH is such a drama queen ... only 120,000 years max.

We already have the 4 of the largest mines in the world. Should Labor allow open slather for more mines, but with the strictest possible guidelines? Should Labor court the "Responsible Economic Management" vote and prevent a Howard Wedgie, or should we stick to our abiding values?

It's a sense vs sensibility question. And it's a brave person who really knows the answer. Who wants to risk another 4 years of Howard on a matter of a principle that is already betrayed by the existence of 4 mines? Yet who wants to increase the risk of creating more dangerous nuclear waste, when we still have no satisfactory storage solutions, when we increases the risk from nuclear terrorists and rogue states.

DH is so glad she was not called upon to vote.

In the end, Rudd's amendment squeaked in by a surprisingly narrow margin.

Though the actual vote was not counted, a related issue by Albanese/Garrett was lost 190 to 205, a possible indicator of how close it was. DH suspects that many of the left were relieved that the motion went through, thus safeguarding their moral purity, while making Rudd look strong enough to win the next election. Certainly nobody from the left was game to risk unpopularity by standing up to demand a count.

DH wishes you could have all been there. It was heady, exciting stuff. A great day for those who love oratory, who want to see history being made and the characters who make it. Some of the loudest applause went to Rudd of course, Steven Smith on the Right, and Anthony Albanese and Dave Kelly on the left. Martin Ferguson and Bill Shorten were the least sympathetic, and Shorten was the only speaker who attracted widescale hostility, being booed for trying to lay a guilt trip on those present, suggesting that a vote against Rudd was a vote for "rolling the leader". However, all is forgiven for his quip about the "Borat Option": leaving uranium mining safety standards to be managed by the likes of Khazakhstan...

Friday, April 27, 2007

From the 44th ALP National Conference

DH is thrilled to bits to be "broadcasting" directly from the 44th National Conference of the ALP, a place where one can call the future Housing Minister simply "Hi, Tanya", and then nearly die from the excitement of it all.

Kevin Rudd's opening speech was low key. No razzamatazz, no presidential-style grand entry to the blare of a triumphal march, a la Kim Beazley. Kevin Rudd simply walks in and goes: "My name is Kev. I'm from Queensland. I'm here to help." It got the audience smiling, and what's more, relaxed and comfortable. (Rudd:1. Howard:0 ... We're winning already!).

No great oratory, no stirring battle calls to revolution, nothing to bring the delegates cheering to their feet in rapturous ovation. Only what the times demand: Playing it safe in Howard's brave new "Australia the Beige". The jokes were accordingly cheesy too - "Howard doesn't believe in a single idea he didn't see on black and white TV" was as good as it got.

Signs of the times: The delegates are no longer "Comrades" but "Friends". And in line with Brother Kevin's avowed Christianity, he makes much mention of souls. Compare and contrast Howard: "Naked political ambition is what drives his soul" (How true!) vs the ALP: who "grafted the Fair Go into the Australian soul".

Rudd comes across as calm, modest and intelligent, no hype-artist, no overweening ego that constantly requires stoking, why he hardly stopped to strike a Resolute Pose all day!. And anyway, who needs more oratory in these terrible times ? We've all burnt ourselves out thundering about how Howard has ruined the country. If a Rudd Government can up with fair, just, detailed, achievable policies, and get the Howard monkey off our backs, he can be as bland as he likes.

Rudd and subsequent speakers exposed the hypocrisy and arrogance of an out-of-touch Howard who has the nerve to say "Australian families have never been better off", when personal debt levels have hit unprecedented heights, when 1.2 MILLION households are in housing stress, when the under 35's hopes of home ownership are waning, when Turkey has better outcomes in dental care than we do, and more. (see next post)...

Anyhow got to stop ... the queue waiting for the computers behind DH is getting restless... DH went to the launch of National Shelter's Housing policy, and has she got some hot stats for you!



Remember that word. If the housing crisis gets any worse, it could be coming to your neighbourhood soon, but don't get too excited: it's NOT about the most fun you can having without laughing.

DIY Election speech kit

Want to recreate Kevin Rudd's Conference Opening speech in your own words, impress your friends and relations, and contribute to the demise of the Liberals in Canberra?

DH offers the following key words gleaned from today's address, color coded by party for your convenience

  • Fresh Thinking
  • No potential unwasted
  • No Australian in want
  • Dog-eat-dog market place
  • Compassion
  • Party of the Future/ Party of the Past
  • Me, Myself and I
  • Unity
  • Fair Go
  • Red tape nightmare
  • Social recession
  • Fresh thinking
  • Arrogant
  • Out-of-touch
And keep asking: What will happen when the mining boom is over?

Memory aids: Iraq, Siev-X, Christmas Island, Children overboard, trashing of the Commonwealth Employment Service, Kafkalink, Welfare-bashing, denial of global warming, Welfare to Workhouse, unprecedented levels of household debt, punitive social security breaches for the most vulnerable, cutting off funding for public housing, trashing of tertiary education, robbing from state schools to give to private schools, housing crisis, curtailment of freedom of the press, installing cronies who hate the ABC into its management, be alert but not alarmed, Third World Dental Health, Serfchoices

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Welcome to Matt Brown the new Minister for Housing

DH is so disgusted by the spectacle of hundreds and thousands of Aussies falling over themselves to cast the first stone in Howard's Brave New Australia, or what she would like to call Staussieland, that she has decided to withdraw her earlier ungenerous and carping comments about Matt Brown, the new housing minister, and give they man a fair go in what has to be an incredibly difficult portfolio.

She apologises for allowing herself to succumb to the miserable, malicious, dog-eat-dog zeitgeist engendered by 10 years of Howard and Co's merciless trashing of this nation's store of trust and goodwill, in which families are not given enough money to survive in the name of a chimerical economy, and are shamed and branded when they try to bend the rules to pay the bills, put food on the table, and get the kid's teeth fixed. Oh yes, above board, the national accounts look balanced, but under the table, the poor are paying bigtime, and this time there are no colonies left to dump 'em in. Although there is always Christmas Island, Woomera, Villawood, etc which might make handy holding tanks.

But to get back on track to Matt Brown, in his maiden speech he states that he "wants above all to make life a dignified experience, with values of fairness, justice and compassion the prime motivators rather than hatred, greed and the attitude that, "If I’m all right, then who cares?"

All power to him to succeed in his mission. God knows this nation is bleeding for it.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Let my workers go!

DH dedicates her Easter Sermon to all her Jewish friends who are celebrating Passover, the Festival of Freedom, and wishes them good luck with the social justice agenda. Things can only get better, surely???

Please turn therefore, to todays' texts, Exodus 5:1-23. and An Unexpected Tragedy: Evidence for the connection between working patterns and family breakdown in Australia

And it came to pass, that after the horrors of WW II, and an abundant social security system fought for by workers, unionists, and bleeding heart baby boomers, the Children of Australia prospered and were fruitful and productive, and the land flowed with milk and honey.

Now there arose up a new Pharoah over Australia, and his name was TutankHoward II, and he knew naught of history.

And he said unto his people, "Behold, the workers grow prosperous and idle. Come let us deal wisely with them, lest they start eating into our profits". And thus he set over them taskmasters to afflict them with burdens. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, and AWA's, and GST's, and made them serve with rigour, even unto the weekends and shift work.

Now there was a man called Kevin, who had been cast out of his father's house by wicked landlords, and he was the seed of Gough, who begat what's his name, who begat Bob, who begat Paul, who begat Kim, who begat Mark, who somehow doubled back and begat Kim all over again, who finally did the right thing and begat Kevin.

Now it came to pass that Kevin was leading his flock at an Anti-Iraq rally, when he heard a still small voice emanating from, of all places, a burning Bush effigy that the people had strung up to great effect. And the voice sayeth to him, Get thee to Pharaoah, and demand, "Let my workers go" for I have seen the affliction of my people, and have come to deliver them from (the banality of) Evil. For Pharoah is a smooth man, and you are not a hairy man. And Kevin said, Why me, for I have a Round Face, and a Bad Haircut, and surely Pharoah will laugh at me, But the Voice would not Listen, and eventually anointed his head with a cricket bat, and so Kevin had to go forth. But Pharoah's heart was hardened, and Mother Nature was exceeding wroth and smote him with ...

The 10 Plagues

  1. The Murrary-Darling turned to dust
  2. Cane Toads on the march
  3. Ice
  4. Viruses and Trojans
  5. Mad Cows
  6. Bad Hair Days
  7. Hail and bushfires
  8. Darkness, Sydney plunged in
  9. TBA
And still pharoah would not hearken, neither would he inscribe the Kyoto Protocol, but instead he sent his taskmasters to oppress the people even more than heretofore, and he sayeth unto them, Ye are idle, Ye are idle, Go therefore now and work, and there shall be no straw, neither penalty rates given you, yet shall ye still deliver your quota.

So Mother Nature goes, she goes, Right, that's it, I've had enough, and she hardened Tutankhoward's heart evenmoreso than beforeso, and she said unto Her prophet take thy Rudd and cast it down before Pharoah, and do thou try not to turn into a snake in the grass and slither off and sell out my people, as your forefathers did before you. And ye shall know my people for they are those that hearkened to my prophet that I sent them, Sam Kekovich, and moreso did the Right Thing on Australia Day and bailed out My Shepherds from financial ruin and smeared their Doorposts with the blood of Good Old Aussie Lamb. And so Kevin went forth, and to cut a long story short, the Goddess promised him an Electoral Tsunami that would wash Pharoah and his evil Viziers so far to Kingdom Come that even their memory wouldn't rate so much as a black armband.

And so may it come to pass, Amen.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

John Howard has his way with DH at last ...

... and she must admit she's rather enjoying it. There she is, sitting back in a comfy ergonomically designed chair in air-conditioned surrounds, being plied with coffee and cake by smiling co-workers, making her small contribution to society, while the dollars roll in ... and out again ... according to Nature's Eternal Law of Return (Tax Return subdivision) . For as it is written, what the department gives, the department takes away again.

But seriously, this "Welfare to Workhouse" gig aint half bad, the Workhouse just aint what it used to be.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

DoH's Ungood* New Policy: Relocating Tenants for Fun and Profit

* Ungood: Newspeak from George Orwell's totalitarian fantasy 1984

Relocating Tenants for Management Purposes - EST0038A
Policy Effective Date: 16 Mar 1984 (retroactively)

Architects: Humpty, Humpty, Dumpty, and Orwell

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less'. 'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things'. 'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master - that's all'." Lewis Carrol - Through the Looking Glass,

For the last half a century we housos have felt perfectly secure in the knowledge that we were as safe as houses, which everyone knows, stand, as does the universe, on a firm foundation of turtles standing on the backs of turtles on the backs of turtles, in short, turtles all the way down

Except that us housos have just run out of turtles.

When you have a policy that relocates tenants for "managerial purposes" where "managerial purposes " means

  1. Anything the department wants it to mean,

    OR alternatively

  2. Any other compelling reason relating to the management of the Department’s property (...sic!!!)

then hold onto your hats because we're about to go into free fall.

Check it out ...