Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A tiny cartoon almost missed

from w
Because of the bias in the Age newspaper, one article and cartoon slipped to the bottom of a page away from the main stories. The reference to a Dickens character is noted.
The theme of knitting has been in response to a photo shoot by Julia Gillard in the Women's Weekly where she expressed her interest in knitting.

Poll on politics in Geelong

from w
Reading from the Geelong Advertiser on-line this morning, there is a  surprise that the Liberal vote may be very strong. Corio is (maybe) still a safe Labour seat, though this poll indicates otherwise. Corangamite is (maybe) a safe Liberal seat but that didn't work out last time round.  Time will tell what is the true voting intention.

Libs challenging in Corio, Addy poll shows

RETURNING Prime Minister Kevin Rudd faces a tough task to turn around what is predicted to be a looming Labor wipeout in the Geelong region.
An exclusive Geelong Advertiser poll has found the Liberal Party holds election-winning leads not only in the marginal seat of Corangamite but also the safe Labor seat of Corio.
Disturbingly for Mr Rudd, nearly one in five voters in the region consider themselves as former Labor voters turned Liberal.
The survey, which was run online as well as in the Geelong Advertiser in the past week, prior to last night's sensational Labor leadership spill, attracted in excess of 800 responses.
While regarded as a less accurate 'self-selected' poll rather than a true random poll, the amount of responses gives a good insight into the key issues and the intentions of voters in the region.
Mr Rudd was rated as Labor's preferred leader, with more than 53 per cent support, but interestingly, two-thirds of those who intend to vote Labor would rather former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Buying cheap shoes in Geelong

from w
There is certainly a problem in Australia about being 'ethical' in choosing which shoes and clothes to buy.
- My brown shoes which I wore all the time have been falling apart so I needed new shoes. I know, I know, that buying cheap shoes from Rivers or similar stores means supporting those dreadful factories in Bangladesh, but what else can you do. I can't pay $200. It's impossible in Australia for a factory to make clothes or shoes cheaply with our very high wages. SBS, Four Corners, the Age, the Sydney paper all have stories at present about importing cheap products particularly referencing the collapse of a factory and over a thousand deaths in Bangladesh. But what is the solution? I did buy the shoes - black, less than $30. I wonder if they will last a month or more. School type shoes we bought for a grandson at Rivers lasted four weeks before breaking. Op shops shoes may be a better option even though maybe years old!  And... of course I go barefoot as much as I can.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Birthday of the Uniting Church

from w
It is 36 years on since the formation of the Uniting Church of Australia - linking Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational churches. It has been an imaginative brave move and it's a church that is not static but ever learning how to be creative as Christians with a firm social justice component.Today we celebrated at East Geelong with four congregations coming together at East Geelong. It was lovely. Our band comprised a piano, organ, (my turn) drums (Jordan) and a trumpet and we had a visiting choir. Three ministers led the service -  Ikani, Sani, and Dr Darcy Wood. Then we had a shared lunch. It was a noisy friendly kind of day and we should do this more often.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The scattering of ashes

from w
A gathering of Collins family and others at Bacchus Marsh today scattered ashes beneath a rose bush in memory of Mary Collins who died nearly a year ago but it was 100 years since her birth on 14th June. Afterwards we caught up with family news as we shared a meal at the Golf Club Restaurant. It was especially nice to meet up with cousins from distant places especially Lynden and Les from Buderim.  The following words were used in the small ceremony at the Bacchus Marsh cemetery - the words adapted from some lines found on the internet. Most poems I looked up were quite unsuitable. Someone needs to write some contemporary texts that suit such as occasion.
To the four winds on this very special ground,
we think again of our dear Aunt Mary,
what she has  meant and means to us. amid these surroundings,
We cast these ashes back to the gentle earth,
which has been the chief support of humankind,
since first they walked beneath the sun.
The soil has ever provided the sustenance that is the staff of life.
We now commit the ashes to help a rose bush flourish.
.To the air that now lifts our spirits and takes away our grief,
to be replaced with fond memories
and a hope that there are more surprises to come.

Library moves across the road

from w
Because of the new plan for a central library in Geelong, the books have been moved across the road to the upside down State office building with the large mural on the wall of the ground floor.
from the Geelong Advertiser today:
WHEN the newest library in town opens on Monday, visitors will be in for a treat as one of Geelong's best-kept art secrets forms the backdrop.
As work begins on the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, a pop-up library will become the temporary home of 10,000 books and offer the same services as the branch it replaces.
Housed in the State Revenue Offices in Little Malop St, the library is home to an enormous mosaic created by artist Harold Freedman. Spanning the length of a wall, it is of national significance and tells the story of Geelong.
Library branch manager Christina Belli said the mosaic would add a new dimension to the library experience.
"There's only a little bit of tweaking to be done before we're ready to open," Ms Belli said. "I'm certainly going to have to brush up on what I know about this mosaic before then.
"The library here is a smaller space but there will be the same services. We've split the collection and have the most recent and most popular items here. The rest are held in storage but can be accessed through (library customers requesting) holds. They will be picked up every day."

The Geelong Regional Library has welcomed 84,000 visitors and clocked up more than 3000 events this financial year, including author visits.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

From the Stone and Leaf Garden Shop

from w
During the ten minute break of our Saturday Writing Group at the Wintergarden, I wandered around - as usual- admiring the products in the outdoor space of the Stone and Leaf, took photos and later played about with them by overlapping etc.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Media scrum greets Rudd in Geelong

from w
Now I'm not the one for following one political party but I couldn't resist my curiosity as a cat brain to go to Diversitat this morning. Just look at the media scrum! What is going on?

The answer? We did have a big crowd for a visit to Diversitat (migrant resource centre/ethnic communities council - where Peceli and I are members, representing the Fiji Geelong Friendship Club) of three politicians, one a former PM, his white hair conspicuous amidst the other men with sleek black. He certainly is a gifted speaker, very positive, no notes, and inclusive, very warm towards the migrant groups represented today. Question time: I had a good question but didn't get to use it. If the ethic 'love your neighbour' informs your decisions, what about Nauru, Manus Island, and the hundreds of asylum seekers now in Geelong who are not allowed to work? There was too much upbeat talk even justifying debt to save the country from what's happened in Europe etc. Peceli didn't attend, didn't want to be hugged in a photo opportunity, but Asenate was there and got a hug and was in some of my pics. I loved the bit when the Afghan women started hollering.

Why is he here? The seats of Corangamite and Corio need a bit of leg up - both Labour now, but could swing wildly come September. Okay a muddled metaphor, legs swinging wildly!

From Geelong Advertiser;  Mr Rudd raised eyebrows when he used a curious analogy to illustrate national debt to a room full of migrants.
Painting national debt in terms of ``your own home economy'',  Mr Rudd asked the mostly Karen,  African and Iranian migrants to imagine having a  $100,000 income and only an $11,000 debt.

Promises, politicians, points of view

From w
 A rockstar reception I don’t think. Curiosity perhaps. Many people have mixed feelings surely. Questioning  motives. The frank and honest questions to be asked might be dismissed as the three – Rudd, Cheeseman and Marles – are concerned about the seats of Corangamite (part of Geelong and western district, once  a safe Liberal seat) and Corio, probably still a safe Labour seat. I plan to be at Diversitat for the 9 to 10 gig so I hope I have a chance to ask a question. I’m not a member of a party and look at issues, one at a time, especially a fair go for people, rural and urban, and I’m against throwing money right left and centre just to be popular.
Fanfare tipped as Kevin Rudd rocks in
Cameron Best   |  June 7th, 2013
FORMER Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is expected to get a rockstar reception when he tours Geelong today.
The popular leader, now Queensland backbencher following his failed attempts to topple Prime Minister Julia Gillard, will hit the hustings to campaign for local MPs and Rudd backers Richard Marles and Darren Cheeseman.
On his itinerary are meetings with multicultural leaders at the Diversitat Northern Community Hub in Norlane and a school visit at Christian College in Highton.
Mr Rudd will be at Corio Village from noon, meeting the public and pushing the Labor message.
"He's Kevin Rudd and he's here to help," Corangamite MP Darren Cheeseman quipped, echoing the former PM's famous line.
"It's a chance to reintroduce Kevin to Geelong and he wants to make sure we win all of the seats across the region."
But images of Mr Rudd being greeted by Geelong people alongside the local MPs will do little to bolster solidarity within the Gillard Government, reeling from bad polls and predictions of a wipeout.
"People will read all sorts of things into it and that can't be helped, but the point is Kevin wants to work with all Federal Labor MPs to get them re-elected," Mr Cheeseman said.
Corio MP Richard Marles said Mr Rudd was keen to talk to locals about the future of regional cities like Geelong.
"From my point of view, to have a former prime minister and a man of his standing coming to campaign on my behalf and that of Darren Cheeseman is a really good thing," he said.
"He will talk about what Labor has done for regional cities and the vision for regional cities and how difficult it would be if Tony Abbott were ever elected prime minister of this country."
Mr Rudd denied his visit was a show of support for Mr Marles and Mr Cheeseman, who backed him in two failed leadership spills.
"I campaign for people right across the country, including people who have never backed me," Mr Rudd said.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Asylum seekers and Geelong

from w
Kevin Rudd is in Geelong this week as part of a meet the public, arms around everyone and smiling for the camera because in the next election Corangamite and even Corio might be in trouble. One thing relevant to the Labour Party is the large number of asylum seekers coming to Geelong. Here's an ABC radio discussion with Michael Martinez of Diversitat. Someone said that Labour is 'in more trouble than Indiana Jones'!

Resettlement agency concerned about bridging visa policy

Michael Martinez reported this story on Friday, May 31, 2013 12:26:00
ELIZABETH JACKSON: The CEO of Diversitat, the community organisation which settles the asylum seekers in Geelong, says he's concerned about the bridging visa policy.

Michael Martinez warns there could be long term problems with large numbers of unemployed asylum seekers living in the community.

Diversitat is expecting to settle 300 people in the next few months and that's at least double last year's numbers.

Michael Martinez told Madeleine Morris one of the biggest challenges will be occupying the asylum seekers given that they can't accept paid employment.

MICHAEL MARTINEZ: Well, I guess that's one of the challenges around the policy that at this point we engage, are looking at different things so we've got a lot of involvement with the local churches. We have some of them moving into kind of voluntary roles, whether it be with, we're looking at some op shops and some community kitchens and things like that, so we obviously have to get approval from the department. But there is…

MADELEINE MORRIS: So you have to get approval from the department for them to work in a volunteer basis?

MICHAEL MARTINEZ: Yes, we do, yup and some of the other things we have to do or we are looking at, I mean the children can engage in school and then for obviously the parents, there is access to English classes so it's not all as if they're not going to be engaged.

MADELEINE MORRIS: And what's been the response from the community?

MICHAEL MARTINEZ: The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. So contrary to you know, often you'll hear about the negative stories and we're constantly getting bags dropped off of goods and good clothes and blankets and things like that, like people have come forward with properties and you know, bicycles and…

MADELEINE MORRIS: So you're not seeing the stress on charities yet that we've seen certainly in places like in Melbourne where charities are actually turning away 50, 60 people a day on bridging visas who need help?

MICHAEL MARTINEZ: No, well we haven't seen that.

MADELEINE MORRIS: Well, cause that is one of the issues, isn't it, on the bridging visa in that people are really getting by on very little money and they're not allowed to work so they've got no way, so I mean, can people actually pay rent, pay bills, feed themselves without charity help?

MICHAEL MARTINEZ: Well, these are the problems with the policy I guess in terms of, it would be very difficult in the longer term without support form yeah, charities and organisations such as the one I just mentioned.

MADELEINE MORRIS: So what you're really relying on though is good community engagement because if you're going to need charities, community support groups to help feed, clothe, house these people on bridging visas given the no advantage principle, they could be here for five years on a bridging visa so that's going to be a long term engagement from the community.

MICHAEL MARTINEZ: Well, that's right and I think that there is already in terms of, I mean I'm not going to comment on what the Government's policy is going to be now or in three month time or in six months time but you would think that there is already some questions being put around about the no advantage principle and that at certain points in time things should be reviewed and things should be looked at because you clearly need to do what's best obviously for the wider community as well as, you know, the other issues, I'll leave the political issues aside.

But I think even under the previous government's temporary protection visa system there was people who found a way to, you know, manage with support, strong community support.

The problem now that you're facing is the numbers have increased so much.

MADELEINE MORRIS: Is it a sustainable policy?

MICHAEL MARTINEZ: (Laughs) Well, you know, we're contractors to the Government. I'm not really in a position of saying how sustainable it is or isn't.

MADELEINE MORRIS: Can communities continue to absorb increasing numbers of people who aren't able to work, are reliant on charity?

MICHAEL MARTINEZ: Well, you know, in the long term if the numbers continue obviously from what I've seen from not so much in Geelong, from other parts, then I would think that it is going to create issues around that, for sure.

It's not perfect but in some ways we would rather have them here and try and deal with it and I think there will be, Australia is fairly, we're fairly, we have a high level of I think of compassion and I think that will come through and I think the policies will have to be modified and changed cause it's going to do us no good if we have this disruption, you know, too much disruption embedded in our community.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: That's the CEO of Diversitat, Michael Martinez, speaking there to The World Today's Madeleine Morris.

And there will be a longer interview with Michael Martinez available on our website, where he discusses his concerns about the possible mental health effects on the asylum seekers living on bridging visas.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Ten million dollar lights

from w
So all is not dark in Geelong as a few businesses threaten to close. In recent months massive poles with floodlights have been erected for night football, and presumed to have cost $10 million! A hefty sum. But there's so much enthusiasm for the Cats. On the opening night for the lights, Saturday night, the Cats trounced their opposition from the Gold Coast and humiliated players such as Gary Ablett who has switched loyalty away from Geelong.  For more pictures from the Advertiser, go to