Tags: john brumby

12 Nov 2008, Comments (6)

I write Letters

Author: Helen

Image from http://www.greenlivingpedia.org/Brown_Mountain_old_growth_forest

I’ve written to three State government ministers begging them, begging them, to reconsider the logging of the Brown Mountain / Valley of the Giants area next to the Errinundra Plateau in Victoria.

There are more details here (H/T to Joe2 at LP). But all you really need to know is that the Brumby government made a promise in the 2006 election campaign to protect all significant stands of old-growth forest in Victoria, of which Brown Mountain is one. Now they’re letting VicForests clearfell it.

It’s really unutterably depressing. I’ve used up my letter writing capacity for the year now, any more and I’ll be written off as That Crank on the Cast Iron Balcony. Please write or email, if you have the time.

John Brumby – Premier of Victoria
Department of Premier & Cabinet
1 Treasury Place
Melbourne Victoria 3002
Ministerial Phone (03) 9651 5000; Electorate Office Phone (03) 9300 3851

Gavin Jennings – Minister for Environment and Climate Change
Ministerial Phone (03) 9096 8830; Electorate Office Phone (03) 9888 1910

2 Sep 2008, Comments Off on Religious hijacking of abortion debate in Victoria (yes, totally expected)

Religious hijacking of abortion debate in Victoria (yes, totally expected)

Author: Helen

The bill to decriminalise abortion – giving the decision to the woman up to 24 weeks and requiring two doctors’ signoff afterwards – is before the Victorian parliament. And the coverage by the local broadsheet, the AGE, has been appalling. (State political editor Paul Austin, I’m looking at you.) Today there was a report of a head-smackingly awful development, made worse by a headline that misrepresents the facts completely:

Top Scientist says ‘No’ to Abortion Bill

* Nick Miller and Leo Shanahan
* September 2, 2008

LATE-TERM abortion “survivor” Gianna Jessen will address a meeting at Victoria’s Parliament House in a bid to sway politicians over proposed abortion laws.
The meeting will also hear from Victorian scientist and surgeon Graeme Clark, inventor of the bionic ear.
The 2004 Australian Father of the Year will tell the meeting that he is not anti-abortion in all circumstances, but he believes the proposed Victorian law is not the best solution.
Under the bill, which has the support of Premier John Brumby but not some members of his cabinet, abortions will be decriminalised up to 24 weeks and after that will be legal if approved by at least two doctors.
The meeting was arranged by an inter-faith religious group and all Victorian MPs are invited.
Ms Jessen arrived in Canberra yesterday to lobby senators to support a separate bill, proposed by Liberal senator Guy Barnett, that would result in the abolition of Medicare funding for abortions conducted between 14 and 26 weeks.
Ms Jessen, who has cerebral palsy as a result of being deprived of oxygen during a botched abortion at 7½ months, will put her case to senators over the next two days….

First of all, do you see what they did there? The byline gives the clear impression that a Top Scientist has come up with some, you know, scientific reason for not decriminalising abortion. If you read the article, it’s nothing of the kind. He’s one of two celebrity speakers engaged by the godbag lobby group the Australian Christian Lobby, and he’s speaking as an ordinary (if celebrated) citizen who is personally squicked by the idea of abortion, even though he isn’t even 100% against it.

Second, Guy Barnett’s medicare bill. I’ll get around to that I hope, but tonight I’m mainly concerned about the “meeting” itself. And thirdly, again, they’ve managed to make the debate “about” late-term abortion – which is the rarest kind and may even get more rare once women don’t have to jump through legalistic hoops to have an earlier one.

It’s simply pandering to the religious right by the Victorian parliament. What can possibly be the Brumby government’s excuse? OK, some questions for you, Mr Brumby:

*Even if it’s sponsored by an outside group, this must be consuming Parliamentary resources (venue, catering) and the time of government and opposition MPs, whose salaries we pay. What is the cost of this meeting going to be?
*Why does the Australian Christian Lobby get to hold this meeting at Parliament house? Surely this is according them rights above and beyond the normal ability of community groups to protest tabled legislation. Other groups, like the anti-pipe protesters and Blue Wedges, have been snubbed and also sued by this government. Why the preferential treatment?
*Will a pro-choice organisation, such as ProChoice Vic., be invited to conduct a similar meeting with speakers of their choice, so as to provide some balance?

Some information about the godbags organising this thing:

Two other organisations that both began in 1995 with a Christian right focus and agenda were the Australian Christian Coalition, now known as the Australian Christian Lobby, and Salt Shakers. The Australian Christian Lobby has its headquarters in Canberra with State Offices, whilst Salt Shakers has a single office in Melbourne. Over time the Australian Christian Lobby has moved from the political right to a centre right position whilst Salt Shakers has not. Both have had their wins and losses over the 11 years that they have been operating.

Gianna Jessen is a singer who works the lecture circuit as an anti-abortion agitator with a unique selling point: she’s a late abortion survivor with cerebral palsy. Now I know that having cerebral palsy sucks mightily, and she would naturally have issues with her biological mother. However, unlike many people with CP in this country, she has made a nice little earner out of her vanishingly rare situation; here’s her booking agent. She wouldn’t be speaking for free; presumably the ACL paid for her. They should have also had to pay for a venue of their own instead of being given a forum in our (supposedly) democratic Houses of Parliament.

So, what should be a parliamentary debate is being biased by forced-birther organisations with money and influence. Not happy, John (Brumby).

13 Sep 2007, Comments Off on This is a local post for local people. There’s nothing for you here!

This is a local post for local people. There’s nothing for you here!

Author: Helen

Image from www.thejim.iofm.net/strangers.html

Bouncing off Barista’s post about the by-election in his electorate, Melbourne Ports: we have one next weekend too, in Williamstown. We’re the electorate which used to belong to Bracksy before his resignation.

Williamstown is a safe Labor seat, a very safe seat, and there’s no Liberal candidate standing. (This isn’t the seat young Hamish got the boot from – this is State, he was feral. Sorry, Federal.) The Labor candidate is Wade Noonan of the Transport Workers Union, who has been parachuted in by Labor. This is a slap in the face to the people who live in the electorate – they have been trying to get trucks (monster B-doubles, container trucks and tankers) to keep out of the residential areas for years now.

I was never going to vote Labor anyway. They’ve been shitting me mightily lately; Tim Pallas’ arrogant refusal to even consider converting St Kilda road to allow for more bicycle lanes; Lynne Kosky’s handling of the decaying public transport infrastructure, and the government’s intention not to take back the public transport system, but instead stay with the discredited Connex corporation; the murky relationship between Labor, the CFMEU and the loggers and woodchippers; the continual privileging of roads and freeways over public transport, and Brumby, as the Murdochistas excitingly put it, crushing the proposed car-free day in the Melbourne CBD. They’re Liberal Lite, just like their federal counterparts. Oh, yes – did I mention their dirt campaign against the Green candidates?

We’ve received four. bloody. letters. each from Labor at our house – one each, so that’s eight – supposedly from the premier John Brumby, but authorisedintinylittlelettersatthebottom from S. Newnham of 360 King st. West Melbourne. Four each! Talk about overkill. (Who’s paying for it?). Barista has also received a letter from these tree-killers purporting to be from Sue Loukomitis, claiming that the Greens want to “close down” MacRobertson High school, a selective secondary school nearby. Strangely enough, that’s also authorisedintinylittlelettersatthebottom by S. Newnham, also of 360 King St. West Melbourne.

A few weeks ago I came across a grubby little website. It’s an astroturf site which is made to look like some kind of grass roots radical’s homemade effort, but which in fact is the work of – you guessed it – authorisedintinylittlelettersatthebottom by S. Newnham, of 360 King st. (If you’re incensed by this nasty little piece of work, don’t bother clicking on Comments – it’s a shell of a “blog”. Comments are disabled. Of course.) Greens-Liberal-deal.com.au (hmm, that’ll catch on with the yoof all right) is linked to some local batshit crazies via this site.

Barista sez:

[Newnham] is the State Secretary of the Australian Labor Party, an organisation that seems temporarily to have lost both its name and logo.

That nice Greg Combet, now standing for federal parliament after being an ACTU hero, sent me a letter today as well, endorsing the local ALP candidate. The slightly eccentric layout of that letter is identical to this one. It was also authorised by Mr Newnham, who still can’t find a logo. The Combet letter is folksy and nice, with his photo on it, and its clear what he wants and where he comes from. It contains this sentence:

“The commitment to decency and justice is what defines a good society.”

Well put, comrade. Do you think you could maybe find these sleazebags who sent me that smeary letter and tell them to fuck off where they came from, so I can vote for the ALP now and in the federal election without feeling sick?

‘Fraid I can’t.

There’s more about the dirt campaign here.