Unsafe Schools

The government inquiry into the Safe Schools programme has really got my goat up. As much as I try to remain calm in all walks of life these days, I seething at this and the attempts to shit the programme down by hook or by crook.
Now it may seem strange, given I finished my formal education nearly 25 years ago, that I would be so cut up about this. But it’s not just about the school years, it’s about the ongoing affect of not having something like a Safe Schools programme.
Before I started school I knew who I was. I knew who I identified as. I also knew that it was wrong, that I was sick, that I could never say anything to anyone, and that if anyone ever found out, then any harm that came my way, was entirely my own fault. I hadn’t even started school and I already knew that I shouldn’t exist.

All through my schooling I had this burden hanging over my head. When I got called phobic things, my head went into overdrive wondering if they actually knew, or if they had somehow found out. What was it I was doing wrong? Did I pick up my pencil the wrong way. Did I answer a question in a way that was unacceptable? Did they notice how I was ashamed of my body when getting changed for gym class, and how I dare not look at others, in case that awkward split second where I accidentally made eye contact with someone else was read as me trying to pick them up. Every single moment I spent at school was filled with worry and doubt, and the fear of when the next bashing would take place simply because I was “odd”. All these things made me hate being at school. All these things made me despise education, the learning process, the interaction with my peers, and it certainly showed in my grades, which lead to even more issues on the home front. My childhood was not filled with opportunities to soak up information and explore the world around me and become a better person. No, I was living day by day in absolute fear, having to sweat out the small things, having to make sure that closet was firmly shot, the doors bolted, and nothing could get through, because if it did, it would be a fate worse than death.

Safe Schools is not about teaching how to pick up people of the same sex. It is not about showing kids 17 different ways to bump and grind. It is not about converting kids to same sex attraction, or to question their gender. It is about one thing, and one thing alone, education.

Education that being different from others is ok. Education that others being different to you is ok. Education that words and actions can have an affect on people not just at the time they are spoken, but for the rest of their life. People may say that it’s just kids being kids, and it will all wash off like water from a duck. Yet here I am all these years later and I am still fearful of people I went to school with, despite not having seen them for 30 years. Oh how I wish people had been educated in my day, so they wouldn’t have done and said those harmful things. Oh how I wish I had learnt to be able to accept myself, so that I could have gotten on with the stuff that mattered in school.

Reading today about some of the achievements of Safe Schools has been heartening. A school which I know has had LGBTI phobic staff in the past, is now lauding it’s students for telling off another school’s students that homophobic remarks are not welcome on the footy field. Of schools where a primary student will now be attending as the boy they are, and all the students celebrating with a cake, before getting on with learning and no big deal about any of it, just pure acceptance. Where students now feel as though they are welcome at school, and are now shining at learning. Where young people are no longer suicidal simply because they know they have somewhere in their life that is safe.

I have to say, regarding that last point, that is one thing that has really annoyed me with all of this. Reading the articles about the Safe Schools programme, and seeing at the bottom of the page the links to LifeLine, Kids Helpline, and Headspace. It has to be there because these kids are under attack simply because they exist, and it is making them suicidal. People against programmes that aid LGBTI kids often blurt out the old classic “Think of the children”. Well why on Earth don’t you do the same thing and stop putting your own prejudices ahead of these children, and their human right to exist. Seriously people! Do you really think that some kid being LGBTI and feeling safe is less important than your worry that people like this exist, and because of your worry that they exist means they should think being dead is the better option?

You know, if your little Johnny gets told by little Timmy that Timmy finds him attractive, surely little Johnny should be comfortable enough to say that while he is thankful for the compliment, he doesn’t have the same feelings for little Tommy, but that’s ok, they can still be friends. You know when your little Johnny grows up and is out partying with his drunken mates, he isn’t going to go bash someone because they look Gay, because they have known all through their schooling that Gay people are no threat at all to him. You know, little Johnny may end up successful, and may end up running his own business, employing a lot of people. At some point in that business, when one of the employees makes an absolute arse of themselves by being LGBTI phobic, little Johnny will know that’s bad for his business and will have the knowledge, the education, and the experience he needs to deal with it appropriately. In other words, your kid will grow up to be a far better person that you will ever be. Or is that really offensive to you, and how you think the world should be, simply because you lack the knowledge, the education, the experience to not be an arsehole?

Safe Schools is not about harming kids. It is not about making kids think they are Gay. It is not about breaking down the very fabric of society as we know it. The programme is simply a way to let every kid know they are valued, regardless of if they are LGBTI or not. It is about making society a better place at a grass roots level, not just for the school years, but for lives. The same way we have educated ourselves about so many issues over the years, this is just another example of that happening, so why would we want to stop it? Gee I really wish this had existed when I was at school. I know it would have made a huge difference to my life, and to how I am today as a person.

Change for a….

Why as a species are we so afraid of change? More so not change for change sake, but change in our basic understanding of the world around us? It comes across to me as a failure to comprehend that we would rather not know something, than celebrate in the knowledge.

I speak of course of science. Science, that wonderful thing that succeeds by knowing that it got things wrong and is always happy to be corrected.

Yes that is right, they celebrate finding out they go something wrong. I say they, because the majority of the population don’t see it that way. They just look at the failure, not what caused that failure and the outcome from it.

I say failure for want of a better word really. It’s not a failure as such, but an increase in the knowledge we collectively have. But for some reason many people don’t want to let go of what they already know. It comes across as an acceptance of their own failure to understand, so therefore there is no need to improve on that knowledge. It really does strike me as odd.

So what got me thinking about this? Well this week in Australia, the new government decided we don’t need a science minister. They decided we don’t need a climate change minister. They decided we don’t need a climate change authority. In other words, they decided we don’t need to know about new things, and how things are changing, and how we can make things better. Instead they are happy being a failure.

In times to come, many years from now, this government will be looked at and laughed at. But the worrying thing for me is, those laughing will also be laughing at the nation as a whole, for ever electing failure loving parasites in the first place.

Why I’m Voting [insert politics]

I was raised in a Labor family. I came from a family of blue collar workers, and people like that vote Labor. It was that simple. The Labor Party looked after the needs of workers, while the Liberals were only interested in the bosses. If I ever ran a business, then I should still vote Labor, because then my workers would still be looked after. If I voted Liberal, I was just wasting my vote on a bunch of bastards who only look after themselves.

These days, I’m a worker. I pretty much always have been someone who works for another company, unless I was working for myself. Which is why I won’t be voting Labor at the next election.

Now before you think I’m jumping on the Liberal boat (one they won’t stop, like all the others), I simply will never even think about voting Liberal, as long as Abbott is alive. You could take to my crotch with a belt sander, then drag me behind a ute through a salt factory, and I still wouldn’t be interested in voting for that prick, or the party he represents.

So that rules out Labor, and it rules out the Liberals, so I guess it means I’m voting Green. Well not the case there either. Please let me explain.

Growing up, it was pretty much a case of voting Labor or Liberal. If you didn’t like either of those, well there was the Democrats. If you lived in the bush, you vote National, because their reps are born with the fly swatting gene, and they use it in parliament too.

Then along came the Greens, who were interested in the environment. So if you were not a worker, a boss, a fly swatting “get around back”, or fence sitter, you were obviously a tree hugger, who liked animals, even the non cute ones.

Then there are the Independents, and other minor parties, who support everything from forcing us to believe in their invisible friend, through to free Tupperware for one legged single mother lesbians who eat tofu burgers.

Gee it all gets confusing hey. Why don’t they just give us all a little card on Election Day, and we can just tick some boxes, grab a sausage in bread, then bugger off back home to sit on the couch and bitch at the Prime Minister and co on the telly.

Well here is the way I’m going to vote this year, and it’s the same way I’ve been voting for many years now. I’m going to do this thing called research. I am going to look at what international, national, state and local issues I believe in, and which ones affect me personally. I’m then going to use this set of ideals to look at the candidate who best matches those ideals. I have a set of core issues that I will not waver on, and if the candidate doesn’t support those views, they will not get my vote.

Yeah, all this takes time, but it is worth it. I know at the end of the day I will be comfortable with the choice I made, for my chance to make a difference to this country.

Then there is the senate, which this year has more boxes to number than an over supplied box factory doing stocktake. Please people, vote above the line. By doing this, you get the politicians you want, not the ones you deserve.

Voting is not something to throw away. There are people in the world who get killed, simply because they want to vote. There are people who wish they had our freedom to voice our opinion, our concerns, our choices. So please, do the right thing by yourself, for your own sake.

Australia, you got dacked!

Australia is an awesome country. As an australian, I know this, because Australians keep telling me about how awesome and great this country is. Australia is the best country on the earth, and to not think so is unAustralian, even if you’re not an Australian.

Well Australia, this week, we got shown up by our cousins across the ditch. You know, New Zealand. Remember them?

I wasn’t sure where to start this blog post, then I remembered, ANZAC day is coming up. A day to remember Australians and New Zealanders, who have fought for the freedoms we hold so dear. You see Australia and New Zealand are Rey much alike, or at least we were.

While Australia has been going around beating it’s chest about how great a country it is, and how much we punch above our weight on the world stage, New Zealand has just been quietly getting on with the job of actually achieving.

In Australia, we pump our fist in the air, because in 2008, Kevin Rudd said sorry to the Indigenous people of the nation. It was a worthy thing, and a step in the right direction, but little more.

In New Zealand, they signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, and got on with it from there. Today, students learn about the history of their country, both traditional, and since colonisation.

It’s just one example I’ve given there, because it’s really late for me, and I need to get to bed, but when it comes to punching above our weight, Australia punches a feather more than we weigh, and New Zealand punches a pile of bricks.

Which brings me to the point in question with this blog post. This week New Zealand defined marriage as a thing of beauty. It’s between two people. Plain and simple, of you love someone, and want to spend the rest of your life with them, go for it.

They debated it, they looked at all the pros and cons, and finally worked out, that it’s a matter of treating everyone equally, and to not do that, is wrong. People from both all sides of politics had their say, and as is the case everywhere this debate happens, those who it won’t affect we’re the most ardent against it. But at the end of the day, the vote was passed, not for political gain, but to correct a wrong. A wrong that treated people as different. As second class. As not worthy of being part of the society in which they live, all because they love someone.

I think back to what I was taught about Australia when I was growing up. That this country is a land of opportunity. Where if someone was willing to give it a go, they could do so, and would be treated fairly and equally. When did we drop the ball Australia? Instead of being a proud nation that other countries looked up to, we are becoming the laughing stock of the world. If we want to be the lucky country again, we need to look to the east, to a group of islands, and see how it is done.

New Zealand, I thank you. You lead the way in being the moral compass under the Southern Cross, and we could well do with following from your lead.

Mr Rabbit Listens To His Imaginary Friends On A Boat Phone

We awoke in the barn today, sickened by a statement made by someone who thinks he has the god given right to be Prime Minister of Australia.


Tony Abbott, who wont be given the full honourary title reserved for parliamentarians in this country, because he is not fit for office, has made the following statement, regarding refugees who arrive in Australia by boat.

”I don’t think it’s a very Christian thing to come in by the back door rather than the front door,”

You can read the full article as reported in other media here.


Off the bat, we are appalled that such a comment could be made, by a representative of this country. After all, it is such a sweeping statement on many levels. When in context of what is saying, and we are not going to publish more of Abbott’s comments here, he is having a broad shot at not only the refugees, but Australians too. You must wonder why he thinks pissing people off, and questioning their values, is going to win him office.

He is claiming, in what he said, that Australia is a Christian country, with Christian values something we are not. The statement wasn’t just an out and out attack on refugees, but call to arms that if you have a Christian belief, you should agree with Abbott.


The man is delusional.


Please Australia, we ask of you, no matter how much you hate the current government, please seriously think about the damage Abbott would cause if he was Prime Minister. A Green Cow is apolitical, and we will never tell you which way to vote. If you don’t like Julia Gillard for whatever reason, don’t be blind-sided that it means you have to support Abbott. If you don’t like the Liberals, don’t think it means you have to support Labor. If you don’t like either, don’t think it means you have to go for the Greens.

Too often the politicians in this country think they can get away with murder by alienating so many people, as though they have some kind of right to be an arsehole. The prime example of arseholeism* is Tony Abbott, who thinks he can say or do anything he wants, because it gives him something to do in the meantime, before he is automatically made Prime Minister. We must put a stop to this.

Every time Abbott opens his mouth, whether you agree with him or not, he represents Australia on the world stage as having his views. After all, Australians voted for him. At the moment his idiocy is partly contained to this country, by his party being in opposition. If he was made Prime Minister, think of the damage he would do to our worldwide reputation, and the values of society we hold so dear. Tony Abbott is not fit for public office, he is a spoilt brat, who needs to be taught a lesson.

*Not a real word I know, but the most fitting description I could think of at the time

Knight to King 3

No, it’s not a title of a film I’m reviewing, nor is it the third in a series of anything.

When was the last time you played chess? Have you ever played it? What’s stopping you?

Or another question I could ask, why isn’t chess part of the early learning in school, say Prep and Grade One? Yes, I am serious, why are we not teaching young children chess?

If you’ve never played the game, this might be a hard concept to understand, but chess is a great way to get kids involved in learning. It teaches them strategy, it teaches them mathematics, it gets them interacting with others, it gives them the basics of reasoning, and responsibilities. Chess tests you and let’s you learn at your own pace. While your opponent is thinking about their move, you are to only thinking about their move, but all the possible ways you can counter their move. Can you see where I am going with this?

I love playing chess. I’m not very good at it, but I love playing it. Sure the best I have ever done is beat a state champion, but they were a bit drunk at the time, it was late at night, and they left their queen open early which in the end cost them the game. It was a one time big win for me and since then, I’d say I’ve lost about 80% of the games I’ve played, but I’ve loved every one of them.

A few years ago, I was teaching a four year old how to play chess. The basic moves, the basic forms of attack, generally just getting their interest in the game. I’d say we had played about thirty games over time, and even though I was helping and showing the best possible moves, they still lost every game. The winning or losing didn’t matter in the end, because they still wanted to play so they could win. One day, I knocked over my king. It was an honest mistake, but it still happened. Now I could have easily put it back up and kept playing, but that is not in the rules of fair play. So I told my opponent (who was now five years old) that they had won, and why they had one. It was like turning on a lightbulb of thought process. Instantly a new game was set up, and this time I was playing against someone with more confidence, who took the game on, who wasn’t worried about a pawn being taken from them, if it exposed my bishop for them to take. The chess board suddenly went from being a game, to something that showed through effort, sacrifice and imagination, you can succeed.

Yes there is a lot to learn in chess, and to start playing it takes a bit of time to learn. But once you have the basic moves understood, you can play against anyone. It’s not about raw physical strength, or being smarter than the person you are playing. Even the best players have to be on their game, every game. Think of how the cogs will turn in their head, as they work out how to get the more versatile pieces out from behind the pawns, while still using the pawns to protect their assets. The number of possible moves just for that first move (16 possible moves) is a wonderful start to the millions of other possibilities in every game.

In a school setting, where all students are learning the game together, you would have some interesting results, which would open their eyes and minds to the wonders of learning. I see it as a great stepping stone, to a whole world of possibilities, and it doesn’t even need electricity to work.

Secular. Sec-u-lar.

Whether it be same sex marriage, the location of the remote control, mining, AFL/NRL, who sleeps in the wet patch, basically any topic really that is in the news, I see a common thread. When religious leaders start talking, they talk about how Australia is a “Christian Society”. Err, no.

Now I’m not writing about what they are discussing, I’m writing simply about the use of the term “Christian Society (CS)”. The term is used as a qualifier , to give the person speaking a sense of authority and knowledge. As an example, I’m a Cronulla Sharks supporter, so use of “CS” in those terms would be me saying “As a Sharkies supporter, I know that NRL is a better game than AFL”.

While it may be the case that around 60% of people mark down their faith as some kind of Christianity on the census (a percentage that is dropping rapidly), that doesn’t make Australia a Christian Society. Australia is a secular country, like the majority of countries in the world. This secularism gives people the religious freedom to believe what they want, but doesn’t give them the right to use those religious beliefs to impose law on others, a fact often lost on religious leaders.

If the religious leaders want the followers of their faith to do something, they can ask, but they can’t enforce it by common law, nor can they persecute anyone for not following them. It’s a fact often ignored by the who seek to use religion as a point of authority on a subject. Australia by our constitution prohibits a state religion. Have a look at the consitution, you can event it as an app these days, it’s good reading. Section 116 states:

Commonwealth not to legislate in respect of religion.
The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

So by all means, if church representatives want to give their views on a subject, feel free to do it. That is one of the great things about Australia. But your religious freedom does not give you the right to make judgement on those who do not follow your opinion. Your religious beliefs are not the basis for law in this country, so stop saying Australia is a Christian Society, because you are lying. We are a secular society, and if it wasn’t for that, you probably wouldn’t be heard at all.

Weekend Thought

This is kind of another open letter, sorry, I seem to be having a bit of a run of them lately.


Dear Hon. Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister of Australia,

I know things are a bit tough for the government at the moment, but I think you’re actually doing a pretty good job for the most part. I’m not here to bag you out or complain that the guy from number 32 in my street has a wonky eye and looks at me funny on a Tuesday, and when is this government going to do something about it. No, I’ve just got one statement/question to ask of you, and it’s one you’ve heard a lot, but please hear me out.


You’ve made your stance on same sex marriage very clear. To paraphrase, and in a way  put words in your mouth, it’s going to happen, but you wont be putting your name to it.

I can understand where you are coming from with this. After all, you don’t want to piss people off, because you probably like being prime minister, and in government, so keep those who keep you there happy. But here’s the thing, and it’s something I don’t like either, but the Labor party are probably going to lose the next election as things are. Sorry to say it, but a lot of people out there can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to politics. In the position you are in, every decision must be calculated out, weighted, and decisions made to keep your party on top. But I think you’ve been a bit blinded by those around you.


As someone who voted for you, I’m asking you to take a chance, put your best foot forward and openly support same sex marriage.


Now when I say I voted for you, I mean I actually went to a polling booth, grabbed that HB pencil in my had, and voted for you, because at the time of the election, I was living in your electorate. It wasn’t about which party or anything like that, I chose to vote for you. But it’s a pity that that vote doesn’t count. Instead you pander to religious groups, who didn’t actually vote for you, and in doing so turn your back on those who did actually vote for you.


As I said before, like it or not, at the next election, your time in the Lodge is odds on to end. I just hope before then Tony Abbott is not in charge of the Liberals, because things will really go bad, but that’s a whole different thing to blog about. All I’m asking you to do is to put your name to something that will really make a difference for millions of Australians, and it wont cost the government anything at all in financial terms. That would certainly help Swanny balance the budget.

Have a think about the Labor prime ministers who have gone before you. Have a look at what they put their name to, and the legacy it has left for this country.

  • Kevin said he was sorry on behalf of every one.
  • Paul and his Redfern speech.
  • Bob and his no child in poverty.
  • Gough and his, well I can’t remember much about Gough, I was still in nappies at the time, but he certainly left his mark on Australian politics.

So as someone who voted for you, I am asking you please put your name to something important. You wont be seen as two faced, you will be seen as someone who took a stand for Australians who are not treated equally. You will be seen as someone who made the hard decisions, and put their political career on the line to take a stand for what is right. You will be remembered as someone who did good.


Now there is no chance of me voting for you again, but only because I have now moved out of your electorate, but I am asking that you make the vote I made count, by simply saying yes to Same Sex marriage now.


Thanks Julia,



PS: I love the fact that in this country we can call the leader of the nation by their first name. It shows Australians believe more in what is right, over wanky stuff that doesn’t improve the lives of everyone.

The Embassy of Indigenous Australia

I’ll open by saying I really have no idea what I’m talking about. I just think this may be a good idea, so I’m putting it out there.

For as long as I can remember, there has been an Indigenous Tent “Embassy” in Canberra, out the front of what is now the former Parliament House. Over the years there has been controversy, but I’m not going to get in to that, that’s not what this blog post is about.

What I’m wondering is, why can’t the tent embassy be made into a real embassy? Now I know there are many hundreds of Indigenous nations in Australia, and I’m not trying to say they all have to agree on every single issue, I’m seeing this more as a contact point, a bridge if you like, between people and the government.

The embassy could also be an education centre, for all Australians to learn more about the heritage of the place they call home. In my mind it would also give some validation (not that it should be needed) to the Indigenous people of this country, that they are fully recognised and respected as representatives of their nations.

I’m sure there is a lot more to the politics of this than I know of, but I like to keep things simple. If it’s a positive thing, and will help, then why not do it.

Red Shield Appalling

This weekend the Salvation Army (The Salvos) have their Red Shield Appeal, where they go around knocking on doors, asking for donations. You also see them at the footy, shaking their tins, hoping the fans drop a few cents their way. This is all to continue the good work they do helping people in need.


But I wont be donating, and I haven’t given the footy tin rattlers anything for a while either, and here’s why.


I wont say the Salvos don’t do some good work within the community, and those involved with them certainly are dedicated to their job. But I can’t support an organisation that actively promotes hatred towards people who identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Intersexed or Queer.


Now this has nothing to do with me being in a same sex relationship, it has to do with my conscience. A few years back I realised working against these kind of hate groups wasn’t doing me any good. It was a waste of time and effort, because they don’t see a need to change. I questioned why they don’t see the need to change, and it came down to one thing, money. That’s right, as long as organisations still have the money rolling in, they don’t see a need to change. After all, if the community didn’t appreciate what they were doing, they wouldn’t give money would they? So I stopped giving money.


These days, when I go to the footy, and the Salvo shakes their tin in my direction, with a well worn smile on their face, I simply say to them “Unfortunately your organisation actively promotes hatred towards some of the most marginalised people in our community. Therefore I cam not support your cause.”

Now I’m not having a go at the person directly, and I feel no need to do that at all, after all, they are volunteering for what they think is a good cause. Many of them that I say this to just look perplexed. A few have asked what I mean, and so I go in to more detail. Most of them are shocked (for want of a better word), because they hadn’t thought about it, or didn’t know it was the policy. Only one time have I had a tin shaker turn on me and start howling at me for how wrong I am, and that some fictional imaginary friend of his is going to strike me down.


So this weekend, I ask you not to flat out deny these people your money. All I ask is you think about what your own views of society are, and if you feel comfortable giving money to the Salvos, or any other organisation that asks for your money.

Gone are the days when we just hand over money because it’s expected, and it’s the right thing to do. It’s time to think about how that money affects you, your views, your community, and the people in that community. As long as the Salvation Army have a policy based on hatred towards members of the GLBTIQ community, I can not support their work in any way.