Tag Archives: australia

Love it or Leave it…

Woolworths is in hot water over “inadvertently” stocking and selling this singlet:

“If you don’t love it, leave” image via Twitter: @heartsR4love

Since the news of this hit the papers, the internet has gone into a little meltdown over whether or not this shirt is racist or offensive.

Politician Jacqui Lambie thinks it’s fine. Shock-Jock Ray Hadley thinks it’s fine.
My take on it is that it is not fine. Not because I’m overly politically correct or because I want to censor everything. I recognise that, viewed on it’s own, it’s easy to justify this as a patriotic shirt with a simple message. The thing is, we don’t exist in a vacuum. We can pretend all we like that this shirt only represents patriotism and a simple message but it just isn’t so.
The Australian flag has been a subject of debate for some time due to the inclusion of the Union Jack. Many interpret this as only being representative of Australia’s British heritage and observe that does not encompass our multicultural society. It also does not extend to our Indigenous people, who may well find the Union Jack an oppressive symbol. In short, there are many people that feel that the flag only represents ‘White Australia’. Since 2005 that association has become much stronger, after the flag was so prominently worn and displayed by participants in Sydney’s Cronulla Riots- essentially race riots that received international attention.

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Love it or Leave it

There are a huge number of things going on in Australia right now that I don’t love. I don’t love the governments abandonment of science, I don’t love that politicians are fueling fear and hatred towards Islamic women, I don’t love the plans for our Great Barrier Reef, I don’t love the rampant sexism in the media, I don’t love shark culling. Should I leave? Or, like any good relationship worth saving, should I try to work towards fixing these problems within the country that I do, indeed, love?

The other problem with the slogan is the use of that word: love. In this context, it’s subjective. “Love” means something different to me than it does to someone using the slogan to criticise another race or culture. Personally, I don’t want anyone to abandon their culture or heritage to “prove” that they love Australia and are worthy of staying. I don’t even think love is required to stay here. Many people have fled terror and persecution in their homelands to seek refuge here, only to be greeted with racism and discrimination. I don’t blame them in the slightest for not feeling the love straight away! Even skilled migrants who have made the decision to live in Australia are subjected to discrimination and racism. It’s not as simple as “if you don’t love it, leave”.

There’s nothing wrong with being patriotic; with loving and taking pride in your country. We are regarded as the Lucky Country and have been for some time. But instead of wearing divisive slogans while sticking our fingers in our ears and singing ‘Advance Australia Fair’ we should acknowledge the context these slogans are placed in, take note of the current climate surrounding our multicultural society and look towards solving these issues rather than callously exacerbating them. 

If you are reading this here in Australia, you are a lucky person. You have so much freedom. You are even free to wear this awful shirt if you feel your right to do so is more important to you than how it might make others feel; new immigrants, refugees, fellow Australians who aren’t loving what Australia is doing at the moment. Go right ahead. Myself, I prefer this version I found online:

Image Source (and well worth a read!)

Would YOU wear it?


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World Breastfeeding Week 2014: The Giveaways!

Just in case you’d missed them, we have some fantastic competitions running as part of the HandbagMafia and Five Degrees of Chaos World Breastfeeding Week Blog Carnival!
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Win a Calin Bleu cotton and gauze wrap worth $74.95
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Win A Breastfeeding Mini-Shoot plus 3 Digital Files worth $250 from C Holmes Photography
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Win A One-Of-A-Kind Upcycled Nappy Bag worth $38 from Rethread the Earth
imagea Rafflecopter giveaway

Win a Spectra S2 Hospital Grade Double Electric Breast Pump valued at $269 from Spectra Baby Australia, plus a copy of ‘Exclusively Pumping Breastmilk’
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Win a Boobie Bikkies gift pack valued at $129 from Boobie Bikkies
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Win a Mum-and-Bub Photo Shoot Plus Prints Worth $500 from Burbaby Photography
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Linking with My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday

Aussie Giveaway Linky
Hosted by Kellie O’Brien Media

Also linked up with Musings of the Misguided for The Lounge

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Anyone but Abbott

The election has come and gone, leaving the Liberal Coalition in power. Since then, PM Abbott and co have formed an interesting cabinet, removing key portfolios, amalgamating others and forming the new and dubiously titled “Border Protection” one- but that is a whole other post.
This cabinet contains exactly one woman. Other parties and governments around the world manage to include more females. Is it that there are no other women qualified for this position within the Liberal Party? I can think of a few off the top of my head so surely this is not the case. Suffice to say, this cabinet is hardly representative of the community it would govern and this is a real shame, and an embarrassment.

Even Lord Voldemort’s “cabinet” had more women than Abbott’s cabinet.

Tony Abbott himself has taken on the portfolio of Women’s Issues. I am sorry to say it, but almost anyone would be better qualified. A vagina is certainly not essential to the position, though it would be an excellent start. PM Abbott has proved himself, over and over, to be out of touch with Australian women. The following quotes from the man himself speak volumes on their own:

What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up.Sydney Morning Herald (February 9, 2010)
I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.– Quoted in “FOUR CORNERS” on www.abc.net.au (15/03/2010)
The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience.- Quoted in [1] “RATE OF ABORTION HIGHLIGHTS OUR MORAL FAILINGS” on www.tonyabbott.com.au (Wednesday, 17 March 2004)]
I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak.- Panel discussion “Religion, Sex and Politics” on www.abc.com.au (19 March 2009)
Abortion is the easy way out. It’s hardly surprising that people should choose the most convenient exit from awkward situations.– Quoted in “Rate of abortion high-lights our moral failings” on www.tonyabbott.com.au (17 March 2004)
I think I would say to my daughters if they were to ask me this question… it [their virginity] is the greatest gift that you can give someone, the ultimate gift of giving and don’t give it to someone lightly, that’s what I would say.– Quoted in “Hypocrite Abbott panned for Virginity Stance” (27 Jan 2010)
While I think men and women are equal, they are also different and I think it’s inevitable and I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all that we always have, say, more women doing things like physiotherapy and an enormous number of women simply doing housework– Quoted in “Rudd hands PM a crucial lifeline” (6 August 2010)
I want to make it clear that I do not judge or condemn any woman who has had an abortion, but every abortion is a tragedy and up to 100,000 abortions a year is this generation’s legacy of unutterable shame.- Abbott to parliament in February 2006 (Four corners transcript of speech)

Got all that, ladies? Your power bills are up because you have to iron- it’s inevitable. Try to understand that. It’s not Tony Abbott’s fault.
Also, you just don’t have the aptitude and ability that men do. That means you are dumber and less useful. Feeling like a valued member of society yet? You should. We need more physios and housewives like you!
Sex is not yours to withhold either. Not really. I mean, your virginity is a precious gift and you shouldn’t give it away to just anyone, but if someone really wants to have sex with you, you should remember that it’s not really your right to say no. So if you have sex with someone after realising that it’s not your right to withhold sex, and then find yourself in that awkward position known as pregnancy- well, you CAN get an abortion. I mean, Tony Abbott certainly won’t judge or condemn you. He will just say you’re doing it for your convenience and that you’re contributing to a legacy of unutterable shame because abortions are tragedies. But he’s totes not judging or condemning you, ok?

Putting aside all these telling comments for just a moment- lets look at one of the other reasons Tony Abbott should not be in charge of women’s issues- he’s proven himself to be sexist. His sexist treatment of former PM Julia Gillard is well documented. Her now legendary speech in parliament addressing his misogynist and sexist behaviour was not a bolt from the blue, it was the culmination of long term sexist and poor behaviour on his part and addressed specific incidences of sexist and misogynist behaviour.

This man would look after women’s affairs?

Click here to see Julia Gillard’s speech detailing Tony Abbott’s sexist and misogynist behaviour.

So what can we do? Probably not very much. Get back to the ironing, I suppose.

No.

I just remembered, we have the Internet! Sure, our National Broadband Network might be on hold, but we can still work with what we have. So why not sign my petition? Will it make PM Abbott give the portfolio to someone better suited? I don’t know. But it may well at least let him know that he’s further alienating a significant proportion of the population that he hopes will keep him in government. And if he has even half a brain, he needs to take note of that. I don’t expect him to be a genius, after all, “No one,however smart, however well-educated, however experienced … is the suppository of all wisdom” But I do think enough people letting him know that they aren’t happy with something he is doing might help to bring about change.

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Vote for Love

So, it’s Election Day, and most of us will be visiting the polling booths today and numbering a box, or boxes, deciding the fate of this fine country. I want to ask you, for just a moment, to put aside some of the issues surrounding this election. Put aside our thriving economy, the fate of penalty rates, education policy, the two interesting men striving to lead us and take a moment to think about a very real human rights issue facing a number of Australians who are currently denied a basic human right under Australian law.

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I am one of the lucky majority who had no barriers to face when I wanted to marry the love of my life, purely through the happy accident of being the opposite gender to my partner. Yet, in Australia, it would seem that not all relationships are treated equally, as it is still illegal for homosexual couples to marry. Internationally speaking, we are well behind the eight ball. The Netherlands legalised same sex marriage in 2001. That’s 12 years ago. In that time, same sex marriage has been granted by Belgium in 2003, Spain in 2005, Canada in 2005, South Africa in 2006, Norway in 2009, Sweden also in 2009, Portugal in 2010 along with Iceland and Argentina also in 2010, Denmark in 2012 and Brazil, France, Uruguay this year in 2013. Mexico recognises same sex marriages in all 31 states though it is only performed in 2. Nepal has judicially mandated but not yet legislated marriage equality. In the USA, 13 states and one district permit same sex marriage. There are other places where this legislation is underway.

Gay couples are people too. By denying the right to marriage, we treat their relationships as somehow less than relationships between heterosexual couples. Although we have laws pertaining to de-facto relationship rights in Australia, it is not the same as legally recognised marriage. One example is access to family law courts- to gain such access; a couple must have been cohabiting for 2 years to have their relationship recognised. Things like changing names on legal documents such as passports become arduous and expensive without a marriage certificate to “prove” your relationship.

Some people don’t see marriage equality as a big issue, and I guess that is easily done when it’s not your rights being quashed. I might not be in that position but I have a family member who is. She is in a long term, happy relationship with her partner. Their story is just like that of any other couple. They met through a mutual friend at a BBQ and got talking, discovered they had known each other as children through family friendships and have been committed to each other since 2008. They were kind enough to talk to me about how it feels to not be able to marry. I hope that by having the words and faces of two young people whose human right to marry is being denied them, it may make this less of an academic issue for some. I hope you can keep this in mind when it’s time to cast your vote.

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Naomi and Alicia

Naomi, on how it feels to be denied equal marriage rights: The fact that this country still does not have equal rights for all is sickening. We are seen as such an accepting country to anyone that comes here, yet two people of the same sex who love each other still get weird looks in public, can’t hold hands just because other people might feel uncomfortable and get rocks thrown at them (Yes, this happened to us one night), bashed, verbally abused and much more. To think that this happens to two people who love each other in this country makes me sick to my stomach. Marriage equality is not just about letting same sex couples marry. It’s about this country accepting gay people for who they are and who they love.

Alicia’s feelings on not being allowed to marry: It confuses the hell out of me! I get so angry with these people that look down on us because of who we love. I hate that these people think they have the right to say anything they want to bring us down! And they think they have the right to say, no your love isn’t proper and you cant get married!( if I want to sign MY life away to one person, I will! It is MY choice- no one else’s) I hate that I’m scared to hold Nay’s hand because last time I did we had rocks thrown at us and were verbally abused! And the looks… Oh my gosh! I’m Aboriginal and a lesbian and that is so wrong to some people. I just don’t understand how it’s so wrong for two people of the same sex to love each other? And I hate the fact that people hide behind the bible or the whole “Oh God, think about the children!” line. I’m sure we would look after our children better than some heterosexual people! I do have a feeling we will be able to marry one day considering everyone was going on about interracial relationships years ago and now, well, they just look ridiculous. I love that Nay and I are gay AND we are in an interracial relationship- People can hate us all they want; they are the ones that will look silly in the future because it will happen-we will be treated equally.

On how important marriage equality is, Naomi says: Same sex marriage is extremely important to me. One day in the near future I would love to marry my girlfriend. We have been together for almost five years and I want to make a formal commitment to her just like any straight couple could. I have had many people ask why we don’t get married in NZ, well, that would be great, except when I get back to Australia, my home, my marriage won’t be recognised so there is just no point. I’m not about to run off to another country to get married, I would rather stay here and fight for our rights.

Alicia adds: Marriage never really was important to me in the past, I guess because all around me the marriages I saw growing up simply broke down. Since being with Nay and having her as my first ever serious relationship I do feel different about it. I would love to marry her! I think about that day all the time, what we would be wearing, what cake, where it would be. And I refuse to go overseas to get married. Australia is my home. Its where I belong and having our family around us to celebrate our marriage and our future would mean the world to me. It will be amazing when we are all treated equally and seen as just a “normal” couple.

A message to those opposed to marriage equality from Alicia: There are a million of things I would love to say to people who oppose same sex marriage but I feel almost like it would be waste of my time. They seem to be stuck in their own little bubble. All I know is that when we have kids they will be loved, they will be taught how to love everyone and we will never take them for granted! Right this moment I have all these thoughts in my head and I wish you could just pull them out with a wand like they do in Harry Potter- it’s just so hard to put it into words! Maybe these people just need to be showered in magical sparkly rainbow glitter!

Naomi says: I did not choose to be gay, just like no one chooses to be heterosexual. It is a part of life; we should be way past the point of judging who someone loves. And who are you to judge my love?Marriage equality is being spoken about in reference to children quite often when in reality, who is to say every same sex couple wants kids? This is not even about the children; this is simply about same sex couples having the right to marry the love of their lives. Having children should not even be a part of this issue. People are using it as an excuse to discriminate against us- “Oh, but their kids will be bullied” If its the bullying of children that people are worried about, I’m sure my kids would not be bullied by kids with gay parents, it would be the kids with homophobic parents… If they taught their kids about love to start with then it wouldn’t be an issue.

Love is love and everyone should have the right to love, no matter their sex.

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