Sunday, October 3, 2021

Will you go overseas when the restrictions are lifted?

Lifting restrictions for travelling by air may mean that at least 80% of Aussies must have a Covid vaccination (or two of them)... have you? I have, but I still don't think I'll go overseas. I want to go to New Zealand, where my family mostly lives. I have my daughter and granddaughter living here in Brisbane, but I want to see my three sisters and my brother and his wife. The last time I saw them - and my son - was 3 years ago, for a funeral for my son's wife. I had planned on going back last year, until the pandemic came here. I planned on going over earlier this year when it seems 'under control' - there was a bubble jet between Aus and NZ. But that vanished very soon then. I know there are many Aus citizens globally who have been wanting to come back for months. Maybe they will be able to come back when the restrictions are lifted.  

So how will the lifting of restrictions allow us to live a 'normal' life? Will the pandemic be under control? Every state is differently vaccinated: this link is a pdf report from the government Department of Health dated 2 October 2021. You can print it out. So far, it seems, that the children aged 12-15 are the lowest vaccinated as at 2 October, but are they included in the 80% we need for restrictions lifted? Why has it taken the government so long to include them in the vaccinations?

According to an ABC article dated 9 August 2021, the schools in three states were facing their own problems with Covid. For most of those school, lockdowns were applied and thousands of those children faced home education. In Queensland, at least, they had to wear masks. Their education is drifting off, with no older student thinking now that they will be able to do their end of year exams, and why should they miss out on what we all know is the last of their high school education? Pandemic is the critical issue. 

Many non-vaccinated people - and even some vaccinated - are able to carry the disease and pass on to others. Hospitals at least don't have anywhere near as many vaccinated people end up there, but it seems that most of those non-vaccinated who end up in hospital are the most possible of dying. The Health Department statistics, also 2 October, show that more men than women up until age 80 have been more open to Covid - and more men have died from Covid than women up to the age of 80. Before this year, when vaccination was set up, we were trying to suppress Covid because at that stage we had no vaccinations. Lockdown was precedent. A Reuters article dated 1 September 2021 acknowledged that Australia now realises that they can't get over it, but they must work with it: it seems that Aus dealt with it much better than some countries globally. 

If we meet the 80% but some non-vaccinated want to fly overseas, will they be allowed? What do we need when we have had the two vaccinations? The overseas airlines may demand a copy of a government vaccination passport, as said by IATA (International Air Transport Association). They advise that "governments need to be confident that they are effectively mitigating the risk of importing COVID-19. This means having accurate information on passengers’ COVID-19 health status." They have definitive lists of what passengers must supply, and that includes their proof of vaccination, when they were tested, and have the ability to share their results. Being positive with Covid might mean they can't travel in the IATA airlines. It will be interesting to see whether that does work. Or not. The BBC did a report in July this year on some countries which require vaccination passports. It may be necessary to read.

There is nothing that guarantees we will meet 80% by every state by the end of October - or even November - but many are looking forwards to travelling overseas at christmas time, either on holiday or simply visiting their own overseas families. I would love to go to NZ and visit my family, but who knows how I can plan ahead for that? To lift the flight restrictions state by state will be a real slap on the face for those from a state which has not yet met that percentage. Each state should, in my opinion, keep the flying restrictions in place and help the slower states to catch up. 

And maybe, just maybe, we will be back to 'normal' by the end of this year.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Don't change your name on marriage!

When you were born your parents would have received a birth certificate with your birth name on it. This document is your personal identification throughout the rest of your life. Too many women change their surname when they marry, but the reality is don't change your name - you might lose your identity! Women who now suffer from domestic violence, separation and divorce just want to use their own real name, but have a lot of trouble convincing anyone just by producing their birth certificate. It recently happened when a women was robbed of her identity as she left her rural home and her ex-partner stole everything from her. Now she is homeless and needs help.

In July 2021, ProBono wrote an article about the shortage of social housing which affects women who can't get away from the DV. According to ProBono, 7,600 women return to their violent partners because they can't find any other housing. There are more than 9,000 homeless women and children. This article quoted from a report, written by Equity Economics, about how much is needed to spend to the housing to benefit those who have been living homeless, including families who have left their violent relationship.

In June 2021, as reported, the latest increase of homelessness for these women and children is due to the isolation in homes because of Covid-19. Women reported an increase in controlling behaviour - their finances, their friends, their access of outside supporters, their use of technology and social media - and that Covid-19 is not entirely responsible for this. Bushfires, floods and cyclones also increased the requirement for assistance against the domestic violence which expanded in their homes.

Australian women held a conference in September, endorsing assistance to help women stay safe from DV during lockdown. They looked at "financial security, policing, sexual violence and challenges facing diverse members of the Australian community". Professor Carrington from the QUT said that Australians want a "better national plan" that "takes violence against women seriously that sees it as a number one government priority, that invests in prevention, invests in new services." It's hard to believe that politicians still don't take DV as serious, but many of them still ignore it. 

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare - which is a government service - reported on 16 September 2021 that "Family, domestic and sexual violence is a major health and welfare issue in Australia. It occurs across all socioeconomic, demographic and age groups, but predominantly affects women and children." This is a government service - so why doesn't the government acknowledge this? The website says that DV includes physical violence, sexual violence, emotional abuse and coercive control. This has been noted for years on DV websites, yet this government hasn't done anything to bring it under control. Like providing many more social houses for women and their families suffering from DV.

Women have their own rights, to keep their own name and to live in their own home without DV. How long before this happens? 

 

More to read:

ABC: Domestic Violence Survivors 28/05/21

Al Jazeera: Australia's 'invisible' homeless women 12/08/21

SMH: Government urged to 'fix shocking situation' 12/07/21

Creative Writing: Domestic and Family Violence 19/07/21 

The Conversation: You couldn't leave your husband - it wasn't done 26/08/21 

The Mandarin: Government says 'Use super to flee from harm' 18/03/21 


Saturday, September 18, 2021

Nuclear politics

In 2016 the LNP government contracted for 12 submarines - diesel, apparently what the then-PM Turnbull wanted - from France. Now the French contract has been thrown out (how much will we be paying for that?) and Aus has gone into a nuclear submarine contract with the US and the UK - allegedly called AUKUS, (but I would call it AUSUK - "a 'you suck'") agreement. Nuclear... nuclear?? Well, in the climate change... nuclear? Nuclear submarines... what exactly are they?

The Guardian quoted Trotsky saying “you may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” War, in this globe, is intrinsically evil. Different wars have lasted for decades over centuries: look up the Wikipedia for a list of them. This page splits them down alphabetically, by era, by location, by conflict and by death toll. Haven't they finished yet? This is 2021, why isn't there peace today?

In democracy a government is supposed to work for us, not for themselves, yet democracy is vanishing. According to the Parliament Education Office, our democracy allows 

"citizens [to] choose candidates to represent them in a parliament... approximately every 3 years to select members of parliament to represent Australians and make laws on their behalf.

That sounds right - so why isn't this government paying attention to that? The Parliament of Australia website says: 

"Political theory recognises three powers of government—the legislative power to make laws; the executive power to carry out and enforce the laws; and the judicial power to interpret laws and to judge whether they apply in individual cases."

The POA website, further on in it, has a report titled "Australian Parliamentary Democracy After a Century: What Gains, What Losses?". This should be read by everyone in Australia, because it represents all of us. In the Major Issues section, in 1975 Gough Whitlam was dismissed by the Governor General, but after that the GG's position means that 

"exact limits on the 'appropriate behaviour' of the Governor-General are still not settled." 

So these days, it seems, we can't get rid of a parliament which does not work for those Australians who voted for them. Who voted for this government to throw out the French contract for submarines and rolled in with the AUKUS agreement? Is it for all of us? Were we asked to agree to it?

PM Scott Morrison has to stop jumping around in his position and contact all of us for permission. That is what "democracy" is supposed to be about. The majority of the population hated the war in Vietnam - it was ended in 1973, as other wars stopped in Iraq, East Timor and Afghanistan up until this year. VAD (Voluntary Assisted Dying) exists through personal feelings within each state government (WA, SA, Vic, Tas, and Qld). LGBTIQA+ marriage rights exists through people voting for it (61.6%) in 2017. So many other things the population has been involved in to make them happen. I'll repeat the quote from PEO which was the first on this page:

"members of parliament [to] represent Australians and make laws on their behalf"

This is Australian democracy. The government is supposed to run this country using the definition of that democracy. If they don't they are not working on our behalf. They need to let us know how throwing out the French contract was decided. They need to let us know who chose nuclear submarines, and how much more that will cost this country. They need to let us know how the new submarines will work for this country. 

We have the right to know.


 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Historical convicts

I started writing my family history at the beginning of Covid19 back in March 2020. I found out a whole lot of information of one surname, but finding out about others was so hard! 

My mother was a young child when her father introduced her mother to domestic violence - Gran divorced him. I didn't want to follow his family - I'd never met any of them. 

My father's father had changed his name in 1949 when Dad was 19 years old, and I could trace his family back to his great-grandfather who went to New Zealand from Sydney in around 1842. I couldn't find any relations before that. His mother, my other Gran, came from a family which I could trace back at least to the 15th century. Those distant relatives would have been... well, not exactly poor, but would have worked for and rented their homes from the rich landowners. Some of this family moved to Australia, and others moved to New Zealand.

There were a couple of convicts I traced from England to Australia who weren't, then, our historical family. The first one would've been young (around 16, I think, when she was transported to Australia in 1790 and sent on to Norfolk Island and back to Sydney. One of her granddaughters moved to Tasmania and married another convict who'd earned the end of his 7-year sentence in 1825, and one of their granddaughters moved to New Zealand and met and married one of my great-uncles - one of Gran's brothers. So, now we had two convicts recorded in our family tree!

History can cause so many problems - like, do you remember all of your relatives? How many kids did your grandparents have? Did you ever visit them? I remember a lot of my father's mother's family - we visited their farms or their town homes, and most of them seemed to live in the Waikato area in New Zealand. A couple of others I remember lived in the South Island, so we didn't see them very often. 

We had the first family reunion I remember - sometime in the 1960s, so many people from that family that I don't remember but I loved that reunion. We had a second one in the 1980s but those I do remember were the ones we'd visited before.

I kept thinking of family reunions and wondered who else does them? Wikipedia has info about them, and some, it seems, are held every year. The pic at the top of that Wiki page shows a Swedish family who are "people descending from a common ancestor born in 1776". The convict I wrote of first here was born in 1772 - there's a lot of our family and other families related to her over the past two and a half centuries: maybe so many people we never got to know.

We're towards the end of acknowledged Covid, but not every state is yet wanting to open this country from it. Maybe, if you're not working or isolated or in lockdown somewhere, then you could start your own family history. If you believe in your relatives, then do it! If you're not interested in it... well, never mind - just decide for yourselves whatever you will do for these last few months of Covid. 

Perhaps that will be part of our 'history' too.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Pioneers, Artists, Leaders, and Activists

I found a Google acknowledgement for a kids 0-5 age book series, the Little Feminists Board Book Set. It's about sixteen women who are the "important people in history" and includes Cleopatra, Emily Earhart, Rosa Parks and more. These women I know about, but I believe it's essential for young kids to find out what these women did for other women. Little feminists could even become one of these later in their own lives!

As a kid many years ago I think I became a feminist - although I didn't know what they were back then. All I knew was that boys - men - should treat girls - women - with respect, and certainly not with violence. I feel very proud of the young girls and women I see today - the youth who have protested about the lack of climate change awareness which needs to change now - see Global Citizen; those who are fighting for equality - see UN Women and Plan International; those wanting to be involved in sports - see Australian Sports Camp; young women getting involved in science through sponsorship - see Forbes; young women artists - see Refinery29; young female leaders - see International Women's Development Agency, IWDA. There are so many new activists and feminists and strong young girls and women.

For the men who do not support them in moving forward, perhaps those men are misogynists. Are they sexist? Have a look at Vox. That article looks at the difference between sexism and misogyny. 

Women have an equal right within this world. Women are not controlled by men-religions, men-work, men-husbands, men-friends or men-anything. Women should be treated the same as all men. Respect-women, friendship-women, care-women, empathy-women. Come up with your own word links. I'm sure that you could. 

Just please treat women with equality. This is a short blog, but it didn't need to be long... you know that

WOMEN. ARE. EQUAL.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Sitting in my blankety blank...

I have no thoughts. This is the third time I tried to start this, but I don't have any thoughts. I'm sitting in my blankety blank... which should encourage me to think, but blankety blank doesn't help! My daughter has been baking. I haven't. Some one changed their sheets. I haven't. A neighbour went out in their car. I haven't. Should I have read? Should I have played PC games? Should I have answered negatively to anything on my FB pages?

What am I missing? 

I thought I should be doing a load of washing. I haven't. I thought I should vacuum. I haven't. I should have mowed my lawn. I haven't. Ihaven'tIhaven'tIhaven't.... 

Some of the lockdowns were lifted from NSW areas, and there were hundreds on the beach. I haven't been to a beach for too long. There are a few cafes available in SEQ, but these days my savings are getting down - actually, they're nearly nothing - so I haven't. I have planned, for ages, to go to a decent restaurant and shout myself... I still haven't. Have I changed? From my normal day-to-day person to an abnormal day-to-day person? What should I be thinking about?

Walking-swimming-enjoying food-loving outlooks-building my attitude-ignoring my routine-getting out in the world! Our lockdowns started in March 2020 - that's 18 months ago, why are we still locked down? Yep, I do know, but after 18 months I have been grinding. And anxious. And frustrated. And scared. And wondering how I can return to NORMAL. 

I can ask if you feel this same way. But I know that you are different. I can ask RU OK? But no-one wants to ask me. I can ask you if you break the law to go out. But I think that maybe I do - like the day I forgot my mask, FFS! Maybe that's why I stay home. In the blankety blank. 

I. Have. To. Think! I. Have. To. Be. Normal! I. Have. To. Stop. Writing. Like. This!

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Re-Starting

It’s  a year since I wrote last on this blog, and I have lost interest in writing blogs. Why? Right now I don’t feel I captivate readers. And I’m so tired of the bullshit on Facebook – like from trolls who don’t care about how bad this country is now. Since the start of this pandemic I finished the BA at Griffith University, which was good for my aphasia recovery. I got that degree on a special day – 19th July, my daughter’s birth day. That has a lot of meaning to me. I am now in Macquarie University, online the same as at Griffith, doing the first two courses of the Masters of Creative Writing. I feel I still need this for my recovery, yet I have written all through my long life.

When I was young, in a forward-or-die situation in my life, I wrote a poem about asking Pegasus to help save me. I described myself as a “caryatid”, a draped female figure in Greek who supports an entablature – I saw her as supporting my own life. I filed that poem in a box at my mother’s home and haven’t seen it again for more than two decades. I would love to get it back, but I don’t know how. It seems I have to start again.

I had written some stuff in the two years before my stoke: at the start of 2012, I started a blog titled Whacksworks and I started to print stuff I should have ignored. Like:

January 26th, 2012: “Australia Day. We’ve all seen the slogans – “Love it or leave”, “Fit in or f**k off”, “”P*ss off. We’re full”. We love it. We want to fit in. So why do the authorities make it so hard for us to become Aussies?”

March 25th, 2012: “Yesterday’s Queensland state election had less to do with politics than it had to do with the kind of society we have become. “Rage”, in so many forms, has become the norm. Road rage, service station rage, supermarket rage, people getting beaten up for their takeaways, hold ups on an almost daily basis… gimme, gimme, gimme. We no longer believe we have to work for what we want, it’s as if we believe it’s our right, our entitlement. And if we don’t get it immediately, we get mad.”

July 22nd, 2012, near the end: “We have become guilty of collective inaction.  We see the problems of the world as too hard to do anything about, so we voice our disgust at some atrocity, shrug and move on.”

December 11, 2013: “Do you feel the despair in the air? Do you hear the growing chorus of discontent, state wide and nationally?”

December 13, 2013: “Tonight I sat down to write a post about the despair and anger I see every day now in this country. I wanted to find out why, where it came from, when it started. I wanted to look at it in context of my own move here in 2005, and I wanted to look at it in context of social policy... After an hour I gave up. Everything I was reading was too depressing. There didn’t seem to be any positive stuff anywhere.”

January 20th, 2014: “Something showed up on my Twitter feed recently which frustrated me and, truth be told, scared the shit out of me. The discussion was on asylum seekers and this tweeter said that in his opinion someone who has had a nose job and plastic surgery couldn’t be a refugee.  I was like, WTF? Is this really how far we have deteriorated as a society that refugee status is now not determined by the war and strife in your country of origin but by whether or not you’ve had a nose job??”

April 13th, 2014, towards the end: “I will NOT chill when I hear derogatory comments. I will NOT chill when I see memes passing across my FB feed that use derogatory, insinuating, sexist, racist or gender-biased language disguised as humour. I will call them out, and I expect others to call me out if I slip up.”

Re-reading these blogs has held me down – I haven’t seemed to write anything positive! I had set up a website titled “Reibus”, named after my surname and the effect on business – Reid-Business - and on that site I started sections of prose, poetry, music memorials and, predominantly most, quote set on backgrounds that made me feel good. Alas, Reibus has been closed down, yet there are two Whacksworks pages with some of these: have a look at http://whacksworks.blogspot.com/2020/07/fantasy-and-life.html or http://whacksworks.blogspot.com/2020/07/pleasure.html . I reset Reibus up as a blog website – the last one was dated February 2021. Have a look at https://reibus.blogspot.com/ , there are a few pages which I saved out of my website, including poetry!

These two blog sites are, for me, distracting me from despair which is covering this country. I want to re-start these blogs, and I hope they might just draw people like me, who don’t want to live in despair. Let me know if you agree!