Mourning the loss of my nation’s dignity. Also: this blog is now a legitimate news source.

Well.

Don’t I feel like the parent whose kid just threw a giant tantrum because someone told them their well-functioning shiny toy was a piece of shit? And I feel bad, because I’m not just ashamed of my kid’s tantrum, I’m ashamed of my kid for being such a dumbass that it can’t even see how good this toy actually is.

Australian Media, I am golf clapping the fuck out of you right now. You won. You 1984’d the shit out of people who are too busy living their lives to spend the time required to sift through each and every news story – from each and every news source, in order to determine facts with which to make informed decisions.

I mean, clearly the Australian people can’t obtain facts from its media. Our media is, in essence, just a bunch of opinion blogs. Only the opinions aren’t those of the writers, but of the corporations and affiliated political parties that keep the blog.. I mean newspaper.. afloat.

When I was in High School, my English teacher gave me a 9.5/10 for an essay I wrote on Australia. She said she never gives out full marks because everyone can always improve, but my essay was so brilliant, she gave me as close to full marks as she could.

I felt like a cheat when I got those marks. I had written that essay in 20 minutes, and hadn’t even worked up a mental sweat to do so. That’s because the essay was about Australia. What I loved and treasured about this country.

I’d be really hard pressed to write that now. I just wouldn’t even bother. What I love about this country disappeared a long time ago, when the people of this country stopped fighting for the underdog and started whinging about being poor because they could only afford one plasma… When they wanted to get rid of a Prime Minister because of the way her voice sounds.

Meanwhile, if the citizens of this country were judged on such superficial matters, they’d all have been put down at the pound.

We are about to see some very dark days in this country, and all those people, those low to middle-income earners who, incredibly, believed that Tony “I am really Satan” Abbott was going to give them a lifestyle that included more income and less taxes, will very quickly realise just how easily they’ve been duped.

I won’t sit back and say “I told you so”. I will tell them to get angry.

My fellow citizens, the election is over, but this is where the work begins. In time, the I told you so moments will arrive, the curtain will fall, and the Great and Powerful Oz will show its true self. It can’t go any other way.

I’d like to be proud of this country again, if possible, so how about we all start demanding from our politicians what our employers demand of us? What about a job-trial period? What happens if they don’t meet their KPIs? What if they don’t use the bathroom code to log out of their phone when they leave their desk?

What makes us accept less of our politicians than is expected of us? We roll over and let our private corporate bosses ram the dildo of “company policy” up our arse on a daily basis – how about we hold our politicians to the same standard?

Our leaders should reflect the values that we of a nation hold to the highest importance. Right now, it appears that our values are: the continued persecution of the world’s most vulnerable people, the continued discrimination of homosexuals, women, and anyone who isn’t a mining/media magnate, and aspirations to have the world’s slowest internet, evar (which is basically like aspiring to get the wooden spoon in the footy tipping comp – clearly, you’re shit).

But it’s okay, because his daughters are pretty hot, and his party members have sex appeal.

Onya, Straya.

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Want to help me change the world? Seriously.

How many times have you seen footage of starving, dying people, and wished you could do something about it, but financial circumstances don’t allow it, or you just don’t know where to start – so many people need help.

It seems that a group of Australian University students asked themselves that question in 2008, after discovering the World Water Crisis – the fact that 900 million people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water.

They also discovered that Australians spend $600 million annually on bottled water, when we have unlimited access to free, high quality drinking water from every single tap in the house.

What they did next, is what many of us clicking ‘like’ on useless Human Rights Facebook posts wish we had the guts to do.

They developed a product, and a company, that exists solely to provide clean water projects across the world, to those who are dying without them.

Image courtesy of Thankyou

Image courtesy of Thankyou

They developed Thankyou Water, and through Thankyou Water, 50,000 people now have access to clean and safe drinking water, who otherwise wouldn’t.

Thankyou Water has grown into the Thankyou Movement, and very soon Australians will also be able to buy Thankyou Cereals, Muesli Bars, Body Wash, Moisturiser & Hand Sanitisers. The proceeds of these products will go towards sustainable food and hygiene programs, which, combined with the clean water programs, will reduce water-borne diseases – the real killer – significantly.

The products have been created in consultation with leading experts in those fields, and will be at competitive prices.

I came across Thankyou Water on a trip to Melbourne with Sid, both of us filled with that warm, fuzzy feeling when we read the packaging, and immediately recognised the impact this could have on humanity, an impact you can see by going to the Thankyou Movement’s website and entering the code found on your product. Even better, you can create an account, to track the cumulative impact of all your purchases.

Unfortunately, Thankyou Water isn’t stocked anywhere in this little town we call home.

That’s where the Thankyou Coles and Woolworths Campaign comes in.

The Thankyou Movement has a meeting scheduled with Australia’s largest supermarket juggernauts, in two weeks’ time. Thankyou are asking them to stock their products, in order to reach as many Australians as they can, and in turn, help as many people as they can.

Thankyou believes in their products, but more than that, Thankyou believes in us.

Thankyou believes that they aren’t the only ones who are shocked and heartbroken that in an age where we consider ourselves to be wholly enlightened as a species, we are allowing fellow humans to die when we have more than enough money to prevent it entirely.

They believe that we, the consumers, if given the opportunity, will choose to spend our money on a product that helps actual humans, instead of the traditional custodians of the consumer’s cash – the filthy, greedy corporations, who not only exist solely to get richer and richer, but who pressure government to tailor legislation to the corporation’s needs, not the country’s, nor the consumers’.

Coles and Woolworths, like Hollywood and Musicland need to wake up.

The internet is a thing now. It’s a place we come together to discuss world issues, and cats. It’s a place we live in, we shop in and we do more and more of our business in. It’s where we find our entertainment.

Microsoft learned a harsh lesson in 2013. The People are just as knowledgeable as the product’s creators now. The People know when you are being greedy.

The People are People. Corporations are not. And The People are very, very tired of that.

What’s the risk, Coles and Woolworths? You get your cut of the product sales and do an actual good thing for the world. Look at it as an offset for all the bad you do by owning all those poker machines.

I will be petitioning my employer to purchase this water, wherever possible. I will also be petitioning local cafes and restaurants to do the same.

Imagine if even one hotel chain in this country picked up the Thankyou Product Range for their hotel rooms – water, food and body care – the impact that could have across the globe.

It all begins with you, Coles and Woolworths. And us, Australia.

To make this possible, I urge everyone to watch and share the Thankyou Movement’s Coles and Woolworths Campaign video, and contact these supermarkets via their Facebook pages (as linked above) to let them know you would purchase these products if they were made available to you.

There’s a lot we can’t change in the world, don’t miss your chance to actively help make this world a safer and happier place – for everyone.

What did you just say?

In the past few days, I’ve been hit with some genuine racism and it’s had me thinking a lot about the way I react to it.

I’ve had everything from a phone call at work, asking if someone is allowed to do some work in their driveway “because it looks like a blackfellas camp”, to “boat people” references and the usual “send em home” stuff.

None of the comments that I heard over the past few days were part of a joke, which is really the only time I’m ever exposed to racism, and a lot of the time, it’s just a humorous observation about the differences in cultures and not a nasty attack.

My personal philosophy on race and culture is this:
Each to their own. Respect each other and each others’ differences, and find joy in our similarities. We’re all human and we’re all struggling to eke out the best life we possibly can in our circumstances, so cut each other some slack, recognise that we may not ever fully understand each other… but we don’t have to, either!

People who migrate to this country should not have to turn their back on their culture or their religion simply because Aussies get freaked out by a burka or a chador.

People who migrate to this country should not have to spend months and years in a detention centre with no idea as to the progress of their application for refugee status, and while I agree that we can’t just open up our borders and let any old person in here without real threats to our way of life and our future, I do certainly think that with a lot of careful and HUMAN RIGHTS-CENTRED planning, then we could help to end the misery in a lot of peoples’ lives. To give them the tools to heal their lives and etch out a safer existence for themselves and their loved ones.

People who are only in this position because they weren’t lucky enough to be born in this blessed country.

We call the British “Whinging Poms”, but as far as I’m concerned, Australia is nothing more than a pack of spoilt, whinging children whose parents denied them a block of chocolate before indulging them in their Maccas dinner. 

These Australians, this “talkback radio nation” of whingers who have a conniption about the over-regulated Nanny State that we live in, but feel that the citizens of war-torn countries should only be accepted as refugees if they’ve done it through the right channels.

We can help them as long as they come here legally. Because, you know, in the middle of genocide as you’re running for your life and losing family members left, right and centre, you totally have time to apply for refugee status. I remember the last time I had to do it. And then they didn’t get page 17 of the fax so i had to send it again… and that’s when the bullet came through the wall and killed my 2 year old. But at least I got that fax off, right?

So what about all the english-speaking backpackers who overstay their visas? No? They’re ok? It’s just them damn boat people?

What I’ve discovered, is that when someone says something racist, I often feel that it’s rude of me to correct them. After all, this is just my opinion, right?

Wrong. They’ve shared their opinion with absolutely no regard for any offence that they might cause to their audience. Why am I concerned of the offence I might cause to them by offering a different opinion?

If I could do it all over again, I would have told Friday’s caller that her comment regarding a “blackfellas camp” was entirely unnecessary and disgustingly offensive. I would still have found the answer for her, but I would have called her on her behaviour, too.

What I can thankfully say about these recent experiences, is that they’ve all come from people who are at least 50 or older.

We always hear about how we should be respecting the knowledge and lessons our elders try to teach us. I think it’s about time our elders realised that there are things they need to learn from younger generations, too.

Australia: Where Big Brother hasn’t simply returned to television

With each day that passes, our freedoms are being stripped from us in silent back rooms by powerful and wealthy men (and possibly women with a smattering of glass in their hair).

Last month, the Attorney General set up a Parliamentary Inquiry into potential reforms of national security legislation. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has prepared a Discussion Paper which is available on their website.

The proposed reforms seek to force ISPs and phone companies to keep a record of every article you’ve read online, every item you’ve bought online and every email or text message you’ve sent for a period of two years, which is to be provided to the Government at its request.

The recurring argument of “if you have nothing to hide, it shouldn’t matter” is redundant.

If you knew that someone could use every bored or curious, late night internet browse, and every drunk, angry or joke text message that you’ve sent over the past two years to support any claims of terrorist activity, would it change the way in which you used these devices?

As someone who sometimes has difficulty sleeping and spends a lot of time watching serial killer/conspiracy/secret organisation documentaries, it certainly makes me pause. Used out of context, my entire internet and text message history would be damning.

When I read Orwell’s 1984 as a young teenager, the prospect of a world such as that horrified me. That sense of horror has never left me. The torture of being locked out of your mind lest you be reported for committing a thought-crime kept me awake many nights throughout that book, and in the days that have followed.

Personal phone and internet use has always been an extension of thought, whether it be blogging such as this, or seeking answers to the myriad questions we constantly have in our minds.

I don’t have anything to hide, I haven’t committed a crime and nor do I intend to, but the mere knowledge that the fact that I downloaded a book on the Order of Skull and Bones whilst watching a documentary on 9/11 conspiracies could possibly, one day be used against me to substantiate terrorism claims feels rather akin to being placed under surveillance by thinkpol, to me.

I don’t think I’m important enough to ever be in that situation but you never know what the future holds.

It is certainly true that laws need to be updated to reflect the gargantuan leaps technology has made, but that should not include mandatory data retention of internet/phone usage of every single Australian citizen on the off chance that one of them is a terrorist.

The risk of these powers being abused either by a Government (ours or otherwise) who wishes to silence someone, or by a criminal wishing to use the information for their own nefarious purposes are far too great to allow these legislative reforms to be passed.

On Monday 20th August (yes, this coming Monday), submissions regarding this inquiry close.

The Australian Greens have set up a submission form, pre-populated with a suggested letter which can be overwritten should you choose to do so.

Alternatively, the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security website has information on how to prepare a submission as well as accepted formats.

I strongly urge you to enter a submission. Your very life and identity could be the casualty of complacency.