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Language, Free Speech, Racism and Sexism

On October 2012 I expressed my concerns over the use of language in society. Since then things seem to have worsened. We still have nasty personal attacks being made in the public domain and I am often tempted to unfollow people on social media because they “attack the man not the ball”. I also looked at the use of language in Motherhood, sexism, feminism, rap and the whole damn thing.

We are now considering removing Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 because we so desperately need free speech, according to George Brandis. We have, he tells us, the right to be a bigot. I agree it is difficult to stop people thinking bigoted thoughts, but we can sure stop them expressing their bigotry publicly as a tool of vilification.

I’m rolling this all up together, again. The racial, political, feminist: all of it. How we use language in society frames our society. I remember when we used to say the “attack the man not the ball” style was purely American. Anne Summers showed us it has very definitely become an Australian thing too.

Most observers of Canberra today agree that the current political environment has become especially toxic. Source: Anne Summers 

Sunday night I found myself engaged in a discussion on social media (the flagship of polite discussion, to be sure) with others and a racist American.  A very racist American. At some point during the discussion he determined I was the most vile of creatures, a miscegenist. OH THE HORROR!

Totally out of context à propos of absolutely NOTHING in the conversation, he sent me this missive:

Why do women like you always look like a train wreck with bad skin?

“Women like me”? Given the conversation (how black people are terrible), I am making the perhaps almighty leap to conclude he figured out I was one of those female pariahs of white supremacy, a white woman who had strayed from the path of the great white light. I can imagine his abject despair. What if I actually did have bad skin? How would I have felt? How did Julia feel to learn people thought she should be drowned? How does Abbott feel to see a meme of himself as an ape?

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What’s in it for ME?

WhatManaging change is part of my day job. One of the catch phrases we use these days is “what’s in it for me”. In “selling” change in an organisation we need to show the employees, the board, the management and all other stakeholders “what’s in it for them”. If you don’t believe me, Google “change management what’s in it for me” and you will see plenty of results.

Rhiannon’s masterclass, ‘What’s in it for me?’ … and other change management challenges demonstrated how addressing the people side of change management can increase the probability of business success during periods of significant change. Source: CMC Partnership

Word Cloud from this site

Word Cloud from this site – PEOPLE

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The Danger of the Monster Myth

Team Oyeniyi:

This essay by Tom Meagher can be considered compulsory reading for everyone. Please visit the White Ribbon site and read Tom’s work in full.

Originally posted on White Ribbon Campaign:

Tom Meagher

One of the most disturbing moments of the past eighteen months of my life was hearing my wife’s killer form a coherent sentence in court. Jill had been murdered almost six months earlier, and Adrian Bayley’s defence team were presenting a rather feeble case for a four-week adjournment of his committal hearing. Bayley appeared via video-link as I sat flanked by two friends and a detective. The screen was to my right, mounted high up and tilted slightly towards the bench. It was uncomfortably silent apart from the occasional paper shuffle or short flurry of keyboard clicks. I anticipated, and prepared for the most difficult moment of the day when Bayley’s face appeared on the big-screen TV, looming over the seat I then occupied. When that moment arrived, a jolt of nausea came and went, but the worst was to come, made all the more horrifying because it was…

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That damn feminist word again

Five days. I have been stewing over an article I read for five days. Most unlike me, I am sure most will agree: after all I rattled off “Who IS the boss around here?” in the heat of the moment. This time, however, my immediate reaction was confusion and self-doubt.

I hear some readers thinking “Robyn? Self-doubt? There’s never much of that in her articles!” Those readers would be right. Usually there isn’t.

Elle Hardy wrote in The Guardian:

The fight for compassion, legal rights, and justice are not unique to feminism. There are no values that I can espouse as a humanist that are anti-female, but there are a number of values of feminism that are alien to me – such as the notion that equality is more important than opportunity and choice, and that it can be legislated.

I agreed with her. Until I read it again. In my view equality IS more important than opportunity and choice, because from equality comes opportunity and choice. Equality can be legislated. I do agree there are some aspects of modern feminism I disagree with, more on that later.

Elle went on to say “modern popular feminism is an entirely political movement.” What were the suffragettes about, if not seeking a political voice? It was a political movement.

Elle did make some very valid points though. It does seem these days as if everyone and their dog is an avowed feminist to avoid being labelled a misogynist. I’m not sure that does the movement any good at all.

I also agree with Elle when she says, “Feminism was a movement of profound importance, securing the extension of natural rights to women, but its modern incarnation is a concoction of socialist values.”

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Pondering the value of money in simple terms

The older I get, the more I doubt the wisdom of chasing rainbows.

In order to receive good wages, workers must be employed by companies making money. A company that is not making money goes out of business and the employees are then looking for work. If shareholders do not earn a return on their investment, they don’t invest. The balance required to pay employees a fair wage and provide a fair return to the investors is what keeps our capitalist economy afloat. No businesses equals no work. Equally, no workers equals no businesses.

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I do not accept corruption – do you?

We should be holding our public figures to account. Today Barry O’Farrell resigned as Premier of NSW over a bottle of Grange. A $3,000 bottle, to be precise.

Let me put this into a commercial context. A few years ago I worked for an international company. Acceptance of gifts of any value over about $20 was strictly verboten on the grounds we were at all times to be, and be seen as, strictly professional and ethical. We must have integrity.

The company I work for now is exactly the same.

Paul Sheehan has written he thinks this is all OK, because after all some previous NSW premier was worse – much worse. I agree that is the case, Askin was much worse. However do I consider a murderer not as bad because he only murders one person instead of twenty? A murderer is still a murderer, serial or otherwise.

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Work until I am 70

I read Mr Hockey wants us to work until we are 70.

If the Abbott government decides to further raise the pension age, it would be staggered over half a decade or more.

Read more: SMH - Good article, covers a lot of considerations

Pension physical risk

I probably can work until I am 70, provided I stay on hormone replacement therapy to keep my brain functional. I have a desk based job not requiring too much physical exertion. Also I am probably excluded as the change will be staggered to take into account those who worked pre the Superannuation Guarantee Charge days.

What of my husband, however? He has a very physical job. Are we expecting him to be shoveling mulch at 70? What of brickies, sparkies or chippies? They can’t all move into management, after all.

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The rain seemed relentless

Continued from Jones prayedIf you have just joined this story and wish to start from the beginning, go to What goes around comes around.

Indian OceanThe Indian Ocean is not a friendly place. The world had learnt much more about this particular part of the world when a Malaysian Airlines flight had disappeared. The currents, the storms, the vast isolation: all had become apparent. It was raining again and the waves were high. The rain came every day, sometimes light showers, other times torrential downpours. The boat seemed little more than a cork bobbing in Lakes Entrance waters. Jones was terrified.

This boat was a reasonably large fishing vessel, modern and sleek, but it probably wasn’t certified for these waters, Jones thought. He had noticed the name in the wheelhouse, “Live Life”, and wondered why a fisherman would name a boat such.

Many of the passengers were sick. Vomiting could lead to dehydration and there was little water. The children particularly were a concern as they would dehydrate faster than the adults. A small child was curled up near Jones, her expression of fear and pain evident even though her eyes were squeezed shut. The girl’s mother was trying as best she could to breastfeed a baby. Due to the limited water supply, her milk supply was reducing with each day. There was no infant formula on board.

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Who IS the boss around here?

Democracy, we are told, is government of the people, by the people, for the people. Yet in the last few months it seems we are to be controlled, not governed in the true sense of a democratic society. Dear Current Government: you work for the people. Just a reminder.

The first warning bells sounded with the appointment of Tim Wilson to the Human Rights Commission. I waxed lyrical on that over three articles, which you may entertain as background material if you wish. As expected, the next chimes were the proposed repeal of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. I’ve expressed my views on that particular proposal in at least two articles. More background reading if you so desire.

Today I was shocked to see this tweet. Read the fine print very carefully, especially if you work for the Australian Public Service (APS).

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It is that time of year again Best Australian Blogs 2014

You may have noticed the nominee badge in the side bar. It is Best Australian Blogs time again. Tomorrow, April 4, the voting opens at 10:00 am for the People’s Choice round. This shiny badge is on the right in the sidebar.   There is also a link to the voting system on the People’s Choice page.

This year the overall winner of the judged competition wins a seven day trip to Turkey. There are many other prizes as well and Random House is back on board this year which is great to see.

When I first entered this competition in 2011 I was brand new to blogging and the Best Australian Blogs was a brand new competition.  The prize pool was smaller, there were fewer competitors. Each year the competition has grown, as the prize pool this year illustrates!

Entries for the judged section of the competition closed today. I’ve entered the Commentary Category because I seem to have written opinion pieces more than anything else this year. I also nominated the first article in my investigative series on Partner Visa processing in the Outstanding Advocacy Post section. I also entered the People’s Choice Award. That’s the section where YOU, our lovely readers, come in. I am asking all our readers to vote for Love versus Goliath.

There is no free beer or lollipops I’m afraid. No bribery at all. If you like what you read here, please vote. All I can offer is a very big thank you and an electronic hug.




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