Categories
Politics

Barnaby Joyce calls for raise in Newstart in a bad way

Centrelink/ Medicare building
Image: iStock

Former Nationals leader, Barnaby Joyce has become more “sympathetic” to those on Newstart. He “knows what it’s like to struggle”.

He is now calling for the Coalition to raise Newstart.

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison has rejected the idea.

The kicker? He currently gets over A$211,000 salary per year.  His ‘struggles’ that he has are nowhere near those on Newstart.

 

It’s good that Joyce has had a change of heart over Newstart (six years too late, but still). But cry me a river. Joyce made his bed, now he has to sleep in it! It’s insulting to those struggling to survive on Newstart to have Joyce compare them to himself on over A$211,000.

Current Newstart rates

According to the Department of Human Services website, single people on Newstart get A$511.70 a fortnight.

Other recipients and the eligible  andidates and amounts are:

  • Single parents with one or mor dependent child: A$601.10
  • With partner (also receiving Newstart): A$501.70 per person
  • Single 60+ who has been unemployed who has for nine months: A$601.10
  • Principal carer of a foster child, looking after a child granted by the court, has large family, has children who are homeschooled or receiving distance education: A$776.10

 

The amounts hasn’t changed since 1994.Newstart hasn’t kept up with inflation or to reflect cost of living.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has admitted it was “modest“.

 

The irony of Newstart rate

A number of politicians argue that Newstart is only meant to be a temporary safety net between jobs.

The tragic irony is they’ve made the Newstart payment so low that many recipients can barely afford to live, let alone pay for transport, clothing for work, or fees for further training. Surely this defeats the purpose, unless locking people in poverty is the goal.

Joyce’s ‘struggles’ vs the struggles of someone on Newstart

Over the past few days, media outlets have been awash with reports and opinion pieces on realities of living on Newstart.

Mamamia posted an article yesterday by student, Shelley Cheng about trying to survive on Newstart. Unlike Joyce’s choice on whether or not to use a dishwasher, Cheng has had to make really tough choices.

Cheng claimed after rent, bills, transport and a number of medical expenses, she is left with less than A$10 for food and other expenses.

News.com.au did an article suggesting some Newstart actually skip meals in order to make their budget stretch. This is beyond apalling.

The tragic irony of the jobs defense

People who protest a rise in Newstart often give one of two arguments: one, that the Coalition Government can’t afford to raise it. The second argument is that Newstart was, and is only meant to be temporary for those in between jobs. It isn’t meant to be a comfortable alternative to working.

The irony to the second argument is that the government has made Newstart payments so low that many recipients can’t afford to look or prepare for work.

 

By many accounts, Barnaby Joyce should be praised for his change of heart. Unfortunately, he has turned the debate into a farce due to his narcissism. Hopefully someone else can make a slightly more convincing argument that will win over the government soon.

What do you think about the Newstart? Feel free t9 comment below?

Categories
Politics

SBS’s ‘The Feed’ brings poverty into the spotlight

The ABC and SBS are often criticised for bias. There have also been new calls for the two Australian government – owned broadcasters to be merged or sold and be pushed into the commercial media landscape.

I do agree that bias is a bit much on the ABC. I used to see it quite often when I used to watch Q and A regularly. And, yes, the SBS has controversial shows on it.  Sometimes, presenters aren’t as respectful as what they could be.

One thing both the ABC and SBS have going for them is that often, they give a voice to those that the commercial mainstream media (and governments) often ignore.

The real face of a ‘dole bludger’

Tara Schultz is on Newstart. She is thirty – one. By her own admission, has never held down full- time work.

Reading that alone may give you an impression that Schultz is a bum. But, if you read the rest of The Feed’s article, you’ll quickly realise that her story is much more complicated.

Schultz’s short life so far has been marred by sexual abuse, poverty, terminal illness, death and mental illness in the family. She cared for her father to the end of his battle with lung cancer. After her father’s death, Schultz looked after his widow, who suffers agoraphobia and post – traumatic stress disorder. She then moved to look after her mother who suffers fromschizophrenia. Her step – mother no longer had a carer due to government funding cuts.

When talking about elections, Schultz said her family finds voting “utterly laughable”.

I won’t go through the whole article. Read through it yourself. It’s heartbreaking.

Indictment of society and Australia’s political system

The article really reflects how broken our political system is. Quite frankly, it’s also a reflection of how broken our society is.

Poverty wasn’t mentioned during the election. The main focus was (as is often the case), on the upper and middle -class.

This election was also about culture wars. The media, especially Newscorp did the Israel Folau’s sacking to death. This became part of a very messy political campaign. It’s ironic that Christianity and religious freedom became hot button issues, yet, the poor were left out of the debate. The Bible contains hundreds of verses advocating for them.

What should be done?

Poverty is complicated, so I won’t be able to provide an adequate answer in one post. Obviously, Newstart should be increased so it can be lived on.

The way the government fails to help the severely mentally ill is appalling. It is a disgrace that Schultz’s mother lost her carer due to funding cuts.

I passionately believe that those with chronic mental illnesses should be able to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). If not, there needs to be an equivalent for mental illness sufferers.

 

The article also shows that welfare isn’t something that should be sneered at. The caricatures of what a welfare recipient looks like is obviously not the reality. There are people and families that need it as a means to survive.

A question to Prime Minister Scott Morrison: what will you do about it? Or should I say: What would Jesus do? (Hint: He wouldn’t give himself an A$11,000 pay rise while allowing penalty rates to be slashed for lower income workers).

 

 

Categories
Politics

My take on the Election

Australian flag with 'Election 2019' underneath

The Coalition Government has gained another term in power. They have at least seventy – seven seats in the Upper House.

 

Labor’s big problem: communication

I think Labor’s biggest weakness was communication. All people heard, (and what pockets of mainstream media emphasised) was taxes and cost to the economy.

In the months leading up to the election, Bill Shorten was unable or unwilling to explain his plans and be honest about costing. He didn’t even explain franking credits; something that many Australians may not have to worry about.

The fear of taxing of superannuation was probably the thing that people were most scared of. Who wants to lose more of their retirement savings? Yet, I didn’t hear much in the media (that was convincing at least), that only a small number of retirees would be affected snd by how much.

Another area that wasn’t properly explained was Labor’s climate change policy.

How was the electric car plan going to work? On average, how far should an electric car battery run for before they had to be recharged? How much would they cost? None of these were explained by Shorten. Instead, he seemed to dodge questions.

 

What role did the media play?

Were Shorten’s lack of clear answers all his fault? What part did the media play?

One may argue that Bill Shorten did face resistance. His role in the Julia Gillard/ Kevin Rudd saga wouldn’t have helped this.

Newscorp in particular has been accused of being overly unbalanced and anti – Labor. Some also argue that many of the questions that Shorten were asked were ‘gotcha’ questions, rather than sincere ones.

What I DON’T think this election was about

I was annoyed how sections of the media made the election about the Israel Folau saga or Safe Schools. I doubt it. At leadt I hope most of us left the culture wars in 2017.

While some in the media insisted that the Rugby Australia fallout with Folau did play a role, (i.e. Outsiders), I can’t believe that it was a major contributor. Again, I think it was more to do with Labor’s inability or unwillingness to explain their financial plans.

Final thoughts: how out of touch is the media?

Over the past five or so years, polls and commentators largely predicted a Labor victory.

This, on Saturday, this was proven to be wrong.

So how did they get it so wrong? Maybe over – sampling of certain demographics played a part. Maybe people weren’t honest when polled. Something was amiss.

Either polling methods need to change, or pre election polling should be seen as useless and discarded altogether. All the polls I saw, (and I think that were reported), indicated a landslide or narrow Labor victory.

So either polling methods should be changed or considered totally useless. The second part seemed to be the case this time round.

So, what now?

Well, Scott Morrison is Prime Minister of Australia. If I was an advisor for Labor, I’d encourage them to do the following:

1. Be clear about costings/ taxes and keep them to a minimum

2. Answer questions as honestly as possible

3. Don’t tax everyone to the back teeth or make it look like you are.

 

Categories
Politics

Like it or not, childcare is a necessity

 

Toddler in childcare surrounded by blocks
Image: iStock

A federal election is looming in Australia. The nation will decide who’ll run the country on May 18.

One battleground that Labor has chosen is childcare subsidies and wages for early childhood educators.

Labor’s policy

One of Labor’s (ALP) promises is to spend A$10 million to boost wages of early childhood educators. Both parties plan to subsidise childcare costs for many families. The Labor government plans to subsidise fees based on annual combined income. Some will get their childcare for free.

  • Families earning up to A$69,000  will have childcare 100% subsidised
  • A$69,000 – A$100,000 will get 85%+ subsidy
  • A$100,000 – A$174,000 – 64 – 80% to the fee cap.
  • Those earning over $174,000 will get the same support that’s currently available.

They also promise to increase wages for early childhood educators by 20% over eight years. That could add up to an extra A$11,000 annually.

Currently, early childhood educators are one of the lowest paying industries in Australia, despite the study and amount of work they have to do.

To keep the costs to families low, Labor has also promised to crack down on centres who place “excessIve increases” on fees.

Liberal policy

According to news.com.au, the Liberal Government doesn’t plan to make any further changes to childcare subsidies.

Last year, the Liberals introduced subsidies to lower income families. Since its implementation, the Liberal Government claims that on average, out of pocket costs for childcare dropped 10% and saved the average family A$1300 a year.

Why should childcare be subsidised?

Some people aren’t a fan of childcare subsidies, period. Gemma Tognini attacked Labor’s plan, arguing that such plans end up hurting those that need the help. She also emphasised that, for the most part, having children is a choice.

I agree with the last point. For most having a child (or a number of children) is a choice. Having to go back to work to survive financially when your child is young, though, is often not.

Many families need two parents working to keep afloat financially. This would definitely be the case in the major cities.

It’s also been argued that childcare can assist in the social, psychological, cognitive and academic development of a child. Play – based learning has shown to, not only teach children skills, but actually help wire the brain.

 

Not all families that want or need childcare for small children can afford high expenses. Too often, childcare costs make going back to work seem like a waste of time.

Also, children deserve to have the best chance to achieve in school from the start. Preschool/ kindergarten educators can alert primary schools if a child has any difficulty that could affect their schooling. Every child deserves the chance to overcome those hurdles as early as possible.

 

Look, maybe Labor’s plan for childcare is too grand. And it’s possible promised pay increases for early childhood educators and subsidies for parents will be put in the ‘never’ basket. But I don’t think early childhood education assistance should be dismissed.

What do you think about Liberal’s and Labor’s plan for childcare? Let me know in the comments below.

Categories
Opinion/Commentary Politics

Should private schools be able to discriminate against a staff member or student for being LGBTQ?

From top: Christian cross in circle, bottom right, school students taking exams, bottom left, LGBTQ pride flag
All images are from Canva

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been spooked and vowed not to extend anti – discrimination exemptions to allow private schools to expel and discriminate against LGBTQ+ students. Instead, he’s promised to scrap the existing exemptions written into laws, including New South Wales’ Sex Discrimination Act 1984.

I think there are two reasons why Prime Minister Morrison reacted the way he did. First, last week, Sydney Morning Herald wrote an article about leaked information regarding private schools being given permission to expel LGBTQ+ students. Morrison initially lashed out on The Bolt Report, slamming the article as “false” and a “smear”. Also, a by – election in Wentworth, New South Wales will happen on the 20th of October and the result will determine whether the Coalition can hold a majority in the House of Representatives (a.k.a the Upper House).

When I first heard about this in the Ruddock Religious Freedom Review, I was really worried. I don’t think children should be discriminated against for being LGBTQ+ and, as I’ve written before, I think that LGBTQ+ students should be supported by school staff openly. The self – hatred is hard enough without the fear of being expelled or the confirmation that teachers and other staff think you deserve to be treated differently because of it.

In the past, I have also written that teachers and other school staff should be educated on how to support LGBTQ+ students, and be aware of students who may be questioning their sexuality (or gender identity) or who are bi, pan or asexual. Teachers and other staff should be aware that sexuality may not be able to be labelled and that’s OK. This is why I initially supported Safe Schools and was disappointed when it was politicised and ultimately scrapped in New South Wales and will eventually be de-funded by most States and Territories across the country.

 

Next push: no discrimination against LGBTQ+ staff

According to The Guardian Australia, Labor has now vowed to push for protections for LGBTQ+ teachers by making it unlawful to fire or not employ a teacher or staff member due to their sexuality, gender identity or relationship status. While I’m not against the proposal, this is political opportunism. In fact, it was the Labor Government who sided with groups like the Australian Christian Lobby and made it legal for private schools to be able to sack or not hire staff because of one’s sexuality, gender identity or relationshi status clashing with a school’s religious values. The Coalition are split, with Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg welcoming moves to eliminate discrimination of LGBTQ+ teachers in private schools, while former Prime Minister and Member for Warringah, Tony Abbott, being against it, warning of “unintended consequences” (oh please, not this again).

It’s ideal that no one would be discriminated against. But, quite frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the government stuck with the mantra of ‘religious freedom’ and continued to allow private schools to be exempt from anti – discrimination legislation in the name of religious freedom.

Even if the loopholes are closed, will that end discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in education?

To me, the issues of discrimination and inclusion goes beyond mere employment. How will LGBTQ+ staff be treated by their employees and employers? Would a married lesbian, for example, be able to freely talk about her weekend away with her wife to other staff or would she be compelled to keep quiet about it, with her relationship being treated as a dirty little secret? How would it affect events like staff Christmas parties? Will she be able to bring her spouse and not be made to feel uncomfortable? All I’m saying, is that being paranoid that you’re not accepted is bad enough and it’s a fear that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I also think it’s a fear that can’t be merely legislated away.

Tell me what you think. Should a private school be able to discriminate against a staff member or student based on religious beliefs?

Categories
Politics Social media

Humour in light of the political farce

Last week’s political fiasco almost did people’s head in. I’m glad some people were able to create or share a bit of humour in he face of it all.Here are a few posts from Twitter and Facebook I found (warning: some content contains coarse language.

Magda Szubanski goes on a bit of a time travel

Errrr, who is Australia’s Prime Minister again????? (I was sure I”d seen this on Magda Szubanski’s Twitter feed. In my dreams maybe…)

(Psssst, it’s Scott Morrison. I’ll give you an update if anything changes in the next five minutes).

It’s time politicians did their f – ing jobs! (From Tonightly with Tom Ballard Facebook page)

And now for some things that are just too cute not to share.

Got any more funny or cute things to share? Go ahead. Drop some links, pics, stories or memes down below.

Categories
Opinion/Commentary Politics

The Left will get what they protest against

 

Violent protests broke out last week when Canadian commentator Lauren Southern and philosopher, Stephan Molyneux were speaking in Melbourne. According to Andrew Bolt, Victorian Police made a controversial move and billed Southern just under A$68,000 to keep protesters under control.

I’m not a great fan of Lauren Southern and I know she’s controversial. Her views on immigration and Islam in particular are seen by some as hate speech. It’s got to be said that Southern denies the accusation.

The more I see Secular Talk on YouTube, the more I buy the argument that free speech should  be (almost) absolute, (excluding threats of violence and defamation). To my knowledge, neither Southern, nor Molyneux have been guilty of any of those offences, either in Canada or anywhere else (feel free to prove me wrong).

 

There is something else.  Intimidation and violence are not only morally wrong, they are a sure – fire way to not get what you are supposedly fighting for. It won’t make people more empathetic towards refugees and asylum seekers. It didn’t make the US get Hillary Clinton as President. It could have destroyed any chance of Australia winning same – sex marriage, (luckily things picked up in the end).

It seems that everything the extreme Left touches turns to dust. Campaigns become unwinable. And history shows us that when there is retaliation against the extreme Left or Right, the pendulum almost always sways too far the other way. Extreme multiculturalists end up giving power to neo – Nazis. Islam sympathisers and the like achieve talks about the Qu’ran being banned as what was debated in Holland.

History has seen huge pendulum swings both ways, both often having deadly consequences. In the 20th century, Russia and Cuba have been two extreme examples. Maybe Iran could be mentioned to. In Europe, where immigration has exploded in recent years, there has been a worrying rise of far – Right and Neo – Nazi parties and groups. Australia hasn’t had such a backlash (yet), but a rise in Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party does suggest that people are unsatisfied with how things like immigration debate is going.

In 2016, the Left was sent a warning with Donald Trump becoming President of the United States and Republicans holding the power in both SCOTUS and the Congress. This set panic to many on the Left, with the Republicans being condemned for their stance on immigration and has also worried people  about LGBTQ+ rights. While no one in the Repulican Party has challenged or planned to back pedal SCOTUS’ ruling on nationwide legalisation of same – sex marriage (yet), the status of transgender and gender non – binary people, as well as same – sex couples and their right to access goods and services have been challenged. A number of the Republicans, like Sarah Huckabee – Sanders and Betty DeVoss are known for being behind banning transgender people from the US Forces and suggesting that Government – funded schools should be able to legally fire staff or expel students for being LGBTQ+.

 

UPDATE:

On Saturday, Andrew Bolt wrote a scathing attack on the New South Wales Police after they told Southern to move away from a mosque in Lakemba, Sydney in order to avoid a ‘breach of the peace’.

At first glance, I understood Bolt’s defence of Southern. Then, I read this comment:

Comment on Andrew Bolt’s blog regarding Lauren Southern’s interaction with NSW Police

The comment reads:

May I suggest that the police concern is not that Southern is a young woman, but that she is going to the mosque with a microphone, a camera crew and a ‘security detail’ in tow.

A couple of weeks ago, a male Daily Telegraph photographer went to a mall one (sic) his own and caused a breach of the peace. He picked out a target group purely on the basis of their appearance. This group had done nothing wrong and were behaving exactly as other groups of people the same age act, who were not considered worthy of media attention. But the group was black, and the photographer wanted a picture to go with a story on ‘African gangs’. A confrontation ensued, police were called and the photographer got and reported his story, never mentioning the part he played in producing it.

These kinds of confrontation narratives are self – fulfilling prophecies.

Comsider what Southern was wanting to achieve. People are peacefully attending a place of worship and a camera crew and reporter with a microphone (who describes herself as anti – Muslim) arrive and ask worshippers to justify themselves. These are more than a little tired of having to justify themselves to the media because of the actions of criminals who share their religion. There may well be a confrontation. That is what the police pfficer is trying to avoid.

I don’t know how much truth their is to this commenter’s narrative about one of the Daily Telegraph photographers, so I’ll leave that alone. I do get the person’s critique about Southern, though. Couldn’t she at least have given worshippers and imam a heads up and ask permission to be filmed or interviewed? Most libraries and community organisations, at least, have to ask permission and a signature of consent before taking and using images and footage of clients/ users and distributing them on social media. On one of my assessments in Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing, I had to seek consent and a signature before filming a discussion I needed to have for an assessment. If Southern didn’t, why not?

ANOTHER UPDATE:

Southern was on The Bolt Report tonight insisting that she wasn’t trying to cause a stir and that she had conducted similar interviews in the UK without any issue. Now I’m not sure what to think. Make up your own mind.

 

Categories
Opinion/Commentary Politics

Enough about Barnaby Joyce

Laptop on news site
News turned into tabloid journalism. Or am I being too harsh? Image: Pexels

 

 

 

Give it a break.

The Barnaby Joyce affair, I mean.

I still stand by what I said in the last post. He’s a hypocrite after everything he said last year. However, this just continues to play out like a bad soap opera that never ends. If he’s misused public money or acted in a way that goes against political protocol, than the Liberals and Nationals should deal with that. If not, leave it alone. And stop dragging his family along.

 

Enough, enough, enough.

To be honest, I do wonder why the media, lead by Sharri Markson from The Daily Telegraph jumped on the story the way they did. Was it really because they thought it was in the public interest or just an excuse for tabloid journalism? I’m not saying what Joyce did was right. Of course it wasn’t. I just think the story has gotten out of hand. In a few months, a child is going to be born into this mess. How will the media treat the child when (apparently he) is born? Will the scandal follow him for the rest of his life?

 

Let the families have space. Let Natalie Joyce and her daughters deal with the betrayal their way, without constantly having to have it shoved in their faces all the time.

This is the last time I’m talking about it.

Categories
Politics

Sounds like plebiscite is about to take its final breath and the football of LGBTQ+ rights

Voting booth with 'no' sign through it
Images from Canva

It looks like the plebiscite on same – sex marriage is dead. Well, Liberal MPs including Warren Entsch and Tim Wilson and two others I can’t think of now, have sided with Labor and the Greens and pushing for a free vote in Parliament.
https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F7newssydney%2Fvideos%2F1762598827097576%2F&show_text=0&width=560

(Video from 7 News Sydney, Facebook)

This is obviously going to create a backlash and a war in the party if indeed it does happen. I’ve got a funny feeling that there’ll be a push to kick Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after the 2019 election at the latest. That’s my prediction.

I just hate that this has all become a political game. And that’s what it is — a sick game. I don’t trust LNP or Labor to legalise same – sex marriage without strings attached. If Liberals legalise same – sex marriage, there will almost certainly be talks — or demands — that there be conscience – based exemptions. That’s became a dangerous slippery – slope in the U.S, with mental health professionals being exempt from anti – discrimination laws under “conscience” grounds. While laws and the Constitutions of Australia and the US may differ, make no mistake, this will be a battle that LGBTQ+ people will have to fight. I don’t doubt, either that trans people will be on the hit list as well.

This, and the surge in anti – LGBTQ hate crime have been the main reasons why I supported a plebiscite when I did. For me, both the physical safety and mental well – being of LGBTQ+ Australians is paramount. Legalising same – sex marriage doesn’t automatically guarantee that.

However, I’m changing my mind on the plebiscite because I see it as a delay tactic. I don’t think the LNP sold their case well. The well – being and struggles that LGBTQ+ people may face, in my opinion, wasn’t for the most part, adequately discussed. And when a person like music pioneer, Molly Meldrum dared to join the debate about Margaret Court, he was, I think he was unfairly jumped on (read the comments).

There are exceptions. Two people who have allowed LGBTQ+ to speak or voiced their concerns on their behalf are Sam Crosby and Andrew Bolt. I have admired how Bolt, even though he’s a sceptic of same – sex marriage, has voiced some of the views of LGBTQ+ people in his own life. He’s did it on Steve Price’s show not that long ago (last week?).

But it was the confrontation between Sam Crosby and journalist Nick Cater on Sky News Australia that got the most respect from me. The fact he gave LGBTQ+ a voice, I think is commendable.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F173357656397364%2Fvideos%2F441564882909972%2F&show_text=0&width=400

(Video: Sam Crosby Facebook page)

Like I said, it seems that the plebiscite is about to take it’s last breath. What will happen next will be anyone’s guess. Will a conscience vote happen or will PM Malcolm Turnbull shy away from that route, again? Only time will tell. They should just do something!

To Australian readers. Were/ are you in favour of a plebiscite on same – sex marriage? Are you critical of how any of the parties has dealt with it? Feel free to leave your comments below. 

 

 

Categories
Media Politics

Councils commemorating IDAHOBIT: is that such a bad thing?

IMG_0540
Image: iStock

 

 

This week, Geelong City Council raised the rainbow flag on City Hall as a part of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).

Good idea? I didn’t actually know this until a few hours ago, but May 17 marks the day when the World Health Organisation officially declassified homosexuality as a mental illness back in 1990. Sine then, transgenderism is slowly being destigmatised and is no longer officially being classed as a mental illness. With that, the western world has continued to make advances into ensuring the full participation and well – being of LGBTQ+ people in society. Of course, this hasn’t been smooth sailing, with continued discrimination and all out culture wars which still affect LGBTQ+ people in the West today.

Back to the Geelong City Council, like I said, I think almost any move to show acceptance and advocacy for LGBTQ+ is a good thing. However, if you watched a discussion on shows like Sky News’ ‘Paul Murray Live’ this week, you would sense a bit of ‘here we go again’. Panellist like ‘Herald Sun’s’ Rita Panahi attacked Labor again for voting down the proposed plebiscite earlier this year.

The thing is, do gestures like the ones that the Geelong City Council made win hearts? To be honest, I think the answer is no. Pushing ad nauseum, while attacking opponents of things like same – sex marriage, or even the signalling of IDAHOBIT by raising the rainbow flag on a government building isn’t winning anyone over.

So, what can we do?

First thing that comes to mind is… talk. Talk about same – sex marriage, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, etc. We need to work together to work it out so LGBTQ+ are included and accepted without others feeling unfairly targeted and silenced.

On a similar point, let LGBTQ+ talk. This is what has frustrated me over the so – called debate on same – sex marriage. On one hand, you have groups like Socialist Alliance running amok making LGBTQ+ look bad, then on the other end, you have conservatives (almost always straight), telling LGBTQ+ to suck it  up and how we should have just had the plebiscite.

There are LGBTQ+ Australians who don’t want same – sex marriage to be legalised, and yet there are those who do and take the debate hard and did have aerious concerns. I think I’ve said before that mental health was a topic that was unfortunately not talked about in the lead up to the vote on the plebiscite until it was too late and the bill was blocked in the Senate. This isn’t about treating LGBTQ+ people as ‘special snowflakes’ or ‘precious petals’, but acknowledging that, because of their circumstances, past trauma or toxic beliefs about gender identity or sexuality, that such people may have needed support in the lead up to the plebiscite.

 

I do any council or other institution who work to make LGBTQ+ people feel secure and included in their area. i do think LGBTQ+ need to be heard. Whether putting a rainbow flag on a government building, even for a week is a way to do it is I think questionable. Let’s hope it doesn’t have the exact opposite effect.