A Little More Gaslight #2

“Come in.”


A swirl of a red dress. Capped off by a pair of red shoes.


The owner has her face hidden in her hair. She won’t even make eye contact. 


An ominous portent indeed.


A thud as she falls into the armchair opposite.


“I wish…” Deep breath. “I wish…to report a case of sexual harassment.”


Perhaps you could take that to the sexual harassment officer instead of me. That’s where I’d go. By name and by nature.


“By whom.” Notepad flipped open, pencil ready and raised to take down the details. Hope she doesn’t see the eraser on the other end, he thinks.


She proffers a name.


He’s a good bloke. Everyone likes him even the ladies, he thinks to himself.


“We have a clear and transparent process for dealing with sexual harassment.” 
“I know,” she almost sobs. “


She pours out the details. The pen scratches its way across one page of the notebook, then another and another.  A box of tissues is pushed across. She reluctantly grabs one.


Looks like a misunderstanding here, he thinks. And if you were wearing anything like this…


“We’ll start the process immediately. I’ve got all the details I need. We’ll be in touch. Thanks for your time.”


He stands. She isn’t going anywhere.


“You’re not going to delay this? Leak my name? Leave me on my own to defend myself? Organise a commentator-led social media pile-on? “


“We have zero tolerance of sexual harassment,” he replies. You should’ve come to us beforehand, he thinks. Instead of waiting to play the victim.


A swirl of red and she’s gone.

A Little More Gaslight #1

“Come in.”


The last one, he thinks. But at least we’re getting the numbers down. And the iron laws of arithmetic don’t apply.


A pair of red shoes enter.


The owner strides in, pulls out a leather armchair, scrapes it along the carpet. 


She sits down and crosses her legs. Without any preamble, she begins.”I’m being bullied by my colleagues.”


Another day, another whinger. But the standard spiel has worked for decades. How can it fail now?


“You know we have a zero-tolerance policy on bullying in the Liberal Party.”

“I know that. If I don’t speak out no-one will.”


At least we’re not keeping a list. That’s for the number crunchers: proud men one and all.


“You can always take action.” His voice is a comfortable purr.


“I wish to make a complaint. I have names, several actually. I’ve diarised dates and times. I even have texts. This behaviour would not be tolerated in the private sector. You’d get your arse sued.”


This isn’t the private sector. Toughen up, princess.


“I’ll take down all the details.” Comfort, consult and stay complicit.


“What happens next?” Her voice is insistent.


“We’ll let you know in due course.”


Her legs uncross, cross again and the shoe taps the desk.


“You don’t really have a complaints process do you?”


“Bullying only happens in the state branches. Once you get to the Federal level it disappears.”


“That’s how you have a zero-tolerance policy on bullying in the Liberal Party. We’re done here.”


The red shoes skip and disappear into the distance.

White is the wrong colour

I’m white…

I always thought I was right.

Even though… I didn’t feel white.

Always…I felt…out of place.

Lost forever to the superior race.

Not due to the actions of another

Colour or place, different creed or face

No my own race decreed me an other.

Their exclusive hate led me to discover

I was never the right religion.

I always lacked the best education.

And the path of my loss found another

Turning to a place with those unwhite

And through their comfort I uncovered

The truth that white is forever multi coloured.

Green is the new Red!

Apparently, being concerned about the environment and supporting Same Sex Marriage is red.

Communist red that is!

Wow!

Or rephrased as Green is the new Red!

Really?

Let’s look at the history then…

Caring for the environment was never a priority for any communist state. Name one. Certainly not China. Or the Soviet Union. Both countries are replete with environmental disasters.

As for same sex marriage and communism, they never walked down the same aisle. Name one. Chechyna is continuing that old tradition.

Maybe what was meant was…anything I don’t agree with is red/communist)…

So do you know what communism is?

Communism essentially puts the means of production in the hands of the workers. Name one state that does that. Anybody? Anybody?

The USSR tried. Then the state ran all production, much as any self serving totalitarian dictatorship would.

Even red wasn’t red!

And as for Green being red, it never was.

Next time research history so you can actually describe what you’re opposed to.  Otherwise it’s like saying beware of danger without saying what it actually is. Maybe it’s not dangerous at all!

When the Rainbow Opened My Eyes

My niece got engaged yesterday to her partner. Now my brother has two daughters instead of one. I’m joyful for both as they’ve found that love is love is love. But it took me a while to understand…

For I must have lived in a sexual vacuum. Growing up I never even knew what homosexuality was. Then in my teenage years, the epithets cat and poofter were bandied around.

I still didn’t know what they were talking about.  It sounded bad so I wanted no part of it. I didn’t even know about heterosexual sex!!

Then later, at university, I discovered what homosexuality was. And decided it wasn’t for me. And paid no attention to it. Even in the Catholic Church it wasn’t mentioned at all.

And so I slumbered happy in my ignorance.

That was until I joined a Pentacostal church.

When it happened, I was working in Sydney, away from home. I working back as there was a huge amount of work to be done. But I couldn’t work more than forty hours so I finished early on a Friday. So when we had drinks of a Thursday, of course I would hang back.

And I started talking to one of my workmates. And he freely admitted that he was gay. And I was so confronted I kept talking to him!

And then he told me what he did in his spare time. He was counselling and assisting people with AIDS. Remember this was the nineties when the prognosis was almost always pessimistic. And my immediate thought was that’s where I’d find Jesus, ministering to the modern-day lepers.

For the established church has a poor record of ministering to minorities : women, homosexuals, sexually abused, etc, etc, yet it is those people to whom the gospel is preached. Sometimes I think they’ve missed their mission by the length of heaven!

That was Sydney. Then I went back to Brisbane. And listened to the worst sermon ever (See When Will There Be Rainbows in Church?)

And since then I’ve met others, a man who was a mentor to me, a lesbian couple who were like an old married couple, a man through university who had been  in a long-term relationship.

And I couldn’t tell the difference between their love for each other and my love for another.

And then my niece (now engaged) came out. Which was a joy and blessing to everyone, for she had found out who she was.

And surprisingly, they’re not pedophiles, nor totalitarians wishing to impose their values on others.

Just people living their lives, trying to find happiness, same as you and same as me.

And dear reader, before you condemn homosexuality and same sex marriage, follow my path, meet them for themselves.

And then make up your mind.

 

Political Insults? Been There Heard That!

As a writer who was in a verbally abusive relationship for many years, the current political climate is rather familiar.

Funnily enough my main reaction to both is the same. It’s not being offended at being insulted.  After the initial six weeks (in a relationship) or fifty years (in politics), I become bored…

  • Socialist
  • Communist
  • Stalinist
  • Marxist
  • Snowflake
  • Bed wetter
  • Leftist
  • Do-gooder
  • Social justice warrior
  • UnAustralian
  • Latte drinker, etc.

And much like being called a creep, bastard, wanker, an apostate (had to look that one up as I was not studying for the ministry), oversensitive, etc, I have the same sense.

That the standard of political sledging has slipped: to the same level experienced by those in abusive relationships!

Insults on repeat.

And similar to sport, my prescription is the same.  We need to raise the standard see Australian Institute of Sledging?

For I do prefer, the insult that make me laugh. The one that makes me think.

Not the one that makes me nod off. Been there, Heard that.

Freedom of Speech Doesn’t Exist

Freedom of speech belongs to the loud and aggressive.

Freedom of speech is their cacophony of voices shouting all at once.

Freedom of speech is their smothering words that silences all  other.

Freedom of speech is the preserve of  the crowd that excludes all but them.

Freedom of speech is not our freedom extended to the foreign other.

Freedom of speech is not  our freedom to accommodate a new point of view.

Freedom of speech belongs to  the true listening of the quiet and thoughtful, the ones crushed underfoot.

National Insecurity, Citizenship and Exile

As posted on Gumption-inc

With less than eighteen months remaining in its first term, (or less according to some commentators), the Australian Government has been determined to show that it is tough on national security. One of those measures is legislating to strip citizenship of anyone who has joined the fighting in Syria and Iraq. In this action, all they are doing is following the lead of Canada and Great Britain.

UN Passport

UN Passport

Great Britain’s response to the increasing number of citizens joining the war in Syria was to try and ensure they didn’t return. One tactic in the case of dual passport holders was to revoke their British citizenship. In fact, revocations have increased in Great Britain since 2013.  The power to revoke citizenship resides with the Home Secretary and utilises existing powers. Despite provision to appeal the decision through a court process, due to the decision occurring while the person was abroad, the result is that many individuals have been left stranded overseas.  In some cases individuals have been left stateless. The justification is that of protecting national security and/or deterring potential and actual terrorists. As a consequence of those grounds, little is known of those people who have had their citizenship revoked.  Great Britain is now in the process of enacting and enforcing even more strict laws.

Passport and Handcuffs

Passport and Handcuffs

Following the British example, Canada introduced new rules for revoking citizenship again citing terrorism and national security concerns. Again most cases will be decided by the Minister with a provision for a courts process. No provision is made it seems for dual citizens who are overseas. As the Canadian Bar Association states such actions in effect will exile citizens effectively through a paper based process. As the Toronto Star states citizenship has now been criminalised and is effectively been used as a tool to achieve Government objectives, such as deporting undesirables. But as we are seeing in Australia, once citizenship becomes expendable, then proposals to revoke it on trivial grounds appear from nowhere. However in Canada, those grounds remain terrorism offences overseas,  national security offences and serving overseas in armed forces against Canada. Again note that neither Canada nor Great Britain are considering the revocation of citizenship for single nationals.

Claiming that it is extra tough on national security, but really following suit, the Australian Government introduced a proposal to revoke citizenship from dual nationals who had travelled overseas to fight. This proposal was put to the Cabinet and involved an administrative process with no provision for appeal. After a rebellion by some ministers,the proposal was amended to include a judicial review process.

In the meantime, there has been many views expressed including that the legislation was unconstitutional. But then the legislation was introduced and it appears flawed. Grounds for revocation of citizenship now include terrorism, national security offences, serving in the armed forces of another country and being in a so-called prescribed area such as Raqqa, the capital of Islamic State. But the extent of offences now may include whistle-blowing and the vague phrase of using a thing (undefined) to commit an act of terrorism (a paper glider flown through Parliament perhaps?) noting that offences may be applied retrospectively. So that means a person could visit Iraq or Syria for religious reasons but then lose their citizenship as the war has spread to their location.

World Wide

World Wide

In all of that the Australian Prime Minister was quoted as still pursuing means to strip the citizenship of single-nationals who have left Australia to fight overseas.

This is troubling for democracy. In Australia, at least, a law will be enacted that imposes penalties and offences without recourse to court. This law too will mean that potentially Australians fighting overseas will be rendered stateless and have no means of regaining their citizenship. The law provides no means of holding these terrorists to account for their crimes by extraditing them back home. This law, and such laws like it, fails to deter and in fact provides more grounds for fighters to leave a country, commit terrorism and not return.

This government don’t know what they are doing. If they suspend the citizenship of dual nationals who have committed crimes overseas, how will these people be brought to justice? They’ve effectively got away with their crimes internationally. Such suspension effectively rewards (not punishes) these people with exile. Such people contemplating going overseas may be more motivated if they lose their citizenship. And now they want to impose restrictions upon those with single citizenship through an quasi-legal accounting of their actions which could potential break international law (again).

These laws and laws like it are stupid and destined to fail.