Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Bill of Rights for Australia?

I've been reading with interest the debate about an Australian Bill of Rights and the one argument against such a bill that I just cannot fathom is the one that suggests our rights are best protected by politicians.
Really? Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't it politicians that made homosexuality illegal? Politicians who barred lesbians and single women from access to IVF? Politicians who wrote the "White Australia" policy? Politicians who suspended the Racial Discrimination Act?
Politicians are in thrall to their electorates and will pander to all sorts of interest groups in order to secure their votes, regardless of whether the rights of others are trampled on, or ignored.
I say bring on a Bill of Rights! I'd rather entrust my rights to a disinterested judge than to a politician with his/her eye on re-election.

A letter to the Prime Minister

Dear Mr Rudd,
Could you stop already with the "hardline" rhetoric about "illegal immigrants." They're asylum seekers and it ain't against the law to seek asylum. The only illegal immigrants are the ones already in the country. You know, all those people overstaying their work and tourist visas.
Your government has enormous political capital at the moment, so I don't understand why you are perpetuating the mean-spirited nastiness of Howard over the refugee situation. Why pander to that segment of the community and media when you have a fantastic opportunity to set this country on a path that is generous and compassionate to others. Take a leaf out of Malcolm Fraser's book and deal with this latest wave of refugees with the same open-heartedness that his government did.
We voted for you because we wanted something different from Howard, not 'Howard Lite'. So please, please stop demonising asylum seekers as illegal immigrants.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Head in a book

I love reading and I've always got my head stuck in a book. I read at breakfast, on the train going to work, last thing at night. I read whilst watching the telly, which Smithy always marvels at - "How can you concentrate on the show if you're reading?" - but shuts up when I rattle off what's happened in the last ten minutes. I'd rather read than do just about anything else.
Last October, I decided to keep a record of the books I read. I was curious how many I got through in a month. Also, I wanted a history of what I read. Of course, the hundreds and hundreds of books I'd read up to then would never be recorded, but I had to start somewhere.
So, a year down the track, I've managed to read one hundred and thirty six books. Sixty two of them were fiction. Twenty four were by Australian authors. I owned fifteen of those books - the rest were borrowed from the library. On average I read 11 books a month, or 1 every two and a half days. The most I read in a month was 18 and the least, 7. Three books I read twice - two deliberately as they had been chosen (after I read them) for my book club. The other one accidently - I've only discovered that fact right now! Even with a list I can't always keep track!
Here's a small selection of what I read: Horses like lightning, Breath, Empires of the Indus, Why the Dalai Lama matters, Mountains of the mind, The long way round, Gilead, K2: savage mountain, The songlines.
Some of my favourites were: Slicing the silence - history of Australia's involvement in Antarctica, The lost dog, In search of the medicine Buddha, A teardrop on the cheek of time - a history of the Taj Mahal, Inheritance of loss and Wanting.
I've just finished reading Janet Evanovich's Finger Lickin' Fifteen and have made a start on The art of racing in the rain.
To explore more of the books on my shelves, why not check out my LibraryThing account.

A 'real' writer

Last Saturday, my writing group - Fairfield Writers Group - launched its first anthology of short stories, Beginnings: Queensland stories. Eight of us each contributed a short story on the theme of 'beginnings' and the only other criteria was the stories had to be set in Queensland. This anthology was our way of celebrating Queensland's 150th birthday.

This is me with my very first 'signing' - very exciting moment. So I guess I can now consider myself a 'real' writer, since I am now published - albeit in an anthology we all paid to have published - and have participated in a book-signing!