The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

Posts Tagged ‘Julia Gillard

Ifs, Buts and Political Peanuts: Why Salted Legumes Cost More in Canberra

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The last time I went to a circus, I was in Brisbane and paid about $75 for my ticket.

My most recent visit to a zoo was while visiting Perth and, from memory, the privilege cost me somewhere in the vicinity of $20.

Why does it cost so much more to watch dancing bears, juggling clowns and those dopey-looking penguins when the show’s in Canberra?

When you consider what we pay our Federal politicians to carry on like petulant children, it’s easy to see why so many people become disillusioned and why our elected officials rate somewhere between journalists, used car salespeople and serial killers on the scale of professional trust.

“I know the answer to that!” Source: theage.com.au

Prime Minister Julia Gillard hasn’t been able to use any words other than sexist, misogynist and offended this week.

For that, Australians paid almost half a million dollars.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott achieved the seemingly impossible and sunk lower than broadcaster Alan Jones when he slipped the old “died of shame” nugget into a speech during question time.

That will be about $350,000, thank you very much.

Yes, we elected this man. No, I’m not joking. I wish I was. Source: thepunch.com.au

You have to feel sorry for Peter Slipper, the disgraced former Speaker of the House of Representatives.

When Mr Slipper fell on his controversy-plagued sword on Tuesday night, he took a pay cut of more than $140,000.

Hopefully, he won’t struggle too much on his adjusted annual salary of a touch under $200,000.

Am I the only one who feels like we are currently getting short-changed on the Federal political front?

We need the best people representing us – being our voice – in Federal Parliament and I am all for paying top dollar to attract them, especially when you take into account the salaries individuals of that calibre would command in the private sector.

What we are presently seeing and reading about day after day in Canberra suggests that, in many instances, we have fallen well short in identifying the best candidates when we went to the polls in 2010.

There’s an old idiom that suggests if you pay peanuts, you will find yourself surrounded by monkeys.

Yeah, he’s worth $200,000 every year. I hope he’s not dreaming of text messages. Source: thepunch.com.au

Unfortunately, the peanuts the Australian public are feeding the current residents of Parliament Zoo cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per bag.

Worse still, once you have purchased a bag of the exorbitantly-priced legumes and realise it was too much to spend on the political animals performing behind the smudged glass, you can’t get a refund for three years.

If our Federal politicians continue to carry on like angry five-year-old chimpanzees, I for one will be advocating covering our nation’s capital in Nobby’s nuts.

Five things you always wanted to know about Twitter but were afraid to ask

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Twitter. It’s enough to reduce grown men and women to blithering messes, and send those with a passion for grammar and correct spelling to the back of a dark cupboard to cradle themselves in a foetal position.

Given there are now more than 500 million Twitter users globally, I thought it was an opportune time to answer five questions new Twits have about the micro-blogging phenomenon but are generally afraid to ask for fear of being laughed at or mockingly retweeted. 

I admit it. I’m a filthy Twitter whore. But I use my hashtags sparingly. Source: blog.socialmaximizer.com

1. What should I tweet about?

Ah, the timeless question. I’m reasonably confident there was once a time when people would only tweet news, information and the odd filthy limerick. In 2012, Twitter has unravelled to the point where, as long as it doesn’t take up more than 140 characters, people don’t give a fuck what they tweet about. Unfortunately, that includes random sentences about what they are doing and excessive use of the #catsofinstagram hashtag.

As somebody – possibly the old dying guy in Spider-Man – once said, “With 140 characters comes great responsibility.” That responsibility involves not subjecting the Twitterverse to your lunch options. Or what your favourite moggie is doing every 39 seconds of the day, even if Fluffy happens to be writing a haiku on the wall while smoking a pipe.

2. What the hell do RT and MT mean?

Strictly speaking, RT stands for retweet, where you do nothing more than share someone else’s tweet with your followers. MT refers to a modified tweet, which involves shortening a tweet and adding your own witty or earth-shattering commentary before sending it back out into the Twitterverse.

For me, constant retweeting is the calling card of the sheeple. Or the sign of a labrador who is chewing on their owner’s iPhone. Sure, every Twitter user – including yours truly – retweets from time to time but if you stumble across a user who is all about the retweet, block them and retreat to Facebook to regain your composure.

While a modified tweet has the potential to combine personal opinion, news and information, many Twits well and truly miss the mark. Witnessing somebody adding “LOL” or “that’s so true” to a tweet makes me weep for humanity.

3. Why does that boring person have so many more followers than I do?

The simple answer to this question is the Sheeple Principle. What the hell is that, you ask? I’m not going to explain it again, so clicking here will bring you up to speed.

After an in-depth study* of Twitter, I’ve determined you should tweet prolifically about the subjects below if you are aiming to gather as many followers as Kim Kardashian has unsubtle endorsement deals.

1. Any band, musician or celebrity that makes a sane person cringe at just the mere mention of their name. Examples? Think One Direction, Justin Bieber or any flavour-of-the-month reality television star.
2. LOLcats.
3. Political retweets. For some reason, there are several Twits – who aren’t actually political journalists or commentators of note – who have accumulated thousands of followers because they apparently have the unique ability to press the retweet button. Just like 377,503,201 other Twitter users. Want to boost your numbers overnight? Just retweet everything @JuliaGillard and @BarackObama release into the Twitterverse.

* Author’s note: I looked at about seven random profiles. Hey, I was busy.

Yes, I’m kind of embarrassed about including a LOLcat animation. What the hell have I become? Source: lolcats.com

4. Is it okay to abbreviate words and essentially make up my own language in order to keep under the 140-character limit?

No, it is FKN not K 2 make wrds up & abbrv shit so U can make ur own version of War & Peace fit into 140 chrctrs. Poor form, a-hole.

Basically, if you can’t say it in 140 characters, find another way to say it. Better yet, if you are Alan Jones or Cory Barnardi, just don’t say it at all.

I lost followers for tweeting this, yet the Twit who shares a photo of their cat with its head in a jar will gain at least 407. Source: Twitter via @LyndonKeane.

5. How many hashtags I should use per tweet?

The only thing worse than being a Twitter whore is people calling you a hashtag whore. How you use hashtags speaks volumes about you as a Twit and you don’t want to get a reputation as someone who flashes their hashtags around for the world to see, especially after a few drinks.

Generally speaking, two hashtags per tweet is perfectly acceptable. 22 is neither acceptable nor healthy.

Now that your embarrassing questions have been answered, you have no legitimate excuse for making a fool of yourself on Twitter. That said, I have no doubt you will.

A ridiculous spat by The Kat in the Hat

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There are things that genuinely deserve to be ridiculed. Ten gallon hats in Canberra, for example. After reading this article today, I’m going to add anything that comes out of Bob Katter’s mouth to the list. As far as the Independent MP is concerned, the push for marriage equality in Australia is a stupid idea, and “deserves to be laughed at and ridiculed”.

I find it concerning that an elected member of parliament is laughing off a change that will give all Australians equal opportunity to marry, thus removing the discrimination that currently surrounds the act of marriage in this country. After reading Bob’s comments and observing the make up of the crowd, I’m surprised that someone at the pro-marriage rally didn’t have a banner saying “Discrimination’s okay, if you’re gay!”

During his speech, he alluded to the fact that gay, one of “the most beautiful words in the English language” has lost its original meaning in modern society, and homosexuality is to blame. Bob seems to have forgotten that as languages develop, words often gain new meanings, both official and colloquial. I’m currently rereading The War of the Worlds. In it, H.G. Wells frequently uses the word ejaculate. When he penned the story in 1898, the word was used in a totally different context, and while it’s amusing to read “his landlady came to the door, loosely wrapped in dressing gown and shawl; her husband followed ejaculating” with a 2011 mindset, it demonstrates how easily the meaning of words can evolve.

On what was apparently the day for it, Barnaby Joyce also jumped on the ludicrous statement bandwagon when he suggested that same-sex marriage would be detrimental to his four daughters. According to Senator Joyce, “we know that the best protection for those girls is that they get themselves into a secure relationship with a loving husband…”. What the fuck? While it would probably be pertinent to point out to him that a Y chromosome doesn’t necessarily signal a protected, secure relationship, he’s missing the big picture. Legislating same-sex marriage will mean equality for all, so while his daughters would still be able to marry men, they would also have the freedom and right to marry women, if that was their choice. I find his comment about not wanting any legislators “to take that right” away from him – yes, his right – archaic and somewhat disturbing, but it’s a discussion for another day.

I’ve said it once, and I have no doubt that I’ll say it again: there is no room in politics or the public education system for religion. These battlefields need to be the domain of clear, free thinkers, who are prepared to take an open mind into investigating changes to benefit us all, representative of the views of majority Australia. It has again been demonstrated that when people are asked to make decisions, on behalf of every Australian, that clash with their singular personal beliefs, emotion and bias come to out to play, while rational argument is relegated to the corner, wearing the dunce’s cap.

They say any sex is good sex, so why doesn’t it apply to marriage?

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There are several reasons that I’m pro-gay marriage. Most of the reasons are based on common sense, and the belief that the free choice and the option to make important life decisions shouldn’t be restricted by the fact that you are a boy who likes other boys, or a girl who likes girls. One of the other reasons is that this is the twenty-first century, and we tend not to burn people at the stake for appearing to be different anymore. If you believe what you read in the media, it would appear that I’m not alone, and that the public voice in support of marriage equality is gradually getting louder. One would hope that those whom we have elected to act on our behalf would genuinely hear this voice, but it seems that a lot of them only hear what they want to hear. Exhibit A in support of this argument is John Murphy, the Labor MP who doesn’t believe that there is a strong public backing for change, and whom suggested last week that ALP members who advocate same-sex marriage should “join the Greens”. Really, John? Perhaps you should take a look at the ALP’s values, which include fairness, as well as democracy and freedom.

Labor believes that all people are created equal in their entitlement to dignity and respect.

Labor values the freedom of all people to hold whatever beliefs they choose while respecting those of others, and the freedom to express those beliefs without fear or favour.

I’m lucky to be surrounded by a lot of amazing people in my life. Some of them are straight, and some of them aren’t. Some of them are married, and some of them are aren’t legally able to be. A few of my close friends are in long-term, committed same-sex relationships, but the option to take the next step in their commitment isn’t afforded to them. There’s every chance that they may not want to get married, but it’s a moot point – shouldn’t they have the right to choose for themselves? They work. They pay taxes. They contribute to society as much as anyone else, yet on the face of it, our elected law makers seem to believe that they shouldn’t have the same rights as other Australians bestowed upon them. When you remove all of the emotion and bullshit excuses from the equation, all the current laws do are prohibit people in same-sex couples an option that is unchallenged and freely available to heterosexual Australians.

Australia purports itself to be one of the most developed, culturally forward-thinking countries on the planet. If this is to truly be the case, we can’t continue to deprive individuals of the free choice to make the same life decisions as everyone else, based purely on that individual’s sexual orientation.

God: Liberal candidate for Chifley

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I didn’t realise that elected members had the ability to bestow their votes, let alone to a fictitious, omnipotent being. If that’s the case, why doesn’t someone run in the next election and then give their votes to Batman – at least then things will get done, albeit in an unconventional, vigilante manner. As far as I can ascertain, the only person aware of this apparent loophole was David Barker, the dumped Liberal candidate for Chiefly, who – according to his now defunct Facebook account – believes that the Almighty would be an excellent candidate for Federal Parliament.

Religion has no place in politics. It never has and never will, because religion at its core promotes (even if inadvertently) the notion that only the values and beliefs that it is based on are correct, and that any non-believers or those of differing religious affiliation are wrong and misguided. David’s bigoted attitude certainly backs this observation up, as he has stated that non-Christians are “worshipping a false god” and that if elected, would give his votes to God. He has openly asserted that he believes there is no place in Australian politics for either an atheist or someone of Islamic faith, but that he, as someone of strong Christian faith, can push our country in the right direction.

The individuals we need in Parliament to develop and administer policy for the collective population as a whole need to be able to transcend their personal religious ideologies for the greater good. They need to work alongside those who are of a similar religious persuasion and those who are not – some will even be non-religious. People have a predisposition to distrust and cynicism when it comes to politicians, and we need more voters to take a genuine interest in politics. Having someone like David Barker using the political forum as his own personal pulpit does nothing to aid the cause of politics in Australia, especially when he comes out with nuggets of wisdom like “Voting should only be voluntary for Liberal and National voters the rest can not bother since with every vote they bring the nation closer to the brink of disaster and closer to the hands of a [sic] muslim country.” If I understand this correctly, he assumes that all Liberal and National Party voters are Christians? So by his reasoning, if one were to vote for Labor or (heaven forbid, the Greens) we would be dooming Australia to certain disaster? Where the fuck did the Liberals find this moron?

I am a big advocate of free speech and free choice. The concepts are part of what make Australia a great place to live. You can essentially believe and say whatever you wish – this of course includes religious choice. My biggest gripe is when people choose to push their thoughts and beliefs on the rest of the population without any regard for whether the masses want to hear their message, or whether they agree with the beliefs. The only thing that pisses me off more than this is when some clown uses religion as the base for their political platform and sees fit to subtlety attack anyone who doesn’t align themselves with the beliefs of the aforementioned clown. While I do agree that Julia Gillard isn’t our best option as Prime Minister, it’s not because she’s an atheist. Actually, the fact she doesn’t reference everything she does to God is one of her most endearing qualities – I just don’t agree with the ALP policies or her as a leader. That’s the difference Mr Barker – some of us base our votes and decisions on more than what religious figure a candidate does or doesn’t believe in. Did you actually have a strategy to win votes David, or were you just running for selection because God had told you to? I guess God neglected to mention that coming across as an unintelligent, bigoted, religious nut case with your constituents was never going to wash.

For some obscure reason, I’ve got an inclination to watch Star Wars. Damn, I nearly got through the whole post without a Jabba the Hutt reference. Oh well, I guess I’m going to be condemned to the depths of hell. What’s new?