No Man's Land

“It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union.”

— Susan B. Anthony

I feel in some ways as though I am writing an obituary with this post - which, considering that I attended a funeral yesterday, perhaps makes sense. And to be a bit melodramatic, there has been a kind of death.

This week saw the downfall of Australia's first female prime minister. And before people start rolling their eyes and thinking this is going to be a rant about Labour v Liberal, let me stress that it isn't. It also isn't even about Julia Gillard in some respects.

It's more about us as Australians.

I don't pretend to think that politics are a clean game. Anything that involves a balance of power is going to bring out the worst in humans. I am also not so naive or blinkered as to think that just because the PM was a woman, she should be afforded any kind of privileges in terms of being treated better than anybody else in the business. We say of our leader 'primus inter pares' and as such she was first among equals, not better than anyone else - but that's my sticking point.

She also is no worse than anyone else, and as such deserved, and deserves, the same measure of respect as any other leader who came before. And this - this she didn't get. Which is a god-awful reflection on Australia as a whole.

Yes, we have a tradition of cutting down tall poppies. Yes, we make fun of pretty much anyone we feel like making fun of, and I'm as guilty as the next sarcastic bugger. But the constant bitter attacks on Julia were beyond anything I've ever seen in politics. They had nothing to do with her policies and everything to do with her personally. Which makes me incredibly fearful for where Australia is heading.

She may be abrasive. She may have given as good as she got in terms of dishing it out to opponents on a political level. But this was a PM who had to deal with constant jibes about her weight, her looks, her wardrobe, her choice of partner, her choice not to have children, her voice, her family.

Would it have happened if she had been a man?

This is not an 'Ode to Saint Julia'. I'm not saying she was a great Prime Minister, because honestly? I don't think she was. What I am attempting to say, possibly quite clumsily, is nobody deserves the treatment she received at the hands of the media, the public and a large percentage of Federal Parliament.

I don't think anyone should be in a position of power, whether it be government or business just because they are a woman. It should be based on merit not an absence of male genes. Otherwise it's a game of pretence and mess, and yes, inequality - not in the way we traditionally think of it, but in the long term it hurts women because where's the need to strive?

But to be hounded in the way that she was...

I vote no. No more.

Please bring some respect back Australia.

Because giving someone a fair go is supposed to be what we're all about.

Isn't it?

That Wascally Wabbit

“Passover and Easter are the only Jewish and Christian holidays that move in sync, like the ice skating pairs we saw during the winter Olympics.”

— Marvin Olasky

As most people who are close to me are aware, I am not at all religious; my 'belief' system tends to be centred around individuals and whether they are decent human beings (or not) rather than organised tenets of faith, mainly because of the acts I have seen said organisations perform in the name of their various doctrines.

So this post is mostly not about Easter or Passover in any religious sense - nor would it be likely anyway, as I am not interested in beating people around the head with my beliefs. Unlike my political views, I would rather keep them mostly to myself.

I admit though, Easter is kind of fascinating. Most probably built on the back of Eostre, although I know there are several alternative explanations, there is a burning question in there for me which nobody I have consulted  has ever been able to answer. I have been asking it since the age of about six - and still no joy. Please, somebody tell me, and put me out of my misery:

How the hell does the Easter Bunny lay those really AMAZING chocolate eggs? Riddle me that, Batman!

I am not even interested in the whole rabbit (and it seems, male rabbit at that) laying any kind of eggs scenario. That doesn't concern me at all. I want the big answer: why is Easter egg chocolate so much better than normal chocolate? Why is that damn lepus able to make us want what is essentially really crappy hooves and lips, garden variety, low-cacao content chocolat which we would normally turn our noses up at? Because the moment I see an Elegant Rabbit, its ears are off and that bunny is a few smeary crumbs in its now not-so-elegant foil.


But you try to deny it. Put an Easter egg and a block of good quality chocolate in normal wrapping in front of you and see the Pavlovian response kick into action.

Yep. Good dog.

I also can't cope with the whole E Bunny plus chicken thingy. I get the whole chickens are a sign of new life, yada, yada, yada, spring has sprung business, but people: let's pick a mythical figure and stick with it. Easter Bunny or bust, I say. Rabbits are cool. Bugs Bunny proved that. If you needed any further proof, enter Ms Jessica Rabbit. As a redhead, I thoroughly approve of that cartoon creation.

You may wonder (quite reasonably) where the gratitude is in this post. I am getting there though. And it's not just about chocolate eggs - which I may or may not be currently eating at a very early hour of the morning. Dribble.

Easter Sunday is traditionally a day of hope - and for many people, new beginnings. I know that for many of my friends it is a celebration of their faith, and I am grateful that they gain joy and comfort on this day. For me - I am also filled with immense gratitude today.

I am grateful that the people I care most about and love are all safe today - and that I am able, through the power of technology, to know this for certain. I am grateful that I am lucky enough to live in a country where people can celebrate Easter, and Passover, or dance around buck naked praising Eostre if they feel like it - and not be punished for doing so.

And yes, I am grateful for that wascally wabbit and his unnatural ability to bring forth ovoid spheres of the chocolicious variety. Annoying as it may be, there are some mysteries that are best left unsolved.

Because I don't want to miss out on Easter eggs next year.

That's what happens to girls who ask too many questions...

Big Bunny is watching.

Strange Fruit

“For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.”

— Billie Holiday, Strange Fruit

This is going to seem like an odd kind of gratitude post at first. But it is to do with being grateful, so this is where it belongs.

I was in Sydney during the week for work, and most of the experience was ace. Also, awesome. I was not only productive, but I got to hang out with the woman I am rapidly beginning to think is going to take over the world within the next six months, and of course my dearest Hurricane Henry (more on this later).


One thing really stood out for me in terms of how far we have to go - as Australians, and as a species.

I was walking down Pitt Street to my next meeting and was going across the pedestrian crossing, when a young girl of Asian descent stumbled and accidentally knocked into another - well, I'll use the word Causcasian - girl in her early 20s. She apologised profusely but the 'victim' was having none of it. Next thing, I actually heard the words which I honestly thought were a cliché - 'go back to your own country you effing gook, we're full up'.

I was appalled; not so much by the words, but by the venom behind them. It was real and it was obvious and it was frightening. What was almost more frightening was the other girl's reaction.


Having just come from holidays in South East Asia, where I was treated with kindness and respect and occasionally good-natured laughter at my language abilities, I was scared; both by the fact that someone in their twenties, who has grown up in mulitcultural Australia, not the world of the 50s or even the 70s, had this attitude - and also by the fact that the girl she attacked almost seemed to expect it.

Again, you may be questioning where the gratitude may be in this.

I am grateful that my parents raised me without prejudice. I am grateful for my friends of all nationalities, especially those who put up with me speaking their languages poorly whilst their English is amazing. I am grateful that I am, I would like to think, able to see past race to the person. And I am very, very grateful that despite the way this repulsive girl represented our country, in the main, Australians are seen as good eggs. Because most of us are good people, and I hope would still be horrified by such casual vindictiveness - not accepting of it.

I am also grateful to the young girl, whom I went up to and asked if she was alright.

'Yeah' she said in a very broad Aussie accent.

'I'm used to it. But thank you for asking. It means a lot. In fact, you've made my day'. And she grinned and we both went onwards.

Gratitude works both ways it seems.

Because she made my day too.

Can You Hear, Can You Hear The Thunder?

It's Australia Day. Or, more correctly, Austraya Day. Which means different things to different people admittedly - not all of them positive, not all of them with a 'celebration of a nation' spin. And that's fine. I personally don't feel the need to drive around with Austrayan flags pinned to my car and wearing fake Southern Cross tattoos, but each to their own. If it stays benign of course.

I'm not sure that I need a special day of the year to know that I am proud to be Austrayan. Because I just am. I honestly cannot think of another country on the planet I would rather be a citizen of (even Sweden, although if the SkarsGod was offering marriage, I'd accept dual passports, thanks Alexander). We still are the Lucky Country; despite seeing baboons attacking cars at Macca's drive-throughs with shovels and other primates attempting to wreck the Cenotaph, I do firmly believe this. And there are some very big reasons why I am grateful to this big sunburnt country of ours.

  1. Vegemite. Seriously - what's not to love? You don't like the taste? It's made of yeast, people! Yeast is in beer, beer is good, therefore Vegemite must also be good. Q.E.D.
  2. Our beaches. Nothing more needs to be said really. 
  3. Our obsession with sport. Thank goodness.
  4. Freedom of speech. I may not like what a lot of troglodytes out there have to say, but then again, they may not like what I have to say either. What I do like is the fact that we can all speak out without fear of being hurried away in an unmarked van - or in my case, as a woman, quite possibly shot on the spot.
  5. Our sense of humour (or yewma, as Kath and Kim would say). We still take the pi... - uh, mickey out of ourselves better than most.
  6. The way we stand up for our mates - whether that is over the back fence or across the world. I know we indulge in the occasional tall poppy cropping, but I still think that in terms of standing by our friends - Aussies are fairly amazing.
  7. Our incredible food and vino. Yum.
  8. Our amazingly talented actors, musicians, artists, writers, scientists - all of whom we send out into the world... and never see again. Ha! (see point 9 for the ha).
  9. Our irreverence. Our mockery. Our sense of the ridiculous. Which thankfully has not yet been swallowed up by the almighty Bald Eagle. We may be on the road to the Hotel California - but we haven't checked in yet.
  10. Our ability to see when as a nation we have stuffed up - and acknowledge it. Sometimes it may take us a few hundred years... however, we get there in the end.

Random reasons? Probably. My reasons? Absolutely. Which is part of being an Aussie - I get to have my reasons - not reasons that anyone else wants me to have.

Australia, my gratitude to you. You rock.

Or that should be, you Uluru.