26
Jul
16

Plebiscite on Same Sex Marriage.

While one cannot live by “likes” alone, the number of likes against an article or a comment – or their absence – can be a telling indicator of a readership’s attitude.

As a case in point, I’ve recently entered discussion on a newspaper’s web site regarding several different issues, and found most comments were given at least a few “likes”.

However, when I joined a conversation about same-sex marriage, even though I didn’t express any outright opposition, I started to get some very hostile responses (all of which accrued several likes) while my own comments remained like-less.

But maybe the MOST telling aspect of that discussion was that most of my contributions consisted of me calling for civility – no matter which side of the fence a person stood and the majority of the responses I received were abusive.

I’ll be very open about the issue. I disagree with the concept of same sex marriage. However I recognise that I’m living in a secular democracy that decreasingly recognises the authority of God.

Within that democracy I have the right to vote and in the upcoming plebiscite related to same sex marriage, I will vote against it.

However, if the vote for change passes, I’m not going to lose sleep or get upset about it. Furthermore (and some Christians might find this unacceptable) if the plebiscite shows the majority are in support of recognising same sex marriage, and the government refuses to recognise that result and doesn’t pass legislation to make that change, I won’t be happy that the government ignored the result of the people’s vote.

Of course, that also applies should the people’s vote indicate an opposition to change. Since the government has chosen to take the plebiscite route, they need to respect and abide by its outcome no matter what that outcome may be. THAT is how secular democracy is supposed to work.

 

Perhaps ironically, the outcome of the plebiscite vote could be determined by the lack of involvement of the demographic group most in favour of same sex marriage – the 18-24 year olds who are the largest potential voting block NOT to register on the electoral roll.

With the plebiscite we might see a similar outcome as the recent Brexit referendum, where younger age groups were most in favour of staying in Europe, but were the largest demographic group who failed to vote at all, ensuring that their own wishes weren’t met.

 

___________________________________________

This link seems to be where my involvement in the discussion started:
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jul/24/marriage-equality-george-brandis-to-ask-cabinet-to-decide-plebiscite-wording#comment-79798485

And also see here: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jul/24/marriage-equality-george-brandis-to-ask-cabinet-to-decide-plebiscite-wording#comment-79869150

20
Jul
16

Battle of Fromelles Centenary

bible page

A bible page with passages underlined that was unearthed in 2009. (Commonwealth War Graves Commission).

 

Today is the centenary of the battle of Fromelles, the first major involvement of Australian forces on the Western Front, described by the Australian War memorial as “the worst 24 hours in Australia’s entire history”, with 5,500 Australian casualties including approximately 2000 dead.
Hundreds of Australians went missing and their remains weren’t discovered until recent years when the bodies of 250 men were rediscovered in a mass grave near the battle site.

 

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-19/the-battles-of-fromelles-and-pozieres-100-years-on/7627170

Also see:

http://www.smh.com.au/interactive/2009/national/fromelles/main.html

and

Guardian article by Paul Daley

This blog entry was scheduled for posting at 2.00am on 20th July Sydney time which is approximately 6pm 19th July in Fromelles, France.

 

fromelles

19
Jul
16

The Myth of Religious Violence

William CavanaughA very interesting 14 minute interview about the claimed link between religion and violence.

http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2016/07/rer_20160706_1750.mp3

From this site:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/religionandethicsreport/is-religious-violence-a-scrap-in-backyard-compared-to-secular-v/7574124

13
Jul
16

Notes on an Exodus, Richard Flanagan

xnotes-on-an-exodusNotes on an Exodus : an essay is a small book by Man Booker prize winning author Richard Flanagan, illustrated by Ben Quilty.

Flanagan and Quilty travelled to the Middle East and Europe with World Vision, visiting refugees in camps and on the road, who were escaping from the violence of their homes in Syria.

While described as “an essay” in its subtitle, the book is more a collection of brief written portraits of the people Flanagan and Quilty met on their journey.

People who had fled villages, towns and cities to escape either the day and night bombing by Assad supporting Russian planes, from the violence and oppression of Daesh (ISIS), or both.

People who had fled prosperous lives to live in makeshift tents constructed from recycled garbage.

People who once owned productive farms and orchards but now have to survive on meagre rations of bread and tea or scraps collected from the floors of vegetable shops. Where a family survives (barely) with the help of their nine year old son, working as a welder for $3 a day. who has half his weekly pay retained by his employer to ensure his return the following week.

These are the kind of stories that we in the west prefer not to know so we don’t have to see the refugees as REAL people with REAL lives who probably weren’t so different from other people we know. Individuals we can’t disguise and dehumanise as a “flood”.

Flanagan’s vignettes of people he met bring focus to the plight of millions who have been driven from their homes and homelands. They should stir similar feelings to those stirred by the photos of the small body of Alan Kurdi, washed up on a Turkish beach that briefly moved the conscience of the world. But sadly they won’t. All too quickly our collective hearts have rehardened.

Suspicion and hostility against the flood have been restored.

Alan_Kurdi_lifeless_body

05
Jul
16

Australian Political Scene as of 5 July.

We’ve just had our Federal election and the result is uncertain, with neither of the major parties coming out of it with a majority.

It looks like a deal will have to be done with a string of independents to form a workable government. The major parties are neck and neck and who’s slightly ahead depends on the source of information.

Media outlets put the Liberal-National Coalition in front but at the time of writing, the official Australian Electoral Commission results show the Labor Party ahead by 71 seats to 67 (with two of the projected Labor seats and three of the LNP seats listed as “close”). It doesn’t seem like either will reach the necessary 75-76 seats to gain a majority allowing them govern without relying on an independent ally.

There will also be an increase of minor/independent parties in the senate, which will make for interesting times. The election also brought about the resurgence of our own “Donald Trump” in the senate, a woman echoing Trump’s ban on Moslems entering the country as well as other racist attitudes.
It’s possible that along with herself, she could have up to three candidates from her party entering the senate. So complicated is the senate voting system, the final make up won’t be known for sure for a few weeks.

While most commentators seem to think the incumbent Prime Minister will slip back into power, I’m not so sure, because:

1) support in his own party is deeply divided, with hostility towards him from a “Tea Party”-like faction. If stability is questionable within his own party, how stable could his government be?

2) I can’t see his Liberal/National party ever having a working relationship with the Senate. Reportedly he’ll need the support of at least 9 out of 10 independents within the senate to get any legislation passed, whereas the other major party, Labor, with the support of the Greens will need only two independents to come on board. The latter seems much more likely to provide a workable relationship with the Senate.

______________________________________

Australian Electoral Commission count:

http://vtr.aec.gov.au/HouseDefault-20499.htm

28
Jun
16

Scientific Observation Made During Furniture Removal

As I’ve grown older I’ve noticed how time passes much more quickly now than when I was young. I see this as evidence that time is actually accelerating.

Recently I’ve noticed another interesting phenomenon.

The force of gravity intensifies with the passing of time making household objects (like furniture) harder to move as we grow older. That gravitational increase also acts upon the aging body, redistributing body mass towards the abdomen causing the effect known as the middle-age spread.

furniture

27
Jun
16

There’s No Place Like Home. Except …

It’s not often that I find a day at work preferable to staying at home, but today is one of those rare times.

About three weeks ago I wrote about our ongoing home renovations. At that time we’d been reduced to bathing in a child’s paddling pool while the bathroom was being removed and replaced.

Not long after posting that report, we regained our shower and put the hot-pink pool behind us. Apart from some minor touches the bathroom is complete and we’re ready for the next stage of building.
But that’s not yet our planned laundry changes. We’re still waiting for the new cupboards. Instead we have other work starting today – the replacement of the ceiling throughout our open-plan lounge-kitchen-dining rooms.

Several years ago we found our ceiling had begun to sag significantly. A handy-man friend helped us out by pushing it back and fixing it into its rightful place. All we needed to do after his repairs job was repaint it to cover the filled in screw holes.

We kept putting it off.

When the builder came to quote on our bathroom Gloria thought it would be a good opportunity to get someone to do the long neglected painting.

Problem!

When the painter saw the job he wasn’t happy with the condition of the ceiling and in consultation with our builder it was suggested that the only solution was to replace the whole thing.
And THAT is what’s happening today.

On the weekend we had to empty the three areas of furniture, cramming everything into other rooms and leaving ourselves very little living space for the duration of the work. Fortunately the worst part, the ceiling removal and the first stage of its replacement should only take one day, and then the finishing of the new surface ought to take another day at the most.
*
I left Gloria at home this morning just as the builders were arriving. It’s now three hours later and I’ve had the first progress report.
The ceiling came down with unexpected ease. Apart from the screws our handyman friend had used there was very little holding it up, so hopefully the job will take less time than anticipated. The messy work will be over when I get home this evening and we should be able to get things back to “normal” in a day or two.

Sadly the work hasn’t exposed any interesting “archaeological” finds; no hidden artefacts left behind by previous owners of the house, just a few mummified rodent corpses.




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