Right. So. Australia does finally have a new government. Of sorts. Congratulations to Julia Gillard and the Labor party – and biggest congratulations to the Greens, with 9 seats in the Senate, Yeah baby!
That was frakkin’ ridiculous. Gillard, Labor, you need to sort your shit out. Srsly. We came thiiiiis close || to becoming a theocracy with Tony Abbott channelling George bloody Pell. That shouldn’t have happened, and I don’t think it needed to. I present humbly (or perhaps not so humbly) my recommendations to your government:
Ditch Conroy’s filter.
It’s an odious, loathsome idea, condemned by every rational person outside China, Saudi Arabia etc. And quite apart from that it Will. Not. Work. Just add a ? to the end of the url and you’ll be able to go to any website on the list. That gets blocked? Add another character. FFS. And there are half a dozen other easy and quick ways around it. The list will leak, and be a great directory of suggested dodgy sites for anyone who wants to know. And finally, most of the really bad stuff isn’t on the web. The World Wide Web does not equal the Internet, and most of the bad stuff (so I hear from people who know more about this than I) is circulated via all those back alleys of the Internet, rather than the glossy shop fronts of the WWW.
So chuck it. It was a major point of difference between you and the Coalition, and one that was clearly in their favour.
Stop being dicks about marriage.
Let people get married to the people they love. SRSLY. It doesn’t matter if they’re straight, gay, bi, male, female, transgender, what-bloody-ever. Just stop being dicks. Stop pandering to loud conservative idiot pressure groups. I’m about 80% sure I read recently that most of Australia really doesn’t have a problem with the idea of gay marriage. It’s just loud noisome twits like George Pell and Jim Wallace et al.
For who do you work? The religious right, or the majority of the people of Australia?
Meaningful action on pollution
Australia is right up there with the worst per capita CO2 emitters in the world. Some hard action is going to be needed – the coal industry’s unhappiness notwithstanding. It is not an issue that can be sensibly ignored, nor is it rational to withold action until we can say with 100% certainty that it is all anthropogenic. By then it is likely to be too late. Sure, Australia can’t fix the whole world, but that’s not a reason to let your own backyard go to shit. Nor is other countries’ reluctance to act justification for inaction.
Stop unfairly privileging religion.
What is it? Twenty-two million dollars MOAR for school chaplaincy? Untrained, ideologically-based, exclusionary … Simply, efforts at indoctrination. What about more school counsellors? More training and support for school counsellors.
And Special Religious Education. Bloody hell. School time made available for religious instruction? That should be down to parents. End of story. And if you don’t want to do the religious stuff you can’t have actual teaching and learning happen? Ethics. Ethics classes would address in reality what SRE is ostensibly there for – and at which it is demonstrably failing: just look around you. Look at what the SRE “teachers” are teaching. As we’ve seen up in Queensland, they can be shoving young earth creationism down our kids’ throats. SRE is about indoctrinating children into christianity, pure and simple. That has no place in schools.
Aren’t we all supposed to be equal?
And on that note, how is it that by calling your organisation a religion, you can avoid paying taxes and rates? That’s just wrong – at a very basic level. They argue that they do good charitable work. Fine. Set up your charity, open the books, and be not-for-profit and tax-exempt. The church itself is not a charity; being a church does not equal doing charitable work. If a church has a charity, that charity can fairly be tax-exempt, but not the church itself. That’s simply unjust. The same argument applies against their exemption from paying rates.
To Stay in Government:
In all seriousness, Prime Minister Gillard, the closeness of this election should serve as ample demonstration you and your party need to take a good hard look at what you are doing. The above are a few things which honestly are simple, sensible, and just; they would differentiate your party from the Coalition (such differentiation being sadly lacking at the moment), and I think (for what my opinion is worth) they would increase your chances of remaining in government 3 years hence.