Today Pauline Hanson made her maiden speech to the Australian Senate. I’m not going to link to it, because she’s had more than enough airtime for her xenophobic hate speech.
Much of it is a carbon copy of her maiden speech to the House of Representatives, 20 years ago, when she claimed that Australia was being swamped by Asians. Today, the Asian horde has been replaced by Muslims; her supposed fear of ‘Straylians being bred out of their own country has been replaced by her supposed fear of being blown up by a bearded terrorist clad in an ISIS flag.
It makes me really sad that we’ve come so … NOT far in the last 20 years, that this overt racism hits a note with enough voting Australians that people like Hanson are being elected to our Parliament. Again.
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Asher Wolf spent today walking around the Melbourne CBD talking to homeless people, after the recent spike in attention for this issue. There’s a perception in the media and amongst those privileged enough to have never worked with or had to deal with housing security that homelessness rates have increased: they have and they haven’t.
Cuts to welfare, combine with an economy on the skids and gung-ho useless “law and order” policies have combined to cause a slight increase in the amount of people sleeping rough, but what has caused the recent “spike” is just that a long standing camp has been closed, and consequently people who used that as a base have had to find new spots to sleep rough – more visible spots.
Highly recommend reading the experience of homelessness from those living on our streets.
We need to reconsider how we, as a community, respond to housing insecurity. Demonising people, or treating them as “inconsiderate”, is not constructive. As Kyle told Asher,
… the system is fucked. Things get run by some guy in a suit who’s read a text book and thinks they know better than everyone. The system needs people who can empathise better.
Last night, I went to the Liberty Victoria Voltaire dinner. The Voltaire Award winner and keynote speaker was Waleed Aly: academic, news presenter, guitar shredder and all around cool dude.
He gave a thoughtful and engaging lecture on the importance of examining the philosophical underpinnings of human rights law. It’s a topic I am very much interested in, have lots of thoughts about and have been meaning to do a blog on this area for some time. So here’s my excuse!
And because I am going to refer back to Waleed’s points, I do dedicate this blog to him. Cheers mate!
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I remember discussing plain language with colleagues in a legal service once. The context was setting up a series of precedent documents, so that there was consistency about language across the legal service, and to save lawyers and admin lots of time (not dictating/typing the same letters from scratch, over and over again!)
One colleague who was against the idea said that they thought plain language could be patronising. That’s what I want to focus on in this blog post. How do you use plain language to be clear and concise, but not be patronising or paternalistic?
I’ve had cause to think about the issue of what is reasonable conduct at various events again recently.
A couple of weeks ago, I went to see Iron Maiden at Rod Laver Arena. Once again, I was in the reserved seats area. And once again, no one around me stood up.
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