Monday, August 16, 2010

'Onyer Dad

I attended church with my parents as a child and teenager, but no longer do so. Even a couple of months shy of turning the 'meaning of life' (age 42), I'm not into organised religion but am certainly into trying to be a decent person, as are most of us.

I believe that there's some kind of entity 'up there' or 'around us' but no, I have no proof or any need to find some and I can't pretend that I'm convinced that it's a Christian god. Perhaps it's just so that my small mind doesn't have to try and contemplate the enormity of the universe or the utterly baffling mysteries of life here on earth.

Whatever the case - and I guess none of us will find out until we turn up our toes - I like what my Dad has written to his local government representative. It could just as easily have come from a paid-up member of the Sex Party, The People's Front of Judea or the Judean People's Front or the census-driven Jedi.

27th July 2010
Church Council
Adare Uniting Church

We wish to state our support for the acceptance of refugees [boat people] seeking settlement in Australia. We support the statement of the President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Rev. Alistair Macrae, who in part said: "There is nothing to fear in reaching out a helping hand to those in need. In fact, when Australia has acted with decency in the past, we have been repaid many times over."

Rev. Macrae says that the Opposition has abandoned not only Christian values, but basic human decency, and that "callous and punitive policies such as this, (the deeply disturbing plan to turn back asylum seeker boats) are not the mark of a fair, decent and progressive country." We consider that an "offshore solution" is an inappropriate way to treat distressed and vulnerable people.

We the undersigned, who are members of the "Explorers' Group" from the Adare Uniting Church, call on both Government and Opposition to act with compassion within the United Nations Guidelines, and to actively discourage the emotive scare tactics concerning asylum seekers which now seem to predominate.

(Attachment signed by a heap of folk my parents know, aged between forty and ninety-something).


Pandora Behr said...

Oh why, oh why can't more people be like this? Where can I send a Mars Bar to your day, just for the sheer decency his letter encompasses.

Pandora Behr said...

oh, and the Australian Sex Party actually talks a hell of a lot of sense and has some brilliant policies - I just wish they had a better name.

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks Pandora. Dad's not a bad old stick.

Do they? I've never really gone into their ~ahem~ policy files.....

The Man at the Pub said...

Hear Hear!

I like the way The Chaser spun it last week...

'Boat People' don't worry me, there's only a few thousand of them. It's the 'Womb People' that we should be worried about. There's hundreds of thousands of them arriving every year!

River said...

I don't believe the "entity" is out there Kath. I believe it's within us.
I do say I believe in god when asked. See my comment over at Plasman's.
Your Dad's doing good work on behalf of the refugees. Keep it up "dad".

Lad Litter said...

Your dad and the President of his church are the real christians around these parts, Kath. My dad would've been moved to write too - but to 50-50 in the Herald Sun and with views entirely opposite to those of your dad's!

Elisabeth said...

You must be proud of your Dad, Kath, that he should write such a letter.

I'm weary with attacks on asylum seekers. They seek asylum, otherwise known as a place of safety and help. Not further persecution.

My parents were migrants. They came with four children and had another five once here. The nine of us have all contributed to the economic prosperity of this country.

It is evident that by and large migrants, aka refugees, in time contribute to the wealth of the community.

Why can they not be accepted as such?

If they are treated with compassion refugees and migrants are more than likely to return the goodwill one thousand fold.

There may be the odd troubled exception but by and large, they give to the good, they add to diversity, they help the country grow.

So why foster this mean spirited xenophobia that says there isn't room enough?

It's not as if we treat our indigenous folk any better.

The thing that distresses me more than anything else is the fact that many of the people who most oppose asylum seekers are those whose second names are clearly from other countries, those who are either themselves migrants or the children of migrants.

What has happened to their compassion? Why can they not recognise the value of the experience they have had here, and share it around?

Or have other things happened to them in their lives that cause them to be anxious about there not being enough to go around?

In my opinion generosity begets generosity. We need more of it.

Thanks as ever, Kath. You're a generous and thoughtful soul. Definitely not a 'do-gooder' a la my latest blog post.

It sounds like you take after your father.

Anonymous said...

happy to read~ thank you!............................................................

Nuttynoton said...

I agree with River, being a christian, I think God is love and is within, but there may well be a greater being, I believe so. I also agree with MATP in that our biggest concern is population growth.which we need to slow down for everyone's sake. You have so much room in Oz there is space for many assylum seekers. Finally the UK is an island full of immigrants dating back to the Saxons, Vikings and Normans, may be we are getting a bit too full but you will find most western european countries are full of immigrants that is why they have done so well!

Deep Kick Girl said...

Good on your dad. Well said. There is nothing to fear from the poor boat people, a lot more to fear right here already. But really best not to fear anything and just go forth with optimism.

I'm going to look into the Sex Party today. I'm all for sex. Not only am I member of the fairer sex but I've also been known to engage in a moment or two of horizontal folk dancing myself (shock horror!).

Maybe Julia and Tony need to partake of some sex themselves, thus leaving them less time for building unwanted, overpriced school libraties and running around in budgie smugglers.

mele said...

I can't tell you how sad it makes me when the liberal party send me thrice-weekly mail leaflets saying they are going to 'stop the boats'.Labor too is on this bandwagon-it's not even a battle between left and right, or religion against religion anymore! Whoever wins is using hate/fear/racism to win the election...well, it worked for Howard, didn't it?

Franzy says Australia is being taken to the UN for crimes against humanity (mandatory detention etc). There's no denying this situation is bad.It's heartening to know that your dad is speaking out.

franzy said...

Thanks for the plug, darlin'!

Two thoughts:

#1: All this 'Turn Boats Back' stuff is just left over from Howard. I bet if you asked Abbott why he wanted to stop them, his honest answer would be 'It wins elections' and not be able to articulate any further than that. The problem is that it's already won an election and that Bond Villian of a PM was voted off the island in 2007. The 'Stop The Boats' rhetoric is basically the macarena of election policies - catchy, but out of fashion. Let's hope it never ever comes back.

#2: Instead of writing letters, how about we sell off the land from a few under-flocked parishes and buy a fleet of open water speed boats to nip out and ferry asylum seekers back into Australian waters before the navy can get a hold of them and tow them off to somewhere worse. You could even take the compulsorily-acquired parishioners out on the ocean as crew!

Kath Lockett said...

MATP - I love the Chaser guys - their election coverage is the only show worth watching

River - I don't have a concrete idea about the 'entity' but I'm pretty sure that something's out there (or inside us?)that's way smarter than anything I'm capable of understanding. And yes, Go Dad!

Sorry to hear it, Lad Litter. I think even Dad's mostly a 'Christian' for the social life because he regularly reads Spong and spearheaded the local campaign to let gay people take on executive roles in the church.

Thanks Elisabeth. I don't know why people have such 'short memories' but for all those mental pgymies, I know a lot of people who do remember arriving on boats from Europe in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s who are appalled at the 'Stop the Boats' action item.

Thanks 怡屏

Spot on, NuttyNoton. Aslyum seekers and boat people are tiny in number and we should always help those who need a new life. What we need to do, however, is work out what population growth (or stabilisation) we need to manage our water supply, increased power needs, food etc. Oh and some decent public transport systems would be nice.

Deep Kick Girl - nothing wrong with Sex when we need it! Maybe that particular party *should* be busying themselves by ~ahem~ 'diverting' our two major political parties....

Mele, you're right. Hate and scare campaigns are much easier to run - why bother explaining things rationally when you have a thirty second advertisement to scare the shit out of someone who believes everything they see and hear? And Franzy's right - I think the UN are looking into our treatment of asylum seekers. While they're at it, they could maybe also look at the Aboriginal communities as well....

Franzy, hear hear on suggestion number one. As for number two, don't mention it to my Dad or he'll be overloading his tinny fishing boat with hordes of well meaning geriatrics!

Kath Lockett said...
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Kath Lockett said...
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Kath Lockett said...
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Kath Lockett said...

I have no idea why the comment has been published four times, so the 'deleted' comments aren't because they're from racist pigfaces, they're just mine!

franzy said...

Good news: the UN ARE looking into the treatment of aboriginals an the intervention!
I guess my video wasn't too clear - have you ever tried looking for pictorial representations of 'aboriginal intervention' without choosing ones that are either a) pointless or b) perpetuating racial stereotypes?

Baino said...

Oh hear hear. Well done Kath's dad. Given the amount of asylum seakers that enter the country this mad xenophobia 'stop the boats' thing gets me incensed. I often wonder if those boats were full of Western Europeans would there be such an issue. Then what do we expect from a hypocritical quasi Christian leader who delights in wearing silly hats and budgie smugglers.

R.H. said...

If your dad's "not a bad old stick" he should join the Sex Party. I'm still a pretty good stick man myself.
What I admire about you all is your reluctance to compete with migrants for low-paid jobs and cheap housing, the fact that you've never had to is no slur on your generosity. But spare some sympathy maybe for unskilled Aussies forced out of unskilled jobs by newcomers willing to work for $7 an hour.
You didn't know that? Well I wouldn't expect you to. Innocent little dears.
Migrants keeping wages low and rentals up is good for the economy, i.e. people like you. And as Dick Smith says, it's good for rich capitalists too; Harvey Norman can sell more washing machines.
So if you like the idea then shut up about crowded public transport, water restrictions, traffic jams, out-of-control house prices and so on, live in a bloody tent!
Australian cities are overcrowded, that's all. Too many bloody people!
I don't care if foreigners are arriving legit or sneaking in on boats there's too many here already. Meanwhile goats around where I live cash in by selling their backyards for housing, which is great for them, and rate collectors too, but hell for people wanting a parking space and who can no longer get one at the local supermarket whose car park is huge.
Every former factory site, every inch of old railway land on the line between Newport and Williamstown, is stacked with stupid doll houses. They are ugly, depressing, uniform: a sameness to outdo Kafka.
Uniformity is this country's distinguishing feature, always has been, the so-called "progressives" (latte set) are a perfect example.

Franzy, you are an idiot.

lc said...

What I admire about you all is your reluctance to compete with migrants for low-paid jobs and cheap housing, the fact that you've never had to is no slur on your generosity.

It's amazing how RH (Knowallus, according to his blog profile - how appropriate) knows everyone well enough to know that the collective "Us" don't know what it is to have to "compete".

Then they launch into a rant that makes it clear they don't think they can or should have to compete.

As usual, the rants of people such as these are self-defeating: "Give me and mine a fair go. Stuff everybody else."

Shallow and silly.

R.H. said...

You wouldn't last five minutes in a factory. You'd faint, pass out. If the sheer boredom didn't get you the fumes would. I've worked in places supplying a complete set of clothing each day including underwear because the carbon dust was so bad. The working class -people who PRODUCE THINGS, cop the burden of immigration your capitalist dog pals benefit from. Cafe society ("I'll have a latte thanks Naidoo, and how are you today?") on fifty, sixty, grand a year are the middle class dupes they always were, bleeding everywhere -except for the white-skinned poor. Fools. Petit bourgeoisie. You make me vomit.

You're an idiot too.

nuttynoton said...

I can see the election is warming up down under,you always get polarised views and those with blinkers on. you never know you may end up with a coalition like us

lc said...

Well, if I've made RH vomit, I suspect it to be the most attractive thing to issue forth from them.

Hatred and bile. That's all you have apparently.

What a sad case.

R.H. said...

Last night, to enjoy the hurt and humiliation of another human being I watched The Farmer Wants A Root. I've never seen it before but I've seen others like it, served up to sell cars and soap powder. If you want a good reason to hate yourself and the society you live in, start there.

Kath Lockett said...

RH, you're right - I am middle class, lead a good life and yes, don't mind a latte every now and then.


My parents were - and aren't - wealthy, so everything I own I have bought with my money and effort. Please don't assume that I haven't done my share of labouring or factory work either.

Like your example, I too have had had to strip down to nothing (including underwear!) for a job entailing overalls (try a piggery and factory work, for starters), done a total of six months of fruit picking; 2 years of telephone debt collecting and held a job where - despite living WITH the family - I still got paid less than award wages, received no pay during the ONE weeks' leave I was allowed and had to call the mother and father of the house 'Mr and Mrs' even as I sat with them at the dinner table (eating the meal that I cooked), scrubbed their four toilets and fended off their grown son's sexual advances!

Even for those of us who haven't had to do it hard, why aren't we allowed to have an opinion or fight for some social justices? Surely it is not only those who have 'suffered' that are allowed to help others or have a say?

mele said...

My mother is currently employed in a factory. She got a job easily without having to 'compete' with 'migrants'. She is getting paid a decent wage, working hard just like her parents did when they migrated here. Contributing to the Australian tax base.
Here's some economics:
Australia has an ageing population. We need young to middle age workers (i.e. migrants) to contribute to tax, so we can support former workers who deserve pensions, medical attention and retirement after decades of paying tax themselves.

R.H. said...

If a factory was full of migrants the wage was rock bottom, if you took the job you had to speak in broken english; which did nothing for my expression having left school very early. I once took a job at Carbon Black, Altona, and was surprised to be given a full set of clothing including underpants on the first day; by morning tea time I understood why, we were all totally black from soot we were bagging up from a hopper, a black powder used in making tyres (I guess it would be called carcinogenic these days). It covered everything, right through the place. Years later I saw a item in the local paper about women complaining it was soiling their washing on the line. The company would have got nervous about that, it was all a bit of a secret. I've worked in some dreadful places really, I wonder I'm still alive.
Those who make a big fuss over boat people (ect) are easily identified. I see them all the time on blogs and in the streets. They're "nice" types. And maybe I'm completely mad but I see only struggle or affluence, one division, that's all. My class is poorly educated, poorly raised, but in a hospital, a school, a government office, or anywhere we have contact with "professionals" we're treated as less than an aborigine or foreign person despite being at around the same economic level. We are not protected from being sneered at. They despise us, these middle class tertiary dopes. They call us bogans, from fear, disgust, superiority. Meanwhile to hide from their own luck and privilege they champion the downtrodden, but are selective in their hobby.
I see them parading in gentrified slums where I grew up. What a show, burlesque of poverty: tattooed and swearing. Poverty left there years ago but its spirit remains, a fine stage for performance. I have a poke around there myself, for the young RH, smoking drinking tattooed at fifteen. What a disaster, crying shame. I'm finished with all this.

Kath Lockett said...

Mele - well said. Things are improving - at least legally.

RH - your working history is appalling and absolutely unacceptable - that's the truth. I get the frustration with the gentrification of suburbs, too. In Norwood (South Aust), the yuppies have bought and converted the little workers' cottages, but my Dad would walk past them with me (we lived nearby) and say, "I remember that house had six kids in it and they'd queue up at the bakery before school started and ask for some stale crusts to eat." Then again, those jazzed up slums are close to the city, usually solid-as-a-rock, so who wouldn't want to live there?

Progress, I suppose and we can only hope that the people and memories being generated in those houses now are much happier ones.

When you say, 'I'm finished with all this,' - do you mean this blog article/comment line or something much bigger?

R.H. said...

I'm finished with this conversation, this LINE OF ENQUIRY, that's what I mean.
My social worker niece with her degree in gossip believes spilling your guts is a good thing. It's never good for me. I've found out you can only admit personal grief without embarrassing yourself if you make it funny. Quite a discovery.