Daisy Chains

If you're friends with me on facebook, you would have seen me sharing quite a bit of stuff about why the Sydney Lockout Laws are pretty darn terrible for the city. On the outside the laws say "We're making a safe space for the community" but the reality of the situation is much more complex. 

 If you don't already know, the laws stop bars/clubs/venues from letting people in after 1:30am, and stop bars/clubs/venues serving spirits after 12am and alcohol after 3am in the Sydney CBD area in an aim to curb "alcohol fueled violence". The laws were hastily thrown together after the 2012 murder of Thomas Kelly and the 2013 murder of Daniel Christie. These deaths were avoidable and tragic, but happened well before "Lockout" in their prospective years. 

Now, I would be lying if I said that the Lockout Laws haven't achieved their goal. Violence is down by about 40 percent in the CBD. But at what cost? Foot traffic is down 80 percent  (Now, I'm pretty terrible at math and can't do the equation, but that means proportionally violence has increased) Countless Bars, Pubs and Clubs are shutting down (Not even Kabab shops are safe), taking with it hundreds of jobs for both bar staff and musicians. More than this, the violence that was in the CBD has now spread to other areas in Sydney. As well as "getting rid of the violence" the lockout laws are killing the city. 

I personally am not really sure about the argument that Australians have a uniquely violent relationship with alcohol. I've read some very compelling well sourced articles either way, but lets say we do have a problem. There are other ways to fix rather than saying "no you've been bad, now nobody can have it". For instance, increased public transport with more police and more/better education at a high school level (I remember my classes about alcohol were "it's bad for you, so don't drink. Think the alcoholic equivalent of abstinence only education). The installation of a night mayor (like Amsterdam and Paris) to be responsible for making the nightlife vibrant AND safe. 

"Why are people complaining about not being able to get drunk at 4 in the morning when there are more important issues" you may ask. The answer to this very valid question is that it's not actually about getting drunk and partying. The lockout laws signalled the last straw between Gen x/y and the Baby Boomer generation. 

This article says it best, but here's a summary: the Baby Boomers who are in power have locked younger generations out of great educations, home ownership, pensions, fair welfare, and stability, but now on top of this, they have made it abundantly clear that we are not "mature" "responsible" and "moral" enough for recreation. The protests about lockout are more a reaction to our rights to being adults and using public space being chipped away until we're left with a conservative totalitarian government that rule every aspect of our lives in the name of "morality" and "safety". When we were growing up, they talked about us being "cotton wool kids". Now that we're adults, the generation is insisting of keeping this same "cotton wool attitude" for "our own good".  

As well as keeping us safe "for our own good" these laws are laced with political agenda. Did you know that in the whole "lockout area" there's a rather large space exempt from the laws. This space is in the location, and shape of the Star City Casino  as shown in that handy dandy map to your right. Other venues that have exemptions from lockout are only allowed to stay open as long as they stop selling alcohol and the only form of entertainment are poker machines. (I don't know about you, but this seems more than a little fishy, especially considering the Star City Casino has a reputation as one of the mostly violent venues

I'll finish by saying this: The politics behind lockout are extraordinarily complicated, and there's a lot of information and miss information to be had. Make sure you question your views and do your research, because the reality, and what the government wants you to think is reality are two very different kettles of fish. 

 

EDIT: If you want to join in the action to keep sydney from becoming the suburbs you can do so Here (Reclaim The Streets) and Here (Keep Sydney Open)

Pink Politics 101

shoes It's been a few days since the lib spill, and now I've had a chance to rant and be angry I've decided to be productive instead. The following is a handy dandy guide to developing a political opinion. (I'm very sorry that I keep harping on about politics, but it's really important.)

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I suppose the first point I would like to address is why it's important to have an opinion about politics. There are so many reasons, but by far the biggest reason is that our government (is supposed) to represent the people. If the people don't know/don't care about the government how are they (they being the government) supposed to represent us effectively?

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The biggest step to forming a political opinion is to decide what you want to change about Australia, and what you want to stay the same.

The next step is finding out how each party aligns with your view. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using Vote Compass. Basically what this does is it breaks down the main policy points into a simple questionnaire, then compare your answers to the policies of the various political parties, then gives you this information on a handy dandy graph! Unfortunately it only updates close to an election, but if you're curious about how your views align with Australia's political parties, the Federal Vote compass from 2013 is a great place to start.

The other resource I like is  They Vote for you . This site breaks down how each parliament member has voted for things throughout their political career (meaning you can really get into the nitty gritty of each member of parliament)

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So, you've formed a political opinion. The next thing you have to do is get your voice heard. There are lots of ways you can do that such as writing to your Member of Parliment, writing a letter to the editor, engaging your friends and family in a friendly political debate or even starting a blog about politics. These are all great options, but there is one really powerful way you can get your voice heard, and that is by voting.

Now, voting in Australia can get pretty complicated. To win an election one party needs to get 51% of the votes, which is pretty tricky when there are more than two parties (which there are). To solve this conundrum we use a thing called preferential voting (Here's a handy dandy graph!) Basically there's a bunch of parties in Australia who would all like to run the government, but some of these parties are smaller than others.

Before the election, these parties sit down and decide who they would like to give their votes to if they don't get elected (Although, if you vote for a party and don't like their next preferred party, you can decide your own preference path at the polling booth). Starting with the guys who got the least amount of votes, and working there way up, the votes of the less voted for parties get given to other parties until someone has 51%. It's not a perfect system (but, lets be honest, there's no such thing as a perfect system). I can remember some election where more people voted for one party, but the other one was elected because of how the preferences transferred.

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On top of this, there are two different sets of government people (at a federal level) you have to elect. There's the House of Representatives, who at their most basic level write legislation and keep all the stuff going (they also do things like write budgets, and attend official events, and sometimes they even say silly things on camera) These guys are pretty important, but not as important as the Senate.

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The Senate are the people who actually pass the legislation. They're the people who look over the legislation and ask "is this really best for the people?". (In theory) They stop the government from having free reign over everything and everyone. You her about them less because their work is more behind the scenes than the work of the House of Representatives.

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At all levels of Federal Parliment you mostly hear about 2 major parties, and 1 party who's gaining more and more traction every election. These parties are the Liberal Party of Australia(aka The Coalition (because a bunch of parties all joined forces and stuff)who are the current government), The Australian Labor Party (these guys are the main opposition) and The Greens  .

The TLDR of the above is:

Liberal Party: Conservative

Labor Party: Kind of liberal

The Greens: Liberal

(yeah, the difference between the names/political views confuses me too, but it is what it is (this is literally the only time I'll ever say that in relation to politics))

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That's pretty much it. I've linked all of the most relevant resources above as they're the best place to start when it comes to informing yourself about how your views fit in with politics. Remember, political parties aren't like football teams. Just because "your a liberal/labor/whatever" party doesn't mean you should automatically give them your vote without actually understanding what they stand for.

I've probably missed out quite a few things, but this is only meant to be an overview. (If you have any more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. You can also probably find the answer using google! :) )

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I feel as though this outfit is the most appropriate to go with this blog post. This is what I wore the day of the Lib Spill (which was the day I posted my political rant) I biked to a nearby park (and then went exploring) to calm my thoughts after all the political drama (it didn't quite work. I finished purging the angry thoughts into that political rant a few days ago)

Pom pom, politics and progressive values

shoes I'm having trouble typing my thoughts in detail, so I'll just give you all a TLDR: The Australian government is actively trying to destroy any form of equality Australia had, and it's making me sad and angry. I'm angry because I didn't vote for these people, but I'm stuck with their idiotic policies anyway, and I'm sad because I feel completely powerless to change anything. This government isn't listening to it's people, it's listening to those who will make them rich.

Sitting on bathtub

Anyway, I've taken to twitter in hopes as a form of protest/making Jen feel slightly less angry/sad. I'm using #thisisnotdemocracy. The aim is for me to tweet something intelligent at those in power every day in order to let them know that I am not ok with what they are doing. I would absolutely love it if others would join me.

Here's a list of Twitter accounts to get you started:

Tony Abbot: The Prime Minister/Minister for all sorts of things he shouldn't be sticking his nose in.

Julie Bishop: Deputy leader of the liberal party/ Minister for foreign affairs.

Christopher Pyne: Minister for Education

Peter Dutton: Minister for immigration and border protection

Greg Hunt: Minister for the environment

Scott Morrison: Minister for Social Services

Joe Hocky: Treasurer

spinning

On a lighter note, I spent my day writing music with Vanishing Shapes and painting. I'm really enjoying having time to be creative without having to worry about assignments. Anyway, I don't have anything else to say, so I'll just leave everyone with the rest of my photo's from today!

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holding the coat

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