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)

Flannel Fish

Shoes In an unexpected turn of events, my band had a gig friday. We played with Rachel Maria Cox and Baltic Bar Mitzvah as the last stop on the Vanishing Shapes Hallucinatour. (If you're interested in seeing the photo's I took during Baltics set click here. They all have such pretty faces!). RMC was the saddest of sad grrrls in the most fabulous way ever, and Baltic was loud and wrakus in only a way they can manage :P

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In other news, the Government's Data Retention Scheme kicked in today, and it's making me very angry. This "scheme" is a huge waste of money (because you can get around it by using a VPN Or by using a web browser like Tor ), and a huge invasion of privacy. I highly suggest you give this article written by Scott Ludlam a read. It's basically an introduction on what exactly the ISP's will be required to store, and how to keep your data private.

Also, let it be known that some ISP's are openly unhappy about the new arrangement. IInet immediately springs to mind. They are as transparent as possible with their customers, and released this article talking about their stand on the issue and why keeping your metadata private is important.

The TLDR of the situation is that ISP's (the people that give you the internet) have to retain your meta data for two whole years. Meta data contains a whole host of content,  words you have written, web address, location, I.P addresses, images, names (the list goes on!) You can find out SO MUCH STUFF about a person from their metadata. What if it got hacked? what if in the future metadata was made public property? What if the laws change  and the ISP's have to hold onto your data for longer?

Deets

There are some people that think that because they have "nothing to hide" it doesn't matter how much information the government retains about them. It doesn't matter if you have "nothing to hide", for this is yet another way that the government is controlling it's citizens, and chipping away at our rights. It's the digital equivalent of having a guy follow you around everywhere and go through all of your things. If you wouldn't be comfortable with someone looking through and cataloging literally everything in your house because the government said so, you shouldn't be ok with data retention.

IDK

There is a division in Australia and across the globe. There's the political class (those who make the laws and decide "what's best" either through being elected, paying their way in or placing their country under violent control) and there's everyone else. The current set of political class in Australia DO NOT CARE about the "everyone else" (if they did, data retention wouldn't be a thing). They think that "everyone else is either too stupid or too apathetic to care about what they do. They are wrong.

I know that myself and many of my peers feel frustrated and powerless. As far as lawmaking goes, yes we are pretty powerless (except when it comes to elections). We have powers in other ways. We can talk to our family, friends, and even strangers about what's going wrong in politics. We can engage with our local mp's across all level of government. We can spread our opinions across the wires which the government now monitor. (sorry for the cliche) but together we are strong.

(sorry to my readers who aren't Australian - I'm just so exasperated by the political situation in our country. Despite this I can guarantee that you have a similar divide in yours as well. It may not be as pronounced, but it's there.)

 

 

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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! :) )

leaning

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)

Metallic Flower Fairy

shoes I was going to post an angry rant about the government. I was going to post about how Turnbull is just Abbott with social skills. I was going to post about how hypocritical the Liberal spill is when they destroyed the Labor government over doing the same thing. I was going to post about how the majority of Australians are to uninformed/don't care enough/too apathetic/ treat their political voice like a football team and how angry this makes me. Finally I was going to post about how angry being politically powerless makes me feel. I'm not going to post about any of that. Instead I'm just going to post about how tired I am of Australia's political situation.

head shot

The TLDR of my feelings comes down to this. Those in power are operating on greed. They feed into the idea that anyone who isn't a millionaire just has to work hard (and if you're not one, you're not working hard enough). They preach free market values, and socially conservative ideologies. They're out of touch, and they don't care, but they've tricked the average Australian voter into thinking that they do care.

Do you want to know who cares? I care. My friends and family care, but as I learned during the last election, apparently we're the minority. It's great that I'm surrounded by so many like minded individuals, but it's alarming to me that the rest of Australia doesn't seem to care as much as the people I'm surrounded by. I've cared so much, but now I'm tired. I'm tired, and angry from the nations leaders being selfish and out of touch. I'm tired from being powerless, and I'm tired of being "productive member of society" (AKA a mere pawn in the game of billionaires the 1% think it's acceptable to play)

looking away

As a child I can remember being taught to share. I have tried to continue that into my adulthood. I gladly share my craft, my knowledge, and my space with those that require it. Somewhere along the line many of these "important people" have forgotten the childhood skill of sharing.

hand on hip

I don't really know how much sense I'm making, but I just need to spew the words and get it all out. The majority have no automony, but the minority have tricked us into thinking that we do and it's exhausted me.

twirl

On a lighter note, this is what I wore Sunday. I went to the farmers market with my mum and dad to get some locally grown produce (which is super fresh AND super cheap AND the farmers get more profit than if you buy from the super market!! Central Coast peeps, it's at the racecourse 8 - 1 ever sunday!!) It was a lovely morning. I got so many fresh vegetables, and had a really fun time hanging out with my parents.

In the afternoon I had a vocal concert, which was fun, but weird. I'm still not used to performing classically without a flute, nor have I quite got my tongue around Italian.

Finally I finished off my evening at Rohan's Noni's house. She's an amazing cook! (and she sent us home with the leftovers!!)

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