If you are one of those people who boos Adam Goodes when he is playing football then you are a racist. Stop! If you are not one of those who is doing the booing, but you know someone who does, then you should speak with them, sternly. It is unacceptable, antisocial, racist behaviour which must be eradicated at all costs. There should be no room in your life for racists. An English actress friend of mine came to Australia to tour with a most prestigious production. South African by birth, her aunt was a leading anti-apartheid activist and politician who visited Nelson Mandela, regularly, while he was imprisoned by the South African
Nationalist Party government which was dominated by Calvinist Afrikaner men. My actress friend was horrified by what she saw in this country and said to me soon after she had returned to England: “I didn’t realise you still had apartheid in Australia.” We do of course; it is just that we euphemistically call it by a different name. After all, we do not want to be thought of by the rest of the world as being racist.
It is moments like these when I realise how lucky I was to have Beria as my mother. She did not notice the colour of people’s skin, and if she did, it made no difference to her reaction. She truly believed in equality and stood-up for her rights, and those of others, regardless of the consequences. I was one of those kids who grewup respecting the indigenous people of this country. I was not allowed to tease them – not that I ever wanted to and if Beria saw the other kids treating them badly she stepped-in. Beria was a feisty force to be reckoned with, and she was not beyond giving them a solid clout around the ears, a numbing kick in the backside, and sending them on their way. I have seen many a young teenage lad running home and at the same time, rubbing his ears and his backside as a consequence of her action. Never once did a parent come to remonstrate with Beria about what she had done. Had they tried she probably would have given them a clout and sent them on their way with a flea in their ear. I have heard her say on several occasions when she thought someone was behaving badly: “Get out of my way or I’ll knock you down!” She was not joking.
I am a Western Australian, and one day I shall return home to live, but in the meantime I have to admit that racism is inherent in my home state. There is something about the Nullarbor plane which separates the West from the Eastern States. Aborigines are treated badly in the West, and it was ever thus. It seems nothing has changed from the days of my childhood in the north-eastern goldfields. The West Coast Eagles fans who booed Adam Goodes should hang their heads in shame for the appalling display of racism which ruined the weekend game of football. For too long we have allowed such behaviour to go unchecked. The time has come to say: ‘enough is enough’. It must stop. It is something which can only be change by a collective effort. Wake-up to yourself and speak-out when you see and hear racism happening. It is unacceptable, by any standard.
The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, has told us that the days of entitlement are over – except it would seem for politicians. The secretary of the Department of Finance, Jane Halton, is reported as having said, publicly, that female leaders were dealt with differently to men. It was a specific reference to the controversy surrounding Bronwyn Bishop’s use of her parliamentary financial entitlements. Curiously, the Department of Finance is meant to be investigating Ms. Bishop’s use of entitlement. Ms. Halton’s utterances would appear to have already nailed the department’s colours to the mast.
The use of tax payers’ money – whether it be by a man, a woman, or a trained goat, is a serious matter. It has nothing to do with gender. The entitlement are not there to be used to pay for the comfort of the parliamentarians. They are there to enable them to carry out
We need to be careful not to demonised MPs, but I see no reason why we should be paying for the cost of a tax-payer funded car to take Ms. Bishop, and her friend, to the opera. The opera is not part of her job. It a passion. She is invited because her presence will attract publicity in the form of a photograph in the social pages of a newspaper. If she wants to attend a performance then she, like the rest of the public, should take transport at her own expense.
Nor should we be paying for a politician to attend the wedding of a friend.
It would seem, as has happened in the United Kingdom after the scandal involving politicians and the abuse of financial entitlements that a department should be established where every single claim by a politician – however large or small is scrutinised and verified before it is approved.
I say again: this has nothing to do with gender. It has to do with the use of taxpayer funds; public accountability. We have a right to know how our taxes are being used, and by whom, and for what.