Wednesday, June 27, 2007

In the news

A paper I read on the planes, can't remember which one, but it was in English, provided an assessment by the Austrian chancellor of T Blair's time in office (I wonder if he's awake now - 04 am - on his departure day) stating that he thought that Blair had 'moved Britain to the left'. Right....

What's in the papers in Oz? The property pages have an advertisement for a house for sale for 2.5 million Aussie dollars (1.25 million GBP). Here they also sometimes show the price when the house was last traded - 5,250 AUD in 1952 - advertised as 'for decades in the same family' - that's a lot of time in Australia. May not always be a recommendation, though, especially when it goes on to say that it has 'good bones' - structurally sound, but not much else?

The Jocks and Canucks are coming. This is about TV channels (or programming) which are being taken over by Scottish and Canadian media. Imagine if the British papers said 'the Pakis and Chinkies are coming'.... more 0n racism below...

Morris Iemma, apparently the new premier of the state of New South Wales, has been in office for 100 days. What were his achievements, he was asked? The media were told that he had made 160 decisions, some of major importance. Including providing stab-proof vests for police dogs'.

But the main story, which I had also spotted in the Guardian at the end of last week, is the response of the Aussie premier Howard to a report on child sex abuse in the aboriginal communities. The report was provided a year ago. Aparently child sex abuse is rampant in these communities. There was a story of a young man, a rapist, who at the age of six had witnessed his father shooting his mother, and being told to clean her brains off the floor....as someone said - do we have the experts to prevent someone like that from raping?

So now Howard, a year before his re-election, is sending in the troops to deal with this, describing it as 'our Katrina' [a catastrophe on the same level as the American hurricane]. People whose children are at risk will have their state benefits cut so they don't spend money on drink and other inessentials, some people (or settlements?) may be banned from buying alcohol for 6 months, all aborigine children will undergo compulsory medical examinations, and the federal police will take over what is a duty delegated to the state [who should be providing their own police]. The troops have to come in because there are not enough doctors to examine the children, so they use army doctors as well. Like they know how to deal with child sexual abuse. A lot of people are very upset about it, and the aboriginal communities, naturally, are up in arms about it. A doctor argued that these examinations are in themselves a form of abuse.

Putting this in perspective, it's worth noting that the aborigines have only been allowed to buy alcohol since 1964, and to vote since 1967. Do these Aussies think Aborigines are human? You hardly ever see any at all - I have seen three people who might be of Aborigine origin; one was a hotel receptionist, another begging in the street, and the third one was a very fine-looking tall school boy in a very smart uniform. But generally they are totally invisible - and of course the hospital I am staying in has separate accommodation for aborigines.

So comments about 'Canucks' and 'Jocks' are quite mild, really....Australia has a loooong journey to travel!