Hello to you all. Apologies for the radio silence over the past week or two, however, we have been experiencing a lot of torrential rain here in Queensland of late. Fortunately, the area of North Brisbane that my friends and I live in was largely unaffected and Brisbane itself did not experience the same damage as it did only a few years ago from severe flooding, I’m afraid to say that this is not the case north of here in the town of Bundaberg where they have experienced some record flooding and the town is largely submerged. The emergency services, volunteers and the Australian Defence Forces have all come together to help in rescuing those stranded in low lying areas in a truly herculean effort and they have nothing but my respect and well wishes as they help the community. Once the river has subsided a massive effort will be underway to salvage whatever remains and for the town to start over again, but unfortunately it is not just Bundaberg that has been subsumed but towns such as Gympie and parts of Ipswich also that will have to pick up the pieces.
This all occurred during ‘Australia Day‘ (January 26th) which occurred on Saturday past, but the day is also known as ‘Invasion Day‘ or even ‘Survival Day‘ by indigenous Australians as the day commemorates Capt. Cook’s ‘discovery’ of Australia in 1788. I had the pleasure of being invited to a rally by my indigenous friend where I was able to listen to first hand accounts of the problems that face indigenous Australians here. Top of the list is the picking of a date which is not one they celebrate owing to the mass genocide, rape and persecution that flowed from it. Perhaps a better day to celebrate Australia would possibly be January 1st as this day in 1901 Australia became a federation, who knows? However, what I took from my time at this rally was actually a rather positive message as opposed to one of sorrow and pity; native Australians have come to accept people to Australia, all they want is a fair crack at life and for their culture to be respected with their children having the same opportunities as all others, something that I find hard to disagree with. Unfortunately, the one thing I do not love about this land I am trying to make home is the casual racism that is frankly endemic. It reminds of a pretty poor 1970s sitcom and is something I hope becomes less and less prevalent but as we know, these things take time, effort, education and focus from all.
On Wednesday, one of my favorite Australians, Julia Gillard, announced that the federal elections here will take place on September 14th making this election campaign the longest in the nation’s history and one that should frankly be bruising even by Australian standards.
Australians usually have a 5 week long campaign so this goes way beyond what people are used to. Some are seeing this as a ploy by the Labour party to shine some light on Tony Abbott’s Liberal National party policies and how many may not be properly costed, something he is not willing to engage in at the moment though who knows what the future may hold. But the main thrust seems to be that the LNP has largely ran a fairly negative campaign telling voters what they would not do as opposed to what they would do. It is noticeable how Abbott et al have massively changed tack over the past week or so and this may have partly triggered the PM to start campaigning so early, again, watch this space.
I will be helping out and volunteering with the Queensland Labour Party which will be my first time I nail my colours officially to a mast and help a specific organisation as opposed to me merely discussing matters with others, so expect some more stuff on that. I will try my best to be as objective as possible on matters, however, anyone who knows me and has followed this blog knows I am left leaning but will engage all varieties of opinion in a civil manner, though who knows what I will be like closer to the day!
From the floods I have actually gotten work which is quite perverse in the extreme if I were to be honest about the whole matter, but these types of natural disasters always bring about a renewal of communities who try to recreate what has been lost. Owing to the time I have been off sight seeing etc. I have been forced, forced I say!!! (not entirely against my will though) to watch a lot of cricket here, whether it has been Australia v South Africa and then Sri Lanka in full test games, or the one day internationals and 20/20 games. Having spent some time in the States when I was growing up we were accustomed to watching baseball and I rather enjoyed it, so cricket is not to dissimilar in many ways, just so much longer (at full test that is). So, you may be wondering if I should change my name to ‘cricketcliches’? I think the 3 codes of football I follow (GAA, AFL and soccer) can all rest easy, I am just a mad sports fan, that’s all! Cricket is rather enjoyable to watch once you start to figure out the little intricacies and the 3 formats on the go have ensured that it stays relevant in today’s increasingly competitive sporting market place. When you are on a covered deck, in 30 degree heat, in a hammock after a barbeque and with a beer in hand, it is a great way to just let a day go by. Unfortunately, I will leave all this behind for the wild world of work, shame that…