Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Best of Times - The Worst of Times

Pic courtesy smh.com.au

It's almost Christmas, time for reflection. 
In the lead up to Christmas, we've seen the best and worst of human behaviour.

It took a savage attack on our national psyche by a fundamentalist lunatic to bring out the best in us, including the altruistic #illridewithyou and the public displays of grief and solidarity symbolized by the flowering of Martin Place.

The Catholic Leader this morning also featured two stories - one showing the best in our treatment of the most vulnerable in our community and one showing the worst.

The first - Home for Christmas

Sunshine Coast retirees Maureen and Bevan Gallagher could not have wished for a better Christmas gift – their 38-year-old son Kieran, who has “profound and multiple disabilities”, is happy in his own home for the first time in his life.
The couple, members of the Stella Maris Parish at Maroochydore, had both had health scares as they head into old age and their number-one worry was “What is going to happen to Kieran?”
He needs 24-hour care and, as with other parents of dependent children with disabilities, the Gallaghers’ greatest concern was who was going to provide that care once they were no longer able to.
That worry is gone, because Kieran, along with two other men with disabilities, is living in his own home receiving all the care he needs.
“Yuvardee”, which means “home” in the language of the local Gubbi Gubbi people, was opened in the heart of Maroochydore on November 13. For the Gallaghers, it’s as if all their Christmases have come at once.
“It’s extraordinary,” Bevan said. “It’s given us the opportunity for peace of mind.” Maureen said that peace of mind was what it was all about.
“Apart from that feeling for us, Kieran now lives in a house with people his own age – he’s not stuck with us oldies.
“That’s amazing for him.”
It’s been a gift made possible by the generous efforts of many, including the Holy Spirit Sisters; Franciscan friars; Stella Maris Parish, Maroochydore; family and friends; and others who are strangers to the Gallaghers.
The Yuvardee story centres on the Holy Spirit Sisters’ concern for Maureen, Bevan and Kieran, with whom they have had a close association for more than 40 years, dating back to the time when the sisters and the Gallaghers came together in the same parish – St Flannan’s at Zillmere in Brisbane.
In more recent years, after Maureen had had breast cancer and Bevan then had had heart surgery, the Holy Spirit Sisters asked them what were their plans for when they were no longer able to care for Kieran.
“Our response was that ageing parents like us were encouraged to apply to the Housing Department for a house and when one became available, the State Government would provide the funding for the day-to-day care,” the Gallaghers said.
“The sisters then said that they would like to help by providing the house.
“We were overwhelmed by this most unexpected response.”
Maureen said Kieran “had his name down for a Housing Department house for five years … along with how many thousands, I don’t know”.
“That’s when the Holy Spirit Sisters said they would provide the house.”
The sisters bought the land and had the house purpose-built to provide supported accommodation for people with disabilities.
Since that decision, the Gallaghers have had a flood of support from many directions.
The Franciscans funded the furnishing of the house, retailers offered good deals on purchases, Maroochydore parish raised $30,000 through a concert and barbecue to help buy a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, and the Gallaghers’ other son Damien, with 30 other people in Melbourne, raised $5000.
“There are countless other examples of generosity and support that we could cite,” Maureen said.
“It’s such a happy, positive story.”
With funding from the State Government, Centacare Community Services provides day-to-day care for Kieran and his housemates Peter and Graeme.
Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, during a pastoral visit to Maroochydore parish a few weeks before the opening of Yuvardee, took time to bless the house.
Maureen and Bevan said the impact of having Kieran move into his own house had been “beyond our expectations”.
“We were advised we’d have to be careful – someone said, ‘You may need counselling, because you may have a type of grieving’,” Bevan said. But Maureen said they hadn’t needed it.
“I think it’s because we’ve been on this journey for three years since the sisters took the decision,” she said. “We’ve had so much support from so many people from so many groups that we’ve coped with it very well.
“Us coping well comes down to the fact that Kieran’s happy and contented. We’ve got nothing to worry about.”
The Gallaghers said they and the families of Graeme and Peter “will be forever grateful to the Holy Spirit Sisters for their extraordinarily generous and compassionate response to an urgent need in our society”.
Provincial leader of the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters of Australia and Fiji Sr Sarita Kurikattil said it was “a joy to be part of this project”.
House blessing: Archbishop Mark Coleridge (left) visits Kieran Gallagher (seated) and Kieranís parents Bevan and Maureen at ìYuvardeeî.
“It’s given us a new lease of life, to know that Kieran is there and is there for life,” she said.

The SecondPushing for Detainees Release

One of the Townsville organizers of a campaign to release an Afghani refugee from detention has described a "deafening silence" from Immigration Minister Scott Morrison  on the matter.

Townsville diocese's Sacred Heart Cathedral parish manager Steve Sutton said the refugee, Patrick Wilson, a respected com­munity member had been held in a Darwin detention centre since September 30.

Mr Wilson, 30, who became a Catholic last year, changed his Afghani name in September to reflect his respect for his main mentors through the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program, Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson and Christian Brother Patrick Cronin.

He was put into detention after traveling to Cairns for what he thought was a regular Department of Immigration and Citizenship meeting with departmental officers about his bridging visa as there is no DIAC office in Townsville.

Mr Sutton said Knights of the Southern Cross branches around Australia had also thrown their weight behind the campaign collecting thousands of signatures.

Federal Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews, a Catholic and a member of the Knights of the Southern Cross, is among those who have been petitioned.

"The appeal asks for prayer for Patrick and for parishioners to solicit the (Immigration Minister) Scott Morrison to urgently intervene for one of our parishioners," Mr. Sutton said.

"What we want to know is: why have Patrick locked up when he could be celebrating Christmas in a community which cares for him?"

Mr. Morrison said "there were no plans to enforce the individual's immediate removal". "However, people who have exhausted all outstanding avenues to remain in Australia and have no lawful basis to remain are expected to depart," he said.

Enjoy a peaceful and holy Christmas, gentle reader.


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Nailed It

Image courtesy Crikey.com

Every now and again, First Dog's unique brand of whimsy nails it.

 He's done it again..

H/T Brendan

(Click image to embiggen).

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

An Ill Wind

The above photo was taken in Sarajevo in 1941, showing a Muslim woman walking with her Jewish neighbor and covering her yellow star with her veil.

In light of the tragic events in Sydney, it's worth remembering the adage.

This reflection doesn't mask the horror of the events, but it does acknowledge the basic compassion that dwells in the hearts of average Australians.

I'm referring of course, to #illridewith you.

This phenomenon - spontaneous - not organised, indicates that rationality and compassion always trumps fear and xenophobia.

Something similar happened in Sarajevo in 1941 - see photo.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A Clutch of Quotes

Pic courtesy UK Daily Telegraph

 Back in 1984, when he signed the UN Convention against torture, US President Ronald Reagan said this -

The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention . It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.

Yesterday, a number of Republicans, including  Marco Rubio, a likely 2016 presidential contender, issued the following statement after the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee on the harsh interrogation techniques used by the CIA against terror suspects -

I cannot think of a greater disservice to our men and women serving in the military and in our intelligence field than to hand terror groups like ISIL another recruiting tool and excuse to target them,” Republican Sen. John Cornyn said in statement issued Tuesday. “Due to the political calculations of some, the American people and our allies across the globe are less safe today than they were before.

The juxtaposition makes it starkly clear how the extremists on the Right have hijacked the Republicans in the USA. To be completely fair, this issue has divided the Republican Party, with John McCain, who has been on the receiving end of torture, making his views plain -

I commend Chairman Feinstein and her staff for their diligence in seeking a truthful accounting of policies I hope we will never resort to again. I thank them for persevering against persistent opposition from many members of the intelligence community, from officials in two administrations, and from some of our colleagues.
The truth is sometimes a hard pill to swallow. It sometimes causes us difficulties at home and abroad. It is sometimes used by our enemies in attempts to hurt us. But the American people are entitled to it, nonetheless.
They must know when the values that define our nation are intentionally disregarded by our security policies, even those policies that are conducted in secret. They must be able to make informed judgments about whether those policies and the personnel who supported them were justified in compromising our values; whether they served a greater good; or whether, as I believe, they stained our national honor, did much harm and little practical good.

McCain, of course, is a patriot, not a partisan. His statement refers to "the values that define our nation". Those who support the use of torture as a means to provide security forget that the abandonment of these core values leaves nothing worthwhile to defend. It brings the perpetrators to exactly the same level of depravity as those they claim they are fighting.

No civilized nation, no matter how threatened, can use torture as a means to ensure security. It was not necessary in two world wars. It is not necessary now.

History is a harsh and fearless judge. That's why the atrocities committed by the Japanese (for example) are burned into our national consciousness.

The march towards extremism exhibited across the Pacific has its echoes here, where crass ideology has begun to highjack Coalition policies.

We need to keep an eye on the Yanks and learn from their mistakes. 

We also need to call to account those politicians here who exhibited craven cowardice around the treatment of at least one Australian citizen.

Friday, 5 December 2014


Peppa Pig has survived - picture chosen because of the porkies.......

I've had it up to here with the Right Wing blogosphere and the News Limited media repeating the canard that the ABC is biased to the Left.

It comes from the  principle (developed and refined by Joseph Goebbels) that if a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes the truth.

Below is a list of current or former ABC staff who have been or still are on the payroll of the Coalition. Some (Scott Emerson, Gary Hardgrave and Prue Goward) have held political office for Coalition parties.

Sarah Henderson
Dai Le
Gary Hardgrave
Peter Collins
Pru Goward
Rob Messenger
Grant Woodhams
Eoin Cameron
Cameron Thompson
Scott Emerson
Ian Cover
Peter McArthur
Bruce Webster
Peter Kennedy
Michael Duffy
Chris Wordsworth
Cathy Job
Vicki Thompson
Chris Nicholls
Jim Bonner
Ken Crooke
Mark Tobin
Josephine Cafagna
Allen Callaghan

I could outline their Coalition employment in detail, but if you're reading this, you're obviously on line, so Google is your friend.

If the ABC is such a biased outfit, I wonder how these people maintained successful careers in the organization? As that well-known Right Winger once said - "Please explain". She was being interviewed on the ABC at the time...............

I love it when I can use my ICD*.

*Inbuilt Crap Detector

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Refugee Weirdness

Father Mick Lowcock (L) and Steve Sutton with the Wilson petition (Pic courtesy Catholic Leader).

There are some very strange goings on up North (Townsville) at the moment.

In my copy of the Catholic Leader this morning is a story about an Afghan refugee from St Francis Xavier Parish, Railway Estate(Townsville). It was posted under a pic of Father Mick Lowcock - a fearless advocate for those doing it tough. Mick was our parish priest, first in Townsville and later in Mt Isa.

This Hazara refugee had been living in Townsville for a while, long enough to have set up a succesful business, become a Catholic under RCIA*, and changed his name to Patrick Wilson.

By the sound of it, he's been a model immigrant, not to be stereotyped as a welfare bludger, or someone who refuses to assimilate, and he seems to have adopted the values of his new country. In other words, exactly the kind of immigrant that we need.

There is, of course, one problem - he's on a bridging visa.

He was arrested in September, and is now locked up in Wickham Point detention in Darwin.

Why? It's hard to say, unless it's about Hermann Morrison being macho - something he does with monotonous regularity.

If this bloke is sent back to Afghanistan he's dead. He's both an apostate and a Hazara. Both are capital offences as far as the Taliban is concerned.

Morrison uses stopping drownings at sea as the rationale for his bullying of refugees.

Paraphrasing John Howard, he's really saying "When it comes to refugees, we'll decide who dies and the manner of their death".

No more drownings at sea, but no refuge in Australia, just the certainty of death at the hands of extremists in their home countries.

ABC North Queensland has also run the story.

You know it makes sense.................

Here's the link to the petition. 

*Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

We're Better Than This

I'm not much into causes, but we are indeed, better than this.

Blog Archive