: : crazybrave has moved to <a href="http://crazybrave.net">http://crazybrave.net/</a>: November 2004

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Our Foreign Minister is a Graceless Self Aggrandising Idiot.

I have decided on my new hobby. I am going to monitor and report on the idiocies of our foreign minister. It's yucky, I know, but it needs to be done.

Today, the most graceless condolence speech in the history of the Australian Parliament. There is a link to a huge PDF of Hansard here, or the full text is below:

Mr DOWNER (Mayo—Minister for Foreign Affairs)

On indulgence, I would very briefly like to support the
comments that have been made and say how very sorry
I was to hear of Janine Haines’s death. I think Janine Haines
was the most substantial leader that the Australian
Democrats ever had, and I really mean that. As others have
said, she was a very articulate woman and a very intelligent woman.
She was also a very honourable and honest woman. Whilst
I did not agree with her on many issues, I really did
admire her fortitude, her courage and her integrity. She
was, as I said, the most substantial leader that the Australian
Democrats have had. She was substantial not
just in terms of her high profile but in terms of the substance
of the person.

I had a little to do with her, as she came from my
own state of South Australia. In particular I think today
is the day to confess that in 1990 we were very concerned
about her determination to win the seat of Kingston.
Janine Haines was very popular at that time. The
Democrats were riding very high in 1990, and she put a
substantial effort into winning the seat of Kingston
against the then Labor member for Kingston, Gordon

I have known Gordon Bilney for a fair period
of time, including before he became a member of parliament.
We were both in the Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade together. But, curiously enough, I did
not want to see the Democrats win the seat from the
Labor Party, because I believed that if the Democrats
won Kingston then that would have given the Democrats
a beachhead which they would have been able to
build on, and in time the Democrats would have become
a significant third force in Australian politics,
rather akin to the British Liberal Democrats.

I recall working quite closely with Gordon Bilney to
ensure that the Democrats did not win that seat—in
other words, that Janine Haines did not win. I can only
say that, in the interests of the diminishing support for
the Democrats, Janine Haines’s failure to win that seat
was a very significant development. If she had won
that seat, I think the Democrats would have made a
beachhead into the House of Representatives. I think
she would have been a very significant and forceful
figure in the House of Representatives. For those of us
who have had significant Democrat votes in our own
electorates, it would have been a very major problem
for us in terms of holding our seats. I have to confess
some self-interest in that regard.

In conclusion, I think she was the most substantial
and the most significant leader the Australian Democrats
have had. She was a very good woman, a very
honourable woman. I extend my condolences to her
husband, Ian, and to her children, Bronwyn and

Flogged pictuer
At least he's tall, I suppose.

I am sure that Ian, Brownwyn and Melanie are touched by your kind words, Alexander. Some free advice for you - never MC a wedding.

Monday, November 29, 2004

The dying whimper of Pandagate ...

From the referral tracker, I found abulsme.com

It said:

OK. So for the last year or so, when I've looked at stats or logs from my site, I've actually looked at filtered logs, with just the hits to actual PAGES. Yesterday I decided, for the first time in ages, to look at the FULL logs. I found some fun things.

Just like the picture of Sara was in the email going around, several other of my pictures are in use on other websites. For now, I'll highlight the ones I found from looking at the full logs for my website for 11 Nov 2004 (UTC of course). These are fun! (Listed in order by the first time each appeared in the log during the day.)

#1) 00:10:55 UTC CrazyBrave: They use my picture of a sad panda to illustrate a point about "PandaGate". PandaGate is apperantly some sort of scandal going on in Australia. The sad panda is very sad. I found it on the ground by the dumpster in the rain one day. I almost saved it from its fate, but in the end I just took pictures. And now it is immortal!

My sister told me, after seeing her compost bin on the internet, that I needed a new hobby. Not as badly as this guy does.

An official statement of regret

I regret that when I was listening to AM this morning (or maybe it was Michelle Grattan afterwards) it was seriously suggested that the best immediate outcome being hoped for within the federal Labor Party was that no-one would go utterly postal before Christmas.

Image from The Public Cause
The post-mortem continues.

27 sleeps 'til Santa comes.
And one week to the Canberra blogerque.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Rites of sausage

Some people are getting into tizzes about arranging to meet their blog friends, and even pondering the value of such meetings. TJ points out that a RiotACT meetup on Friday night will include real live Canberra bloggers. Details and address for more info are here.

Me, I just like parties, so I will organise one. In order to avoid any iss-ewes, I declare the Canberra Blogerque to be a religious observance of the sacred Rites of Sausage. Any criticism of the event will therefore be immediately referred to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and further correspondence will be through my solicitors. The details are:

Sunday, December 5 (that's Sunday week)
from 4 pm
On the Eucalypt lawn at the Botanic Gardens at the foot of Black Mountain (here’s a map).

BYO everything for picnicky eating, drinking and probably a bit of cricket frisbee.

I was originally thinking Uriarra Crossing, but it's a touch too far away and a touch to early in the year for much river swimming. There is a café at the Botanic Gardens, and plenty of space for mental (or even relatively sane) children. I think you can even get there by public transport.

To facilitate witty conversation, there will be no loud doof music. People will not wear name tags, and thus be forced to get the ball rolling , repartee-wise, by introducing themselves. There will be exciting visits from interstate bloggers (not all acts confirmed).

If some wild spirits want to head in town after, excellent. If someone wants to nominate a place, people who don't want to or can't get to the first part can meet up for a drinkie. Little people can be taken home and read 76 variations of "Mr McGee". Or plunked in front of Booh-Bah.

Another event will be organised in the new year by whoever fancies doing so at the time. Robert Corr explains how things are organised in Perth here, which sounds practical and easy to me. Perhaps we could have a chat at the barbie. Anyone not able to attend but wishing to register their interest for further events can drop me an email at crazybrave@gmail.com

If we are very lucky, and ask nicely, the husbang mightwear his David apron. This was much more likely when the concept was more barbeque than picnic, but we'll see.

This isn't O, of course, it's some random old internet lady. But that's the apron, alright.

Nice Feelings

Middle names are important, particularly for rousing on people with. My son's middle name is Salvador, and it rolls off the tongue supremely well in phrases like "SAGE SALVADOR! DO NOT JUMP ON MAMA'S HEAD! MAMA IS TIRED! MAMA IS HAVING A LITTLE REST! WHERE IS DAD-DAD?"

O has no middle name. As a poor substitute I sometimes insert "NO MIDDLE INITIAL", but it just doesn't resonate with me, you know?

My two bestest friends have superb middle names - Katie Veronica and Catherine Joy. Mine is dull old "Ann", the most boring middle name in the whole world and not even graced with an "e".

- brief musical interlude -

Katie Veronica, at one time in her life, would bottle up her feelings all day and then have them in a big rush as she was lying in bed at night. Not a great way to get to sleep.

On the other hand, I've been thinking that a little emotional restraint wouldn't do me any harm. I'm a cancer, known for ridiculous over emotionalism and a sneaking tendency to disbelieve that anyone else actually has an emotional life.

So I have decided to be nicer, and through such niceness, to create greater niceness in my life. Which in practice means I have to get out the dusty zafu and go to my goddam boxing classes. (Actually, the boxing classes are a corker. The teacher is an ex travelling tent boxer, tiny little bloke with a walking stick and a tracksuit that says "Coach". He teaches at the police boys' club, screaming incomprehensibly while we all run around like dingbats with gloves on. The soundtrack is comprised largely of AC/DC. No-one wears lycra, but it does smell a bit.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

A bit glum

I cancelled home delivery of the paper, thinking that for what it cost + dial-up account, I could get broadband. Virtuously I cancelled the paper, but I haven't organised the broadband account yet.

I miss the paper, even though it often went unread. I have yet to adjust to reading it online. I keep being distracted by things like this (read it for the ingenious comeback), and when I have to click through a headline like "Downer wants probe into Ukrainian voting" I can't bring myself to.

Nice threads. Sharp. You goon.

While his great idiocy has always been a source of amusement (remember "the things that batter", anyone?), I am finding it much harder to raise a chuckle since the election. Even with the word "probe" in the headline.

Not safe for vegans

Or even vegetarians. Wickham turned out to be a bit tough, as predicted, so he became soup. Very tasty soup, apparently. At least his death was not in vain.

I have resisted the temptation to put the feathers on the neighbours' door step with some red paint and a large sign saying "CHICKEN KILLERS LIVE HERE".

The really gross bit is that his carcass was later fed to my sister's chickens. Chickens LOVE meat. Even chicken. Perverts.

Exhibit 1. Posted by Hello

Monday, November 22, 2004

The weekend's viewing

I'm happy for Casey and everything, having been on Team Casey since the beginning. I have some regrets for the same reasons pointed out here by Jellyfish, but also a great sadness that I did not put ten bucks on her at a 101-1 at Centrebet about six weeks ago. Bugger.

Still, best viewing of the weekend for me was Iron Chef! which returned to excellence after a few lacklustre episodes. Japanese game show ridiculousness combined with fine food, exceedingly esoteric ingredients and frenzied commentary. There is a weekly challenger, and four Iron Chefs - Japanese! Chinese! press the buttons, what are these? French! and Italian.! My favourite is Hiroyuki Sakai, Iron Chef French! who was this week's victor in the Battle Bonito against the first ever sushi Chef to challenge, Funatsu Hiromi.

The cherry on top of the whole confection is Chairman Kaga.

Not a real Chairman

I was bitterly disturbed while tooling around the Iron Chef sites to find out that Chairman Kaga is NOT REAL! I know you look at that picture and don't believe me, but I am very trusting and can be surprisingly silly.

Please prove me wrong

Some time ago, FX Holden threatened to report me to the welfare for exposing my child to my husbang's extensive collection of 1970's progressive jazz on vinyl.

So it is not without trepidation that I pose this question: is mine the only household in Australia with the following record on vinyl and CD?

I thought so.

Oh, lordy
Mr Jean-Luc Ponty

Although a contender, this is not the worst album cover available to humanity. That honour goes to "Songs for Gay Dogs" which I will have to take a photo of and pop up here.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

I want a party! And a pony!

After hearing about Melbourne and Sydney playdates for bloggers, I felt all sad and left out. So I invited Kent, who is coming to Canberra, to meet up. If other Canberra bloggers and commenters would like to have a do of some kind in the first half of December, let me know. We could do a BBQ-y park type thing, as many of us (ie me) have little kids, or we could make someone else look after them for a while and go out and get shirtfaced. Or something.

bad pony
No, not like this, I want a nice pony.

In the meantime, how funny are jellyfish and TJ?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Unruly cock lopped

Take a bow. Posted by Hello

Despite some calling around last night, I had to take Wickham around to my bloodthirsty sister this morning (after, would you believe, a little weep - I didn't tell her that).

She had that scary bloodthirsty look in her eyes again, and three books open to "How to kill chickens" on the lounge. I told her I'd posted about Shaggy the lamb and her eyes glinted even more fiercely. "I've been giving him rosemary!"

I was looking for a horoscope link to tease outed Taurean, Chris Sheil, when I found this one for me -

A poultry expert has come up with a revolutionary use for the feathers that are left over when chickens are slaughtered. David Emery has built a machine to turn the damp, dirty refuse into a strong, light fiber that's suitable for making auto parts and medical instruments. I believe you will possess a similar capacity for ingenious transformation in the coming weeks, Cancerian. Though your work may not always be fun or easy, you will be an alchemical wizard with the power to metamorphose muck and dregs into useful stuff.

I went out with a rocket scientist in Brazil once who proudly showed me a (predictably ugly) ute made of banana fibres. Is that what they mean?

A suggestion

'bye Chris, and good luck with your book.

I always knew you were a Taurus, anyway.


When you get a new blog, can you call it "Come Back Pages"?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Cock a doodle don't.

You is my bitches. Posted by Hello

Predictably, Wickham has got himself into some trouble. He has been behaving in a dead normal teenage rooster fashion at about 5:30 am each day. Unfortunately, this behaviour is carried out fairly close to the neighbours' bedroom window. We told them that we had received a surprise gift when my sister gave him to us, and asked them to tell us if they had any problem and he would be dinner.

Perhaps that was a little heavy handed. They hated it, but didn't tell us until O sought them out to ask how it was going. O has attempted to black out the chook shed (I told you he was handy) and we'll see how it goes in the morning. It hasn't disturbed us because Sage usually wakes up the household at about 5 - 5:30 anyway.

I called my sister to tell her. They already have a rooster, and two is one too many roosters. She spoke with a very hearty tone when she said "We'll eat 'im!". I thought about eating him; anthony and I could talk chicken recipes and say "EVOO" a lot. But I don't think I could eat him. Even though I think he would be utterly delicious.

My sister is made of tougher stuff. They have a lamb at their place, who is named and fed bottles twice a day. I heard my sister calling out to her six year old daughter the other day: "Stop chasing Shaggy! We want all that fat on him!"

I hope Wickham shuts up, or can be satisfactorially rehoused. If not, Stanley our white leghorn will be stoked because she'll be the boss again. I think Barry White will be a bit cut, as she seems to be the favoured one.* I don't think the others will care one way or the other.

* According to my sister, chooks don't have dicks. They just rub their vents together and the rooster oozes a bit. (Well who hasn't had a boyfriend like that?) I tried to check this for accuracy, but got bamgoogled and decided to stop.

Job Snob speaks out from "coward's castle"

Breaking news.

It seems that Tony Windsor, an independent federal MP of unblemished reputation, has identified under Parliamentary Privilege Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, Deputy Leader of the Senate, Sandy Macdonald, and a brunette stranger (no relation to the red headed stranger at FX's) as the figures who sent some people to talk to him about what he might like to do for a job government-wise, if - oh, say, for instance ... um - he happened not to run in New England the October 9 election.

Apparently Anderson will respond in Parliament tonight. Interesting that he's saving his response for Parliament, presumably to enjoy the protection of the same privilege extended to Windsor. I expect some first rate slagging over the next few days. In a loving way, of course.


PS - just heard John Anderson on the SBS news. He repudiates the claim, was out of town, saw nothing and you can't prove a thing. And the Lateline transcript should be here soon. (What an idiot I am to have missed it on telly, while I'm staying up and all.)

FRUiTS of the loom

My friend Pammy, originator of the term "husbang" and all-round groover recently leant me a copy of a book about FRUiTS magazine, full of photos of Japanese street fashion lovingly catalogued by Shoichi Aoki.

check the shoes!

I've seen some amazing pictures of crazy Japanese kids, (and plenty of the kids themselves when I lived in Sydney) but I didn't realise until reading the (very brief) little blurb in the book the tradition that they were participating in; the platforms, the hair clips, the lot.

The first novel in the world, Tales of Genji, was written by a Japanese woman called Murasaki Shikibu. A couple of years ago I read "Tales of Murasaki", a fictionalised diary of Murasaki by Liza Dalby, anthropologist and former geisha (which is a cracker of an answer to "so what do you do?") It is an enormously long novel, with hundreds of descriptions of individual outfits with seventeen layers of fabric representing the shades of purple on the Eastern face of Mt Fuji at the vernal equinox, or something of the kind.


At least they were more interesting than the endless fashion checklists in Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho. I mean I know it really mattered to the characters, and they were all vain, evil, and shallow as a puddle, but Christ it was hard to read. Bored, not horrified. I'd already got that point from his earlier novel, Less Than Zero, which at least I managed to finish.

My ex husband and I used to give nature names to each other's outfits every day - the glistening moss on the smooth riverstone for a green shirt and black duds, that kind of thing. In our defence we were in our early twenties and didn't have much to do at Uni. My husbang now would never dream of such poetic flights of adolescent whimsy. It's fortunate that he was blessed with extreme good looks, for his fashion choices are often poor. Luckily for me, he can fix shit, and has heaps of tools.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Fully Sick

Being a parent is just extraordinary. You can be having a happy family trip to the produce market, with your usual carefully mapped out itinerary (park near the pet shop; proceed immediately to the far side of markets to the bestest seafood shop in Canberra and look at the little fishies in the tanks; get Dad-dad to sit down at cafe with little guy and snack; deposit grocery bag one of fruity vegetable type objects; eat slightly suspect chicken kebab with infant; obtain grocery bag two and deposit with Dad-dad and said infant; assist Dad-dad and infant to enormous "magic mushroom" (I shit you not!) playground area. Watch kid play. Take kid to pet shop, traditonal last point of shopping (conveniently near car by now) and meeting point of parents recently acquainted at Magic Mushroom) - ahh, but it still can go cruelly wrong.

After looking at rats, little tiny chickens, and lotsa fishies in the pet shop, you can check out the ridiculous mouse exercise paradises that - apparently - people will pay hundreds of dollars to buy. And, if your day's been like that, what you should do is look earnestly at your mama and hurl your guts up. And do it again. And again. If you're little, you probably don't have much experience of a good solid ralph, and you may need a lot of support. F'rinstance, if you just had your first serious big hurl ever in your life, what you would obviously do next is grab your mama and squeeze her for dear life. Maybe because her shirt didn't have any sick on it yet.

Can I just send some snaps here to the lovely teenager who brought bucket, mop and big roll of paper while still managing to find it all somewhat amusing. It seems that kids sicking are cuter than puppies after all.

This whole vile experience would have been much more entertaining had it not happened again ten hours later, about ten minutes after I left his bed, thinking he was asleep. Henry the octopus is looking much the worse for wear. Let's hope he survives the spin cycle.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Teenage cock

This chook's a bit tough. Posted by Hello

It's a maelstrom (or should that be malestorm?) of adolescent chicken hormones around here since my sister decided to give us a cockerel. He's a Plymouth Rock, which is a very posh heritage strain, and excellent eating apparently. He loves our Black Australorp, Barry White, and tries to root her all the time, which seems OK with her.

We're having a bit of a blue about what to call him. O thinks "Gordon Bennett" on the basis that this is some amusing English thing (although O is not English, and hasn't satisfactorially explained to me what is funny about a chook called "Gordon Bennett".) Me, I don't know, although I'm leaning toward "Mr Collins" since my sister stole "Mr Darcy" for the whopping grown up rooster she bought the same day. Suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Drinks on the King of Tonga

My dear mate and former colleague Kyles was in town for a few days for a work do. Her marvellous boss (known as the "King of Tonga" for his joy in excess *) came to town too, so it was "slaughter a pig and book us the Hyatt!"

As we sat in the cigar lounge with our mate Fiasco da Gama (whose name you might recognise from umpteen Australian Idol message boards if, like her, you have had too many essays to write recently) we talked about our love of Australian language, Christian romance fiction for teenagers (how can so many encounters be physically satisfactory yet leave one feeling so "empty") and Kyles' long struggles against the injustices of the world.

Kyles is, you see, a nation state. She has not recognised the State of Israel since 1986, and will not take up diplomatic relations until a Palestinian homeland exists. You might think this is just spouting off, but Kyles is a woman of principle. For the twelve years she lived in the UK, she did not eat one avocado. Not.a.single.one.

Nor does she recognise the Academy Awards (since Denzel Washington won Best Actor) and will not do so until they adequately recognise the contribution made by African Americans to the film industry.

Kyles has one more year to run until she is no longer blackbanned by Amnesty International - they called her a fascist for her interpretation of the constituents of a human right. She has not read the SMH since 1998, when they published a list of the best pools in Sydney that did not venture further west than Balmain. As I said, a woman of principle.

She is one of the funniest, finest people I know, and the only one who has ever said "My God! I look like the wreck of the Hesperus!". Apart from Fiasco da Gama's mum.


* This is only the second best work nickname I've ever heard. I used to work with a little liked person who was relentless in her quest to sign every piece of paper in the joint with her initials, "JK". She quickly became "JFK", with the "F" standing for the obvious. And she never bought anyone a drink. Onya, KoT.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Cheers, Gov

Image courtesy of the Governor General

From Crikey's sealed section today:

Blogger brawl in Pandagate putsch

Andrew Bolt and the granddaughter of one of Australia’s most unrepentant old Coms battling it out online? Sounds speccie. Welcome to Pandagate.

Federal politics is in a lacunae, but a spectacular brawl has erupted in the Australian blogosphere, mainly among the new political blogs that flourished like Mao’s hundred flowers in the lead up to the election.

It's been dubbed Pandagate – and started with a somewhat sophomoric article in the Age by Misha Schubert that mentioned Young Lib Miranda Airey-Branson's blog. (Airey-Branson is sometimes known as Miranda Panda, hence the tag.)

Soon other bloggers pounced – and things got very messy very quickly. Threats against employment were made, more dirt was excavated than in the heyday of the Whitehouse Plumbers and an interesting range of accusations against Labor MP for Melbourne Ports, Michael Danby – along with photos of his partner – appeared online.

Eventually, they conscripted Andrew Bolt to their cause, who wrote this column about it.

Bolt was later asked about where the idea for his column came from, and he denied knowing the Liberals concerned. However, he was called on that one because he was interviewed by Miranda Airey-Branson for the Melbourne University newspaper, Farrago. After that, he stopped answering emails about the column.

But some of his emails turned up. It seems that the Liberals had been sourcing their information from two fictional characters - one of whom Bolt had an email conversation with before writing his column.

A Labor blogger has put the trail up here. Leftie Fitzroy bore Marieke Hardy, granddaughter of Stalin fan and Power Without Glory author Frank Hardy, scriptwriter and proprietor of the rather bemusing “Joan Kirner is the new Betty Page” Polichicks fashion label www.polichicks.org has got in on the fun, too.

Readers can follow the whole saga by starting at the bottom of this page and working your way up. Still, it’s very odd that Bolt saw fit to involve himself in such a spat. Isn’t it below him?

Links didn't appear, but for anyone who hasn't been watching go to Kick & Scream and Darp for historical excitement.

sad panda
Happy bonobos. Sad panda.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Actually, it is OK to be gay

It's even OK to be a freakin' idiot.* (As the husbang just said, it's hard when you're so confused to think that anyone else can actually understand the world.)

But for preference, give me people who speak intelligently about things they have lived and thought deeply about.

And bonobos (hat tip to to Flute on the little monkeys).

Hello you!

* The Two Cents site with the ridiculous article "It"s not OK to be gay" has been password protected and unfortunately the google cache doesn't include it. I'm guessing the password is probably "abolt" but I can't be bothered finding out for sure.

Graphic image warning

The offending article(s). Posted by Hello

I bought this doll for my son at a fete on the weekend (I do love fete season). I had picked up a girl doll when the woman behind the table told me that there was a lovely boy one.

I'm all for seeing yourself reflected in the culture, so I picked him up. Then she apologised because he had no clothes on, which was "a bit rude". Just like all the nudey girl dolls, none of whom provoked an apology.

I am choosing not to make anything of the fact that the fete was at a Catholic primary school, and just putting it down to her being a bit of an idiot.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Getting personal. And political.

(long post warning)

I am not surprised that abortion has emerged as an issue following the re-election of the Coalition. And like some others, I’m not disappointed that it has resurfaced. Today Kevin Rudd has asked the Government to 'fess up any plans they have to legislate. (And as an aside, does anyone else remember that the idea of this Governor General seemed to be that he wasn't going to say anything much outside a fete?)

Before I start, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I met a man when I was an exchange student in Brazil. I was 17, he an 18 year old American. We fell in love, and he went home after six months. I spent three days in bed, sobbing. My Brazilian family comforted me by saying that I would probably never see him again.

After nearly four years of very irregular correspondence he sent me a marvellous letter saying that he’d never met a woman who could hold a candle to me and that he couldn’t really move on in his life if he didn’t come and see me to find out if I felt the same way. Six months later, he arrived. Two weeks later, I was pregnant. I was 21, with two years to go to complete my degree.

I had an abortion at 7 weeks gestation. It was hard. The decision was the easiest part. For me, at that time and in those circumstances, I felt unable to cope with any other alternative. I had violent morning sickness, and can remember having vomited so many times that I could feel the sides of my stomach slap together as I retched air. I was terrified about what would become of my life.

I lived in Canberra then (as I do now, 12 years later). At that time, this meant I had to catch a bus to Sydney to have the abortion. My two best friends were sharing a tiny house in Newtown; one came with me, the other cooked us dinner (tomato and spinach soup. It was very good.) I remember a nurse at the clinic talking about the number of women from Canberra that came there, and how they should run a minibus. I said that it might be OK on the way there, but I would like independent transport home. I am lucky that my mother drove from Newcastle to bring me back home because she needed a practical way to demonstrate she supported me.

I have a two year old son now. I knew years before I fell pregnant (accidentally) with him, that I would not have another abortion. I believe that life begins at conception. For me, the question is not about life or death. Life and death decisions are made all the time. For me, the question is about who is allowed to make life and death decisions.

I think that those - such as Family First - who encourage “cooling off” periods, more mandatory counselling and the compulsory demonstration of pictures of foetal development, or an ultrasound of that woman's foetus, misunderstand women who are considering abortion. Those women aren't ignorant.

I have done a lot of thinking and reading about this issue for a long time. Not to assuage any demons – for a work project a few years ago researching the availability of late term abortion and its moral, ethical and legal status.

I think it’s a good thing that women considering abortion can talk through their options and their circumstances with an educated professional, but I don't see why it should be compulsory. I don't understand why Family First think the issue of decreasing the number of abortions can be adequately considered in isolation from questions of education and contraceptive access and efficacy.

I agree with Naomi, a commenter on Back Pages (no direct link, so keep scrolling down), that Tony Abbot is acting consistently with his principles in raising the issue. Of course, he is a vile Tory (scroll to "Who is Tony Abbott?) and has maintained a suspicious silence on what his Department might be doing on the subject, along with throwing around some dodgy statistics. For the record, I had a D&C this year for a miscarriage of another unplanned but welcome pregnancy. So scratch that 100 000 "lost neo nates" De-Anne Kelly, and make it 100 000 instances of dilatation and curettage.

I am not going to go into ridiculous academic lengths about the substance of the moral arguments around abortion here. What I want to do is outline the things that I think should be uppermost in our minds as we debate this idea in our civil society:

- Who can make a decision about life and death? To turn the machine off, have the abortion, “prosecute” the war? Tell me which decisions are made by men? Which decisions are made by women?

- I am perfectly happy that a person who lives their whole life by non violent principles maintains an opposition to all abortions. See you at the next anti-war rally. Or tell me how the inevitable loss of innocent life via the “collateral damage” of conventional and terrorist wars is different.

- Remember it’s not only teenage sluts who have abortions. It’s also nice aspirational women who need two incomes for their bills to get paid and their families to survive. Or women who just can’t cope with a child, or another child, or another child now. Even Liberal student activists currently enduring leftist blog induced notoriety can understand what it might mean to be in a position to contemplate it.

- Is there a blurring of fundamental principles when there is a diagnosis of foetal disability? Why?

- Some Coalition and Family First identities are trying to cast this argument as a matter of what is paid for from the “public purse”. Explain to me why this issue of morals is so profound that it can be defeated by the principle of “user pays”. (For extra points, omit mention of adoption.)

Update: News Limited is reporting today that:

Sources close to the Liberal Party say work is proceeding on two private members bills, although it is not clear whether a torchbearer has been found to sponsor them.

Neither of these bills would tackle Medicare funding. One would restrict access to late-term abortions in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, where the Commonwealth has jurisdiction. It would allow exceptions in cases where the mother's health was on jeopardy.

The other would require women seeking an abortion to obtain counselling that was independent of the clinic providing the service.

Another update: Completely Biased has a round-up, and the views of the thinking lefty's conservative blogger, Currency Lad, are here.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Meet Mr Klaw

Mr Klaw considers the US election result. Posted by Hello

Francis Xavier Holden has suggested that we all put pictures of our cats up today. As I did not follow another recent suggestion made by FX, that of out sluicing out the laptop with water after spilling wine it it, I now have a computer again and can continue to participate in knitting the social fabric.

Mr Klaw is nearly ten. He likes chasing shadows and small injured mammals.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I've seen the vino and the damage done

$1138 and I will be at it again. Just waiting for the new powerboard to arrive (to go with the new motherboard) and I will be back, with rather a lot to say about abortion and how tragically addicted I have become to blogging.