Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Exciting times, but more changes needed.

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd declared Australian Workplace Agreements "dead and buried" as Parliament today passed legislation dismantling the Work Choices laws.

Mr Rudd has told MPs that today was a landmark day for struggling families across the country and the first step to restoring fairness in the workplace.

The Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Bill was rubber-stamped by the lower house this morning after passing the Senate last night. The Bill needs the assent of the Governor-General to become law.

Mr Rudd said the Bill's passage marked a major day for working families across Australia and honoured a commitment Labor gave to the people before last year's federal election.

"Today we declare this shameful chapter in the history of Australia's workplace relations to be dead and buried," Mr Rudd told parliament with the rousing support of Labor MPs in the chamber.

"Today with this legislation we begin the process of buying the rest of that Work Choices omnibus once and for all.

At this rate, I could get to approve of this Federal Government!

However, there is a Get Up! campaign going on - possibly the easiest activism you will be a part of:

Dear friends,

Saying sorry was an extraordinary first step on the road to reconciliation. But now is the time for real action - starting with closing the 17 year life expectancy gap that exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

That is why Indigenous health professionals from across the nation are descending on Canberra to meet with the Government this week - our one chance to send a clear message we want a national partnership to end this preventable crisis. What happens this week will help determine the health equality for an entire generation to come - that's why we'll be there with our close the gap petition.

Can you add your name to it to close the shocking 17-year life expectancy gap, before another Australian generation is condemned to third-world health conditions?
< align="justify">
When we joined Oxfam, ANTaR, HREOC and NACCHO in this campaign in April last year we laid out the challenge before us: "we want to give politicians an unflinching new mandate, backed by tens of thousands: to extend the fundamental rights to life and health to every citizen of our wealthy country." Together we rose to that challenge, and saw Kevin Rudd make a commitment to close the gap - but now we need the Government to match their commitment with real action. This week is our opportunity to make that a reality - and that will take bold political will.You have the power to create that will - add your name to the 40,000 GetUp members who have already signed the petition, and we'll take it straight to Canberra with the message that Australia demands real health equality for all citizens:

Thanks for being a part of the solution.

The GetUp team

After more than a decade of feeling very ashamed of the government - and those that voted for them, I've started to feel a bit of hope for Australia moving into a time of compassion and social justice again.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Interesting quote, that picks up some of the themes of this blog

The modern fairy tale ending is the reverse of the traditional one: A woman does not wait for Prince Charming to bring her happiness; she lives happily ever after only by refusing to wait for him -- or by actually rejecting him. It is those who persist in hoping for a Prince Charming who are setting themselves up for disillusionment and unhappiness. (Susan Faludi, Writer)

Check out this article on Migrant Sex Workers...

Why Do Migrant Sex Workers Need Saving?

In the West, in the present, many people believe that sex should express love. This “good” sex is also said to provide a key way to discover personal identity -- who we really are, our innermost selves. It is assumed that feelings of love increase pleasure (quantitatively) and intensify it (qualitatively), resulting in meaningful passion that is expressed through long term, emotionally committed relationships. Other sexual relations then seem wrong, among them anonymous, public, and “promiscuous” sex. Above all, “real” love and sex are said to be incompatible with rationality and work -- at least that is the way many wish it to be.
At the same time, people wonder: Is there a boom underway in the buying and selling of sex, part of a general sexualization of contemporary culture? Since objective data is impossible to gather when businesses operate outside the law, we cannot know whether sex-and-money transactions are going on more than ever, but we certainly know we see and hear about them more. So although we tell a powerful story about sex and love belonging together, we also understand that people want other kinds of sex. We hear about people who buy and sell sex from our friends, acquaintances, the media, and sometimes through reporting on migration -- which is where “sex trafficking” comes in.

Laura Agustín has been studying migration’s links with the sex industry since 1994. Her new book is
Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry (Zed Books) and other publications are available on her website.

The issue of migration in relation to sex work is a huge one for the sex worker rights movement - as abolishionists often try to get anti-sex work legislation and policies through in guise of 'stopping trafficking', in the same way that anti-fornication Christians will target homosexuality rather than saying publically that they wish to outlaw all sex outside of marriage. I myself find so much of the rhetoric of the anti-trafficking movement so obviously racist - oh, it's ok for white, western, university educated women in North countries to talk about choice - but if you are a person of colour, working class, poor, young, female - well, you just have to be a victim of exploitation....