Animals Australia: the voice for animals

Animals Australia: the voice for animals
Love life? Love all of life

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A new Vegemite in search of a name

I blogged once before on Vegemite and its iconic status in the Australian way of life.
There are changes afoot in the Vegemite world and I want to direct you to the wonderful post Joolz has done. Hat Tip to Linda, the Remote Treechanger for pointing it out.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Coal v Food v Water - on the Liverpool Plains of New South Wales

From Pauline Roberts of the Caroona Coal Action Group, via Networker Denis Wilson of The Nature of Robertson:
Dear All
We were delighted to welcome Lee Rhiannon MLC and Tony Windsor MP to our 1 Year Blockade Anniversary Thanksgiving Party today. Yes, we have kept this community-based blockade on the Duddy's property "Rossmar Park" going for one year preventing access for further damaging coal "exploration" on Prime Agricultural Land.
We held a multi-denominational service of thanksgiving today in the glorious sunshine, thankful for our productive land, our critical above-ground and aquifer supplies and our strong and resilient community. 130 people attended this great day with an open fire, enjoying mulled wine, hearty stew and damper and sticky date pudding laid on by the SOS Liverpool Plains girls. We were very pleased to find Graham Brown and Lance Batey in our midst and are grateful for the pledges of support from other similarly affected communities on the Darling Downs, like Felton.
Whilst we wait for a proper Water Study to begin, we are as committed as ever to preventing coal and gas mining on Australia's scarce Prime Agricultural Land, so this Blockade continues.
This Monday 20th July at 8.30pm, Four Corners will be running a story about our area: "The Good Earth" [] on ABC1. (It is repeated 11.35pm on Tuesday 21st) We hope you will be able to watch and that it has a positive result for those of us who believe food and water security is important.
Our thanks to Coal Communities for your continued support and good wishes.
Kind regards
Pauline Roberts
CCAG & SOS Liverpool Plains
There is an excerpt of the transcript on the ABC website here.
If you watched The Good Earth on Four Corners last night, you will have confronted one of the major issues facing us in Australia. What is happening on the Liverpool Plains, as Mrs Duddy so emotively pointed out, goes to the heart of our identity as Australians.
The Liverpool Plains is rich agricultural country - with its own underground aquifers. George Clift pointed out that in his seventy years of farming, he had suffered only one crop failure. On the dryest inhabited continent on earth, that is a boast that can seldom be made.
Under the ground is not only water, but coal which two separate companies, BHP Billiton and Shenua, have exploration rights for which they have spent stratospheric amounts of money to the cash-strapped New South Wales (NSW) government.
The Liverpool Plains is not the only place in Australia or the world in which this is occurring. I recently posted on the situation on that other place of great fertility, the Darling Downs in Queensland.
The essence is that one resource is being played off against another and against another: coal -v- food -v- water. What seems to have been forgotten by both miners and government is that we, in Australia, can survive without coal. We cannot survive without clean water and quality food.
Socially and politically, the protests and blockade on the Liverpool Plains is interesting.
The situation has the landed gentry whose huge agricultural holdings date back several generations and whose traditional political allegiance is to the conservative National Party resourcing the blockade and treating with The Greens as well as the local independent of National Party origins, Tony Windsor.
The Nationals are angry as can well be seen in the persons of Queensland Nationals, Barnaby Joyce (Senate Leader) and Ron Boswell. In fact, the anger, the action and re-action of The Nationals brought back memories of a similar response to the in-roads made into The Nationals vote by Pauline Hanson. It brings a smile, because decades - and a couple of generations of politicians - ago, Jack McEwan, Minister for Trade, did his best to provide an insurance policy for The Nationals who are reliant on a declining agricultural electoral base still by orienting his party to the mining industry.
Now, on Four Corners, is displayed Barnaby & Co on the horns of a dilemma for The Nationals: miners -v- agriculture; Australians -v- Chinese; Australians -v- international conglomerate pretending to be Australian.
So that gives one an idea of the politics and the economics involved. Then there is the personal, the social. Farmers on the blockade are promising not to succumb to financial blandishments from the miners. George Clift says that it won't happen with him. He will go out in a box first, he says. The much younger Chris Howarth has sold to Shenhua.
Chris is not the only one - but he, commendablyl, came to the camera and explained. And who can blame him. This is a man in his middle years with a wife and a young family. Shenhua are offering farmers more than the value of their property. Chris says that if he stayed, the situation of his property in relation to the geography of Shenhua's rights is such that his family would be living next door to an open-cut mine. How could one live with that? Lifestyle gone; livelihood jeopardised; property declining in value and the opportunity to underwrite the family's future. Surely, a no-brainer?
What is needed here is a clear-thinking response from government. Government must break the nexus of the clash of rights and resources. Government must stop behaving like an addict with its hand in the till and prostituting itself for every dollar it can get while selling the birthright of Australians - to food security - for the Biblical mess of pottage.
It is also high time that the electorate became able to see politicians withstanding the "winning ways" of international corporates and high-flying lobbyists, many of whom have long-standing personal and political connections to the government which happens to be in power at the time which means corporations frequently have a choice of political attractive lobbyists depending upon who is in power.
So we wait to hear what happens next?
  • Will the agricultural interests of the Liverpool Plains be successful in the latest round of Court proceedings?
  • Will the farmers of the Liverpool Plains remain entrenched within the National Party (my own prediction given the disciplined nature of the National Party vote) or defect to The Greens?
  • Will the major and far-reaching environmental issues facing Australia transcend political, factional and social boundaries to establish cross-party support for intelligent and sensible policies on resource management?
  • Will the miners be checked now that their behaviour has been aired on television?
  • Will governments begin to look and act as if they represent the interests of Australians?
  • Will governments take a tack away from the cynical and self-serving glad-handing of corporates and lobbyists and desist from forelock-tugging?
MissEagle racism-free

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ethical & sustainable shopping for books, clothes and household

In the interests of ethical and sustainable shopping, I have to-day placed on the sidebar click-through pictures for these two sites. Brotherhood Books is an online outlet of the Brotherhood of St Laurence here in Melbourne. A wide range of second-hand books at reasonable prices is available. Have a browse! Op shopping is an art - particularly in Melbourne. And with I Op Therefore I Am we have a tool to assist us in practising the art: reviews of Op Shops across Melbourne and you can get lists of Op Shops with opening hours and addresses.
Happy Shopping... Ethically and Sustainably!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Of Quakers and a Cook

It has been a long time between drinks.
Check the posting dates.
Miss Eagle is back -
with a story to tell...
of Quakers and a Cook
Quakers in the unprogrammed tradition (Australian Friends are in the unprogrammed tradition) do not have ministers and very few paid positions. There are no theological colleges. This, however, does not stop Quakers from studying within their tradition. However, in Britain and in the USA there are Quaker study centres: Woodbrooke in Britain, Pendle Hill in the USA. Over the years, many Friends (Quakers are properly called the Religious Society of Friends) in Australia have discussed the possibility of a study centre somewhere in Australia.
Tentative steps are now being taken towards an Australian Quaker Centre at Silver Wattle near Bungendore not too far from Canberra, the national capital. Plans are being made. Courses have been listed, the brochure published. Please hold the Australian Quaker Centre in The Light.


So that's the background.

Then last Saturday I made a funny comment on a Friend's facebook wishing her well with AQC but saying that, as an aged pensioner, I didn't think I'd get there because of the prices unless they were (and here I was intending to be funny) able to take into account cooking, cleaning, gardening and weeding.

The Friend came back on facebook and said, well......

The upshot of all this is that I start at the Australian Quaker Centre on 1 September for a nine week stint until 31 October as The Cook!!!
AQC will pay my travel. I am to do a first aid course - AQC will pay. And I will get a wage. I will get one day off a week. But that's OK - and I have friends inthe surrounding countryside I can visit.
I will probably depart Melbourne for Bungendore and Silver Wattle on the afternoon of 30 August after Meeting for Worship. I will overnight somewhere on the road and get in to Bungendore the next day. Helen is trying to arrange a night with a Canberra Friend for me. We move in on September 1. Working bee up to and including Sept 5 and open the doors for paying guests on 6 September.

So I am a bit excited about this and all the possibilities.

And all because of a sentence or so on facebook!

Follow the journey right here.