Older Australians an economic burden

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s much-reported speech, where he referred to my cohort (the over-65s) as ‘an economic time bomb’, should not be seen as random. The speech to the conservative think tank, the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), was deeply calculated. Frydenberg’s thesis is that older Australians should work longer and take up re-training to help facilitate a return to the work force, thus easing the country’s social security burden. Frydenberg was immediately…

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Get the kids off Nauru, maybe

We’ve been learning a protest song for our choir’s Christmas concert. Actually it is a plea for peace, the musical equivalent of a street march – “What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now.” John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Happy Xmas/War is Over starts by asking the universal question so many of us end up asking ourselves: “And so it is Christmas, and what have we done? Another year over, a new…

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Human Rights and Halloween

You always have to look for the silver lining; like the Queensland Parliament introducing a Human Rights Act on the same day (31st October) that people were walking the streets dressed as ghouls and zombies, reminding us that Christmas is just 55 days away. Christmas Island is just around the corner too – well, it’s precisely 1,550 kms north-west of Perth. But it is an Australian territory, unlike Nauru and Manus Island. I mention human…

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Odd socks stamp out mental health stigma

My choice to wear a matchless pair of socks today was a deliberate tribute to Mental Health Week. Odd Socks Day is just one of the many events sponsored through October to remind us that one in five Australians suffer a mental health disorder in any 12-month period. I’d never heard of Odd Socks Day, but spotted a flyer in a café somewhere and tucked it away for future reference. It’s a national anti-stigma mental…

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