Monthly Archives: August 2015

Marriage Equality Australian Style

 

On 24 June 1978 at 10 pm 500 people gathered on Oxford Street NSW calling for an end to discrimination against homosexuals in employment and housing, an end to police harassment and the repeal of all anti-homosexual laws. Although the organisers had obtained permission, this was revoked, and the march was broken up by police – 53 of the marchers arrested. 

Sydney Morning Herald published the names of those arrested in full, leading to many people being outed to their friends and places of employment, and many of those arrested lost their jobs: least we forget, homosexuality was a crime in New South Wales until 1984.

It would be comforting to view the no conscience vote on marriage equality “news” only thru the narrow and clouded lens of history where – from the safe distance of time – we could abstractly admire the courageous activism displayed by the 1978 protesters, who helped raise the stakes and push the equality issue forward into daylight.

Except that the past has been refused passage. Permission has been revoked. Australia peaks now thru the wrong end of the telescope; and what seems distant and tiny is, in fact, gaining upon us; is waiting ahead on our road that is still dark and largely uncharted. 

What happened to marriage equality today is what will always happen when everyday Australians elect leaders who can’t and/or won’t recognise themselves in others. Until they can, black and white photographs from 1978 giving way to endless and vividly moving colour reels from the 2015 marriage equality rallies, animating all manner of love, is what will pass for progress.

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MH370 – The Search Party Is Just Getting Started

 Time is on the side of all the authorities in the search for MH370. It always has been. One year ago, AUG 2014, the harsh winter conditions quickly settling into the Southern parts of the Indian Ocean were used to postpone the underwater search til Spring or Summer. It bought authorities valuable time while they worked out what to do next. In the intervening months, the ongoing search included other periodic interruptions that might draw the search out over years (if necessary). Some families of MH370 have healed. The world has all but forgetten.

That’s why, in AUG 2014, I wrote the following:

….But at a time of their choosing, plane wreckage will be “discovered.” Debris will suddenly, without rhyme or reason “wash up” on some remote island in The Indian Ocean. Submersible vehicles will eventually track and capture murky pictures and ghostly footage of the plane resting on the ocean floor; carefully selected and purposely angled images will be approved for media release. The curious world will view the missing plane images with a mixture of awe and terror. Conspiracy theories will rise and fall. Predictable media questions will be sensibly answered.

STATEMENT
: what follows is an example of what the public can expect at a Press Conference called by authorities related to the MH370 salvage operation – the spokes person stands at a podium before an array of reporters and clicking cameras…a CNN logo scrolls across the bottom of the screen.

“Now MH370 has been located, it is, at this point in time, unlikely that salvage operations to recover MH370 will be initiated. There are a number of reasons for this decision, none more significant than this being the final resting place of 239 souls. People who had family and friends, all of whom have suffered a long, lonely grieving process during these difficult intervening years of what has been the longest, most expensive and intensive search in aviation history. Our prayers and thoughts are with them. So while it is of scientific and popular interest to salvage the plane, the moral reason to leave MH370 where it rests is indisputable.”

News polls will be conducted: Out of respect for the families of the 239 people aboard flight MH370, should the plane be left where it is? 89% of people say YES and just 11% say NO.

The “grave-site” issue remains the elephant in the room while the situation turns to a money Vs result issue. Yes, MH370 can be salvaged but it would cost a trillion dollars. It’s 5 miles deep, existing equipment is unproven, water pressure is brutal, the temperature extremely cold. It’s of more use where it is. It’s a perfect place for scientists to test new technology at a great depth, to find out how new machines do and do not respond at such depths. The Black-Box can be recovered from where it lies and the wreckage studied more effectively than if it were brought to the surface.

Behind closed doors, the G20 Secretary of State will call the Secretary of Defense who will contact the Secretary of Energy who will pass onto the Secretary of Homeland Security news that the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence will describe as timely. Over lunch one day, the Deputy Secretary of State may be reading the official transcript of MH370’s Black-Box. Not the “actual” transcript, the official transcript, the one that will be peddled by CNN and the like, spoon-fed to the public as the whole truth, who will then blast it across the globe via social media. From the comfort of armchairs, armed with iPhones, the angry public will fire off blank after blank after blank at yet another unhearing, unfeeling, uncompromising “enemy.” 

Angry people tend to rely on cognitive shortcuts — easy rules of thumb — rather than on more systematic reasoning. All will be quick to blame individuals, rather than aspects of the situation, for the problems surrounding accurate answers with MH370.

Across the table, the Deputy Secretary of Defense who is reading the same black box report, will exhale a long steady breath from between his immaculate dentures and smile.
The Deputy Secretary of Defense will return the smile and whisper, “They did it!”

Stay tuned viewers. Stick a bag of popcorn in the microwave. The search party is just getting started.

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