Mixed week

What a week! Tuesday I went down to Sydney to hand out swags to the homeless at Homeless Connect as part of my duties as a Director on the Street Swags board. If you don’t know about them you should – go visit their website My lasting impression of the homeless I met at the Sydney Town Hall is that they were mostly mentally impaired. Years ago, they lived in institutions called Mental Asylums but that term become politically incorrect. As a result they were mostly closed and the inmates transferred to hospitals. The bean counters who run hospitals said, in unison, “these people aren’t sick, we can’t help them and they are taking up too many beds. We can rotate paying physically sick people through at a far greater rate giving us a far greater income, so they need to to go”. And they kicked them out. From mental patients to the worlds condemnation of Israel isn’t too far a stretch. Those who always condemn Israel no matter what she does, claims the blockade is illegal. More reasoned commentators argue that Israel has a point. Whatever the case, from my perspective, if I was head honcho in Tel Aviv and had endured thousands of rockets fired at my citizens I would reserve the right to blockade supplies to minimize weapons entering Gaza no matter what the world said. Western media are still referring to the people in the convoy as peace activists and ignoring all evidence to the contrary. Abraham Rabinovich from Jerusalem files a report in today’s Australian indicating how the Turkish PM was involved in the planning of the operation and how the Terrorists aboard the IHH vessel Mavi Marmara had a clear mission “to expose Israel’s true face to the world”.
The mission given the group, according to Malam, was to prevent the Israelis from seizing control of the ship before it reached Gaza. The militants used small, hand-held saws to cut metal bars from the ship’s railings and to shape knives. They also gathered knives from the ship’s cafeterias and armed themselves with fire axes.
We know IHH has terrorist links and we know how terrorist act. Israel was sucker punched but it was surely reasonable to think it was a peaceful protest and that their troops weren’t in danger. After all, everyone said that was the case. It could be said that a man named Abraham Rabinovich has a conflict of interest when commenting on the matter but when the only opposite point of view has a base premise of denying Israel’s right to exist, let alone defend herself, then he should be heard. For another view that accepts Israel’s right to exist go here Back home, by the end of the week, Kevin Rudd was having a bad time of it as he negotiated with the Mining mob. Well, Kevin says negotiating but the mining mob reported Kevin’s idea of negotiating was “If you want to change the tax you will have to change the government” Bad call Kevin because a lot of people are now thinking “Yep! thats a good idea” Maybe a case exists for Mining to pay more tax but one of those reasons shouldn’t be to simply get the ALP out of a fiscal hole. Can the tax be fixed? asks Dennis Shanahan; Cabinet cracks emerge on tax says Matthew Franklin; Gerry Harvey says Rudd couldn’t sell a fridge let alone a mining tax, and John Singleton says I’ll sell anything but Kevin Rudd My week started bad with having to move my lazy arse to Sydney and actually do something worthwhile and then the loss of two diggers always hurts. However it finished on a high note with plenty of signs that the punters are starting to get Rudd’s measure and it’s very small indeed. ‘Av’ a good weekend and I for one, look forward to the Weekend Australian’s continuing litany of ALP stuff ups.


  • I think you are spot on about the homeless. I ride past Callan Park every day – it used to be a big mental facility of some sort. The grounds are huge and there are plenty of dormitory-like buildings. All closed. “Care in the community” has been a disaster.

  • I hope you went to Lakemba while in Sydney.

    The place is home to very few “Aussies” and those still there will get next to nothing for their cottages. I cannot imagine you, or any of your readers, would want to live there.

    The pub in the main street contained four “Aussies” when I visited – the barman, two old blokes and me. It will have to close its doors.

    I did not see a sign that was not in Arabic, while the place felt and smelled like the Middle East – dirty, grubby and dilapidated.

    Will it ever change? Why should it, when it reflects so accurately the homelands of the majority of its inhabitants?

  • You’re correct on the Homeless Kev. Till recently I lived in inner city Sydney for 25 Years and the vast majority of street sleepers whom you see all the time are mentally ill, although small numbers are chronic substance abusers.
    Previous Generations were far more compassionate of their plight and realistic about what could done, they knew the mentally ill can’t organize themselves to find accommodation, organize food for meals and keep themselves clean. A well run Asylum (not all were, but that was always fixable) offers the only hope for someone so disturbed they are sleeping in streets, to find some happiness and in some cases overcome their condition and find the way back into ordinary society.
    How the architects of Asylum closures could ever believe the outcome of such policy could mean anything other than the mentally ill sleeping and begging on the streets is beyond me. Nearly every area of Health care has improved over the years yet the homeless of Sydney are living breathing examples of people who would have been far better off in the early 1960’s

  • Ian, they believed in the power of compassion. Asylums were not compassionate places. They thought that letting them free would make them happier, better people because the compassionate willed it to be so.


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