Tag Archives: Oz affairs

Working on the Labor campaign trail

The Prime Minister gives the thumbs up to the campaign volunteers at Parramatta on Tuesday night, 30 July 2013

The Prime Minister gives the thumbs up to the campaign volunteers at Parramatta on Tuesday night, 30 July 2013

Becoming a volunteer for the Labor Party to help them retain government at the upcoming election was a very good decision. It’s been interesting to work on the campaign trail and I’ve met so many amazing people, like the Prime Minister of Australia.

Kevin Rudd turned up at the Parramatta Labor Office which is housed in a building appropriately called Gough Whitlam House. Naturally, he was met with great enthusiasm.

Why have I volunteered? For a start, I believe we live in a society. We don’t live in an economy, especially not an economy that functions to make the big end of town richer.

I want to see a society where everyone can make a decent living. The LNP will change workplace relations for the worse. As a party, they believe in supporting business at the expense of workers. We have seen the results of this under the Howard government – the very rich became richer and everyone else was left behind. Employers want the cheapest labour, not fair labour conditions. Remember Gina Reinhardt? The wealthiest woman in the world wants to pay workers $2.00 a day if she can.

I want workers (non-union as well as union) to be paid appropriately for their work. With over half the full-time earners in Australia earning under $50,000 a year, one can see how difficult it is for half the workforce to live and raise a family.

team to talk to voters at Parramatta on 30 July 2013

Kevin Rudd joins the team to talk to voters at Parramatta on 30 July 2013 – that’s Susie in the background chatting to Pat, the campaign manager

I believe that every child should benefit from our school system. This means increasing the funding to our public schools, especially those with disadvantaged students. The fairer Better Schools program (known as Gonski) will help do this.

I also want faster broadband and the NBN will give us faster access to the Internet. My business, and other small businesses around Australia, will benefit immensely. Not only that, the fast NBN can deliver better health and education outcomes as well. See information on the New Zealand equivalent. We certainly can’t have the Kiwis beating us on such an important issue. The LNP’s offering is a joke. Old copper wires connecting the nodes and the end users is nineteenth-century infrastructure connecting a 21st-century system. Totally crazy.

So I volunteered along with my husband to make sure that we have a government which values community and works to ensure that the majority can lead happy, healthy lives.

I’m proud of Labor’s record in government: avoiding recession during the worst world economic failure since the Depression, reforming the education system, introducing the national disability insurance scheme, taking on the difficult challenges of climate change  and making the top 500 polluters pay while subsidising ordinary Australians, plain-packaging cigarette packets, paid parental leave for mothers and fathers and lifting the tax-free threshold to $18,000.

More needs to be done. That’s why until the election, which will be held sometime this year, my husband and I will be volunteering to help Labor candidates communicate with their electorates and get their votes. We go to Parramatta on Saturday afternoons from 12 to 3pm, contact people and to talk to them about their concerns and how the Labor government is helping them. Volunteers are also working every week night from 5.30 until 8pm. But there’s other work to be done – door knocking and working on a booth on election day.

Come and join the party!

We need more volunteers. Visit the Australian Labor Party’s website and hit ‘volunteer’.

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Australia says ‘yes’ to taxing polluters

Poster supporting the clean energy future bills for pricing pollution and funding clean energy

Say Yes Australia campaign poster – Yes: Price Polution

Over the years, thousands of people have marched for action on climate change. All through the 2000s, I’ve made it a point to join rallies through the streets of Sydney to show my support for action that will ensure a cleaner, greener future. In fact, I want a cleaner, greener now! Continue reading

Labor stimulus saved Australia from recession

Maxine McKew with Kevin Rudd greeted by well-wishers in the Eastwood Mall during the 2010 Election Campaign

Maxine McKew with former PM, Kevin Rudd, at the Eastwood Mall

It makes me so mad to hear people say that the reason Australia didn’t go into a recession was because of the strong mining sector or some other such reason. If I remember correctly, China and other major world commodity markets were in the doldrums so much of our precious resources weren’t going anywhere. Continue reading

Compassionate policy for asylum seekers please

Humane government policy for refugees

Humane care of refugees

John Howard and his merry band of mean-minded ministers were voted out of government in 2007 by the Australia people for a number of reasons – one being the policy of putting people seeking asylum from persecution in their own countries – men, women and children – behind barbed wire, often for years while their claims for asylum were being assessed.

In 2009, what has changed with our new government? Voted in on the belief that the Rudd Labor Government would introduce more compassionate policies in a number of areas including the treatment of asylum seekers, does any one else feel a sense of deja vu? I am not alone in feeling great disappointment that our Labor Federal Government is sounding a lot like the last bunch that we turfed out.

I don’t think it was naive to think that those on the left of politics are more humane, more caring, more concerned about people who are disadvantaged, those who need a helping hand, that our politicians – rather than peddling fear and hatred – would stand up to such uncaring and often ill-informed attitudes.

In the 1970s, Prime Minister Fraser (Liberal Party) managed a humane policy towards the Vietnamese refugees when the Australian population was fearful and wary. No mention of the evils of people smugglers (who also helped Vietnamese people make the perilous journey), just the message that a civilized society such as ours can act with honour and decency. And he did. And we agreed with him. Today we can look back with pride.

David Marr, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday (29 October), makes the point that Kevin Rudd’s election promise to have no children in detention has been broken. As David says, the Human Rights Commissioners Catherine Branson QC and Graeme Innes visiting Christmas Island found 53 children, 36 of whom were without families, that is, ‘children who had made their own way to the island on their own’. On his own visit recently, he ‘found children everywhere’. Yes Chris Evans, the Minister for Immigration is adamant that ‘there are no children detained in … any … detention centre’. Somewhere there is a disconnect.

And then there are 78 Sri Lankans on the Australian customs ship, Oceanic Viking. Understandably, the refugees are reluctant to get off the ship in Indonesia and perhaps, given they are already on an Australian ship, the Indonesians feel no compulsion to take them on to their shores. However, the Rudd Government is equally reluctant to bring them to Australia to process their asylum claims.

Mr Rudd, bring them to Australia and process their claims as fast as possible. Yes, we can do things in a dignified way – in a caring and compassionate way. There are many Australians like me who realise that most of the people who come by boats are genuine refugees. We want a compassionate government, a government with strength and courage to do the right thing. We can, yes, we really can do this.

If you want to email members of our Federal Government to have your say, go to Parliament of Australia website for the complete list of House of Representative members and list of Senators.