Posted by: jkirkby8712 | October 4, 2011

Monday, 3 October 2011 – refugees, internet for the oldies, and singers!

Not surprisingly, rather tired at the office today, although things were rather busy despite that. Was just not really in the mood for Jackie’s constant chatter and fluttering about, almost wished Mark would take her on one of his Group trip visits, most of which he seems to have organised for the days when Jackie is in the office, so I don’t think that idea would be too favourable! With no replacement yet found for my position, and time running out before I leave, there will just be the two of them here for a brief period, somehow don’t think that is going to work out well for too long! I am expecting to be called back in on the odd occasion after I finish up, to assist with handover procedures, depending on the experience of the new person, but I’m happy to do that on a strictly limited basis.

On one of my main topics of interest of recent years, I see the Liberal Party is on the attack again over the current refugee system being followed and/or attempted by the Government. With Parliament in recess [again] until next week, most of the political rhetoric is coming through medias reports or political party ‘journalism’. While obviously the following ‘views’ are  biased towards  the Opposition view of things, they do tend to my feelings still, although I do feel that both sides are continuing to head in the wrong direction, and I will continue to maintain that all processing of refugees that reach this country’s borders should have their asylum seeker claims recognised and processed here on the Australian mainland, instead of continually ignoring our humane responsibilities and trying to offload those responsibilities to other countries and locations.  However, this is the current Opposition viewpoint [as of the 28 September – it has probably changed again since then].

“The arrival of the 20th illegal boat since Julia Gillard announced her failed Malaysian solution has coincided with new research showing Australians have no confidence in the Labor government’s handling of asylum seeker issues,” according to Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison.  “The latest illegal boat to arrive carrying 75 people is the 20th since the now failed Malaysian solution was announced on May 7 and brings to more than 1200 people the number to have arrived illegally by boat during this time. “The quota for the Malaysian agreement was just 800 people. More than 1200 have already arrived since the announcement and more than 660 have arrived since the signing. As those 660 would be eligible to be sent to Malaysia, it is clear that the smugglers would have no difficultly swamping Julia Gillard’s 5 for 1 people swap. “After years of policy failures, including the Malaysian agreement, it is not surprising that Australians simply do not trust this Labor Government on handling the asylum seeker issue.  “According to research released yesterday by Monash University[i] only 7.3% of Australians believe that Labor is doing a good job in handling the asylum seeker issue. The same report showed strong support for the Coalition’s policies of temporary protection visas (39%) and turning boats back (23%).  “An Essential Poll[ii] conducted this week showed that 42% of Australians wanted off shore processing, 28% wanted to turn boats back, while 21% favoured onshore processing. Of those who favoured offshore processing almost 75% agreed, but only in a country where human rights were protected.  “This clearly demonstrates the lack of support for Malaysia and provides support for the Coalition’s amendment that, following the High Court’s decision, the UN Convention Refugee should be used as the Litmus test on whether a country can be used for offshore processing.

 “The Prime Minister and Minster Bowen should accept the reality that the Malaysia agreement has failed, accept the Coalition’s amendments that would allow offshore processing on Nauru or the Government’s preferred alternative of Manus Island and just get on with it.  “As of yesterday Nauru is now formally a signatory of the UN Convention. The only thing now standing in the way of restoring off shore processing, abolished by Labor, is Julia Gillard’s stubborn political pride,” Mr Morrison said.  Michael Keenan, Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection said, “People smugglers have been emboldened by the policy vacuum created by Labor’s ongoing failure to provide Australia with a border protection policy.  “The strain on Customs and Border Protection and the frontline men and women who are now required to deal with Julia Gillard’s failure is enormous and they have reached breaking point. “They have been required by this Labor Government to do more arduous work, at a higher tempo, with fewer resources. “Customs and Border Protection officers are becoming increasingly fed up with working under a directionless Gillard Government that has no border protection policy. “This is a Government that has cut scant border protection resources and axed Customs staff from critical areas to cover their border protection mess up north.  “Labor’s border protection failure is complete – there is no control over who comes to Australia and much less control over what comes into Australia because of their savaging of Customs since they came to office,” Mr Keenan said.

Meanwhile, another little comment on older Australians and the use of the Internet. The National Seniors organisation reports that: –  The internet would enrich the lives of older Australians but many of them think that using it is all too hard, the latest report released by the National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre has found.
There was increasing awareness that the internet could provide the convenience of keeping in touch with family and friends, health advice, online shopping, bill-paying, banking, news and events in the community.  But many were deterred by the cost of buying a computer and Internet or broadband connection, a lack of knowledge and skills, confusion about technology, worries about computer security and access to computers – particularly in regional areas.
The study “Older Australians and the Internet: Bridging the Digital Divide” was undertaken by Queensland University of Technology researcher Dr Sandra Haukka for National Seniors.  “Older people with low internet skills are unable to conduct business or access important services over the web,” said Peter Matwijiw, general manager of policy and research at National Seniors. “In short, they are often on the wrong side of ‘the digital divide’.”  The report called for urgent action to tailor current online technologies to help break down barriers and assist older Australians gain the skills and confidence they need to use the internet.

Of course, with my now regular radio show on a Monday night, I am missing what a short while ago, I regarded as the most interesting night on TV with things like Four Corners, Media Watch, and of course, Q & A on air. Yes, I could leave the video tape running and watch Q & A [which I was quite enjoying earlier this year], but then I find afterwards that a week has passed, and I’ve not found the time to watch the previous week’s program. So anyway, I’ve basically given that night’s programs away, and concentrating fully on the three hours of music, etc, that I produce each Monday night.  Tonight, I played a few ‘special’ tracks amongst my usual format  – including a wonderful version of ‘My Devotion’ my the American jazz saxophonist Kenny G, and Amy Whitehouse singing ‘Back to Black’ [I’ve never really taken much notice of her music, until she died a few weeks ago – ironically, born in 1983, a couple of years after my son, and died on his 30th birthday this year]. I also played one of my favourite Meatloaf tracks  – after that ageing singer’s disastrous performance at the Melbourne Grand Final last Saturday, I felt that listeners needed to be reminded of the way he ‘used’ to sound. Up until about 3 years ago, I had a fortnightly Saturday evening program which I called ‘Rock n roll Dreams Come Through’ and naturally enough, my theme for the show was Meatloaf’s performance of that song. However, apart from a beautiful jazz track by an Australian jazz duo of Tim Stevens and Mark Lau titled ‘Prologue-like’, my most enjoyable piece of music for tonight’s show was a modern ‘jazz’ version of  the song ‘Understand’ by Jessie Upton. An Australian girl , Jessie describes herself as a jazz singer influenced by the big MGM musicals of days gone by and jazz songstresses. She combines with piano or guitar to provide an intimate  performance, which was certainly how tonight’s song came over. In speaking about why this song was included on this particular album, she said ‘I chose to include one of my first songs I ever wrote. It is a very old style jazz ballad accompanied by Kym Dillon on piano. I chose it as it best represents what I want my music to be’. Well if that’s the case, I want to hear a lot of more of Jessie Upton. The album in question is titled ‘Naked In The Woods 2’ and is a special release from a program supporting developing artists, a Victorian Government initiative, The album contains a rather stunning variety of classic artists providing a compilation of female artists containing all different genres of music from indie and folk to pop and rock. I use it regularly on my show since acquiring a copy last year, through the ABC’s Radio National network. I might refer to some of the other singers on the album, as I play their music from time to time.

It’s always difficult wanting to go to sleep after returning home after midnight from Monday’s radio show – it shouldn’t have been tonight, as I’d been rather tired [following Sunday night’s poor sleep] before the evening had started. Not helped by watching another episode of ‘The Clinic’, an English series set in a medical clinic which one of my fellow radio presenters had told me about – now I’m hooked but it’s on from 12.30am- 1.30am!!! Not the advisable thing to get interested in with a 6am start that morning!! Oh well, very soon, the early Tuesday mornings will be in the past!!!




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