The Fairy Tale of Kallangur – the land that once was and what will become of Murrumba?

Within an hour it was on like Donkey Kong! Dumping Rick Williams (former Labor MP for Pumicestone) was probably the best thing Labor could have done for everyone. He’s been a pain in the proverbial for long enough and refused to heed warnings. He had to go. His disendorsement also triggered the election and within an hour the speculation was over, those in the know knew the date before the Governor was even out of bed.

Now we have it officially called for November 25th and not a minute too soon. Even though it’s only just been called, here in my hometown electorate of Kallangur campaigning for the state election started back in February. Yes, that’s right we’ve had to endure roadside signs and waving, and candidates invading our beloved uncensored Facebook pages making promises of great things while we were still busy trolling the existing government as they diligently tried to do their job (not really, but it is well known that even if I vote for you I’m going to hold you to account if you’re in office).

Poor Kallangur is just about over this very looooong running election campaign and all it’s woes and sagas. Kallangur just wants.. wait (whispers from the stage wings)… it isn’t Kallangur anymore? It’s Murrumba? WTF? Yes folks that’s right, population growth has meant the electorate boundaries had to be changed. So now Murrumba Downs is in Murrumba finally but Kallangur is not longer in Kallangur. Instead now Kallangur is in Murrumba but the MP for Kallangur will go to Kurwongbah. Confused? You should hear me try to explain how Petrie isn’t in Petrie.

So long live the King of Kallangur, Shane King, the loyal and devoted MP of barely three years. He has been overthrown and had to seek asylum in Kurwongbah. They’ll do well to have him, he seems to have achieved the unachievable in what was Kallangur but will soon be Murrumba.

Who will take over the throne? Well that’s for the election to decide. Enter the candidates for Murrumba and well, there’s not much new.

Former MP of Murrumba, Candidate for the LNP Reg Gulley, lost his seat to Labor MP Chris Whiting. Chris won’t be running in Murrumba however. His current office will no longer be in the electorate with the boundary changes so he will challenge for the brand spanking new seat of Bancroft.

The Kallangur side of the new Murrumba electorate may not be too familiar with Mr Gulley but they don’t seem to have much love so far. The memory of his former predecessor Big Trev famous for replacing stairs with stairs at Dakabin station and calling it an upgrade is still a bit sour for some. Of course Reg is well known for…. Ummm.. well there was that time he was very supportive for Redcliffe when fellow former LNP member disgraced the party, the electorate, the government, politics and of course himself. Yes who can forget little born and bred Redcliffian Scotty Driscoll! Yes, Reg was kind enough to step in when Scott stepped out but not down. Speaking of Scotts…. Reg was fabulous in getting the then Minister for Transport, Scott Emerson to take up a cause that Reg holds dear in his heart. The fight of people with disabilities in the arena of disability parking.

When you try to raise an issue of great importance nothing is more heartwarming for the cause than knowing the people you’re seeking support from, the people with the power and control to change things for the better, have a relative, friend, close associate with a disability so they KNOW exactly how you feel. You, the person with the disability. They know how you feel. Never forget that. You would wonder if they know your feeling so well then why are you sitting here in front of them asking them to make changes so you don’t have to feel this way anymore, since they could have just changed it… but hey at least they’re listening right?

Oh they were listening alright. I spent months and my own money making RTI applications, gathering data, putting the data into usable formats and analysing said data to show hey, there’s a problem here and the solution is right in front of you. I mean yeah, police CAN give fines for parking in a disability park without a permit but seriously.. $44… why would they waste their time? If it’s all about revenue raising make it worth their while. They’re the only ones who can issue fines in off street car parks but on street they were competing with council who were giving out fines across Queensland from $150 to $250 for the same offence. What was wrong with this picture?

Lord golly gosh bless Reg and his soft heart for the disabled he went and showed Good King Wences-Scott the report we the common serfs worked so hard on and convinced him that hey, if we did what was recommended we’d not only look good but we’d make more money out of those low life disabled parking thieves. In the world of revenue raising you see, prevention is NOT better than cure so thus, the knight in shining armour of the disabled dubbed thee parking fine increase almost 5 times the amount it was. That will do the trick yeah?

The meeja of course went papparazzi over Scott the Slayer of disabled parking cheats and wanted to take his photo everywhere. The poor serf who had raised the issue didn’t even know it was happening until there it was on the evening news which was quickly followed up but a congratulatory call from the swift footed messenger Reg Gulley. “This is a good thing. Consider it a win” he consoled the poor serf as she blinked in a daze wondering what just happened. Win? Yeah ok. Why is that man on the TV reading out my report word for word? Did I miss the invite to the press conference?

Maybe it was cos he didn’t know anyone else to invite or maybe it was guilt for robbing me blind of my moment to shine in the sun, never the less I got myself invited as a representative of Murrumba (when I lived in the old Murrumba not the new) at the Queensland Plan. You remember the great Qld Plan of Campbell Newman? The one we all got to have our input in and was to be made a part of legislation but has never been referenced again since? I actually really enjoyed being part of it. Some great ideas came out of it and I got to meet so many people. So when the opportunity arose for photos I stood there like a good girl and didn’t poke my tongue out when we posed for a photo with the great Mr Newman himself (waiting for the next episode of Channel Nine’s Where are they now to feature former one term politicians which he will be at number one). I was well behaved and posed for all the photos which still haunt me to this day. So I figured hey, lets use this opportunity, Reg can we get a photo with good Mr Emerson so I can post it on the website and get all the serfs to thank him for saving our accessible spaces for us? What a great idea! Of course it is, it was my idea.

What happened next for quite some time was all a bit of a blur. It was like this whirlwind. Reg excuses himself for a moment cos he really needs to speak to this person before they leave and within seconds I’m whisked aside by none other than the Minister for Disabilities who hugs me… the Ice queen hugged me and I lose sight of my targets cos now somehow my back is turned to them. While she’s trying to keep me engaged in conversation and I’m adamant that I really just need to get this photo before we leave, Reg reappears and he’s really sorry but the great Knight had to rush off to save another group in distress.

It was some months later when I was looking back for information as I continued to work on the same project for some time, that I stumbled across newspaper articles applauding the great Knight’s attack and I read my report again word for word. I scoured the documents for any mention of the author or where it had originated from but there was no mention at all. It had completely sounded like the good Knight did it all himself. It was at that point it happened. In slow motion. Like a movie. Going back through the film scene after scene… that hug… that unsolicited hug and futile conversation was nothing more than a distraction to let the good Knight Emerson slip away unadulterated by photos with the common serf.

Since I couldn’t get a photo, eventually I made my own.

But that my friends was so long ago. Reg well, for all his good doing and supporting of his neighbouring electorates he didn’t win the next election. It was some consolation that the good Knight got a big good night on his minsterial position and went back to being demon in the shadows of the opposition. I forgave the messenger Reg for not speaking up in my defence. It’s gotta be tough when you’re and underling in the afterworld and your boss is a powerful god and the bloke you just let misuse you serf is a demi god. I thought well, one day, when he’s not trapped in the underworld anymore he may give me that apology I so rightly deserved.

Nup. That never happened. I did run into him once or twice at events in his limbo period. He remembered that I had two lovely boys and asked after them. Then the conversation would get stale and I would just sigh and be on my way.

No, I never got that apology for letting Scott Emerson and co try to make a fool of me, treat me like I was too stupid to know any better and walk off basking in the glory of being the saviour of the disabled spaces. No only did he know it was happening, he let it happen and tried to disguise it to me as being otherwise.

Now they want my support again? Fool me once shame on you…. Fool me twice… no that’s not going to happen.

So what does that leave me with in the new land of Murrumba?

We have the career candidate of the Greens, Jason Kennedy. How many elections is that now? Three, four? What are his policies? To change the world of course. And heal it. And make it a better place…. for you and for me and the entire human race there are people dying if you care enough for the living…. oops got carried away there with a bit of MJ saving the world with his music. Yeah our favourite bridesmaid never a bride is still hating on everyone for everything but once can’t help but wonder just how Green he is when he says more jobs here for Australians while he’s importing goods from overseas. Apparently the jobs are in selling the goods, not making them. Where we get the money to buy the goods he’s selling hasn’t really been answered but it seems to lie somewhere between giving people houses for life and saving the Koalas.

Now if you’re anyone else that is not Jason Kennedy or a Green then you’re not allowed to build houses cos you’ll make the Koalas cry. Maybe these houses that we’re all going to have forever and ever will be tree houses? Make mine a caravan. We all know this Pine River loving gypsy cannot stay in the one place for very long. And tree houses aren’t exactly the most accessible living anyway.

The million dollar question is though, why has Jason Kennedy never run as a candidate in the electorate or division he lives in? Makes you wonder how many Koalas had to die for his big house on his big property.

Speaking of not living in the electorate you plan to represent we have the replacement King sent in to defend the land of Murrumba since Kallangur was invaded, is none other than the presiding Minister for the Environment, Heritage and other stuff, Steven Miles. While a new electorate was created here on the north side of the kingdom the electorate of the great doctor of political science was dissolved. So being a north side boy he decided to move back to his roots and defend the land that was Kallangur. Prepared to stick around if he wins the battle he’s enrolled his kids in school and living back in the land of his people. Before you wage a war though, it’s wise to know your enemy. Seems Reg’s campaign people didn’t do their research even though the good messenger himself knew the details and the poor Honourable doctor has been labelled a blow in who doesn’t live here. Wrong candidate Mr Gulley, that would be Mr Kennedy.

None the less he’s out there trying to win the hearts of the Kallangarians and Murrumbans alike with his school boy charm, dashing good looks and knowledge that would challenge the great and powerful Oz. Will it be enough to get him over the line? Not if he doesn’t figure out how to include the common serfs. It took several satirical but suggestive emails for them to figure out ohhhh.. we need to be accessible but not as in available, as in a place with no stairs for the serfs to meet with us. They got the place part figured out… can they get the location right? Disability accessible is great but not when you have to hike 257m through roadworks to get there when you’re mobility challenged. I figure they got enough of my I’m disabled and I vote emails to get the message when the Honourable doctor turned up at a meeting of people with disabilities. Now THAT was making sure we had his attention.

There’s not much more to tell about the battle of the long lost land of Kallangur other than some guy who wants to know what we think a lot. It’s one thing to use social media to reach people, but for those who are familiar with the infamous Facebook community page, Kallangur Watch Fully Uncensored, it’s risky business asking any serious, legitimate questions in that forum. Of course when you’re representing One Nation, with a name like Scott Dare and your slogan is Dare for change, it’s probably right up your alley. Whether it’s boredom or he’s just not sure what he’s doing it’s hard to tell but he’s certainly not afraid to risk people telling him what they think. After all he does ask the same question over and over… What does Kallangur need? Which isn’t helping much to help Kallangur identify with being Murrumba now nor does it give the people much confidence that the person who has put up their hand to be a representative of the serfs AND the demi gods has any idea what they actually need to do to make the daring changes they claim they’re going to make.

It’s interesting times here in no man’s land that’s for sure and while the Kallangur electorate may from here on in be known as Murrumba, nothing will change the once bustling town of Kallangur fighting to get back what was rightfully theirs. Linking them in the electorate with North Lakes has more than ever shown there is no love lost between the two towns divided by more than just a highway. If you listen closely you’ll hear the downtrodden serfs calling out WE WANT OUR LIBRARY BACK WE WANT OUR LIBRARY BACK. Could this election be just what they need to make that happen?

Meanwhile out there in the rest of the realm of politics there’s quite a story behind how and why Rick actually got the flick in the end. Irony is it all started back at the last council election when a cranky old man who grew tired of being the miserable bar tender to the lords and the demi gods, decided enough was enough, he was fed up with being the listener and wanted to be the talker. So the poor publican Eric decided to appoint himself as a lord and go masquerading in the policital realm as someone important.

Lord Eric of Meldale menaced the townsfolk and candidates and anyone who didn’t see the truth as he tells it. Especially after a few glasses of red. Once the council elections were over and things didn’t go the way Lord Eric wanted, he decided he wasn’t settled enough with being a lord. He wanted to be a demi god too. However demi gods have to do a little bit of work and it’s not something Lord Eric is very accustomed to under the conditions required… ie sobriety.

Lord Eric thus knighted himself and jumped on his horse vowing he’d be the demi god of the land of Moreton Bay in 2020. Long way off of course and we all know how much can change in the political landscape over that time. Not wanting to wane and become unnoticed while the serfs were busy building and growing the empire until the next election, he had a wonderful idea to maintain attention by turning to the state election. He really had it in for the Rick he wanted to flick so badly that he made it his life’s work to ensure that he irritated him enough to put him in a position where knight Sir Eric could record Rick doing something terrible! He put a legal notice in his letterbox! I know! All the serfs in the land were equally as horrified as Sir Eric as they watched the 6 o’clock news seeing the story unfold. How dare that man put mail in a mail box they shouted! Eric gained so much support… wait, no… that’s the fantasy that Eric the publican want to be King of all the lands played out in his mind.

What really happened was the serfs, quite fed up with Eric’s antics and hollow shouty promises in his drunken tirades, some of them decided to stand up to him and treat him the same way he treated all the people in elections gone by. Poor Eric wasn’t built to handle that. Especially sober. But in true egotist style he did not fall on his self made sword. He pushed his wife onto it and attempted to play the knight in shining armour saving her from the angry lynch mobs.

Truth… the real truth, and it seems Eric never really could handle it, is that so very few people even knew Sir Eric existed he was never really a thing in the political realm. I mean he’s hardly the next Barack Obama and he doesn’t even cut a shade to our much beloved old Sir Joh B. So with his curly tail between his legs Eric set his horse free, pulled up the drawbridge across the moat to the Castle Meldale and no one ever saw him again.

Rumour has it though that he’s shut up shop completely, no bars open to the public and now he spends his life being the troll under the bridge. Some believe he’s merely laying in waiting for the hype to fade from this election and jump out the moment the billy goats appear to campaign for Moreton 2020. What a time to be alive!

Check out these fellas… who would you vote for?

Jason Kennedy for the Greens
Scott Dare for One Nation
Reg Gulley (right) for LNP with his former party leader Campbell Newman
Steven Miles for Labor (picture with local Gemma Gale of the Dakabin Station Action Group)

One person you won’t have to worry about voting for
Lord Eric the former publican

Stay classy Murrumba Kallangur

Justifying My Disability

My disability is acquired and one that is sometimes referred to as “invisible”. My disability is caused by a progressively degenerative neurological disease. I am one of the 10% of people diagnosed with my illness before the age of 40.

I have Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease.

When I first started treatment it was like getting a renewed life. As time has gone on and my condition has progressed, the symptoms are less controlled by treatment I’ve had to make adjustments to my life & find new ways to do things that have become difficult to do.

Assistive technology and aides have advanced giving people with disabilities the capabilities to do things once only dreamed of. Yet, when I’m using these things I’m constantly finding I have to justify myself to people too ignorant and judgemental to take the opportunity to learn.

Last week I posted a story on my Facebook page about a group of young men loudly commenting about their opinion of my unjustified use of a mobility scooter because they observed me walk about 10 steps. “people like that who can still walk make a joke of disabilities” they said.

The next day a child of about 10-12 observed me stand up from my scooter to take a photo and exclaimed loudly to their parents “she can walk!” like I had committed some type of deception intentionally.

Elderly people stare at me in disgust when I ride around the supermarket. I get told on a frequent basis “That’s disability parking!” despite my permit being prominently displayed, before I’ve even been helped out of the car.

There was even the time a woman behind me when I was in a shopping centre on my large mobility scooter on a public holiday loudly stated “They shouldn’t be allowed to bring those things in here on days like today”.

I have 2 mobility scooters, serving different purposes each. I am no longer allowed to drive. I have a walking stick and a chair in my shower.

I’ve simplified my eating habits so cooking is achievable at times but my carers do most of it for me. An app on my phone reminds me when and which medication to take and when it needs to be ordered and picked up.

I use drink bottles to drink from most of the time because I spill or drop my drinks.

There’s even a voice activated emergency app on my phone in case I am injured in a fall.

All of these things contribute to me managing my life with a disability. It should be celebrated. Instead it’s questioned and interrogated, judged and discussed by strangers as though it’s not justified for me to use these things.

An amputee can put on a prosthetic limb and run and the world stands on the sidelines clapping calling them an inspiration. They’re doing the same as me. Using the tools available to make their life manageable but, we are treated differently.

Is it because people view their physical difference as suffering? Why do people with disabilities need to show they suffer to be justified in having assistance?

I haven’t lost my legs. Instead I have legs that cramp with rigid muscles that refuse to take orders from my brain. I have hands that move when I don’t want them to and freeze stiff when I need them to move.

There are so many others like me. We just want to live our lives as best we can while minimising the struggle to do so. We’re just doing every day things most people take for granted but because it’s not inspirational for some people, we’re forced to endure and at times even be confronted by their accusational judgement. Made to feel bad just for trying to have a better life.

When I tried to explain to those young men that day that 10 years ago I’d have run circles around them, but the degeneration of my condition now means I can barely walk 100 metres with collapsing in a heap and I will keep degenerating until I can’t walk at all, one of them replied “we all degenerate”.

Yes we do. Just some degenerate before their time. How privileged to never have to see that kind of suffering.

Rather than expecting people to justify their disability, try being supportive. Educating your ignorance might be handy for you if you ever find yourself in our position.

I can assure you, no one, especially me, expects to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Today in Australia 33 people will be diagnosed. It could be you.

My Bleeding Heart

It’s been a while since I’ve written. It happens from time to time. It’s either because I’m so busy, or too sick or I just haven’t had anything stir my passion enough that justified writing here. It’s been a bit of all of that of late but the past week has really stirred me.

When I was a kid I didn’t know that we were different to other families. I didn’t know there were different classes of people and that you were treated accordingly. I just treated everyone the same. I was the kind of kid who brought all the strays home. I was the kid who cried when we saw a dead animal on the side of the road. All I ever wanted was to be happy and to be included.

I was excluded from very early on though. My father left when I was very young and we had a step father. I wanted so much to be accepted I would forgive his crimes and abuse. Every time we were referred to as the step children or my mother’s children in that family I would feel myself hanging onto a rope trying to climb my way up. He only ever taught me exclusion. He was a racist bastard, always belittling us for the clothes we wore or the friends we chose or the music we listened to. He would call it n*gger music. I hate that word. I hated him.

I wasn’t the cool kid in school. I was a lot of things but not cool. I think I experienced almost every kind of exclusion there is throughout my life. Social exclusion, racial exclusion, even in my life as it is today, disability exclusion. I wanted a different life for my children and the last thing I wanted was for them to be anything like the people who excluded me in my lifetime just because of who I was, the colour of my skin, the country my parents were born in or that I use wheels instead of legs sometimes. I want my boys to grow up into the kind of men who will be great community leaders and embrace the differences in their community.

So when my child is excluded I teach him to stand up for his rights. I do that by standing up for him. Even when it means I will be shunned by the community I am fighting for him to be included in.

There have been a few occasions in different environments but none that stunned me more than the sporting club we’d been members of for over a year. He’s 11. He’s got his father’s genes and he is a bigger kid. I don’t want him to be fighting the same chronic illnesses his father is that can be prevented by managing his weight. So as well as trying to manage his diet and teach him good food habits (a battle and a half when his father teaches him bad habits), I wanted to ensure he has regular exercise. In the summer we swim. In the winter we tended to hibernate, so I went looking for a sport that would suit him.

Mr11 has already experienced exclusion on a social level mostly because of his learning disabilities and behaviour disorders, but no one knows more than I do how hard he works at trying to “fit in” and how much it hurts him that he doesn’t. He’s a great kid. Very compassionate and so witty. He has his struggles though and I was worried about finding a sport that would be understanding to his needs.

I was introduced to a club in the Queensland Christian Soccer Association. I liked their values and thought it would fit well with his needs but most of all they promoted inclusion of kids with disabilities. So it seemed, since he had voiced an interest in soccer, this was worth a try. For the first year it was brilliant. He had his moments of struggle but it seemed that the coach and the team really tried to ensure all the kids felt included. It had a very inclusive feel about it and he loved going to training every week and playing games. They were a strong team. Went through the whole season undefeated. For the first time in his life he felt like he was good at something. He knew he wasn’t the strongest member of the team. Many of the other kids had been playing for several years but he enjoyed it and he was active. The following year something changed and I know he doesn’t cope well with change, but he seemed to be handling it. The team had been boosted from a division three level to a division one. The competition was much more difficult. For the first time he experienced loss and even though other team parents feel differently than myself, I was glad to see them lose. It broke down the cockiness they had developed from not losing. Mr 11 needed to experience being a good loser as well as being a good winner. He did pretty well.

IMG_4873

About half way through the season, he came home from training one night, visibly upset saying he hated soccer and he was never going back again. When he calmed I managed to find out that another team member had said to him, “You’re not even a good player I don’t know why you’re on the team.” He no longer felt included. Instead he felt blamed. He saw this as meaning it was his fault they lost.

It took me a good four days to convince him he was not to blame. They played as a team, they won as a team and they lost as a team. It was no one person’s fault if they lost and certainly in no way was it any one person’s doing alone if they won. That he had strengths and weaknesses just like any other member of the team. I convinced him to play that weekend but he did so begrudgingly. I could see his heart wasn’t in it. Until they won and he was singled out by the coach for playing well. I had hoped this was proof enough to him that the other kid was wrong.

Even when they didn’t win I hoped that he enjoyed himself on the field. That he saw it as fun as much as competition. After all it was one of the key values the club and the association promoted and we all know if kids don’t enjoy it, they won’t exercise. Many of the clubs had struggled to maintain a steady membership. So what happened next was so shocking to me I had no choice but to speak up.

We had made our way to an away game. A field with no toilets, no food, no coffee and the weather turned. On arrival it began to rain. We sat there in the cold wet only to have our child along with three other subs benched for the whole game. This had never happened before. I was so disappointed for him. For them all. I could see how disappointed they were that they didn’t get a play. Most of all I was disappointed with the coach’s reasoning. He wanted to put a scoring team on the field and his language suggested that to win this was required and if this was required it “might be the way it has to be.” So effectively he was telling those four kids they weren’t good enough to play on the team.

I am not a religious person. I followed the club’s code of conduct and values out of respect. I didn’t feel that respect was mutual. The club’s values were not being shown to these kids. So I complained. My complaint was met with a that’s the way it is response, so being the kind of person that I am, I took the complaint further with club management.

I was reassured that this wasn’t the kind of practice they supported and that it would be resolved. I have to say I was really pleased with the club’s response and handling of the issue. They needed to handle it and be aware of it because if this kind of behaviour infiltrated the club it would destroy the very values and ethics the association was based on. Most of all it would drive members away. Many of us were there because other competitions and sports were too competitive for our kids’ needs. It wasn’t a selection based on skill kind of competition. It was to get more kids involved in sport.

The coach was not happy with my complaint, nor that the club reinforced this practice was against their values and wouldn’t be allowed. The next thing that happened, I can’t guarantee was accidental, but nonetheless I can’t help thinking it was fate. We received an SMS that was about us and not intended for us.

I was referred to as a “bleeding heart parent” with a “cotton wool kid”.

I was disappointed. Shocked. Most of all, I was angry. It couldn’t have been further from the truth. If I was really wrapping my kid in cotton wool then I wouldn’t have pushed him to play sport in the first place. I’d let him lay in bed playing Xbox all day. I wouldn’t be trying to protect him from losing by telling him it’s okay to be a cheerleader on the bench. I wanted my child to feel what it’s like to lose in competition. We can’t always win. We can’t always be the best at everything. Most of all, as a team, we have to support each other’s weaknesses and build on them. No, my kid was the one with the bruises and grazes. My kid has no idea what cotton wool is. He’s also the kid who has a parent who stands up for him and teaches him to stand up for himself. To stand up for what’s right.

I’m kind of fed up with this bleeding heart bullshit. If I stand up for disability rights I’m a bleeding heart. If I care about what happens to others I’m a bleeding heart. If I do whatever is in my power to stop injustice from happening I’m a bleeding heart. If I stand up for human rights I’m a bleeding heart. Until those rights are yours and then you want me on your side.

I’m pleased to say Mr11 is back to playing. He might only be a sub (when everyone else decides to turn up of course, when they don’t then he’s good enough to play the whole game), but he plays. He gets on that field when he’s sick, when he’s scared and when he’s indifferent. He faces his challenges and faces his fears. No cotton wool required. I’m so damn proud of that kid. Most of all, I can sleep at night knowing he’s proud of me. Because even though I feared I would be ostracised by the parent clique of win or die sideline parents (and some have made it pretty clear that’s how it is), I still stood up for him and what was right.

My bleeding heart beats just fine. How’s yours?

Me and My boy
Me and My boy

Stop Misquoting the Internet!

Marvin Gaye heard it through the grapevine in 1968.

In 2015 we read it on the Internet so it must be true.

Sad reality is what Marvin heard in 68 is more likely to have been true than what you read in your Facebook feed today.. Social media is the new age gossip. For those who only use the Internet to check social media and their bank balance they’re missing out on so many more opportunities. If you know how to use them correctly.

The Internet is amazing. We have access to all the information we could ever want. Problem is you need to be able to determine what is real and what is not. What is evidence and what is propaganda. What is magic and what is trickery. Oh, wait….

The reason for my little rant today is the very delicate but significant topic of Domestic Violence. It’s high up there in the media and a government priority at the moment, not just because it’s on the increase and not just because people are dying. This has been happening since Adam and Eve were evicted from the garden of Eden (that’s a colloquialism not necessarily a fact hehe). It’s because the social media has given the community a voice and while the media are now able to portray the victims of these terrible crimes as powerless and the perpetrators as monsters out of control the social media community are screaming in outrage and someone has to answer to it.

The topic is complex as is any possible solution, and the emotions involved make it a highly volatile discussion whenever it’s raised. As a victim of domestic violence I find it just as difficult as the next person to keep my emotions in check when responding to anything about the topic. What I find most frustrating of all is the propaganda war that has extended from the debate and lets face it, we know most people don’t like to be told they’re wrong especially when their propaganda agrees with their argument more than your 27 academic reports into domestic and family violence that you’ve just studied and quoted from. What ever you quote is not relevant when they have their misquotes.

Today I am triggered to writing again for the first time in well over a year – may be even close to two now – by a simple quote posted as a picture in a thread about the notorious Baden-Clay case. The discussion that has extended from the domestic violence debate is the overwhelming statistics of Male violence against their Female partners and the battle to end violence against women has arisen. Sad and very real truth is that when it comes to homicides, men are and have been since these report statistics were recorded, the most likely victims. However when it comes to domestic violence involving partners or intimate relationships, women are most likely to be the victim and men are more likely to be the offender.

So what did posting this possibly do to contribute to the debate?:

internet lies 1

Knowing all the facts and figures I’ve studied on this topic I’m thinking, “that just doesn’t sound right” and searched for said report and in particular the referenced Table. What I found was not only was this statistic so ridiculously incorrect but it had come from misquoting something that wasn’t even directly relevant to the statement.

In the report that you can download and read for yourself, table three actually breaks down the male and female victim statistics into categories of domestic violence.

Within the NHMP, domestic/family homicides are sub-classified against five relationship categories. These are:

  1. Intimate partner—victim and offender are current or former partners (married, defacto, boy/girlfriend);
  2. Filicide—victim is the child of the offender;
  3. Parricide—victim is the parent of the offender;
  4. Siblicide—victim and offender are brother/s or sister/s; and
  5. Other family—including nieces, uncles, cousins, grandparents.

Table three showed that while yes men in general make up around 40% of victims the total is drastically distorted by two specific relationship categories. Siblicide and Other Family. Men in those two categories are overwhelmingly the victims however they are also the two categories with the smallest number of incidences over all.

Most domestic violence homicides occur at the hands of an intimate partner and in that category, women make up three quarters of the total of victims.

So in the context of ending Men’s violence against Women, these statistics don’t support the person’s argument at all that men are getting a raw deal and they failed completely to correctly quote the statistics, but hey it agreed with their ideal and who cares because fuck you.

The worst thing of all is the most important part of the report was entirely missed by everyone in the thread (mostly because no one would actually go and read the report just keep quoting propaganda and tell me I’m wrong because they say so).

The report was published in 2015 but the data it cites was from a ten year period prior to 2012 and in the conclusion of the report it states:

Conclusion

The purpose of this paper was to update Mouzos and Rushforth’s (2003) findings describing characteristics of domestic/family homicides in Australia from 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2012. In 2003, Mouzos and Rushforth concluded that policy and other strategies targeted at preventing these homicides were warranted and this remains true today. Although homicide is declining, two in five victims are killed by a family member and these victims are most commonly partners, parents and children. It is intended that these data will support and contextualise, at a national level, the findings of jurisdictional child and intimate partner death review teams that have been initiated across Australia as well as other research currently being undertaken.

In 2003 they said policy and other strategies were warranted. 12 years later, we are still getting all promises and no policies. All punishment and no prevention.

If I called police today I would get exactly the same response as I did when I called them in 1993. You’ll need to go to the magistrate’s court and apply for a domestic violence order but if he does anything call us and we will come straight away. In 1993 straight was 15 minutes later to keep him in a holding cell for a few hours to basically give them enough time to take photos of the injuries.

In 22 years we still haven’t been able to change attitudes enough to stop propaganda. How the hell are we going to stop people from dying?