Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lynn Allison

Lynn Allison was next on my list of people to research. I now have no idea who she is or why I put her on the list. I suppose when I read about her, something will ring a bell.

Okay, Lord Wiki says she's part of the Australian Democrats. He says she was their last federal parliamentary leader. I don't quite understand what that means. Do they not have a leader anymore?

Well, Lord Wiki seems to be saying they no longer have seats in the Parliament. I didn't realize until now how bad things were for them. I mean I knew things were bad, but not that bad.

Anyway.....

Allison was born in Melbourne on October 21, 1946. She has the same astrology sign and numerology sign as Meg Lees. Libra and 6. Is she a romantic family woman? Maybe.   Or maybe not.

Another thing Allison has in common with Lees is Lord Wiki doesn't talk much about her childhood. He skips that altogether, and just says she was educated at the University of Melbourne.

At one point, she was a secondary teacher. I just looked up what secondary school is because I wasn't exactly sure about that. I'm getting that it's the school kids go to during their teen years.

She's an atheist. I was thinking that America would never allow an atheist to have any big role in government, but it turns out we do. I'm actually impressed with my country for a change. We have an Atheist, a Muslim, and two Buddhists. Wow!

Allison was elected into the senate in 1996.

She was deputy leader from 2002-2004. Then the leader Andrew Bartlett resigned, and the job went to her. When she became leader, the party had the lowest public opinion about themselves ever. I guess this was because of all the Meg Lees/ Natasha Stott Despoja conflicts. I think it's hard to have faith in a party or organization when there's so much infighting.

Lord Wiki talks about various issues she was involved with.

She worked to have the use of cluster munitions banned in Australia. Bob Brown was into this too.

It seems the bill hasn't passed yet though. I could be reading things wrong though.

She got the abortion pill legalized. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I don't know enough. I'm definitely pro-choice, but is the pill safe and better than other types of abortions?

Lord Wiki has a lot of information. I skimmed through it. Medical stuff like that messes with my head. I never know who to believe.

Can Vaccines really cause Autism, or are unfortunate families just desperate to find something to blame?

Are artificial sweeteners really evil, or are crunchy granola people trying to needlessly scare us?

Is an abortion pill really dangerous, or are pro-life people exaggerating the issue to push their cause?

The government tells us one thing. It's safe! Studies have proven it. The opposing groups say the opposite. I don't completely trust the opposing groups. The problem is I also don't trust the government.

I don't know who to believe.

The past year or so I've made high fructose corn syrup my sworn enemy. Now they're citing studies that show it's no worse than sugar. Should I believe it?

What I notice in the arguments is problems on both sides.

A) the government/medical side keeps changing their views. One day you read a certain herb has no effect on our immunity. A year or so later you read that it actually does help. You can't really trust any study because a year or so later an opposite study will prove the last study wrong.

B) The alternative/crunchy people never seem to back down from their argument--no matter what the evidence. It seems to me they have their minds made up and no matter what the studies show, they won't budge. This is at least the feeling that I get.

All these opposing viewpoints make me confused.

In the 2007, it seems the Democrats got together with the Greens--kind of banded together to make sure the progressive side had a voice in politics. I'm guessing what happened is they decided instead of competing against each other, they should work together. That's a good idea.

Lynn Allison is looked upon fondly by various causes and organizations, including some feminists, asylum seekers, and public broadcasting folks.

Well, I'm going to exit Lord Wiki now and find more treasures.

This editorial written by Allison comes down hard on Rudd and some of his ideas. She feels some of his campaign promises were ill-conceived. An example is his idea of having laptops in every classroom. Allison says that will be too expensive and wasteful. Computers won't solve everything.

She pushes Rudd to put forth more effort into the climate change issue...do what's needed to save our future instead of what's best for the economy right now.

I like Allison's concluding sentence. She says, Until June 30, 2008 the Democrats won't be holding Labor to its promises; we'll be trying to inject some sense into policy that will otherwise be a waste of money and effort.

What happened on June 30? Maybe that's when Allison's term was up? Okay. Yes. I just checked back. I thought that's what I had read from Lord Wiki.

This other article in the ABC says Allison wanted to protect woman heading towards Abortion clinics from zealous protesters. Security guards say that protesters follow the woman down the street. She wanted the protesters banned from the entrance of the building. That might be a good idea.

Here's an article that explains more about the Greens/Democrats alliance. The plan was to work together so that neither of the two major political parties dominate. What's that saying? Together we stand. Divided we fall. Or what does Jack from Lost Say? Live Together. Die Alone?

I feel I'm just jumping from article to article here. Oh well. Sorry.

This article from 2007 says she wanted the government to pay for the majority of childcare with the parents paying only 10%. That sounds good to me. Although I think a better idea might be to have government sponsored childcare where parents pay a percentage of their income. The more money you have the more you pay. That's called a sliding scale...right? I don't know. Maybe my idea is no better.

Here Lynn criticizes the Australian citizenship test. I loved taking the test and did well on it, but now she's definitely causing me to rethink my viewpoint of the test. She says it dwells on trivial aspects of Australia. That's not so bad, but she points out that it emphasis white male culture.  It fails to give equal attention to women and Indigenous Australians.

I may be blinded by my obsessive love for Australia, but I do think people who want to become citizens should pass a basic test on Australia knowledge. I think it's sad to want to become a citizen of a country and know nothing about it. However, I don't think the questions on the test should be so difficult and obscure that even people born in Australia can't pass the test.

I think the test should be easy enough that people could learn the information with a few good hours of study.

A few days before her term was up in June, Allison won an award.  She was chosen to be the Australian Humanist of the Year. This came from an organization called The International Humanist and Ethical Union. She was given the award for her work to make sure that there's a separation of church and state in Australia. Some of this work included opposing religious instruction in school and opposing Howard's funding of school chaplains.

I learned from my Sydney friend that schools in Australia have religion classes for children. I'm not sure if this is for all schools or just some. ???? I did read that recently schools in Victoria will now be offering the option for kids to take humanist classes. That's so awesome.

In the United States, our government schools (public) are not supposed to offer any religious instruction. This is not always followed though. I had a high school biology using bones to try to teach creationism; and I had a psychology teacher who tried to convince us to convert to Christianity. I remember him saying we should believe, because if we're wrong, we're screwed. If he's wrong, it's no big loss. I totally agree with him. If the Christians are right and the atheists are wrong, the atheists are totally screwed. If the atheists are right and the Christians are wrong, they won't even be conscious to realize it. But is that a reason to believe in something--out of fear of being wrong? And I'd never want to follow a god who punishes people for believing the wrong thing. An all loving and all forgiving god would be just that; one who loves everyone no matter what. He would never send people to hell just because they didn't worship or believe in him. Only an egomaniac would do that.

Oh....I'm going off on a tangent here.

When do I not do that?

For you Australians, what has your experience been with schools? Did you have to take religious classes? What about your children? Did you feel there were good enough options for children who are not Christian? Did you enjoy the classes? Resent them?

Personally though, when it comes to religion I feel instead of outlawing it from schools and government, I think it should be presented in a multicultural form. And it needs to be done in a fair way. I think it's wrong to ban the Bible from the classroom because it's "religion" and that's not allowed, but then teach Greek "Mythology". How about having a class where a variety of religious stories are shared without one being labeled as truth and another being labeled as mythology.  For people who believe their belief system is the one and only right one, I guess this would be very hard to imagine and accept.