Sunday, June 28, 2009

Nick Xenophon

I think I remember Nick Xenophon. He's an independent Member of Parliament. And I think he's the one who voted against Rudd's stimulus package. Or maybe he hesitated in voting for it? I can't remember it exactly.

I guess I shall go talk to Lord Wiki.

I'm right at least about him being an independent.

Baby Nick was born on 29 January 1959. His birthday is around my brother-in-law's birthday. We sadly keep forgetting which date is his birthday. Actually, I have a hard time remembering both of my brother-in-law's birthdays. I know one's birthday is in the last few days of March. The other's is in the last days of January. You know, now that I think of it....I also forget the birthday of one of my nieces. Hers is in the last days of December. I'm thinking maybe I have trouble remembering birthdays that are on the 29, 30, and 31. I get them confused.

Anyway, back to baby Nick. Let's check out the Birthday website!

Xenophon is an Aquarius like my dad.  Oh and also like my brother-in-law! I never thought about the fact that he's an Aquarius too.

Xenophon is a 9 in numerology. My sister is a 9 in numerology; the same sister that's married to the Aquarius. They should invite Xenophon over for dinner someday. He might fit in well with them.

I want to read about the Aquarius and see if it fits my brother-in-law and/or my dad.

This astrology website says, Both types are strong willed and forceful in their different ways and have strong convictions, though as they seek truth above all things, they are usually honest enough to change their opinions, however firmly held, if evidence comes to light which persuades them that they have been mistaken. They have a breadth of vision that brings diverse factors into a whole, and can see both sides of an argument without shilly-shallying as to which side to take. Consequently they are unprejudiced and tolerant of other points of view. This is because they can see the validity of the argument, even if they do not accept it themselves.

That reminds me of my dad a lot. He has strong opinions, but is often at least somewhat open to hearing alternative viewpoints. I'm not sure yet if it applies to my brother-in-law. I need to get to know him better.

Let's return to our man of the day.

There's not much said about Xenophon's childhood, except that he went to Prince Alfred College. That's located in Adelaide. I'd like to go to Adelaide someday.

He then did law at The University of Adelaide.

Xenophon was a member of Young Liberals. So I guess at least in the beginning, he was more on the conservative side.

Lord Wiki has something interesting. I'm not sure if I understand it or not.

If I'm reading this right, he was given a position through the use of vote-rigging. He was made editor of the University of Adelaide's newspaper. On Dit.

Xenophon later said he regrets what happens, and he claims this is what turned him off of party politics. At the age of about twenty-five, Xenophon started his own law firm. It dealt mostly with personal injury claims.

Between 1994 and 1997 he was president of the South Australian branch of the Australian Plaintiff Lawyers' Association.

One issue that is big for Xenophon is gambling. I guess he's against it. In 1992 poker machines were introduced in South Australia. Xenophon didn't support that. I think what happened maybe (I'm majorly inferring here!) is Xenophon had clients who developed problems because of the poker machines. The exact words of Lord Wiki are the increased incidence of problem gambling came to Xenophon's attention in his legal practice.

In 1997, Xenophon put himself into the election for the South Australian Legislative Council. He was an independent, standing on the platform of No Pokies. No Pokies. That sounds incredibly cute; like someone who doesn't want to be tickled or something. Or maybe it's what a very nervous virgin says on the night of her wedding.

Lord Wiki gives some statistics about the election. I'm not even going to TRY to understand these.

I do understand when Lord Wiki says that Xenophon was the first independent to be elected to the council in sixty years. Wow. That's a long time!

Another issue that became important to Xenophon was hit and run accidents. He was vocal in something called the Kapunda Road Royal Commission. This commission was created after a bicyclist was hit and killed by a driver.

In October 2007, Xenophon announced his resignation from the South Australian Legislative Council. He wanted to be part of Federal Government. He made it in.  Lord Wiki goes into details of how he got in, but it goes way above my head.

The media describes Xenophon as being left of center.

Okay and here's the stimulus package stuff. He voted against the package; but after some changes were made, he voted for it.

All right. I'm done with Lord Wiki.

I guess I'll go to the official Nick Xenophon site now.

The color orange dominates his site. I wonder if that's his favorite color. It makes me think of pumpkin.

Here is his page on poker machines. It's very sad that poker machines cause people such huge problems; that they drive families apart. But there are SO many things out there that can do that. Any addiction can cause problems: alcohol, heroin, pornography, social network sites, shopping, etc. I have an eating disorder. I'm almost constantly bombarded with images of stick-thin women. Even our Disney Sorry game joins in the fun. Has anyone noticed how thin those princesses are?! Almost every day I find emails on how to lose weight. So many websites I visit have ads promoting the latest diet pill and/or crash diet.

It's hard to have good mental health in this world!

I'm not sure if outlawing stuff is the answer.

What is the answer?

I am at a loss here. I truly am.

Let's look at his other campaigns.

He's big on Aged Care. I like what he says here. It's probably best if you read it for yourselves, but I'll try to give a brief summary. Basically he says the subject of aged care is difficult and complicated. It's often hard to keep our parents at home with us because we might be working. He also says that couples sometimes have to be separated because one center doesn't meet the needs of both partners. It's all very sad.

Xenophon says, We face large challenges with the shortage of high-level care, lack of new or refurbished places, adequate staffing arrangements and the ever growing demand as Australians live longer.
Adding to this is the growing pressure to get nurses and carers into the profession. With low pay, demanding conditions and limited long-term career prospects, it is hard to attract and keep.
 

It really is a tough situation. I applaud Xenophon for standing behind it.

He's not a climate change skeptic. He says,
I am not a climate change skeptic. I believe that global warming is real and that the overwhelming scientific evidence is that it is caused by human activity. So, we must take responsibility for finding a way to reverse this dangerous trend. 

He's not happy with the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. He says it seems like all stick and no carrot.

Speaking of carrots, I almost ate a yucky mushy one the other day. That's SO gross. I mean a RAW yucky mushy one. A yucky mushy cooked carrot would be much less gross.

I guess what's happening, in the scheme, is that all companies are heavily taxed. Xenophon believes that only the ones using bad dirty energy should be taxed. That makes sense to me.

The government has a whole website about the scheme. I glanced over it and can't find the part that Xenophon is referring to. I don't have the time or energy to read the whole thing carefully. Or we could just say I'm being lazy again.

He wants fuel prices to go down in Australia. Tim would strongly agree with him. That's probably one of his biggest concerns about us possibly one day moving to Australia. How the hell would we be afford to drive.  Well, that and how would we ever afford a house?

Oh! How funny. That's the next campaign that Xenophon lists. Housing Affordability. Xenophon says,
There is a growing divide between those who are in the property market and those who can't afford to be.

You know, so far I am liking this guy.

He wants to use more stormwater. I don't know much about that, but it sounds like a good idea to me. Xenophon says,
Stormwater projects offer a great, relatively inexpensive and environmentally friendly way for major cities, as well as countless regional towns and communities, to wean themselves off river water, in turn easing the burden on our river systems.

He wants to help the Murray-Darling River. I think that's good too. He says, We need to focus on increasing farming efficiencies up and down the river system, so that water isn't wasted and the rivers won't run dry. That makes sense to me.

Here's his biography page. He says he's not a big fan of talking about himself. Well, THERE'S something we don't have in common. He doesn't say much exciting stuff here. I mean it's lovely. It's just nothing much that I didn't already learn from Lord Wiki.

I LOVE his last quote though.
I would rather go down fighting, than still be standing because I stayed silent.

That's BEAUTIFUL. I hope I always follow that advice. Isn't there a line from Harry Potter?

Here it is.
Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort.

Wait. What is that trying to say? Take the easy path or the right path? Or do we take the right path UNLESS Voldomort is involved? Maybe it's saying you should take the right path no matter what...but understand that sometimes it might kill you. But that's okay, because a few years later you'll come back as an extremely popular and sexy vampire.

Before I move onto Xenophon....I must say this. I'm not into worshipping. But if I had to pick one person to worship, it would probably be JK Rowling.

Now I'm going to look at Xenophon's Parliament website. I'm going to read his first speech. I haven't read one of those in a long time! It was done on 27 August 2008.

I like this paragraph.
So as I stand here making my first speech I am actually thinking a lot about what I am going to say in my last speech. Will I have made a difference? Will I have fought the battles that needed fighting and helped those who needed helping? Will I have sought every opportunity to make life a little better for people, a little fairer for people and maybe even a little easier for people.

Maybe that's something we all need to think about. When it comes to our end, will we able to say we did mostly good things?

I like what he says here. I know I am an Independent, but over the years I have been absolutely dependent on a loyal band of supporters who were ready to help me fight for what I believed in. I still struggle to comprehend how 1,200 volunteers saw fit to give up their time and their labour to help me on election day.

I admire his gratitude.

His parents are from Greek and Cyprus. I kind of guessed that from his name.

How sweet. He thanks his son.

I like what Xenophon says here:   A lot of people ask me where I am on the political spectrum: am I conservative or progressive? Apart from a youthful indiscretion while at uni where I flirted briefly with the Young Libs, for most of my life and in my political career I have tended not to see things in terms of Left or Right. Instead, I try to think about what is right and what is wrong.

I want to be more like that. I know most of my political beliefs swing to the far left, but I want to think for myself and not agree with something just because a left party pushes the idea. I want to feel okay with sometimes siding with the right. Basically, I want to be more of a free thinker.
He quotes from a past British politician. First they ignore you, then they say you’re mad, then dangerous, then there’s a pause and then you can’t find anyone who disagrees with you.
I like that. I think it's probably true in many ways.

Oh cool. He talks about Donald Horne. Donald Horne referred to Australia, with calculated irony, as the ‘lucky country’ to make the point that we should not rely on luck alone, and I think he was right. Luck is great, as long as you do not count on it. We must never take our luck for granted and we must work hard to protect what we have.

Beautiful.


I feel I don't have to do much work in this post. Xenophon says it all so well. Maybe he should be come a blogger--or at least his speechwriter should.

So far, I'm still loving Xenophon.

Now I'm going to move onto that website I found yesterday....the online opinion one. I want to read some editorials about Xenophon. He actually wrote something for them as well. I guess I shall read that first.

It was written in 2005, and it's about drug abuse. It says that in Sweden they made a law in 1982 to aim for a drug free society. That surprises me. I kind of pictured them as the type of country who would make drugs legal. Maybe I totally misjudged, or maybe later they did become that.

One of Sweden's laws pushed mandatory six month rehabilitation for people effected by drugs.

Wow. Xenophon is really making me think here. I've always believed in the legalization of drugs, but Xenophon is trying to convince me otherwise. He's not doing a bad job of it. He talks about how Sweden has MUCH lower drug abuse than Australia. He talks about all the problems that Australians have with drugs.

It's so damn complicated. I know in America we outlawed alcohol for awhile and that had its problems. I don't know the details though.

What should we do?

I feel lost.

Should we outlaw everything that is harmful to us: alcohol, drugs, super thin models, trans fat, gambling.....

Where do we draw the line then?

There's that whole clash between protecting people and personal freedom. I used to visit this Disney World message board. There were some angry people on there. Why? Disney decided to get rid of some very unhealthy food they provided. People felt this imposed on their right to eat junk. Their argument was just because it's there; it doesn't mean you have to eat it.

I agree with them to a point.

I also disagree.

The problem is some people really can't help themselves. Or they can help themselves, but it takes a HUGE horrific inner struggle.

A part of me feels we should outlaw stuff. A part of me thinks it's good that NYC passed a law making it illegal for restaurants to have artificial trans fat in their food.

Again though, where do you draw the line?

Disney World still has a wide variety of yummy junk food. What if it comes to a point that the only food you can get at Disney World is raw carrots, raw apples, and steamed broccoli?

But the draw the line statement is often a way to avoid the issue. We already HAVE drawn a line. It's out there. The question is do we need to make that line more relaxed or more strict?

Now here is an editorial ABOUT Xenophon. It's written by Malcolm King who has been involved with the Labor Party and Australian Democrats. I like how you can find out who wrote these editorials. 

King wrote this 20 November 2007. That's when my family was on a Disney Cruise.

King says Harradine, a former ALP Senator before he turned Independent was openly anti-abortion, anti-IVF and anti-gay rights. Mr Xenophon is not so reactionary - or at least I don’t think he is. One can't tell and that’s part of the problem. He’s everyman.

I sometimes fear people think that about me. I'm often unable to take sides in an issue. I feel people might think I'm trying to play both sides. I'm not trying to be like that. I just often don't know where I stand.

King talks about something that Lord Wiki mentioned. Xenophon is known for using props to get the media attention. He has used goats, toy cars, trains and giraffes as visual props with stunning effect.
I'm not sure if that's necessarily a bad thing. I think it's okay to put on a show to get attention as long as it's not about being manipulative, exploitive, or sensationalist.

For example, us bloggers often try to think of creative post titles to attract more readers. I think it's fine to say something like I am So Excited. Many people will want to know what you're excited about. But what if someone's blog title is My Child is in the Hospital! You read the post, and find out the child is in the hospital because her girl scout troupe is singing for the sick kids. That is NOT right. Yikes. Now I'm trying to think back. I hope I've never done something like that. If I did, I sincerely apologize.

 I don't think I've done it though......

King says, Mr Xenophon appeals to the underdog while at the same time espouses a Christian ethic. He's pro-family values and pro-green. He doesn't want to raise taxes, but he wants to solve SA's water crisis. Mr Xenophon’s a conservative, a radical and a mate.

And what's so wrong with that? Is it better when people fit into nice little boxes? One of my blogging friends is strongly pro-life, believes in the raw food diet, and is a fan of New Kids on the Block and REM. Should I get mad at her? Should I inform her that she's doing things wrong....pro-life people are supposed to eat lots of meat, love hunting, and listen only to Christian rock?

King compares Xenophon to Krusty the Clown in the title of his editorial, and within the last few paragraphs. I don't get that. Maybe I haven't watched enough of The Simpsons. I just can't see how his criticisms of Xenophon have anything to do with him being like Krusty the Clown.

I'm getting a bit tired and I need to exercise, shower, and start packing. So, I'm going to start putting an end to this.

I'm going to look at Google News and see if there's anything current.

Here's a recent editorial in The Australian.

The Premier of South Australia, Mike Rann and Xenophon are apparently not best friends. I know of Mike Rann. I follow him on Twitter. He's quite prolific with his twittering.

Apparently Rann accused Xenophon of having a personality disorder, an inflated sense of self-importance, and ego-driven self-love. That's probably not too far off the mark. But I think that can apply to most people at least some of the time. When my self-esteem isn't all crazy low, sometimes it can go a bit too high.

Sometimes I love myself not enough.
Sometimes I love myself too much.
Once in a while I love myself the exact right amount.

At this point, I'm loving myself too much. I'm thinking of making a holiday named after me. Then we can all say Happy Dina Day.

Rann said, Nick criticising spin is like Colonel Sanders criticising chickens.
That's a cute analogy. Apparently Xenophon accused Rann of being a leak to the media. That was Rann's response.

Oh my.

I hope those two guys can kiss and make up.

I think Rann is on my list so eventually I'll probably hear his side of the story.

Speaking of Twitter though. I wonder if Xenophon is there.

He's not! At least from what I can see.

Is anyone talking about him on Twitter?

Waynestanford
says Back in Adelaide. Kate Ellis was in business class, Nick Xenophon in economy.
I don't get that. Is this symbolic or literal? Are we really talking about planes here? If we are, I wonder if Xenophon got that awful clunky video machine. Was it a Jetstar Flight?

Well, Wayne does talk a lot about flights and airports in his Tweets. Perhaps he was being literal.

Fang says
Podcast of Sen Nick Xenophon at the PlanetMuse launch party for the LearnDog foundation. Fang provides this link. I think the link is to his blog....not Xenophon's, but Fang's.

What is the Learndog Foundation? I'm not finding much about it.

Wait. Fang has a link. Good because Google just failed me. I'm shocked. What will I do if Google stops being there for me?

Well, actually I can understand why Google failed to find this link for me. The website really doesn't say all that much. I'm not learning a lot here.

I am lost and confused.

I'm going to quit in a minute.

First I want to watch a video of Xenophon on YouTube. I often forget to do that; see what these people look and sound like. Although maybe that's good. Maybe that way I'm less likely to judge people on superficial things.

I'm going to watch this video with Xenophon. I love watching parliament. Oh! Steve Fielding is on the video too.

Ooh...Xenophon has a evil smile in one part of this video. He takes a sip of water and does this awesome wicked grin. It's at 1:57 of the video.

I'm finding it delightfully disturbing that I recognize and know the names of so many politicians in this video.

Do you know what would be so awesome? I think Australian Parliament should stop being a suit and tie place. I think they should totally go casual. Jeans and t-shirts. That would make it so much more fun to watch!

Although I probably don't agree with Malcolm Turnbull's politics, I can't help thinking he's incredibly sexy.

You know I have realized something important. I waxed poetic about Parliament in Australia, but I really haven't watched much of it since I've been back. I need to! I need to indulge myself more often. This stuff is too awesome.



5 comments:

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

I have a strong affinity for people who are full of contradictions, I consider them the real free thinkers.

Dina said...

Florida Girl in Sydney:

For me it's less about contradictions and more about not having to fit a stereotype.

I think contradictions annoy me to some point because they can be arbitrary and hypocritical.

An example was in this Judy Blume book we read. This father was horribly strict about Halloween candy and sugar cereals. He was a sugar-police parent. Yet, he'd take his family out for ice-cream sundaes. Why? It was a tradition that was important to HIM.

I think that is unfair and confusing to his family. Now if he had reasoning behind it, it would make more sense. Maybe the candy has high fructose corn syrup and the sundae is made of wholesome ingredients. But it wasn't like that. It was the father simply contradicting himself. And what made it worse was he was very self-righteous about it.

Now I think we ALL make these contradictions. I know I've done it! I can't deny that. It's just not something I admire in myself or others.

What I admire more is people who can think outside their box. For example, someone recently told me they're Republican, BUT they believe gay people should get married. Or there's people who say they're vegetarian, BUT they'll eat meat if they know for sure that it comes from an ethical source. I think that's admirable. I guess it's kind of a contradiction, but it's a well-thought out contradiction. There's reasoning behind it.

I guess what I'm trying to say if there's careful thinking behind the contradiction than I feel it IS admirable. But if it's just kind of random and not carefully thought out, it becomes hypocritical.

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

That's what I meant-- about politics specifically.

Pam Prince said...

XenoPHONY is what they are calling him today.
He is making a joke of the Senate by what I'm hearing
We dont hear much of South Australia,
or I'm just not interested, being a Queenslander.

He's made the news today, big time.

Dina said...

Pam,

I'll have to see what they're saying in the news.

I hope life is nice is Queensland for you : )