Saturday, August 26, 2017

Sharon Bird

I wasn't sure if I wanted to do another biography post, because the last one turned out awful. The thing is, I also don't want to leave a bad biography post as the last post on my blog. Not that it's for sure that I'd never write another blog post. But it's...possible.

I'm also writing another post in hopes that this one ends up being decent. And I have a small bit of hope that I'll get back to writing biography posts in general.

I used to pick Sharon Bird's name from a list of 36 other names.

I'm not sure who she is. I shall soon find out.

Okay. I just Googled.

Lord Wiki says Sharon Bird is a politician.

She's a member of the Labor Party and is the Shadow Minister for Vocational Education.

The area of Australia she represents is the Division of Cunningham. It's in New South Wales and includes Wollongong and some parts of Southern Sydney.

Lord Wiki says Bird has been the MP from there since 2004. That's a pretty long time.

It seems the area is pretty left-leaning. It's almost always been represented by the Labor party, except from 2002-2004. And in those years, it wasn't the Liberal Party in charge. It was the Green Party. And the Green Party is even more left than the Labor Party.

Now I'm reading some basic biographical stuff about Bird.

She was born in Wollongong. So, she's representing her birth place.

Before getting into politics, she was a TAFE teacher and a high school teacher. I think TAFE is vocational school. Right?  So it's kind of nice that Bird is actually a Minister for something she has expertise in. It seems to me that sometimes politicians are given leadership roles in areas where they have no experience. This is definitely so in the Trump administration, but I'm pretty sure I've seen it happen in other instances as well.

Bird did some other government type work before becoming a MP. This includes being a project manager for New South Wales Department of Juvenile Justice.  I wonder if she worked with the youth. Maybe she did educational things with them?

Though Bird has been a MP since 2004, she wasn't a Minister until 2013. Her first Ministry job was Higher Education and Skills. Then later she was Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Regional Communication, and Minister for Road Safety. I think I might be making it sound like she was all those three things at the same time. But no.  I think it would have probably happened one at a time.

But the Minister for Road Safety thing? That might be an example of what I was talking about earlier.  Is there something in Bird's life that made her a great choice for being in charge of road safety? Or did the Labor Party need both someone to fill that position AND a ministry job for Sharon Bird?

It could have been a situation where they said something like, Hey Bird. Do you have any experience with road safety?  

Then she might have replied, Well. Yeah. I do drive to work everyday. And I'm pretty safe about it. I never text while in the car.  I did check Instagram once, but I was at a stop light. And it was one of those really long stop lights. 

Or....she could have had more substantial road safety experience.

The last thing Lord Wiki says about Sharon Bird is that she supports gay marriage. That's good!

I know Australia is currently in the midst of voting for that now. I'm not sure when the vote ends.  I hope we get some good news from Australia.  If it's bad news, that's almost as embarrassing as us having Trump as president. It's probably equally sad and pathetic. Maybe, though, a little less dangerous.

There's a fair chance that Trump might actually end human civilization.  If Australia doesn't have gay marriage in 2017?  Civilization will be stained and hindered, but it probably won't implode. And also, I have firm hope if Australia doesn't legalize gay marriage now, it will do so soon. Maybe 2018 or 2019.

Now I'm on Sharon Bird's official website. There's a big picture of her smiling along with a bunch of smiling school children. All the kids, except one, seem to be from the same grade and school. They're around the same size, and they wear the same uniform. Then there's a much younger child not wearing a uniform. I wonder who he is. Maybe Bird's son? Maybe a younger sibling of one of the school kids?

I just looked closer and realized I'm totally wrong. The kids are not the same size. There are two girls in the back who look a bit older than the others.  They might from different grades at the same school.  Or they could be from the same grade, and it's just an example of kids growing at different rates.

Anyway, they're doing some kind of gardening project.

Bird has a page called Hot Topics. It lists various issues ranging from marriage equality, Indigenous issues, and ABC (the TV thing). There's also something called Adani.What's that?


It's a coal mine.

I don't really understand it completely, but I'm getting that it's a economic vs. environment issue. Or actually, I think what Bird is saying is that it's not good for the environment, but it's also not great for economics. Turnbull's government wants to put money towards the mines, and the Labor Party doesn't agree with that plan. I think. I might not be understanding it correctly.

Now I'm reading what Bird has to say about Live Exports. For those who don't know, this is when animals are shipped to other countries while they're still alive. They're not traveling premium economy for a holiday in Bali. They're traveling to their deaths. That's sad enough, but they end up traveling in very horrible conditions.

Bird talks about how the Labor Government developed regulatory systems to try to make sure the animals were treated better. She complains that the Turnbull government is not doing enough to help with that.

Bird doesn't want to stop Live Exports. She thinks it's important to Australia's economy, and she feels that if Australia stops the practice, countries who treat animals even worse will fill the gap.

I can kind of see her point. It might be better to improve the system rather than get rid of it all together.

Probably the best way to improve the system is having people in the system who love and care about animals. Then they'll do their best to make sure the animal are treated as well as possible.  I say, well as possible, because these animals are eventually going to be used for food.  But even if you are going to be killed and eaten, it would be nice if you're treated with love and care before that.

I was going to say the problem is, most people who love animals are vegetarians.  But that's not true.  I think there are a lot of folks who give adoration to cows and other farm creatures; then go home and happily gobble down hamburgers, pork chops, etc.

Then there are people who have cold hearts, and it wouldn't bother them to watch an animal suffer. There are also people who are sadists and go out of their way to cause pain to an animal. If those types of people are kept out of careers involving animals, life might be a lot better.

Bird's website has copies of her speeches.  I'll read a couple of those.

I often like reading the first speech that MP's make to Parliament. Maybe I'll do that first.

Well...just saw that the first speech is not on the site, as far as I can see.  I'll look for that later...elsewhere.

For now, maybe I'll read a recent speech from her site.

Here's a speech that Bird made on June 22.  I'm guessing she did the speech in Parliament.

The speech is about autism and something offensive that Pauline Hanson said about autism.

What did Pauline Hanson say?  I vaguely remember seeing something on Twitter about it.

The speech quotes Hanson as saying, we need to get rid of these people because you want everyone to feel good about themselves.  

That sounds awful. What the hell did she mean by that? What was the context?

I'm looking at an article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Hanson wants a segregated education system. She believes that autistic kids are holding the other kids back. She said, We can't afford to hold our kids back: we have the rest of the world and other kids in other countries who are going ahead [in] leaps and bounds ahead of us.

That doesn't sound like someone who cares about autistic kids or neurotypical ones. It sounds like someone who is obsessed with competition.  I wish we cared more about having happy, well-adjusted, healthy kids all over the world rather than having kids in our country be the smartest and most successful.

I will say as someone who was a teacher for a short time that I do think having a child with extra needs can be hard on the teacher and other students.  I also say this as someone who had some extra needs as a child AND I say it as a mother of a child who had some extra needs when he was younger.

I don't feel children with autism should be shipped off to another school. I just feel there needs to be resources for teachers—something like an extra assistant or shadow.

I'm also wondering if I'm really against the opposite of inclusion. My nieces and nephew all go to the same school, one that's specifically for learning differences. The school seems to be doing well by them. Is it bad that they're not going to a regular school?


I have mixed feelings actually.

I like that they have this school.

On the other hand, I don't like that some of their previous schools were unable or unwilling to educate them.

I guess my main feeling about all this is, parents should have a decent choice. They shouldn't have to homeschool because there are no other viable, affordable options. They shouldn't have to send their kids to a special school because their other private school couldn't handle their extra needs.

I wish all parents could say something like, Well we could homeschool Annie and that sounds wonderful. We could send her to a regular school. They have a great resource program there. Or we could send her to this special school for kids with autism. It gets fantastic reviews.

Now I'm going to read a 2016 Bird speech about vocational education. I think I'm actually very pro-vocational education, though, I don't know much about it.

I just think society pushes too hard for the usual college degree, and then, a lot of times, graduates are left a bit aimless and jobless.

Most of the speech seems to be about the opposition government cutting funds to education. And it kind of goes over my head. It's funding stuff, for the most part. I'm not really into it.

I think I'm going to try to find Bird's maiden speech.

Here we go. There's an Australian politics website that has it.

She made the speech at 1:19 PM.

I wonder how often these speeches are made.

I guess they happen after elections, and new MP's are created. Do they have a week or two where each day there is a speech? Are there days where multiple speeches are heard?   I would probably get tired if I had to listen to multiple speeches in one day. But that's probably the main part of a MP's job—listening to other people talk.

In the beginning of her speech, Bird honors both the previous Labor MP, and the Green MP that came immediately before her. That's nice.

Bird praises a company in the area that makes catamarans. What's that? It does sound familar to me.


It's a boat.

I was kind of picturing something along those lines.

Bird says Wollongong is officially titled, City of Innovation. I didn't know that. I imagine it's a title that most cities wished applied to them.

Bird says her family has worked in the mining industry since the early 1900's. Wow.

I'm glad to see that Bird is pro-migration. She's pro that and pro-gay-marriage. She's my kind of person.

I'm reading through the speech, seeing if anything inspires me to babble on and on about things.  There's not much so far.  Bird kind of jumps from subject to subject.  I mean not in a bad way. The speech isn't disjointed or anything. It's probably much more coherent than my blog.  But it covers a lot of issues, and I'm not reading anything that is new and exciting to me.  It's kind of the same stuff that we hear a lot. We need more help with mental health issues. We need less poverty. We need more jobs for young people, etc.

Now I'm seeing towards the end of the speech that Bird talks about her work with The Department of Juvenile Justice.  Bird says, We were privileged to work with a truly innovative and successful piece of legislation introduced by the Carr government, which established restorative justice practices for juvenile offenders—a true success story.

The problem is, I don't think she provides enough information about this success story. Maybe I would like her speech more if she stuck to one or two issues and then went into more detail about them. Or maybe she needs more personal stories?  I'm not sure.

Bird thanks a lot of family members—cousins, uncles, parents, sibling, former husband and his family, etc. I can't remember if this is typical of new MP's. It's sweet, though.

She ends her speech by mentioning her sons. I like that.

I'm going to watch a short video on YouTube of Bird speaking up for Korean truckies in Parliament.

No. Wait. That didn't come out right. It's not Korean truckies who are IN Parliament. I mean Bird is in Parliament talking about Korean truckies.

I'm guessing truckies are truck drivers.

Why Korean ones? And are they Korean-Australian, or Korean-Korean?

There's hardly anyone in the Parliament room.

OR...maybe it's not Parliament. Maybe it's another meeting room.

The speech is about safety and overworked drivers.

Yeah. I'm definitely against overworked, tired drivers.  It's not good for the drivers and it's not good for anything else on the road.

Now I'm seeing that she's talking about Korean-Koreans, not Koreans who are Australian.  She's talking about truck drivers actually in Korea.  She's condemning unfair practices as an international observer.

I found another video. It's of Bird on Q and A, answering a question about workers being paid more for working on Saturday and Sunday.

No. Wait I got it wrong. It's about workers getting paid more to work on Sunday.

Is it a Church-related question? Are people paid more to refrain from Church and work instead?   Or...there are a lot of people who don't go to church. Are they being rewarded for not being religious-Christians?

If a Jewish person works on Christmas day and gets paid extra, is that discriminating against Christians?

They're talking about something called penalty rates.  I'm guessing that's referring to being paid extra for working on days that many other people prefer not to work.

Googled.  Lord Wiki says I'm right. And he says it's an Australian term.

I guess here, it's what we call overtime.

Bird reminds the audience that when people are paid more at their jobs, they have more money to spend at other companies. It's helping businesses in general. And that's a good thing.

An online commenter mentions that more work hours equals less time with family. That's true.  It's sad if a family doesn't have a weekend together...if they don't even have a Sunday together.  On the other hand, what if they have another day together? A Tuesday? Thursday?  If the family is a homeschooling family, they can have that day together.

What's sad is when someone has to work ALL days of the week just so they can afford fairly basic needs and wants.

I don't really understand the big deal about working on Saturday and Sunday. A lot of people do it. Otherwise, all restaurants, shops, hospitals, etc. would be closed.  Do we want the world to shut down on the weekend?

I think it's best if we have a system where everyone gets days off but not everyone gets the same days off.

Now I'm going to look at Sharon Bird's Twitter. Her most recent Tweet is a Retweet from a guy named Roy Rogers.  He's the CEO of a company called the Flagstaff Group.  He says that Bird supports NDIS. What's that?

Googled.  It's for families with disabilities.

It makes sense for Roy Rogers to mention this, because his company's purpose is to find meaningful employment for people with disabilities.

Bird also has Tweets and Retweets about TAFE and the gay marriage vote.

Bird's Twitter is made up of mostly Retweets.

A person pointed out recently that my Twitter bio says that I don't like people who only Retweet, yet most of my own Twitter is Retweets.  He is right in that I do Retweet a lot.  But my Twitter also has a lot of conversations. I actually interact with people.

Some people, like Bird, have less conversation and a whole lot of Retweets. I actually don't mind her predominance of Retweeting because it doesn't seem random. She seems to be Retweeting things that are important to her.

The Retweeting I strongly dislike is the type where the Twitterer seems to be randomly Retweeting whatever they end up seeing.  There's no rhyme or reason.  It seems to me they're just doing it to fill their profile with content. Or they're doing it to kiss the ass of the original Tweeters.

I saw this type of thing when I was first trying to promote my novel. There were a few people who Retweeted something about it.  That would be awesome if they actually read my novel and cared about it.  But's just a...

I don't know what it is really.  I think they imagine they're being helpful, and I appreciate that.  But I don't think it IS helpful.  If you have someone on your newsfeed who just Retweets any old thing...and it seems random and meaningless, are you going to pay attention to their Tweets?  I wouldn't.  And I probably would stop following them.  I'd see their Tweets as spam, pretty much.

Yeah. Now that I think of it. Maybe that's the best way to describe it. There are meaningful Retweets, and there are spam Retweets.

One way to know the difference...if you're the one Tweeting. Did you actually read the article or watch the video that you're Retweeting?  If you didn''re probably just spamming.

Hopefully, Sharon Bird read the articles that she's Retweeting. I imagine she did.

Now I'm seeing that Bird Retweeted the same article multiple times. She Retweeted various people who had posted the article. That's kind of excessive and annoying.

Anyway...I think I shall end this here.

I don't know if it's a good post, but I think it was at least better than the last one.