Fixing Australia: a blog and an election campaign
IMAGE: Thanks to Bill Leak and The Australian.
"Since the recent Federal election, which I had hoped would turn out as a notice of eviction for the Howard government, it has been quiet, strangely quiet."
"I sense a despair amongst many people when I ask them to talk and share their thoughts, a despair about Australia, about its social conscience, about the future we had hoped for in a new government after the recent election."
Welcome to the red section!
Welcome to this red section, to the Fixing Australia section, or as it also can be called, our 2004 Federal Election campaign section.
Here's the history: when we built our 2004 election campaign, we set up the section, frantically and in a hurry. But when it became clear that the framework did not allow for quick participation by the many visitors we had to the section, we set up the blog "at the back-end" of the website, and declared its name, and added the red top to all pages.
So, the red section sits here as a memory of that election, won by the Howard government with an even greater majority. While we're not adding any pages to this section at the moment, we're keeping it well alive.
You may want to read the remarks below, written when the blog was ready for operation: they're a good snapshot of the mood at the time!
Visiting the blog
You can visit the blog by clicking on any of the "b" I Power Blogger buttons on this page. If you're a frequent contributor to blogs, or if you want to learn some more about Blog posting to Blogger blogs, you may want to read this pop-up window with 'smart' instructions.
18 October 2006: The Project SafeCom Blog Archives - This is the page that brings together all entries from our Blog. They are manually entered, so please accept apologies if sudden and new entries are not posted to this page immediately.
Project SafeCom Office, 26 October 2004 - Australia is broken. Democracy has holes in it, cracks in it, and it needs fixing. Since the 2004 Federal election we know that our government is not going to fix it. I think we need to do that fixing, and this Blog is a start of getting some ideas together.
Blog feeds can be added to your newsreader programs in Firefox and Opera browsers. Below are the buttons.
16 October 2004: The Blog Feeds for Newsreaders - Our Blog Feeds are capable of being read by the Firefox' Live Bookmarks. This page displays the most recent Blog entries, and links to all Blog items just below that. It also explains some things about the techno-side of News Syndication using RSS Feeds.
Launching the Blog
You're invited to submit comments to the postings at the new Blog. Under every article you will find the link that leads to the comments form. You'll need to register with Blogger.com - that just takes a small minute. Before posting, please see also the blogger's guidelines here.
Since the recent Federal election, which I had hoped would turn out as a notice of eviction for the Howard government, it has been quiet, strangely quiet. I sense a despair amongst many people when I ask them to talk and share their thoughts, a despair about Australia, about its social conscience, about the future we had hoped for in a new government after the recent election.
In many people I sense a notion that Australia is broken, and while we're all coming to terms with the election, which is interpreted by many as a loss for refugees, a loss of values, a loss of possibilities we had hoped for, a loss of honesty amongst many people, and a loss for Australia itself, there seems to be an uneasy disquiet when it comes to the ingenuity in how to fix that broken Australia.
Julian Burnside considers leaving for New Zealand. A member of The Greens, independently, also mentions New Zealand. An academic friend in WA ponders about working in a developed country - to presumably return when Australia has been fixed, but he also acknowledges that the shift in politics that has enabled what happened, is a worldwide trend, and that the changes are a worldwide issue. Others have become silent, and may have given up altogether.
Margo Kingston is still recovering and on holidays, but she says, in words to that effect:
"Don't go overseas, your country needs you, now more than ever!"
"This Friday Margo is regrouping with the Not Happy John! team and we are preparing for the next phase of the website and the "Defending Our Democracy" project. Note that the subtitle of Margo's book is "Defending Our Democracy", and has always had a much broader relevance than merely, Not Happy John!
Can we fix Australia? How would you do it? Can it be done?
One of the things I have been telling myself, is that more than ever, "... we now know that it's not the government, it's now up to us". The 30% of Australians who did not applaud when Howard launched his election catch cry in 2001, 'We will control who comes to this country..." then rolled up their armsleeves and started on the long haul of changing Australia. On the 9th of October we ended Phase One ... and we have just started on Phase Two of this project.
Please send your ideas. I started this Blog with a request to have folks submit 100-word ideas. Meanwhile I think I have my head almost around the technology of how to work it - and the Blog is now open for your comments: click on the relevant links under the submissions. Some other people will soon join as co-writers.
Can we do it? Can we fix Australia?
How the website works:
The website has six topic sections marked by their colors. From any page you can jump to any of the sections using the menu bar at the top. List bullets with the same colours help you identify the 4-5 line page summaries that you'll find throughout the website. Below are the section descriptions, showing these bullets, following the order of the top menu bar.
The red section was developed as part of our 'election campaign' during the 2004 Federal election. It carries the nick-name "Fixing Australia", because Project SafeCom's Blog was set up as part of that section.
The blue section is the section for organisational matters and the section of our Association matters; it includes the 'closed section' for our organisation's members.
They grey section is our human rights section. With about 400 pages, the grey section is by far our largest section, dealing with Australia's refugee and asylum seeker issues, indigenous issues, the campaign for a Bill of Rights, Australian media issues, and the Iraq War.
The olive green section, nick-named 'sustainable earth' contains some environmental issues and the climate change debate in Australia. Issues about climate change and 'environmental refugees' are also stored inside this section.
The 'sustainable shelter' section presents some ideas for alternative housing and low-impact shelter and living environments.
The orange section was created as a response to Australia's draconian Anti-Terrorism legislation proposed during the neo-conservative government of John Howard from 2003 to 2005 - and its implications for citizens' rights and freedoms.
The white field at the right side of the top menu bar is not a section: if you're one of our members, it brings you to the page where you can log in to the members-only section.
Other list markers
The page summaries for the Blog are marked with this little swirl to mark it as distinct from the usual 'red' section page summaries.
All pages that deal with indigenous issues or speeches written by indigenous leaders are marked with this tiny Aboriginal flag.
surfing this website
A brief explanation of the coloured sections of our website. Note that all the menu button images below are "clickable": they bring you to the places we describe!
If you're visiting our website for the first time, we welcome you! You may like to know that you're in the presence of 2,000 to 4,000 others who are visiting the site today (figures of April 2008). And if you're one of our returning visitors, you may already be excited: since January 2008 we've re-edited the entire website, and it's more attractive and comprehensive than ever!
using your mouse
Move your mouse over any of the menu buttons below and in all menus: an explanation of what the page is all about will show.
You're currently visiting the entry page for the red section of our website, which carries the 'nickname' Fixing Australia - the term is explained above. The red section is overtly political, and we developed it at the time of the 2004 Federal Election .
This particular entry page into the red section has also another function: it is also the entry page for our Fixing Australia Blog - as the story above already explained. Click on any of the Blog buttons on this page to visit it.
The red section counts about 40 pages, primarily dating from the time of the 2004 Federal election (but many of them remaining relevant and current for the future, as in this example. We're working to bring all pages together as an archive page for this red section.
So while this section is not too voluminous, the grey section counts hundreds of pages about Australia's undermining of International rights for 'unannounced' boat refugees and asylum seekers; our treatment of Indigenous people; Australia and "the Iraq War", the state of our media and our need for a human rights charter.
Exploring all sections of our website will be easy by using the "What's New" page as your starting point (bookmark it!), because that page not only links to all archived pages since 2001, but it also lists every new page we create, usually on the very day we create it.
In addition, throughout all six sections of the website you'll find this documentation button, leading you to hundreds of background documents, action flyers, petitions, research papers and briefing papers for and from Non-Government Organisations, churches or affiliated church groups, refugee activist groups, Federal Members of Parliament, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations, sustability groups and climate change organisations.
We use smart "inverted" colours in the menu buttons when you are already at the page listed amongst the buttons in the menu. A good example of 'inverted colours' is here in the orange section - where the menu on the section hub page shows a bright cyan: the inverted colour of the colour orange.
and there's some more
If you see a page summary with the little "PS" logo (also shown in all browers' address bars, except for Internet Explorer), then you're looking at page that's authored, and usually published, also outside this website by Project SafeCom or with Project SafeCom.
If you see a page summary with the little "PS" logo and a red letter "e" overlaid over the logo, then you're looking at a page for one of the terrific Project SafeCom public events.
We've also made sure to include some more buttons on every page of this website:
Project SafeCom is of course an Non-Government Organisation, or an NGO, and entirely independent as an organisation - and proud at that - but that also means we're self-funded: we pay all our bills and we generate all the money we need to pay those bills ... a never-ending quest!
So, by including the row of four red and green buttons as displayed here on every page of our website, we ask you to visit our online Shop, our page for making donations, while you also should enjoy visiting our Events page - since our beginnings in 2001, we have organised forums, film events, speakers' events and theatre fundraisers.
orders and payments
Our international preferred payment agent for all books and videos in our online Shop and for donations is PayPal. All products pages have an instant PayPal payment button installed for our visitors' convenience. While we are clearly a "not-for-profit" organisation, your donations to us are under Australian law not tax deductable.
So, our income is generated from the sale of products via the website, the proceeds of local events and fundraisers, from donations and periodical pledges, and from membership fees. You don't need to live in Australia to become a member: while we have paid-up members in all Australian States, we also have members who live overseas, like in the USA. All our members get our acclaimed News and Updates, and qualify for a discount on all products from our online Shop.
Enjoy your visit to our website!