THE MAN IN THE ARENA!

Truth Seekers Musings

The man in the arena!

As arguably the most contentious, vitriolic, nasty, parliamentary term in our political history comes to a close, and the election for the next parliament draws near, I thought it was worth reflecting on a Prime Ministership that Could and should have been seen as a coming of age for Australia.

It could also have been somewhat of a cultural watershed,  as a leader of fine intellect, courage, determination, skill, substance and vision, stepped up to negotiate the political minefield of forming minority government, with the help and confidence of two of the most truly decent (albeit right leaning) independent politicians that this country has seen.

A formidable task for any Labor man, but this was not a Labor man, but rather a Labor woman, Julia Gillard, who went on to become our first female PM.

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Now we all know the history of her rise to…

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THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: What’s Goin’ On?…

THINKING - postThe week that was…

Have you ever had the feeling that everything you say is wrong?… That even good friends are focussed on “shooting you down”?… That once again you are being denied your own opinion/ your own voice?

The thought flies into my head re: a possible “persecution complex” then I crack up completely with remembering the old maxim:

“Just because you’re paranoid… doesn’t mean that people aren’t out to get ya “

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Reflecting on matters grabbing my attention this past week I found my inner self wailing the words from the old 90’s song… “What’s Goin’ On???”

Australia’s first female Prime Minister, Julie Gillard, has had two attempted leadership spills from the bloke she replaced and, on 21 Mar 2013, yet another was being played out. I kept shaking my old head remembering that only 9 days earlier, despite internal rumbling from within her own party, the Polls reported that her public popularity, and that of her government,  was on the rise again.

What’s eveb  more confusing/ frustrating is that this was brought on by a highly respect senior member of her front bench, Simon Crean.  As it turned out, the man in question, Kevin Rudd, decided not to stand saying he didn’t have the “over- whelming numbers” required… so it was very much a “Clayton’s” leadership spill.

Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. March 2013

Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. March 2013

Understandably, public criticism of our present Government is on the rise again… However, the level of argument/ type of debate has me thinking we’ve flipped back 40 years to when this audio recording was made.

Seems that in the rest of the world many believe we Australians have gone completely “nutso”… and I tend to agree. You can read about it HERE.

My beautiful mum...

My beautiful mum…

Enough said about all that shenanigans except that, at times like this, I miss my mum SO terribly.We’d be having great fun “chewing the fat” over this and she’d speak of similar manoevrings and politicking in days gone past and, like me, mum would have immediately seen how the really important “News of the Day”, was being overshadowed.  i.e. “The Australian Prime Minister’s Apology to the Victims of Forced Adoption”.

This LINK will take you straight through to the Video of the Apology by the Prime Minister of the behalf of the Nation.

Apology Audience.2

To read the entire ABC news item, please click  HERE

Monica Jones, a teenager in the 1960’s with her life before her…

Monica Jones c.1960s

Monica Jones c.1960s

50 years later Monica shares the pain of having two of her babies forcibly removed for adoption.

Monica Jones, 2013.

Monica Jones, 2013.

If you wish to watch that news report and/ or watch the video of Monica, and other women with the same experience, please click HERE

I wrote earlier about the “Magdalene Laundries”. Some of the victims, to whom the Prime Minister referred, were from these Convents but no all.  In mid 1960’s My work colleague, and friend Carol, was incarcerated in “Mc Bride’s Maternity Hospital” here in South Australia, and manipulated/ coerced into signing the adoption papers for her beloved little boy.  The pain never left her and I’m hoping that this public recognition/ apology helps just a little in easing that life long agony.  I also live in hope that David, and his mother, have finally become re-united.

How ironic that these upheavals were occurred on “Australia’s National Harmony Day”.  Mum would have chuckled about that too.

I happily leave the final word to the wonderful Corinne Grant where she advises: “How to Burst a Blood Vessel”.

Corinne-Grant.bio

My most favourite quotes from Corinne are:

“In the end, all that transpired was that a bunch of self-entitled blokes finally cleared out of the cabinet and left Gillard to get on with the job of running the country instead of baby-sitting their egos.

Who the hell did this woman think she was? Their leader?”

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Be sure to swing over to Julie Goucher’s Blog at Anglers Rest where she’s written a delightful “Thursday Thought” about Easter Bunnies.

Don’t forget that if you have a “bee in your bonnet” and/ or a happy thought/ memory that maybe does or doesn’t fit within the Genealogy framework you’re most welcome to share and I’ll put the link HERE  on “Sharing our Thursday Thoughts” for others to enjoy.

Cheerio for now… and may life be kind to you. Catherine.

CATHERINE.ME~~~~~~~~~ 

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

TROVE TUESDAY… of Washing Days & Suffragettes

Back in TimeAlways fascinated by the daily life of my Ancestors  I’ve found Australia’s free digitised newspapers, on Trove, as a perfect way to satisfy my curiosity and have decided it will be fun  to share these discoveries with readers by participating in Amy Houston’s, theme of Trove Tuesday

The plan is to select items at random from a range of South Australian newspapers, from 100 years ago, and have a look at what my Ancestors may have been reading.  It will be interesting to see what turns up.

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The Advertiser - Banner

Washing Day a Pleasure

Washing Day a Pleasure
12 Mar 1913. pg 3.  The Advertiser: Adelaide, South Australia.

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The Border Watch - Banner

Those Suffragettes

Those Suffragettes
12 Mar 1913. pg 3. Border Watch: Mount Gambier, South Australia.

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 map-south-australia

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Thankyou to Crissouli of “That Moment in Time” for the opening image.

TROVE

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

The Year that was… International Women’s Year, Australia, 1975.

Wedding Day 22 Dec 1941. (c) C.Crout-Habel

Wedding Day 22 Dec 1941. (c) C.Crout-Habel

“Well Kathleen, you choose which one of them will go through High School. Of course Catherine doesn’t count  because she’ll just get married, have children and leave.”

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This makes my dad sound like a heartless beast but he was simply reflecting the social beliefs and expectations in our part of the world, Port Adelaide, South Australia, at the time – the mid 1950’s.

Women's Year. 1975. equal pay. opportunitiesFortunately my precious mum had ideas of her own. From her earliest years and right throught to her dying day mum loved books, whom she considered to be her “best friends“. She valued education, delighted in learning and always regretted that, despite gaining the QC (Qualifying Certificate) which was necessary if one were to attend Secondary School, the family situation required that she leave school and begin paid employment at about 12-13 years of age. So when dad presented mum with that choice she rebelled, challenged the social mores of the time and started working outside the home to ensure that all of her 4 children, and especially her only daughter, were provided with the education she yearned for but was denied.

Women's Year. 1975Trying to explain what it was like growing up through the 1950’s and 60’s, and coming into maturity as the second wave of the so called “Women’s Liberation Movement” gained momentum is very challenging. It was far easier to do a “wrap up” of the origins of International Women’s Day because that is “one step removed” and requires no emotional investment.

Personal experience, filled with all the highs and lows, the excitement, the hope and the opening of opportunities… combined with the personal conflict, disappointments, mis-understandings and outright nastiness which certainly was “another kettle of fish” but it’s a story that must be told to help the present, and future generations, begin to understand the ex-periences, and decisions, of their Ancestors which helped shape the world they now occupy and indeed helped shape them. I’m referring here, of course, to my children and grandchildren.

Women's Year. 1975. owning my bodyIt was a time of protest when more and more women began to challenge the status quo. It was a time of marches, protest, and demands for equal pay, equality in employment and education, free 24-hour child care, the right for women to control their own bodies, safe contraception, abortion on demand, and an end to both violence against women and discrimination against lesbians.

In Australia  thousands of women formed women’s groups and organisations and, through direct actions such as marches and demonstrations, women vocally demanded change to economic, political and social discrimination. Women’s liberation influenced women’s fashion, with women favouring the ‘natural look’, long hair and comfortable free-flowing clothes, including bell-bottom jeans.

In order to focus attention on women’s rights, the United Nations declared 1975 to be International Women’s Year and 1976-1985 to be the UN Decade for Women. On International Women’s Day (8 March) 1974, the Australian Government announced its own program to mark IWY.

Women's Year. 1975. reclaim the nightThe Whitlam Labor government, which had demonstrated its commitment to women with the appointment of Elizabeth Reid as the special adviser to the Prime Minister on women’s issues, allocated $2 million for 1974–75 and a further $1.3 million in the 1975–76 budget for International Women’s Year activities. A National Advisory Committee was Womens Year. WELestablished in September 1974 with Reid as convener. Its role was to publicise and coordinate the government’s IWY program, and to allocate funding to individuals and groups for projects that supported the three objectives: to change attitudes, reduce discrimination and encourage women’s creativity. The National Advisory Committee was supported by the IWY secretariat which was located within the Department of the Special Minister of State.

International Women’s Year also marked the debut of ABC Radio 2’s Coming Out Show dealing with women’s affairs. The weekly program covered issues of importance in the struggle for gender equality. Behind the scenes, the show was a training space for women in broadcasting, a place for skilling up and enabling women to take over the airwaves – or at least to claim some of the airtime.

To hear the Audio of the inaugural  ABC  “Coming Out Show” please click HERE

Women's Year. 1975. shelters.refuges

For this inaugural edition broadcast on 8 March 1975, reporters took to the streets to record some of the excitement of the International Women’s Day demonstrations. Comments from those interviewed in Sydney range from the chauvinistic to the evangelical, including a precious cameo from the late Bessie Guthrie who founded the first refuge for women and children in Australia.

Bessie Guthrie's house     - 97 Derwent St, Glebe, NSW. Australia

Bessie Guthrie’s house – 97 Derwent St, Glebe, NSW. Australia

Collectively the women driving these initiatives were known as the Australian Women’s Broadcasting Cooperative. The Coming Out Show ran for 23 years and changed forever the way ABC Radio sounded and the issues it canvassed.

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Protest March in Melbourne - International Women's Year, 1975

Protest March in Melbourne – International Women’s Year, 1975

As I said, it’s very difficult to explain to the younger generation(s) just how very different life, opportunities and expectations were for women “back when I was a girl“.

This video explains it far better than I ever could. Please click HERE  to view. 

The Women’s Movement, those heady days of the 1975 International Year of Women, combined with the many reforms of the Whitlam Labor Government, after a lifetime of a Conservative policies, all combined to provide opportunities I’d never dreamed possible.  Of course I paid the price with spiteful behaviour, attempts to undermine my confidence, my marriage and more examples of negativity than I even care to think about, but who cares??? … I certainly came out the winner which is reflected in the achievements of my 3 beautiful children.

Mum always said that it’s a parent’s responsibility to give their children a “leg up” that rickety ladder of life. She did that… I did that… and my children are now doing that with their own “chickadees”.  Life is good.

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RESOURCES & FURTHER READING:
http://australianpolitics.com/2001/03/19/womens-electoral-lobby.html
http://www.whitlam.org/gough_whitlam/history_and_legacy
http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/fact-sheets/fs237.aspx
http://www.myplace.edu.au/TLF_resources/R2736/description.html
http://www.abc.net.au/archives/80days/stories/2012/01/19/3415303.htm
http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/international-womens-day
http://youtu.be/b0TgGb8f-SE
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Anne_Reid
http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/guthrie-bessie-jean-thompson-10382
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/hindsight/creating-a-space-the-life-of-bessie-guthrie/3218016
http://www.glebewalks.com.au/Politicians-Publicans-Sinners-14.html

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

International Women’s Day… what’s it all about?

international.womens.day.logo.2After many decades of  celebrating International Women’s Day, and fully understanding its purpose and ethos, I decided it well past time to actually look closely at its origins.

International Women’s Day (IWD), held on March 8th across the world, is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women in the past, present and future. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.

Although much progress has been made to protect and promote women’s rights, in recent times, nowhere in the world can women claim to have all the same rights and opportunities as men. According to the United Nations (UN) the majority of the world’s 1.3 billion absolute poor are women and, on average, women receive between 30 and 40 percent less pay than men earn for the same work. Women also continue to be victims of violence, with rape and domestic violence listed as significant causes of disability and death among women worldwide.

Women's Day, Clara_Zetkin_Denkmal_Dresden

In 1910, Clara Zetkin, the leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day at the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. The proposal received unanimous assent from over one hundred women representing seventeen countries. Meetings and protests were held across Europe with the largest street demonstration attracting 30,000 women. The day sparked great public debate, and advocates drew attention to the absolute necessity of extending the right to vote to women to make parliament more democratic.

Women's votes

The very first International Women’s day was held the following year on March 19th. The March 19 date was chosen because it commemorated the day that the Prussian king promised to introduce votes for women in 1848. The promise gave hope for equality but it was a promise that he failed to keep. The inaugural event, which included rallies and organized meetings, was a big success in countries such as Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In 1913, IWD was transferred to March 8th and has been held on this day ever since.

womens_history

The UN drew global attention to women’s concerns in 1975 by calling for an International Women’s Year and  held its first official celebrations in Mexico City. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace inviting Member States to proclaim a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace – International Women’s Day – to be observed on any day of the year in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

UNWOMEN.lofo

Since then, the United Nations Organisation has observed March 8th as International Women’s Day The UN considers the purpose of this day is to recognise the fact that securing peace and social progress, and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, require the active participation, equality and development of women and to acknowledge the contribution of women in achieving these goals.

women_india

Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nation’s women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas. Increasingly, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

Indira Ghandi.

For the women of the world, the symbolism of International Women’s Day has a wider meaning. It is an occasion to review how far women have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development. It is also an opportunity to unite, network and mobilise for meaningful change.

women.worldwide

For newspaper articles which discuss the continuing challenges facing women, in 2013, please click on the following links:
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/international-womens-day-has-yet-to-achieve-its-purpose-20130305-2fiv3.html

http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/1349889/international-womens-day-is-to-recognise-plight-says-ballarat-scientist/?cs=12

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jill-van-den-brule/this-international-womens_3_b_2828951.html

http://www.humanrights.gov.au/about/media/news/2013/20_13.html

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/this-womens-day-remember-fallen-in-domestic-wars-20130307-2fo1v.html

RESOURCES & FURTHER INFORMATION:
http://www.isis.aust.com/iwd/stevens/origins.htm
http://www.isis.aust.com/iwd/stevens/firstiwd.htm
http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/international-womens-day

Since 1999 International Men’s Year is celebrated on 19 November each year.

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

International Women’s Day: The Gender Agenda

A SILVER VOICE FROM IRELAND

centredinternationalwomensday“The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum” is the theme for International Women’s Day on Friday next 8, March.

The story of how this annual celebration came about is  so worth repeating as it is in itself a triumph  of ‘ The Gender Agenda’ and an inspiration to all of us girls who want to celebrate the road  travelled in our name, or raise awareness of  paths that still need to be trod on behalf of our sisters across the world.

From my blog of March 2011, to mark the centenary of this international event:

The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in March 1911. It had its origins in America a few years earlier where women had come together to protest against poor working conditions, resulting in a National Women’s Day being declared by the Socialist Party of America. Subsequently at an International Conference for Working Women in Copenhagen, attended by delegates from 17 countries…

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