Быстрее

I’m writing this post from my seat in the Moscow->St Petersburg 22:42 train, which will see me there at around 6:30 tomorrow morning.  I am, incidentally or otherwise, sweating like…  something like really sweaty—and not just because it’s about a billion degrees in here, but because (again) I’ve just done a lot of running to make the train on time.  This follows Friday’s exploits, which involved running through the airport.  Man, how is punctuality so hard?!  But yes, I got to my carriage at 22:41, with about 30 seconds to spare.  I need to stop doing this to myself…

Anyway, I’m going to tell you about the train.  Last time I travelled to Moscow (from Piter), I booked a ‘kupe’ ticket, where you get a little cabin which is shared with three others.  This is fairly standard for overnight trains across Europe at least (though I did catch one from Bucharest in Romania to Athens, and that was seated the whole way.  It wasn’t pleasant.).  You also occasionally get 2-berths, but that’s very rare.

Nowadays, I buy ‘plats-kart’ tickets in Russia, which is where you sleep in a carriage with over 40 other people.  Haha it’s not as awful as it sounds, honestly.  But right now I’m writing from berth 41—and I’m lucky in that there’s no-one in 42 above me.  The carriages are arranged in semi-partitioned sections, with two sets of bunk beds laterally, facing another set of bunk beds arranged longitudinally.  P1160970It’s pretty chilled, it’s wayyyy cheaper (I paid just over 2000rubles, so around AU$55 or 40-45EUR for the 713.8km journey), and it’s just more festive.  Even sleeping, it’s festive.  I’m here with people from all walks of life, from all over Russia, and it’s typically very unlikely that anybody speaks English.  The kupe cabins seem to be more business people, and then there are the fancy cabins for people with fancy amounts of money.  Eugh, my amounts of money are so un-fancy, I’m preoccupied with the fact I accidentally just left a 500ruble deposit at my hostel.  That’s like AUD$12!  I… need a job.  But yes, I also don’t really look like the other people on the train—for one, I look a damn sight healthier, which is concerning.  Plus taller.  Also, I’m mistaken for German or Scando, not Russian.  In fact apparently I stand out enough that the train lady came up to me and asked if I actually wanted to be in a kupe cabin instead.

The last two days have been really wonderful.  After Saturday night, I awoke at a fairly reasonable time (and, naturally, well after ‘check-out time’) and considered my options.  Should I go to St Petersburg that night (where I would spend way less money), or wait until Monday night?  Obviously I opted for the latter.

I’d been in touch with Artur, who I met last time I was in Moscow.  We’d decided to meet at Kolomonskoe metro, and go for a walk in the big park there.  Russians are so good at parks!  Well, in some respects.  In the ‘for’ column is the sheer size and prettiness; in the ‘against’ column is the fact that girls still wear stilettos—for as Artur said, no obstacle is too great for a Russian woman in heels.  Paths, cobblestones, mud—they’ll take it all.

After an immediate picnic on the grass because I was about to eat somebody, zombie-style, we went walking through the park for 4-5 hours.  It was full of apple trees in bloom, a pond that we kept accidentally returning to, ice-cream stands as always, and beds of beautiful tulips.  At one end was a tsar’s palace (there seem to be a lot of those), which the sign described as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ (again, there are a lot of those).  Actually, the sign was really cool: it was in Russian, English, and Braille, and below the writing was a drawing of the palace which was done in raised ridges, so that blind people could sort of ‘see’ the Wonder.

Afterward we went to Шоколадница, Shokoladnitsa, which as the name suggests, is a magical place of chocolatey goodness.  We had dinner and ‘real’ hot chocolates, which was actually just melted chocolate in a mug (win!), and talked for another 3-4 hours.  Haha never put language teachers in the same room together, right?!

Today I had a nice little sleep-in again, and was again in my own room.  How good is that?!  Then I decided it might be a good idea to check out Lenin’s tomb.  Which turned out to be a bit of a fail, as it’s closed on Monday.  But that’s okay, I’m not really that into seeing embalmed dudes anyway.  Instead I went for a bit of a walk.  I trailed through Red Square and the Aleksandrovskij Gardens then headed up to Arbat Street.

Arbat was busy at night, but during the day it’s something else.  It was full of street performers, cafés with their tables outside in the sunshine, artists displaying their wares, and of course, people everywhere.  Entering the street I saw someone wearing a Cheburashka costume, and my goodness, I love Cheburashka.  I actually have a little toy sitting on the blind in my room, and several more back in Australia.  Not to mention a book.  And all of the original series on my laptop.  Anyhow, clearly I was getting a photo with life-size Cheburashka no matter what it took.

Also there were a pirate (presumably Cap’n Jack?), and the two mascots from the Winter Olympics.  I didn’t care about them at all, but who am I to exclude anyone?  So I ended up having the pirate hat popped on my head (after the pirate’s surprise at my huge noggin), sandwiched between Cheburashka and whatever-they’re-called.  Then photo time!

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Afterward they said “5”.  To which my response was “five hundred?”  The pirate, being true to form, said yes.  I told him I’d give him two.  Which I did.  Then he asked nicely so I gave him another hundred.  Haha he was having a laugh.

Next I walked across to Tverskaya Street, which is a super-fancy street, and probably the most well-known in Moscow.  It is money, and it leads straight to Red Square.  I wanted to return to a bookstore I’d checked out on Saturday—specifically, the politics section.  There are some ‘interesting’ titles on Ukraine.  I particularly enjoyed the chapter headings about the USA being full of Nazis, and “Germany’s plans” for Ukraine.  Needless to say, I bought one of the more dramatic titles for posterity.

After around five hours of walking about in the sun I was quite tired, so went back to the hostel for a rest and to do some writing.  [Side note: a very smelly but very nice man from the Caucausus just helped me lift my suitcase up out of the way.  I’m so touched whenever anyone helps me lift stuff, it’s definitely the way to my heart—and if the lifter happens to be good-looking?  Well, I don’t not think ‘take me now’.)  Then I went to get some more excellent Japanese food at Ваби-Саби Vabi-Sabi, though I must say it’s nowhere near as good as Две Палочки Dve Palochki (‘Two Sticks’), before heading out.  Yes, heading out, before catching my overnight train.  Because if there’s one thing I am, it’s sensible. /s

I was actually only going just around the corner from my hostel, where Jack (from Friday) was running the ‘Moscow Pub Quiz’.  He runs it every two weeks, with different people hosting, and apparently it’s become quite a thing.  After a few awkward minutes post-arrival, Jack told me to sit down at the bar (I was clearly looking at least as awkward as I felt), where the girl next to me said hello.  She recognised me from Friday night, and invited me onto their trivia team.  Then another of the girls from Friday came over for a chat as well.  Haha I felt like I knew people!

I won’t know the result of the trivia until I next have internet (in St Petersburg), as I had to leave before all of the answers had been given and checked.  So I’m going to try and get some sleep now, and will be very intensely thinking “go team Black Flamingo” in my dreams.  And because I can’t help myself, further side-note: I learned tonight that apparently flamingos are white, and they only turn pink because of all the crab they eat.  What?!  Mind, blown.

PS, I realise I haven’t posted about Saturday yet, but will do and back-date within the next day or so.

Taking awkward to new heights

Ohhhhh my.  This afternoon’s lecture resulted in rather more misadventure than I really anticipated.  It all started last week (was it only last week?!) when I had lunch with the head of the Australian Society here in Belgium.  She mentioned the organisation ‘YPFP‘, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, and suggested I sign up, saying that this would help me in attending a lecture ex-Aus Prime Minister Julia Gillard would be giving the following week.  (Incidentally or otherwise, ‘YPFP’ reminds me of the film ‘YPF’, which is just wholly inappropriate.)

Anyway, one thing led to another—as it often does—and this afternoon I headed over to the VUB campus to see Jules giving a speech about global education for the Kapuscinski Development Lecture series.

So, after drinking a litre of water, I wandered across to the uni in plenty of time.  I got to the venue and decided to take a precautionary bathroom trip, which was fine (thanks for asking) but for the busted hand-dryer.  ‘No matter’, I think to myself, and walk off to find the entrance to the auditorium.  Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see somebody I recognise—sure enough, it’s the girl who runs YPFP in Brussels, who works at the Aus Embassy and whom I had coffee with on Monday.  I figure this must be where to go, and I can see coats hung up behind her.  ‘How fancy’, I think to myself, ‘I get to put my coat away properly!’.

I walk on into the room where YPFP lady is standing.  It’s actually pretty empty, with only 10-12 people.  I can’t figure out what’s going on: is this not the right room?  Are people putting their coats up here then heading into the venue properly somehow?  Either way, I hang up my coat and go to speak with YPFP lady.

This is when things ?start? to go downhill.  YPFP lady introduces me to the other two she’s standing with as the girl who brought minties and redskins (Australian lollies/sweets) for the Aus Embassy.  YPFP lady then introduces them as high-ranking Aus Embassy staff: one of them was the Deputy Ambassador for the Australian Mission to the EU.  EEP.  Thanking me for the lollies, Deputy Ambassador then reaches out to shake my hand—my weirdly damp hand might I add—and the internal mortification begins.  Likewise with the other lady.

The group then goes to join the other 8 or so people at the other end of the room, when suddenly I see red hair, and a terrifying thought dawns on me.  Sure enough, red hair turns around and it’s Julia freaking Gillard and I am clearly crashing the wrong room.  Then, everybody else starts to introduce themselves, and they’re all Embassy staff, Ambassadors, and Vice-Chancellor of the uni.  Oh god.  And I’m like…. “I’m Laura.”  Because I don’t have a cool title.  Though “Laura, who is about to die of mortification” may have been suitable.

People start talking, and I barely—just barely—stop myself from making a facetious comment about Australia now being allowed in Eurovision.  Thank god my usually non-existent filter chose this moment to cut in.  Can you even imagine?!?!

After about ten minutes of this, I saw my chance, and I tried to quietly scurry out of the door.  I was not only dying of humiliation on my own behalf, but on that of YPFP lady—she clearly knew me, and I didn’t want to reflect badly on her with my politician-fiesta-crashing ways.  Oh god.

I couldn’t see Aus Society girl when I made it into the actual venue, so sent her a text.  It then turned out she was sitting a few rows in front and there was room, so given I was sitting in the middle of the row and everyone had the little tables in front of them down, I had to ask everybody to pick up all their stuff, put away their tables and stand up so that I could get past.  Both to exit my row and to enter Aus Society girl’s row.  At least I’m consistently a nightmare?

The lecture was very interesting—I don’t know much about global education initiatives, but did volunteer on the national campaigns team for a development NGO at one time, so there was a fair bit of cross-over.  What was really cool though was that, at the end, the uni gave Julia an honorary doctorate—it was so touching!!

Once people started to file out, Aus Society girl voiced what I’d been wondering—would it be okay to get a selfie with Gillard?  “Let’s do it,” I said.  “After all, I’ve already been awkward in a room with her once tonight, I may as well continue the streak!”  So we headed down to the stage, waited, and jumped on in.  I automatically reached out to hug the people next to me for the photo, meaning I hugged Australia’s ex-goddamn-Prime-Minister!!  Oh Laura.  Is that some kind of protocol breach somewhere, somehow?

It was finally time for the ridiculousness to end (or so I thought), until YPFP girl grabbed Aus Society girl and I at the end and asked us to do a vox-pop about the lecture with a journalist.  She said that we were both “erudite” women, so volunteered us.  And now the two of us are in front of a video camera, for posterity, talking about the lecture.  Thankfully though, for the first time tonight, I wasn’t a socially awkward pile of confusion, and I’ll post a link to the video in the next couple of days.  And then, home time!  Because apparently I need some sleep.  And/or to hide under my doona (duvet/quilt) with my good friend chocolate and never come out again.

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In other news, I wrote a guest post on Pure Jonel’s blog last week, and you can now find a link to this and all other guest blog posts/interviews etc under About>Me Elsewhere.

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Sex and Power

There’s a famous quote by Oscar Wilde, which says that “Everything in the world is about sex except sex.  Sex is about power.”  I’ve found myself thinking about this, after just now simultaneously having a conversation with Mr Belgium about love and romance, and reading an article on power politics.
There are traditionally three main paradigms of thinking about international politics.  Proponents of these paradigms are known as realists, rationalists and revolutionists (eg Stern), or realists, pluralists, and structuralists (non-English School authors).  Basically, realists believe that international politics are all about states (countries), and each state has the aim of survival.  This survival is assured by seeking power, and therefore domination over other states.  Famous early proponents of this paradigm include Machiavelli with ‘The Prince’, or Hobbes in ‘Leviathan’, where he described the life of man as “nasty, brutish and short”.  In realism, political strategy is like chess, and is often described as a zero-sum game.
Rationalists/pluralists are a bit more liberal.  They don’t think all power relations are about domination and coercion—rather, states can co-operate.  Moreover, states aren’t the only actors—other parties such as multi-nationals operate across borders, and big businesses such as these have to be taken into account: as do things such as a global economy.  So rationalism is more about the stick and the carrot, and states aren’t the only ones with a garden.
Revolutionism is concerned with the system as a whole—so rather than looking just at states or just at bodies who transact across borders, revolutionists look at The Big Picture.  Think Marxism/Leninism, and the idea of the world as a large capitalist economy.  If mention of these two is enough to put you off, then look at it a different way—think about where the rich, liberal, well-resourced countries are, and think about where the poorer countries are.  Think about people travelling from places such as Australia or Western Europe for eg sex tourism (or even just cheap clothes!) in places such as Thailand or Moldova.  There’s a persistent idea of the ‘Global North’ (rich) and ‘Global South’ (poor), with an exploitative relationship between them.  For revolutionists, it’s not about states or people acting across borders, but the whole system which constrains people.  This system can only be over-thrown through revolution (hence the name).
‘So what the hell does this have to do with romance?’ you might be wondering, and rightly so.  Well, I was talking to Mr Belgium about how the world he lives in is so different to mine: whereas I see love and romance as belonging exclusively to fiction, that’s something he actively believes in and seeks.  I see relations as zero-sum—eg, to their gain and my loss—whereas he seems to see it as a positive thing to be sought.  So I’m a hostile state of the Hobbesian system, whereas he’s all about transnationalism and the penetration of state borders, to potentially mutual gains (I grow bananas and you grow grapes; I want grapes and you want bananas; we swap and both have munchies).  Because you see, a lot of politics is based on ideas of economy but also on human psychology.  The idea of ‘nature vs nurture’ comes in even here, with realists seeing power politics and a struggle for (state) survival as natural and inevitable (even if the idea of such makes them miserable—they do the best they can with it), and rationalists seeing it as having elements of nurture (continuing relations or ‘transactions’ on different levels will lead to closeness and less danger).  Don’t you think it’s funny that we categorise countries as having the personality profiles of school bullies vs people who sell chocolates to fund-raise for a school event?
Revolutionists are harder to categorise, as using the last analogy, they’re looking more at the idea of the school itself: what about the school system and how it’s funded and prioritised means that people have to conduct extra fundraising?  Where is the money that could be used for the school event actually going instead?  You can see how Marxism and anarchism come in here.  I guess in a way, social revolutions and eras such as the ‘swinging 60s’ (going to be awkward if it’s actually the 70s and I got the decade wrong) reflect revolutionist views.  Ideas such as ‘free love’ then and ‘polyamory’ now (being in multiple committed relationships concurrently) can be seen to reflect the idea that structures such as monogamy are potentially exploitative power relations, and that structure should be overthrown in order to gain equality and superior outcomes for all.
Beyond these three main paradigms, there are revisions and amendments.  Neo-realism, neo-liberalism, Gramscianism.  A zillion more.  But my personal favourite is constructivism, which is summed up in the following quote by Anais Nin (yes, that Anais Nin):  “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”  Thus if a state has a neighbour who it perceives as friendly (say Russia and China in the first half of the 20th century), it’s probably not going to be too concerned about having armies stationed by the border.  However, if a state has a neighbour who it perceives as potentially unfriendly, it will naturally treat things as more suspicious (how would Russia react now if China started doing military manoeuvres by its border?  Or look at how its foreign minister reacted at the rumour that Finland was being scoped out for a NATO base).  I guess this theory is most obviously related to human psychology, as it relates to therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy.  So perhaps if I started trying to see the world as Mr Belgium did, I would in fact find myself living in that world.  Maybe things would then be less ‘nasty’ and ‘brutish’ (cheers, Hobbes).  But ah, the cynicism is strong in this one.
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Security

I nearly accidentally punched the marketing director this week.  I mean, I’m sure that happens to a lot of people, but this was very much a close thing.  My work has just moved premises, and my new desk has me standing with my back to several passageways.  Apparently my colleagues have ninja skills, as I often don’t hear them coming until they suddenly appear behind me, scaring the daylights out of me.

That’s pretty much what happened with the marketing director.  I was working away when suddenly her voice popped up behind me, and I spun around with my fists up because apparently a boxing stance is a reflex for me.  Hmmm, and I wonder how that happened.

When I arrived back in Australia at the end of last September, I spent my first night pretty randomly at a friend’s dad’s house (my house-mate-to-be was away so couldn’t let me into the apartment).  We were having a discussion about the idea of safety while travelling.  A couple of weeks beforehand, a guy had said to me a little condescendingly that “I guess that’s a difference between men and women; you need to feel secure.”  What an incredibly stupid thing to say.  Firstly, because things like food security—which I hadn’t had for a lot of my time in Russia—are essential to everybody.  I’ve been a traveller for over ten years now, and I can’t say things like budgets or not having somewhere to stay phase me (obviously again, I made reference to financial security a lot in Russia, but that’s because I didn’t have any).  There’s a certain degree of emotional security involved, it’s true, especially once you pass the year mark: but moreover, it’s physical security.

My friend’s dad was pretty much face palming.  “Well obviously,” he said.  “Look at you—you’re a commodity in most of the world.  If I lived over [wherever], it’d be straight off to the harem with you!”  In some ways, this is a misunderstanding.

‘I wonder what ways she’s talking about,’ you might be wondering, while simultaneously worrying that I might be about to rant. Allow me to address both concerns, and say that the misunderstanding is in thinking that one country or culture is safe.  Another is that anything you can do can make you feel safe within yourself: the unpredictability of travelling heightens the lack of ability to feel safe, but it’s certainly not just inherent there.

I haven’t written about my experiences the first time I went to Turkey yet, and it’s now getting on toward 2.5 years, so it mayyyy not happen.  But basically I was there during the off-season, I was white-blonde at the time, and every single guy on the street made a comment to me.  It was exhausting.  I ended up hiring a male walking tour guide for a few days, just to help tone down the amount of harassment.  Of course, he’d finish at 3pm each day, and I’d last until about 4pm before I couldn’t take it any more and would return to hide in my hostel.  I didn’t even go out for dinner, I ordered in.

Or of course, there’s the one particularly persistent guy in Colombia who followed me down the street for a kilometre or so, saying obscene things to me.  (Or that other guy I mentioned).  In Russia, there was the guy who groped me on the trolley-bus: you couldn’t even call it ‘upper thigh’ any more.  Or the big group of ‘Stan guys I found myself in the midst of on NYE in Piter, one of whom grabbed my ass as they all jeered at me.  My reflex on that occasion was to lean back and smash my elbow into his solar plexus, before having the instant terror of ‘what now, I’m surrounded?’

Oh sure, these aren’t Western countries.  Well, here’s the article from the US that set off today’s rant (when I meant to write about the epic event I went to last night, or to do the overdue ‘road trip’ posts).  There’s the time that a friend’s brother came up from behind me and licked my face ‘as a joke’.  Yup, reflexes saw his face bleeding everywhere and me crying my heart out in the middle of the club.  Or speaking of clubs, the time I danced with one guy briefly—something I don’t do in Western countries any more because of all the grinding—and when I wanted to leave he held me there, furious that I wasn’t going to fuck him.  There’s the time when I went for a massage here in Australia, and the masseuse was a guy who proceeded to wrap my hand around his dick and start jerking off.

Then there’s the cat-calls, the anxiety about walking past building sites, the constant groping in clubs or bars.  This is not a thing that is part of travelling, and it’s not a thing which is relegated to just one place or just one culture.  This is part of every single day of being a woman.

Sure, some people feel less threatened than I do.  Some people feel safe to dress up, or to wear heels they can’t run in, or invite male attention.  I feel better by putting a lot of effort into being as invisible as possible (other than having an extreme love of bright colours, it has to be said).  And it hasn’t always been this bad: for a few years up until I was 18, (having been a girl of 5’9″, 52kg when I finished school at 18, braces, glasses, bad skin, pragmatically short hair, no EQ and apparently too smart f or my own good) I got a real kick out of it.  Every time a cute guy perved on me, it was like something to be celebrated.  But then everything changed, I realised that it wasn’t always innocuous, and from 19 until I was around 23 I didn’t feel safe going out in the day time, when people could see me.

And the thing is, this is why I’m a feminist.  Not because I think men and women are the same (because I’m not freaking retarded (oh PC!!)), but because any world where I have to feel threatened because I’m a girl is just not good enough.  I’m not saying all men are bad, or predators, or anything so ridiculous.  I’m likewise not saying that being a woman is bad, nor how you choose to express it.  Nor is liking the way the opposite (or same!) sex looks.  But this physical insecurity seems invariably a part of the world we live in, and until people are treated as people rather than things, decorations or conveniences, then I’m probably always going to be a little bit angry.

A Poem for Tony

There are a few things which make me angry. Pretty high on that list are sexism, racism, climate change deniers, stupidity, and people who are bad at their jobs. As you can imagine, therefore, I’m not a big fan of the current Australian Government. In fact, the last federal election sent me into an unparalleled fb friend cull, and I still can’t talk about it without getting a rage headache. Not just rage at the politicians you understand, but at those morons who were uneducated, greedy or simply short-sighted enough to vote for them. (Deep breaths Laura, deep breaths).

Now, as we’ve seen before, when I get angry I like to write angry poems (to Greyhound coaches; to my travel agent). So, here is, as requested, a hopefully cathartic and highly sarcastic explosion at our dear prime minister, Tony Abbott. In verse.


Dearest PM Tony, it’s little old me,
Wanting to say please DO take down ABC.
Impartiality has no place in journalism,
When it compromises values like good Aussie patriotism.Cos I’m just like you, our feelings the same:
To think other nations equal, it’s a crying shame.
You’re doing a great job, don’t listen to journos
Screw those balanced bastards, let’s of them dispose.

And the UN! How dare they suggest
That our actions toward asylum seekers aren’t simply the best?
Protocol on Refugees? Treaties galore?
I didn’t sign ’em, so I say ‘what for?’

And as to these upstarts, the ICJ
Us spying?  Rigging prices?  They’re being led astray.
So don’t worry, dear Tony, I say screw the law
Ignore our commitments with gusto and guffaw.

Then there’s those bloody boat people, how dare they intrude?
And how dare they say their return is so rude?
There’s opportunities where they came from, I can’t believe they’re so lazy
Instead on a cruise–surely they’re crazy!

At least we’re doing a great job, clearing the way,
Immigration’ll nab ’em, once we clear all the cays.
And I’m so glad we’re destroying the Great Barrier Reef
I hate fish, and coral, and tourists, believe!

Then there’s ‘global warming’, what a complete joke
And cancel the carbon tax–what total hoke.
And there’s news that we’ve added to our temperature scale
What reporting is this–another ABC fail?

And speaking of getting hot under the collar,
There’s another thing about which I’ll holler:
Those impudent Canberrans I’ll have to disparage–
They tried to legislate to allow gay marriage!

Thank goodness you were there, Tony, my hero
You destroyed that legislation, set them right back to zero.
Because this ‘love’ between other people is surely our business
How dare they claim rights, it’s all a great menace!

And speaking of things to do with people and beds
What a stroke of genius, giving $200 to newly-weds
And taking it away from disabled and old
Straight marriage is more important: way to be bold!

Then there’s your foreign policy, about which I can’t say
Because all I’m good for is a roll in the hay:
Don’t you worry sir, we’ll get to that bit
Cos, after all, it’s one of your hits.

While Indonesia threatens with missiles and planes,
It’s nothing to me if it goes down the drain.
And as to our vaunted relationship with China?
What do I know?–I’ve got a vagina.

And we all know what that’s good for, don’t we old chap?
It all comes down to what sits in my lap.
You’re the guy who sold his daughters on national TV-
“I’m the one with hot daughters, so vote for me!

But of course you’re right, despite what I thought
It must have been that I was wrongfully taught
Though I’ve got two degrees and have written a book,
I should be despatched to the kitchen and immediately cook.

I know, cos you’ve told me, men have these ‘aptitudes’,
(I can’t believe I’d listened to Y gen attitudes!)
If I did aught but housework, it’d be nothing bar tragic:
I’m good at these things, because vagina magic.

Keep stripping that money from higher education
We don’t need any more qualifications in our great nation.
Cancel the program, cancel the class;
Those ‘professionals’ at unis just sit on their ass.

Then there’s the NBN, the national broadband network
I have a great secret, don’t think I’m a jerk:
This whole internet thing is ‘evil’, it’s plain to see
The train’s full of people staring at phones on their knee.

It’s brought no benefits, it’s not useful for work
We don’t need it for community or to go to the kirk.
And while I guess I admitted in Russia it’s faster,
It’s fine staying slow, ignore these past ‘masters’.

And how could I forget–I love big oil,
Promise you’ll subsidise, and the Greenies you’ll foil.
It’s clear fossil fuels are the way of the future–
And those big mining co’s could sure use a booster.

But back to the fish, and the forests, and trees:
Declassifying World Heritage areas makes you the bees’ knees.
We need no trees in our future, after all, we’re Aussies,
And we know that air’s just as plentiful as mozzies.

I know there’s those reports about Australian living standards–
Second to Norway?  We’ll surely them hand it.
And clearly this sits not on liberties, nor education;
No need for such things to be super-nation.

It sits not on our economy (it matters not you’ve no plan)
Nor on our environment–I think you’re the man!
And obviously we’re intrinsically better than all other places
Take that, rest of the world, up in yo faces.

Because as we all know, it’s not circular logic;
(Which I don’t understand, for reasons gynaecologic)
Australia’s the best, we don’t need to try
So fuck everything, for this job you’re the guy.

Tony: “it dismays Australians when the national broadcaster appears to take everyone’s side but its own and I think it is a problem.”Tony: “[asylum seekers are] people who are attempting to break Australian law” (more links: 1, 2, 3, etc) 

(ICJ =International Court of Justice in the Hague)
Charges by East Timor. Asylum seekers allegedly mistreated; towed to Indonesia, in defiance of international law.Tony: “Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”

 

Tony: “The climate change argument is absolute crap, however the politics are tough for us because 80 per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tony: “I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons”; “The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience.”; “What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year…”

kirk = church in older dialects

 

Tony: “Why isn’t the fact that 100,000 women choose to end their pregnancies regarded as a national tragedy approaching the scale, say, of Aboriginal life expectancy being 20 years less than that of the general community?”

 

 

 

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, my prime minister: