Showing posts from September, 2015

Deep democracy: a new model for politics?

It's been said often these past few days that Tony Abbott's prime ministership achieved little of substance. But that doesn't mean it didn't leave a legacy.

Adding to the dysfunction of the Labor years, for many it left a deeper disillusionment with politics, a thicker poison. Our disdain for politicians, our fatigue with their combativeness and repetition, remains. We got a lot of blame but few solutions. Malcolm Turnbull's win doesn't yet seem real. Could we really hope for something more sophisticated?

Abbott talked about creating opportunities but shut blinds, narrowed pathways. His pattern of support for powerful interests such as banks and coal mining companies over their customers and competing interests further disempowered the least powerful.

Abbott talked once about looking after "forgotten families" but made us brittle, more anxious and heartsick. However, he didn't kill our interest in politics. For some he did the opposite - he fertil…

Poverty is structural

There's a saying in the outback, when it's very cold it's a two-dog night. This particular Saturday afternoon in Canberra, on the wrong side of spring, it was a two-beanie day.

People were rugged up as they filed into Tuckerbox at Holy Cross Anglican Church in Hackett to purchase heavily discounted groceries. Tuckerbox is a weekly volunteer-run food outlet designed to assist people struggling with their weekly budgets.

It's food that can't be sold commercially due to bad labelling, incorrectly listed weights or fast-approaching use-by dates. Foodbank NSW and ACT collects it from manufacturers and retailers and Tuckerbox "sells" it for a small fee. Reciprocity is important. Customers like it. They are not getting a hand-out.

Tuckerbox is a sign of just how tough things have become for many people in Australia's richest city. It is one of several food banks in our suburbs and surrounds. Last month Anglicare opened Food Fair in Queanbeyan.

Faith communit…