Friday, 30 December 2011


My life has changed a lot in 2011. I first got involved with the Greens in early 2010 but my love for politics has really grown over the past year. I spent high school volunteering with every environmental and human rights NGO in the area, i was on the local council sub-committee, SRC, I went to nationals for public speaking but I never got involved with politics. My dad, who is quite involved with politics, never wanted me to join 'Young Anything' he always told me i shouldn't join a party while i was still developing my political views. Once I got to University and started taking politics with my environmental science degree I was suddenly in a place where i felt comfortable enough with my political thinking to join a party. Also being away from home made me feel comfortable to join one that was polar opposite to my father's (that was a fun convo).

In 2011 I got really involved with the state election, and then just as i was hooked this amazing thing happened- Wollongong City Council elections. I became completely obsessed at this point! every Thursday was focused around meetings and not a day went by where I didn't spend most of the day doing things for the election. The day was amazing and the feeling of being a part of a campaign that resulted in the first two Greens councillors on WCC can not be described by words.

What came next? well a month after local elections came student elections. Ok, Ok i know student elections may not be the most important thing in the world but for a week or two there to me they were. Matt Greiss and myself became so ridiculously caught up in the student election you would swear we were from USYD. The ticket we produced for the student elections was really something phenomenal, all activists, all independents and all people who weren't involved in the absolute mess of the 2011 council (besides myself of course =P). The election broke UOW records with the most votes recorded, and our ticket gained a majority on council! Unfortunately i didn't get elected as President but i got a General Representative position and the council looks as though it may finally be productive.

So while all this was happening I also interned for Lee Rhiannon. What can I say other than that she is completely incredible!! The experience was priceless and i learnt so much from her and all her staff. I am so proud to be a member of party full of such passionate and dedicated people. The other thing i learnt was that I really do LOVE politics, it's what i want to do with my life.

In early November I went to Perth for the Greens National Conference. I was lucky enough to be supported financially by the party with a youth subsidy. My first day in Freemantle, my first time at national conference and my 20th birthday all fell on November 4th 2011. It was a perfect way to spend my birthday really but I maybe should have gone a little easier on the alcohol.....

After exams finished, I moved home and a week later got on a bus down to Eden. Eden is a beautiful little town, perfect place for a holiday. Unfortunately that's not why i was there, not even close. I took a two week crash course in field geology. The reason? six credit points in two weeks!! My day consisted of 8-6 field work, dinner and then writing a field report until around 2am that would be due the next morning. On a positive note the 3 guys i stayed with - Dougie, Harry and Tom were a lot of fun, truly great guys!!

So after that i headed to Jack Newton Celebrity Classic. My dad has friends involved in the event so i've been going for a while now. Highlights included meeting Darren Middleton and visiting wineries with friends. Lowlights include drunkenly locking myself out of phone (yet to be fixed). I then went straight from there to country South Australia for Christmas with family....

2012- here's hoping....

Knuckle down with the 2012 WUSA council and save student representation at UOW from it's impending doom!
Concentrate on the last year of my science degree and get into honours
Have fun living on my own in my last year of being an unemployed uni student
Get GR elected to 2013 with majority, again
help out in local elections in another city

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Problem with an ISP Filter is                                                  

At what point is the line drawn between protection and ‘individual’ repression?
At the point where an ISP filter is put in place to limit our access to information the government is beginning to over step this line. However, at the point where the blacklisted sites are not disclosed to the public it is clear that that line has not only been crossed but has been left far behind, sitting alongside our democratic rights and free speech. This line has been somewhat blurred by the constant reminder of the existence of child pornography that while already illegal would be blocked by the ISP filter. It is crucial that we look beyond this one example though and examine the myriad of sites and opinions that would be repressed by an ISP filter.  Websites that have a Refused Classification (RC) would include a number of sites from child pornography to sites endorsing terrorist activities. These sites as a result all end up on a black list, that should more accurately be named an invisible list, as it will never be subject to public scrutiny. If the government is asking for the Australian public to put its trust in a governing body, with its own political agendas, to determine what adults of a free country can and can not see they are overstretching their roles and undermining the capabilities of the Australian public to individually filter material on it’s merits and legality. The chance for the government to filter without having to justify or even present the list of sites is an open doorway to corruption and transparency issues already permeating political culture.

Sites included among a leaked blacklist of sites was a graphic anti-abortion website with images of fetuses. This kind of political censorship, in a society that lacks appropriate campaign finance restrictions, is dictating what information is able to reach and inform the Australian public. Political groups that struggle to make an impact due to the high price of professional lobbying in Australia are again disadvantaged as possibly their only means to convey a message is gagged and then secretly discarded along with other sites deemed too graphic by the Australian government. It is becoming more and more apparent through acts such as this that money is not free speech but a requirement for speech as speech and the sharing of information in its most simple form are being restricted. Political views such as those displayed on the anti-abortion website while being viewed by many as ‘extreme’ hold an integral part in maintaining democracy. Limitations placed on any political site seriously infringes on our ability as a citizen to not only vote but to participate in the political process. If Isaiah Berlin is correct that in valuing liberty we are “free to choose and not be chosen for” then an ISP filter with a secret blacklist is not only abolishing this liberty but also taking away any right we have to an openly informed society and any chance we have for a democratic political system. 

By Samantha Dixon 

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Greenpeace Protest-

One activist – Erland Howden – has secured himself in a tiny box and is prepared to stay there for 72 hours.
The activists are calling on BHP Billiton to pay for its pollution. It follows on from Monday’s activity, when the mining giant was handed its pollution tax bill of $338 million for 2010-2011. It’s a small amount for the company – just 0.6% of its annual revenue – but a huge amount for Australians. This money would make a significant difference to making clean energy bigger and cheaper and helping families adjust to a low carbon economy.
BHP Billiton successfully avoided the super resources tax and is now busy lobbying to cheat its way out of paying the pollution tax.
The activists are tired of the big polluters getting their voice heard above ordinary Australians.  While the government is negotiating a price on pollution, the activists are calling for a fair deal – not one that serves the interests of the big polluters.
Erland aka ‘the boy in the box’ said when he was young he was taught to clean up after himself. He’s taking action today to tell BHP Billiton to clean up its own mess.