War, greed and the future of #Syria: @MargaretOConno5 reports

This article is dedicated to ordinary Syrians, whose capacity for hospitality is legendary, including those who went right out of their way for an injured Australian as he lay in pain on the cobblestones of ancient Damascus, and who are now experiencing such desperately hard times. I haven’t forgotten you. Somewhat unexpectedly, I visited Syria in early 2009 and 2011. On both occasions my visits were adjacent to stints on a Jordanian volunteer project. Having travelled all that way, it made sense to visit another nearby country while I was in the region. Back then, despite documented internal human rights abuses, Syria was easy on the wallet and to travel […]

Exploring the Great Transition @MargaretOConno5 #sustainability #community

If you’ve ever owned poultry, you’ll be all too familiar with its eerie ability to win people over. You may be living in a neighbourhood with all the warmth and collegiality of a nuclear bunker but no sooner will you purchase Rhode Island Reds, and your icy-cold and haughty neighbours will be beaming, poking their heads over your fence, offering you a bickie, volunteering to mind them when you’re away and donating kitchen scraps and snails to them. And then, one thing will lead to another, and before you know it, – don’t say I didn’t warn you, I’ve been there – you’ll be starting a compost pile. Then planting […]

Kitchen tables and #Community in the Nation’s Capital from @MargaretOConno5

“I cannot honestly say that I liked Canberra very much; it was to me a place of exile; but I soon began to realize that the decision had been taken, that Canberra was and would continue to be the capital of the nation, and that it was therefore imperative to make it a worthy capital; something that the Australian people would come to admire and respect; something that would be a focal point for national pride and sentiment. Once I had converted myself to this faith, I became an apostle …” Thus reported the clearly underwhelmed but ultimately committed Sir Robert Menzies in the Senate Select Committee Report, ‘Development of […]

Ordinary people speaking with an extraordinary voice @MargaretOConno5 reports

By Margaret O’Connor @MargaretOConno5 13 December 2013 It’s Monday December 2 and thirty degrees. The nation’s capital is sliding into a languorous warm late afternoon. I trundle into the Parliament House car park and try, with difficulty, to find a park, because northeast Victoria has come to town. Inside the House of Representatives Chamber, the public seating area opposite is a sea of orange t-shirts worn by enthusiastic Indi citizens, the ones who showed us a thing or two about ordinary people claiming back influence and control over Australian politics at the September federal election. Down below, newly-elected Clive Palmer MP arrives and sits next to Cathy McGowan MP, the […]

Breaking News: Sex, Lies and the Murdoch Succession by Paul Barry

By Margaret O’Connor 1 November 2013 If you want a quick and telling glimpse of the psychopathology that infested Rupert Murdoch’s power house tabloid News of the World (NoTW), turn to the Leveson Inquiry Hearings for Wednesday, 29 November, 2011. On that day, Paul McMullan, ex-NoTW reporter, reluctantly gave testimony about his work practices there – and, in defence of his and his colleagues’ calculated violations of others’ rights to personal space and boundaries, became globally famous for his take on the concept of privacy, proclaiming ‘privacy is for paedos….privacy is evil…..it allows (people) to do bad things.’ Then in response to this, Counsel to the Inquiry, Robert jay QC,  asks […]