Australians in 2013: happy, confident – but not as friendly as we used to be

Australians in 2013: happy, confident – but not as friendly as we used to be
img-thingThis year, 28% of us disagreed with the proposition that “accepting migrants from many different countries makes Australia stronger”; and 25% admitted to having “negative feelings” to migrants from the Middle East and Lebanon in particular. Markus takes this to be code for Muslim.

Intolerant Australia appears to be becoming more intolerant. Markus reports a sharp rise in discrimination. The 2013 survey revealed 40% or more of all new arrivals from Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, China and Hong Kong have experienced discrimination because of their colour, race or religion.

Markus is loth to tie this deteriorating situation directly to the politics of the boats. He found our attitudes to asylum seekers have further hardened in the past year: 33% of us now want all refugee boats turned back and only 18% support our treaty obligations to give refugees arriving by boat permanent residence in this country.

The Power of Outrospection

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BG46IwVfSu8
img-thingEmpathy isn’t just something that expands your moral universe. Empathy is something that can make you a more creative thinker, improve your relationships, can create the human bonds that make life worth living. But, more than that, empathy is also about social change — radical social change.

-Roman Krnaric

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

– Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, The Dawn of the Day

 

One Sleep from the Street.

One sleep from the street: homelessness in our community

Join us for a discussion about the issue of homelessness in the City of Yarra.

Guest speakers from specialist organisations will give a picture of homelessness today. Come along to find out what role you might play and how you can help anyone you know who is homeless.

Featuring representatives from St Mark’s Community Centre, HomeGround Services and the Council to Homeless Person’s Peer Education and Support Program. Hosted by writer and broadcaster Tony Wilson.

This free event is sponsored by the Thomas, Samuel & George Ewing Trust. Bookings are essential. Click here to book online.

Time: 7pm to 8pm
Date: Tuesday 22 October
Venue: Fitzroy Town Hall Reading Room (201 Napier St, Fitzroy)

Australia is rich…?

Australia is rich and on top of the world: is it time to pop the champers? img-thing How rich? Well, we are a mere 0.36% of the world’s adult population but we account for 3.78% of the world’s top 1% wealthiest. The only nation with a more lopsided share of the top 1% is Switzerland, whose 0.13% of the world’s population still sees them with 1.63% of the richest 1%. How did we earn such wealth? Mostly it has come about through home ownership. Credit Suisse notes that our wealth is “heavily skewed towards real assets”, which amount on average to US$294,100 or about 59% of total assets. This average level of real assets is second only to Norway. It suggests a situation open to risks of inequality, as those on poorer incomes are shut out of the wealth-generating housing market, and a danger that our wealth could collapse if house prices fall. ...But one group left out were those on Newstart. Since the mid 1990s Newstart has gone from just below 50% of the median household income to now around 30% – well below poverty level... But while most of our issues are decidedly “first world problems”, let us not think that everyone is enjoying this great increase in wealth..
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Homesick

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1BRrUG2XKPc
Homesick: A documentary
Homesick is a feature length documentary film about four homeless friends whose lives take a turn for the better when they are told they are to be part of a bold new housing initiative. After living for years in the chaotic and sometimes violent world of their South Melbourne rooming houses Sue, Grant, Lee and Ingrid are given a chance to create a home where they can re-build their lives. Their compelling story is based on the central dramatic question; Will having a place to call home be the catalyst for positive changes in their lives?

While following our characters’ journeys over four years, they have allowed us intimate access into their worlds, courageously revealing the emotional and psychological impact of living without a home.The upheaval of moving again and again takes its toll, but when our characters finally get to move into their new accommodation, the results are both interesting and surprising.This is a story that interrogates the real meaning of the word home.

They have just launched a Pozible Crowdfunding campaign to raise completion funds for the film.

How Big is a House?

How big is your house?  Is it big enough? Is there an optimum amount of floor space per person? Do you have any spare rooms?
Given that lack of housing is a major factor in homelessness and that on any given day in Australia 1/2 the people seeking accommodation are turned away, maybe it’s time we rethought how big our houses are.

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Spare any coins?

Recently my friend and I were sitting having a coffee on Swanston street when a guy wandered up to us and asked us if we could spare any coins. He explained that he was homeless, sleeping in a nearby alley and needing money for food and accommodation. He looked the part too: the epitome of the homeless stereotype. An older guy with a Gandalf beard and ragged, dirty clothes.
We offered to buy the guy a meal and he accepted. My mate and I wandered across the street with him to a 24-hour diner style restaurant and we all got a drink and him a meal. We sat and chatted while he ate and he was a pretty friendly guy. He explained that he had been homeless for about 20 years, spending most of that time in Melbourne. We asked if he had heard of our organisation (Credo Café was only a few hundred metres away from where we sat) but he said he wasn’t familiar with it. This shocked me. Firstly because of the long duration of his homelessness but also the proximity of his sleeping spot to our main office and café.

It really hit home for me that the roughly 100k homeless people in Australia is no small number.

As he finished his meal we said goodnight and off we all went, him to his business and us to ours. As we walked down towards Flinders Street my friend and I chatted about the conversation we’d just had. I couldn’t believe he’d never heard of Urban Seed but my friend commented, “I just wanted to know about his ring.”

“His ring?” I responded, confused. “Yeah he was wearing a wedding ring. He’s been homeless for 20 years and is clearly alone now, so what happened to the girl?”

One hundred thousand homeless around the country and each one has a story but I’ve only had the privilege to hear a few.