Do They Know It’s Christmas time At All?

As most of us done our festive wear and deck the halls with boughs of holly, many of us are faced with the Centrelink Grinch coming around and taking our payments away.  I found myself in this unenviable position, when Centrelink decided to cut my payments, while it decides if I can and should be at work.

I have no problem with working, I would love to be able to work full-time or part-time, it would mean more money and give me a reason to dress up a bit and go into the wide world. But I have a problem with immunity and then there is the pesky issue of the passing out and seizures caused by the brain tumor. I have had to resign myself to living off the small amount of the Disability Allowance. It barely covers my rent, then if you add in the electricity and groceries, I’m in trouble. But on top of that, I have to pay for my medical bills. It just isn’t enough and I’m a master at “Robbing Peter to pay Paul”. I shuffle around money like it’s a deck of card, just to keep my head afloat.

When Centrelink screws with my payments, well then I’m lost. That is what they have done to me at the moment. This leaves me in the position of being behind in my rent, with the landlord wanting to evict me. How did it get this far? I was cut off about 6 weeks ago and have been slowly going through the process of seeing Centrelink social workers and soon to visit a doctor of their choice. This has come about with Centrelink ignoring my letters from the GP and specialists. Oh well, I guess what would they know about my health?

I’m not the only one to suffer from this stupidity, we see it so often in the papers or on the news that some poor soul has been cut off from Centrelink, who will justify that a seriously disabled person should be able to work. How do they come to these conclusions? If they have doctors who agree with this, then those doctors should lose their licence.

It’s so easy to forget that people, especially women are one small step away from homelessness, due to bureaucracy. This time of year is the worst for homeless people as their numbers swell from those who have been laid off around Christmas time, break down of marriage, or young people thinking they can move out of home and make it on their own.

So many women and children are homeless, I can’t help but wonder if I will be another one, If my daughter and I will be spending Christmas in my little car?

I have always done what Centrelink have asked me to do. Yet they have some idea that I might be holding out on them and able to work?  How do they do this to people? Who is sitting in the hidden bunker, plucking out names and deciding who should have to go through this process? This time of year, you can bet that I won’t be able to see the doctor until next year. So I have to wait, and keep my fingers crossed and hope for a Christmas miracle.

It’s so terrifying to think that I might in my 50’s face homelessness. I don’t know if I can cope with that. How do I keep my medications straight? How do I give myself pain relief while not in a home? What happens if I am having a bad day and can’t walk or see properly? Where do I go? I know the local council where I live have a kind of tent city for the homeless, but during the day, you can’t stay there, so where do I go, when I am too ill?

We often take what we have for granted, but this year, I beg of you to please help those in need. Smile and give a helping hand, for you might be helping me.

Thank you



Cultural Safety Survey, share your stories from NSW

On Twitter I follow an incredible young woman, Elissa Elvidge and she is asking for people to help with a survey of New South Wales Hospitals.

The information that people give of their experiences is not just for academic purposes, these surveys help to change the system, by showing what the problems are and how they can be addressed.

If you have been in hospital in the last 12 months and you are a deadly Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, please do this survey


Who looks after the carers?

Menzies School of Health Research is doing a study on carers of Indigenous people with cancer.  Most of the carers are family members, and are so important to the well being and recovery of people with cancer, but who takes care of the carers?

Who is there to help them and what do they need to make it easier on them emotionally? This study is probably the first one that has looked at the carers and how they are doing.

I advise all those who have or had cancer and their carers to contact Menzies and join in this study.


Best care is respect for culture

Why would a nurse not want to give the best possible care to a patient in their care? I’ve been wondering about this since a nurses group have said that cultural safety is anti white.  The code, released this week, is basically standardising the codes of practice used around the country already. It is saying that instead of just a suggestion that it should be standard. No problem one would think, surely it makes sense to respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customs and beliefs? It’s no different to respecting the cultural mores of the Muslim and Jewish people. It’s no different to respecting the rules of the Seventh Day Adventist or the Mormon faith.

Nurses respect people from other countries and if they need interpreters they call for them to ask a patient what is needed, what can be done to help them. Surely any reasonable person can see that. But no, the NPAQ have painted this as a racism issue. This group, that I must emphasise is not a union, claimed that nurses would have to apologise for their white privilege to any Indigenous patient.  They claim nurses will leave the profession. If this means a nurse quits, well then, good. We don’t want racist nurses being in charge of our pain relief.

Racism isn’t just a mental health problem, it’s a physical one. How do you heal if you are not getting pain relief, because a nurse or doctor thinks you are a drug addict. The is just one issue, imagine being completely ignored by the nurse because of your race, it happens too often. My people face racism all the time, but when in hospital you are not up to fighting for your basic humanity to be recognised.

Cultural Safety is not a white against black issue, it certainly isn’t anti-white by any stretch, I don’t know how a person can turn a matter of simple respect into a racist question.  A group like the NPAQ is another loud voice that encourages racism, that encourages the lies and stereotypes that my people have been fighting against since Cook landed.

Read the full Code and you will see that, the NPAQ is lying to gain members, pitting black against white.

I had a nurse ask me on Monday, if i wanted an apology before she gives care and she admitted she didn’t know much about it, just that Peta Credlin was talking about it. I wouldn’t trust anything Peta says about nursing, she isn’t a nurse, I recommended the questioner read a brilliant article by Janine Mohamed for IndigenousX. She read it and came back and said it was a lot of fuss about nothing. Why wouldn’t a nurse want to do all they can to help a patient.

As a patient, I want my nurses and doctors to be respectful of my culture and my illness. Racism affects mental health and physical health, how to you heal from a surgery if you are writhing in agony because a medical professional won’t give you pain relief, because they believe Aboriginal people have a different pain threshold.  How do you sleep in a hospital when you can hear nurses saying racist things about Indigenous people. How do you get treatment when you are fobbed off as a drug user. Racism is a huge problem and if we have Cultural Safety written into codes it not only benefits Indigenous Peoples wellness, it breaks down the barriers. A bit of understanding of original culture of this land is something that should be standard and should start from school and continue through life.

I have simplified the issues here, but I am more focused on the patient who has to fight for their dignity.

We Had Feminism Long Before White People Came

I Can and I Did.

I was at the ‘Black Bold and Beautiful’ yesterday, surrounded by incredible Indigenous women. Women who have worked hard to get to where they are today. Women who lived under the mission regime, women who survived and thrived from the forceful removal and government regulations.

These women and my Elders are keeping our Culture alive. In our Culture women weren’t second class citizens. Aboriginal women were equal to men. Our women were the keepers of women’s knowledge. This knowledge was not just being in charge of children and the house. Women ran the community. Our female Elders were power keepers, they were not inferior, they stood side by side with our male Elders.

The patriarchal system came to this country with white people. The Europeans that came here were male dominated, women were Chattels not equals. Our way of life was diminished. White men would not deal with our women, to them women being leaders was an alien thought. They treated our Elders with disdain, they looked upon our women as sexual objects and as house slaves.

No respect was given to our women by the invaders. They pushed their system on us, with guns and bibles, they did this so well that we started to believe some of their lies and our women started to be treated bad by our own men. Our men who were supposed to respect us and treat us as equals saw us as objects. Our Women’s business was stopped and shunned, our privacy and our bodies and their functions became something that men interfered with.

Yes our men were treated bad by the invaders and had their humanity striped away, but the invaders taught our men to treat our women as even less than themselves. White men treated women as property and that was taught to our men to do to us.  The bible was used to teach us that women held all evil, that we are to suffer for Eve’s sin for eternity. This goes against our beliefs, that we are equal and men and women are responsible for keeping our society running.

Many of our ways became hidden and passed down in secret, turning much into a shame factor. I grew up with very strong women leading my family. My mother and Aunties were the head of our mob. Their word was law.  Not one of my male relations was held up as being better or separate from the females, they all, from uncles to sons and nephews had to do the so-called women’s work.

As we are gaining more confidence in ourselves after being kept down, we are bringing our hidden culture out of the dark and to the forefront of our lives, we are not just running feminist households, raising boys to treat women with respect, but to treat them as equals, we are bringing it to our organisations. We are fighting against the white belief that men should be running our organisations.

Our women are strong, but we had forgotten how strong we are. Our women were feminists long before the bra burning. We were the original feminists. Our women stood side by side with our men as equals. Our women are the backbone of our spirituality and our society.


Black Bold and Beautiful

I’m Black Bold and Beautiful, I have the proof.

Black Bold and Beautiful is a women’s lunch held every year to celebrate Indigenous women in  the greater Brisbane area. It’s a great day, with wonderful speakers, all women who talk about what they have done, what they have faced and how they keep going.

Part of the event is a calendar, the women on the calendar are voted by the Community, they chose who they think are brilliant women, who are out there working tirelessly without waiting for a thank you.  These are not the highfalutin women, the ones that are always appearing in the media, these the the local heroes the women who are working at grassroots level.

I am honored and humbled to be the first woman to be in two calendars. I was nominated for doing the unpaid work that I do, things like this blog, giving Indigenous people a voice to share their story. I help my people by linking them with organisations, helping people around the country. I have been blessed that other people have joined me and I can call on others to help someone on their cancer journey to find services.

I started doing what I was doing, because nobody is there to help Indigenous people. Things are slowly changing in some places, but we are still left out of the equation. We have to turn to each other to help each other. I am doing a job that should be paid for, the role that I have as confidante, I help families access food, help with electricity bills, find ways that they can help pay their medical bills.

I am as I said, both honored and humbled that my Community see what I do as important.

The calendar is filled with 12 wonderful women. I will mention some of them over the next few weeks

“Respectful Debate?!”

If you need anymore proof that my people are resilient and strong, look at the past few days.

I have seen a woman speak metaphorically and some media take it literally. This is a choice to do a news story accurately or to lie and make it sensational. It’s a common ploy for the media to portray Aboriginal people in a bad light. It’s done too often portraying any people other than white as barbaric in australia.

Social media has gone over board attacking Indigenous people many trolls going out of there way to target Indigenous peoples accounts. Some will engage in a ‘respectful debate’ many/most don’t. I have engaged with some who ask for proof of things, show it to them, and they deny it is accurate. You just can’t win with some bigots, they are so set in their mind that they are right.

People who are supposed to be allies can show their true colours. They support Aboriginal people, but think we should work within the system to bring it down, be a part of australia day and at all events talk about changing the date. It’s less threatening. These kind of allies we can live without. One thing that really annoyed me was the ally who tweets about Invasion Day and at the end #hashtags other causes. Can you not just show support on this one issue? The same people don’t #hashtag Indigenous issues on their other causes.

I could go on about the social media etiquette or lack of over the past few days, but I will refrain and get back to the horrid actions of bigots. For the past few days I have been hosting a RoCur account and have been horrified at the hate from bigots.  What horrifies me more is that twitter doesn’t take it seriously.  I have with the help of a lot of people make twitter look at two accounts and shut them down.

I could hope that other accounts got shut down, but they didn’t. Two or three had comments taken down, I guess it’s a start and any win is still a win. I went through the comments on this account this morning before   writing, I was going to share a couple of screen shots, but the comments had gone.

For some bigots when they realise they don’t have a leg to stand on, they turn to personal insults. Over the past few days, I’ve had white bigots, all I might ad don’t have a real name on their account and of course no picture of themselves. These faceless cowards have called me abo, and I was called a fat gin.  One tweet said that because I’m fat I have cancer. The reply to that was, I hope you die soon black bitch.

Yeah that’s ‘respectful debate’ I guess if you have nothing to back up your argument.  I hope the reason the worst of the comment disappearing is because Twitter finally realised they should breach the guidelines.

If I got these comments imagine how bad the comments directed to the women in Melbourne, the organisers of the the rally that have about 60 -70 thousand people.

What will it take for Twitter and Facebook to look at the racial hate against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?