Wake up Australia

Jesus said to go into all the world, starting in your own neighbourhood. In many of our so-called middle-class communities, families are incredibly isolated. The Church has the answer.

In Brisbane this year, twin toddlers from a middle-class suburban family in Brisbane starved to death. The Australian newspaper said that this should be a disturbing “wake-up call” for middle Australia and should spark a debate about the difficulty of parenting.

The 35-year-old father of six was sentenced on Monday this week to eight years’ jail for his twins’ manslaughter, a month after his ex-partner received the same punishment. The Queensland Supreme Court was told the severely depressed Brisbane woman had refused to let friends and family into the twins’ bedroom for fear they would be removed from her care. She withdrew from social situations as her relationship with her high-school sweetheart collapsed, a result of his excessive drinking and gambling. Brain and Mind Research Institute director, Professor Ian Hickie, is one of Australia’s mental health commissioners. He said that such tragedies were becoming “all too common”, as communities became less connected. “We’ve seen situations of families living in middle-class suburbs in reasonable places coming to tragic ends and grief and death, without anyone in the surrounding suburbs or wider community being aware of the desperate state of affairs”.

If you think a friend, neighbour or colleague is struggling to cope psychologically, reach out. If we know someone is at home dealing with cancer, or severe arthritis, and really struggling, we don’t say, ‘let’s give them some space’. But mental-health remains very difficult to understand.

The Church understands how difficult parenting is and we have answers. Go into all the world.

Well done Senator!

I applaud Greens Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young for her decision to sue over a photo-shopped image of her in Zoo Magazine. The magazine demeaned the Senator and by extension all women seeking to make a serious contribution to public debate. Zoo magazine is appalling and the staff there are obviously short of ideas and creativity, so they simply decided they could separate the senator’s head from her body and replace her body with that of a bikini model.

Who gains from this? Zoo magazine must think they do.

Who loses? Well, apart from the obvious victim of disrespect, Ms Hanson-Young, every other Australian woman, old and young alike, who aspire to be taken seriously in their chosen profession.

But it’s not just the serious issue of objectifying women that needs to be pointed out here. Not only did the cut-and-paste photographic job demean Ms Hanson-Young, it also demeaned one of the most important issues facing our country. The article, titled “ZOO’s Asylum Seeker Bikini Plan” was published in July 2012, a week after the Senator, with great emotion, addressed the Senate regarding Australia’s humanitarian intake of asylum-seekers.

Shockingly, NSW Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum does not agree with the Senator and said this week at the hearing into the matter that she did not believe the photo made the senator look incompetent or immature. Justice McCallum, however, granted Sarah leave to argue her case in front of a jury. The case is going to be heard at a later date.

Meanwhile Zoo magazine continues to corrupt our society with immunity.