Rebel With A Cause, Jacqui Lambie

Jacqui Lambie made a name for herself in Australian politics, sometimes for the wrong reasons. She stormed into the senate as part of a new political party and soon afterwards left that party.

She added to her notoriety when she described her ideal man in an interview, in sexually straight forward terms.

rebelShe has also gained attention for some of her outspoken views on Sharia Law and the dress codes of Muslim women.

And yet despite the controversy and the teething problems experienced by someone new to politics, Lambie has an authenticity lacking in the career politicians making up the majority of places within the Australian parliament.

She was someone willing to put in the time to learn how to get things done, and was not afraid to confront difficult issues, especially those things she knew from personal experience.

Prior to entering politics Lambie had served in the Australian Army, until her medical discharge just short of ten years service. A back injury sustained during that time put an end to her military career and started a decade long struggle with bureaucracy to be awarded due compensation and ongoing help.

A large portion of her autobiography/memoir details that struggle and how it eventually led to her considering a political career – to fight for the rights of similar casualties of the military bureaucratic system.

She writers:

The army is one big family, and you are trained to believe that your life depends on it. When you leave the army, you leave the family, and it is a process of bereavement. Why is leaving the army like mourning a death? You don’t belong to anything or anyone anymore.

Not only had she lost her career, but the very “family” she was required to leave seemed to fight against her afterwards, through the political institution that supposedly helped ex-servicemen and women to move on after their time of service ended.

The part of the book I had most difficulty with was a long section detailing her struggles with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the majority of which consisted of copies of the ongoing correspondence between medical specialists, legal representatioves and the DVA.
I think that section would have been much more effective if it had been summarised by Lambie acorns a few pages, with the actual documentation being provided later as appendixes.

One of the other issues she addressed in the Senate was the very personal struggle she had with her younger son, revealing his addiction to ice in a one of her senate speeches. She wants to introduce the right for parents to enforce some kind of rehab upon drug affected children who are in no fit mental state to seek help for themselves.

Over time Lambie’s son did seek help. The source of that help was of particular interest to me. He turned to Teen Challenge, an organisation set up decades ago by well-known Christian minister David Wilkerson, subject of the 1960s book and 1970s film, The Cross and the Switchblade.

In the early 1980s I spent some time with Teen Challenge in the red light district of Sydney, reaching out to drug addicts and prostitutes. Later a friend and his family went to work fulltime at Teen Challenge’s rehabilitation centre in NSW.

Late last year Lambie lost her position in the Senate due to an archaic constitutional technicality after finding she had dual Australian, British citizenship through her Scottish father. That dual citizenship allegedly creates a conflict of national interest.  She was one of several victims of that out-dated clause in a constitution created when Australians were still considered British citizens and there was no difference between being Australian and being British.

She intends to stand again at the next election, hoping to win back her seat in the Senate. I hope she does well.
Despite disagreeing with some of her views, I think Australia needs down to earth, motivated, every day people as representatives in all tiers of government, as opposed to “career politicians” who’ve never had a real job outside of the political system.


Details at the publisher’s website:



Bigger Than That, Lucy Ward

I’m not adding this to my official 31 songs. Just consider it as an addendum to song 18 from yesterday. Another from Lucy Ward.

While specifically addressing a British political situation, the general idea behind the song applies in many of our nations.

And a live performance.

For the Dead Men, Lucy Ward

Nick Hornby’s 31 Songs has given me an excuse to add occasional posts about music I like, or have liked.

Lucy Ward is a singer-songwriter from Derby.

This song becomes no. 18 on my list.

And a live version.


Where the Streets Had a Name, Randa Abdel-Fattah

Every political situation has human face: often unseen or unnoticed, expediently pushed aside and ignored. Decisions made by rulers affect voiceless, everyday people who are prevented from determining their own path in life.

In Where the Streets Had a Name,  an elderly character describes this to her granddaughter.


“My life has been all politics,” she whispers as she touches the pile of photographs of my aunts and uncles on her bedside table. “I do not watch the television for politics because it is in every breath I take. It is here in this apartment, in the empty chairs that should hold my children who were forced to scatter around the world. It is here in the mint leaves floating in this cup of tea beside my bed. Mint leaves that should have been picked from the garden bed in my home, not bought from Abo Yusuf’s store. It is in the olives I eat from someone else’s tree and the patch of sky I am told I must not live under”.

This grandmother was made a victim of circumstances beyond her control, when national borders shifted, separating her and her family from their home and land, being moved from refugee camp to small apartments, prevented from returning to her former home by both political and physical barriers.

When a health scare sends her to hospital, her granddaughter, 13 year old Hayaat decides to aid her recovery by collecting a jar full of soil from her home village (now a part of Jerusalem). The seven kilometre journey between Bethlehem and Jerusalem is made into a major expedition, taking several hours in a variety of vehicles, held up by multiple check points, with seemingly pointless delays, dependant on the whim of checkpoint guards. On arrival in Jerusalem before she reaches her intended destination, Hayaat gets inadvertently caught up in a demonstration, bringing her face to face with tragedy from her past.

As a supporter of Israel I tentatively moved through the first few chapters wondering how biased the story would seem – but I started to realise that the fear came out of MY biased expectations and not the story.

I said I’m a supporter of Israel, and I could have qualified that statement by saying I’m not a supporter of everything that Israel does. I think reading this book has shown me the extent that my qualification was probably more of a self-justifying platitude than a reflection of a well-considered stance, because I’d never given much thought to the day to day experience of those affected adversely by unjust Israeli government policy.


I am thirteen years old and I know what blood is. I know what loss is. I know the smell of a corpse. I know the sound of people screaming in terror as they run from a tank. I know the dusty clouds left behind a frenzied bulldozer. The wall will soon be finished. Parts of Bethlehem will be fully deserted. Businesses closed, houses abandoned, streets emptied, schools sliced in half. I’m living in an open-air prison.


Reading this book hasn’t changed my support of Israel.

That support is based on my faith as a Christian and informed by my understanding of land ownership promises made by God to the people of Israel (as recorded in the Bible).

However, the benefits of those promises come with responsibilities of justice that aren’t always upheld by the current nation of Israel. But that ongoing story has some way to go…




Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And peoples shall flow to it.

Many nations shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion the law shall go forth,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

He shall judge between many peoples,
And rebuke strong nations afar off;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.

But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree,
And no one shall make them afraid;
For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.

Micah 4:1-4

But in the meantime, support for Israel should not mean support of oppressive policies and actions directed towards any people living within borders under Israel’s control.

And neither should support of those experiencing injustice under Israel’s government mean holding a hostile attitude towards Israel as a nation and as a people.


Lord of the Rings Meets Donald trump


No Is Not Enough 2, Naomi Klein


No Is Not Enough, Naomi Klein

I’m waiting on the delivery of my copy of this and this morning watched an interview with Klein related to the book.

Click on the link to access the interview.