My month of July was full of new challenges and new experiences. We all have different ways to unplug from the chaos and live a more balanced, meaningful life. My way to unplug from the chaos is to do non business related activities of course. I would like to share with you three events that helped me keep my mind off teaching and business during the month of July.
1. Liberal Victoria Event – Glady’s Liu’s Fundraising Dinner
I was invited to be the English MC for a Liberal Victoria fundraising event early July. To be honest, I paid the least attention to the study of Australian Politics in high school and for me to be involved with a political event was very overwhelming and exciting for me. Gladys is totally committed to the Northern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne. She is confident, passionate, and determined to win the election this November. I wish her the best of luck!
Supper after the show
2. The High Tea Party
All the models strutting down the catwalk during the high tea seating were Breast Cancer Survivors. The High Tea Party supports the National Breast Cancer Foundation and their goal by the end of 2014 is to raise up to $50,000 at each of the High Tea Parties in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney in 2014.
The largest high tea experience at Hilton on the Park The High Tea Party gift bag is full of goodies. At this half hour fashion styling workshop, I learnt many things about dressing for your body shape. It was like a half hour crash course on fashion basics for the busy career woman. If 80% of your wardrobe is work clothes then 80% of your lingerie should work well with your work clothes.
I had to remove all my BB cream so the make up artist could apply a primer and foundation. Amazingly the primer under the foundation gives a more flawless look. I am not a beauty and make up expert but I do want to learn more about how to create a flawless look with various make up products.
The High Tea Party helped me realise that I never paid attention to the finer details in my work wear, casual wear, make up, skin care, and under garments. This event has inspired me to put more effort into these areas that I have neglected.
3. Q & A – Melbourne Town Hall
I only started watching Q&A last year and was luckily selected to be in the studio audience for the Q &A talk show when they came down to Melbourne on July 21st during the International Aids Conference Week. The program generally features a panel of five public figures, usually including politicians from each of the major federal parties (Labor and Liberal) as well as minor party politicians, media personalities and celebrities, answering questions provided by viewers and the studio audience. The program is broadcast live on ABC TV and online, in front of a studio audience.
On the Panel (July 21st, 2014):
Former High Court Judge Michael Kirby who recently led a UN inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea
Indonesian Health Minister and Chair of The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Nafsiah Mboi
French Nobel Prize winner Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, co-discoverer of HIV
Writer, activist and co-founder of The Institute of Many Nic Holas
Former Liberal Senator and Ambassador in Rome Amanda Vanstone
Topics of discussion:
Ukraine horror – For those attending the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, the tragedy of the Malaysian Airlines plane shot down over Ukraine was intensified by news that conference delegates and leading AIDS experts were among the victims. Details are still sketchy, but evidence points towards pro-Russian separatists using Russian supplied missiles. Should Australia be happy to welcome Vladimir Putin to the G20 meeting in Brisbane in November?
Australian HIV rates up – While most of us thought the Grim Reaper was gone, HIV infection rates in Australia are again on the rise and have now hit a 20 year high. Last year 1235 people were diagnosed with the HIV virus in Australia, with most new cases occurring from unprotected sex between men. Nic Holas was infected with AIDS two years ago, and says the old messages about safe sex are no longer cutting through to young people. Noble Laureate Françoise Barré-Sinoussi warns that complacency has replaced vigilance, and calls for better education in schools and decriminalisation of drug use.
Stigma and discrimination – Despite the remarkable progress in stemming the tide of HIV/AIDS, the global picture is still grim: 35 million people are living with HIV and there were more than two million new infections last year. Former Chief Justice Michael Kirby describes it as a plague that “kills very discriminatingly. In fact, it feeds on discrimination.” Indonesia has a serious epidemic, and Indonesian Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi has had to fight hard to introduce condoms and needle exchange programs despite opposition from elements of the Muslim community. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi says oppression of gay people in countries like Russia, Uganda and Nigeria is fuelling the new infection rates.
Australia’s role in AIDS 2014 – Of today’s 35 million AIDS sufferers, only about one-third receive treatment. And AIDS remains the leading cause of death of women of reproductive age in middle and low income countries. What role should Australia be playing in changing these sobering statistics? Françoise Barré-Sinoussi is convinced a cure can be found for AIDS. Is that where our efforts should be? Former minister Amanda Vanstone was a member of the government’s audit commission that recommended a shake-up of Australia’s foreign aid priorities. How will the Budget cuts to foreign aid affect our capacity to contribute?
Gay slurs – Here in Australia new Coalition Senator James McGrath says people with homophobic views should be allowed to express them. He said their views were wrong but the right to express them was not. In contrast, Labor Senator Penny Wong slammed football commentator Brian Taylor for his anti-gay comments during a match call. What are the experiences of Michael Kirby and Nic Holas?
Marriage equality – Cross-bench Senator David Leyonhjelm says same-sex marriage is a classic libertarian issue, not just an article of faith for the Left. He plans to introduce legislation allowing same-sex marriage. Does Amanda Vanstone think Coalition MPs should have a conscience vote? Nic Holas does not see gay marriage as a priority, and in fact believes the issue has “straightened” the gay community in their bid for mainstream acceptance. Michael Kirby on the other hand once described himself as a second-class citizen because he cannot marry his long-term partner.
Partisan politics – Australia is admired worldwide for our bipartisan political response to AIDS in the 1980s. This week former Labor health minister Neal Blewett and his then Liberal counterpart, Dr Peter Baume, were recognised for their important contributions. Unfortunately both say the bipartisan approach they adopted then would no longer be possible in Australian politics today.
Friends and neighbours – With the official Indonesian Presidential election result due in days, commentators wonder how the Australia-Indonesia relationship will fare under a government led by likely victor Joko Widodo. Does Nafsiah Mboi, the Indonesian Health Minister, think relations will be as close in the future as they have been in under President Yudhoyono?
International outlaws – After leading a year-long inquiry into human-rights abuses in North Korea, former High Court judge Michael Kirby appealed to the UN Security Council to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court for prosecution. Is he optimistic that justice will one day be done, or are rogue states by their very nature beyond the reach of the broad international community?