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Australian politics

Jun 30, 2011

I’m a teenager and the Baillieu government is f*cked

Crikey work experience kid Ruby Krupka writes: Teenagers aren't generally very political people, and I know this because I am one. I like to think I'm worldly,

Crikey work experience kid Ruby Krupka writes: Teenagers aren’t generally very political people, and I know this because I am one. I like to think I’m worldly, but in reality I am incredibly self-absorbed. However, politics have recently started having an impact on my world and I’ve found myself swept up in all things political.

Premier Ted Baillieu is the face of our current Liberal government here in Melbourne, a government I consider to be incredibly controversial. In just six months, Baillieu has introduced a number of reforms to laws that had been left resolute for years. While some of these modifications may indeed be beneficial, the speed at which Baillieu is implementing them is quite alarming.

Shortly after his defeat of the Brumby-led Labor Party, Baillieu pushed to reintroduce the ability for faith-based groups — such as Catholic schools and charity organisations — to be allowed to discriminate against others on the grounds of their religion, gender and sexuality. This is also legal in NSW and WA. Despite attempts by the Opposition and human rights groups to smother Baillieu’s efforts, the bill was passed by the Upper House on June 15.

This law gives religious employers grounds to fire homosexual employees, or refuse to hire people with different spiritual beliefs. Religious schools are permitted to expel openly gay students, or sack a teacher who happens to be a single mother. People who are defended by this bill will face no consequences for their actions, but the victims of this will suffer enough for everyone.

Not that that’s the only change Baillieu has implemented. Previously the law on indecent language — i.e. swearing — in public was that any citizen found to be using indecent or offensive language in a public place would be issued a warning and more serious cases would go through the court system.

Now Victoria Police have permission to issue an on-the-spot fine to any citizen they witness employing indecent language in a public area (although to be fair, it was the Labor government who first ran a trial of on-the-spot swearing fines back in 2008). Inevitably the latest law sparked public outrage, some of which was expressed in the form of a ‘Fuckwalk‘ (inspired by the recent Slutwalks). The fuckwalk was designed to challenge police, as they would be unable to fine citizens in a mass. It also was a way for participants to express the anger they felt over losing part of their freedom of speech. As a 15-year-old today, I can safely say that pretty much everything makes me angry, but I believe that the anger I feel towards the current government is indeed justified.

The on-the-spot fine isn’t just hypothetical. Recently a friend of mine was walking down Swanston St in Melbourne’s CBD, telling a story to her boyfriend. Unbeknownst to her, there were three policemen following in her wake (although I’m not sure that she would have refrained from swearing even if she had known that they were present, because most people I know don’t believe this law can even exist). So, she swore, and the police promptly presented her with a $200 fine and a solemn warning that if she ever swore in public again she would “pay the price”. I’m not sure what “pay the price” means in this context, because you’d assume that the fine she was given already suggested that she would literally ‘pay the price’ for swearing.

This would be a really good time to insert a story about how one of my many young rebellious teen friends was presented with a fine for swearing while being sworn at by a policeman, but unfortunately I don’t have a story like that to tell. Yet. But I have been sworn at by police on many occasions. Not just your everyday petty swearing either, the heavy duty stuff. Meaning stacked behind the words that are being spat at you by the ‘higher power’.

Another one of Baillieu’s initiatives is placing a pair of security officers armed with semi-automatic firearms at all regional train stations from 6pm until the departure of the last train, in a bid to improve public safety. These officers, or ‘armed guards’ as Baillieu calls them, will have extensive search powers, as well as a warrant to remove anyone suspected of loitering as far from the station as they deem necessary. Whether they can ‘arrest’ people is still to be decided by the courts, although it seems they will be allowed to conduct a ‘citizen’s arrest’, while awaiting police backup.

Any person, if suspected of carrying a weapon, tools for vandalism — think felt pens or spray cans for graffiti — or illegal substances, may be searched by these new guards. What does the word ‘suspect’ really mean in this context and in the context of every case that these ‘guards’ will be presented with? Since the law used to state that persons under 15 years of age could not be searched, this is a colossal change to the rights of young Victorians.

It’s not even police who will implement the changes. These guards will only have around eight weeks of training. In comparison, Queensland has security guards ride on 40% of night trains and police backup is available but they do not carry weapons. You can read more about it in this very informative article in The Age by well-known crime writer John Silvester.

I love swearing and graffiti and I don’t like what this government is doing to young people. This may just be because I’m a stupid teenager, but I’m not going to be 15 forever and these laws will affect me for the rest of my life.

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45 thoughts on “I’m a teenager and the Baillieu government is f*cked

  1. David Oberklaid

    Great opinion piece, Ruby. Whilst disparity exists between my viewpoints and yours, your debate points are extraordinarily well argued. I am a 19-year-old, and I was also really interested in politics at your age. Please don’t debase yourself by stating that you’re self-absorbed – all people are – and being a teenager doesn’t preclude you from engaging in political debate or lessen the value of your arguments. I was made to believe that my political views (and my peers’ arguments) weren’t relevant at your age, because of my “limited life experience” etc, which really discouraged me from forming an opinion and getting involved. The youth voice is an important one to be heard, and is underrepresented in parliament. So keep it up! Thank you for highlighting the example with your friend in relation to the anti-swearing laws – it really demonstrates how archaic the law is. It needs to be scrapped.


  2. Bellistner

    Johnfromplanetearth said:

    If you do nothing wrong, act in a responsible manner you will have nothing to worry about, unless you intend to deface the train on the way home with a spray can?

    Or photograph it. Gunzels (Trainspotters) are regularly… discouraged from participating in their hobby (anecdotal evidence. I doubt anyone keeps records of this). I’ve never personally been hassled (just a quiet enquiry once), but that’s not evidence of anything either way.

  3. Barry 09

    Jamesk , can you not spell ? thee , hath thy ??? Buy a dicktonairy Ha Ha king STD john 5th . Way off topic jimmy . Don’t like it when the Fiberals show how bad they are ?
    Soft on crime , except if you swear, FFS have they no ideas ? no policies ? bench warmers.

  4. SBH

    Careful James, the moderator is extremely unhappy with gratuitous references to mental illness.

    Unless your making them of course.

  5. JamesK

    Nice work SBH, dipping (or even tipping) your lid is better than flippin’…..

  6. JamesK


    And then my soul shall wait on thee to heaven,
    As it on earth hath been thy servant still.

    King John Act V, Scene VII

  7. SBH

    Nice work Venice, I dips me lid

  8. Venise Alstergren


    King John Act V, Scene VII

  9. JamesK

    How’s ’bout a little Shakespeare with no bed for depravity?

    “Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners”?

  10. SBH

    [Moderator: this comment has been edited. Please avoid personal jibes]

    you mean like these?

    semi-permanent juveniles also remain stupid and leftist
    Perhaps Muslims should be made to allow homosexuals kiss after prayers in the mosque as an expression for their love of Allah?
    Slipperiness, sliming of opponents , dishonesty, irrational mouth-foaming hatred and a pathological inability to argue their case or provide rational rebuttals to their opponents are the hallmark of the Left
    the loathsome Chomsky
    I’m flushing the scum out right here
    Lazy Matt

  11. Venise Alstergren

    JAMES K: The beginning of wisdom comes with lifting off the veil of religion imposed by ill-meaning adults.

    One of the evils of religion is its desire to be in everyone else’s beds. That, and the relentless negativity perennially pumped out for the stupid.

  12. Shaun Ratcliff


    This sentence sums up your entire article “I love swearing and graffiti”.

    Not everyone agrees with you. This Government sided with that group. Welcome to democracy.

  13. Michael Harvey

    [Moderator: this comment has been edited. Please avoid personal jibes] I rejoice in young freethinking people like Ruby – they see through superstitious hypocrites who try to bludgeon others into accepting their ludicrous beliefs, self-hatred and censorship.

  14. Margaret Buchanan

    Hi Ruby, Enjoyed reading your article from Sydney. A friend told me about some kids getting roughed up at Penrith station by the police last weekend. No one else was asked about their tickets or accused of having drugs on them. They had their tickets and didn’t have any drugs. After the police finally left them alone, one of them pulled out a $5 note and said look we can have a drink while we are in town. The laws you talk about are perfect for harassing young people. If people like me in our work clothes were subject to the same questions there’d probably be a heap of complaints to the police and the local MP about what’s going on. Dare I say that some of the lefty haters here would start calling it a police state. Good on you for speaking up.

  15. JamesK

    If only Peter were Premier, Venise, wisdom might break out across the state…

    I suspect Daniel too is a good Catholic lad.

    As the Good Book says:
    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom

    Psalms 2:11
    Proverbs 1:7
    Proverbs 9:10
    Proverbs 15:33
    Psalm 111:10

    The corollary explains a helluva lot here as well……

  16. Venise Alstergren

    RUBY: So young. So wise!

    Actually I think you are being a bit harsh on Ted Baillieu. His main problem is that A) He’s the most fearful wowser. B) He’s not all that bright. C) He has a God complex, meaning he thinks he’s God and any other thought is too complex. D) He couldn’t get out of the way of his own shadow. E) He is a stalwart member of the most reactionary group in Oz- The Liberal and National Country Party Coalition- Vic division. F) It’s Peter Ryan (NCP Vic division-staunch Catholic) Who’s running the state. G) Ted’s only just learning to really heave into the community as only God’s own leader of the mob that was born to rule can do.

    Everything is only going to get a lot worse for the wretched state of Victoria. I am seriously thinking of going to live in Argentina, and can only suggest that A) You do likewise. Or, B) Go through the agony of standing for politics yourself. Certainly I wish you all the best-no matter what your decision is.

  17. SBH

    wow, censored twice in one day. I say Crikey how do you let some posters -well one really- repeatedly abuse and insult others (and a large section of the rest of the community) and yet take offense at a mild jibe? I mean is there a list of acceptable insults?

  18. Matt Hardin

    @SBH good thing I don’t live in Victoria! 🙂

  19. SBH

    Matt that passage seems to converge somewhat with the new Summary Offences Act

  20. Matt Hardin

    Since you have already rubbished other posters and made asinine requests for cash I assume you are not going to answer my genuine question. It is a pity as I was genuinely curious and thought you may have insight into international law that I don’t. I don’t have hours to go wading through the intriacies of it on the web. In any event, since you seem unwiling to assist someone who asked a polite question and, until prompted, did not even seem motivated by enough comon courtesy to refuse the request (and added insult to injury literally), I guess I will try and find out myself.

    Since you seem to be so supportive of the Catholic Chrurch I will leave you this: Matthew 5:21-22

  21. JamesK

    No, but I’m not going to tell lazy Matt which of his questions the ‘no’ answers……

  22. Matt Hardin

    Are you going tro answer my question, JamesK or just rubbish other posters and make asinine (even if meant facetiuosly) claims for cash?

  23. SBH

    Thanks Ruby, an interesting pespective. From where I sit it seems the government is doing very little but you see a different side. I particularly liked the unusual use of ‘resolute’.

  24. jesse

    @JamesK; we run the risk of derailing the topic but if you’re going to diss Chomsky you can probably do better than to quote Hitchens. You should probably actually quote Chomsky.

    Never mind, I’ll do it for you. Original Chomsky article:
    Hitchens’ response (from which JamesK’s quote comes from):

    I don’t pretend to have an informed opinion on the subject so I am merely passing this on in the interests of full disclosure. Probably worth reading both.

  25. JamesK

    Barry09 is a truther.

    What a surprise.

    I’m flushing the scum out right here on Ruby’s first post commentary…..

    Okay Ruby, it’s no longer 20:80, I now want 50% of of the $20 Sophie offered you for this post.

  26. Barry 09

    The Fiberals are soft on crime and law and order . Just look at the Wild west streets of melbourne . Daily gun fights in the streets , cattle running a muck in the National Parks , whoops ,their Ted’s brother- out-laws cattle trespassing and destroying OUR NATIONAL PARKS.
    Jamesk , look to the Rich and powerful J@ws for 9/11 and the nutbag bush/ Cheney mob. Traces of Thermite in the basement , molten steel heat picked up from US sky dishes . Great demo jobs , all 3 towers (building 7 ) fell on top of themselves.
    I rest my case.

  27. Matt Hardin

    I do not support terrorism. I think that it is good that Osama Bin Laden is dead although I would have rather seen him tried if it were possible (I don’t know enough details there). I am curious though, JamesK, what would the legal differences be between the Abbottabad raid and the kidnap or murder of a US president. I am asking you because you seem to share Christopher Hitchens’ opinion and I doubt he is reading The Stump. If you could include links to support your answer that would be most kind.

  28. JamesK

    I don’t think so Simon Musgrave.

    In fact I assert that you are talking drivel.

    I’m not alone, however.

    Christipher Hitchens recently did a take-down of the loathsome Chomsky, finishing with this summary of Chomsky’s ‘intellectual’ position:

    “In short, we do not know who organized the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, or any other related assaults, though it would be a credulous fool who swallowed the (unsupported) word of Osama Bin Laden that his group was the one responsible. An attempt to kidnap or murder an ex-president of the United States (and presumably, by extension, the sitting one) would be as legally justified as the hit on Abbottabad. And America is an incarnation of the Third Reich that doesn’t even conceal its genocidal methods and aspirations. This is the sum total of what has been learned, by the guru of the left, in the last decade.”

    There is so much more, but it is unnecessary for my purpose here.

    I rest my case

  29. Tobias Ziegler

    Well said, Ruby.

    In among the straw men and misrepresentations, JamesK makes one valid point. At this stage, the Baillieu government seems to be widely regarded as not getting anything significant done. This makes it all the more interesting that they have pursued the agenda Ruby lists. Does it imply that restricting civil liberties and permitting discrimination are the Victorian government’s top priorities?

  30. Simon Musgrave

    @JamesK: The other featiure of leftists like stuartp, Chomsky and Obama is that they don’t actually argue their case but rather attempt to delegitimise their opponents as Alinsky taught them.
    Sorry, James, but this won’t wash in the case of Chomsky. He is a formidable opponent in an argument and his command of details and logic is one of the things which makes the NYT (and plenty of others) rate him as one of the major intellectuals in the world (not forgetting his enormous contributions to philosophy and linguistics).

  31. JamesK

    Soothe your hatred lefties!

    I like Daniel Andrews.

    Particularly when he says:

    “We’ve seen review after review. It’s a Government that’s almost too scared to govern.”

    I fully expect Daniel Andrews to be the next Premier as he is clealy a better leader than Baillieu.

    The only thing that wil prevent it is if the taint of Brumby is still too strong.

  32. FunkyJ

    The way to remove this preposterous anti-swearing law is refuse the fine, then ask the policeman to repeat exactly what you said. Then, in court, launch a counter claim against the policeman.

    Remember, police are not above the law.

  33. JamesK

    I confidently suspect stuartp is a leftist and that he thinks Noam Chomsky is not.

    The leftist New York Times, probably like stuartp, sees Chomsky as “arguably the most important intellectual alive.”

    The other featiure of leftists like stuartp, Chomsky and Obama is that they don’t actually argue their case but rather attempt to delegitimise their opponents as Alinsky taught them.

    Alinsky also taught that them to use language as a weapon, keep redefining terms and to obfuscate their true leftism and leftist intent from the electorate in a democracy.

    Apparently because alisky thought the electorate would not be ready to embrace it.
    And only later would they will see the benefits already enacted and embrace them.

    As Nancy Perosi (for stuartp’s benefit …also a leftist) and the thankfully now ex-Speaker of the US House of Representatives famously said of Obamacare:

    “But we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy”

    Slipperiness, sliming of opponents , dishonesty, irrational mouth-foaming hatred and a pathological inability to argue their case or provide rational rebuttals to their opponents are the hallmark of the Left …….. and of stuartp’s post.

    As I said previously. What a surprise.

    Here’s a sympathetic reference to show no reciprocal hatred for you stuartp:

  34. Zoe Krupka

    This is happening fast and furious Ruby. It’s great to see you’re on it. Great piece and great writing. Love to read more from where this came from.

  35. Barry 09

    jamesk , the bolty boyfriend picking on Kids ?? being a religious nutbag , will you be pulling their pants down and spanking them? Ruby , you will be older enough soon to VOTE out the Rightards at the next election. Don’t get mad , get even . Don’t read jamesk rantings ,unless you want a laugh.

  36. roaldan1000

    Spot on JamesK, Action Man Ballieu has gone straight to the big issues. Stopping kids swearing and putting armed guards at train stations to confiscate permanent markers.

  37. Rich Uncle Skeleton

    One world government is coming Johnfromplanetearth and you can’t stop us.

  38. deccles

    Hey I’m 46 and wear a suit and tie and I like Graffiti and Swearing too. The laneways and factory walls that surround my house are covered in the stuff. Good, Bad & FUGLY.

    The last election was my first time rusted off Labor enough to preference the liberals, the fact that I use to work in the same building as Big Ted – hell (oops I swore) he use to open the door for me and let me exit the lift first. To boot he was a member of my rugby club which made me trust the real estate smile.

    Should have known better. If he had his way I wouldn’t even be able to play at my local rugby club.

    Last state election was my first and last experiment with Liberals. If Ted is ‘moderate’ fuck I’m scared of what would happen with Mr Rabbit.

  39. Justin McLaren

    Ummm. Grow up

  40. william magnusson

    the swearing in public law is just plain stupid, after all, you hear these words on free to air TV on most sunday night movies so whats the diff?? as far as the catholic church goes well they are so wrapped up in their own self importance they seem to forget that jesus championed the people that society rejected ,the people that society didnt want, the people that society hated. actually they believe that jesus is coming back BUT i will tell you now if jesus rocked up on their own doorstep wanting a place to stay the night they would not recognize him and probably tell him to F**K OFF!

  41. stuartp

    Pick the Andrew Bolt forum reader slumming in on Crikey.

    Preposterous prepositions followed up by faux-logical answers, blanket stereo-typical assumptions, loaded and redundant rhetorical questions, plenty of use of the made-up term ‘Leftists’. JamesK, you’re the total package.

    You added nothing but sophistry. Great you could drop by.

  42. Johnfromplanetearth

    Ruby, you will grow out of this far left nonsense soon enough. I did. I love swearing too, but i hate the stain that is graffiti on our streets and buildings. Nothing wrong with armed guards at train stations Ruby if it means getting home safely, have you ever been to Sunshine station at 10 pm on a Saturday night? You might want to arm yourself! If you do nothing wrong, act in a responsible manner you will have nothing to worry about, unless you intend to deface the train on the way home with a spray can? Then you’re in for it. You should curb your anger and perhaps redirect your angst at our inept federal government and the madness that is Green policy under Bob Brown. How would you like a one world Government Ruby? Our vote will count for plenty compared with over 1 billion Inidans and 1.3 billion Chinese! Bailleu has his hands full trying to fix the mess Brumby and his loons left us with after 10 years. Do i need to mention the fiasco that is the desal plant in Victoria that will cost us $billions? (current water storage at 56% and rising) Myki anyone? Racial gang wars in Melbourne’s north? Yeah, as a great Victorian says every summer “It’s all happenning here”

  43. JamesK

    You may be “a stupid teenager” but I don’t think that would be a fair descriptor.

    Sadly though most lefty stupid teenagers remain teenagers for the rest of their life.

    Needless to say such semi-permanent juveniles also remain stupid and leftist.

    I pray that will not be the case with you.

    The very telling and significant criticism of the Baillieu government is almost the exact reverse of your complaint.

    Funny that. I wonder why.

    The principal criticism of the Baillieu government is that it is essentially a do-nothing government.

    Normally of course with a new government reforms along the lines of its election mandate are made in the first year in the cycle and then the government essentially just manages government business and generates policy development for the next parliament whilst allowing their reforms time to be implemented and the fears generated by the opposition to be seen to be hollow in the run up to the next election.

    I repeat the central complaint of Bailieu, and even from Labor now, is that he is a do nothing Premier. He is contrasted negatively with BOF in NSW.

    Also representatives of an expressly Catholic instituition should be reasonaly expected to represent those values. It could not be any other way without the Church abandoning the state which is, I suspect, the true principal aim of leftist/radical secularist (same diff) activists.

    Its interesting here that it is the Catholic Church that is predominantly the target for the vile hatred so typical of leftists. In the USA, it’s Evangelicals.

    Of course Catholic Democrats are a still a force albeit weakening whilst here Catholic Labor has all but been castrated as is Labor representation for the working man.

    Perhaps you should demand of your local Imman that your overtly lesbian girlfriends ( I assume you have such friends) attend their mosque and represent Islam and teach their children?

    Perhaps Muslims should be made to allow homosexuals kiss after prayers in the mosque as an expression for their love of Allah?

    Maybe you could get your artsy lefty mates to place a statue of Mohammad in a jar of urine and get a state government grant for $50,000 for his efforts and have it be displayed in a publically tax funded art gallery?

    No? What a surprise.

    Well Islam has one huge advantage over the Catholic church for the Left.

    It has not contributed greatly to our society and most especially not to atheists, agnostics and people of other faiths.

    Whilst the Catholic church on the other ….. oh never mind.

  44. David Fawcett

    Good work Ruby keep it up.

    If you want to resist you and your friends could use a phone to record a cop going off at you. You’d have to do it on the sly of course but I’m sure you could think of something..

  45. John Donovan

    Great article Ruby. I love swearing and graffiti as well, and I am 47 and wear a suit. Because of that, I suspect I will not be targeted by the police when I visit Victoria, but unfortunately, chances are you will. Not entirely fair, is it?

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