Thursday 3 July 2014

Dad! The Queen Sacked the Prime Minister!

Koala Road was up in arms. Jaws were dropping lower than the red bit of a red bellied black snake. Breasts were ballooning bigger than a Great Frigate bird in mating season - and that was just the women. Neighbours who rarely talk to each other were yapping angrily over fences, arms flailing like Robot in Lost in Space. What was going on? I hadn't seen so much commotion on my long windy bushy trek home down Koala Road since the police were hunting a rapist.

"Excuse me please" I asked a neighbour I didn't know but recognised from years of walking and cycling up and down Koala Road four to six times a day. "Did someone die?"
"I spose you could say that lovey" the woman told me, “I spose you could say that Australia just died".
My stomach churned. Australia died? What does that mean? "What?! What’s happened?" I asked, really worried.
“The Queen sacked the Prime Minister”. She went on to say. “OUR Prime Minister.The Prime Minster of Australia!"
"Can you believe that!” echoed her neighbour. "How dare she!”

I had no idea what this meant but I could tell it wasn't good. A nebulous feeling gathered in my belly. I raced home faster than the day I was being followed by a creepy bloke in a slow driving white Ute and was forced to jump into a neighbours front yard to hide behind their red brick fence.

"Mum! Guess what!" I yelled breathless as I ploughed through the front door. "The Queen sacked the Prime Minister!"
"Dieeed Sheee?" asked Mum in that up sliding tone she used to mean 'It’s not really as exciting and interesting or surprising to me as it is to you, and it’s probably not true, but I'll pretend to be startled’. Even if it was true, she didn't care because she wasn't an Australian citizen and had no intention of becoming one. Mum wanted to live in London, the center of the universe, not in the middle of nowhere, in the Blue Mountains.
"Your father is going to be very upset" she said as she returned to preparing something fatty and swimming in gravy for dinner, Dutch style.

I retreated to my bedroom to do my homework and to tell Dear Dairy something much more important than some Queen sacking a Prime Minister: if that Jason “expects me to go crawling after him hes got another thing coming!"

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Finally I heard Dads new Holden roar into the driveway. I ran out to greet him. He looked pensive, had a newspaper tucked under his arm and was rolling himself a Champion Ruby. 

"Dad! Dad! Guess What? The Queen sacked our Prime Minister!  Everyone is furious."
"Yes I know" said Dad in a very cranky tone.
"It wasn't the Queen exactly Petra", Dad corrected me, 'It was the Attorney General"
"What’s an Attorney General?” I asked.
"John Kerr is his name. He represents the Queen in Australia", Dad advised me.
I don’t get it” I insisted, “So did the Queen tell the 'General' to sack the Prime Minister? Or did he ask her permission or not, or what? What does it even mean anyway Dad? Why is everyone so cut?”

What it means Petra is that we Australians don’t own our own bloody country. Some pompous middle aged bird in England does”, Dad growled. "Remember when you were School Captain?” he continued.
Yeah” I said.
Well it’s a bit like being School Captain, when all of a sudden the Headmaster fires you. But he doesn't tell you himself, he tells your class teacher to fire you. The Attorney General is like the class teacher".

But he can’t do that!” said I, most indignant. "The students elected me by voting for me”. My mind was racing. What about Andrew Curnow, the boys School Captain. Did he get fired too? And if he didn't, why not? Why did I get fired and not Andrew. That’s not fair. I mulled over in my head what I would do if the headmaster fired me from my elected position, I mean, how dare he! Then remembered I hadn't been School Captain for nearly two years and I was in High School now. Could I be fired for being a High School student? I wondered....

"Didn't the Prime Minister get elected by people voting for him too? " I persisted
We don’t vote for Prime Ministers Petra, we vote for a political party and its policies and ideas. Whoever is the leader of the party becomes the Prime Minister." answered Dad in that impatient tone he used when he didn't feel like talking to me right then and there because he wanted to get on with something else, in this case, read the paper to find out what happened to Australia’s Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, today.

"So did you vote for his party too then Dad?" I asked.
"No Petra. I have voted for the Liberal Party all my life" he said, reaching into the fridge for one of his home brewed long necks, flicking off the cap on the side of the kitchen sink. He stomped off to the backyard with the paper in his fist seemingly prepared to swipe anyone with it that got in his way.

Mum was right. He was very upset.

After a while I followed Dad outside to get to the bottom of what had distressed Koala Road so much that it was even on the front page of the newspaper. Dad tried to explain to me that our precious democracy took time to develop and that what just happened threatened to set a dangerous precedent for the future;that we had a Westminster Parliamentary system of government with a Lower House (the House of Representatives), and an Upper House (the Senate); that laws were made in the Lower House but the Senate must pass any legislation initiated by the Lower House if it is to become law; that“the bloody blokes I voted for” were blocking  the Prime Minister's request for money to fund government programs like Medibank; that the Government was going to run out of money because the Coalition wouldn't pass a budget bill that would approve the money; so the Governor General simply fired the Prime Minister as if it was his fault he didn't have any money to pay for anything when it was the Coalition that was refusing to give it to him. It made no sense to me. Why didn't the leader of the Coalition get fired by the Queen I wondered? He was the one who wouldn't give the Prime Minister the money. It flew right over my head just like it flies over my children’s heads when I try to explain the difference between a credit card and a debit card every time they want me to buy them an ice cream on a credit card. Although I did understand that this didn't seem fair, and it didn't seem fair to everyone on Koala Road either. How long was this going to last? Would Koala Road be upset forever? And what exactly did the Queen have to with any of this?

Mum called us in for dinner but I persisted on the matter.

"Dad? What does the Queen do for us?” I wanted to know.” I've never seen her at Springwood High School, or on Koala Road or anywhere even”
"The reason we still have a queen Petra is because we didn't have the guts to get rid of her like the Americans did back in the 18th Century when she was also the Queen of America – THEY had a revolution and became a free Republic." he exhorted as he reached for the first volume of our old looking brand new sepia toned Funck and Wagnells  Encyclopedia ( that I just loved sniffing) to look up the American Revolution, calling out bits of information I needed to know as he scanned the encyclopedic entry: mumble mumble mumble... "1765 Boston Tea Party throw tea chests into Boston River to protest being taxed by England without any representation" .......mumble mumble mumble........ British sends troops to gain control .......mumble mumble........"1775 to 1783 The American Revolutionary War... mumble mumble  mumble...... "All men are created equal. The 1776 Declaration of Independence". As he snapped the encyclopedia shut Dad concluded, "There you go Petra. By 1781, the Americans had booted out the Queen".

At this point Mum chipped in, "I have a queen too you know" she said." Queen Juliana  of the NetherlandsShe is a good Queen."  When I consulted with my mother on the events that fateful November in 1975 to write this post, she added,  “Our Royalty knows when to abdicate to the let the young ones through”. 

So with one parent who loved her Queen and the other who did not, I didn't know what to think of Kings and Queens except their daughters were called Princesses, the stories of my childhood was populated with beautiful Princesses who married Prince Charmings, girls seemed to want to be Princesses and our Mums and Dads called us that too when we were little. I wondered how I would ever become a Princess if the Queen didn't even bother visiting Koala Road with some Princes for me to chose from. I would have to go to where the Princes lived myself it would seem.

Australia in November 1975

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Governor General, Sir John Kerr
This month one greedy fearful reviled little man, strenuously encouraged by an equally ambitious power hungry conservative opposition leader,  did something so unthinkable to protect his own position, income and prestige that it lead to the greatest political, and constitutional crisis and outrage in Australian history. Sir John Kerr, Governor-General, representative of the Queen of England in Australia, removed from office the democratically elected Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, and then appointed the unelected right wing leader of the opposition Liberal Party in his place, Malcolm Fraser, who reigned as an unelected (Caretaker) Prime Minister before a general election was held. Seems like something that only happens in developing nations, but it happened in Australia, and not long ago.  

It is not surprising that my father voted for the Liberal Party all his life given that a conservative government was all Australia knew for a massive 23 years preceding 1972 when on the mood of national change and anti-Vietnam War sentiment, the Australian Labor Party swept them out of power promising to implement what is still the most far reaching social reforms ever presented to the Australian people. In his short three year term, from 1972 to
Gough Whitlam and the 'It's Time' Campaign
1975 Gough Whitlam ended conscription and withdrew Australian troops from Vietnam, implemented equal pay for women, launched an inquiry into education and funded government and non-government schools on a needs basis, abolished tertiary education fees and established the Tertiary Education Assistance Scheme, set up a separate ministry responsible for Aboriginal affairs and supported the idea of land rights, increased pensions, hailed in a universal system of health insurance known as Medibank (Medicare’s Mum), established controls on foreign ownership of Australian resources, passed the Family Law Act, bought in no-fault divorce, passed a series of laws banning racial and sexual discrimination, extended maternity leave and benefits for single mothers, sought to democratise the electoral system by introducing one-vote-one-value, withdrew support for an apartheid South Africa, recognised China, and granted independence to Papua-New Guinea.This was all too much for a conservative Coalition accustomed to ruling Australia for so long and who did not approve. They set out to seize back power using Machiavellian tactics dignified of a Hollywood political thriller.

John Malcolm Frazer
In October 1975 Whitlam passed the government Appropriations Bill (the budget) through the House of Representatives, but the opposition systematically used its majority in the Senate to block passage of the bill putting the government at risk of running out of money to operate. Malcolm Fraser, leader of the Coalition, wanted to be Prime Minister. He expected, amid a global economic downturn bought on by the oil crisis and a few unfortunate, clumsy, and even naive scandals, that if there was a fresh election in the House of Representatives the Coalition would win, so he pressured the Governor General to dismiss Whitlam if he didn't agree to an election. Whitlam on the other hand sought a half-Senate election, himself expecting Labor to win additional seats in the Senate which would enable him to put the Appropriations Bill through.

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Prime Minister Gough Whitlam on Dismissal
The Australian Constitution grants executive powers to the Governor General, as well as reserve powers given to him by the Queen which have rarely been exercised in Australia. The Governor-General should only act upon the advice of the government, but can act independently and against the advice of government in exercising the reserve powers, which is what Kerr did. Kerr had only agreed to become Governor General if he was guaranteed a ten year term, rather than the usual five years; both Whitlam and the opposition leader at the time agreed to give Kerr a ten year term ( Whitlam's first two choices were not available). Kerr felt the battle that was taking place over the Appropriations Bill was putting his position at risk just three years in.  He feared that if Whitlam perceived him as the adversary he turned out to be, Whitlam would procure his dismissal from the Queen, so he needed to "act in stealth" as he put it, and remove Whitlam without warning. It was sack or be sacked.

On November 11,1975, when Whitlam went to ask Kerr to call a half Senate election as Kerr had lead him to believe he would do,  Kerr dismissed Whitlam from office instead. This was the first time in Australian history that a Governor General used his powers to dismiss a Prime Minister. Whitlam's dismissal announcement was barely audible amid the boos and anger of an outraged crowd on the steps at Parliament House. To add insult to injury, Whitlam was treated to the traditional sing-a-long of "God Save the Queen" after which he made his famous declaration to a disbelieving enraged crowd, "Well may we say "God save the Queen", because nothing will save the Governor-General!”

The National Distress at the Sacking
When Whitlam was being sacked he asked Kerr if he had consulted the Palace, to which Kerr replied that he did not need to. The Queen can also dismiss the Governor General if he is behaving badly – which most Australians would have thought he was doing on this day since he did not remove Whitlam from office in the interests of the nation or for something that Whitlam did that was unconscionably wrong: he did it in the interest of himself which is a glaring abuse of power and position. But Queen Elizabeth II of Australia did nothing. Not before hand - apparently waiting for Whitlam to ask her to dismiss the Governor General - and not afterwards when so many thousands and thousands of Australians filled the streets in protest on Dismissal Day, for ensuing weeks and for the next two years during the election campaign. Kerr retired in 1977 not even fulfilling five years in the end; shunned and forced to live in exile in London because in Australia he couldn't appear in public without being confronted by hatred and mass demonstrations. 

Apparently there was another stakeholder at play leading up to the Dismissal. Whitlam was planning to close US military bases in Australia, including the infamous Pine Gap in central Australia. During the crisis, Whitlam alleged that members of the Coalition had close links to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Kerr was himself a member of the conservative CIA funded Association for Cultural Freedom. Former Soviet Spy who worked for a CIA contractor, Christopher Boyce, claimed that the CIA were concerned about Whitlam's intentions over Pine Gap and wanted Whitlam out. Kerr was apparently identified by the CIA as "Our man Kerr". Whitlam later wrote in his memoirs that in 1977, the United States Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher travelled to Australia on behalf of US President Jimmy Carter and promised Whitlam that the US would never again interfere with Australia's democratic processes. 

The Governor General's Proclamation dismissing Gough Whitlam was countersigned by the interloping Malcolm Fraser. Whitlam called November 11, 1975, "Fraser's day of shame—a day that will live in infamy". And so it has. Whitlam never spoke to Kerr again. Even though Malcolm Fraser has been credited with being the source and instigator of Australia's greatest ever crisis, Fraser later joined Whitlam to campaign in support of the 1999 referendum that would have made Australia a republic. Maybe Malcolm Fraser was atoning for his sins against Australia and Australians.....

The World in November 1975

Australia is just one of 16 realms the Queen of England enjoys, all of which are constitutional monarchies (a form of democratic government in which a monarch acts as a nonpolitical head of state within the boundaries of a constitution, whether written or unwritten.) The other constitutional monarchies outside the British Commonwealth are Belgium, Bhutan, Denmark, Japan, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Tonga. Andorra has an Ex Offcio King. Then there are absolute Monarchies ( where the Monarch wields unrestricted political power over the sovereign state and its people. ) These are Brunei, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Swaziland. All Monarchies are heredity except for Cambodia, Lesotho, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Swaziland which is both hereditary and elective, and Malaysia which is Hereditary but heirs take turns. Bahrain has a mixed Monarchy system with the Monarch retaining most of the power. Australia has a King as well as a Queen: King Vincent Jabaan Shreiber of the Gunggandj tribe of the Guru-Gulu clan in Yarrahbah. North Queensland.

While many countries abolished or lost their monarchies through revolutions, legislative reforms, coup d’├ętat, colonialistaion or wars, many more were shedding themselves of a different kind of rule, colonial rule. Decolonisation bought with it opportunistic civil conflict frequently fueled by cold war posturing. In 1947 UN member states prepared a List of Non Self Governing Territories that were under their administration. They urged Administering Powers to ensure protection of land, resources and property rights in the colonies and to provide moral and material assistance to them – sort of the opposite of why countries were colonised in the first place. In 1960, the General Assembly adopted a resolution obliging colonial powers to report annually on the state of their colonies with the "Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples" which affirmed that all remaining non-self-governing territories and trust territories were entitled to self determination and independence. There was flurry of independence in 1960 as a result. Some dependent territories were removed from the List unilaterally (as in the case of many French territories); others by vote of the General Assembly when the Administering State was stubborn or the peoples wishes unclear. As membership to the UN grew, so did the List because the UN also rejected membership applications from countries that tried to pass off their colonised territories as natural extensions of their State. Still on the List today are: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, St Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands, Gibraltar, Pitcairn, all administered by the UK; United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam administered by the United States; New Caledonia administered by France, Tokelau administered by New Zealand; and Western Sahara whose administration by Morocco is not recognised at all by the UN.

Western Sahara: The Biggest, Longest, Highest, and the ‘Most’ of Lots of Things. 

Last month Indonesia covertly invaded east Timor as it sought to become independent. This month at the opposite end of the world, two other countries were secretly plotting an invasion of their own of Western Sahara, one of the most sparsely populated and inhospitable places on earth.  For centuries, Western Sahara has been the 266,000 square kilometer homeland of a distinctive mix of camel trading Bedouin Berber and Maqil Arabian tribes (where women held equal and significant power and rights in the community, as is commonly the case with nomadic peoples). It is bordered by Morocco to the north, a tiny bit of Algeria to the extreme northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
The still unresolved fate of this huge dry land began when Africa was carved up by  Europe and formally shared out among each other at the 1884 Berlin Conference - or the Congo Conference. Western Sahara was given to Spain. Following the 1960 UN decolonisation process, Western Sahara was to be decolonised in 1965, but Spain dragged its feet so by Resolution the UN obliged Spain to hold a referendum on independence which Spain announced it would do in 1975.

The Green March
Meanwhile Morocco, sandwiched between two much larger countries to its East and South East, (Algeria and Mauritania) had been staking territorial claims on West Sahara since 1957 (one year after oil was found in Algeria and neighbouring Libya). Spain privately agreed to hand over Sahara to Morocco and Mauritania which both argued that they had been culturally and territorially cut off from Western Sahara by European colonial powers. King Hassan II of Morocco wanted it all to himself however, so this month on November 6 the King announced he would invade Western Sahara with 350,000 civilians. It was called the Green March – green for Islam, not for how he might have wished the desert to look a bit more like. Although Spain was military amassed on the boarder to shoot the civilians, they didn't because Spain’s Dictator, General Francisco Franco was in no state to entrench Spain in a Colonial African war. He was ill and about to die in a couple of weeks on the 20th of November.

Sahawari Bedouin
Morocco and Mauritania soon enough went to war over the desert, so Algeria, which was hostile to Morocco because Morocco also contested part of western Algeria, waded in. Algeria sided with the 70 -100,000 or so Sahawaris nomads who didn't agree with being owned by Morocco or Mauritania, and who had declared themselves the Sahawari Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Algeria, backed by France which also played with Morocco, provided arms to the  SADR’s military branch, the Polisario Front, and gave them a patch of their own desert in Tindoulf in southern Algeria to govern the SADR in exile. Mauritania withdrew in 1979 under pressure from Morocco, and Morocco took control of Western Sahara, planting it with Moroccans to the point that the Sahawari population is now believed to be a minority. 

Why would anyone apart but the Sahawari nomads which traversed the desert back and forth and back and forth trading camels for centuries, want such a place? Surely it wasn't just because it was called 'Sahara'? THE Sahara of our (my) imagination. The Sahara of proud and mysterious bronzed warriors draped in long flowing garments, hand crafted gem encrusted scimitars tucked into their leather hip belts, their polished blades dazzling on the last rays of a sleeping sun as the horsemen whoosh away on their shiny black Arabian stallions over the glowing embers of desert dunes, their whiter than white robes flying behind them through a descending night sky as a full performance of stars so close you could jar them up, illuminates a pathless path through grains of shifting sand to the nearest date palmed oasis where glistening pools of fresh warm water await in which to luxuriate before entering a colourful Arabian tent where everything sparkles like Aladin's Cave, it's interior festooned with trinkets and ornaments gold and silver, giant cushions beckoning to recline into them as a middle eastern feast is bestowed by seductive voluptuous bejeweled females with jet black hair flowing like rivers as they delicately drop grapes onto expectant lips with one elegant hand, while pouring elixir into ornate golden goblets with the other; their elaborate jewelry tinkling with every move, as the haunting and spiritual music of Africa-Arabia ebbs and flows through curtains of silk and satin into the still desert night.  No! Not that Sahara! King Hassan II already had plenty of this and more (he has a lovely palace).
Yes -there is oil although apparently it isn't economically feasible yet to drill, but that hasn't stopped both Morocco and the Polisario from signing oil exploration agreements with foreign oil companies. However, since Western Sahara is on the UN  List of Non Self Governing Territories and Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara is not recognised by the UN, the international community argue Morocco is violating international law by exploiting the territory's resources, as is anyone who buys those resources off Morocco. 

And there are extensive fisheries which Morocco has developed.

But it is not for either of these quite vital resources, even if they are a plus. Western Sahara has one of the world's largest reserves of  a critical resource - phosphate rock.  Phosphorus is a pillar of all life, required by all living cells. It is the second most common mineral in the body after calcium. We get phosphorous from the food we eat and the food we eat gets it from the soil. Without phosphorous plants cannot grow. Without plants, there is no life - especially no humans. Phosphorous was the centerpiece of the 1940-1960  'Green (agricultural) Revolution' which coincided with a massive global population boom, an explosion of human beings that just keeps on keeping on ( 'Green' is a misnomer for such unsustainable intense agricultural practices). Phosphate was once traded in the form of bones, and from millions of years of accumulate bird guano, excavated from the Pacific Islands of Barnabas and Nauru, which are now mined out.

Now we just strip mine the planet for phosphate rock, grinding it up to turn it into fertiliser. The two other major producers, China and the US, keep their phosphate rock for themselves. They are both close to depleting their own reserves. Morocco is singularly the biggest supplier of phosphate to the rest of the world outside the US and China who will soon want Morocco phosphate too: taking Bou Craa in Western Sahara gave it three quarters of the worlds production of phosphate. Almost eighty percent of the world’s known phosphate rock reserves that are economical to mine is in Western Sahara and Morocco. Morocco looks poised to have some new best friends, which no doubt accounts for their confidence in building empty towns in Western Sahara to ‘welcome’ the Sahawaris back once the Sahawaris realise that living in refugee camps in Algeria is no fun and is likely to last a long time while a world headed towards ecological collapse needs Western Sahara’s phosphate rock. Meanwhile Western Sahara is costing Morocco US $800 million a year in fuel, water, food, infrastructure and so on: one of the largest per-capita aid programs in history for what is thought to be an economically nonviable country otherwise.

"Mahbes". Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - 
Phosphate from the Bou Cra mine is  transported to the western sea port of  El Ayoun on the world’s longest conveyor belt. The Polisario used to vandalise the belt to disrupt shipments but then Morocco built an incredible land mine lined 2,700 kilometer sand wall to keep them out ( the main wall of the Great Wall of China is 3460kms ). The Moroccan Wall, or Berme system, is almost the entire length of Western Sahara. It cuts the Sahawari's off from the mine and the whole coast – except for an ency opening to the sea at Guerguerat at the extreme southern end – which is a giant hike even for Bedouins since there is no water whatsoever from the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria all the way to Guerguerat. 

Phosphate mining is an environmental catastrophe. Phosphate strip mines produce hundreds of million tons of commonly irradiated toxic spoil a year. And they are massive. The world’s largest mine at Four Corners, in a space known as Bone Valley in central Florida, is one giant 58,000 acre now desertified and contaminated canyon. That's an area five times the size of Manhattan totally denuded. Australia turned the Islands of Nauru and Barnabas into moonscapes forcing the entire population of Barnabas to be relocated to Fiji. If you have ever seen the holes that cancer can dig into the human body from the outside, that is what open cut mines look like on the earth’s surface from the air. 

Phosphate rock will run out in around  hundred years it is estimated - earlier than we run out of oil with peak phosphate being reached by 2030. One analyst foresees a coming crash of the earth’s population from a projected 10 billion to no more than 1.5 billion, because we are running out of phosphate fertilizer. There is no substitute for phosphate. We can capture what is lost - 37 million tons of phosphorus that spills into the environment each year, down sewers and off farms into rivers and lakes where it causes eutrophication which suffocates all life in fresh waterways. We can harvest crop residues. We can capture some of the many millions of tons of phosphorus that we excrete from our bodies in urine and feces and turn it into fertilizer - as nature has done ever since nature was born. Reusing the 8.5 billion bones the said analyst expects to perish at the end of phosphate rock may well be a great plot for a Hollywood futuristic film, but then Hollywood does have a habit of predicting the future. 

Diary November 1975

Myself and Jason, the boy I went with last month for two days before dropping him for 'using me', are still dancing around each other and I'm still wondering about Fabrice. Meanwhile Lea keeps giving me bunches of flowers, writing me love letters and reciting poems to me. My 12 year old son thought this made Lea an obvious boyfriend choice "Why don't you just go with HIM. He gives you flowers and writes you poems", he advised me. Trevor continues to be my stalwart protector but I don't really appreciate it. A teacher tells me to "Rack Off".  It's Mufty Day - a day of running commentary on who is wearing what and how good or not they look. I won $6.00 on the Melbourne Cup Sweepstakes - that's a months' worth of pocket money I slave so hard for!  Its THE DANCE, again. Jason, after being with me all night, kisses others girls to which my son exclaimed, "What a little man whore"! It is cold most of the year in the Blue Mountains. Our much awaited summer is coming as we just love to go to our favourite swimming holes in the bush - Delarion which is in my bush, and Jelly Bean Pool which is in someone else's bush. 

Saturday November 1 - Its Halloween - My sister came second as a hippy ghost.

Went to a Halloween night at my old school tonight. It was weird. Most of the night I hung around Robert Quirk, Bradley Cabel, Ian Stanton, Sally, Glenda and Sharon. Bradley and Robert kept trying to put their arms around me. God it was funny. Then he said, "I'm cold" and I said, “You were warm before” and he said, "Will you warm me up?" He kept asking me if I would warm him up - at least seven times. But I sort of ignored it. I didn't know what to say and anyway I'm no match for Tracey. My sister came second as a hippy ghost. We walked home in the dark and I wanted to keep on walking although it was raining. Got some material and pattern to make a dress and top. It's real nice. Mum just finished making  the top except its a bit big around the top so she's got to take it in. Its nice though. Seeya.

Monday November 3 Glen Couchman kissed my hand today cause he hurt it. 

Well we're all friends again. They made up though I still hate Debbie, though I guess its cause I'm jealous cause all Jason's gang like her. Debbie and Chris had a fight but they made up. Jason said Gaday but he wasn't even looking at me. At lunch they were chucking stones at us and Jason kept poking at me. He looked absolutely the best hes ever looked. I found out that Jason only went with me so Chris and Debbie would get together, the b'tard, A-hole. He got what he wanted from Megan at a party. I hate him. I love him. Glen Couchman kissed my hand today cause he hurt it. 

Tuesday November 4 - Melbourne Cup - I won $6,00 in a sweep that Dad put me in!

Played handball with Craig and all them. Lea Salmon came and said, "I know who you've got a crush on. Its Jason. I'm gonna ask him". I was saying I hate him and he's a b'tard and all this, but he must have told him cause when I was talking to Trevor and all them Big Craig said, "Do you want to go to Jason?". I told him what I told Lea. I was in a suite for the Melbourne Cup at School. I got Participator and Chelsea , but Think Big won. And I won $6,00 in a sweep that Dad put me in. Isn't that great!  That's all everybody talked about. As I went past the netball court and tech drawing I waved at everyone. Trevor told me to hit Jason and Jason goes, "What are you going to hit me for” and I said, "I'm not", and he goes, “What have I done?” and I said, “Nothing”. Then he hit hit me on the arm, and asked me how I was and I hit him back and said, “Alright”. I hate Jason but I luv him. Get it. No? Well, Seeya.

Wednesday November 5
Lea picked me some flowers and started rambling on about a tree in poetry

The guys came to Springwood pool instead of Lawsons and Lea was one of them and every ten minutes he’d come up and ask me to go with him. At least ten times he said he loved me. Christ! He asked me why I wasn't going swimming and I said I forgot my costume and he goes "Medical reasons don't permit you", and I went bright red. There was this Nepean guy there. Gees he was nice. I started talking to him ( Michael) and I asked him to tell Hayden to say hello. Hes already going with someone. Worst luck. When Lea saw me talking to him he started to bash him up but I protected him ( tada). Then later I was talking to Mark and Michael ( the new kid at our school). He came up and I told Lea that Mark was my boyfriend. He stated to bash him up too. Then he said that no-one will go with me. He wont let them. Like hell he wont!  There was this kid at school hanging around with him and when we were walking home he said to me, “Shall we take the bush, its got nice long grass and the track is short” and he smiled at me. Gee he’s nice. I mean really nice. Lea picked me some flowers and started rambling on about a tree in poetry. This kid ( from our school) said Gaday  and everybody turned around and started saying Gaday. God it was funny. I'm not so keen on Fabrice now and I don't think he is for me either. Seeya.

Thursday November 6
"Yes we all know how you and Fabrice are...."

How boring. Denton said hello and so did Trevor and Craig. Big woop. Jason's back with Cathy. I'm telling everyone I hate him and it's beginning  to take effect on me. Everyone - especially boys – keep telling me how hairy my legs are. Its not bloody fair. And its bloody embarrassing. Fabrice didn't sit next to me because he was only go to get kicked off. Manzie kept saying, "Yes we all know how you and Fabrice are...." When we aren't. I mean I like him but not a real lot. And I don't think he likes me anymore. Nobody does. One minute I'm popular the next minute I'm not. Debbie found a purse with about two bucks in it and she's keeping it. 

Friday November 7 - “Get stuffed, you little mole".

Today was just as boring as every other day, lately I found out today that Stephen ( that nice kid) is going with someone as it always is. You see a nice kid , he has to be going with someone. Cathy slut was walking with her mole friends, and one of them said, “There's your shadow” and she goes, “ Hello”. I gave her a filthy look and she said, “Get stuffed, you little mole".  Lea asked me AGAIN. Seeya

Saturday November 8 I could feel my heart breaking into thousands of little pieces.

Got up late and missed half of Sound Unlimited but I saw the Sweet singing Fox on the Run” and Garth Porter singing, “Its  a matter of time”. Then I watched Countdown. I vacuumed and cleaned up the lounge room and Glenda came down. It started to pour. Glenda went home. I started to look through my scrap book and somehow I got to think of Jason and the first day I was going with him – on the steps at lunchtime. He seemed happy and I certainly was. Then why?  I was upset. I could feel my heart breaking into thousands of little pieces. Oh well. It's over and done with now. Seeya.

                                                      Video. Garth Porter. Matter of Time

Sunday November 9 - They followed us down to the waterfall. God it gave us a fright.

I did the spinach and then went out and sun-baked. I'm red all over. I'm tired and I've got a spitting headache. And writing in this dim light doesn't help either. Went to Delarion with Cindy, Glenda and Sharon, and went for a swim.  On the way down some bloke asked where there's a swimming place but we didn't answer and they followed us down to the waterfall. God it gave us a fright. Mum and dad are harping at  me about my work and money and all that crap. Its bloody sickening. Christ they make me sick. Why don't they just leave me alone!

Monday November 10 
If you hadn't have dropped me I'd still be going with you,

Jason smiled at me. Trevor said G’day. So did Denton and Craig B. At lunch Jenny gave me a photo to deliberately show Debbie cause it had her and Chris with his arm around her, and she got real cut. Then they went over to Jason's gang.  I didn't think Craig Mason liked me anymore. Jason was walking behind me and he goes, “ Petra do you hate my guts?” and I said, “Not really” and he said, “I don't see why. If you hadn't have dropped me I'd still be going with you, you know”. Like hell he would. The bloody BS artist. What's he taking me for? A bloody fool? 

Tuesday November 11
Why doesn't he ask the whole bloody school the stupid looking playboy

Well today when Debbie tried to tell Chris what Jason told me, he said, “I know hes trying to crack onto her” Ha! But when Debbie started telling me Chris said, “Shut up. I told you that in confidence”. Geoff Maurice who incidentally asked Glenda today, who said yes, put his arm around me. Trevor went up and talked to him and he came back and said, “I just talked to that kid". I said, "What about" and he said, "Just protecting your natural interests. I've got to go and tell Jason"

Later I passed Jason on the way down the steps and he goes, “Don't say hello then”  If he wanted to say hello, he would have said hello. Christ If he expects me to go crawling after him hes got another thing coming! Anyway I told Sharon and she said that Michael had told Dianne Hackenberge to save a treat for Jason so he could ask her. Well there goes nothing. Why doesn't he ask the whole bloody school the stupid looking playboy. Why is it whenever I get someone or almost get someone there's always someone else interrupting or giving me bad news.  Oh well that's life.

Wednesday November 12 I think I like him again. 

I talked to Trevor and all them today. Jason came and said hello and he said Gaday Petra. Then Mitchel raved on about asking Annette and Jason went off his brain about he's not going to ask her and all this. At fifth period he waved and and said hello and later I went down to wash my hands and he was looking at me. He smiled and I smiled but he kept looking and smiling and he bumped into Craig Stratton. Gees it was funny. Then he got sprung nicken off Art and as he was going he said, “Seeya’. I think I like him again. Lea kept asking me to go with him and he kept telling me my pants were falling down. Stephen’s beautiful. He sun-baked next to me. On the way back from the pool Lea picked me all these flowers and was telling me poetry.   Got it was funny. But he wont get the hint. Oh well. Seeya.

Thursday November 13Ha!  Hes in FIRST form

Colin Longard ( Cath Longgard's brother) asked me to go with him today. Ha!  Hes in first form. On the way to scripture I asked Craig if he was still going with Cathy and he wanted to know why and all this stuff. Then Bradley Cabel came at me as if he was going to hit me but he looked at my earrings. Then when I turned around Jason was smiling at me so I smiled back and went up and talked to him. He asked me how I was and I said, "OK I suppose. How are you?" And he said, "OK. No I'm not everything is getting me". I said, "Like what?" and he said, "Cathy" and and I said, " Don't you like her" and he said "I hate her".

Friday November 14 - He did kiss me on the hand and up my arm

At lunch Chris had the shits with Debbie and vice versa and Jason called me over and asked why Debbie had the shits and I said, "If you don't know but now you're a bit stupid" and began to walk away. Jason grabbed my hand and said he didn't know. He started going on about how she should come to Chris and all this because Jason's gang was trying to convince Chris to drop Debbie. I like Jason a real lot now ( again) but as for him.... He kept looking at me today. Colin Langard goes, "Gaday beautiful" and I said, "Gaday gorgeous". Dianne Edge is going with Eddie Beasly who's nice now cause I know him but now he's taking over that gang. Trevor had this coat on him and he tried to get me into it. I found out what Trevor said Geoff.  That Trevor was going to go with me and he was to look after me. Craig Campbell tried to kiss me and he did kiss me on the hand and up my arm. Seeya.

Saturday  November 15 - I am not going to two time

Harry rang Friday night and Saturday and asked me to go with him both times. I told him I was already going with someone and I wasn't going to two time. He said, "I know. Sharpy told me on Wednesday that you were". How could he know I'm going with someone when I'm not? He said, "I heard that you dropped Jason because he was a sex maniac". Then he started going on about how he's bombed on 8 chicks in 4 weeks including me and Cathy Morrison. He kept asking me to come down to his place and to the pool and also to a dance on the 19th of December at Saint Mary’s. I'm supposed to tell him if we're breaking up before then!

Sunday November 16 They didn't even rinse, didn't clear scraps , they didn't even move a thing

Well I worked my guts out yesterday and today for Uncle Paul and Aunty Judy and bloody Mum only gave me a dollar, the miser. I slaved so bloody hard. I'm absolutely dead. Last night Mum and Dad and Uncle Paul and Aunty Judy had a massive meal. Whereas we had a bowl and fork each. And you know they left everything as it was . They didn't even rinse, didn't clear scraps , they didn't even move a thing. You should have seen the mess! Then Mum said, “Why didn't you clear away everything last night”! Would you bloody believe it! Shes got a bloody a hide. I washed and cooked tea and breakfast and lunch and we used just about every utensil on the house.

Monday November 17 Poor Sally,  Gutter was using her just like Jason did to me.

Cathy came over to Jason this morning and he was smiling with her and all this so he must be back with her but I was talking to Sally and she reckons he hates her. And that's what he reckons. Poor Sally,  Gutter was using her just like Jason did to me.  On the second period I met Jason and he said, Gaday Petra and then Gaday Muscles ( Jo) and she said, “You smell” and he goes, "smell of what ha! He walked through E block and back down to D block. He probably wanted to be late for the class.  Trevor asked me to wait for him but I didn't hear so he caught up to me. I talked to him and he asked me to save him some of my meatloaf but he changed his mind. Seeya

Tuesday November 18 - My teacher tell me to "Rack Off"

At lunch Diane and Debbie went up to Jason and sat either side of him. He looked at me as if to say, 'Oh aren't I popular'. I was reading a star sign book and Jason goes, "Gaday Petra". I just looked at him. I wagged English. Not on purpose; oh well sort of. I was walking past the metalwork room and I started to talk to Trevor and by five minutes I had collected a whole stack of guys inside the metal work room. This kid gave me a sugar bowl and then shut the window and said to Trevor, " Look she stole your sugar bowl!". Then Trevor said, “You can have it Petra” and all the boys the made fun of him. Then the same kid jammed my arm in the window.Then I walked past the Tech drawing room and Jason called me over and we talked for about 15 minutes. He asked me if I still liked Trevor and I said as a friend and why, and he said, "hes not going to ask you or anything" and I told him he was sick of me anyway and Jason said he wasn’t , he was only covering up in front of the guys and that he was upset about me dropping him. I said, "I cant go with anyone I don't like" (softly) "not like you can", and he said, "what was that", and I said "nothing", and he said, "no tell me", and I said, "no it will get you cut" and he said, "no its wont" and I said, "it will". His face was only two inches away from mine and his eyes were beautiful. I felt like kissing him. Then Turnbull came in and he told me “rack off”. I said, "That wasn't very nice" and he said, "You were disrupting my class" and all this crap. And when I went back Jason asked what he said and what I said .  Jason's beautiful ( again). Seeya

Wednesday November 19 The water was beautiful

Today Jason called me over and asked me what I was going to tell him yesterday but I kept telling him he'll get cut, but he said he wouldn't so I told him. At first he thought I was a dickhead, and then he said, "Oh I was mad to go with Cathy, I'm not going with her anymore". And I said, "You were mad to go with me", and he said, "You said it, not me”.   At the pool Craig Carter pushed me in the pool so I pulled him in and he pushed me under water and vice verser. God it was funny. Hes nice. The water was beautiful.

Thursday November 20 the wind started blowing my dress up

Craig ( Flea) wants to go with Jo. They were all paying Jo attention but she won't go with him. I went over there and was crouching down. I had a hole in my uniform and my bra was showing and Jason stuck his finger in it. Then the wind started blowing my dress up. When I got up everybody started groaning and going, “whoa”. Glenda said that someone said to Jason, "Go and crack onto Petra" and then they asked if I still liked him. And I said I hate him.  I don't know whether that's good or bad. He hates me I mean really hates me. He saw me from the balcony and D block and he was watching me but he didn't say hi or anything! I had a water fight with all these third form guys and I started having one with Jason but Debbie Grace was there. I hate school.

Friday November 21That's 10 cent cents I got without even asking

Jelly Bean Pool
We had Mufty Day today and I wore my jeans rolled up and my blue and white ( with holes in it) halterneck top. Jason wore jeans and a top like mine with a bare back but he nicked off to Jellybean Pool.  Craig Statten wore these glasses and I went up to him and said, " I love your glasses" and he looked me up and down and said, “That looks pretty good too” Then I said, "Gaday Trevor". And he said, "What are you so happy about" and I said " nothing,  what are you so happy about?" and he said, “I've got a right to be happy” and all this garbage. Then he said "Whats the idea of wearing that top? disgusting". Later Trevor called me over and said, “You look pretty spunky today” and I said “I do?” and he said “yes” and I said, “thanks”. Then I went away and came back with a drink and all of them scabbed off me. Trevor said, "You still look spunky". Shane (later) said, “God your spunky. Then Trevor gave me five cents for me and five cents to buy him something. As I went away. Craig goes, “ See all them little holes” and I said, "I heard that". Then Peter Sheens asked me to buy him an ice block. When I gave it to him he slipped me five cents. That's 10 cent cents I got without even asking. Anyway as I was coming back I heard them all saying "Here she comes". Then Trveor said, “We were wondering if you had a bra on" and said, “Yes you've got a bar on”. Then he told me, “Turn around" and when I did, he said, “I told you” I said "God you’re perverts” He said, “You've got the wrong idea". Like hell I did. They just kept looking at my boobs. God it was embarrassing. Craig Carter whistled at me as he went past. He's nice. 

Saturday November 22 -  took the load of her back or put it on mine

Well Mum started my dress. She hasn't finished it. She only needs to put the frill and the sleeves on.  I hope it works out. I've got my fingers crossed. Sharon and I cut out a pattern for a hankie top and we made it but it turned out no good. Debbie rang and asked me if Jason asked me to see Jaws with him, would I go? – of course I bloody would. But he would never ask me. Chris told Debbie that Debbie Grace wrote a letter to Jason saying how much she liked him so he'll probably ask her to go with him, so that leaves me out of the scene. Glenda was ballen her eyes cause she didn't have a boyfriend and everything was shitting her up. I don't blame her. I have the same problem. I cheered her up a bit and took the load of her back or put it on mine cause it made me think about Jason. Oh well, that's life . Seeya.

Sunday November 23 - The school bully was following us around

Went to the pool today. The water was beautiful.The School Bully was there and her sister and some other kids kept following us around. As they were leaving the School Bully goes, "Hello Petra" and laughs. The stupid slut. This kid - Derek - was there. He was talking to me and being really nice, but then Sandra came and he kept telling me to take a walk. I'm used to that sort of thing. 

Monday November 24 - I
f someone goes and jumps off a cliff you're going to follow him?" 

This girl and Perry had a bitch fight and Perry smashed her face in cause this girl was going with Jason and when he left she went to bed with Craig. So Perry bashed her up. I'm friends with her . I'm friends with Sue and Perry but not with Cathy.Today Mum took me to Farmers to get a pair of shoes in a tiny little shop mind you, and there wasn't a single pair of shoes I liked except for $24.00 pairs. Both Mum and Dad went off their brains at me cause I didn't have pair. God they make me sick. Dad always stirs the argument and goes, "So if someone goes and jumps off a cliff you're going to follow him?" What a deadshit. I wish I was dead.

Tuesday November 25
Jason asked me if I would see Jaws with him!

Guess what! Jason asked me if I would see Jaws with him! I said yes, of course. but Debbie just rang and told me that Jason said, "I shouldn't have asked her, now she'll expect me to ask her to go with me". But Debbie said, " she wouldn't go with you anyway". Good on her. Talked to the gang this morning. And Trevor started going on about trying to work out if I had a bra on or not. God it was embarrassing. Then Craig said, "Petra's got a good one" ( meaning Zodiac sign), and Jason goes, "Oh yeah, lets see". Then at 6th period I was talking to Trevor and Craig goes, "Don't let Jason fool you around". Both Trevor and Jason asked me if I was going to the dance and they both said I'll see you there. When I was talking to Trevor he asked, "Who are you going to dance with?". I said, "Craig Campbell asked me to go " ( Dads taking me, and Glenda and Craig). Craig ( flea) said, " I'd take you except that I'm going on the Geography excursion". At lunch Jason asked me to sit on his lap. I said no and he got cut and I said I wouldn't fit ( with a smile). He smiled back. The wind kept blowing my dress up and everyone kept calling me flasher. Thank goodness Debbie wasn't there.

Wednesday November 26 - The Dance - 
" Can you control your sexual desires"

I'm not even going to talk about what happened today except that Jason hit me on the bum but that's nothing compared to what happened tonight at THE DANCE.  Well when I got there I was very nervous and all that but that soon went. Jason and all the rest of them came - pissed.  Then he started hitting his bum against mine and said, "we're going to do a lot of bumming tonight". Then he asked me to sit on his lap, but I didn't. Anyway the dance started. No-one would dance at first but the band was so FANTASTIC  they had to. I danced with everyone. First of all I danced with our gang but then I went to the third form guys. Jason came up and grabbed me and we danced real close and he kept putting his head on my shoulders. Gees it was great. He had his arms around me and mine around him. He asked me to sit on his lap so I did and we had arms around each other. Then we were right near Curry and Jason kissed me again for ages until we were interrupted by Curry.  who took Jason away.

I was packen it but he was allowed back in again. I asked him what he said and he raved on but later Jason called me over  and I sat down and he put his arm around me and I asked him again what Curry said and he said, "He said that can you control yourself" and Jason said "Yes Sir". Loes said, "Well go back in and dance, and that's all I want to see you doing!","Yes Sir" said Jason.  He gave me a polite piss off - "you can go and dance if you want to". So I went. Then later when I was dancing with him I got a real bad cramp. He kept putting his hand on my stomach, saying, "Are you alright?".

Then "Schools Out " came on and we danced like crazy. Then we sat down again and he had his arm around me and his hand was on the bottom of my boob. Gees I luv him. I danced with Grant Carson ( that was the best except for Jason) . He asked me if I was going with anybody and I said, "No, are you going with anybody?", and he said, "no". I said, "That makes two of us". I danced with Jim Mackensie, Craig Stratten - oh stacks of kids. That's was the best most wonderful dance ever, especially with Jason there. The band was great, the whole night was FANTASTIC! Except that Jason means a lot to me but I mean nothing to him. Why why why is he that way? Oh well I hope I'm allowed to see Jaws. I've just got to go.

                                              Video: Alice Cooper. Schools Out.

Thursday November 27 - "
I'm gonna wait until I'm married"

What a shitted up day. Jason was walking not two inches behind me and he didn't even say hello. Later Chris said that Jason regretted last night. I knew that would happen. In 8th period I went into the art room with Jason, Trevor, Grant and Denton and some other kids. Trevor had the shits with me cause I was with Jason last night and he goes "Is that all you think about" and was raving on. Then later on he came up to me and put his hand on my boob and I hit him. What a bloody hide. Jason goes, "Why didn't you tell me you were here?" Oh Yeah Sir King Shit. Then he asked me for a rubber and textas and he kept going "Please, oh please, go on please", the blasted crawler, and that made me bloody sick but stupid me went and got it. The he came over to me and asked me what was wrong. "Is it something I said or done" and he kept asking me what it was. I turned away and he got real cut and started chucking things cause he was cut . I said, "Now look who's cut", then I stuck my hand in glue and paint by accident. I said, "That was smart wasn't it?" and he said, "I spose so". I said, "Is this glue?" and he said, "No its porridge what do you reckon?" ( that was tough wasn't it!). Then I started talking to him again and he started raving on about taking me on a helicopter around the world. Ha! He said, "I'm not touching. I'm gonna wait until I'm married". I said, "I'll believe that when I see it". He said, "how will you know that?". I said, "I'll follow you around". He doesn't smoke - how about that!  I luv him, but I hate him. I think I'll ring him. No I wont.

Friday November 28 - I'm sick of boys up to my head.

Jason was here today but he knicked off down the pool. Last night this kid rang and said he he luved me and all this crap and that he would buy me a surf board  and take me to Hawaii but he wouldn't tell me who he was and today I found out. He came up to me and said, "did you get a phone call last night?" He kept staring at me. H'es a real creep. He makes me sick every time I see him and he keeps following me around. He gave me this note ( which is in my scrap book) saying that we wont be able to make it and all this. Anyway, then I rung Jason and he gave a polite, "I don't want to talk to you anymore" and I found out that he's back with Debbie Grace. God he makes me sick. Trevor told him off for it too. Debbie said that Chris was only shitting me up when he said that Jason regretted the dance. He probably did anyway. The creep rang again but I told my sister to say I was at the camp. I'm sick of boys up to my head.  They're nothing but trouble makers and they make me sick! 

" Do you want to go and have a baby?". Good one.

Packed for the camp. We were supposed to leave at 5am but we ended up leaving at 7am. We didn't get there till 10.30. I had a terrible nights sleep but at camp I can never sleep good at camp. We went to the beach all day and got real sun-burnt. Met some real nice surfies. I remember some of their names. Steve, Brian, Adrian, Allan, Fred, Sal. I cant remember the others. We were talking to Steve, Adrian, Allen and Adrian kept trying to kiss me all the time and he invited me into his double bed ( he's Irish). Steve was nice. Then we met these other guys ( Brian and the rest) and they called me over. Debbie and Glenda tagged along and Brian whose real, real nice said to me, " Do you want to go and have a baby". Good one. 

He also de-panted himself. What a queer.

Then we went swimming and he kept ducking me under the water all the time. Next day we went to the beach for an hour. I talked to Brian. I was stirring him about going halves in a baby which he asked me to do about 5 times. When we had to go he waved goodbye  to me and I felt like kissing him cause I'll probably never see him again. Gees the guys are nice there. Had to go to church services which was so boring and I got my periods so I cant go swimming. SHIT! The camp was good. I hope I can go back next year. I like Brian a lot. Pity I wont ever see him again. Seeya.

Facebook: November 1975

We had Facebook in 1975, only it looked a little different. It was a hard copy Facebook, which we called "A Paper Conversation". It was held during class time on torn out pages of our schoolbooks, and handed around a select group. The notes were kept in the "Paper Conversation Book". 

Written by Petra Campbell

Twitter: @petraau

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