Author Archives: phonakins

Can’t eat resilience – Labor’s Budget had no pleasant surprises

Good morning. Happy Budget Boxing Day, how’s the hangover? There’s not enough water in the world to wash away the fact that people on welfare payments got exactly what was promised and what was expected from Labor’s budget – nothing. A few comments about us being lucky to even be getting the upcoming CPI increases to payments, that cheaper childcare will help somehow, that more free tafe places will help people get into work even though all their other qualifications haven’t. More language about rorts in the NDIS and expected blowouts demonising the wrong people.


For sure, if I was corporate Fiona from this photo I found last night, I’d be benefitting from the promised 6 months paid parental leave (because I still thought I’d be having kids back then). Any promises around childcare were welcomed as she watched speech pathologists and occupational therapists unable to return to work with the long waiting lists in Canberra daycare. She’d be happy with the reduction in maximum PBS medicine costs since she was working and didn’t have a health care card, Her partner had property and she was aspirational. But then, reality took hold and we are where we are now.

I remember getting the small tax cuts back in Howard’s final years. $10 here and there.ย  Working in community services and health, we all lamented that they should keep the money and invest it in health and education, but we dutifully spend it on latte’s at Coolo.

Labor never promised any raises to Centrelink payments, in fact they backtracked from any talk about them from the 2019 election thinking that the voters didn’t like them pormising anything good. They walked them back to we’ll have a review and maybe look at a real raise in 2024. Which is about when they project real wages to start going up in relation to inflation. In the meantime? We get to remember Labor’s greatest complaints about the LNP and how none of them could ever survive on JobSeeker, but there’s literally nothing in the budget for those on payments. Correct me if I’m wrong, PLEASE correct me if I’m wrong!


These photos? They’re from a blogger event in Sydney in 2012. It was for Kleenex Cottonelle and we broke pintrest because we were trying to pin too many things at once. A wonderful greenwashing promo. That was when i was an Aunty blogger, or a food blogger, depending on who was paying for drinks. I’m wearing the last pair of glasses I bought from a shop in Australia, they set me back $700. $200 for the frames, $500 for the lenses, and from then on it was Chinese online glasses all the way.

I dug out these pics because I got a bursary to attend the Black Dog Institute‘s Summit on Self-Harm in Sydney on November 10 as a person with lived experience of self harm and the mental health system. It’s at Doltone House, the same venue as the Contonlle event, I thought it looked familiar when I was planning the early morning train trip down! I’m really really excited! It’s going to be a huge day, with a 7.30am start, so, a snooze on the 4.51am train down and coffee on arrival please and thankyou! If I recall correctly it was well catered, so I hope they still are!

So, now to plan my days around having the spoons for the summit, for taking it in, for networking and holding conversation with some amazing researchers! The program looks great!

But what do I wear???

Lake Macquarie Pride Fair and Break the Poverty Machine Rally Newcatle

SO, that was a HUGE weekend with a lot of planning and build up, lots of talking and posting and having my brain switched on, and now that I’m in recovery mode I’m going to look back at it! This is my boot after ditching the tables and gazebo at the scout hall from pride, but before the rally Monday. It’s chaos like my brain! I’ve now gotten to Wednesday and think I MAY have a virus, but it’s not certain, so I’m just drinking all the water and resting up. RATs are neg so far. I’m probably just peopled-out.

I did touch a lot of people as I was putting on soooo many temporary tattoos heh Only a couple of cleavage ones, unlike ten years ago when I was applying temporary tattoos for the Sex Party (now Reason) at Sexpo in Sydney!

A lovely evening, with perfect weather and a mix of market and community stalls, lotsa freebies and cool things, and a great vibe! Well done Newcastle Pride Inc! Thanks for bringing pride to Lake Mac!

Sunday was a rest day, andย  then I picked up my Twitter friend Aeryn from the station who’d come up from Wollongong for the rally!

Here are some of the experiences of welfare shared by attendees at the Newcastle rally. You can click on the thumbnails to enlarge them.

Why is seeking welfare the same effort as a full time job and it's still not enough to get by #raisetherate

And then the tear-jerker from Andrew who I’d been chatting to outside Centrelink while he was waiting for a friend. He started off with the expected – red meat, social life, coffee, giving up tobacco being a near killer as it got more and more expensive, but then, the story of how he’s been saving for a headstone for his baby boy’s grave since he dies 8 years ago at two days old just hit me hard. I apologised for having to bring it up, but he reassured me it was okay and it was good to tell someone who cared. Every time he comes close there’s the unexpected expense like a huge bill or a fridge breaking down and he just hasn’t gotten there.

The speech from Catherine was powerful, with John Mackenzie also telling it like it is. Mum says we were on NBN news that night, but they haven’t posted that story on socials.

Aeryn and I went for a scenic drive, listening and watching the rally from Adelaide on Twitch and stopping for lunch at gorgeous Nobby’s, at Bruce’s insistence I treat us to lunch somewhere.

And here we are. Check out the #BTPM tag on twitter and other socials for posts from people on Centrelink around the country pleading for a better future this Antipoverty week. There’s way too much talk about what would be nice but nothing tangible being offered, as usual.

Non-Alcoholic drinkies I’ve tried recently

I NEED to get this post done so I’ve cleared the backlog and can have a fresh start for summer, Christmas and party season. And cruising on our little tinny in creek, drinking non-alcoholic mojitos in the sun.

So, pretty much everything I’ve been drinking lately is from, or could be purchased from Sans Drinks. Use my referral code for $5 off your first order. Like this Duchess “Gin” and tonic. An import from South Africa that came in the bonus Spring Sample box from Sans Drinks. It has the botanicals, the quinine and most of the features. A common complaint for me is the sugar substitutes used in most of these – I don’t really care for stevia and other “natural” sweeteners that aren’t just good old sugar, they leave a taste. Even as a diet coke girl, I never liked the artificially sweetened mixers like Smirnoff Blacks – at least they had the vodka as an incentive to drink them, but yeah, gross compared to real sugar drinks.

The reds have been nicer than the whites, but then I’m not so much of a white wine drinker anyway. Some have been a tad sweet for me, but then that’s more my taste inn wine, I want the driest red you can give me. But without alcohol these days.

Been working my way through this Spring selection from Naked Life Spirits cocktails. I think these can also be bought at the end of the soft drink aisle at my local woolies. More and more there when I visit to pick up my Diet Coke. I drank the mojito the other day in the boat from the boys (Bruce and Maxi). I liked it a lot! Nice mint taste! Yumyum. The Classic G&T is also nice, not so keen on the espresso martini – I’ll stick to actual coffee. The pink cans – The Negroni, Sangria and Cosmo all were great, again aside from the hint of artificial sweetener. I’m such a Nutrasweet girl.

This spicy little number I got in the swag bag at the Logitech event I went down to Sydney for. Very much a ginger bite in this Dark and Stormy Yes You Can cocktail. Oh I love ginger. I want more ginger in my life!

These guys were also in the sampler at the top. The Daquiri from Nocktail was SWEET as you’d expected and tasted of pink, and the Ish was interesting and complex and I’m glad I have another in the cupboard ready to chill for next weekend!

Then there’s our yellow sources of caffeine – the new Sprite+ and the V Refresh. I have to say I’m disappointed in the decision from Coke to remove Lift from their range and push this Sprite+, mostly because it’s not a straight swap being caffeinated and all that. It’s not for kids and not for me to have with fish and chips if I’ve had my caffeine for the day, not that it matters too much to me, but will for some. It tastes fine. Not as lemon tho. And the V was nice, but I shouldn’t have poured it, that colour is wrong :p

And I’m relieved to say that the dry white sparklings on offer have been satisfactory so far. Good with the Japanese takeaway or the other nibblies. I can’t really get through the whole bottle myself and without the alcohol there’s no motivation to skull the last drips any more!

Please hit me up with your recommendations and things to steer clear of ahead of summer though! I’m about 20 months without an alcoholic drink as of this week, so yay!

“Happy” World Mental Health Day

Woke up so anxious today and it rapidly build up. Seeing the Happy World Mental Health day platitudes on Facebook and Instagram, contrasting that with the reality facing my loved ones didn’t help at all. I mean this tweet for one:

The discussion on Twitter over the weekend with people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) being denied access to the NDIS because they haven’t access all of the supposed treatments out there that are neither listed nor readily available in either the public OR private systemsย 

It’s the same as trying to access the Disability Support Pension, you need to HAVE money in order to access the treatments and diagnosis that gets you onto the pension, plus you also need to prove you aren’t getting better any time soon.


Oh and we also realised that the Medicare rebated sessions for those that can afford the upfront cost for and get into see psychologists are going back down to ten sessions from the 20 they were at during Covid.

Where am I going with this?

There are SO many basics that need to come into place before people can even think about being mentally well. You have to be able to feed yourself, and not just a daily meal of out of date pasta,ย  you need fresh fruit and vegetables. You need stable accommodation. You need to be safe from violence. You need to be able to treat your PHYSICAL health needs. You need to be able to get into a GP, to be able to either find one that still bulk bills, or to be able to front up the $80+ for that appointment before the $39 rebate. And that’s never a one-off. And the specialists, waiting list and fees if you can even get into one. And meds, even on at healthcare card that’s $6.90 a pop, if it’s on the PBS, otherwise it’s also $80+ without any rebates.

If it feels like an impossible task some days, that’s because it may be.

We need the governments to act, to work together to provide public housing, to raise the rate of all welfare payments to above the poverty line, to allow access to the right payments like DSP, parenting payment, JobSeeker, without so-called mutual obligations that amount to harassment and bullying. That make people less likely to get a job or keep one.

I’m tired and scattered today. I went to a dentist appointment at the public clinic only to be told it had been both made and cancelled on Friday when they called me. SO I’ll work up to it again on the 20th. I think it’s for getting my front fillings redone. I never had dentist anxiety til when I was 20 and they pointed out the enamel damage from a combination of overbrushing and bulimia. Fun. So those of the caps I’m probably getting fixed.

But I’m excited! About the people I’mma gonna meet!

PROTEST: Break the poverty machine | International Day to Eradicate Poverty

Join us this Monday the 17th, in Adelaide or Online or in Newcastle to protest for a better future for welfare recipients. To Break The Poverty Machine!

Lookies ! made pictures for Newcastle! Seeya outside Newcastle Centrelink 11am Monday October 17th!!!

Drafting Blog Posting in my Dreams

I had a wonderful blog post drafted in my dreams, or maybe it was between dreams, last night. Ticking all the boxes, remembering to cover the angles of the topic I was talking about, and not just rushing to a finish and realising after I hit publish that I meant to write all this other stuff too, or I never made my point and which makes me realise my arguments about my point are completely off the wall and probably invalid.ย 

Like reading about the school shortage stats and getting to reprocess my feelings about not working, about not “being a speech pathologist” any more, about whether or not I want to try to get back into it, re-entry can be done up to 15 years, I’m around 8 years since I worked. Lamenting not keeping registration/membership. Wishing thinking, overthinking. Not really wanting to be working like that any more, but then when jobs come around like “Do telehealth with remote autistic teenagers” I go oooh I wish I could give that a try.

I pushed myself too hard this week or so. School holidays, helping out with my niece and nephews, engaging in politics, with planning and organising, actually seeing people in person, attending meetings online. Made it to group this morning and felt like bolting so I decided to ask for help, ask mum to take on the babysitting I’d offered to do so I could come home and zone out.ย 


Self care or something.ย