F.I.R.E., Life Hacks, politics, Uncategorised

Free speech in Australia.

I was having a conversation with the adonis who I train with recently. He was talking about how we have freedom of the press and freedom of speech in Australia, and how that was great.

I was interested in this because I disagree that we currently have those freedoms.

Change is possible

Yes, I’m aware of the irony of sitting in a comfortable Sydney home, on the internet, writing that we don’t have freedom of speech or freedom of the press in Australia.

But you don’t know what I would be writing about if we did have those freedoms.

This week Australia’s High Court made a decision that means that any company in Australia that has an internet presence, is liable for the comments on their social media accounts or website.  

One of the consequences of this is that ordinary people who do try to speak out about the things going wrong in Australia may well be moderated out of the discourse.

Australia updated secrecy laws in 2018, making it illegal to talk about certain things, either in Australia or overseas (if you’re interested, read part 5.6 of the federal Criminal Code (1995)).

This year Australia appointed a High Court judge Justice Simon Steward who stated that freedom of speech and freedom of political communication are not “settled law”.

This is part of a long term trend in Australia to pass laws that punish or criminalize people for having opinions, exposing government wrongdoing, and speaking out in the public interest.

So? What can you do?

Here’s the problems, what are the solutions?

  • Write to your local member, asking for more political freedoms and asking them to uphold your right to political communication and freedom of speech
  • Write a blog post about your thoughts
  • Write something on social media about freedom of speech in Australia, tag your local member, the Attorney General’s Department and the federal parliament
  • Write to the editor of your favourite newspaper
  • Read and share blog posts like this one
  • Participate in public discourse– bring it up at dinner, bring it up at a public forum, talk about what’s going on
  • Start or sign a petition asking for change like this one asking for the right to protest.
  • Start a T-shirt Campaign
  • Make Art about it
  • Write a story about it
  • Express yourself through poetry
  • Make some rocking music
  • Put your thoughts into photos
  • Meditate on healing the world
  • Send good wishes into the lives of other people
  • Connect with people in your community so that we can lift the cohort
  • Get a qualification or do a short course to keep yourself fresh and keep your brain working
  • Meditate on having love in your heart
  • Learn a language
  • Become F.I.R.E so you’re not a slave to a job any more.

It might not think that these will change things politically, but every time you lift yourself out of fatalistic, nihilistic depression, you remind yourself of the truth:

You have power. You have creativity. You can do something. Change is possible.

Remember: Always be kind.

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This blog is fiction. By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching Big Bang Theory for nerds or artists.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

http://www.nuancedtruths.com

https://www.patreon.com/gillspracticalbookkeeping

Life Hacks, politics, Uncategorised

Constructive Ways to Protest

COVID 19 is a real disease. In Florida, which has a comparable population to Australia and no lockdowns, there have been 44 000 deaths attributed to COVID 19.

In Australia, Google reports 1002 deaths.

That means that it could be argued that Australia’s lockdowns have saved 43 000 lives. The ripples of those lives will spread out in our society and instead of causing so many people heart-rending grief, our loved ones will be safe.

All of those people have families. All of those people are part of our community.

We are so lucky

At the same time, the lockdowns worry me.

Deploying troops in civilian communities worries me. Using military leadership to organise a COVID 19 response worries me. These are people who are literally trained to kill, who deliberately joined an organisation knowing that they might be involved in killing people.

Is that really who we want trying to stop frightened teenagers from visiting each other in Western Sydney?

My understanding is that military personnel cannot be held criminally liable if they fail to follow the laws of the state or territory they are deployed in. I’m also aware of the recent war crimes accusations in Afghanistan, where Australian troops seem to have deliberately shot civilians.

Another thing that worries me is governments putting restrictions on freedom of movement, freedom of association, and the freedom we expect as citizens of a democratic country to go about our lives peacefully, privately, and without undue examination of our personal lives. Civil liberties are important.

This is why I think it’s OK to protest the lockdowns. My problem is not with the protest, but with the protester’s methodology.

Many people in Australia feel that our democratic freedoms are being eroded, and I think that it’s important to express political actions and opinions in a safe and calm manner.

Taken at Joe Dispenza 2016

Examples of appropriate protests in this climate:

  • Sign this petition, here
  • Get all your protesting people together, and instead of blockading Central Station, blockade the Harbour Bridge for an hour or two, safe in your car, social distancing, not catching COVID. Note that there is a process in Australia for authorising protests, and I highly recommend you follow this process.
  • Get all your protesting people to make a placard, stand in their local shopping centre wearing a mask for an hour, call the local paper, and take pictures and put them on social media
  • Start a T-Shirt campaign on RedBubble or Café Press
  • Write to a media organisation– your local paper, the TV station you mainly watch, the websites you usually visit and others expressing your opinion.
  • Write to your local member (they Do take public opinion into account)
  • Put a post up on social media about it
  • Make Art about it
  • Read blogs about it and share them.

You have power. Your opinion matters. Try to find a constructive way to express it.

Taken at Joe Dispenza retreat 2018

If you like this work, want to download a prettier version of my new novel, you want to support writers and artists, or have a chance to write yourself, remember to donate to my patreon.

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By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching Big Bang Theory for nerds or artists.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

http://www.nuancedtruths.com

https://www.patreon.com/gillspracticalbookkeeping

Life Hacks, More experienced Investors, New To Finance, Review

On Marshmallows and Will Power

What’s this big fuss about Marshmallows anyway?

In the series of Marshmallow books, Joachim de Posada and his co-writers describe the life of a man called Arthur, who learns the advantages that delayed gratification can give to individuals who are able to develop this skill.

This doesn’t just have applications in corporate life, it also has applications for study, exercise, diet, hobbies, financial life, and can be applied to reduce all addictive behaviours.

Often when I want something, I really want it.

Chocolate.

Coffee.

Shopping.

Fair enough.

But what if I were able to minimise my coffee consumption so I only had one cup per day?

Would that improve my life?

In some ways, certainly: I’d have a lot of personal satisfaction from the fact that I was less addicted to caffeine; I’d have the dopamine-hit gladness that comes with achieving any goal; and I’d be exercising my ‘delayed gratification muscles’.

What about shopping?

What if I were to limit my spending on un-necessary items to $50 per fortnight? What if I were to put the rest of that money into long-term savings or investments? What if I kept doing that for 15, 30, 45 years? Would that make a difference in my life?

You bet your Granma’s sweet red dressing gown it would.

Joachim de Posada describes an experiment that took place in the years leading up to 1990, where researchers at Stanford University put a marshmallow in front of a pre-school age child, told the child that they would give them two marshmallows if they waited 15 minutes, walked out of the room, and left the child to decide whether to eat one marshmallow or wait for two.

The children who were able to wait for two marshmallows did better across a range of indicators 20 years later. They were happier. They did better socially. Their grades were better. They were more successful at work.

It’s interesting.

Delayed gratification is interesting. It’s a muscle you can exercise. It’s a habit you can learn. And most importantly, be gentle with yourself. Just do a tiny bit at a time. One step then the next then the next, but Tiny steps. Be kind.

Comment below what you would change in your life, if you set your mind to it, gently.

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By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching Big Bang Theory for finance nerds.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

http://www.nuancedtruths.com

https://www.patreon.com/gillspracticalbookkeeping

More experienced Investors

What on Earth is an index fund, anyway?

How do I choose which stocks I buy?

That’s the big question on my mind when I’m thinking about investment. Warren Buffet recommends index funds. They beat 99% of mutual funds over a 40 year period (I believe that the only mutual fund that has fairly consistently beat the market over a 40+ year period is Berkshire Hathaway—if I’m wrong, tell me in the comments).

An index fund has low costs (less than 0.5% generally) and tracks the market. Overtime, the market goes up and down, but the long term trend is up. This means that the most important thing is the amount of time an investor has in the market. Noel Whittaker, in “Wealth Made Simple” quotes the figure that $20, 000 invested in an Australian Index ETF in 1980, would be worth around $1 150 000 in 2019.

Think about it this way: if I buy individual stocks, and that stock fails, I lose my money. If I buy index funds and a company fails, the index might drop in price but it will naturally come back when a new company takes its place. This means I am highly unlikely to ever lose everything and historically I will almost certainly make gains.

One potential problem with index funds, is if I only invest in one country’s index and that country has a bad run. So for example, if all my money is in Australian Index ETFs, and the Australian economy tanks, my income and assets will significantly drop. If my money is invested across several country’s index funds and bonds, property etc, and Australia’s economy tanks, I’ve got much less chance of losing lots of money through sequence of return risk.

The biggest Australian index fund is Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF, worth $5 748 Million. BetaShares also has an Australian ASX 200 ETF worth $809 Million. VanEck has an equal weight ASX ETF worth $1 167 Million.

Index funds have some of the lowest fees on the market. Vanguard VAS has a MER of 0.10% per annum. BetaShares has a MER OF 0.07% per annum. VankEck is the highest, with a MER of 0.35% per annum.

The buy-sell spread, or slippage, of all of these ETFs is less than 0.05%, except VanEck which sits at 0.10%. VAS is the most liquid, with approx $17 Million of daily transaction value, VanEck MVW  is the least liquid, with approx $2.5 Million of daily transaction value. Over the last five years, VanEck has had the highest return at 8.98%. Next is Vanguard at 7.33%, and BetaShares has only been around for two years, and thus can’t be included in a five year analysis.

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By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching Big Bang Theory for finance nerds.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

http://www.nuancedtruths.com

https://www.patreon.com/gillspracticalbookkeeping