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Social Inclusion

There has been some rather interesting discussion in the papers in the last few weeks about the notion of “Social Inclusion”. In the recent cabinet reshuffle of the Gillard government, the unfortunate Mark Butler was made Minister for Social Inclusion. At a press conference afterwards the new Minister found great difficulty in explaining what the purpose of his ministry was. In this very short essay, I am going to be impertinent enough to help him out! At least I will point out to him the gross acts of social exclusion I have experienced or are currently suffering.

Firstly for at least ten years I seem to have been excluded from corporate boxes at the football and the cricket. This is a rather appalling situation. I enjoy my cricket and my football and even more I enjoy the hospitality offered at such venues. Even occasionally I enjoyed the company of those hosting me (when they weren’t trying to sell me something or trying to inveigle me to support their favourite “hobby horse”). So I am most put out and I think something should be done about it.

And how about this? On New Year’s Eve I sulkily went to bed at 10:00pm. Where was my invitation to watch the fireworks from Kirabilli House? I was hoping to get an invite. In fact I wanted to go early because I am sure Tim did not have too much to do and I could have done with a haircut. Excluded again, and I can’t think for what reason!

There seems to be myriads of communities that exclude me. I seem to be excluded from the Masons, the indigenous community, the Muslim community, the very big community that seems to enjoy soccer, and the great body of people who seem to enjoy what is egregiously called “popular music”. This social disadvantage should surely be rectified.

And I will never forget how mortified I was when I tried to join the local pigeon fanciers club. “But you don’t have any pigeons,” said the president mystified at my request. “Of course I don’t have any pigeons, “I replied indignantly, “but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate pigeons!” In fact I appreciate most birds and even as I write my office window allows me to look out over my front garden where the birdbath and native shrubs attract a large array of birds. Is a pigeon such a special avian species that you can’t appreciate them without owning, showing or racing them? (Over to you Bill Lawry!)

I also, from some accident of birth, have been excluded from the community of right-handers. I suffer the affront that those, like me, who have been disposed to prefer the use of their left hand, have been called “sinister”. Never mind the fact that I find it difficult to use scissors and tin-snips and when wielding my whipper-snipper I am bespattered with gravel and grass clippings because it is designed for right-handed people.

I am also excluded from two other large communities. The first is those who seem to enjoy reality TV and the second, those that seem to think American sit-coms are funny. I suspect it must be a genetic defect. This has harmed my self-esteem (as you have no doubt noticed) because I am excluded from conversation at many gathering because of this social disadvantage I have.

So there you are, Minister – I have outlined some of the areas of my social exclusion. I believe you should address this on my behalf. But then again, looking at some of those on the list perhaps I might prefer to remain a victim! As people say, “Be careful what you wish for………!”

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  1. 6 Comment(s)

  2.   By Greg Brown on Jan 30, 2012 | Reply

    Gee Ted, I did not realise how badly I had been discriminated against until this blog. I think I am worse off than even yourself. I pretty much fit into every exclusion category as yourself and I can only dream about achieving such successes as would result in some organisation trying to bribe me by inviting me to a corporate box. No hope for caggie handers though, I am afraid you have that one on your own. Believe it or not though (while trying to find out how to spell caggie handed I discovered a scholarship for left handed students in the US. I guess I am excluded from even this.

  3.   By John Newman on Jan 30, 2012 | Reply

    Know how you feel Ted, I too am a pigeon fancier they are great to eat. We are however included in the huge community of the socially excluded, at least I think its huge…Its not just you and Greg and I is it?! I’m also uncertain about including anyone who likes cricket perhaps you should have been honest and not mentioned it.

  4.   By Paul Hodgson on Jan 30, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Ted

    I love your tongue-in-cheek blog on social exclusion. Of course, we all have feelings of social exclusion regularly, sometimes from our own actions and sometimes from the intentional or unintentional actions of others. Timing or circumstance can also conspire to exclude us.

    It does make me reflect on what types of social exclusion we should be concerned about as a country. Obviously we can’t make social inclusion happen all the time. However, we should continue to strive for the elimination of all forms of discrimination. We also need to examine the pathways to social and economic participation and strive to ensure that opportunities exist for people to meet their livelihoods, build friendships and be the best they can be. Easier said than done!

    Thanks again Ted!

  5.   By The Venerable Father Robin on Jan 30, 2012 | Reply

    “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would accept me”

    Groucho

  6.   By tedscott on Jan 31, 2012 | Reply

    Well done Greg – you are well on the way to “victimhood” like me. You will have no trouble finding a place in modern society.

    Good comment John – but you’ve blown it! Obviously anybody not interested in cricket will be included in the list of those I will want to socially exclude!

    Thanks Paul. I just have a concern about the role of the state in resolving this dilemma. Government paternalism, whilst no doubt well-meaning often propels the sufferer into victimhood and provides further stimulus for alienation. My goal would always be to have those unfortunates who experience exclusion to become robust enough to understand that their sense of disadvantage is often aggravated by an inappropriate world view. Instance the unfortunate event on Australia Day. But that is something I should save for a further essay rather than try to address in a few sentences in response to your comment, which I largely agree with.

    And Father Robin, I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would accept you either!

  7.   By Bistro Blinds on Feb 11, 2012 | Reply

    Nice article.

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