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As we head towards 2050 and beyond, our society will be faced with many challenges.

Climate change, food security, equality, justice, health and welfare challenges are but a few. Here I share my thoughts and observations about many current and continuing issues. I would be pleased to receive your feedback and I invite you to join me in the conversations.

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Introduction: It is no secret I have a keen interest in politics; locally, nationally and internationally.  For the most part my background is unremarkable, but I will say that from an early age I have been inquisitive and hugely interested in people, democracy and in my (our) environment and the environment.

Where I have found my understanding of issues to be limited or knowledge-gaps needing to be filled, I have sought answers.  Importantly, where a once tightly held view has been influenced by my new learnings, I have freely acknowledged and disclosed my change in view (Medical Cannabis being a case in point).

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“Where is North?”, I asked my cab driver as he assisted me from the car.  I had arrived in the CBD of Melbourne and I felt disorientated by the long shadows and grey buildings as I looked skyward to find the Sun.  The man looked at me, somewhat puzzled and hesitantly he pointed in a very general direction.  I smiled and thanked him.  

I can’t help but think that a similar sense of confusion has fallen over our legislators and policy makers when it comes to Medical Cannabis.  I have just spent three full days at the United in Compassion Medical Cannabis Symposium listening to an array of world class speakers and experts in their field sharing their knowledge, their concerns and their hopes.

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My choice is roses. Yellow roses; many beautiful yellow roses, some in bud and some in full bloom; but all cast adrift on the sea by family and friends.

The timing is uncertain and so it should be; but the place is definite.  This celebration and commemoration must take place in my sanctuary and it must be at sunset.  I am writing about my explicit wishes for a farewell upon my death.

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Picture, if you will, a delicately engraved box; the sort that the matriarch of your family may have tucked away in a drawer containing treasures.

The box is not too big, not too small nor deep in its size.  It has a distinctive look, feel and bouquet.  It looks old and it feels velvety and its smell is that of age but it is not unpleasant but rather it’s familiar and comforting.

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It is my privilege to introduce you to Kate Fulton as my guest blogger. 

Kate is 18 years old and currently completing her South Australian Certificate of Education. Kate is student from Victor Harbor and crafted this essay to complete an expository writing assignment for her year 12 English class. 

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The Cannabis Council of SA has a strong desire to engage with and work alongside all who have a stake in achieving progressive Cannabis and Hemp law reform in South Australia.  

Public conversation is at the centre of this.  

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Introduction: 

The Narungga people have always lived on Yorke Peninsula. Their country extends as far north as Port Broughton and east to the Hummock Ranges. Their neighbours were the Kaurna of the Adelaide Plains and the Nukunu to the North, with whom the Narungga would meet for trade and ceremony. Their expertise at fishing was admired by many of the early European settlers.  

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This evening as the curtain drew to a close on 2015 I sat quietly on my beach.  I paused to look back across the year as I beheld the setting sun.  I also endeavoured to train my vision on what 2016 may bring.

I concluded that the year about to expire presented me with both turbulence and calm.  I wished that there had been a bias towards calm.  I appreciate that calm is both a state of mind and a disposition; and from the perspective of my sanctuary, calm is when the wind is below 5 knots, the sea mirror-like and inviting.  

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It is inherently human to be inquisitive. 

In the event of tragedy striking this trait can be disturbing.  Some individuals may become intrusive in their thirst for knowledge and not even be aware when boundaries are crossed or limits pushed. 

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As I took my seat in the Keith Michell Theatre in Port Pirie to be part of John Pirie Secondary School’s prize presentation evening it felt like it was only yesterday I was sitting down to the presentation of awards for the 2014 cohort of JPSS students.  The year, academic or otherwise has flown.  Throughout the night there was a sense of déjà vu. 

Just before the evening’s proceedings commenced we were asked to please stand to welcome the official party which included His Excellency The Honourable Hieu Van Le AO, the Governor of South Australia and his wife Lan Le. 

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10,000 miles from Paris I walk in the shallows on a white sandy beach, the sun at my back, the breeze on my cheeks and the warm waters of Spencer Gulf lapping at my ankles. 

10,000 miles from Paris small children beachcomb with brightly coloured buckets in hand and giggle as they watch small sea creatures scurry for safety. 

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“I am, you are, we are Australians” are the words Peter FitzSimons, National Chair of the National Committee of the Australian Republican Movement (ARM) opened his address to the National Press Club with in August.   

I attended a gathering of Republicans and likely some who were just curious to learn more, in Adelaide last week.  FitzSimons, the guest speaker, recited those same words and captivated the audience with his grass-roots approach to the important matter of Australia becoming a Republic. 

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I reminisce as I scour through thousands upon thousands of images in my archives.  There are slides, colour negatives, prints and digitised photos stored on hard drives.

As I do, I lament at what it now means to share a moment in time, often caught on a whim on a mobile device or a pocket sized digital camera.

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The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating how institutions like schools, churches, sports clubs and government organisations have responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse. 

The remit of the Royal Commission is to uncover where systems have failed to protect children so it can make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices. 

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What might your eulogy say about you?

The words spoken in honour of a life lived often tell a concise tale of the impression left on loved ones by the deceased. 

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Do you ever doubt your choices or feel regret about a decision?  I am not afraid to admit that I do and I’d challenge anyone who claimed that they always, unreservedly, made the right choice.

For some reason my sense of vulnerability is heightened at the moment. It’s partly about my environment, both physical and emotional; and partly about my choices. From an environmental perspective I can’t ignore the course mankind is taking.  Our leaders, in my opinion, are not making the right decisions about the key elements which sustain life as we know it; air, water and food.  I do live in hope though.

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They sit comfortably as a sea breeze funnels along the verandah and touches their skin.  Chilled glasses of sparkling wine are held delicately in manicured hands.  Three likeminded women are deep in conversation.  The conversation, spontaneous in its evolution, is centred on how fortunate they are to live their mostly contented lives in Australia. 

In their circle of family and friends their children have never had to worry about from where their next meal was to come; or if their water was safe to drink; or if they had shelter from the elements.

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For most parents living in a country like ours, a ‘first-world’ country, from the moment we learn we have conceived or even in the ‘planning’ to conceive, we have hopes and dreams for our unborn child.

When the child is born, be it a male child or female child, the contemplating commences; who does he/she look like, what will their disposition be, what colour eyes will they have and what will he/she be when they ‘grow-up?’

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I, for one, know intimately what it is like to fail in a contest which meant the absolute world to me.  The pain of a failed democratic contest is like no physical pain known, it gnaws at your gut, your soul, your heat and your values.  It eats your very being.  

I have found though, that as the sensation of defeat eases, and it does, it is replaced with an immortal inner strength which welds itself to your frame and reinforces it with fortified traits of integrity and resilience.  The sensation of conquest is eventually replaced with a sense of calm.

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Preface:  At the introduction of my blog site I openly invite readers to join me in the conversations and to comment on my thoughts and opinion pieces.  One reader has taken the challenge and shared his viewpoint.  Here I share the third in a series of blogs by Justin Baxter.  You too may join in the conversation. 

About Justin Baxter:  Justin was born in the mid north of South Australia and moved to the city at a young age.  A member of the local Country Fire Service Brigade and a fulltime Emergency Services Officer in the Gas and Oil industry, Justin has a keen sense of community. Justin understands the worth of community participation.  Justin believes that when we live in the “lucky country” and can exercise our democratic right to vote, without fear and without violence, it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to actively participate in the process and not just think about who we vote in once every 4 years. 

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