What’s yours is also mine

smashed window

Why do some people think that what you and I have worked hard for is fair game for them?

Why am I asking you this question and what does it have to do with CWA?

The first question is rhetorical and out of frustration because Emma and the two girls she shares with have had their house broken into twice in one week. Electrical goods, jewellery, spare car keys, money; all the readily, easily exchangeable for drugs, type possessions, plus memorabilia and of all things, joggers! Insurance may cover some of the replacement costs but it does not remove the fear, the sense of violation or the inconvenience, nor will it replace items that are valueless to thieves, but priceless for their irreplaceable nature to the owners.

CWA over the years has often lobbied on law and order issues and the adequacy of the judicial system as well as the appropriateness of penalties imposed; let alone the difficulties for police of actually getting a conviction. Considering the horrendous crimes that have occurred of late, against women and beautiful little children, Emma, Marie and Elle think themselves lucky (so far), but in view of the fact that an elderly man was bashed with a metal pipe for his wallet in the same area today, they are staying vigilant. Might be time for CWA to consider raising these issues again…

Back to the girls plight…police were called both times and fingerprints taken after the first break-in. The second one occurred last Thursday evening, just in time for the Easter long weekend and it is now Tuesday afternoon and no sign of anyone with a fingerprint kit, but then they were also promised regular patrols past the house and have not seen more than one of those either.

The girls are pretty sure they know where the pilferers live, but what to do about it? The police can’t or won’t act without proof. In the past retribution may have occurred but is of course unacceptable in today’s society. Meanwhile they live in limbo; not game to leave their house unattended but frightened to be there alone, with two of their three cars in “hiding” until they can afford the $2,000.00 it will cost each to change over all the keys, barrels and reprogram the computers, whilst they tighten their belts so the budget can include moving into a different neighborhood and try to function normally on a few hours of stressful sleep.

A friend’s blue heeler, on loan for the first few nights has provided some comfort.

Life Goes On

The original Show Kiosk at the Royal Easter Show in 1948

The original Show Kiosk at the Royal Easter Show in 1948

Another interesting and busy week has passed and I hope you enjoyed Annie’s account of her busy life, which would have provided you with more detail on the diversity of the Country Women’s Association of NSW; diverse in activities, representation, membership and geography. The value of the work our members do, both country and city, should not be underestimated, so thank you Annie for sharing your contribution.

Part of my week has been spent speaking to media about the proposed sale of Potts Point which seems to have created a little flurry of interest from members of the public who for some reason think it’s our virgin voyage into buying and selling real estate in Sydney or that the organisation is contemplating retirement. I can assure everyone that the “normal” work of our Association will and is, continuing unabated and at an increasing pace in the lead up to our Annual Conference in May, where the decision will be debated and decided by the delegates present.

DSC_2397As many hands as possible are again on deck in our Tea Rooms at the Royal Easter Show to help raise funds to support the various activities of the Association, without the efforts of hundreds of these deckhands from all over NSW, be it volunteering on site or providing produce for sale, this 67 year tradition would not set sail. And whilst I’m hesitant to put the word scone into a sentence with tea, in a blog space where I keep reminding you that CWA is more than those two things put together, I need to tell you that last year our seriously super scone score topped 40,601 over the 14 days and made an impressive financial contribution to further the work we do. By the end of day 5 this year 14,380 of the delectable little delights had been delivered as per Devonshire requirements, so don’t forget to detour on your day trip for a little downtime and dig in!

The members of the various committees are all at full steam gathering and preparing to display items creatively crafted, beautifully baked, rigorously researched or painstakingly painted by members for the various exhibitions at the Conference to be held in Griffith.

Members of the choir will be warming their vocal chords and practising their pitch, while the organising committee would be just about to the panic stage wondering if everything will come together on time and without incident; I predict local wine sales may well rise in anticipation of, or possibly to avert, the downward shift of THE red button.

At Head Office staff are busily printing programmes, packing boxes, engraving trophies, finalising arrangements with guest speakers, preparing running sheets and checking the laces on their running shoes.

In between honing my media skills I am dealing with the business of a 10,000 member organisation, writing blogs, letters or reports, meeting with whoever is in the diary for the day or fielding questions from Marc, son and family bookkeeper. That’s when I’m not out meeting the members, plucking energy drinks from the hands of unsuspecting children or watering the plants and catching up on the washing and what’s been happening at home.

Life here goes on.

What’s happening in your day?

What would we do without them?

Who? I hear you ask – City Members of the Country Women’s Association of NSW. Who’d have thought!!

Last week I included a short piece from Annie Kiefer, member of our Phillip Group, whose branches are situated in the heart of Sydney. We have branches right across the city and their support has been provided, unstintingly, almost since our inception in 1922.

I asked Annie, as one of many city members, to provide a “snippet” of her CWA involvement and representation; the following is her tale.

Living in Sydney affords me all sorts of opportunities to attend many local events, and all the while spreading the glad tidings of all things CWA of NSW!!

Today I am very excited; I am off to Radio Station 2RPH to do my first “reading”.  I have been chosen as a volunteer to read a variety newspapers over the radio waves. This is a service provided for not only the vision impaired, but for those who cannot read, folks learning English as a second language who follow the newspaper readings as they are read on air, hospital patients, those who are unable to hold a paper or book and it is even a great way of “reading” the newspaper whilst driving!! I am also told I have a great face for Radio!! I have had to learn about controlling not only my breathing, but my mouth muscles (did you know that some people have lip laziness?). Nor did I. I have learned to ululate!! I feel quite confident that I will now be quite at home in the Middle East and Africa, such is my ululating skill. Then there is the control of my saliva. I am NOT to dribble whilst reading!! Thank God they have pointed out the “COUGH” button, which takes me off air when I forget to ululate, get out of breath, sneeze, cough and cannot control my dribble.

Annie Kiefer and Aina at the Australia Day Awards luncheon at Parliament House

Annie Kiefer and Aina at the Australia Day Awards luncheon at Parliament House

Recently I attended an Australia Day Awards luncheon at Parliament House. This is an Annual “Celebrate Being an Australian” event, sponsored by the National Council of Women of NSW where awards are presented to a number of tertiary students to assist them in gaining higher qualifications. The field is wide and varied and the following are a small sample of the wonderful women who received awards. From Laura, whose honours thesis will focus on research into the processes that control the growth & progression of aggressive breast cancers, to Ashley who is studying and working with women, children and youth who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Then there is Venus, about to commence her honours in Visual Communication, who was born in Kabul, home-schooled by her mother because she was forbidden by the Taliban to attend school and whose family fled Pakistan when the threat of a forced marriage loomed. Finally I met Aina, originally from Russia but now a fully-fledged Aussie, whose passion is astronomy and in particular a long held interest of Black Holes in space.

Her Excellency the Honourable Marie Bashir was in attendance, as well as representatives from such women’s groups as Soroptimists, Catholic Women’s League, Australian Federation of Graduate Women, NSW, Zonta International, and the Ukrainian Women’s Association.

Thanking the guest speaker Verity Firth

Thanking the guest speaker Verity Firth

The guest speaker was Verity Firth, CEO of the Public Education Foundation, who gave a very lively and amusing talk on the importance of education and cited examples from her own personal experiences.

I was very lucky indeed to be asked to a belated International Women’s Day get-together. Over 80 women from various Associations, Organisations and Corporations were ferried to Warwick Farm where the local Community Centre had organised a day at which women who live in the area could display their craftwork and cooking skills. Pru Goward, the Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Women, was there to meet and greet everyone. There were about 30 stalls with some beautiful food, free massages and manicures, wonderful entertainment from all the countries represented and a most interesting spectrum of women from all walks of life to speak with.

Coming up for me next are Board Meetings at Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy as well as National Council of Women meetings. Then there is the exciting Women Walk the World Day and to round out the calendar Group President, Patricia Boyer & I have been invited, as Guest Speakers, to talk about the CWA of NSW at The Women’s Club in Sydney. I hope I don’t cough, splutter, ululate, become breathless or dribble. We’ll see!!!