Category Archives: Community

Respect is Required

I was fortunate, together with approximately 100 people to be able to attend the first MeToo debate in Coffs Harbour last night. And what a debate it turned out to be.

The four panels presented either for or against the MeToo movement, which basically came into the media spotlight via sexual harassment charges against Hollywood’s movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Sexual harassment and domestic violence have been a subject of discussion here in Australia as well as everywhere in the world for many, many years, especially Middle Eastern Countries.

Last night’s audience upon entering the venue where asked by the volunteers ”do you believe the MeToo movement has gone too far, not far enough or undecided”. For me I said ”undecided” my friend said ”no”.

Early in the evening, the MC read out the results of the survey that the audience had given prior to entering the event and 40% were undecided, 14% said yes and 46% said no. These results were recalculated after the event and 10% were undecided, 74% said no and 16% said yes.

The panelist that had a huge impact on the crowd was a gay gentleman, who had been sexually assaulted at the age of 12 by a 32-year-old female teacher. This had a huge impact on his entire life and he didn’t say anything about the incident until he was 30. During these years from age 12 to 30, he had difficulty with schooling, work, drugs, and alcohol and needed counseling for many years. Although he was nervous telling his story you could hear a pin drop in the audience.

He now assists men who have been sexually assaulted by a man or woman. He quoted in his presentation the statistics within the LGBQI community has the most sexually and violent incidents in the country. This appeared to be a surprise to the audience.

From my observation of the evening, in my opinion, what is apparent with this whole MeToo movement is the lack of ’respect’ for one another, man or woman, nationality and religious beliefs respect is missing and as a nation we need to drive respect throughout our schooling system, workplace and of course our own homes. Respect is a deep admiration for someone or something drawn out by his or her abilities, qualities or achievements. If we don’t have respect for one another our society suffers.

Masquerade Party


IMG_2309From the moment we stepped out of the taxi we were greeted with let’s have a fun party mode. Fire dancers greeted our arrival at Opal Cove Resort, Coffs Harbour followed by the most amazing creations of masks to adorn the guests in the room, some you knew straight away, but others kept their secret alive by wearing rather interesting disguises.

Once inside the venue, our lips touched a cold glass full of champaign or here in Australia bubbly, followed by delicious canapés. This, of course, took away any formality as we wondered around saying hello to the people we had the opportunity of catching and of course a photo or two. How could you not partake in photo opportunities, after all this was the first masquerade party I had ever attended in Coffs Harbour, all thanks to the inventive ideas of our hosts at Joyland Carers Retreat, Korora.

With more than 7000 carers in and around Coffs Harbour and only one facility like Joyland Carers Retreat, who raises funds by holding such events to enable carers to have a few days respite themselves.

The bubbly enjoyed, now time for settling into a night full of surprises and most importantly fun!

It was long before our host got the party started by welcoming everyone, especially the sponsors who donated the most fantastic prizes for the raffles and of course a table of eight carers who were special guests for the evening.

As the surrounding area is Aboriginal Country, Aboriginal Elder Aunty Bea Ballangarry, read out a perfect ‘Welcome to Country Story’ welcoming everyone, especially the carers of the country.

It wasn’t long after this that an incredible icebreaker called ‘pass the parcel’ was actioned. This entertaining event certainly got the competitive spirit pumping, as at the end of several wrappings of paper, someone got the prize, unfortunately, it wasn’t me!

A beautiful two-course meal followed with a special birthday cake for our host Ellen who was celebrating her birthday and all the Arians in the room one of those Arians included me. This was such a wonderful surprise and perfect gesture for all the Arians in the room.

Dinner over lets the dancing begin and wow it certainly began. The musicians were without a doubt the best three-piece band, including the guitarist performing the wonderful array of songs, which we could dance and dance the night away, regardless of how tired we were, there was no way that this terrific music wasn’t going to have our full-on dancing skills tested thoroughly.

My colleague, who was one of the carers, just couldn’t stop her motor running. Such a delight to see her dancing to anything and everything that the musicians pumped out, their repertoire was far-ranging, from nice and slow to the country and of course rock. Some of us nicely dress ladies, including my carer friend, adjourned with their fine shoes and went barefoot dancing, why not when you are having so much fun!





Humbling Experience

I recently had an overwhelming experience through the social inclusive efforts of a company that I represent as a board member by participating in a philanthropic grant funds allocated to a Neighbour Hood Centre in the Mid North Coast, enabling them to purchase equipment suitable for accommodating reclaimed foods for community members who are mainly unemployed people finding it difficult to survive and have food on their tables.

To be part of assisting the community in such a worthy cause is humbling, yet disturbing to see the volume of people, adults, and children that are in a situation where they are needing food relief assistance.

The real heroes are the community volunteer members that need to be celebrated for their tireless work. They give their time and efforts to ensure that every opportunity is ceased to help people in their community. Without these volunteers sourcing opportunities like grants and companies willing to participate by donating grocery items, disadvantaged people in our community would suffer even more.