INSIDE: FACE-BLINDNESS // DEFENCE FORCE & UNI // ABBOTT & THE ABC // AND MORE
VOLUME EIGHTY-TWO, EDITION 2.
4 6 8 10 12
ES PAGE 14
CORRESPONDENCE WHAT’S ON PRESIDENT SPIELS POLITICS VOX POP
INTERVIEW ABBOTT AND THE ABC FEATURED ARTIST SEXUAL EDUCATION DEFENCE AT UNIS BEYONCE AND FEMINISM SCIENCE: FACE-BLINDNESS EDUCATION CUTS OPEN LETTER
17 20 24 27 30 32 34 36 38
COLUMNS CREATIVE WRITING REVIEWS DIVERSIONS ELEANOR’S KITCHEN
40 42 44 46 48
Interwebs: auu.org.au/ondit. Get on it, yo. Dawg. Editors: Sharmonie Cockayne, Daisy Freeburn and Yasmin Martin. Front and back cover artwork by Alex Weiland. Inside back cover by Amanda Li. On Dit is a publication of the Adelaide University Union. On Dit is produced and printed on the traditional country of the Kuarna people of the Adelaide Plains. We recognise and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land. Published 18/3/2014
wise man once told me that there is no nothing. That wise man was my dad, and he told me that last night. He’d come up with this theory that the universe is in fact chocka-block and there is, indeed, no nothing. I could barely begin to comprehend this. I looked at my hand and grabbed a handful of nothing; except perhaps it wasn’t nothing, perhaps it was full to the brim and trying to escape from my cupped hand. But escape into what? Perhaps all around my hand there was no room for it to escape into. Perhaps it was instead soaking into my skin, all this matter, whatever it was, that fills up the whole universe. And what’s beyond the edge of the universe? Well, how can there be an edge if there is no nothing? That freaked me out even more. I felt so inexplicably small. In that moment, I felt the Earth shrink
and my whole life shrink into a miniscule mote of dust floating past the eyes of a giant something. To us, though, that mote of dust is our home. As humans, we all think that our little home is so important. To paraphrase Carl Sagan, every war ever fought, every creature that ever lived and died, every emotion ever felt, all happened on this tiny little dot floating through nothing. Or squeezing through endless everything. But then again, maybe our little planet is important. Maybe it’s floating, or falling, or rushing, through this soup of stardust and dark matter and hydrogen for a reason. Maybe we have to keep going, all of us, every living thing, until the very end, until it’s all perfect. That includes humans. So read this, and maybe it’ll make you feel good, and you’ll keep floating on. Art might make you feel good, and if that’s the case then you should turn to page 24 to soak
up Alex Weiland’s fluid, dreamy artwork. If you like hearing about people doing good things, read an interview on page 17 with Elizabeth Harford-Wright, a neuroscientist from Adelaide University. There are also various political articles if getting riled up makes you happy. But hey, I’m probably completely on the wrong track. The universe is probably just slowly dissolving into chaos. I’m okay with that, though. Less pressure.
Daisy (and yasmin and Sharmonie) At the time of going to print, Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 was still missing somewhere between Kuala Lumpus and Beijing. We hope that by the time this magazine reaches your hands, the airplane and all 239 people on board have been found. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those lost.
By Rowan Roff
Thanks to Caviar Dreams for being beautiful. Dita, for helping us get to NEWS. Jenny, for being so swell and bringing Yasmin chocolate when her ovaries were torturing her. Alex and Cassie, for bringing Sharmonie Salt & Vinegar chips. Jen, for bringing us very very late night coffee and for last minute copy editing. Lisa Raby, for being so kind to us during Oâ€™Week. WOMAD, for being soul-cleansing. Also, unthanks to WOMAD for the distraction.
Dear On Dit,
Dear On Dit,
As students may be aware, in 2014 changes were made to internet and printing quotas for undergraduate students, and data storage in students’ U:\ Drives. Internet quotas were removed entirely, and data storage has also been increased, while student printing quotas have been reduced from $72 per year to $36 per year.
I need to vent. I have to do this. Australia needs to do this.
In late 2013, these changes were presented to the Student Affairs Committee. Last year I was a member of the Student Affairs Committee in my capacity as a student member of University Council. In an email to summer school students dated 19 December 2013, it was stated that the students on the Student Affairs Committee had supported the proposal. This assertion was also made to all management at the university at a management retreat. I want to be very clear that the Student Affairs Committee did NOT support the changes in the form that they have been implemented. The Committee was clear that it in principle supported plans to reduce printing done at the university for both environmental and cost saving reasons. However, the Committee did NOT believe a halving of the printing quota was appropriate before the university had fully implemented and made available the online submission of assignments, and had stopped requiring students to print course notes and readers from lecturers. While in the long term, this new policy will likely result in reduced printing, in the short term all of the pain for the change will hit students financially. This is another unreasonable expense imposed on students in order for the university to save some cash in the short term. It is hard to see the assertions that have been made about the views of the Committee by university management as anything other than wilful distortions of the truth. I would never support further financial burden on already struggling students, as has been implied by the university. Casey Briggs
I am sick of Tony Abbott. I am sick of his “Government”. I am sick of Abbott being the figurehead of Australia whilst misrepresenting Australians. I am sick of his racism, sexism, any-isms. I am sick of his constant lying to Australia - feeding us fear campaigns through his best mate’s News Corporation. I am sick of his campaign to end all things nature in Australia, and I am sick of his constant mistreatment of refugees, the poor, the LGBTIQ community, women, and basically anyone who isn’t a multimillionaire or who works in the mining industry. If you haven’t gotten the picture, I am just sick and tired of all things Tony. These next two and a half years couldn’t go fast enough (oh my word it has only been six months). Respectfully (and acerbically), Blair
We’re indubitably sorry Apologies to three people who went accidentally uncredited in our first edition (oh god, we’re so sorry. Our 3am-layout selves are feeling unbelievably guilty). Alice Bitmead, who wrote and interviewed Scott McPhee on page 17; Kenneth Koh, for his photograph for the Zen Kitchen review on page 44; Madeleine Karutz, who drew a lovely bicycle for our Festival cover on page 27.
read more online 5
head to auu.org.au/ondit for festival reviews, artist interviews & more. follow @onditmag on instagram for exclusive behind-the-scenes photos.
hey there, stranger. On this page you’ll find all of the events, info, strange things people say sometimes, news, bake sales, pub crawls, tarp-surfing competitions and anything else you could possibly want to know about the University of Adelaide. Did we miss anything? Let us know at email@example.com.
What: The Student Co-op When: 10am - 4pm every day this semester Where: Level 4, 230 Nth Tce
What: The Pride Club’s re-launch and start of a new year party! When: 6pm - 8pm, March 21 Where: Tentatively @ Fix lounge
SRC and AUU Board meetings are open for all students. Join On Dit on the guest bench and watch as the pollies get shit done (or not done).
What: 2014 Adelaide Biennal of Australian Art: Dark Heart When: 1 March – 11 May Where: Art gallery of South Australia
SRC meeings are fortnightly; the next is March 31st. AUU Board meetings are held monthly; the next one is March 20th.
pub crawl AUES ‘ScRabble’ Pub Crawl What: A sea of Green lettered shirts worn by players will scatter across the venues of Adelaide to compete in possibly the world’s largest board game. When: March 28th Register: T-shirts are $25 each and will be sold on the Maths Lawns outside Aroma until sold out. 11am-3pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
What: SACE Art Show 2014 When: March 22 – April 30 Where: Light Square Gallery Adelaide
Person 1: “What is this and how do I pronounce it?” Person 2: “....Flenndjay” ~ more on Facebook
What: Adelaide University Law Students’ Society Careers Fair When: 10.30am - 2.30pm, April 1 Where: Bonython Hall Queries: firstname.lastname@example.org
market guide That Dapper Market When: 3pm – 9pm, March 29 Where: 12-19 Park Tce, Bowden Gilles St Market When: 10am – 4pm, the 3rd Sunday of every month, the next being April 6 Where: 91 Gilles St, Adelaide Summer Fridays in the East End When: 5pm – 10pm, March 28 Where: Ebenezer Place, Adelaide Flinders St Markets When: 9am – 3.30pm. every Saturday and Sunday Where: 230 Flinders St, Adelaide Adelaide Night Market When: 4pm – 8pm, March 30 and May 27 Where: North Terrace, Adelaide
NUS education cuts rally
library events Writing the Body: Different Approaches to Illness as Metaphor in Fiction and Poetry. By Heather Taylor Johnson. When: 6pm, April 24 Where: Ira Raymond Exhibition Rm, Barr Smith Lib Bookings: email@example.com A First Place: David Malouf at 80, in conversation with Nicholas Jose. When: 6.30pm, April 10th Where: Bragg Lecture Theatre
free brekky What: Weekly free breakfasts to keep our keen eyed students healthy and happy on campus. When: Every Tuesday (excluding holidays), 8.30am – 10am. Where: The Fix Lounge (next to Unibooks) Brought to you by Student Care and the SRC.
yoga retreat Yoga & Meditation Club Weekend Retreat When: 6.30pm, March 28 - March 30 Where: Largs Bay, SA Cost: $40, including accom, classes & food More info: firstname.lastname@example.org
talk to us. Please. What: Abbott & Pyne Hands Off Our Education National Rally For Education Rights When: 5pm, March 26 Where: Parliament House, Nth Terrace Defend student welfare, scholarships, academic freedom, the SSAF, HECS loans and student unions. Oppose the $2.3 BILLION in cuts!
Email: email@example.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onditmagazine Twitter: @onditmagazine Instagram: @onditmag Snail Mail: On Dit, c/o Adelaide University Union, Level 4 Union House, University of Adelaide, 5005 In Real Life: Pop into our office on the West side of the Barr Smith Lawns. Yep, you’ll have to walk down those gloomy looking stairs. Sorry.
state of the union SAm davis, auu president
If you’ve never worked, and are really lacking the skills needed to work these days, the Employment Service runs regular skills training sessions in things like barista training, basic admin skills, first aid, white card (so you can work at dangerous workplaces legally) and Responsible Service of Alcohol courses. Also, if you are a Union member, you get a $20 discount on any training session. Cha-ching. Or alternatively, the Union provides a volunteering service where you can learn various skills and get involved in something you’re passionate about.
Beer doesn’t grow on trees. Neither does food (well, it does, but who has time to go pick food from trees?). Nor does a place to live, nor textbooks. That probably means you are going to have to get a job whilst studying to support yourself. At the end of the day, working is an important part of university life for many of you. The Union recognises this, and we’re here to help. The Union provides an Employment Service that can help you find some work and help you out with any issues that may arise relating to your employment. The Employment Service can help you look over resumes and cover letters that you’ve written. They can look at your answer to “why do you want this retail/hospitality job?” and significantly improve on your answer of “because I need the cash-cash-money!”. Our Employment Service also finds out who is providing work in the community, and can connect you with employers who are looking for types of work that students do (read: those ungodly hours that no one else will work, but are the only hours that fit around your tutorial times).
So now you have a job – but what do you do if your employer is a total dick who pays you $10 an hour? Get in contact with the Employment Service. The manager there can help you with any issues you’re facing at work. You should also join your relevant trade union, or contact the Young Workers Legal Service, for any legal assistance you may need with your employment. If you need any help with any of the services that the Employment Services provide, you can get in contact with them at 8313 4406, or shoot the Employment Services manager an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Onto some non-Employment Services news now. O’Week went really well. There were some great live acts, and it was just generally a fantastic time for everyone involved. It was great to see so many clubs out enjoying O’Week, and so many people joining up to them. Uni has now started, which means that the Unibar is now open. If you want to get in contact with me about anything, you will probably find me there.
student representative column Lucy Small-Pearce, SRC president
The university sector is facing a worrying future. University administration is struggling to deal with future cuts and ever-decreasing funding, and students are facing weakened and in some cases non-existent student unions following the introduction of Voluntary Student Unionism. We have come a disturbingly long way from the free higher education that many members of parliament received, to the prospect of paying more and more money for lower quality university education. The Abbott and Pyne Coalition government have made it clear that they believe that university should only be available to ‘students of calibre’. From refusing to rule out the privatisation of HECs and the deregulation of university fees, to the change of the Student Start-up Scholarship to a loan, the Coalition government has made it plain that higher education should only be for those who can already afford it. The $2.3 billion cuts that the Coalition government is pushing through will be devastating to the university sector and the students within it. Changing the Start-up Scholarship to a loan that students will have to pay back will further entrench students on welfare in more debt, all for an education that should be giving them financial stability. They will also be ripping out $900 million from university funding which will seriously impact the services available on campus for students including healthcare and doctors, writing and learning help and counselling and disability services. This will also impact teacher-student ratios making it harder for students that are struggling to get the extra help they need as classroom sizes rise and the availability of teaching staff significantly decreases. All up these cuts are estimated to add $1.2 billion to student debt, and other universities have already responded to these cuts with huge retrenchments and job cuts. Under the system that Abbott and Pyne have refused to rule out, low socio-economic status students and students on Youth Allowance will be forced to take on a much higher amount of debt than their wealthier counterparts.
We will see parents taking on more debt to send their children to university or even having to choose between which children to send to university. Without increased funding to universities, students who are the first in their family to go to university will not have adequate student support services available to them and will likely be forced to drop out of university. That is why students the National Union of Students have called for a National Day of Action against the federal cuts to education. On March 26th students will gather around the country, on their campuses and in their cities and towns, to stand up against these cuts that will impact so many students negatively and will change the future of higher education. If you’re a student like me that wouldn’t have been able to afford textbooks without the start-up scholarships or would have to drop out of university if they government ever deregulated university fees, come down to the National Day of Action on March 26th 5pm at the State Parliament House and be seen standing up for higher education.
a fairly current affair ELLIOTT HOSKIN sums up the latest political shenanigans art by daisy freeburn
I was so hoping that I would not have to begin this piece by talking about Scott Morrison, Manus Island or Operation Sovereign Borders (or was that Murders?). But the tragic and avoidable death of 23-year-old Reza Berati, an asylum seeker from Iran has made that impossible. (I am 23. Mr. Berati died whilst attempting to flee persecution to live in Australia at my age. This is really messing with me.) His death was due to a riot, which was caused by a group of enraged locals, but it is unclear to what extent Australian workers at the detention center were involved. Under the guise of ‘operational security’, Mr. Morrison has been able to hide many key details from what occurred on February 20th, including Mr. Berati’s cause of death and where he was when he died. Expect any further facts that come to light to be more damaging to the Australian government’s current asylum seeker policy. Despite previous government’s best efforts, there is amazingly still a company that is not foreign owned operating in Australia. Qantas, the national carrier, has been all over the headlines after an announcement by Prime Minister Tony Abbott that the restrictions on foreign ownership on Qantas were to be lifted, following Qantas’ falling profits and a new proposal of 5000 job cuts. Qantas is already on board with the concept, but the Opposition is firmly against it, fearing that it may lead to Qantas planes being serviced overseas, creating further job losses within Australia. At the first announcements of Qantas’ trouble, the government was quick to attack the previous government’s ‘Carbon Tax’ as the cause for all of Qantas’ woes. However, Qantas released a statement that confirmed that the Carbon Tax had nothing to do with it. The report instead pointed to the high Australian dollar caused by the mining industry as the key factor.
Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, flipped on the issue two days later, saying that the tax was indeed to blame. Is it possible that the CEO of a company not knowing why the company is failing may also be, in part, to blame? Environmentalists all over Australia were shocked last week when Tony Abbott announced that he believed Australia might have too many National Parks, and that forestry industry workers are the ‘ultimate conservationists’. Referring mainly to Tasmanian forests, Mr. Abbott said at a dinner on March 4th that, ‘we have quite enough locked up forests already. In fact, in an important respect, we have too much locked up forest.’ It appears that being either a shark or a tree in Australia is a very dangerous pastime under this government. Western Australian Greens Senator, Scott Ludlam, gave a hugely critical speech in Parliament in the lead up to the senate by-election. The speech had some excellent smack-talking, with Mr. Ludlam inviting Mr. Abbott to WA, but only if he left his ‘incredibly boring three-word slogans at home’. The senator went on to label the Prime Minister as homophobic and racist. Quoting it in this article really doesn’t do it justice; you have to watch it for yourself. At the time of going to print, the SA state election is still upcoming. It’s easy to forget with all the Federal uproar that Australia has a second-tier of government. Polling is showing that it may be Liberal election victory, ending the Labor party’s four terms in control. A dishonourable mention must be given to the Stable Population Party. The placard that says, ‘DEVELOPERS LAUGHING BUT YOU ARE SCREWED’, but replaces the word ‘screwed’ with a picture of a screw and the letter ‘d’, may be the worst piece of political advertising anyone is likely to see. Until next issue - where we may be living in a world governed by new state overlords - adios!
Elliot asks all the questions dads do, makes all the jokes dads do and is shockingly not actually a dad. He is average height for a woman.
THIS IS ADELAIDE STUDENT POLITICS William deacon suffers from FACTION DISTRACTION art by sharmonie cockayne
In Ukraine, the health ministry has estimated that more than 75 people have died since the January protests. In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni has passed a law stating that homosexuals will be charged with the death penalty. And, in the good old true as blue UoA, Union Board Director Rob Katsambis bequeathed the chance to enact Westphalia Sovereignty over the much prestigious lemon slice tray by offering the last piece to President Sam Davis. But really, I don’t need to explain the political subtext encapsulated within that confectionary clash now do I?
turn their ‘FUCK TONY ABBOTT’ t-shirts inside out at O’Week. Need I explain his platform more?
This edition, we have a crash course on the Student Representative Council (SRC), and where they sit ideologically. Have you ever watched the 1994 smash-hit Touched By An Angel? Well, the SRC are, in a sense, a lot like the protagonists of that soap, only without the celestial omnipresence and religious heavy-handedness. The SRC is the activist arm of the Adelaide University Union (AUU). Where the AUU provides student services, student media like On Dit, and runs events like O’Week, the SRC exists to represent the student body. These guys work to advocate for student interests from behind the scenes in diverse roles from Education and Social Justice Officer to even representatives of Queer, Disabled and Mature-Aged students.
The motion ultimately failed, with most SRC members voting against it because, although they agreed with the sentiment, they felt the motion was too broad. There were concerns that blanket support for political expression may mean that the SRC find itself condoning hate speech. There was little discussion on whether or not the SRC condone the ‘FUCK TONY ABBOTT’ t-shirts, though it is safe to assume that at least two councillors (Rural Officer Joel Grieger and General Councillor Fraser Andrews from the Liberal ForU ticket) are somewhat opposed to them.
You avid On Dit collectors may recall that I briefly broke down the student political factions of the AUU board in my last column. The same factions hold seats on the SRC, with IndyGo dominating the council with seven councillors (including President Lucy Small-Pearce). Progress and Activate tie for second with five positions each, For U hold two, and LeftAction hold one. If you read my last column, the only faction you won’t recognise is LeftAction, whose lone seat on the SRC is held by Social Justice Officer Tom Gilchrist. LeftAction represents a left-winged ballot defined by a more social issue-focused platform. Gilchrist is also president of the campus Socialist Alternative Club, who were forced to
The March 2nd SRC meeting was marked by debate about a motion put forward by Gilchrist and Environment Officer, Gabriel Evangelista. The motion was that the SRC supports ‘the right of all students to political expression and activity on campus’, while condemning any attempt to censor students’ freedom of speech. Gilchrist cited the O’Week t-shirt incident as an example of the suppression of political expression.
With the left block (IndyGo, Activate and LeftAction) holding 13 of the 20 currently filled positions, it is clear that there is quite a strong ideologically left presence within the SRC and, to a further extent, within the university political structure itself. Some consider this representative of the student population, because the words ‘conservative’ and ‘youth’ do not typically associate with each other. If you look at the amount of ‘socially supported youth’ through the establishment HECS and Youth Allowance, you can expect that many do not want to, in a sense, bite the hand that feeds them. Though if you are one of many who bought a ‘Not A Dirty Lefty’ cupcake from the Liberal Stall at O-Week (and no I’m not being hyperbolous for once in my life) then the only way to fix this dichotomy is to VOTE!
William Deacon is a third year international politics student. As a self-proclaimed wanker, you’d think he’d take his role seriously. You’d be wrong.
hermione // 5th year
Twinkle Starlight // 1st year arts
1. She Blinded Me With Science!
1. Smile, by Pinkie Pie.
1. Sail away, Enya.
2. Pet unicorn. They’re beautiful magical creatures.
2. Pet unicorn.
2. Pet unicorn.
3. Into The West.
3. Fleur – it’s a beautiful French name.
3. Draco. 4. Muggle Berry.
4. Magic Rainbow Flavour. Sweet berries with a ginger twist.
5. Of course!
5. Why not?
6. African or European? Let me check in a few (20) books and get back to you.
6. African or European?
Fleur Delacour // 7th year
4. ‘Viva la France’ – Cranberry and bitter lemon. 5. Yes. Love is love no matter who it is between. 6. European or African?
On Dit popped these students’ voxes, O’Week style: 1. If you were a song, what song would you be? 2. What would you rather: a pet unicorn or your Dad be Obama? 3. What should Kim and Kanye name their next child? 4. Invent a new cordial flavour right now. 5. Do you think gay sex should be taught in sex-ed? 6. What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
dalek // 51st year pest control & management
mario // 29th year plumbing degree
jay weatherill // premier
1. Build Me Up Buttercup.
1. WIG WAG. White Guy With Acoustic Guitar.
1. I’d like to say We Are The Champions, but we’ll have to wait ‘till the 15th of March.
2. Pet unicorn. Daleks love unicorns. 3. Daleks have no opinions about Kimye.
2. My pet is a dinosaur, but I’m an orphan, so Barack all the way.
2. Barack Obama, absolutely.
3. South East, I s’pose.
4. Mutant Clam.
4. Yoshi Egg – Ginger and lime.
5. Daleks know only cloning mutants. Which may be gay.
5. Why not?
BONUS QUESTION posed by Eddie Satchell, student radio presenter on ‘Left, Right and Centre’.
6. African or European?
6. Depends on how hard I throw it.
ES: What are the most important issues in this state election? JW: Continuing to maintain the momentum to build our beautiful city and state, I mean we’ve got so many exciting things happening, especially in the middle of the city. There’s actually a real vibe here now where we’ve created a whole new active street life in the city: bar culture, live music and so on, and it’s started to spread around the state, and we’ve got to maintain that momentum.
THE CFS AND THE EXPLOITATION OF RURAL AUSTRALIA words by a. dickson art by daisy freeburn
’m sitting in the shed of my local Country Fire Service (CFS) brigade after the depressingly familiar drill of dropping whatever I am doing/ getting out of bed and racing off to tidy up a branch off the road, only to get there and find it surrounded by half a dozen fire trucks with lights flashing as if it were a small thermonuclear weapon. As I sit calculating the financial pain that the inconsiderate lump of cellulose has inflicted upon me, or the plethora of more pleasant things I could be doing (like sleeping) I look about and see the same expression on most of the faces about me. This isn’t new or surprising, but merely the emotional manifestation of the increasing levels of bureaucratic abuse inflicted upon the CFS and its volunteers. But is this exploitation of the same men and women that newspapers hold up as heroes indicative of a more inherent problem with our increasingly urbanised country?
There has been mention in the media recently about a significant increase in the price of food and the consequent economic and social implications.
The 40 per cent rise in food prices may be real (it hasn’t been clear whether that is raw data or adjusted for inflation and increases in real family incomes) and it may be in part the result of increased corporate power, but the real reason is the recent unravelling of the web of subsidies that have priced food at unrealistic levels for many years. The Europeans, and to a lesser extent the North Americans, have kept food prices down by a formal system of subsidies that is paid for by the taxpayer. The Europeans do this because they understand the importance of maintaining a viable rural population, for reasons of food security and broad environmental and demographic imperatives. The policy factors in the US are complicated by the extent to which corporatisation of agriculture has corrupted the political process. Detailed understanding of this continues to elude me. In Australia, we have been more ideologically committed to the strictures of market economics and have abandoned formal agricultural subsidies. (It seems that subsidising Australian farmers is perceived as bad economic policy, but subsidising multinational corporations
is good policy; understanding of this also continues to elude me.) However, our primary production continues to be heavily subsidised, essentially from two sources: the first is the natural environment; the second is the financial and physical health of farming families and the communities to which they are symbiotically bound. Ultimately however, our cut-price consumer society is subsidised by the future. This is because removing less tangible liabilities from the balance sheet, to later become someone else’s problem, is not fiscally rewarding in the long run. Ecologically, as well as economically, we have been living beyond our means for a long time. The Global Financial Crisis provides an elegant metaphor for the way our economic system cherry picks its costing of our rampant consumerism. It gives increasingly literal clarity to the concept of toxic debt. Although uncosted environmental damage has contributed to the low price of commodities as a result of unsustainable agricultural practices, it is also true that the environment benefits from the unpaid labour of farmers, through their maintenance of our vast hinterlands.
feature Regional Australia subsidises urban consumers in ways other than by providing cheap food and unpaid environmental management. Civil defence is another good example. As fire and flood become an evergreater threat to our rural infrastructure, natural heritage, urban fringes and associated human populations, an increasing burden of responsibility and risk is being undertaken by an ageing Dads Army of civil defence volunteers. They are ageing because these volunteers are drawn disproportionately from a rural population that is steadily haemorrhaging its young people such as myself, enticed into an easier life. When, after a summer of farm work, I find myself calculating how many tonnes of timber I had to move by hand to earn a burger, the prospect of even $20 an hour for standing behind a counter can seem pretty attractive. That people who would just as easily fit in at the local bowls club must continue to risk their lives
in the defence of their homes and communities may appear to be unfortunate but inevitable. However, the reality is actually scandalous. This is because in the event of a major fire, the strategic plan is to deploy brigades like ours to defend nearby population centres; in our case, a coastal tourist town. The logic is compelling: deploy your resources to defend the greatest concentration of assets. The dispersed homes and livelihoods and even families of the rural volunteers are of less value. This logic is however now becoming muddied. In the wake of the Victorian bush fire disaster, at least one insurance company has ceased to write policies in rural areas. This may well become a trend over the next few years, and will undoubtedly accelerate if we have another bad fire season, which seems inevitable. So, at some point in the near future it is conceivable that our brigade may be asked to leave our uninsured homes to burn, in order
that the insured property of the townsfolk is protected. How does that logic look now? Not great for the town when decisions of self-preservation inevitably take effect.
And with every injury, it seems, comes a free insult. In cities and large towns in South Australia, structure fires are dealt with by the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS), while rural fires are dealt with by the CFS. The MFS is staffed by a mixture of professionals and paid â€œvolunteersâ€?. The latter are part-time/on call personnel who are paid for the time spent training or on deployment. In smaller towns, structure fires are dealt with by the CFS. Our nearest town is one of the few smaller regional centres to boast an MFS station. It so happens that CFS and MFS may attend the same fires: we in support for structure fires, they in support for bush fires. They get paid â€“ we do not.
If a house fire cannot be extinguished, the drill is to simply pull back and stop it spreading. There is generally little danger to personnel. Broad front wildfire is another matter. One look at the aftermath of the Victorian bushfires fires demonstrates that. They get paid – we do not. Indeed, whilst MFS personnel routinely use BA (breathing apparatus) to protect themselves against the toxic effects of smoke inhalation, CFS volunteers do not. The South Australian Government recently introduced legislation reversing the burden of proof re the causal link between working conditions and certain types of cancer, for MFS personnel. They have refused to extend this reform to CFS volunteers on the grounds of fiscal constraints. For such a fundamental legal chasm as opposing burdens of proof to be wilfully opened between two groups serving such parallel services is simply insulting. If the ‘fiscal constraints’ are indeed due to a significantly greater liability attached to CFS volunteers, this surely just further illustrates the extent of the problem. We are often sent on “strike teams” to other districts, or even interstate, at great cost to our livelihoods. Recently, it became policy to boost our declining ability to mount strike teams by including
MFS personnel in our crews. They will get paid for the time they are away – we do not. MFS people have no training in the very dangerous work of containing wild fire. This is our specialty. They needed to be trained before they could be deployed. The MFS students presumably got paid – our instructors did not.
Indeed, as landowners, farmers must pay a substantial emergency services levy for the privilege.
The failure to value the contribution of the CFS is not only a moral travesty, but also self-defeating idiocy by policy makers of all political colours.
Recently a concern has arisen among ambulance drivers in SA regarding occupational health and safety. They are limited by the weight they are allowed to lift. This creates a problem when confronted by the increasing numbers of obese people they encounter. Solution? Easy! Just call the CFS volunteers out of their beds again, or away from their jobs. They can do the heavy lifting for free; not a problem mate. This country spends billions of dollars every year defending itself against hypothetical enemies. Of the eight or nine wars that we have become embroiled in over the last 110 years, only one can reasonably be considered as self-defence. By contrast, combating the most acute
threat to the security of Australia is left to an army of ageing amateurs. Our society is very reluctant to pay the full cost of anything. Our version of a market economy tends to value immediate desires more than less apparent needs, and the doctrinaire advocates of the “free market” have their eyes wide shut to the obvious hypocrisies of their ideology. Whilst subsidies are anathema to “neo-liberal” dogma and “user pays” is the glib, self-serving slogan of privilege, the reality is that our society is habitually subsidised by the proceeds of exploitation. The failure to value the contribution of the CFS (and other volunteers) is not only a moral travesty, but also self-defeating idiocy by policy makers of all political colours. Whilst the urban majority is apparently morally sanguine about its careless use of the goodwill of this dedicated community of exploited workers, the very least that Government can do is reward hard and dangerous work of immense value. If not we may find the yellow, soot covered little treasure of our country falling silent in our times of need. Now that is expensive.
ELIZABETH HARFORD-WRIGHT From Frome Rd to France: UofA PhD students are helping people the world abound WORDS BY STELLA CRAWFORD Photo by David ellis
Elizabeth is living in Paris this year, a pretty far cry from this campus and its surroundings. You might think it’s a pretty far cry from anywhere in Australia actually, but you’d be wrong.
Nor was it all achieved in Paris. How did it happen, then? Well, aside from working in a field such as neuroscience (a fast advancing not to mention really flipping cool area of research), success such as Elizabeth’s comes from a combination of factors. Hard work, dedication, a good support system, etc. etc... You know the drill.
The name ‘Dr Elizabeth HarfordWright’ appears on half a dozen papers already, and in journals as distinguished as Neuroscience. She’s a neuroscience researcher, and her career, albeit just begun, is on the upward rise. She’s now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institut Cochin, a research centre affiliated with the University of Paris. Her success was not the work of a few days, though.
t’s just past seven in the morning when Elizabeth picks up my call. I hear the occasional kitchen-ish background noise, so maybe she’s clearing up breakfast as she speaks to me. I’m not having breakfast though, because it’s four P.M. here.
SHE CHOSE HEALTH SCIENCES FOR THE SAME REASON MANY DO - SHE WASN’T SURE.
The cool part is that most of the time and work happened right here at Adelaide Uni. Elizabeth’s story highlights all the best parts of this university - the bits that make you feel less cynical about the money you spent on your degree.
While Elizabeth’s research is now very guided – as she says, she now knows how to frame a research question, how to determine requisite controls, how to design an experiment – when she started, she didn’t know any of that was part of her future. She chose health sciences for the same reason many do – she wasn’t sure. It offered her a chance to study health, and in her words, ‘things that help people’. After her three year bachelor’s degree, Elizabeth decided - again in the absence of a better pathway - to take honours. That sense of directionless effort evaporated after her honours year, however. The vague sense of helping people had coalesced into something more definitive. Elizabeth described how she felt at the time; ‘Research wasn’t necessarily something I thought about doing before, but when I did honours with Bob [Vink] I really liked it. I really liked
the lab I worked in. I liked the type of work and I liked the idea that you’re doing something that has the potential to help people – something that’s really worthwhile.’ Elizabeth is pretty quiet about her commitment to her work, but you can tell it’s become more than just what she does. Her PhD project wasn’t something she started lightly. After honours, Elizabeth took time off to travel with a friend who’d also just finished. They ‘went travelling and worked and saved some money and just had a bit of a break after honours, which definitely worked for us.’ For Elizabeth, this meant that when she came back, ‘we really knew that the PhD was something we wanted to do.’ ‘If I was talking to people about doing a PhD, my bits of advice would be: make sure you’re doing a project that you are really really
interested in, which can sustain your interest for three and a half years (and it’s going to make you crazy sometimes, so you want to really be interested in it). Also, pick a lab environment you think you can thrive in, and a supervisor that you have a good working relationship with, because I think those are the key things that can make or break a PhD.’ It clearly worked for her. Sometimes, she said, ‘there are times when nothing is working and you can’t get any results and, I don’t know, the stars aren’t really aligning.’ But the important bits are when ‘everything works and you get great results that you get to share with your colleagues and you get to publish eventually, and they make up for the not so good times.’ But Elizabeth didn’t go in without a plan. She knew, and discussed with her
supervisor, what doing the PhD meant for her in particular. Elizabeth said her supervisor ‘asked people what they wanted to do, what they wanted to get out of a PhD.’ Elizabeth, by then, knew she wanted to get a postdoctoral position overseas. Obviously, it’s a great opportunity to travel, but for a researcher, learning new skills from other labs is part and parcel of the job. Elizabeth agreed that it seemed necessary to travel eventually, if she wanted to make a career out of her work. ‘Science is one of those professions that is quite international and quite collaborative, and [overseas work] is one of those things that are so important for a career.’ Leaving her work in Adelaide, however, was not the easiest thing she’s ever done. Elizabeth’s research focussed on the neuropeptide substance P. It’s a protein that is present in both the brain and the nervous system, and Vink’s lab had
I liked the idea that you’re doing something that has the potential to help people – something that’s really worthwhile.
been looking at it prior to Elizabeth’s work. However, they’d previously studied it only in the context of conditions such as traumatic brain injury and stroke, rather than cancer. Elizabeth’s work had two parts: firstly, investigating brain tumours in particular, looking at whether substance P might mediate the clinical features of brain tumours; ‘blood-brain disruption and adema formation or brain-swelling’. The other half focussed on brain tumour growth, and whether blocking substance P might reduce that growth. As Elizabeth said, the results were pretty good. In her three and a half years (plus one as a postdoc after her PhD) they managed to perform and publish studies that demonstrated blocking substance P reduced the growth of these tumours in mice. The drug they used to block substance P, Emend® is already used in cancer clinics to help with chemotherapy-induced nausea. Given that they’ve now
demonstrated that its use causes a reduction in brain tumour growth in mice – and cell death in tumour cells – the use of this drug is likely only going to expand from here. Even in her research, Elizabeth continues to demonstrate her fundamental desire is still the same as it always was: to help people. The research she began at Adelaide isn’t finished yet, but as she says, nothing every truly is. ‘We had enough to tell a good story, which is what my supervisor always says. Or the beginnings of a good story, I guess. There are definitely things that other students are still looking at in the lab now, which is nice.’ In the meantime, Elizabeth has made one of the most significant breakthroughs in the field of tumour research for a long time. This research might, in a few years time, result in a new, more effective treatment.
Elizabeth, with her bachelors, honours, PhD and postdoctoral position, spent over eight years on this campus, and five years working on this project. She’s the kind of person who discovers what they want to do gradually, with effort and years of their life. It’s a quiet sort of inspiring, to see someone like her succeed. Love of work might not be the easiest thing to get behind, but it’s half of what makes this university a great place to work. Love of helping people, as Elizabeth has always had guiding her, is a principle that’s hard not to respect. As she says, ‘at the end, it’s easy to talk about it like “it was this or that” and it all worked out nicely, but definitely it’s not so easy. It still feels a bit like my baby.’ Heartwarming, I know. Stella enjoys novelty mugs, David Attenborough documentaries and the fantasy that she will graduate one day.
words by justin
art by jack
Discussions surrounding patriotism in journalism is nothing new. Margaret Thatcher accused the BBC of being unpatriotic during the Falkland War. Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, advertisers pulled ads from New York’s News 12 when their news anchors didn’t wear the US flag on air. Even discussions of the ABC’s political allegiances are nothing new. Conservative commentators such as
‘You can’t leap to be critical of your own country.’
But what role does patriotism have in journalism? The Daily Telegraph’s front page article, The ABC of Treachery, suggested that the ABC betrayed the nation by publishing damning evidence of Australian wrongdoing, while an article by Paul Sheehan in the Sydney Morning Herald suggests the ABC’s era ended when it ‘chose to knowingly damage Australia’s relationship with Indonesia’.
Yet even within the Liberal Party, there seems to be some disagreement about how the ABC best serves Australia. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, responding to Abbott’s statements in the Sydney Morning Herald, said that the ABC is right to be
On Radio 2GB, in late January of this year, Prime Minister Tony Abbott called the ABC ‘unpatriotic’, using these two examples to indicate that the broadcaster ‘instinctively takes everyone’s side but Australia’s’. So what’s the context?
The ABC, Australia’s National(ist) Broadcaster?
Andrew Bolt, Tim Blair, and Gerard Henderson have criticised the ABC for perceived left-wing bias, while Labor Prime Ministers Bob Hawke and Paul Keating both criticised the broadcaster for perceived bias towards (particularly economic) conservatism. Hawke notably lambasted the ABC’s coverage of the Gulf War, and even attempted to merge it with the SBS (despite its separate mandate in multicultural and multilingual broadcasting).
n December 2013, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported (together with the Guardian Australia) that the Australian government had been spying on Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife in 2009, based on information leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. In November 2013, the broadcaster showed footage of asylum seekers being treated for burns, and reported the refugees’ claims that the burns had been caused by a hot boat engine they had been forced to hold onto by members of the Australian Navy.
accountable to its own board rather than to the government of the day.
What’s the alternative ... the [ABC] editor-in-chief becomes the Prime Minister? ... [Politicians] will often be unhappy with the ABC ... but you can’t tell them what to write.
- Malcolm Turnbull in the Sydney Morning Herald, January 2014
overboard on the abc:
abbott turn back?
Spy Eddie Ed. #007: In Indomitable Indonesia!
In response to Abbott’s claims about the ABC, Acting Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek and Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young both claimed that the Liberal leader is generally against government scrutiny. But Abbott regularly spoke out about freedom of speech and of the media during the Rudd and Gillard Labor governments. Criticising Labor in an
For a number of years, Australia has been trying to preserve its diplomatic interests in the United States, while building relationships with partners throughout Asia, particularly China. The information released by Snowden affected Australia by revealing Australia’s involvement in Five Eyes, an Anglospheric spying network connecting the US, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. On behalf of this network, the Australian Signals Directorate (an intelligence-gathering subsidiary of the Department of Defence) attempted to listen to the phone calls of the Indonesian President and other Indonesian officials, according to information that Snowden released to the ABC and The Guardian. Australia’s ties with the United States date back to before the Korean War. But the nation’s Asian partnerships are still developing, and this puts
Australia on shaky ground. In the late 1990s, Abbott’s Liberal predecessor, Howard, faced some similar issues with Indonesian diplomacy. In response to UN resolutions regarding humanitarian offences in East Timor, which had been occupied by Indonesia since 1975 (when Portuguese rule ceased), Howard organised the Australian-led International Force for East Timor to hold the peace until UN forces arrived. Australia’s relationship with Indonesia met further complications when it was leaked in 2001 that Australian military intelligence were aware of plans to murder independence supporters – information that could have prevented them from being murdered by the Indonesian police. For compiling the report, SBS Dateline reporter Mark Davis won a Gold Walkley – Australia’s highest journalism accolade.
August 2012 article entitled The Job Of Government Is To Foster Free Speech, Not To Suppress It, Abbott raised concerns that the Labor government’ is not a government that argues its case. Mostly, it howls down its critics using the megaphone of incumbency’. Why, then, is Abbott now criticising the ABC?
The ABC ‘seemed to delight in broadcasting allegations by a traitor’.
Yet by his fourth term, Australia was on moderately good terms with Indonesia, owing largely to both positive relations between Howard and President Yudhoyono and the billion-dollar relief efforts from
Compare this with Abbott. Prior to the 2013 election, Abbott campaigned on his ‘Stop the Boats’ platform, which already put him in a tricky position in terms of negotiation. This policy required him, post-election, to work closely with the Indonesian government in order to get them onside with buybacks and tow-backs of refugee boats. On top of this, Snowden’s leaks revealed that (back in 2009) Australia was spying on senior members of that same Indonesian government in order to gain a diplomatic advantage. Abbott wasn’t a part of the government at the time, nor the agency responsible, but the revelation of these details has made it very difficult for Abbott to maintain his characteristic zealous over confidence in negotiation (termed ‘megaphone diplomacy’ by the Opposition). It also gave the Indonesian government a stronger negotiating position. Abbott needs to work with them
in order to carry out his policies, yet they have just been given further reason to mistrust him. These may not be lasting issues for the new government, especially if it softens its voice and starts speaking in fewer platitudes. From some angles it is almost admirable that Abbott is so persistently opposed to the actions of people smugglers. These people encourage desperate people to make the hazardous journey from Indonesia to Australia. This should be an initial point of commonality with the Indonesian government.
Australia following the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004. In other words, Howard started off with a difficult diplomatic approach to Indonesia, resulting from a combination of hard-line policy and politically inopportune whistleblowing. It took time, diplomatic effort, and one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history, but he managed to calm things enough to get Australia into a more tenable position.
‘You certainly ought to be prepared to give the Australian navy the benefit of the doubt.’
However, the issue has been mishandled (to the detriment of those being smuggled) arguably since the Pacific Solution was introduced in 2001 (according to the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission, the Indonesian government, Human Rights Watch, the National Council of Churches, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, and Amnesty International, among others). In November 2013, the ABC broadcast allegations by asylum
seekers that they had been forced by members of the Royal Australian Navy to hold onto the pipes of a hot boat engine, causing severe burns to their hands. These claims were criticised for their presentation at the time, with ABC’s own Media Watch amongst those taking issue. Over the following months, more evidence came to light. Refugee Yousif Ibrahim Fasher claims, for example, to have been present as a translator throughout the dispute. The incident as a whole remains foggy. But even if the allegations broadcast in November do prove untrue, they certainly come within a context of more definable human rights abuses. Abbott could easily use these and other complaints to turn around (pardon the pun) Australia’s approach to those seeking shelter, working alongside the Indonesian government to find a solution that will work for Australians, Indonesians, and refugees alike.
Tony Abbott: domestic goddess But sadly, a major problem for Tony Abbott in his opening months has been his handling of international affairs. On the campaign trail, he shared his unique insight into the Syrian Uprising: ‘it’s not goodies versus baddies – it’s baddies versus baddies’. As of September 2013 (i.e. the time of that statement),
Post-election, Abbott proved his diplomatic issues in Asia are not limited to Indonesia. Following the Global Financial Crisis, which arose in America, Australia borrowed heavily from China, which kept the nation out of recession, and Australia continues to rely heavily on China as a trade partner, particularly for raw mineral exports. This makes China perhaps the second most important (if not most important) country for Abbott to keep on side. It is concerning, then, that Abbott described Japan in December as ‘Australia’s best friend in Asia’, comparing Australia’s relationship with Japan to Australia’s relationship with the United States, and clarified that Japan are ‘a strong ally’. Tensions between China and Japan continue to grow, with some worried that disputes over the contested (if uninhabited) Senkaku/ Diaoyu islands may further agitate the already turbid relationship between the two nations. While Abbott argues, ‘China trades with us because it is in China’s interests to trade with us’, Australia are far from China’s only trade
partners, and comments like these could cost Australia far more than they would cost China. Japan is indeed a strong prospective partner for Australia, and Abbott is right to identify it as important to Australia’s future, but it is worrying that his statements are still as short-sighted as some of his more ambitious election promises. Abbott may have the doggedness to dominate the domestic media cycle, but it’s his comments in passing that will garner international attention, and if these sorts of blunders keep coming, they’ll make it harder and harder for him to effectively govern. As for the ABC – well, US writer and New York Times journalist Bill Kovach, reflecting on 9/11’s position in journalism six months after those events, argued that:
A journalist is never more true to democracy — is never more engaged as a citizen, is never more patriotic — than when aggressively doing the job of independently verifying the news of the day; questioning the actions of those in authority; disclosing information the public needs but others wish secret for self-interested purposes.
the Syrian Civil War had lasted nearly two-and-a-half years and led to over 120,000 dead ‘baddies’, including more than 10,000 Syrian children, with many more children being sexually assaulted, tortured, and recruited as soldiers, according to the UN.
- in Journalism and Patriotism, published by the Center for Public Integrity, March 2002.
Rather than with being wholeheartedly in agreement with the actions of its government, Kovach here equated patriotism with being
engaged in the affairs of a nation. Further, by arguing that journalism is a democratic duty, he suggested that journalists should be answerable to voters rather than to members of parliament – to the employers rather than the employees, so to speak. Abbott likely understands this perspective, and probably agrees. His quotes about freedom of speech ring far truer than his accusations towards the ABC, flung out without caution on talkback radio. So it’s unlikely that he genuinely believes the ABC is unpatriotic, or un-journalistic. What this represents is something far worse – he’s still trying to appeal to voters six months after the election. That’s not going to work out well. The Rudd/Gillard governments taught us all too well about the dangers of a government run on opinion polls. But in six months, when Indonesia are angry and refusing to deal with us, and China and the US have ceased all trade and instead gone to war with our best mates, Japan, at least Abbott will have a friend in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who recently claimed that the Japanese national broadcaster, NHK, contains too much liberal bias. Referring to Abe, Financial Times writer Jonathan Soble suggested that ‘there is always something on NHK’s numerous television and radio channels that infuriates self-appointed guardians of Japanese patriotism’. If only that didn’t sound so familiar.
Justin is a writer, graphic designer, politics nerd and D&D player. This is his tenth On Dit piece. You and he would be good friends.
alex weiland â€˜Mountainbikefahrenâ€™ (37 x 27cm)
‘Collage #6’ (31 x 21cm)
‘Gnarly’ (20 x 14cm)
Alex Weiland told her class that she wanted to be a palaeontologist when she was seven years old, an obsession that was then followed by collecting Pokémon cards, succulents, amateur geology and, later, building painstakingly realistic houses on ‘The Sims’ as a teenager. She never stopped drawing things. Alex is currently in her fifth and final year completing her honours project for architectural engineering and a diploma in languages at the University of Adelaide. She also spent a year living in Germany in 2012/13, studying civil/structural engineering and German literature at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Alex has absolutely no formal qualifications in anything artistic whatsoever. Her mediums of choice are primarily pen and ink, cartoons and collage. Her work is influenced by Aubrey Beardsley, her father’s childhood comics from the 1960s, film noir and surrealism. She still owns a lot of succulents and that deck of Pokémon cards. You can view more of Alex’s work at archslasheng. wordpress.com and on the cover of this very magazine. You can also contact her about her art via email at email@example.com. ‘Collage #2’ (33 x 21cm)
‘The Poster Season’ (37 x 27cm)
donnelly go breaking my heart words by max cooper art by Sharmonie cockayne, Photo by Kenneth Koh
Values like multiculturalism and Western-focused history in our schools’ education plan are among the issues that Education Minister Christopher Pyne flagged for review. Personally, I have pretty strong feelings about these issues, and from the people he’s assigned to review them, it is clear Pyne does too. He appointed Kevin Donnelly (a former teacher and ex-Liberal
staff member) and Ken Wiltshire (a Professor at the University of Queensland’s Business School) to lead the review. Though Pyne doesn’t want to ‘prejudice the outcome’ of the review, according to his commentary when announcing the appointment of Donnelly and Wiltshire, his reviewers make his perspective pretty clear.
HIS VIEW IS THAT SOME PARENTS WOULD FIND GAY SEX ‘UNNATURAL’ AND SO SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO ABSENT THEIR CHILDREN FROM HAVING TO LEARN ABOUT IT.
erhaps unsurprisingly for a left-leaning Arts student, I’ve got some problems with a few of the things our government is doing right now. While I think the horrendous asylum-seeker policy is almost indisputably the most important thing to address, it isn’t the only disturbing policy being implemented. My personal bugbear is the education policy that is being laid out. Not only are we facing increasingly deeper cuts to higher education funding, but the national curriculum is being used as an ideological tool.
As concerning as Pyne’s approach is, it’s one of Donnelly’s strongly held views that really bothers me. It more than bothers me. It worries, frightens, and even terrifies me. His
view is that some parents would find gay sex ‘unnatural’ and so should be allowed to absent their children from having to learn about it. There’s been some blowback on Donnelly’s critics for bringing this up, given it comes from statements made in 2005 articles, or his 2004 book Why Our Schools Are Failing (which, fun aside, had an introduction penned by Malcolm Turnbull – the very same man with a reputation for being not as bad as Abbott, and who gets praised for supporting marriage equality). Attacking critics for bringing up Donnelly’s opposition to comprehensive sex education ignores the complete lack of any effort on his part to distance himself from these views, let alone apologise. Instead, we’re left with the understanding that Donnelly still thinks such ‘sensitive matters’ are best left to parents. And, as with all aspects of education, there is obviously an important role for parents to
Now, I know how difficult it can be to argue on a values level with this kind of issue. People want the right to their opinions; I want the right to be respected as a human being. Classic impasse. But the idea that this issue is merely a disagreement on values between teachers and parents (or other members of the community) misses one important factor: we’re talking about children. There is a reason schools teach sexual education, and that reason is that it is in the best interest of the children involved. In 2005, Donnelly said that ‘most parents would prefer their children to form a relationship with someone of the opposite sex’, but whether or not that’s true is irrelevant. The same family that produced Tony Abbott also produced his lesbian sister, as did American arch-conservative, Dick Cheney, who’s daughter is queer too. Why does Donnelly think that parents would find non-hetero sex unnatural? Given that an opposite-sex couple can do pretty much
anything a same-sex couple can do, he can’t mean specifically sexual acts. So I guess either, as a gay man, I lack some enlightenment that has been bestowed on Donnelly to differentiate the same acts committed by gay or straight couples, or perhaps what Donnelly actually wants is for teachers to pretend that we don’t exist.
play. That role, though, should not involve overriding the curriculum by imposing their views onto their children’s education.
What’s the point of all this, though? It doesn’t matter what parents want for their kids. What matters is that the kids get the best education.
PERHAPS WHAT DONNELLY WANTS IS FOR TEACHERS TO PRETEND THAT WE DON’T EXIST.
When it comes to Sex Ed, that means preparing them for whatever kind of sex they’ll be having. It means making that whether they are straight, gay or somewhere else on the spectrum, they know about pregnancy, STDs, and how to protect themselves. It means making sure that guys grow up knowing how high the rates of transmission for HIV are in anal
sex, so they know to protect their partners. It means making sure everyone knows how the HPV vaccine will protect them from cancer (fun fact: boys also get HPV, and also get cancer. Everyone should get that vaccine). It means making sure all of that and more happens, whether or not the parents look on it as natural. Sex Ed is important, but as much as we all laugh when the coach in Mean Girls suggests that sexually active teenagers will ‘get pregnant and die’, until we prepare young people adequately to have safe sex when they’re ready, are we doing much better? And if, as Donnelly suggests, there are huge swaths of parents that don’t want to teach their kids about the kind of sex they may be having, should we be so quick to exclude teachers from that role? Now, having had my rant about the safety of students, I could finish. But I want to look deeper into why this issue would be so important to someone like Donnelly. It could just be out-and-out (haha, out!) homophobia, but I think it’s more complex. In a piece on how teachers unions were ‘enforcing the gender agenda’, Donnelly complained that
feature the education debate in recent decades ‘centred on the supposed disadvantage suffered by migrants, working-class kids and women’ (emphasis mine) and said that list was expanding to include the LGBT community. This statement drives home why it’s so important that, in the wake of heart-wrenching tragedies like the recent death and injury on Manus Island, we remember the other efforts undertaken by our government. Our national curriculum, the basis for what the next generation will be taught, is being shaped by a man who doesn’t even grasp the challenges posed to migrants and their children, or to children with a low socioeconomic status. The mind boggles at the idea of someone who would so casually approach these kinds of issues. Even if he had never encountered these issues himself, or had never heard of these sorts of challenges, wouldn’t he – as a commentator on education – look into them as a basic requirement of his job? It confuses me that Donnelly is not willing to pay a token of notice to
these struggles, when research shows that they are very real. For example, recent research from Griffith University has shown that compared with New Zealand, we have a huge problem in educational support for Pacific Islanders in Australia. Research has also shown that girls receive less attention than boys in class, and this can have long-term repercussions in their educational outcomes. The fact that Donnelly won’t acknowledging these issues terrifies me on a broader scale than just his attitude towards sexual health. The Gonski reforms, which currently lie on the floor of parliament like a dead fish waiting to be gutted, were all about creating a fairer level of education across our country. That involved supporting schools in poorer neighbourhoods, and rural and indigenous communities. Half the people reviewing the state of education now don’t even seem to believe that students face challenges of equality based on class, gender, or race. This is a huge blind spot for Donnelly. Almost everyone reading this will be a university student. That means
you’ll almost certainly know the power of a good education. I tore into Kevin Donnelly throughout this article over a very specific issue – the fact that if you don’t teach students about non-heterosexual sex because parents see it as unnatural, you’re actively endangering students through a lack of education. But the problem is much broader. Not only does Donnelly seem to not care about young people’s sexual health, but more broadly he seems actively opposed to the principles underpinning the Gonski reforms that would strive to offer greater access to education for a broader range of Australian students. In perspective, I know that there are more important issues. But education can’t cease to be part of the conversation. Education is worth defending for its own sake, but there are clearly other issues at play. Think genuinely about how your education has affected you. Think about how important it is. Because when I hear Donnelly talking about the ‘supposed’ challenges faced by young people, all I can think about are their struggles.
Max Cooper has been to Paradise, but he’s never been to Max Cooper.
An essential part of the military industry’s global assembly line words by gabriel evangelista images by elizabeth galanis
South Australia is a recognised hub for defence activities and advanced technology research. Here, we have also formed strong partnerships with SMEs, universities and the South Australian Government.
niversity is usually viewed as a socially useful, progressive and positive place. A place you want, need, or aspire to go to; where you’ll learn the necessary skills to be a leader of tomorrow, seek light, and make the world a better place and all that rubbish. But I’ve come to the realisation that universities contain and reproduce all the injustice, oppression, misery and violence we find elsewhere in international society, and the involvement of our universities across the globe in the military supply chain paints a pretty clear picture of the way universities serve capitalism and the State. At first glance it may seem trivial that Raytheon, a US missile manufacturer, is one of many big companies who offer scholarships or internships to students, or that British Aerospace (BAE) funds the University of Sydney’s Centre for Excellence in Autonomous Systems. It’s complicated, but here’s how it works in simple terms. Firstly, militaries need weapons. Second, they get these weapons from private manufacturers. A few of the big ones include Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and BAE. Third, these companies in turn pay universities to set up research institutes to do the bulk of their
David Allott Chief Executive British Aerospace Engineering Systems Australia
work for them. These institutes are usually run by university committees, which defence industry fat cats sit on. These research institutes at universities form what is known as a global assembly line, allowing the mass production of submarines, tanks, fighter planes, bombs and the electronic systems needed to use them. To give an example: imagine you want to design a really fancy bomb. You would need a rocket engine, a warhead, suitable metals, and so on. Sounds like hard work. But what if you just went knocking on the doors of every university, gave them a cheque and told them what you want them to make? It could be a new alloy, a new rocket engine, or a new radar chip for a guidance system. Things would become much easier. That’s what these companies do, and subsequently take the outcomes of the research and put them to work. You can research this at your own university by searching for the names of already mentioned companies on their websites. A big issue for the industry is labour, particularly compliant labour, and universities as well as the government both pitch in. US military contracts stipulate loosely that you can’t hire a national from a country that has
been, is, or might be at war with the USA one day, to work on their gear. They need to be “manufactured” on allied turf by workers who cannot (or have been socialised not to) be whistleblowers, spies or saboteurs. This takes on an interesting form in the USA. Lockheed Martin, a US missile and fighter plane manufacturer actually uses prison labour to assemble Patriot missiles.
In Australia, as the defence industry grew throughout the 1990s and the big weapons manufacturers started setting up here, they realised they were in acute shortage of the highly skilled university trained labour needed to put together the tidbits they got from their global assembly line of universities. They also lacked the skilled and compliant tradespeople needed for massive production of things like submarines or Air Warfare Destroyers (good name for a punk band) in Port Adelaide. In the case of graduate labour, they couldn’t just hire graduates from Iran, or China, because of the contracts with the US government which prohibit nationals of past, current or potential enemies of the USA from working on US equipment. For this reason BAE was the first company to be granted exemption from the South Australian Equal Opportunity Act in January
BAE can legally discriminate on the grounds of race or nationality when hiring staff. As such, they want Australian universities to train Australian students to work for the Australian arms of these big weapons companies. You would think this is mad, but the Rann Labor government was incredibly militarist, and turning South Australia into the ‘defence state’ was their wet dream. They allocated millions more in funding for Science and Maths in certain public high schools in working class areas to entice young students into career paths in defence. They established Defence SA, a government department run by former and current defence industry suits, aimed at propagating the industry further in SA. This became a state-level replica of the Defence Materiel Organisation, a Commonwealth department which does stuff like pay universities to set up defence industry-specific courses, such as Naval Engineering. Defence SA and the Rann government went about initiating a program of selling out public high schools and converting ‘Students with High Intellectual Potential’
programs into dedicated mentoring programs run by Raytheon, hilariously named IGNITE. Other programs have sprung up at the hands of Defence SA too, such as Concept 2 Creation, a robotics program for children in years four to seven. A space camp for year 10s also exists for the same purpose. Even Questacon Science Centre in Canberra is funded by Raytheon. I suspect the aim in getting children involved so young is to normalise what the defence industry does in their minds, and have them effectively brainwashed by the time they’re ready for university or TAFE. This could be better explained in BAE’s own words, such as those given at a Northern Community Summit at Uni SA (the northern suburbs are the industrial working class heartland of Adelaide):
However, when you consider that the people who will build and support the Air Warfare Destroyers are still in primary school at the moment, one of the most critical initiatives is to increase the uptake of maths, science and technology studies by children and young people to assure a long-term pipeline of talent. These science, engineering and technology skills underpin the growth and success of businesses such as BAE Systems, so you can understand why we are keen to
2008, so that they could employ staff in line with the racist requirements of US weapons contracts.
encourage the advancement of science and technology education at its earliest point in schools.
Any conclusion needs to be a collective one, where working class people come together and say “this is not our destiny, we don’t want to build bombs, we want peace”. I hope that students and university staff can again realise, like many did during the Vietnam war, that universities are not progressive and neutral, but key to the “reproduction” of the capitalist system, and therefore the violence it creates.
Karl Marx wrote in the 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte that Hegel said somewhere that all historical events occur, albeit, twice. Marx added: ‘first time as farce, second time as tragedy’. To allow the unchecked racketeering of the working class by the military industry, governments and institutions of the State, such as education or prison labour (as every fascist dictatorship worth their salt does), would be a tragedy.
Gabriel Evangelista studies Nursing and thinks humanity could do without war and oppression.
who run the world 32
words by jodie
art by nhu
eyoncé has been carrying on like a mega babe for years now, releasing banger after banger of pure “I’m a sexy boss lady and if you can’t handle it then take your shit elsewhere” gold. Arguments over whether or not she is a feminist centre on whether she even has the right (pfft) because she wears the patriarchy on her sleeve by getting all dolled up and dancing around seductively singing about
men. While she might be guilty of this, demanding that the relationship between her and her man either ends because of his shitty behaviour (take Irreplaceable) or that he’d best realise he better be good enough for her (take Single Ladies) does raise the bar of outdated 50s style thinking. So, it seems to follow that if you want to be a feminist, you better get over ideas of being sexy or being in love if you happen to think that
“feminine” things are sexy, or want to be in love in a heteronormative way. I fucking hate it when people say “he/she’s not a feminist because [insert very personal and situational necessary condition to earn the label feminist].” I.e., “Beyoncé is not a feminist because she took her husbands name and went on tour with it.” Now, while I completely acknowledge that the cultural juggernaught of Hollywood might rain on our feminist parades with their non-stop diatribe of “you can be as complex of a character as you want, but you still couldn’t possibly be satisfied without a man” conditioning (see every rom-com ever), and am super happy to call them all on their shit, I don’t think that Beyoncé’s personal choices about whether or not she wants to take her husband’s name are up for discussion in the same way. Beyoncé is far from a bullshit two dimensional character - she has all kinds of ideas about the empowerment of women, and encourages young girls to believe in themselves, care for themselves and to achieve what they will. The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour is not tantamount to Beyoncé claiming that she is half of Jay-Z. Feminism is a hard cross to bear. If you’re a singer, artist, author, public figure, etc., and take the label upon yourself then you’re going to be judged as such. You get placed in the appropriate category, and accept that all decisions and positions from then on are taken because you’re a feminist, not an autonomous,
free-thinking person. Then, after your self has been replaced by the feminist straw man, you are told that you’re not doing it right. I can sympathise with Beyoncé’s decision to keep her mouth shut on it. Maybe we should be thinking about why feminism is so unfashionable, rather than getting hostile towards celebrities that are hesitant to take it on. Maybe the word is over, maybe we need a new type of thinking. Maybe what Beyoncé and her fans want is a type of feminism that serves them on their terms. Maybe her reluctance speaks volumes:
I guess I am a modern-day feminist. I do believe in equality. Why do you have to choose what type of woman you are? Why do you have to label yourself anything? I’m just a woman and I love being a woman … I do believe in equality and that we have a way to go and it’s something that’s pushed aside and something that we have been conditioned to accept. Bey published an essay called Gender Equality is a Myth about pay inequality in America, an essay that millions of people will read. Yet somehow, the fact that she took her husband’s name means she’s just not good enough for feminism, that she just can’t address these issues. You see it again and again - people such as Sasha Grey standing up and saying “yes, there are problems with the porn industry but I’m in control and I want to do this” and no one believing her, as though it is so unthinkable that a woman might actually want to get involved in the porn industry as a result of her autonomy. Meanwhile, she’s revolutionising the way that thousands
of women experience their own bodies and their sexual behaviour by espousing sex positive values and encouraging self esteem, determination, mental as well as physical preparation. She’s never once said “this career choice is about impressing men” and she always handles herself well with interviewers who try to criticise or embarrass her. She’s honest, self assured and determined not to be held back in a male-dominated industry. I’d have thought that made her a pretty good feminist, but no - she can’t possibly be a feminist if she’s also a porn star? It doesn’t seem to weigh up. There is this idea that in order to replace the patriarchy with something better, we need to do away with remnants of it. This means marriage is a no-go, because historically marriage has stood for the ownership of a woman being transferred from the father to the husband. While men maintain their title (Mr.) no matter their marital status, women’s change from Miss, Mrs., to Ms., all around their relationship to men. I’m all for women getting one title (in fact, I think it’d be nice if we didn’t have gendered titles at all), but I’m not willing to give up anything else that we might have because of men being ridiculous and insane about women. For example, vibrators seem to be born from a desire to “cure” hysteria; but if we get rid of them we are throwing out a pretty awesome baby with the bathwater, so to speak. Culture changes. You either change with it or end up like Germiane Greer, struggling to hold on to her relevancy in contemporary
culture. Still, regardless of where you’re coming from, I think that feminism is about empowering women to make choices. Beyoncé is an incredibly empowered woman, and she has made a choice. Her choice isn’t less valid because it’s not progressive enough for you. If we simply dismiss other women to further our own political agenda then we are also objectifying them like the supposed oppressor does. Feminism is about supporting all women, not just the women who fire off your mirror neurons. I don’t think that Beyoncé is the ultimate feminist. I don’t really even agree with her type of feminism. In fact, I think that feminism and capitalism (as it stands) cannot really be synthesised, and therefore don’t have much time for applying anything she says to my own life. I doubt I’ll ever get married and if I do, I’m definitely not taking my husband’s name. However, I don’t think that my personal decisions around these issues should be a blanket that society has to function under. I’m not so blinded by my own political views that I can’t see that others just have a different take on life. Those who choose to subscribe to the paradigm of liberalism/capitalism should be allowed access to their own brand of feminism, even if a focus on productivity (i.e. cash) serves to obfuscate what I think the issues are. That’s what I think; it’s not necessarily the case. Jodie finds the concept of self-written bios confronting, but is probably too much of a control freak to have it any other way.
Do I Know You? Lauren Fuge explains Face Blindness Art by Monty Do-Wyeld
t’s March again, and whether you’re an ickle firstie or an old hand at university, the new year brings new faces. In lectures and tutes, in that club you just joined and at the Exeter you meet a frankly unmanageable amount of new people. But let’s be honest – you promptly forget half of them. When that stranger starts happily chatting to you in the library, there’s a niggling fear that you should know them, seeing as they’re recounting in great detail that terrible joke your Bio tutor made last week. But no matter how much you mentally fumble, you can’t match their face to a name.
realise that the large bearded man was myself in a mirror.’ He learned to recognise himself by concentrating on his large ears, which is what a lot of prosopagnosics do: they focus on remembering individual facial features, because it tends to be easier than to remember the face as a whole. They also rely on non-facial information such as hair colour, voice, and distinctive gaits or gestures in order to identify a person. Dr. Sacks, for example, recognises his neighbours by their dogs. If a prosopagnosic’s friend suddenly shaves off their beard or gets a pink Mohawk, it can render them unrecognisable.
Good news: this may not be entirely your fault.
Although there are only about 100 documented cases of the disorder, researchers in the US and UK estimate that about 2.5 percent of the world’s population has prosopagnosia at some level - about 1 in 50 people. Someone you know might have it without even realising it, because they’ve unconsciously developed coping mechanisms. Like colour-blindness, they might not know they experience the world differently until someone points it out.
Some people suffer from a neurological disorder called prosopagnosia, which impairs the ability to recognise faces. Sufferers can’t recognise their family, their friends, or even their own reflections, let alone strangers. Many also have difficulty distinguishing age, gender, and expressions. Neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks is afflicted with the disorder, and has written extensively about it. In his book The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, he says: ‘on several occasions I have apologised for almost bumping into a large bearded man, only to
Those born with face blindness have developmental prosopagnosia, and it’s caused by hereditary genetic mutation or deletion. Those who develop it later in life have acquired prosopagnosia, which
is usually caused when injury or stroke damages a specific section of the back right-hand side of the brain. Although acquired prosopagnosia is rare, it’s better documented, because sufferers remember what it was like to recognise faces and thus realise they’re now impaired. There’s currently no cure for face blindness. Damaged parts of the brain can’t simply be fixed, and though it’s possible that the genetic abnormalities that cause developmental prosopagnosia could be corrected, we won’t have the capability to do so for many years. For now, sufferers develop coping mechanisms. The lucky ones like Oliver Sacks are able to remember the faces of loved ones after years of exposure, but others, heartbreakingly, have no such consolation. On the other end of the spectrum are ‘super recognisers’, people who have an extraordinary ability to remember faces, even after years of ageing and changing. After hearing that 20 London Police officers identified over 600 suspects from grainy security footage during the London riots, psychologist Josh Davis of the University of Greenwich set up a study to test the officers’ perceptional abilities. To date, Davis has confirmed that at least five are super
recognisers. Scotland Yard has even created an elite team of 200 officers with heightened recognising skills, training them to identify criminal suspects. Research is only just beginning, so we aren’t yet sure why the brains of super recognisers are so effective at distinguishing faces, but it’s possible that unlike prosopagnosics, they excel at processing and recognising faces as a whole. Your trouble remembering new people might not be thanks to prosopagnosia, but you can still learn from prosopagnosics’ coping mechanisms. When you’re introduced to someone, try to pair their name with something other than their face – remember their deep, husky voice or how they’re as tall and spindly as a praying mantis; the way they move their hands or their too-strong deodorant; their owl-like glasses or their impressive seaman’s beard (befriend this person at once). If all else fails, you can always become a hermit.
Lauren has a degree in creative writing, but is now an ickle firstie again, studying science in order to become even more broke and unemployable.
national day of action gather ye students!
words by thomas gilchrist & Mara thach
ast year the Labor government announced $2.3 billion of funding cuts to higher education. Despite rhetorically condemning the cuts at the time, Education Minister Christopher Pyne has now tabled bills in Parliament to enact them all.
Their first agenda is to cut $900 million from university budgets, calling it an ‘efficiency dividend’. This will mean massive funding shortfalls of up to $50 million on some campuses. Such a cut would place further pressure on academic and general staff who are already stretched, and will likely result in a loss of course diversity for many students. Among these cuts was a proposal to convert the Start-Up Scholarship to a HECS loan. Start-Up Scholarships are deceptively named. Far from representing a windfall for students, they are in actual fact a mere lifeline – a one-off payment designed to offset the fact that welfare payments have not been significantly increased for over a decade. Transforming these ‘scholarships’ into loans would mean that students who must survive on Centrelink payments alone (and currently languish at about 45 percent below the Henderson poverty line) would finish university with up to 40 percent more debt than their wealthier counterparts. The Senate removed the parts of the bill that would see the Start-Up Scholarships converted into loans at the Spring sitting, meaning that new students commencing study in 2014 will still receive the scholarship. National Union of Students President Deanna Taylor described these changes as a ‘victory for students’, but noted that the $900 million cuts to university funding are still on the cards. ‘This legislation will gut universities’ funding and leave struggling students worse off. It is appalling that this is such a high priority for the government. ‘The $900 million cuts will hit students in undervalued areas like humanities and social sciences.
Students already put up with things like crowded classes, inadequate resources and the effects of casualised academic staff.’ The National Union of Students (NUS) has called a National Day of Action for March 26th, on which students will rally nationally to oppose the cuts. Students must take a stand for their education. We must demonstrate that we are not passive and apathetic. We need to organize together to demonstrate our opposition, and remind the government why our education must be valued. Last year, when the Labor government first announced the cuts, their top advisers confidently asserted that tertiary education was not an election issue, and that there would be no backlash from their announcement. But thousands of students did care, and came out into the streets in numbers not seen in years. An estimated 3,000 students protested in Melbourne, with hundreds more across the country. As a result of this campaign, the Labor party has now come out publicly to oppose the cuts (despite first introducing them). We’ve seen that we can make a difference when we take mass action together. ‘NUS is aiming to send a very clear signal to the government that students vehemently oppose these cuts that will be detrimental to students’ quality of education,’ said Taylor. ‘Students can be viewed as an easy target by government, and we need to show them that we won’t take these cuts without a fight.’ The first step of the fight is to rally at Parliament House on March 26th. This will be an opportunity for students everywhere to stand up for our education. For more information about the National Day of Action or how to get involved in the campaign, contact Student Representative Council Education Officer Laura Hale at firstname.lastname@example.org.
an open letter to asylum seekers
words by Lauren Reid art by Anthony Nocera
ow do I even start this? Hi? Hey, what’s up? Dear... who? I don’t even know you. But at the same time, I do.
You’re the girl I went to school with whose beaming eyes welled when I asked her where her father was. You’re the young man who felt suicide was the only answer when the country he had pinned his hopes on turned its back on him and he was facing a return to the torture awaiting him at “home”. You’re the parents desperate to give your children safety, something to hope for, a future. A lot of people here call you “boat people”, but that one dehumanising label cannot possibly encapsulate all that you are and all that you have the potential to become if we would let you. I know that deep down you’re not all that different from myself or anyone else who has been born here or welcomed by previous generations; except that you’re a heck of a lot braver than I’ll probably ever need to be. We should be proud that you want to call Australia home. I’m writing mostly to say sorry, I suppose. On behalf of myself, because even with the phenomenal privilege I enjoy beneath our ‘radiant Southern Cross’, I don’t do enough for you. I’m sorry that I’ve been sitting here in my cosy little home, watching Q&A and yelling at the TV in your defence, instead of having a discussion with someone who could actually make a difference. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to realise that I’m someone who could actually make a difference. We all could.
I’m also apologising on behalf of my lucky country, because we’re letting you down. Some people here – actually a lot of people – don’t want to let you in. We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil... just not for you. Sorry about that. We have a legal responsibility to accept you1 and we should have the moral decency to welcome you, but we don’t. Instead we brand you “illegal,” shame you and make you a scapegoat, a channel through which we can vent all of our pent-up anger, frustrations and pure, vitriolic hatred. For those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless hate to share. We may not be fleeing persecution, losing loved ones by the day or have visions of war crimes burnt into our retinas, but our public transport is crowded and man, that’s fucking tough. I’m sorry that this country, for the most part, can’t see how much richer we’d be culturally, socially, economically even, if we welcomed and supported you in the way that we’ve done with others in the past. Most of all though, I’m sorry I even have to say all these “sorrys”. You are real; I know you. In our hearts, we all do. Please don’t judge us by the acts of the hateful few or those who simply don’t know any better (as we do to you). With courage let us all combine to Advance Australia Fair.
UN: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 14 (1)
(ir)regulars anthony nocera has developed a penchant for being weird art by katie hamilton
Regular shoppers are an inevitable part of working at a supermarket, especially when you work at the checkout. You see them every week and you become familiar, but in a very distant way. I know what cheese slices people use, I know the brand and size of their condoms, but I don’t know who they are in any constructive way. So I make it up, I write their stories for them. It was never much of a problem until I forgot I was writing. The characters I created were usually a snarky little way for me to get back at people who annoyed me. For example:
I regularly serve a man who constantly whinges about how his ‘woman’ never has sex with him, but he stays with her because she ‘really knows how to wash a shirt’. I named his wife Chastity Belt. Chastity never has sex with her husband because he’s a chauvinistic prick who buys her budget-brand tampons, despite buying her the most expensive fabric softener every week.
The Self-Serve Garbage Man
A European man who always tries to put rubbish in the coin-slot of the self-serve machines, despite repeatedly being informed that it is, in fact, not a bin. I assume he shits in the coin-compartment in his wallet despite the fact that he knows IT’S NOT WHAT THAT IS THERE FOR.
Jewellery Man was different. He was a gentleman of about 70 who wore men’s clothing and garish, antique women’s jewellery. He wore rings, earrings and elaborate brooches. He wore hats, too. Berets. He carried a women’s purse. As the weeks wore on, I examined him more closely and noticed that in his purse he carried a tattered photo of a young woman. I cast him as this tragic figure who, following the tragic loss of his wife, wore her jewels so that he could feel close to her. I started being extra nice to him. I gave him a free bag
every now and then, even pretended to be interested in his plans for the day. He deserved it; he’d had a hard life living through the war and such. One day, he looked up at me after a conversation about gluten-free bread and said, ‘You simply must come to the Mars Bar one Friday night on Hindley Street. You need to! We can share a hookah. It’s wonderful. I’ve asked all the other boys and girls from here to come meet me too.’ It turned out that my befriending of a tortured relic/war veteran was a complete lie. In reality, I’d been inadvertently flirting with a horny old bisexual in a puffy hat and some op-shop glam FOR THREE MONTHS! I’d completely misread the situation and he clearly hadn’t read my story at all, the illiterate fuck! And what did he mean ‘all the other boys’? Who was he, fucking Carly Rae Jepson? I couldn’t believe his nerve, ruining my writing like that. Also, what bar was he even talking about? All I could do was blankly stare at him until I suddenly blurted out ‘What about your wife?’ and began serving the next customer. I suddenly caught myself thinking about how, whenever I talked to Mr Belt, I would use the laundry detergent to tear down the patriarchy. How I had taken the Garbage Man’s coins one time and sanitised my hands in front of him while he looked at me perplexed and (rightfully) offended. It hit me that I wasn’t living in reality anymore. I wasn’t even acting sane anymore, and I had my writing to blame. I went home after my shift and wrote about how weird and unstable I felt, how ardently Irregular. A few weeks later it was Christmas, and Jewellery Man came back. He walked up to me, taking note of my red promotional shirt and said, ‘Do you know what red is the colour of, Anthony?’ I looked back at him and said, ‘What your wife is seeing?’ He looked upset. Good, I thought. I decided I wasn’t a good enough writer to have learnt anything from my story. I was okay with being irregular so long as I could keep writing about it. After writing this, Anthony finally knows how to spell the word ‘Jewellery’. It feels good, man.
battle of the bight lewis laurence thinks oil companies have bitten off more than they can chew
The battle lines are quietly being drawn and the opponents are moving into position. The battleground is the freezing waters of the Great Australian Bight. The stakes are either billions of dollars or the health of people and the environment; depending on which side you’re on.
Let’s take a moment to acknowledge that these technologies are being developed right here on campus. The University of Adelaide’s petroleum engineering website proudly boasts its cosy relationship with those friendly folks competing for chunks of the Bight.
The slow creep into deeper, more dangerous waters lead to BP’s Deepwater Horizon (DH) disaster in the United States in 2010 - the biggest oil spill in history. The companies involved were put on notice by the US Government, and shooed away like a flock of seagulls. But they kept one black eye on the money, and slowly but boldly, they have been coming back.
If this project is approved, Bight Petroleum will drill for oil. If that goes wrong, who pays the price? Tourism accounts for well over 50 per cent of employment on Kangaroo Island. But what will the citizens of KI gain from this project? All the risks are borne by the community, and the company’s risk is the cost of drilling a well. If there is a spill, fishermen and other beach users are the ones who will be punished. Volunteers and council workers will be out cleaning up. As for the company responsible, maybe in five years they will get fined an amount which pales in comparison to the real cost.
Now the same players have their eyes on Australia. The Great Australian Bight has caught the eye of BP, Chevron, Santos and a host of others. I call them ‘players’ because in the industry they call it a ‘play for oil’. Because, of course, it’s all a game. There is a lot going on behind the scenes at the moment, but there are two projects currently before Environment Minister Greg Hunt. The first is BP’s proposal to drill exploration wells in parts of the Bight which are deeper and rougher than the location of their Deepwater Horizon spill. BP proposes that storing a well cap (for emergency blocking of the well) in Singapore will be an adequate safeguard against another spill disaster. You can’t airmail the thing. It would take two months to get here. Let’s not forget that BPs initial attempts to plug the DH leak were totally unsuccessful, and this time around the same safeguards will be further away. DH was the biggest spill in history, but a similar accident in the Bight would have people hurriedly updating Wikipedia entries. The second proposal is from a company called Bight Petroleum (not the same as BP). They want to use an array of air guns to create sound explosions underwater (ah, sorry, I mean ‘seismic testing’) in a Blue Whale feeding area 50 kilometres off the West coast of Kangaroo Island. Seismic testing involves sound waves powerful enough to reveal oil deposits buried a couple of thousand metres underground.
For instance, the total fine for the 2009 Montara oil spill in the Timor Sea, Australia’s biggest ever, was only $510,000. That’s nothing when compared to the cost to local communities and fishermen from here to Timor. Decisions on Bight drilling are already out of South Australian hands, since the drilling takes place in Commonwealth waters. But it will soon be much worse, with Greg Hunt gutting (Howard’s) Environmental Protection laws to hand decision-making power to a body called NOPSEMA. Who are they? Well, five of their eight board members had careers in oil and gas companies. It is obscene for people whose entire careers have been in working for oil companies to be in charge of the environmental approval process. The United Nations tells us that 20 million Bangladeshis will be homeless because of climate change by the time I reach retirement age in 2050. That’s almost the entire population of Australia. If we want to avoid this situation (and our moral culpability for it), we need to leave a huge chunk of the world’s fossil fuel reserves in the ground, and it seems to me that it could be a good idea to start with those oil reserves buried thousands of metres beneath our ocean. Lewis is a freelance writer. Just joking, he’s unemployed.
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a remnant wandering words by ethan wake
he morning breeze blew gently over the young manâ€™s face as he lay upon the sand, waves gently lapping at his legs. The first rays of light danced gently upon his eyelids, calling him back from the unconscious depths he currently lay enthralled in. His eyes opened slowly, deep brown, unfocused and hazy, beginning to take in the surroundings. Reflexively, he twitched his fingers, as though he searched for something. The digits found nothing but cold and chipped steel, the shattered remnants of his weapon still firmly grasped by his bloodied and injured hand. Pain coursed through him as he began to wake fully; the lacerations and punctures that marred his body seeming to alternate between
itching and burning, the sensation further exacerbated by the cold, salty water that had been allowed to soak into them overnight. He groaned softly in pain, full and true awareness beginning to set in, the joy he had held at being alive replaced by the pain that seemed to so consume his body. He groaned further as the tide once more lapped at his injuries, fire once more leaping through his body. He struggled forwards, one hand still grasping his weapon, the other pulling him beyond the range of the merciless tide. He struggled, yet his body seemed to fail him once more, and but a scant few metres were all he could scavenge, his once more exhausted body drained. Yet he knew he could not falter, for the living needed him, the corpses that lay around him being beyond his help.
He stood gingerly, legs protesting as he forced himself to stand, crimson flowing freely once more as he regained his full height. He grit his teeth, a trickle of blood flowing from his mouth, as the pain cascaded over him and his head spun. He fell to one knee, breath coming in short, sharp bursts as his body screamed for him to rest, to slip once more into the void and never return from it. He shook his head, and stood once more. He lifted his head towards the dawn, and after a moment of solace, opened his eyes, the damaged organs beginning to take in his surroundings â€“ the shattered bodies of his comrades, the flayed husks of vehicles that lay in ruined piles, the deep red tint of the waves that had awoken him from his slumber, lapping greedily at the sanguine liquid, one which
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seemed to flow endlessly from both enemy and friend alike. He sighed softly, having long since become inured to sights such as these. The blood, the death, the horrors that comprised their war were nothing new to him, for he had seen this before. A thousand times had he witnessed men he had eaten with torn to pieces by enemy fire, arrows and swords turning them into scantly more than lifeless, ruined dolls. At first, perhaps he felt something for them. Anger on their behalf, sorrow, fear at his own demise, all of these he once felt, confirming he was human. Yet those had been replaced by a profound hollowness, an ache that he could not describe and a weariness that weighed upon him like a leaden shroud. He had often questioned whether he could still
be called human, if he was anything like the person he had once been. How many nights, he wondered idly as he began his slow trudge towards the front, had he lay wakeless in his tent, dark thoughts whirring around his head, despair, fear and loathing at his own callousness consuming him, threatening to pull him down into darkness. A moan to his left interrupted his musings. A fallen enemy, one that still had some breath. He smiled, for this one had a useable weapon, a replacement for the shattered and broken hunk of metal that he currently possessed. His smile widened as he approached the maimed mass of flesh that had once been human, sadistic grin forming over his face as the man realized that someone still lingered, his moans of pain becoming screams
of terror as a living nightmare of twisted flesh and metal stumbled towards him, intent on replacing the blade that served as an arm with his own weapon. Perhaps part of him still remained horrified at his actions, and that the fear in the enemy as he brought his blade down upon them was caused by his twisted parody of life. Perhaps a small part of his sanity did and still cried out against the horrors his shattered mind endured. Perhaps that was something worth reflecting on, after everything was over. But, as the gore sprayed his face and clothes, he smiled. For those questions were irrelevant now. For now, there was another battle to fight, more enemies to slay, and a world to bathe in crimson.
the grand budapest hotel directed by wes anderson Reviewed by kassie mckenzie
howling owl frome street, adelaide Reviewed by emma doherty
After delivering the world the great joy that is Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson’s newest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is a rich canvas of Ralph Fiennes’ incredible comedic timing and acting talent. The talented cast includes Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody and more. Honestly, the list goes on.
With its chalk boarded walls dotted with drawings of owls and childishly whimsical paintings and a teensy weensy stage mostly used for Fringe Festival and other comedy gigs, the atmosphere of The Howling Owl is whimsically charming, bordering on irritatingly twee. Thankfully it redeems itself simply by how freaking Jamie Oliver-style delicious everything is.
The film centres on Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), who is the concierge at The Grand Budapest hotel. He inherited a painting from his rich elder lover (Tilda Swinton). The story flows through different periods time, following stories of the Hotel’s past lives. More importantly, the story spans the changing background of Europe through the ZZ party.
The lunch menu is hugely varied, and offers everything from grazing boards and cheese platters to a wide selection of gourmet sandwiches under $10 (for those on tighter budgets). This is also the kind of place where mixologists work, and you will thus find a large selection of cocktails and gins if drinking your life’s savings away is more your style. The Howling Owl also gets top marks for food presentation: the mini cheesecake I ordered looked deceptively like a cupcake and everyone knows cupcakes are so having a moment right now.
At the end of the film, Anderson draws upon inspiration from Austrian Author, Stefan Zweig, who’s personal experiences as a German refugee lends itself to the film (Zweig fled Nazi persecution with his wife to Rio De Janeiro and, much like Gustav H., realised it meant the end of old world culture). This is easily the bloodiest of all the Wes Anderson films to date. I don’t want to say too much without spoiling it, but, whether you’re a Wes Anderson fan or not, it is definitely worth the watch.
The coffee at The Howling Owl is among one of the finest I’ve had all year (let’s just overlook that at the time of writing it is only February, okay kids?). This is the kind of coffee that has a burnished brown look on top, and is enough to make you temporarily forget a hangover or even make a macroeconomics lecture bearable.
Out in Australia on April 10th
Photo by Kenneth Koh
by leanDra medine Reviewed by sharmonie cockayne
by phantogram reviewed by jenny nguyen
Leandra Medine is a Man Repeller. She’s also a happlily married pop culture critic, a New Yorker, a high-fashion fanatic and an I-don’tknow-what-I-just-read-but-it-was-mostdefinitely-pure-brilliance kind of writer.
The second studio release by New York electronic duo, Phantogram, is a sleepy sequence of dream-pop elements and dapper sampling techniques.
Her blog, The Man Repeller (www.manrepeller. com), is the cyber manifestation of all that she is, all that she ponders and all that she wears. Just so you know, a Man Repeller, according to the Man Repeller herself, is ‘she who outfits herself in a sartorially offensive mode that may result in repelling members of the opposite sex.’ Such offenses include, but are not limited to, harem pants, overalls and clogs. If you, like Medine, wear these things proudly in the knowledge that you will be raking no dudes tonight in that outfit, congratulations, you’re a Man Repeller!
This whole album is a deceivingly lacklustre experience; it risks being forgotten as it blends into background noises so easily. Individually, however, the songs are quite distinctive due to persistent pop orientated lyrics and vocals. Phantogram have emulated the sounds of bygone bands like Sonic Youth and Joy Division, revitalising it for the modern era. Whilst song, Black Out Days, is driven by a dark and heavy hip hop beat, Bill Murray is an uplifting ethereal ballad. Another, called I Don’t Blame You, is a twisted take on a love song.
Poignantly, she and her blog do in fact rake in the dudes (well, my brother at least). Where her fashion commentary may repel, her pop-culture critiques do not.
The outcome is a complex infusion of musical textures, categorised as “experimental,” but it could also lend itself to post punk, trip hop and psychedelic rock. You’ll be tripping over its looping layers, regardless.
I give The Man Repeller a 9/10. So much fashion, so much self-deprecation, so much hilarity, so much voice. The only thing missing is a little sense, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I just find it hard to follow her crazy-mystical-Chanel-flavoured-unicorn tangents sometimes.
At times upbeat, at times melancholic, it’s certainly something different. It’s not a perfect album, but Phantogram’s Voices is a launch in the direction of what could be the “2014 sound”. You’ll either hate it or learn to enjoy it. Great soundtrack for perusing through lengthy readings! 3/5
diversions 46 PAGE
Match the quote to the person a) ‘Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.’ b) ‘I’d rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a can.’ c) ’I didn’t know that six million Jews were killed. That’s a lot of people.’ d) ‘School Is The Tool To Brainwash The Youth.’ e) ‘Platypus? I thought it was pronounced platymapus. Has it always been pronounced platypus?’ f) ‘So, where’s the Cannes Film Festival being held this year?’ g) ‘I’ve never really wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don’t like eating fish. And I know that’s very popular out there in Africa.’
Jaden Smith Jessica Simpson Britney Spears Tony Abbott Gwyneth Paltrow Christina Aguilera Melanie Griffith
draw us a pretty picture, please
Send us us your masterpiece and we’ll give you a mystery bag of free stuff. Visit us: Down the creepy stairs on the corner of the Union building by the Barr Smith Lawns. Scan it and email us: email@example.com
with Mystic Marge
Aries You will attempt to download the second season of Downton Abbey only to be interrupted by your mother. This wouldn’t be weird except for all the ‘WIFESLUTS NOW’ and ‘Ugly Girlz Need Sex 2’ porn ads that have now covered your computer screen. Awks.
Leo You will arrive home after a solo night eating abandoned chips at the Exeter to discover your prized jar of Nutella has been consumed. You will retaliate by hiding all the lids to your housemate’s Tupperware.
Taurus After bulk buying heavily reduced and only slightly out of date sausages, you will attempt to construct a variety of meals using only wieners. You will get scurvy, but just think of all those dollars you saved.
Virgo You will discover the existence of Chinese reality dating shows and your life will be irrevocably changed. All future relationships will be shaped by whether or not he can sing Chinese opera, and hour many hours he spends with his parents per week.
Gemini Concerned by a worrisome looking rash on your pubic region, you will make a trip to the free uni doctor only to discover it was splashback from that time you tried to make chilli con carne naked. At least you got to read that circa-2009 TV Week in the waiting room.
Libra After taking a wrong turn looking for Coles in the Mall, you will find yourself in the City Library and remember the existence of literature other than CatsInWigs.tumblr.com. Unfortunately the Jodi Picoult you end up with has about the same literary merit.
Cancer The way to impress that special someone in your new tute is 100% without question to learn and perform the entire dance sequence featured in Napoleon Dynamite. No doubt in my mind.
Scorpio On a quest for a place to study on campus, you will discover the VC’s secret Desk Lamp Chamber Of Secrets. Congratulations on being the first person to officially Find Light at Adelaide University.
Sagittarius In an attempt to seem more musically knowledgeable, you will attend a local gig described as ‘dirty funk/jazz/hip hop fusion with dubstep leanings.’ You’ll have wasted $15, but learnt a valued lesson never buying the CD at the door.
Clue: The action of forking. Not spooning or knifing, but the elegant act of forking.
A O C O U U T C I T U
U C R N
U N R U I A O N F U I C N O C
Capricorn After a strong start doing the readings in week one, you will see the light and fall back into another year of a ‘serving suggestion only’ mindset when it comes to required coursework and attendance. P.S. Get degrees. Aquarius After spending all but $12.66 of your savings on bottles of warm moscato at the Fringe Club, you will channel your remaining funds into a home distillery kit. Tread carefully, my friend. Pisces After the popular come-back of the vinyl record and cassette tape, you will attempt to bring the floppy disk back into popular culture. This will be a dismal failure, but at least you’ll gain some wank-points for your Hipster Street Cred. a) Tony Abbott, b) Gwyneth Paltrow, c) Melanie Griffith, d) Jaden Smith, e) Jessica Simpson, f) Christina Aguilera, g) Britney Spears.
Find as many words as you can using the letters on the Sudoku grid. Words must be four letters or more and inlude the highlighted letter. Use the letters to solve the Sudoku (normal Sudoku rules apply).
eleanor’s kitchen! maori kisses words and image by eleanor ludington
Have you ever found yourself stuck in a mid-morning lecture, acutely aware that your tummy is grumbling loudly for all the world to hear, because that slice of toast you scoffed earlier in the morning as you raced to your bus stop was a pathetic excuse for breakfast? During these times, have you found yourself totally preoccupied with thoughts of hunger, lamenting the fact that the only edible thing in your bag is your lunch? I have. Despite my love of food and dwindling bank account (shrinking daily with each vending machine purchase), I am an awful snack-packer. I usually blame it on having nothing snack-worthy in the house (fruit always disappears quickly here), but that’s a poor excuse. Preparing yummy treats doesn’t take much effort and is worth cooking for an hour or so on a weekend for all the I-can’t-think-about-anything-else mid-morning cravings. Making biscuits is therapeutic and will give you something to enjoy all week. This recipe is an altered version of ‘Maori Kisses’. They contain fruit and nuts, so I like to think they’re better for you than most other biscuits (wishful thinking, I know).
• 125 g butter • 125 g sugar • 1 tsp vanilla essence • 2 tbsp milk • 1 tsp baking powder • 1 tbsp cocoa • 1 cup plain flour • 1 cup dates or other mixed dried fruit, chopped • ½ cup walnuts, chopped (can use other unsalted nuts if you prefer) 1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). 2. Combine butter, sugar and vanilla and beat until creamed. 3. Add milk and sifted dry ingredients and stir until well combined. 4. Add chopped walnuts and dates. 5. Place teaspoonfuls of mix onto a greased oven tray and flatten slightly. 6. Bake for ~15 minutes. 7. After 5 minutes out of the oven, place biscuits on a rack and allow to cool. 8. Enjoy!
INSIDE: Face-blindness, Defence Force at universities, Abbott and the ABC, CFS, Beyonce, Biscuits.