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STUDENT LIFE, OPIN LAIDE ION, P ADE OLI

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CULTURE.


WE NEED YOU! CSIRO is looking for people aged 18-25 to take part in discussion groups looking at peoples likes and dislikes of vegetables. You will receive a Coles Myer gift voucher for your time. If you are interested please call: Greg on 8303 8864 or Haidee on 83050613


STATE OF HIGHER EDUCATION THE MELBOURNE MODEL FOCUS ON SOCIAL WELFARE THE LONG ROAD HOME

3-8 9-13

NATIONAL POLITICS THE N.T. INTERVENTION

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CAMPUS CULTURE STUDENT RADIO

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PRIMER JAPAN'S MULTILATERAL GAMBIT

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CULTURE ROLLER DERBY, FASHION etc.

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CAMPUS FAIRTRADE, STUDENT HUBS & UBC etc.

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COLUMNISTS BEST THING YOU'VE EVER WRITTEN...

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Illustrations by Margaret Lloyd.


WANT TO CONTRIBUTE? EMAIL: ONDIT@ADELAIDE.EDU.AU PHONE: 08 8303 5404 WEB: ONDIT.COM.AU

IN WHICH ON DIT ENCOURAGES YOU TO SCREW UP

Status quo is a Latin term (don’t say On Dit doesn’t teach you anything!). Taken from the original ‘statu quo’, it means ‘the current state of affairs’. In a very appreciable way, we live our entire little lives around that phrase and idea. A status quo can repell, or be embraced. You tend to learn pretty early on which side of the fence you are – and you either try to subvert the status quo, or rejoice in its seeming perpetuity.

Issue 4 Apologies In Michael Norris' Iran Primer piece, several copy-edit

It’s not one of those forever things, although it can often seem like it is.

notes were accidentally published, without explana-

The state of affairs can become the previous state of affairs (‘status quo

tion. This was a late-stage editing error, and we apologise profusely to Michael, and to our readers.

ante’) pretty quickly. This is what we’re trying to emphasise in issue 5 of On Dit this year. The idea that what’s old can become what’s new can become what’s old. You’ll read about status quos that work for no one (homelessness and the state of the Northern Territory), status quos that

Editors:

didn’t work for enough people (Big Star, Merge), and those that have been cast away (the Melbourne Model, Student Radio). We all adapt, but

Connor O'Brien, Myriam Robin, Mateo Szlapek-Sewillo

we don’t all do it at the same time.

Writers:

A similar sort of concept can be applied to On Dit, and student media as a

Rory Kennett-Lister, Connor O'Brien, Emma Marie

whole. The upshots of continuity are forsaken for year-on-year renewal

Jones, Stamatina Hasiotis, Jesse Doyle,

of editors and contributors – which is fine by us. Perhaps if On Dit were a professional publication that had the financial wherewithal to pay

Elizabeth Flux, Walter Marsh, Alexander Gordon-

a smaller cadre of writers, illustrators and copy-editors. But the whole

Smith, Seb Tonkin, Elizabeth Flux, Maureen Robinson, Christopher Arblaster, Patrick McCabe,

point of student media is that it’s meant to be act as an inclusive forum

Hayden Tronnolone, Myriam Robin

its staff, then we as editors would feel a stronger obligation to stick to

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Kate Olsson, Michael Norris,

for student voices and opinions. Screw up, experiment, blunder around in the dark, write things that are borderline defamatory – it’s like a

Copy-editors:

microcosm of Uni itself. And it is nice if we get it right, but we think it’s

Thom Diment, John Eldridge, Timothy McCarthy

more important that we make On Dit as inclusive as we can. And we’re by no means the first ones to think the same thing. We each got our starts writing for or reading On Dit, which spurred us onto other endeavours.

Photographers: Jesse Doyle

It’s how it happened in the past, and it’s how it’ll continue to happen. That’s one status quo we’re happy to keep.

Illustrators: Lillian Katsapis, Daniel Brookes, Ian Houghton, Margaret Lloyd

FOREVER YOURS, MATEO (AND MYRIAM & CONNOR)

Layout: Connor O'Brien Printed by Graphic Print group Cover photograph courtesy Véra Ada

On Dit is an Adelaide University Union publication. The opinions expressed within are not necessarily those of the editors, the University of Adelaide, or the Adelaide University Union.


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THE WELLROUNDED STUDENT.

Rory Kennett-Lister on Melbourne University's experiments in broader education. 3

Scanning with glazed eyes over the list of potential undergraduate degrees, you can’t help but become anxious at the thought of having to choose one as the basis for your career. At seventeen or eighteen what does anyone – except those suspicious driven types – know about where they want to be when they develop a paunch, wrinkle and sag with the progressing years? If you’re anything like me your approach to selecting a tertiary degree was well short of considered. Lacking in both imaginative fecundity and worldly experience I blundered into my degree like a drunk up a dark alley – disoriented and thirsty for beer. And though I loved my now completed Arts degree and quietly tolerate my Law, while it’s too late for me, I can’t help thinking there must be a better way. So I was very intrigued to read about the University of Melbourne’s radical restructuring of its undergraduate courses. Though the name suggests a tall, po-faced hipster refusing drink offers with an arched eyebrow, the Melbourne Model is actually the new graduate-school based program at Melbourne University. Part of the terribly-titled

“Growing Esteem Strategy”, the Model allows for specialisation through postgraduate study and reduces the 96 previously offered undergraduate courses to a mere six; Bachelors of Arts, Biomedicine, Commerce, Environments, Music and Science. The Many Paths To A Degree Up until this epochal shift, almost all of Australia’s universities have followed a similar tertiary model, moulding their graduates into particularly shaped pegs, suitable for the specifically shaped holes out in the post-study netherworld. Conversely, the Ivy League schools in the US transform their graduates into the job-seeking equivalent of play dough, able to malleably adapt and fit into said holes. Similarly, the Melbourne Model aims to ‘devocationalise’ undergraduate degrees, broadening the knowledge base of undergraduates and making them better able to focus their knowledge in differing areas. Will Horton, writer for gung-ho Mel-


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bourne University student magazine Farrago and editor of teeth-kicking campus political website parkvillepolitick.com argues that this educational model shows much promise. As he explains, “The Melbourne Model was supposed to have a broadbased curriculum in which students leave university not armed to be an accountant but rather the analytical and critical thinking skills that can be applied to any facet in life.” Of course, should one come to the end of a degree with a burning desire to devote oneself to tax-based number crunching, the Model does allows for this specialisation through numerous postgraduate degrees.

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Once a proponent of the Australian “vocational’ approach, recent years have seen Europe make a move towards the broader American approach through the implementation of the Bologna Process. This movement, given life through the signing of the Bologna Declaration in 1999, standardises the European tertiary education system, which has the added benefit of allowing easier transfers from one country to another, as undergraduate degrees are more similar and thus courses are more readily credited between universities. While it is easy to make links between the Bologna Process and the changes at Melbourne, it is something of a false comparison. Andrew Norton, the Policy and Government Relations Advisor at the University of Melbourne, states that the Bologna Process had little to no influence on the implementation of the Melbourne Model. “Personally 5 I am against putting too much significance on Bologna. While there are some benefits in the relatively easy credit transfer that comes from standardised models, the price is a loss of diversity and capacity for innovation.” Norton furthermore hints that the catalyst for the change at Melbourne was somewhat more market driven. By providing a different system of education, the University of Melbourne has given Australian students (consumers) a choice in how they wish to mould their minds and rack up debts. There is a more subtle reason. The concomitant result of creating broader undergraduate degrees is an increase in the number of students studying at postgraduate level. This is financially advantageous, as government regulation of undergraduate

By providing a different system of education, the University of Melbourne has given Australian students (consumers) a choice in how they wish to mould their minds and rack up debts.

Motives and Reasoning Behind The Change Though the move at Melbourne was to many in the educational world akin to a punch in the back of the head – shocking, confusing and accompanied by a sense of dread – it did not occur in a vacuum.

Illustration by Daniel Brookes.


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course fees does not apply to postgraduate courses. As Norton simply puts it, “the ability to charge domestic students deregulated fees is an advantage of postgraduate-level education.” With the completed implementation of the Model, Melbourne is aiming to eventually achieve a 50/50 split between undergraduate and postgraduate students. When it is looked at this way, the changes seem less motivated by pedagogy than by avarice. Sensing (rightly) that I was perhaps somewhat of an administrative philistine, Norton informed me that it is not just possible, but necessary to charge higher fees a postgraduate level. “These courses should be significantly more expensive to run in a graduate school model because it has to

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ate school models become more recognised, there may be a move by the government to regulate the fees charged at postgraduate level, either directly, or through the allocation of Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP). CSPs give funding for students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, but offer only the same amounts of funding at both levels. Norton argues that this may be detrimental to universities moving to a model similar to that at Melbourne. “The question in my mind is whether a qualitatively different postgraduate course can be offered at undergraduate funding levels.” However, the Government – save a couple of token reforms to student income legislation – is yet to make a decision on how it will flail its multi-armed bureaucratic being into the post-Melbourne Model tertiary world.

The rationale in moving to the Model probably lay somewhere in between the desire for better courses and the craving for more cash.

be qualitatively different from its undergraduate equivalents to be worth the wait [which may mean smaller classes and better teachers].” So the rationale in moving to the Model probably lay somewhere in between the desire for better courses and the craving for more cash. But a self-serving motivation is not necessarily a bad thing if academic results reflect the higher costs. It remains to be seen whether unregulated postgraduate fees will be allowed to continue under the Model. Norton is concerned that as gradu-

The Verdict

So what do we know about how the Model has worked so far? Those with their proverbial ear to the ground, particularly of an Arts persuasion, may have felt the early tremors of discontent. When the idea for the Model was first mooted, it was suggested that there would be only two degrees, Arts and Science. Then, as Will Horton tells it, compromise – democracy’s retarded sibling – entered the fray and proceeded to tack on extra degrees. “The medicine faculty said it needed a ‘feeder’ degree to its graduate programs, so the biomed undergraduate degree was created. Then the economics faculty asked the university if it wanted to lose out in millions of dollars of international student fee income. So the commerce undergraduate degree was created. Architecture essentially claimed "me too" and the environments undergraduate degree was created.” As a result of these more specific degrees, it be-


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came necessary to enforce the idea of breadth of content, a concept inherent in the original Model. To this end, the University now requires that undergraduates take one-quarter of their subjects from outside their chosen faculty. Horton, a man withholding in his praise for the Model, admits that this breadth has been good for those taking more specific degrees. As he explains “Breadth is good, for example, environment or architecture students to learn about issues in the world and how to approach solutions, rather than just how to construct a building.” But he is highly critical of how the changes have affected the Arts faculty; “There is so much choice within Arts but we were relegated to taking subjects outside of Arts. Some of these breadth subjects are excellent, but the feeling is that the majority are second-tier.” While the rationale may have been to ensure students weren’t left behind while studying subjects from other disciplines, it seems that some of the subjects aim a little low, sending the metaphorical ball of intellectual aspiration grubbing along the ground, rather than soaring through the sky. In addition to this there has been the introduction of interdisciplinary foundation subjects (IDFs) into the Arts faculty. These subjects aim to give first-year Arts students an introduction to the many fields available within the one discipline. In Horton’s opinion, “The consensus seems to be the external and internal breadth may be beneficial, but would not be as beneficial as taking a pure Arts subject.” So what’s the verdict? There are definitely immediate negatives that jump out: more debt, more time spent at Uni, bogus breadth subjects, and reduced government support due to enforced postgraduate work. But there hasn’t really been sufficient time for teething problems to be worked out nor for potential benefits to emerge. Any discourse remains strictly hypothetical. Kind of like halitosis, bad breadth subjects can be treated; with time and feedback they will undoubtedly improve. And although it is the bane of Arts students, there seems to be evidence of utility in the enforcement

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of these subjects, especially for those undertaking more career-focused degrees. Time is needed to see results. Adelaide Considers The changes at Melbourne are not only important for those who are part of the sizable Adelaide to Melbourne diaspora: the University of Adelaide is considering changes to its own tertiary model. Sam Deere, Adelaide Student Representative Council (SRC) Education Officer, is one of those involved in discussions of a potential change. Having received feedback throughout last year, he created a report (available on the SRC website) identifying major issues involved with changing the University’s approach. Deere’s report suggests that if a change to the degree structure is made, it should be towards broader undergraduate degrees that lead to a major or double major, rather than the postgraduate 7 centred model used at Melbourne. In a way, degrees would be run more like an Arts degree, thereby giving breadth of knowledge as students would be able to test the water before following their majors into more career-specific streams. This would allow the necessary specialisation to enter the workforce through an undergraduate degree, while still providing avenues for postgraduate study. As Deere explains, “This preserves the 'sanctity', if you will, of Honours and Masters, which remain high-level research degrees, rather than something that all graduates receive.” Having learnt from the issues involved with the implementation of the Melbourne Model, in his submissions Deere is at pains to emphasise that any breadth subjects “must be carefully tailored to ensure that students actually find them engaging, useful and relevant.” But Deere, whose views are his own and don’t necessarily represent the views of the SRC, makes a good point when discussing any possible changes. Though he isn’t against an educational shift per se, he believes there are far more pressing concerns


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that need be addressed before the University takes any action; “I'd rather see problems like staff-student ratios and course costs addressed.” After speaking with Deere I managed to blunder my way into the office of Gary Martin, Director of Strategy and Planning at the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic). Despite his formidable title Martin was more than happy to discuss the impact of the Melbourne model, as well as changes to tertiary education broadly, on Adelaide’s longterm plans. Acknowledging that the changes at Melbourne “were a pretty courageous thing to take on,” he was quick to stress that there is no current plan to move Adelaide to a postgraduate model. As he concisely explained, “We’re not proposing at this stage to go down the Melbourne line at all.” However, Martin informed me that there were some plans for changes to the relationship between undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Though not involved directly, he was able to tell me that the University is “looking at a more integrated relationship between our undergraduate and postgraduate profiles. But that’s still a work in progress.” Interestingly, like Andrew Norton at Melbourne, Martin was hesitant about making any concrete predictions regarding the future for the postgraduate sector. The problem, he informed me, is “the opacity going on ‘up there’”, meaning the world of those bureaucratic demigods, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Sensing my apprehension at having little con-

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crete information, Martin stated “The message for us going forward is one that we would like to promote postgraduate opportunities more extensively… because there is going to be an increasing demand to top-up your skills, to educate yourself and respond to the demands of the economy and of society”. This statement was more illuminating than it first appeared, and gave me some closure in my search for clarity. Martin was not at all dismissive of the idea of broad degrees and learning for learning’s sake, but he made it fairly clear that societal and economic demands dictate tertiary approaches in Australia. As he stated, changes to the postgraduate sector are to be similarly influenced. Though some of us may maintain romantic notions of universities as benevolent institutions nurturing our curious minds, reality leaves the institutions in Australia somewhat more akin to a kind-hearted pimp – concerned with our health and capabilities, but ultimately invested on an economic level. Tellingly, Martin pointed out that graduates of Australian universities end up taking jobs in Australia and that the demand in Australia (both by students and employers) is for a specific degree. While Melbourne has taken a gamble in differentiating, it seems likely that the majority of Australian universities will remain with job-specific undergraduate courses. Though groundbreaking in Australia, the Melbourne Model will not necessarily be the paradigm shift some had predicted.

ABOUT THE WRITER

When not writing or studying, Rory Kennett-Lister works out. He is in training for the world strongman competition in Barbados next year.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Danny Brookes is a 3rd year architecture student and regular contributor to On Dit in ’09 and ’10. He’s most famous for the 2010 O’Ball design, killer scrambled eggs, and for having once served Leigh McCluskey on checkout.


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THe LONG ROAD HOME.

Two writers examine the plight of South Australia's homeless.

- PIECE 1: AN INTERVIEW WITH DAVID When the majority of us go home to a cooked meal, warm ugg boots and a cosy bed, thousands of South Australians go home to no home at all. In South Australia there are currently around 14,000 homeless people. It’s a scary number. But what exactly does it mean to be ‘homeless,’ that is, beyond what the term suggests? How does one get in such a position? What does one do when homeless? Can one stop being homeless? The following interview is with David – a gentleman who has experienced one of the most unfortunate lifestyles that can be experienced. Its 9am on a mild and sunny day, an early start for University student these days, but either way, I wait in the inner Adelaide City office for David.

He comes in with a playful yet mature face, keen to get started. “When I was in primary school, and they asked you to put your hand up, asking what you wanted to be to be in life, I didn’t stick up my hand saying that I wanted to be a drunk on the street…” he laughs. "I had a family, I had a house, I never thought that within six months that I’d be wondering the streets just looking for somewhere to sleep." David had completed a TAFE course, had a job, a home and was a sole parent with a 15-year-old daughter. However, after injuring his back at work one day, things took a turn for the worst. “Because I couldn’t do the work, I ended up as a host employee, but I couldn’t do my job anymore and then my daughter decided to leave, so then I just decided to pack up and come to Adelaide for an adventure.” "I ended up on the streets and because I didn’t

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have any referees I couldn't get a unit or anything so I just started to self-medicate with alcohol." Defeated and what he described as a ‘snail drinker’, David then lived and drank in his car and would drink from when he woke until he went to sleep. "I literally didn't care about anything. My daily routine involved going to the 'Salvation Detox' in the morning for breakfast because they wouldn't let me sleep there due to my sleep apnoea - they didn’t want me to wake the other clients, so from there I’d just go to Victoria Square, and I'd start drinking, watching the trams, watching everybody go to work and wondering about their lives, then I’d go into the parklands and drink and dry off my clothes from the night before. When it came to evening I’d start looking around for somewhere to eat and find where I was going to sleep for the night." This was, for four years, David's day-to-day routine. Helpless and homeless, he continued to live on the streets. He was down to nothing; all that he had was a bag, the clothes on his back and some papers. He reveals that it was hard, not just financially, but emotionally as well. "You're by yourself, you know, you get isolated and that brings on things like anxiety or social phobia. You sit there and you feel like you’re disconnected with society because you're not doing the norm and you feel outcast. I didn't feel a part of society." Homeless people do actually realise the position that they're in; they can sense what others are probably thinking. And so, I ask David if it bothered him what other people thought of him. "Well, there I was a total stranger, they didn't know what was wrong with me, as far as they know I could've just gotten out of the psych ward," he laughs. And now from drinking in Victoria Square and living in his car, David has been housed for four years straight. He has rebuilt his life. Strangely, he tells me that he was 'lucky' he got caught drinking and living in his car. David was facing two years in jail, but the judge felt that the David of that time was not really himself, and left him with six months to prove to the court that he could do

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better. From there he went into detox and began the grueling process of going to various stabilising units. Eventually, he landed in a learning program and become a vendor for The Big Issue magazine. "They filled that void, as in the loneliness, they gave me something to do during the day, it's like you're connected to something, you got a family, you know... I'd tasted what it was like to have a real life, and I wanted that back, so the rest was up to me." David helped himself. Now a grandfather with two grandkids, David has also re-conciliated with his daughter. “I had her phone number but my counsellor suggested that instead of talking about the old stuff and that, just to contact her on special occasions, like birthdays. So I did that, and she eventually contacted me.” From thinking about other peoples lives, David thinks of his own, "I'm getting up, I’m with people, and knowing I’m going to be with friendly people, knowing that I’m not going to be alone anymore, is 11 a good feeling." David lost the security blanket that can so easily be taken for granted – his home. Nevertheless, through all his mishaps and misadventures he decided to turn things around, coming across some of the good Samaritans of Adelaide at The Big Issue. David found out that there is there no place like home, but there is nothing like having one. - Stamatina Hasiotis

ABOUT THE WRITER

Stamatina Hasiotis is a dishonourable honours student. The awkward mathematics of her studies – 1 hour of writing needs 4 hours of daydreaming – has left her highly dependent on caffeine. She also, occasionally, interviews people better than her for Faster Louder.com.

Photographs (opposite and overleaf) by Jesse Doyle.


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- PIECE 2: THE ROAD HOME -

A

ustralia has long been known as the lucky country - a sun blessed, sparsely populated, land of promise far removed from the conflicts of our developed northern counterparts. As the world was swallowed up by the global financial crisis, Australia was one of the only developed states that appeared somewhat sheltered from the chaos and with new natural resources being discovered on the regular, it appears more riches lay on the horizon.

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However, this notion of luck is a distant reality for the some 105,000 homeless living in our country. With a healthy national unemployment rate of 5.7% and one of the more generous welfare programs of any developed state, the question has to be asked: what is it that’s forcing these people onto the streets? Homelessness Australia’s Travis Gilbert says that “domestic violence is the most often cited reason for seeking service from homeless services” coupled with the “severe lack of affordable housing across the nation.” The numbers of homeless are on the rise and public housing is in high demand with an average waiting period of 15 months for those seeking it in South Australia. The Australian government in the past has often opted for the quick fix band-aid solution. They focus on funding short-term emergency housing for those on the streets. The Rudd government appears

The Rudd government appears to have come to the realisation that the band-aids are falling off.


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to have come to the realisation that the band-aids are falling off and that if this issue is ever to be resolved, long-term solutions need to be found. To this end, the Rudd government has laid out a bold plan to tackle homelessness. ‘The Road Home’ aims to half the number of homeless in Australia by 2020. Many have taken the grandiose plan to achieve these targets in such a tight timeframe with a great deal of skepticism, and rightly so. Unfulfilled political promises appear to be at the core of proposed solutions for the homeless. After all, it was only in 1987 when Bob Hawke proclaimed that under his government, “no Australian child would live in poverty.” Gilbert however, remains confident that the government’s plan could be the road home for half of Australia’s homeless by the year 2020. “We would like to believe it’s an achievable goal.” The Rudd government’s plan focuses around building additional affordable long-term housing. However, will these measures really suffice by themselves? Whilst it is no doubt a meaningful and well-intentioned endeavour, homelessness in Australia is a multi-faceted issue. Many of those that are living on the streets suffer severe psychological and or physical illnesses, an indictment on the failures of our public health system as well as the severe lack of affordable housing. One outlet that is providing hope for those on the streets is The Big Issue. The familiar publication is written by professional journalists and sold by the homeless. It started off in 1991 in the United Kingdom and has now expanded to eight different countries. Inspired by a New York publication titled Street News, it costs five dollars and half of the profits go to the individual selling them. It already has helped 3,000 marginalised and disadvantaged Australians to sustain a living. It is exactly this sort of social entrepreneurialism that the Australian government should be promoting if it ever seeks to solve the seemingly ever-growing issue of homelessness in this country. Local vendor Luke Drofenik says it provides him

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with a source of hope. At age 23, he’s spent many years on and off the streets, first choosing to leave his family as a 10-year-old because of domestic disputes. During this time he roamed and slept in the city’s parklands and frequented the CBD’s homeless centres for food. He had an affinity for street life that superseded his desire to return home. It was here that he met his long-time friend Adrian Heal who suggested that he join the team at The Big Issue. The pair are fortunate enough to have found a roof at Clifford House, which has got them off the street. 20 years his elder, Adrian’s story is not dissimilar from his Luke’s. He too, left home at around the same age as a result of conflict with his family. His weathered hands speak volumes about the life he’s lived. Fortunately The Big Issue has provided him with a means of making steady income. He hopes to continue working for them and put away enough to get married and move out of Clifford House one day. Whilst Heal is something of a veteran of the 13 streets, there are many youth who are also in the mix. Some 44,500 of Australia’s homeless are under the age of 25. Nineteen years old, Johnny Roy Jackson has recently become part of the statistic. He lies on the hectic footpath of King William Street with a sign that reads ‘Homeless and in need of sixty bucks to get back.’ Jackson had come across from Sydney the week prior in the hope of getting his life back on track and finding some work. A friend of a friend in Norwood had offered him a place to stay while he searched but kicked him out after several days. Without any funds to speak of and lacking a support network, he resorted to the parklands surrounding the CBD. During the day, he migrated to King William Street to try and raise enough money to get home. He expected to be able to return within a couple of days. For Jackson, it was week on the streets, for others a lifetime. Whether the Rudd government will be able to provide the road home for these marginalised Australians is another question, as with many of the government’s promises, only time will answer. - Jesse Doyle


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THE INTERVENTION. A report by Sam Deere.


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O

N THE 30TH of April, 2007, to little public fanfare or attention, Pat Anderson and Rex Wild QC handed down a report to the Northern Territory’s Chief Minister, Clare Martin. The report was called ‘Little Children Are Sacred’, and was the result of nine months of enquiry into the problem of widespread sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities. The report was not released publicly until June 15th. Once out in the open, the floodgates opened. Immediately, the nation’s media descended into frenzy. How could we not have known about these problems before? How could these communities descend into such appalling states? Why hadn’t anything been done?

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workers, healthcare practitioners, social workers, police etc. – had been clamouring for extra resources, and had received very little to work with. The situation immediately assumed a political dimension that has confounded many of the attempts to deliver real outcomes for people on the ground. There is little doubt that the Federal Government’s response was poll-driven. After the election, Liberal heavyweight Alexander Downer commented on ABC’s Insiders that the intervention ‘didn't shift the opinion polls’. The implication was clear – Howard’s Intervention was, in the minds of Liberal powerbrokers, a political stratagem. This is not to say that everyone behind the intervention had dishonourable intentions. Former Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough is still held in high regard amongst many Indigenous advocates for his passionate, if confrontational approach to improving living standards in remote communities. However, it seems that an opportunity to instigate wide-ranging support programs was stymied until it became politically expedient to do so. Elected officials have a tendency to politicise things, particularly in an election year. However, the overarching issue is a moral one. People on all sides of politics recognised that the problems could not be left to run unabated, and therefore, a plan was put into action. Just six days after the public release of ‘Little Children Are Sacred’, the Howard government declared a state of emergency. The Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER), or, more bluntly, ‘The Intervention’, had begun. The report did not just focus on sexual abuse.

The legacy of the Stolen Generations is particularly pervasive; in many places, the mere sight of a government car prompts parents to hide their children for fear that they will be taken away.

Of course, for many on the ground, the report told a story that was not new – rather, it was the latest in a series of reports tabled over the last two decades, reports which detailed an inexorable downward slide in living conditions in remote communities. Those on the ground – community

Photograph courtesy yaruman5 (www.flickr.com/barkochre)

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It spoke of a broader malaise, a sickness in many remote communities that transcended any single form of social ill. There were mental health problems, physical health problems, low school attendance, and overcrowded housing. Substance abuse was rampant. Employment was, in some places, virtually nonexistent. Ultimately, while explicitly tasked with enquiring into ‘the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse’, the report became a holistic inquiry into these myriad problems. The report’s authors justified straying from their remit – they argued the problems couldn’t feasibly be tackled in isolation. A systematic, widespread, and concerted policy approach would be required to remove the conditions leading to sexual abuse. A historical precedent exists, which has led to the current problems of dispossession, cultural remoteness, and mistrust. Over the 220 odd years since Australia was colonised, there have been numerous attempts of differing zeal by white Australians to interact with the Indigenous population. First, there was curiosity. In such an inhospitable land as Australia, the assistance of aboriginal peoples was invaluable to explorers. However, with the arrival of settlers, the invocation of terra nullius, and the subsequent granting of pastoral leases, conflict erupted all over the frontier. Estimates of the Aboriginal death toll from frontier violence range from 8,000 to 25,000 (which does not include those attributable to introduced diseases like smallpox). Few settlers were ever prosecuted for frontier murders. Marginalised, the majority of the indigenous population retreated to areas of relative safety well beyond the borders of their traditional lands. As the conflict waned, assorted Christian groups set up remote area missions, to feed, clothe, and ultimately ‘civilise’. Varying in their tolerance of Aboriginal cultural practices, and often authoritarian in their discipline, the missions nonetheless provided food and shelter for those who were dispossessed from their traditional lands. Eventually though, these missions became a means by which the government institutionalised Aboriginal people (usually those of mixed heritage), in an effort to ‘breed out’ native characteristics. Programs of

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forced removal, initiated in the 1860s and 1870s were still functioning as late as the early 1970s, creating the Stolen Generations. Through all of this, an increasing marginalisation of Aboriginal people from mainstream society has left many stuck between two cultures, with their traditional cultural practices diminished, but unable to effectively participate in employment. In the wake of generations of historical dispossession, neglect and outright abuse at the hands of often well-intentioned but invariably misguided governments, it is unsurprising that many Aboriginal communities have descended into chaos. The legacy of the Stolen Generations is particularly pervasive; in many places, the mere sight of a government car prompts parents to hide their children for fear that they will be taken away. History is not the only burden on remote indigenous. Most problems feed into a cycle, sustained by dysfunction on all sides. Sexual abuse is, therefore, not a problem that can be tackled simply by increasing police numbers. Psychological problems of dispossession, cultural fragmentation, and remoteness make way for depression and despair. In turn, alcohol and other substances provide a coping mechanism; however, they exacerbate psychological issues and lead to violence. Their prevalence in remote communities, and the violence they beget, leads to further societal and cultural degeneration. Sexual abuse is but one consequence. The cycle continues, as successive generations are crushed by the resultant neglect and abuse. Depressed parents, drowning sorrows and distracted by gambling, do not enforce school attendance for their children. In turn, children are left with poor literacy and numeracy, which hampers life choices. Kids that fall victim to sexual abuse often become abusers themselves. Many of the problems that exist in remote communities are linked to overcrowded housing. Housing is one of the major determinants of health and wellbeing, and healthy housing conditions facilitate people to pursue productive, meaningful lives. Conversely, overcrowded housing leads to stress and hygiene problems, and eventually, to violence


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and serious health issues. Kinship obligations and chronic housing shortages are major factors that lead to overcrowding. A person owning a house may field requests from desperate family members, and have little choice but to shelter their relatives. In a sense, it is no different to familial obligations in other societies – the major difference is that while urban Australians may occasionally house a family member down on their luck, those in remote communities may be obliged to do so for 10 or 15. In such conditions, it is hardly surprising that remote communities experience low school attendance rates, or that diseases forgotten or unknown in the rest of Australia can proliferate. In the face of so many problems, it is perhaps

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checks were rolled out on a large scale, but because the doctors (and those directing the health checks) were not experienced in indigenous health, all that was achieved was a massive duplication of results that were already well known to practitioners on the ground. The top-heavy nature of the exercise scared many people away, and participation in the intervention health checks topped out at just over 60% (many local clinics had provided the same checks to over 90% of people in their areas). To top it off, many of the imported health workers were unfamiliar with the array of diseases common in remote communities, like scabies, or trachoma, and failed to diagnose them. An extremely controversial move has been welfare quarantining, where a portion of Centrelink payments are placed on a ‘Basics Card’, which only works in certain outlets. Quarantining has had moderate success in 17 some communities, returning control of funds to individuals (who may be harassed by family members for cash). Tying school attendance to welfare payments has given some parents incentive to ensure their children stay in school. However, many parents are forced to travel long distances away from their families to find supermarkets that actually accept the card. It has also been suggested that the stress associated with lower available cash flow contributes to conditions that are more likely to result in abuse. A black market has emerged, where Basics Cards can be traded for cash, which calls into question how effective the system is in the first place. In October 2008, the NTER Review Board handed down its report on the Northern Territory Intervention’s progress. The findings were mixed, but were largely critical of the government’s ap-

The speed of the NTER’s implementation became an immediate cause for concern. Within a week, the army had been drafted in to provide logistical support. It had distinct overtones of past government mistreatment for many Aboriginal people.

unsurprising that bureaucratic efforts to rehabilitate remote communities have been blunt instruments. The speed of the NTER’s implementation became an immediate cause for concern. Within a week, the army had been drafted in to provide logistical support. While the show of force looked good on TV, it had distinct overtones of past government mistreatment for many Aboriginal people. Child health


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proach, claiming that funding was not being targeted appropriately. By this point, the intervention had cost approximately $1 billion. Some estimates made prior to and independent of the intervention had costed ‘fixing indigenous health’ at roughly $500 million, by using targeted solutions, known to work in other situations. By rushing in headlong, the government circumvented the existing wealth of knowledge about what works and what doesn’t. A sad irony is that, for all the bureaucracy, many reform programs had no accountability measures or Key Performance Indicators built into them, making it virtually impossible to track real progress. Any debate about the intervention usually questions the underlying ethics. One of the thorniest issues raised is about the rights of Aboriginal people: doesn’t a government intervention, with policies of welfare quarantining and compulsory land acquisitions take away the freedom of the very people it is trying to protect? Isn’t this the kind of paternalism that the Australian Government has been perpetrating for years? It is – an intervention is, by definition, an imposition on freedom – but a better criticism of the problem, however, is to look at the impacts of enhancing or limiting individual agency, and assess the situation in terms of the abilities of people to actually make choices. Agency establishes a feeling of control over a person’s life – a person who controls their situation experiences less stress, and has the capacity to change problematic circumstances. However, individual agency cannot realistically exist for people who cannot effectively engage with the world at large. Skills like literacy and numeracy are critical. Conversely, people who feel culturally dispossessed are likely to disengage from their studies: this is being seen in current remote area school programs where English is the language of instruction, but the second or third language of the pupils. Therefore, the morality of the intervention must be understood as a balancing act. Care must be taken to do things in a respectful, culturally appropriate way, otherwise people will disengage

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and the exercise will be fruitless. However, there is nothing culturally relative about violence, sexual abuse and neglect. These issues must be dealt with decisively, not just because of individual suffering, but because of their effects on communities. The question is not ‘should there be an intervention?’, but rather ‘how can we make an intervention work well for the people it purports to help?’ Perhaps even the term ‘intervention’ is a misnomer – it implies a short-term fix, where long-term vision is required. Crucially, the sustainability of programs is paramount. Many healthcare initiatives are rolled out on two or three year funding cycles. Just as programs establish links with local communities and begin to deliver results, they lose their funding. It is necessary too, to keep certain things in perspective. Racist sentiments have a habit of pervading Australian society, particularly with respect to indigenous people. It is therefore not only crucial to understand the root causes of dysfunction in Aboriginal society as effects largely precipitated by European annexation of Aboriginal land, but also to remember that not all Aboriginal men are spouse-beating, paedophilic drunks. This restigmatisation is not simply offensive; it actually feeds back into the initial problems of stress and low self-esteem that are causal factors for problems in the first place. It remains to be seen what the long-term effects of the NT Intervention will be. It is clear, however, that Australia must take the time and spend the money to get it right, now. Despite having a clear moral obligation – and many would argue a mandate – to remedy these problems, the Government is long overdue in delivering a solution. With a concerted effort, the outcomes of the intervention could be overwhelmingly positive; this will require government (and voters) looking beyond the election cycle and committing to lasting outcomes, not just flashy programs that make headlines. The author would like to express thanks for the invaluable assistance of Dr Dennis McDermott (Head of Aboriginal and TSI Health, Flinders School of Medicine), Peter Sutton (South Australian Museum, Division of Anthropology), and Sarah Brown (Nurse and Manager with Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjakt Tjutaku Dialysis Service).


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BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS: Saving Student Radio.

Alexander Gordon-Smith on a cash-strapped campus institution.

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strut down the vacated sidewalk of North Terrace towards Radio Adelaide and come before the afterhours doors. It feels very ‘secret society’ as one speaks the password into the intercom, steps back and watches the front doors part to allow your entry. Most student volunteers arrive at the station an hour, sometimes two, before their show starts. Every valuable minute of the half or whole hour show is (meant to be) planned with the use of running sheets. Once the team is ready, and the minute hand is cutting through the last five minutes, they take their final walk of careless speech toward the on air studio. It would be easy to assume that Student Radio is simply made up of eager Media students salivating for a taste of the industry, but this is not the case. Whilst there are a large proportion of Media students, the remainder of the team are made up from a variety of disciplines including engineering, economics, art history, law, physics, international studies, and mathematics. Why do they do it? Well, have you listened to the radio lately? Perhaps it’s a simplification, but the

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fact is that all major broadcasters subscribe to the same basic format of broadcast, determine what’s popular, and annihilate it for all its worth. Student Radio is a chance to rectify that seeming lack of alternative voice, and to live the age old dream of playing and sharing the music you like, hopefully to an audience that appreciates it. The first show is the hardest. You’re introduced to the world with a short burst of introductory music and then it’s just you, whatever wit you may have and the live on-air microphone. Not only is one mindful of the need to be somewhat entertaining, but there are also the guidelines and rules set forth by both the station and broadcast legislation. On air, the looseness of normal conversation requires a little lemon, as the smallest tactless criticism of someone or something could very well become defamation. Also, they don’t like you saying ‘fuck’ too many times. Student Radio is a university student run and worked volunteer program of Radio Adelaide (101.5FM) that contributes a variety of radio shows on an access spot, paid for by the Adelaide


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University Union (AUU). Radio Adelaide (formerly 5UV, Australia’s first community radio station) itself was begun by the University of Adelaide as an educational access station in 1972. By 1974 programming was being made to allow access to various student and ethnic groups, but no music as the station’s brief did not allow ‘entertainment’. 5UV was given autonomy from the University in 1982, and by this time music had become an ingrained part of the programming. After various tastes of FM broadcast during the nineties, 5UV officially moved from AM to FM on the 30th anniversary of the station. Radio Adelaide FM 101.5 was born. It survives on some university funding, the donations of subscribers and benefactors, and the mon-

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this time, which in turn cut a large hole in Radio Adelaide profit generation. This led the station to sell air-time to other groups eager to broadcast, such as various lifestyle programs and ethnic groups. The height of the VSU debate reached its pinnacle during 2005, the ninth year of the Howard Government. The Minister for Education, Brendan Nelson, introduced a bill into parliament to end what they saw as an unjustified imposition on students who should have the freedom to choose whether they paid a yearly fee to their student unions. The debate of this legislation polarised students across the nation, with half screaming the murder of student unionism and all the services, amenities and campus culture that it provided, and the other half applauding the liberation of their (some would argue expensive) fees from what they saw as an inefficient, bloated waste of student monies by an unprofessional partisan bureaucracy. In December 2005, the Higher Education Support Amendment (Abolition of Compulsory Up-front Student Union Fees) Bill received Royal Assent, thus ceremoniously ending compulsory student unionism from the second semester of 2006. In April 2008, a report was released by Minister of Youth Kate Ellis assessing the impact of VSU. It found that prior to VSU the AUU received $3.53 million dollars from compulsory fees. By 2008, union membership totalled 6% of all students with a fee income of $50,000, and $1.2 million support from the University. The effects of VSU on Student Radio were grim. In 2005, student programming made up a total of twenty six hours of Radio Adelaide airtime. All three of Adelaide’s universities were represented,

2006 saw the South Australia and Flinders reduce their airtime by half, with Adelaide slicing off a quarter. The following year only Adelaide was left, with a mere two hours of airtime.

ies made from paid-for access shows. As little as five years ago, the biggest purchaser of on air time was Student Radio, from the university student unions of Flinders, Adelaide and South Australia. However, the implementation of Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) crippled their ability to purchase


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with Flinders University having a one day six hour block, the University of South Australia with two days of four hour blocks and University of Adelaide with three days of four hour blocks. All the universities had airtime during what would be regarded as some semblance of evening prime time. 2006 saw the South Australia and Flinders reduce their airtime by half, with Adelaide slicing off a quarter. The following year only Adelaide was left, with a mere two hours of airtime. It was in this disarray that Jonathan Brown came on as Student Radio Director. “I literally started Student Radio with nothing”, he says. Brown deferred his first year of University, citing an interest in radio. After going along to a Radio Adelaide information night, he became involved with the station and its strong student culture at the time. The following year saw VSU take Student Radio to the precipice: along with the departure of Flinders and UniSA, and the reduction of Adelaide airtime, the honorarium – a token payment given to student volunteers – forwarded to the Student Radio directors was abolished. However, Brown continues, “I really love the idea of Student Radio and I really didn’t want to see that die”. His biggest gripe about what he inherited wasn’t so much the loss of funding, but rather the fundamental lack of sustainable structure – foundations that could have been laid during the heady days of funding and honoraria. After assuming the task of resurrecting Student Radio, whilst not being compensated, he says he can understand the trepidation of paying students to do things. He goes to say that it isn’t a criticism of the past directors themselves, but more at the lack of structure for the long term which became his post-VSU goal. He stayed on as a director for two years, joined in his second year by Susan Mi and Fletcher O’Leary. Under Brown, Student Radio’s airtime increased from two to six hours a week with a range of shows under a structured weekly timetable. The training of presenters became much more streamlined with the Radio Adelaide training process in an effort to properly teach presenters technical and procedural details rather than throwing them into the deep

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end. In 2010 Casey Briggs and Chrissy Kavanagh were elected as Student Radio directors, both having been Student Radio presenters in 2009. Asked why they wanted to be involved in student radio, they answered that they’d had a desire to do radio for some time, and that Adelaide Uni Student Radio (AUSR) gave them that opportunity. Work for AUSR 2010 began in October 2009, with emails sent out to garner interest for presenters amongst students. After going through numerous applications, the interview process began in December to cull the selection down to 10 show ideas. January was then the beginning of the intensive two-week training course. The directors stayed with every student show for the first two weeks, present instudio should something go wrong and to ease beginners’ nerves. The hours that the two directors put in mimics a student’s casual job, with some week only requiring five or so hours yet others peaking at around 25. Both already have casual 21 jobs. As Brown says, “You’re broke, you’re tired and you can run out of energy very quickly and often it’s the passion that keeps you running. It takes lot of hours, a lot of effort and a lot of heart.” This is not discounted by the AUU. “Anyone who puts in that much time and effort should be rewarded,” says Lara Mieszkuc, the AUU’s marketing manager. “There just isn’t any funding”. Before money is discussed, perhaps we should discuss the relevance of student radio, specifically to students on campus. When I broached this topic, all interview subjects hesitated for a moment, with some questioning the broadness of the word ‘relevant’. Relevance could refer to the size of the audience. Currently, there exists no system with which to accurately ascertain listening figures. The reason behind this is, again, simply a lack of funds, not just for AUSR but also for community radio itself. That said it is reasonable to suggest that audience size is not Student Radio’s strongest point. If relevance instead means the effect on the audience that it does have, then you can point to the quality of the shows and, crucially, their diversity.


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Therein lies much of its appeal. Currently, AUSR covers politics (Left, Right and Centre), visual arts (Arts and About), western free market commercialism and the follies thereof (Immaculate Consumption), sport (The Global Game) alternative culture (Crtl+Alt+Musique) and music and entertainment (Midnight Static, Uni Tunes). Radio Adelaide staff Nicky Page and Nikki Marcel both agree that the quality of student radio has risen in recent years and that post-VSU directors have had a “much greater emphasis on having a quality product”. Briggs agrees: “After having no radio experience at all, a week of intensive training, and six weeks of broadcast so far this year… it’s amazing”. If one defines relevance as how much the involved students gain from it, there can be no question of its value. Aside from learning broadcast skills, Briggs also argues that “you don't get the creative control you get here in many places...the ability to innovate, do something different, and play with new ideas.” Student Radio is by no means content to remain out of sight and out of mind to a wider student audience. Nor is it aiming to become more populist or mainstream to achieve a wider audience. The tight blueprint of structure developed by Brown has allowed Briggs and Kavanagh to look at widening the brand of Student Radio with a new and improved web site, the re-introduction of a presence by Student Radio at university events (e.g. MCing O’Week), and engagement with On Dit. Ideas for future expansion and exposure are many, but Casey is quick to say, “One thing we learned from Jonathan, is to never bite off more than you can chew”. One suggestion that came out of every interview I undertook was to reinstate the honoraria for Student Radio directors. The common reasoning was that honoraria would allow student directors more time to develop the training program, more time developing presenters’ on-air skills, and more time to build structure in order to widen the brand and bring it into the campus psyche. Furthermore, many who see how much and what the Student Radio directors actually do simply feel that they deserve some reward or compensation. If paid Radio

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Adelaide staff were to provide the level of time and training the directors do, Briggs has roughly estimated it to be “around $13,000 worth of work per year”. This is time volunteered, not taking into account their loss of income from other work, which is significant. It all comes back to money. Whilst no one interviewed agreed with VSU, they did understand the reasons why it was implemented. It is a fact that the accumulated revenue was poorly managed and too often taken for granted, and that student organisations were run with little care for sustainability and no eye to the future. It took something as drastic as the loss of this funding to effect student life so dramatically for students to realise what it was all worth. Sometimes, you need something soul-destroying to see that things really need to change. And change student media did. Suddenly it was worth all the blood, sweat and tears. The offices were filled with people so impassioned about Student Media that they work around their jobs and their degrees. Post VSU student media stands with its heart on its sleeve and its credibility intact. While I’m sure that none of the people I spoke to would blink an eye if there ever was a return to the funding of the past, it would be debatable whether it would simply be a return to the complacency and mismanagement of the past. The reality however is that a return to compulsory student unionism isn’t going to happen. But in this author’s opinion it isn’t necessary in the case of AUSR. What I do believe is necessary is a little more. With the incredible shock that was VSU, it seemed that the funding rubber band snapped back a little too far. The reinstatement of at least some form of honoraria would have an effect in quality of the student media product. Directors are the quality controllers. Honoraria would serve to free up their time and allow it to be re-invested in the production, promotion and enhancing of the integral tools of student voice. Whether you believe these mediums exist for all students or not, some students who couldn’t hear their own voice did something about it. If you can’t hear yours, there’s a door open for you.


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PRIMER: YOUR INTRODUCTION TO THE MODERN WORLD

If Japan as a country were anthropomorphized (bear with me here), it would be an exceptionally wealthy yet rapidly aging individual, who for two decades had been struck by illness. It would be unusual, therefore, if that individual were to be busily working on constructing the new face of Asian regional economic cooperation. Yet this is exactly what Japan is doing. Since the Democratic Party of Japan crushed the dominant Liberal Democratic Party in the August 2009 elections, the new Japanese administration, led by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, has been articulating its vision for a new, integrated regional economic body in Asia, the East Asian Community (EAC). Hats off to Hatoyama Since Hatoyama floated his concept of an EAC in September 2009, the idea has gathered momentum. The Japanese Foreign Minister, Katsuya Okada, has stated the EAC is the Hatoyama administration’s top foreign policy priority. This is not empty rhetoric. In March of this year, Japan hosted summits, symposiums and seminars on the EAC. These were not affairs for stuffy academics; rather, they were high-profile events featuring diplomatic representatives from neighbouring countries. For Japan, a

country which has exceptionally strong security ties with the United States, the notion of plunging itself into Asian economic regionalism may 23 seem counter-intuitive. However, it makes perfect sense. At present, East Asia accounts for roughly 25% of the world’s GDP. This figure is expected to reach 40% by 2030. There is little wonder then, that Hatoyama has been declaring Japan’s ‘proper place of being’ in Asian economic markets. The ‘sick man’ of Asia Hatoyama’s keenness to promote Japan in an economically vibrant region also stems from a need to stem Japan’s relative decline. Following the collapse of its property market in the 1990s, Japan has failed to regain its economic mojo, despite PM Junichiro Koizumi’s attempts at reform. Japanologists no longer speak of a lost decade of economic growth, but of lost decades. An aging and shrinking population compounds these woes. By 2015, a quarter of Japanese citizens will be older than 65, compared with 12% in 1990. The number of children per woman in Japan is 1.3. The replacement rate is 2.1. The picture may be bleak, but Japan will still remain one of the four largest economies in the world by 2040. If Hatoyama can succeed in cre-


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ating an EAC, the Japanese economy may receive a desperately needed jump-start. Moreover, if Japan is the architect of this new economic initiative, it may allow Hatoyama to reverse his country’s ailing international status.

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Alphabet soup If anything has typified the post-Cold War international order, it is the proliferation of regional forums and multilateral bodies. Asia alone, relatively new to the idea of multilateral diplomacy, has a veritable alphabet soup of associations. The AsiaPacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) vies with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) for dominion as the premier regional body. ASEAN with its numerous configurations, such as ASEAN + 3 and ASEAN + 6, has given birth to the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). The East Asia Summit (EAS) is an annual regional forum, dealing with a multiplicity of issues. China has initiated the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) with its nearest neighbours. Confusion abounds. It is hoped that the EAC will transverse the multitude of bodies and will express a collective position on economic issues. The purpose of the EAC would not, therefore, be to add to the alphabet soup, but to drain it. One voice for Asia Where does “Asia” start and where does “Asia” end? These questions are neither tricks nor philosophical curiosities, but practical considerations Hatoyama and his team must contemplate. The distinction is a subjective one. For instance, in On Dit 78:1, Primer described Afghanistan as being in ‘South Asia’. In the subsequent issue, a correction listed Afghanistan as in the ‘Middle East’. Both labels are perfectly acceptable, but use of them un-

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derlies respective notions of Asia. The decision as to which countries are included and which will be omitted has the potential to make or break Hatoyama’s vision. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs advanced that the EAC should encompass the ASEAN + 6 group. This would potentially include: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. The term “East Asian Community” is thus a misnomer. The proposed EAC includes countries from all across the Asian region and would transverse languages, political systems, religious beliefs, ethnicity, levels of economic development and cultural customs. Presenting a solitary voice on economics may prove contentious. Yet, other pan-Asian institutions have successfully contributed to regional economic cooperation and security. There is no reason why the EAC would not. Feasible or folly? Hatoyama’s proposal, if it is accepted, could be the genesis of a regional trading bloc that would surpass the economic clout of the European Union. The European Union, however, did not appear overnight. Neither will an EAC. Similar ideas have been proposed time and time again, even from our own Prime Minister, only to disappear into obscurity. Despite the unusual source of the proposal, there is hope for an EAC. Given the vibrant economic growth in the region, a regional trading bloc will eventually occur. Time will tell whether Hatoyama’s proposal will gain enough momentum to spur the leaders of the nominated countries into action. One thing is for sure though. Japan, at long last, has a spring in its step.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Michael Norris is a second-year Law/Arts/Diploma of Language (Chinese) student. Since being fired from his position as Melbourne Storm’s accountant, he has joined the fight against the true ‘axis of evil’: Daryl Somers, Justin Bieber and that guy from Twilight.


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MAKERS WITHOUT BUYERS. Connor O'Brien on how Adelaide's underachievers strangle the creative class.

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W

When I met with the pair in November last year, Josh Fanning and Owen Lindsay were hyperactive, raving, ecstatic. Perched around a table at a tiny Hindley Street coffee shop, Fanning and Lindsay waxed lyrical about the soaring fortunes of Merge, their glossy little street press magazine that could. “These last two issues I’ve been so pleased with,” said Linsday, editor-in-chief, fondling the October issue, flicking at the corners of the cover, tapping the spine of the publication against one leg of his chair. “I think we’ve really hit our stride.” Fanning, Merge Magazine’s ‘ad man’, interrupted. “The ads that we’ve got in this issue are just beautiful. We’ve reached the stage where companies are actually asking us to create ads for them, so a lot of the advertisements in this issue,

we’ve done them ourselves. A magazine is created by its advertising, and we’re really happy with the way that’s going now.” If the pair appeared self-congratulatory that day, it was because they’d spent several years and many thousands of dollars on a gamble: that there existed in Adelaide a market for an free magazine with high production values, geared toward young creative-types passionate about their city – and that there existed advertisers who felt that reader demographic worthy of their dollars. Now, they felt, their gambit was paying off. Fanning and Linsday – Journalism graduates who co-founded Merge in mid2007 – dropped hints at our meeting of establishing a spin-off version of the magazine in the Gold Coast, whispered about the impending launch of


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a Merge-branded gallery and event space, and vaguely tossed around the idea of Merge taking on the role of magazine-as-advertising agency (à la Melbourne’s Lifelounge). Then, in February this year, their publication unexpectedly folded. The magazine’s publisher, Adrian Jenkins, who had bankrolled Merge since 2008 under the expectation that the venture would eventually offer a return, pulled out. He offered to sell the rights to Merge back to Fanning and Lindsay (who had created the brand) for a five-figure sum. Both rejected the proposal. The story of Merge – the magazine’s rise and subsequent fall – leads one to question whether Adelaide is large enough to support a thriving in-

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consume as conspicuously as possible. The term ‘yuppie’ is often used derogatorily (the assertion being that if you’re wealthy, but aren’t raising children, you must be pathologically selfish), but the truth is that cities with thriving, self-sustaining creative communities are, almost invariably, ‘yuppie cities’. Young professionals, concerned with cultivating a sophisticated self-image, are the most likely to foot the premium that goes along with buying from local brands, artists, designers, and entrepreneurs. If you’re young, affluent, discerning and childless, you serve as your city’s cultural buttress. The Adelaide artistic community may be vibrant, but the lesson to learn from Merge is that it doesn’t matter how many struggling young creative-types inhabit a city if there’s no financial backing to allow artists to self-support. For Merge to have succeeded would have required a class of wealthy young Adelaideans with both enough interest in local art and culture to read the magazine, and enough disposable income to force potential advertisers sit up and take notice. An overwhelming chunk of Victorians are aged between 25 and 35. In South Australia, that comparative chunk is closer to the 40 to 50 bracket. The cultural personality of the two state capitals tends to reflect this: the swelling size of Melbourne’s wealthy and unburdened 25-35 set is large enough to support niche artistic subcultures, events and specialty stores; Adelaide’s diminutive yuppie class isn’t. For Melbourne, this leads to a virtuous reciprocal cycle in which young artists (cultural creators)

The average Melbournian may well be a more valuable, productive human being than the average Adelaidean. dependent creative scene. The money, it would seem, simply isn’t here. “The lesson is that you can’t survive without yuppies,” Fanning told me, dejected, the day Linsday called Merge contributors into his office to break the news of the magazine’s collapse. “That’s the lesson we learnt, and that’s the lesson the whole Adelaide art community is going to have to learn if it wants to keep going. It’s great to have a lot of exhibitions and lots of launch parties, but if nobody has any money, what’s the point? You can’t survive on compliments from other artists. You can’t pay your rent with pats on the back.” If Adelaide lacks anything vital, it’s yuppies: wealthy, cultured young professionals who, untrammelled by children or mortgage payments,


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and professionals (cultural consumers) from Adelaide are drawn to the city, further bolstering the metropolis’ reputation as a sprightly creative centre. Finally, when long-departed yuppies are ready to settle down, they return to Adelaide, where their waning passion for local culture loses out to mortgage payments and school fees. Melbourne is a larger city than Adelaide, but that’s not the end of the story: the average Melbournian may well be a more valuable, productive human being than the average Adelaidean. As a percentage of the population, there are more underachievers here – according to cultural planner Charles Landry, perhaps a quarter of our citizens are “leading a life that both drains them and Adelaide.” Yuppies, on the other hand, are by their very nature overachievers, striving not only for well-paying jobs and enviable lifestyles, but for respected positions as patrons of the local culture. Melbourne has more yuppies than underachievers. In Adelaide, that dynamic is flipped. (By the way, if you’re scratching your head at my continued use of the term ‘yuppie’, and consider it utterly sociologically unfashionable, you’re more than encouraged to switch it out in every instance for the more contemporary ‘White Person’ – as per Christian Lander’s incendiary and perceptive Stuff White People Like). Fanning simplifies Adelaide’s demographic split: “Ninety percent of the people here are bogans, and our talented creative class is spread thin.” In Fanning-speak, ‘bogan’ maps neatly onto Landry’s concept of the ‘underachiever’: one who finds employment in a position to which they are not making the best use of their talents – or who may not have come to discover any particular talent in the first place – and who is unconcerned with supporting their city’s creative culture. In a practical sense, the underachiever is a social leach, hindering progress and diverting resources away from those in the community. In terms of consumption patterns: the artist produces local culture, the yuppie consumes local culture, while the bogan/underachiever produces nothing of cultural value and spends indiscriminately on products produced interstate or

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overseas. While a huge number of artists are producing work here, Adelaide suffers from a surplus of bogans/underachievers and a dearth of ‘White People’/yuppies. Landry’s solution is modest: we must transform 5% of our underachievers into yuppies who give a damn. One solution is to draw young people into the CBD area: it’s difficult to develop a passion for local culture when you’re living out in the sticks, or in soulless display home village. I was recently invited to a City Council brainstorming session in which it became bleedingly obvious that the Council are of the opinion that the city’s residential strategy is failing. One participant at the roundtable made it clear: “When it’s night-time, and you’ve gone off home to your place in the suburbs, you look out at the lights, and you see quite clearly that the city is a completely black space on the map. There’s nobody there.” Everybody nodded. The suburbs, to a degree, are the problem. Ad- 27 elaide is geographically screwed: each region becomes a curse – those born in the North grow up monumentally disadvantaged, those born in the South-East emerge as social conservatives, whilst the South-West has become a middle-class noman’s land. Because it is difficult to find affordable housing in the city, there is no way to escape your geographic fate. It is out of this frustration that underachievers emerge. And, considering that three city cinemas have closed in the last decade, the cancer of commercial failure is spreading from the shopfronts of Hindley Street to those of Rundle Street, and more consumers are avoiding the city in favour of Westfield-style suburban malls, it seems inarguable that things are only getting worse. Of course, when we’re dealing in the aggregate, it all becomes very complex. It’s one thing to notice that we don’t have enough wealthy, cultured 25 to 35 year-olds to bolster our existing creative community, but it’s another thing entirely to come up with a cohesive strategy by which to reverse existing demographic trends. Adelaide has been struggling culturally for a long, long time. It will likely struggle for a little longer.


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SURVIVING A SUPERNOVA. Seb Tonkin on the dying days of the record store.

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ig Star Records on Rundle Street is, after more than 25 years, probably closing. While management (at the time of writing) was reluctant to publicly accept defeat, the clearing out of stock and papered-up windows is, at the very least, indicative of a business with serious problems. It’s not hard to guess why. The short of it is people aren’t going to record stores much anymore. When the news first broke, I overheard some record store loyalists bemoaning the closure. One of them expressed relief that “at least we still have B Sharp Records.” There was murmured agreement – until some wet blanket pointed out that B Sharp (located across the road from Big Star) had closed down months earlier. Apparently even those of us that like to look (or like to look like we care), don’t buy as many records as we should. Big Star and B Sharp aren’t the only ones with problems. Melbourne-based indie label Rubber Records recently announced that they are ceasing their physical distribution, selling off what they can and destroying what remains. David Vodicka (chairman of the Australian Independent Record labels association and Rubber’s managing director) released a blunt statement: “Physical retail distribution is dictated by a business model that no longer works for either the customer, the artist or the label.” Big words from the guys that kickstarted a band called Jet. The problems for inde-

pendent physical distribution are undeniable: cheap, convenient online downloads; the resulting plummet in demand for CDs; and super-size national retailers like JB Hi-Fi. Instead of competing in this climate, Vodicka said, the label will be focusing on direct consumer communication – selling downloads, tickets, and merchandise directly to fans through an online store. His consternation is easily understandable and relatable. Major labels are finally beginning to exploit the online market – only ten years late then – and the upturn in vinyl sales in no way counter-acts the halving of CD sales since 2000. Record stores around the world are finding it difficult to compete, even as events like Record Store Day attempt to re-glamourise them. ‘Boo hoo’ say the laissez-faire. Sure, you could say that record stores are only being sidelined in the natural development of free market capitalism and have proved unfit to survive in an increasingly dissociative media world. You’d be a smug git, but you’d probably be right. The problem is that this isn’t just a shift; it’s a shedding. There are things that places like Big Star can provide that online distribution and larger chains can’t. Most of these are rooted simply in contact – with people who love music, and with music itself. Step into Big Star (or a Big Star equivalent) and there’s music everywhere. Shelves and shelves of


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it, begging to be flicked through. It plays from the corners, which, if it’s a good album, is swell. Head downstairs and you can even try used records on a turntable right then and there. There are also people. Even if you, like me, are a little too shy to strike up that musical conversation with a stranger, it’s comforting to know that the option is there. The overall atmosphere is one conducive to sweet musical exploration at every turn, one that offers rewards for chances taken. You don’t get this online. You click, and wait for either your download to finish or your package to arrive in the mail. Not so much fun. The community element is gone, and the process of musical discovery is rendered isolated and insular. Even though they’re a little less convenient, we should try to preserve record stores for our own sake, because – for us music fans – they offer something unique. When they close down, there’s collateral damage, too. In an interview on Adelaide University Student Radio’s Midnight Static (midnight Tuesdays to Thursdays, people) Mark Curtis of The British Robots asked (rhetorically) “Now that Big Star’s closed, how are you going to get any local music?” It’s a valid point. While you might find Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!’s new album in JB Hi-Fi, equally talented unsigned bands are forced to seek out other options. According to Vodicka, even if you’re signed to a label, JB will only stock your releases if they go through a third-party distributor. These distributors take 25% cuts, contributing to the $30 album prices that turn people off in the first place. Bands like The Keepsakes and Cheer Advisory Council, unwilling or unable to deal with corporate distribution, are experimenting with online download stores like Bandcamp. And while that’s a great way for existing fans to get cheap, ethical MP3s, there’s no unified online ‘rack’ of local music waiting to be discovered. It doesn’t help a scene already so reliant on word-of-mouth promotion. Some are still making a living selling records to music nerds. I spoke to Craig Radcliffe, manager of Squirrell Gripp, an Adelaide-based online store that ships vinyl from the heavier end of the musical spectrum across Australia. The business

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started in 2005, and while it’s still a purely online entity, Craig hopes to bring it into a real shop front by the end of the year. Why? Because a record store is more than just a place where you exchange bucks for beats. With his shop, Craig hopes to create ‘a place where fans can congregate, listen to new music, order their releases, and immerse themselves in all that is the musical experience.’ Nice. More immediately exciting is the recently opened Clarity Records on Pulteney Street, run by Big Star refugee Matthew Hovath. In many ways, it’s like a smaller, slightly punkier Big Star. There’s vinyl, t-shirts, and a few limited box sets on display. There’s also a little rack promisingly labeled ‘Adelaide Bands’. It’s accessible, with a fair sprinkling of DIY charm. So far it’s hosted a special opening, an in-store performance, Record Store Day celebrations, and a launch party. No faults to find there. In a way, record stores are a lot like the records they sell. On a superficial level, they’re unnecessary, replaced by larger retailers and digital files respectively. But for the enthusiasts, they offer something above and beyond convenience. But independent record stores need to engage with their market. Radcliffe puts it thus: ”The challenge for record stores… is to create your own niche. You need to develop a loyal customer base and listen to what they want and be very active in trying new things.” Once upon a time, Big Star had the right idea, hosting in-store performances and special events. As far as I can tell, it’s been over a year since their last one. Their MySpace currently wishes visitors a very merry Christmas – of 2008. No matter how knowledgeable your staff and wide your selection, people aren’t going to lay down the cash unless you find a way to get them into the building. Record stores need to be heard, and they need to engage with their audience. They need to be on Facebook; they need to host events; and people need to want to go to them. Clarity Records, still very much in its youth, has so far had the right idea. Let’s hope they keep it up, because an Adelaide without record stores would be a sad city indeed. Not just for music nerds. Illustration by Ian Houghton.


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LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL. Maureen Robinson on roller derby.

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n the vast arena of the Wayville Pavillion of the Adelaide showgrounds, the crowd mingles and roars in delight as rollergirls take their first spins around the track. The crowd is buzzing with anticipatory tension as the Wild Hearses and the Salty Dolls make their entrance. And what a crowd it is—by all indications, the largest crowd in the short history of the ADRD. Young and old, rabid and subdued, sitting, standing, crouching, cheering, observing, taking it all in. The crowd is not your typical one. Sprawled on the floor, hunched in the bleachers, or milling about the sidelines, the audience covers every demographic and interest group. In appearance, most of the audience looks as if an op-shop exploded over them, decked out in a melange of 50s glam, DIY fashion experiments, and goth-punk inspired attire. Heavily tattooed and pierced bodies circulate the restless group as young kids tug their parents to the front of the pack. Orange paper flowers, in support of

the Hearses, dot the crowd as flower-bearers cheer for their favourite rollergirls. A gaggle of shiny hotrods line the edge of the pavilion, and a giant inflatable zebra keeps the commentators company.

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OLLER DERBY IS a sport unlike any other. Derby games are part spectacle, part love-in, and part ruthless competition. With striking undertones of sisterhood, community, and showmanship, the sport—at least in Adelaide—is populated with incredibly dedicated and passionate men and women. A strange fact, considering the nascent Adelaide league is barely three years old. In fact, derby’s history in Australia is not a very consistent one. The history of the sport, which originated in America, can be traced back as early at 1922. The name “roller derby” was coined sometime in the 1930s in Chicago, and over the next few decades, the sport took off in America. Up until the 60s and

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early 70s, tens of thousands of spectators would attend derby matches which were broadcast on major national networks. Margaret Verner, who played derby recreationally in Sydney in the 1960s, recalls that American players were sent to Australia to promote the sport, which was called “Roller Game” here, but the Australian incarnation was very different. “We used to watch it on television from the United States, and we became interested in it. We heard that they were playing it in Annandale (Sydney),” she recalls. “We didn’t actually have teams, not like in America. And it wasn’t that competitive or organized, certainly not as much as it is now. In Sydney we used to have people from different rinks come together and we used to just make up the teams.” The sport collapsed under its own weight in the late 70s, but has seen an emergence of interest and

participation in the last decade. In a contemporary setting, roller derby leagues exist in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Over 500 leagues and 20,000 participants means that, for now, derby is going strong. In 2007, a small group of women led by the effervescent Texan, Barrelhouse Bessie (her “derby name”), founded the Adelaide movement around the same time leagues were forming in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. In 2010, there are 26 leagues in Australia. Interest in the Adelaide league swelled, and is currently so popular in Adelaide that 120 women tried for the 35 spots on four teams this season, and 80 of the leftover women started a new, slightly less competitive league, Murder City Roller Girls.

Vintage photograph, American roller derby ca. 1950.


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T WASN’T LONG before the first mishap occurred. The game hadn’t yet started when Psycho Fox, a Salty Doll, tumbled to the ground after taking an awkward turn. I would later find out that she suffered multiple breaks and a dislocation. This, apparently, is a frequent and widely accepted occurrence at derby games, and sparked my curiosity. I later asked Coconut Rough (a Salty Doll) if she is deterred by seeing girls go down with excruciating injuries. “I have never really worried about getting hurt,” she replied. “I was always a bit of a tomboy and risk taker as a teenager and roller derby has fuelled the thrill seeker in me that I thought I'd lost as part of growing up.” I had asked Bessie earlier if roller derby was a

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over the Dolls. A jam has ended, and a new one is about to commence. The rules of the game come flooding back to me in real time (the last match I attended was six months ago), and the commentators are helpful in filling in the gaps. For those not in the know, the rules of derby are actually quite simple: Each team skates around the track and acquires points when one key player (the jammer) laps players on the other team. The non-jammer players (blockers) are responsible for blocking the other team’s jammer (by pushing, elbowing, obstructing) from lapping their own players. Each round is called a “jam” and each “jam” lasts 90 seconds or until the lead jammer (the first of the two jammers to lap the mass of blockers) calls it off—a strategic move often utilized right before the other jammer starts lapping players and acquiring points. Among the more quirky elements of the movement are 33 the esoterically self-selected player nicknames—some selfdeprecating, others downright punny. The Hearses boast The Little Murdermaid, Toe Jam, and Fury of Fenrir, while the Salty Dolls have She-Ra, Woad Rage, Beat-Em Up Buttercup, Ivana Shoverova, and Crispy Saltbrush. Endearingly, the girls call each other by their derby nicknames both on and off the track. I ask Coconut Rough what the inspiration for her nickname is: “I like sweet treats and I like to play rough.” Even the referees have nicknames, and apparently, eccentricities: Guy Incognito, decked in black and white stripes, wears a white cloth bag over his head with the eyeholes cut out. After the 30 minute first half, the crowd immediately disperses to buy drinks, mingle, purchase merchandise, or just mill about and take in the festivities. A rockability band, complete with dou-

I am on the edge of my seat when disaster strikes— Fury of Fenrir becomes tangled in the limbs of a Salty Doll and they tumble towards the concrete.

safe sport. She paused thoughtfully. “Define safe.” Are players putting their health at risk? She mulls it over and comments, “Everyone who plays roller derby is going to get hurt. There are a lot of breaks.” (That isn’t to imply that anyone is blasé about health and safety—all players must wear helmets, knee pads, wrist guards, and mouth guards at all times, and penalties are given for actions which compromise the safety of other players. And if a girl goes down, the jam is stopped immediately) Back in the game, the Hearses have a slight lead


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ble bass, keeps the throngs of supporters in bubbly spirits. A group of kids take advantage of the break in festivities to practice their roller-moves at a makeshift track at the side of the pavilion. The Adelaide scene is decidedly family-friendly, with early games and affordable ticket prices. The halftime show winds up, and the Hearses and Dolls come streaming back onto the track. I take a moment to appreciate the uniforms, another striking element of individuality in the sport. The Hearses are decked out in vibrant orange and purple outfits, while the Dolls embrace a blue and white nautical theme—but every girl looks distinctly different with her own unique modifications to the team’s colours and pattern. The Little Murdermaid dons a billowy, sparkly skirt, while other players wear striped leggings and sequin-emblazoned shirts. Pixie Pincher, jammer for Hearses, even has her face painted like a sugar skull. According

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to Bessie, who during the game wore orange ruffled knickers, the league votes on the outfit colour and style, but the individual girls design their uniforms to reflect their name and personality. “Think of it this way,” says Bessie. “If all of your friends buy the same outfit from the same store, it’s not really going to look for on all of you. But if you all had a piece of fabric, you could make something you really like.” “The only rule for outfits is safety first. No metal studs or loose fabric to get your hands caught in.” But no limits for taste, I ask? “No limits,” she grins. The players’ individuality is a strongly refreshing component of the sport. The girls come in all shapes and sizes, unlike sports like tennis, gymnastics, and netball where lithe, unfeminine figures grace the courts. Bessie tells me that about 30% if players are mothers (“One player started play-

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Illustration by Lillian Katsapis.


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ing three weeks after giving birth,” she boasted). I ask Coconut Rough, one such roller-mum from the Salty Dolls, what the balance between derby and parenting is like. “Very challenging,” she says. “We train twice a week, sometimes more before a game. We also have meetings and social occasions. It's a massive commitment, but it's absolutely worth it. I also work four days a week so I do get pretty tired ... We also have a great support network of family that are always happy to help with babysitting. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be able to play.” Coconut laughs off the question of whether her three-year old is frightened by the regular accidents and injuries, “She always seems pretty impressed when she sees me in my uniform with all my gear on and I'm told she yells "Go mummy!" but generally she gets pretty bored pretty quickly! She's definitely not scared though ... I'd much rather show my daughter who I really am, and teach her that she can be who she really wants to be rather than always being 'safe' because I'm a mum.” Sub-themes of new-wave feminism notoriously permeate the movement, but curiously, most women seem to just be there to have a good time and be themselves. “For adult women, it can be difficult to have social outlets and be socially enriched,” says Marshall Stacks from the Wild Hearses. “Derby presents you with a set of challenges, and that is attractive to women. It’s just exciting to see women owning their own space. It’s a full contact sport and the audience would find something special there.” According to Stacks, a couple of leagues around the country have gone co-ed and there is a men’s league starting in Melbourne. “We do have male members but they are referees or non participants, and they get a vote,” she says. “The majority of leagues in the world is like this.”

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NEW JAM HAS just begin, and the crowd roars in support as the purple, orange, blue, and white mass of girls grapple amongst each other for supremacy on the track.

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Blockers from both teams look expectantly over their shoulders, keen eyes searching for the stealthy jammers, who pivot, dodge, and squeeze their ways around the group of skaters. I am on the edge of my seat when disaster strikes—Fury of Fenrir becomes tangled in the limbs of a Salty Doll and they tumble towards the concrete. The audience recoils as both girls crash to the ground. The Doll springs up and darts away, while Fenrir remains motionless, face twisted in agony. After receiving medical attention, she limps off the track to thunderous applause. The game re-commences with a new jam. The Hearses’ Bessie starts as jammer. Stealthily, she surges through the crowd to win the role of lead jammer. The mob races around track startlingly fast but Bessie, with deft footwork and long strides, outpaces them all. Four girls get tangled and fall like dominoes while the Dolls’ jammer catches up. Bessie passes a Doll, gaining one point, then quickly taps her hips, calling off the jam before the Dolls 35 can score a point. The clock is now ticking down, with just a few seconds to go. As it hits zero, the crowds erupts in cheers. The Wild Hearses have won 79-69. Bessie whips off her jammer cap, and shouts “Fuck, yeah!” to rile up the crowd who wilfully oblige with more cheering and applauding. Bessie loves the sport, but she is also deeply ideological about its role in the hearts and minds of derby players, and the greater community. “It’s something special,” she says. “Derby is not like any other sport. It’s a good example of what a community can be and showcases an alternate model of community that a sport can represent.” “We run it very much as a collective. Everyone has a voice ... everyone has an equal vote.” “It takes a lot of guts to play roller derby. To embrace—as an adult—the ability to fall down, even in your 20s and 30s. I love that it’s a women’s sport. It makes it a safe and supporting environment for women and stages a great community event.”


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FASHIONABLE ALUMNI. Kate Olsson on the recent fashion graduates of Marleston TAFE.

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ovember of last year saw the end of a strenuous three years of cutting, beading, embellishing, stitching, and unpicking for the graduates of the advanced diploma of fashion design at Marleston TAFE. Kayla Bath and Carmen Dugan (of Frankie and Bath), Lauren Puvi, and Belinda Zanello are four of the graduates from the course, and the creative young minds behind the up and coming labels of the burgeoning Adelaide fashion scene. This most recent alumni of students has presented Adelaide’s fashion scene with a unique range of creative minds ready to make their mark in the Australian fashion industry. The four young designers I spoke with have three vastly different thought processes with regards to what they believe both the Adelaide and Australian fashion industry

are missing. From corseted Marie-Antoinette inspired costume pieces to sheer statement rouched leggings, sharp-shouldered blazers and hand beaded floor length gowns, these four girls are eager to make their marks. It’s interesting to note how three vastly different creative directions have arisen from the course, which teaches all students the same techniques and skills. It suggests that the lecturers and mentors nurture different trains of thought, and encourage individuality between students, not only to showcase student talent, but to show the course’s versatility to those outside the industry. The idea of the Frankie and Bath duo of Carmen Dugan and Kayla Bath came about during their time studying together at TAFE, and whilst the two presented their own collections at the graduates

Left: Model Kate Cudbertson in Frankie and Bath, photograph by Phoetini Kountouris.


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parade, they eventually joined forces and have focused on bringing an edgy touch to the street wear of the Adelaide fashion scene. Their first collection includes bold tailoring, a moody colour pallet, and the use of varying fabric textures. Their garments really pack a punch; sequined high-waisted knickers, blazers with some serious shoulders, and the aforementioned sheer rouched leggings. The girls pride themselves on the hand construction of their garments here in Adelaide, opting to keep manufacturing local and personally sewing as many of the garments they can. “Our garment construction will always be of the best quality. As we both work in a fashion-clothing store, we know what the consumer wants and needs. We know what suits the female figure down to a 'T'. We design to always aim flatter the female form, hoping that our customers will always feel comfortable and confident when wearing Frankie and Bath.” 38

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Belinda Zanello’s theatrical collection includes pieces ranging from ‘haute streetwear,’ through to feminine couture, bridal and then an Opera/Couture Inspired pannier gown inspired by red velvet theatre curtains being drawn open onto a stage scene. Before finding her calling in costume design and the fashion industry, Zanello was heavily involved in theatre and the arts, which is evident through all her pieces. Lastly, Lauren Puvi presents a haute couture line of gowns with delicately hand-beaded embellishment, in rich purples and luxurious fabrics. Her designs are inspired by costume jewellery, antique furniture and art. She is currently influenced by the 1940s, which is shown through many of the shapes and construction of her pieces. The girls all have dreams of creating their own label, be it over the next few years or even further down the track. Zanello believes that all the de-


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signers have achieved so much since graduation, and feels blessed and humbled to currently be styling Adelaide shoots with these designers, giving them the exposure they need to get a start. Within the next couple of years, Zanello would like to be working for a theatre or opera company where she can apply her knowledge in the theatre, and skills in costume production. Puvi, who has recently taken up an internship at top Australian women’s designer Kit Willow in Sydney, hopes to bring back the skills she is currently learning not only about garment construction, but production, costing, and public relations to find a balance between “uniqueness, beauty and wearability” in her next collection. She hopes to start her own label over the next few years, but until then she is dedicated to gaining as much experience and knowledge she can. “Starting a label takes a lot of hard work and determination, so I don’t want to put my name on anything until I’m completely ready.” Finally the Frankie and Bath girls are currently showcasing their current winter collection at parades all over town. Each of the designers cited different reasoning as to how their designs will fit into an Adelaide fashion scene still searching for a distinct identity. All four designers agree that Adelaide’s ‘scene’ is very individual, yet still slightly ‘lost’ or ‘afraid’ at times. Puvi says this could be because “We are still struggling to embrace some of the bigger trends, being pioneered in the eastern states, thinking that as we are still gaining our own identity, we are still a little fearful of fashion.” Zanello believes we are growing, and definitely in the right direction. She explains how the recent love for everything vintage has begn to put Adelaide on the map as a great vintage destination and our skill to mix and match these finds to create a more avant-garde individualistic identity. Dugan and Bath have found that Adelaide’s steady growth in embracing Australia’s established designers such as Zimmermann, Lisa Ho and Sass & Bide, all of which have opened

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stores in Adelaide over the past year, has been very encouraging for them as up and coming designers, believing the Adelaide fashion conscious are embracing the higher end designs and in turn will embrace Adelaide’s home grown talent. All the designers believe their collections will one day fit into the Adelaide scene, in some niche or another, but will do so with vastly different appeals. Zanello believes not much of what she designs and creates will be wearable on the street. “It’s something more to regard as ‘conceptual fashion. Before I became involved in fashion I was interested in Visual & Performing Arts, painting, drawing, acting, which lead me to costume design and then fashion design.” She believes her designs will appeal to the romantic woman at heart, “someone who is taken by the works of Jane Austen or Emily Bronte”. Believing her determination, ambition and passion will set her apart from other designers, Puvi is apprehensive about how her designs will be welcomed into a tentative Adelaide 39 market. Puvi explains that this is not because Adelaide’s market isn’t prepared, but that there isn’t currently a market for haute couture formal wear. However, she believes this will change over time, especially with the current embracing of Australian landmark designer boutiques. While we might have to wait to see pieces from Zanello and Puvi as they continue the learning process to further their skills as designers, we can grab pieces from Frankie and Bath right now. The individuality of these designers is a testament to the mentors and lecturers at the Marleston TAFE and we hope that, if these girls are anything to go by, we will be seeing more great fashion focused designers hitting the emerging Adelaide scene before too long.

Left: Belinda Zanello's range, showcased. Photograph by Tony Snape.


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Campus

On Campus! 40

UBC to become Student Hub If you believe the rumours (or accidentally read an all student email) you may have heard that the university is building a ‘learning hub’ on everyone’s favourite cement slab. I know what you’re thinking: “Learning hub? Is this just going to be another place I have to learn?” Well, hopefully sometimes, but it will be the good type of learning. The Learning Hub will be a place where we can meet for group work, study alone or just chillax. The design of the Hub has been partly guided by two groups, the Student Reference Group (of which I am a member) and the International Student Reference Group. The conspiracy theorists among you may also have noticed that the UBC (the café just off the Barr Smith Lawns) has been closed this year. Over the next few weeks the UBC will be transformed into a mini-hub (hubette?). This area will be used to try some of the ideas that have come out of the two Learning Hub reference groups. Maybe there’ll be hammocks strung from the ceiling. Maybe there’ll be a mini golf course. The sky’s the

limit (where ‘sky’ should be taken to mean ‘budget’, but there’ll still be some fun things). Look out for a mural which students can update weekly, couches, group study areas and some kitchen facilities. This area will be organised and run mainly by yet another group, the slightly more imaginatively named UBC Steering Committee. The committee will be comprised of some previous reference group members and members of the Student Representative Council (or SRC, which I am the Welfare Officer). As long as we’re clearing up mysteries, have you even wondered what was on the top floor of the UBC that you could never get too? That area is the SRC’s Hub (hubs everywhere, right?). It is where all our events are planned, banners are painted and representation is orchestrated. Up until now, this area has been fairly isolated, but hopefully all this can change. The SRC wants to make friends. What we (as the SRC) hope is that once the UBC Hub is open, you will feel welcome to tackle that last set of stairs and visit us. It will be a chance to talk about your experiences at uni, tell us what you’d like to see happen or even get involved in one of our campaigns. Importantly, I hope that you will drop by the UBC Hub to see some of what is going on there, and have your say on what should make it into the final Learning Hub. It is hoped the UBC Hub will be open for the start of semester two, so make a note in your diary and I hope to see you then so we may share our mutual hub-euphoria. - Hayden Tronnolone


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Fairtrade at the University of Adelaide The University of Adelaide could soon be following the footsteps of several universities across the nation in becoming a Fairtrade accredited university. This involves meeting certain minimum requirements as set by the World Fairtrade Organisation. Fairtrade fortnight is currently in full swing – an event held by the Student Representative Council (SRC) to raise awareness and to emphasis to the university a level of student support for the change. Activists are pushing for the products to be sold at competitive prices across campus. The SRC’s Social Justice Officer, Bec Taylor is at the forefront of it all. She says it’s crucial that Adelaide joins the likes of La Trobe and Macquarie in becoming an Fairtrade accredited university so that “we can increase the standard of living for the producers in third world countries - offering a fair price, an additional premium, environmental benefits and better income security.” Taking the step would mean Fairtrade-certified products are made readily available at many oncampus retail outlets. The long term goal of the accreditation is to phase out products for which there is a Fairtrade alternative. The office of the Vice-Chancellor has said that “it will support Fairtrade practices as far as possible” and if the food outlets which are run by the University of Adelaide Club were to offer such products that this would “be held in high regard.” Fairtrade is already offered at the Mayo refrectory, but to qualify for accreditation, it must also be offered in 50% of faculty kitchens across the university. Whilst it all sounds like rainbows and butter-

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flies, the Fairtrade movement is not without its critics. The Economist magazine has offered a more sobering take on Fairtrade suggesting that businesses selling FT products are taking advantage of conscientious consumers by marking up prices significantly and taking the majority of profits for themselves. In a study they did with coffee bar Costa in 2007, they found that whilst the farmers are being paid slightly more, ‘90% of the extra money that Costa charged did not reach the farmer.’ As a result these farmers weren’t really being lifted out of poverty as many people selling FT products claim is the case. Furthermore, many third-world farmers face low wages due to over-supply of food commodities, and distortive first-world subsidies. Fair trade does not address encourage third-world farmers to grow other crops, or place pressure on the first world to stop subsidies to its growers The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), a Melbourne based think tank, echoed these sentiments in 2008 when it complained to the Australian Com- 41 petition and Consumer Commission, saying Oxfam had been misleading consumers about its FT products in saying they were lifting farmers out of poverty in developing nations. The Institute claimed there was a lack of evidence for such assertions. Oxfam had been told such claims left it at risk of contravening the Trade Practices Act, the commission said. Tim Wilson, the director of the free trade unit at IPA even went as far as saying that “fair trade does not serve the interests of the poor” and that “only free trade sustainably lifts people out of poverty.” However, Dr Andrew Rosser, senior lecturer in development studies at our university, doesn’t think that those criticisms really undermine the argument in favour of FT products. He said that the criticisms largely revolve around the idea that fairtrade is somehow “unfairly subverting market principles” however; in his opinion it is an example of market forces in operation. Fairtrade fortnight is to culminate in a Fairtrade expo on the 12th of May. On this same day, a proposal for the university to become Fairtrade ac-


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credited will be formally presented to the university. Helen Bush, President of the Oxfam Club, is confident that, at least in the long-term, the university will chose to become accredited. "They're already doing most of what they need to do for accreditation, and becoming accredited would allow them to gain credit for it, as they could advertise it". Taylor says that “the Vice Chancellor, several staff members and many students have previously shown support for Fairtrade on campus. Currently we are in the process of organising meetings with the VC, Adelaide University Club and are communicating with uni faculties to rally support for Fairtrade accreditation.” - Jesse Doyle

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Sports Association President Announces Retirement In May this year, Andres Munoz-Lamilla will retire as President of the Adelaide University Sports Association (the AUSA). Andres’ initial involvement with the AUSA was way back in 2001, when he represented the University in soccer at the Australian University Games in Sydney. By 2002, Andres was elected to the AUSA Board. 2003 saw him elected Vice-President, before taking up his current position as President in 2004. He stepped down as President in 2005, before again taking up the role from 2006 until the present day. Andres has witnessed much change, both in the AUSA and the University at large. He has seen the introduction of Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) and the profound effect that had on the provision of student services and the AUSA specifically. He’s seen the ‘Sports Hub’ student gym es-

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tablished, with the AUSA taking a leading role in its continued operation. Despite the changes and diminished funding, the AUSA’s future today looks positive. The Association boasts over thirty clubs, most of which are fully operational, and many of which are positively thriving. The Soccer Club in particular is one of the biggest clubs in the state, while many other clubs continue to provide a quality sporting experience for students. There are planned expansions in terms of both facilities and services, with new initiatives such as last year’s successful Inter-Faculty Active Recreation Week already up and running. Andres’ tenure has not been without controversy. A quick glance through some old issues of On Dit reveals that Andres has never been reticent when it comes to criticising the Union. His occasional appearances at Union Board meetings over the years have, from all reports, been memorable experiences. One such appearance was described in On Dit as ‘Andreas’s [sic] drunken buffoonery’. Andres sees his resistance to and independence from student politics as his ‘most proud personal achievement’ . ‘…[A]lmost every year I was given [a] “deal” by certain [Union] presidents and board directors to buy [the AUSA’s] preferences,’ he says, ‘But [I] never gave in.’ As reported in On Dit earlier in the year, the AUSA has now secured new administrative arrangements so that is funded by the University directly, rather than as a part of the Union. Apart from his independence, Andres views his part in increasing female involvement in the AUSA as one of the most worthwhile aspects of his tenure. ’I am very proud to say that twice I stepped down from the presidency to allow females to take the presidency,’ Andres told me, adding that the AUSA has had only 3 female presidents in its 114year history. Despite the progress that has been made over the past few years, Andres still sees funding as a major issue for the AUSA. ‘When I started we were the worst [Group of 8] University [in] Australia in [terms of ] funding and facilities, [and] we still


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are’ Throughout his term, funding has been a constant source of disappointment and frustration. ‘[A]t many times our office [has] been expected to achieve so much with both hands behind our backs and blind-folded.’ Candidly, Andres admits that ‘Sometimes I promised too much and delivered too little.’ But he adds that ‘Then again, sometimes I promised little and delivered much.’ While Andres has now decided to move on, he must be one of, if not the longestserving student volunteer in the University. He says that in the AUSA, he ‘saw an association which [paralleled] my sentiments towards what university life was about. I felt that …my passion, vision and devotion could serve the University in this format.’ There is no doubt that the AUSA is one of the strongest student organisations in Adelaide, and it is Andres who has been an integral part in both keeping the AUSA tradition alive, and developing it for the twenty-first century.

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them, AUU President Fletcher O’Leary received an email in which Morteza Mohammadzaheri, the PGSA President, informed him that the PGSA would be disaffiliating from the AUU. As a legally separate body, the PGSA can disaffiliate unilaterally. It is not known what sources of funding the PGSA now aims to secure, as direct affiliation with the university (as happened with the Sports Association earlier in the year) appears out of the question. Post-graduate representative positions on university committees were assumed by AUU nominees in Febuary, and Student Care (another affiliate consisting of professional student advisors) will continue providing individual post-graduate advocacy, a function Student Care has long argued is best left to it. - Myriam Robin 43

- Patrick McCabe

State of the Union

PGSA Walks Away Sometime in either late March or early April, the Post-Graduate Students Association (PGSA) informed the university that it had completed its disaffiliation process from its funding body, the Adelaide University Union (AUU). The PGSA has been an AUU affiliate since 1991, having been a social club before this. It’s disaffiliation is the culmination of several years of tension between the two bodies, in which the AUU has expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of the PGSA, who in turn resented what it saw as AUU interference. After a period earlier this year in which the PGSA was not responding to AUU attempts to contact

So you’re now entering the prickly part of the Semester, when all of those 5 000 word essays that you thought were due some time in the distant future are due in three days. Congratulations. Adelaide Uni has a remarkable ability to transition from beautiful summer to bitter winter in about a day and a half. It will become too cold for you to laze away the afternoon on the Barr Smith Lawns. Lucky for you, UBC will be opening soon as a student lounge where you can relax and chill out without freezing to death. On the administrative side, the AUU Board has had one director resign, Kim Dowling. The casual vacancy has been filled by Hoang Loc Tran. I’ve been looking a bit at some changes to higher education funding, namely mission based compacts. Unless you are a keen reader of discussion


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papers coming out of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, you probably haven’t heard of them. The idea behind compacts is that every university will contribute in its own way to the goals set by the Federal Government for the higher education sector (i.e increase number of people from disadvantaged backgrounds with tertiary qualifications), so each university agrees to meet certain targets. In exchange, there’s a big bucket of money that’s put in the middle of the table and all the Vice Chancellors are told to enjoy. This has universities in a blind panic around Australia, for two reasons. Firstly, it’s rather unseemly to have Vice Chancellors gouging each other’s eyes out as they fight amongst themselves for a finite amount of money. Secondly, some of the indicators that universities are going to be measured against haven’t been fully worked out – there is some hinting that student satisfaction will be measured with an as yet unknown survey. All that being said, you might be shocked to find out that our university has signed (an interim) compact with the Federal Government making all sorts of wild promises. Adelaide Uni is going to start taking in more in-

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ternational students, but from more diverse backgrounds. Our international student demographic is currently heavily weighted towards China. You’re also going to see more postgraduate students – both in research and coursework. This has the potential to mean cutting undergraduate programs and shifting the funding to a similar postgraduate program. This I term the half-arsed Melbourne Model. The uni has so far looked at it and decided against a significant restructure. Finally, I attended Academic Board a couple of weeks back. Mostly it is boring as bat shit, with all of the decisions made at some subcommittee level and being a fait accompli by the time it’s seen by Academic Board, but there was an interesting question raised about SELTs. How often have you filled out a SELT, put it in the yellow envelope, and never hear what happens to it? Does your opinion matter? Has it been analysed or binned or what? Email me your thoughts at auupresident@auu.org.au - Fletcher O’Leary Next AUU Board meeting: 19th of May, 5.30pm, WP Rogers Room


Columnists

WHAT'S THE BEST THING YOU'VE EVER WRITTEN?

WALTER MARSH

Music blogs are a funny thing. You could write one for a year with a post or two a week, be listed on the Hype Machine with a couple thousand hits a month and still be utterly insignificant. You, like me, could also come to the realisation pretty quickly that in this golden world of Web 2.0, citizen journalism and long-tail consumption, that no matter how much you put into something like it, ultimately you will have more fun writing it than anyone else ever will reading it. And that’s the fun of it, really. Being asked what is the best thing I’ve ever written is a tough ask. Aside from trying not to sound like a dick, there’s a lot to wade through. My Year 12 History Essay? Maybe the Star Wars Episode II script written by my nine year old self ? In the most basic English it delved into the dysfunction of Jar Jar Binks moving into the Naboo Palace. Gungan hijinks! Then there’s the Year 7 “national address” poem written from the perspective of George W. Bush that matched edginess with a mature grasp of politics, at one point describing North Korea as “a pain in the arse, just like diaor--” Child prodigy, yes? Alas, no. The most rewarding text tapped out by my fingers is a little spot on the internet. One that ate up my every thought for much of a year, but now sits neglected with a million other blogspot addresses. I started writing my music blog an uninspiring two months into my course to feel I was actually doing something useful to my quest to become a ‘media professional’. Under the awful, awful name ‘I Wear Knits’ (later changed thank goodness) I wrote. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I pretty much exhausted my vocabulary trying to find synonyms for ‘indie folk duo’.

A year later, it was perhaps one of my better moments of initiative. Sure, to this day it only has twenty subscribers, but I can’t help but feel proud of these twenty-two thousand and two hundred words of hyperdescriptive bullshit and mp3s. Writing so frequently in the same format was incredibly helpful for building up a 'voice', for regularly taking in and critiquing music and resting easy in the little kick I got out of sharing my every band-crush on the interwebz. In becoming obsessed with the ‘blogosphere’ I’ve also learned that, unfortunately, my dream job of music critic is something rendered effectively extinct by an internet full of 19 year olds with blogs like me who will do the same work free for a pat on the head and a concert ticket. So really, what was the point of it all? Well, its allowed me meet a whole lot of great bands in and around Adelaide, and in some way give them a little bit more exposure to new listeners from all over the shop. Admittedly, I risked being one creepy son of a gun by writing at length about my love for local artists who scarcely realise people outside of their circle of friends like their music, but the rewards have so far outweighed that long, awkward first conversation with that guitarist from Humble Bee all those months ago. It’s acted as a pseudo resume that has helped me make sporadic contributions to rags like the Sunday Mail and dB Magazine, and even landed me an (ultimately unsuccessful) audition as a children’s television host. Now here I am writing about music - admittedly unpaid - for my beloved On Dit Magazine. Mission accomplished, surely?

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Columnists

EMMA MARIE JONES

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WHAT'S THE BEST THING YOU'VE EVER WRITTEN?

I moved house recently. The packing and unpacking process was one of sentimental rediscovery. My father dumped a bunch of boxes from his garage onto my new front doorstep, and somewhere, deep in the cobwebbed catacombs of my boxed-up teenage years, was my journal. The unpacking came to an abrupt halt. I would have to read this. In preparation for the timewarp, I donned my old faithful Converse Hi-Tops, blasted angsty screams from my stereo and settled back into a hormonally-charged fuck-the-world-I’m-seventeen mentality. Now fully equipped for my return to teenagedom, I opened the journal to its first page and began to read. The dusty tome appears to be a self-penned chronicle of the world’s most epic love affair. Romeo and Juliet, eat your hearts out. Romance, drama, poetic tragedy – Emma and Anon* will go down in history. Our star-crossed lovers meet at an underage gathering, centralised around a selection of goon. A whiny band plays badly-tuned guitars, and Emma’s heart is irrevocably captured by the not-quite-broken voice of the singer, whose black clothes give him an aura of mystery and bad-assery. He holds eye contact throughout an entire titillating tune, and by the end of the set, our heroine is smitten. The two get to know one other during a heart-toheart in a piss-soaked alleyway, sharing a cigarette. Anon tells Emma that she’s beautiful, and she knows it must be love. They kiss by moonlight, exchange Myspace usernames, and Emma is carried away into the night by the last 218F. Anon declares his love for Emma on MSN four days later, and she writes his name on all her schoolbooks. They meet in secret, shrouded in school uniform. Their love is a beautiful fountain: nothing can contain it (except curfews). It isn’t long before they creep to the number one spot in each other’s top eights. And it is here

that the conflict begins. It is at this point – this heavenly peak of infatuation bordering on obsession – that Emma’s BFFL decides to declare her own undying love for Anon. The foundations of this unparalleled pair are shaken. Emma’s world begins to crumble. BFFL leaves a flattering comment on Anon’s Myspace photo, and Emma’s jealous instincts are kicked into gear. Fuelled by teenage oestrogen levels, lurking slowly morphs into pathological stalking. As Emma clings tighter, Anon withdraws further, leaving a conveniently BFFL-shaped rift between the two. (By now, the pages of the journal are almost shredded by the scribbly red capital letters, all of which hurl abuse and accusations at both Anon and BFFL.) It is here that our poor, victimised heroine enters a spiral of despair. The journal entries take an alarming turn towards the macabre, as Emma questions the point of her existence. In a world without Anon, how can there be sunlight? A single, tear-stained page announces that Anon and BFFL have made it official. It seems that in the space of six months, this particular flame has burnt itself out. At this point, I’m laughing. It’s amazing how all-consuming things can seem at the time, only to be forgotten in a matter of years. It’s also amazing how far my technical mastery of the English language has come since the transcription of these events (I hope). I tenderly lay the journal on the ‘to keep’ pile. I’ll keep this failed love story close at hand, a reminder both of the fact that time heals all wounds, and also of the fact that I have never written anything as painfully awesome as my heartbroken teenage poetry. *Not his real name. (But seriously. Fuck you, Anon.)


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Features

Columnists

ELIZABETH FLUX

WHAT'S THE BEST THING YOU'VE EVER WRITTEN?

“Oh yeah? Well I googled you on the weekend, and the first ten results were pictures of cats in fruit costumes!” Silence. Tumbleweed. Quizzical brows. Your joke – it has failed. Pity. It sounded so good when you played it in your head. I am constantly composing and fine tuning what I like to call my ‘Script of Life’. Now, this isn’t something I have written down or merrily tapped into my computer. If I had, I would need either the most fiendish of hiding places or a wily password, with a strength greater than that which “fluffles74” could provide. My script of life exists purely in my mind in the form of the mental movie which runs whenever a situation arises which could potentially culminate in an outcome which is: mortifying, awkward, embarrassing, scary or potentially filled with sub-bed dwelling monsters. Rich in detail, and, currently, sporting a soundtrack ripped straight from Eurovision, my mental film will always take the Oscar for best original screenplay. Not because it’s poignant, or filled with artistic metaphors, and not because I used to be married to the director of Avatar. No, it’s because in it everything either runs superhumanly smoothly, or else defaults to Worst Case Scenario. So, why the secrecy? Well, it’s certainly not because my life film is embarassingly Mills and Boon ahoy. You could comfortably watch it with your parents without awkward silences or pained awareness of exactly where the eye contact you’re valiantly trying to avoid is aimed. It’s like ‘Merlin’ that way. I think it belongs mostly on the down low purely because it exposes me for the paranoid goober that I am. To illustrate this, I’ll have to go with one of the Worst Case Scenario re-runs. If you currently have the means and inclination to YouTube search “Dschinghis Khan – Klabautermann”, the third result will either help in giving you a Tom Riddle’s diary-esqe experience or make you weep whilst you grieve for your lost download. Ei-

ther or. I’m out with friends (yeah I know, WTF - wasted Bejewelled Blitz time). It’s a side-street restaurant, and the bathroom is right up the back. The door is obscured, and I have to carefully navigate my way around the stacked chairs and disused tabletops. Opening the door, it creaks ominously, and the window is open just a crack. Outside is completely black. Oh no. The other cubicle is occupied. The film begins. My mind’s eye projects towards the near future, a future filled with toilet lurking murderers who lie in wait for lone girls to enter the bathroom. Flash forward a few hours, and the ‘Law and Order’ team have “cordoned off the area”. Nearby, Captain C.S.I polishes his sunglasses. Terrible. Brennan and Booth would solve my murder way more efficiently. …and people ask why girls go to the bathroom in packs. There endeth a “Worst Case Scenario” film. Still, surprisingly preferable to the “smooth sailing” variety, which rarely, if ever, correspond to real life. Like this one time when I was serving a customer – whilst in my mind I was asking them if they would like to “pin or sign”, in reality I was asking if they would “like to pee”. Fun mortification all round. Their small child laughed. Note to self: STOP mentioning toilets. Anyway, It’s 11:47p.m. Everyone else is in bed. The television is churning out the canned laughter and pseudo-humour of some American “chat show” host in such an irritating way that I fervently wish that this was France, where I would instead be watching ‘Le Chat Show’, free of Letterman, and filled with felines. Maybe they’d even be dressed as fruits. Wait, that’s ridiculous. Meh.

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THE FUNNIES: STAY CLASSIC, LOOK CLASSY

E

veryone knows that leggings-as-pants have trended big this season. The world's ultimate fashion tastemakers, pre-pubescent girls, have stuck with their leggings and jeggings lately, just as their leggings and jeggings stick to them. And how unpleasantly they stick. Seeing someone walk in jeggings is a convincing argument for communism if you think about it: no one can afford to look as vomit-inducing as so many young, ‘fashionable’ girls seem to these days. Fortunately, you can remove the blindfolds you've been wearing these past few months because leggingsas-pants are taking their final walk down fashion death row. So where are all the fashionistas at these days? Well as you know, winter is approaching and even the fashionable need to keep warm. So what better way than to recycle those daggy old leggings, saving money and winning you genuine ‘green credentials’ at the same time? What am I talking about, you ask? Leggingsas-hats. The stretchy, elastic waist will mould perfectly to your head and the legs will give the appearance that you have elastic elephant ears. Try leggings in a textured gray to best mimic the appearance of the noble animal's hide. Denim is another mammoth trend this winter, especially in menswear. John Johnson, own-

er of the exclusive new Clothes Horse boutique on Rundle St, suggests that it works best layered. Layered on more denim. Inner-city hipsters have been doing double-denim for decades, but let's face it: doubledenim is dull. Dull and frankly, only done by dour douchebags. The really fashion-forward fops are rocking triple, quadruple, or even quintupledenim. Our very own On Dit coeditor, Mateo Szlapek-Sewillo, wears a three-piece denim suit in a stonewashed indigo, with the paisley denim waistcoat a particular highlight. A bright orange-overdyed denim scarf (orange is so in right now) and purple denim shoes complete the look, so it's little wonder that Mr. Szlapek-Sewillo is widely thought to be the dapperest boy in the University of Adelaide fashion scene. Especially when you consider that the scene consists of one person. My final tip of the week, and this is for the girls as well as the boys, is that the structured military look is back. Fashion retailers are carrying heavily

padded shoulders for women this season, and last year the International Menswear Council decreed that all men’s jackets must now have epaulettes. But if you aren't satisfied with playing toy soldier, you can add a bit of edge to your wardrobe by buying the real deal. As long as you don't have an extensive criminal record or a history of mental instability, applying for a gun license is relatively straightforward. Bowie knives, hand grenades, and sub-machine guns make relatively compact, wearable accessories, and will tell the world you mean business. And hey, the militaryhardware as fashion-accessory trend has a practical application too. If you see someone wearing jeggings, you can grab your gun and turn their body into a human sieve. The police might file charges, but you can mount a solid defence on the basis of preventing a crime against humanity. After all, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum defines a crime against humanity as "a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings." If that isn't a perfect description of the jegging experience, both for the wearer and their victims, then I don't know what is. - Christopher Arblaster


Profile for On Dit

On Dit Magazine: Volume 78, Issue 5  

On Dit Magazine is a fortnightly Australian student magazine with an emphasis on exceptional writing, photography, and illustration.

On Dit Magazine: Volume 78, Issue 5  

On Dit Magazine is a fortnightly Australian student magazine with an emphasis on exceptional writing, photography, and illustration.

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