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INSULA. number #3

RETHINKING FEMINISM. FUNDING LEGAL AID. MEETING UN YOUTH. A NEW KIND OF POLITICS.


Insula is a new state-wide publication of the Tasmania University Union (TUU), produced by the Student Representative Council. The opinions within are not necessarily those of Insula or the publisher. The copyright in this magazine remains with the publishers. Editor: Liam Carswell liamc0@utas.edu.au Sub-editor: Georgia Allen Cover: Jack Southwell Contributors (in no particular order): Georgia Allen, Alex McKenzie, Ben Armstrong, Campbell Nicol, Jack Southwell, Verity Dawkins www.facebook.com/insulatuu Insula is printed by UniPrint and is released fortnightly. Contibute: Insula welcomes contributions from across the university. Please email your work or ideas to student.observer@tuu.utas.edu.au The deadline for the Women’s edition is Tuesday, 23 April.


From the Editor.

At a recent forum held by the Tasmania University Union, panelists were asked whether they believed universities were turning into salmon farms. Whilst the question wasn’t conclusively answered, one point of agreement amongst the panelists was that universities should be a place for ideas.

This edition also introduces readers to UN Youth an ongoing feature that will highlight a different society in Insula each fortnight. The calendar of events for the Tasmania University Union and its panded. Insula’s intrepid photographer Campbell Nicol captured the Tasmania University Union’s participation in a rally for reproductive rights, which neatly corresponds with Jamila Fontana’s piece on the decriminalisation of abortion featured in the last edition of Insula.

So it is exciting to have another edition of Insula where students are given their own forum to discuss ideas. Even if universities do increasingly seem like businesses, an issue that will only be compounded by the announcement of further cuts to higher education, they should never be a place without ideas.

Like many of the subjects that have been covered in Insula, the decriminalisation of abortion is not a black and white issue. As ever, if you want to write about the other side of the story, I’d encourage you to submit your writing to the magazine.

In this edition of Insula, Georgia Allen confronts the emergence of a new kind of feminism in Australia following Julia Gillard’s powerful speech on sexism and misogyny last year. Alex McKenzie argues that the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania is vastly underfunded and is compromising justice outcomes in the state.

I hope you enjoy Insula #3.

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Rethinking Feminism by Georgia Allen In 1993, a young Devonport girl wrote to a celebrity, asking for a copy of her favourite recipe for a primary school cookbook. She asked herself who was the most famous woman she could think of, and naturally, the answer was Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Six weeks later, despite her mother gently telling her Mrs Thatcher is very busy and won’t reply, Angela Wilson received

My female consciousness has been sparked, and of WoMo (Women’s Movement). WoMo, in group founder Angela Wilson’s words, ‘isn’t a group about segregating women. We already have these mindsets and it’s time we forgot about them. We need to concentrate on the things that bring us together’. We were encouraged to bring our grandmother, friends, workmates, children, men and neighbours for champagne, coffee, conversation and cake, to make new friends or reconnect with old ones. I found myself surrounded by a group of brilliant, strong, intelligent women, all of whom have

with a letter and signed photograph from the Iron Lady herself.

unfortunately, with the odds stacked against them.

Recently, we’ve seen the re-emergence of feminism nationwide, with young privileged women such as

Governor-General, Tasmanian Premier, and a record number of female Ministers in Federal Parliament,

progress in addressing gender inequality in this country. equal pay taking place in 1928, the gender pay gap remains around 17.4%. In December 2012,

yet over. Our women in politics, however, are proud to be women, and proud to pave the way for future generations of female leaders. This is a distinct and necessary change from the likes of Mrs Thatcher, a Prime Minister who just happened to be a female.

the top ASX 200 companies; 9.3% of the board positions in ASX 500 companies, and less than 10% of leadership roles in both groups.

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Recent calls for boardroom quotas, or initiatives to increase the number of women in leadership positions, have been met with indignation by an overwhelming number of the population. Perhaps most horrifying is the number of women who continue to experience sexual harassment in the work place, with a study by

Her singular success does not mean, however, that in her time women were equal, with her refusal to aid the rise of other women evidence of an entrenchment of the exact opposite. It has been twenty-three years since Margaret Thatcher moved out of 10 Downing Street and the reality is society hasn’t

that 22% of women had been sexually harassed in the workplace, with only 16% of that number actually reporting the incident. As the Commissioner said, ‘just because you’re not hearing about sexual harassment doesn’t mean it’s not happening’.

While a Prime Minister’s impassioned speech against misogyny is described as self-serving, while we need to create quotas for female representation in boardrooms and while women who dress however they like are ‘asking for it’, we do not have equality.

Every woman and man in the room could relate to Angela when she spoke about sexism in the workplace, and the old boys club. Angela went to work for the then Minister for Women, Paula Wriedt as a 22 year old Women’s Adviser after graduating from the University of Tasmania with an Honours degree in Gender Studies. In her own words, she has always ‘loved and celebrated all things female’, but in her experience it has not always been easy being a woman in the workforce, particularly a young woman. Of course, Angela wouldn’t swap it for anything. As we’ve seen a past UTAS student go out and make her mark on the female experience in Hobart, our curto do the same on campus. Emily believes wholeheartedly that ‘women deserve and should be able to expect equity in every aspect of their lives’. Like Angela, Emily wants to create an environment in which females and female identifying persons can band together and feel totally comfortable with their gender. Emily is already starting the conversation surrounding the largely hidden challenges modern women face on campus, while simultaneously giving students avenues to celebrate femininity.

“EMILY BELIEVES WHOLEHEARTEDLY THAT ‘WOMEN DESERVE AND SHOULD BE ABLE TO EXPECT EQUITY IN EVERY ASPECT OF THEIR LIVES’. LIKE ANGELA, EMILY WANTS TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH FEMALES AND FEMALE IDENTIFYING PERSONS CAN BAND TOGETHER AND FEEL TOTALLY COMFORTABLE WITH THEIR GENDER. ”

Following the success of her International Women’s Day Brunch earlier in the semester, Emily relaunched the Women’s Collective with a ‘Chat and Cuppa’ event. Through the Collective Emily wants to get the conversation started, and ensure gender inequalities are no longer unspoken realities. For Blue Stockings Week, April 29-May 3, Emily has planned a barbecue lunch on the Monday, a Blue Party with guest speakers on the Wednesday, and a ladies brunch on the Thursday. Blue Stockings Week celebrates women in higher education, by recognising the achievements ing. How Mrs. Thatcher overcame the old boy network to become the leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of a class-ridden country is almost unfathomable.

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Australia Deserves the Best. by Ben Armstrong

Uninspiring. This seems to be the go-to word to describe the current political climate. In the scheme of things we are not doing too badly; Neo-Nazis aren’t using parliament to tighten up their left jab a la Greece, and we are free to protest without fearing retribution from a half-naked, animal riding, gun toting Putin. However, even the most partisan voter would strugthusiasm this September.

“WHAT AUSTRALIA NEEDS IS A SAVIOUR. A SAVIOUR THAT CAN ONLY COME IN THE FORM OF A JOKE PARTY.”

Do we prefer the self-hating, compromising, train wreck of the ALP, or would we rather surrender to Mr Rabbit’s nefarious designs? Are the self-righteous, cherry picking, sideline sniping ideals of the Greens any better? Or should we have a laugh and give the Democrats or Family First a go? What Australia needs is a saviour. A saviour that can only come in the form of a joke party. What voter, frustrated, disgusted or just bored would not vote for the United Kingdom’s Church of Militant would turn their nose up at the United States’ Guns and Dope Party? The Polish Beer-Lover’s Party became so powerful after winning 16 federal seats that it was unable to reconcile its warring Small Beer and Large Beer factions and soon collapsed. The joke party represents something more than just a novelty protest vote. In a world where politicians take themselves too seriously, despite the inherent ridiculousness of the media driven theatrics, photoops and, in Craig Emerson’s case, singing, of the modern political process, there is something refreshing, even rejuvenating about a party that can rise above this through satire. Surely something that gets people genuinely interested in politics and the political system, regardless of its intention, is better than the state of apathy and cynicism that is currently being fostered? And if enough of the vote goes to such a party our leaders might actually take a hint. I think there is such a thing as a constructive piss-take and nothing demonstrates this better then the astonishing rise to power of Iceland’s Best Party.

“SURELY SOMETHING THAT GETS PEOPLE GENUINELY INTERESTED IN POLITICS AND THE POLITICAL SYSTEM, REGARDLESS OF ITS INTENTION, IS BETTER THAN THE STATE OF APATHY AND CYNICISM THAT IS CURRENTLY BEING FOSTERED?”

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After the Global Financial Crisis, Iceland’s economy was considerably rooted. The established parties were corrupt, ineffective and universally loathed. Jon Gnarr, Iceland’s favourite anarcho-surrealist comedian (and the man endowed with the world’s most frightening laugh) decided to create a party that no-one could disagree with, due to the simple fact that they were the best. He proclaimed that he was running for Mayor of Reykjavik just for the salary and that his party would be openly corrupt, promising to break every election promise they made. These promises included free towels in all public swimming pools, a polar bear for the Reykjavik zoo, all kinds of things for the un- “COULD AUSTRALIA HAVE ITS OWN fortunates and of course, “topnotch stuff as a BEST PARTY - A PARTY THAT CAN general rule”. Gnarr has been Mayor since 2010. TAKE THE PISS AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE?” Could Australia have its own Best Party - a party that can take the piss and make a difference? There have been some noble attempts. The Imperial British Conservative Party tried to restore the might of the British Empire. The Sun Ripened Warm Tomato Party had arguably the greatest name ever. The Party! Party! Party! Party was fairly self-explanatory. But I think our “Katter’s Australian Party”. It’s led by a larger than life character called Bob Katter who wears wacky costumes, advocates hilarious policies and has some classic lines such as “There are no homosexuals in my electorate”. The only risk is that his caricature of an ultra-conservative politician might be a bit too unbelievable.


Funding Legal Aid. by Alex McKenzie Legal aid funding is manifestly inadequate. It is abundantly clear that access to justice is not at the forefront of government policy and concern. It should be. Funding should not be siphoned away from legal aid bodies that are at the coalface representing disadvantaged people in the courts. The Legal Aid Commission is Tasmania’s main public access legal services provider. It assists people who can’t afford legal representation, dealing primarily in criminal courts, with some civil and family cases. These vulnerable people are either against it in a civil case. There are currently Australians living below the poverty line that do not qualify for legal aid because they earn too much. The system is both broken and unfair, society must accept responsibility to better fund this essential part of the justice system. It’s a combined effort.

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Money gets you a long way in the law. Legal battles can drag on and on, and corporations or other wealthy parties can grind opposition into the ground, aware that their funding allows them to. Forget equality or fairness: the greater your bank balance, the greater your access to justice. The President of the Law Council of Australia recently lamented: ‘The stark reality is we have a justice system that is less accessible to the people that genuinely need it.’ Legal aid bodies and community legal centres, even when inadequately resourced, provide by Price Waterhouse Coopers found that every dollar invested saves approximately two. Further, a report by Judith Stubbs and Associates puts investment cost.


Increased pro-bono work by the profession is the oft-quoted solution to any problem in relation to access to justice in Australia. Some argue as the profession makes the money from solutely part of the responsibility for the legal profession. The reality is that lawyers, particu-

We should move towards a system, which recognise the vital importance of access to justice. The equity of our legal system will affect all of us at some point. We should think of legal aid more like medicare: a fundamental necessity for a fair and equal society. Justice and equality before the law is a central promise of Australian citizenship, and it is obligation to each other we are failing to meet. It must change.

pro-bono work. Not enough, but a great deal nonetheless.

issues. The solution of “lawyers should do more for free!” fails to acknowledge the harsh repercussions if we do not provide adequate access to justice for those people that need our help. Access to justice is not a luxury item that is optional, for some to enjoy in times of plenty. It shouldn’t be seen as something that can be cut from government programs in years of economic downturn and struggle. We must instead consider the responsibilities we, as a community, have towards each other. It’s all very well to think legal aid is someone else’s problem. Many think they will never be need of representation when they can not afford it. And then, all of a sudden, they’ve misunderstood a cop, they’ve been arrested, they’re before a magistrate and their job is on the line. Consider, for example, recent changes to the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania eligibility policy mean that if a person has used violence against the other party, they cannot access funding in a family law dispute. Obviously, domestic violence is an appalling act. However, a central tenet of our justice system is that all are equal before the law, regardless of their background. Denying access to legal aid is denying legal representation, which is denying justice. It is not how our legal system should operate, even in disputes between individuals.

“IF WE ARE TO BE SURE OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM WORKS, EVEN THOSE CHARGED WITH APPALLING OFFENCES, MUST HAVE ACCESS TO PROPER LEGAL REPRESENTATION THAT CAN PUT THEIR CASES ACROSS FOR THE FACTS TO BE DETERMINED BY THE COURT. ”

Left to self-representation, with a record for an appalling offence – violence at home - defendconfusing, and they will be less able to deal with the multifaceted problems they clearly already face. If we are to be sure our justice system works, even those charged with appalling offences, must have access to proper legal representation that can put their cases across for the facts to be determined by the court.

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Meeting UN Youth. by Verity Dawkins

How did you spend your weekend? I spent mine with thirty of Tasmania’s best and brightest college students, educating them on the United Nations, laughing at their jokes and opening their eyes to global issues. Tasmania’s 2013 State Conference is a four day residential event open to all students between year ten and twelve. Run entirely by young people for young people, State Conference provides an eye opening and powerful experience. This year it was convened by Gordon Luckman, and timed for National Youth Week and World Health Day, the theme was ‘Health For All’. It was an insleep each night and spent the days running Model UN, leading workshops or encouraging games.

“IT WAS AN INTENSE, EXHAUSTING WEEKEND - WE HAD FIVE HOURS SLEEP EACH NIGHT AND SPENT THE DAYS RUNNING MODEL UN, LEADING WORKSHOPS OR ENCOURAGING GAMES.”


The thirteen member organising committee, most of whom are studying at UTAS, were responsible for everything from food to fun, workshops to welfare and recruitment to venues. My role on the committee was to write and run an interactive workshop in which delegates have to act as two cabinets and negotiate to solve an international crisis. This was my second state conference as a faciliwhether divisionally or nationally, amazingly rewarding. It’s a bizarre state of affairs being a facilitator to delegates so near my own age, and some of whom I have attended a conference with, and to feel pride in what they achieve. I was happy to

“THE THIRTEEN MEMBER ORGANISING COMMITTEE, MOST OF WHOM ARE STUDYING AT UTAS, WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING FROM FOOD TO FUN, WORKSHOPS TO WELFARE AND RECRUITMENT TO VENUES.”

upon in my role. The growth that is possible in this organisation and the responsibility that was given to me, age 19, is one of the reasons these facilitation experiences are so valuable.

UN Youth Tasmania meets fortnightly on a Thursday evening. We visit schools both in the north and south of the state, model United Nations events at a tertiary level and three major events, State Conference, the Evatt Trophy Competition and a Junior Public Speaking Competition. Nationally, UN Youth Australia holds a National Conference, the National Finals of the Evatt Trophy and National Council for tertiary students. Internationally, UN Youth Australia sends school students to Europe for THIMUN, New Zealand for New Zealand Model UN and East Timor to see the work of the UNDP. University students can apply to visit the US for Harvard MUN and get articles published in Perspective, UN Youth Australia’s journal. UTAS students have been selected for StatesMUN and have been published in Perspective. To get involved, contact: jamila.fontana@unyouth.org.au

“THE GROWTH THAT IS POSSIBLE IN THIS ORGANISATION AND THE RESPONSIBILITY THAT WAS GIVEN TO ME, AGE 19, IS ONE OF THE REASONS THESE FACILITATION EXPERIENCES ARE SO VALUABLE.”


Upcoming Events Wednesday 24 April

MAMAK NIGHT 2013

UNI GAMES INFO SESSION

MSA proudly brings you MAMAK NIGHT 2013 We are bringing it back@! Experi-

If you are interested in competing at this years Uni Games come along to a informal lunchtime information session from 12 noon. Location: Activities Room Cradle Coast Campus Hosted by: TUU When: 12 noon

We’ve got food We’ve got music. Location: Uni Bar Launceston 6.00pm Hosted by: TUU When: 6pmMonday 29 April Bluestocking Week

Resource Share With prac just around the corner this is the time to share and add to your own folio of resources to use in the classroom! Location: Hytten Hall, Rm 329A (primary) & Rm405 (secondary) Hosted by: Tasmanian Education Society - TEDS When: 5-6pm

Come along to an array of free events to celebrate women›s participation in higher education! MONDAY: BBQ 12-2 on the Ref Steps WEDNESDAY: (Blue) Themed party from 6-9pm with guest speakers THURSDAY: Toast, Bluestockings Edition 8:30-10:30am on the Ref Steps Hosted by: TUU

Federal Election Debate

Wednesday 1 May

The election has been called. The leadership is settled (maybe). The policies are being released (well broadband anyway). But what are the major political parties offering university students?

TAS GIFTED PD

Location: Dechaineux Lecture Theatre Hosted by: TUU When: 7 - 8.30pm

Lynne Maher (President of Tasmanian Association for the Gifted) will present a professional development session on ‘Why Cater for the Gifted?’ Location: Hytten Hall, Rm 405 Hosted by: Tasmanian Education Society When: 5-6.30pm

Friday 26 April Wednesday 8 May MOONLIGHT CINEMA Bouncers and Shakers We are very excited to announce TUU SRC’s innaugral Moonlight Cinema! FREE outdoor entertainment doesn’t get any better than this!!

Tickets will be available at the door. For more information contact: info@plot.org. au

Location: Central Mall- Sandy Bay Campus 5.00 onwards Hosted by: TUU When: 5pm-

Location: Theatre Royal Backspace Hosted by: PLoT (Produces Lots of Theatre) When: 8-10 May


The Uni (Food) Review. by Anon. You’re a student. You’re poor. If you’re going to splash out on food you want to know it’s worth it. Let us be your guide. Eating on Campus Crispy Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry The tofu was crispy, as per the title. Excellent start. Except it was only the one piece at the top that was actually crispy. The rest was fat, lukewarm, watery chunks that hadn’t been allowed to al meant-to-be-crispy-but-more-like-a-prawncracker-has-fallen-in-your-stir-fry piece. Also as per the title, there were vegetables. Here, the meal performed better. A generous veg to noodle ratio, with zucchini, beans, red capscicum, carot, celery all cooked nicely with a touch of crunch. There was a light touch of chilli that built as I ate, but precious little other evidence of sauce. Manu would not have been happy!

For food on campus, I would have been pretty pleased with this: vegetarian, healthy, quick: ticking all the boxes – but not price and service! With few other customers around, one of the kitchen staff had to stop rolling pizza dough to serve me (because none of his colleagues felt like it), and the girls at the counter were much more interested in talking to each other. Then I had to pay $7.50 for my little box of noodles. Hobart food tends to be expensive. I deal with that. However, vegetarian noodles aren’t the most challenging or costly to produce, and I’m pretty sure I could have got moar food for ma dolla at any number of places around town. I was still hungry afterwards. Compass: it’s time to work with your market. We’re captive, but we’re students. Be nice. Two and a half stars. The Ref UTAS Sandy Bay Campus Mon – Thurs 8:30am – 4:00pm; Fridays 8:30am – 3:00pm


Rally For Reproductive Rights. by Campbell Nicol



INSULA #3