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Togatus is published by the TUSA State Council on behalf of the Tasmanian University Association (henceforth known as ‘the publishers’). It is understood that all submissions to Togatus are the intellectual property of the contributor. However, the publishers receive the right to reproduce material on the Togatus website at

2022 Togatus Team: Co-editors - Chelsea Menzie and Desmond Marcenko Creative Director - Holly Clark-Milligan Key contributors - Howra Al-Timimy, Eva Hale, Johnny Valkyrie.

Included submissions by Jack Kelleher, Iris Blazely, Zac

Sabapathy, Esther Touber, Rachel Hay, Hannah Charlesworth, Malachi Quinn, Alex Walden-Baur, and Abigail Jones. Togatus welcomes all your contributions. Please email your work and ideas to The opinions expressed herein are not those of the editors, the publishers, the University of Tasmania, or the Tasmanian University Student Association. Reasonable care is taken to ensure that Togatus articles are up to date and as accurate as possible at the time of publication, but no responsibility can be taken by Togatus for any errors or omissions.

Connect with Tog:

The Togatus editorial team pay respects to the palawa/pakana people of lutruwita/Tasmania and acknowledge their elders past, present and emerging. We pay respect to the muwinina, therrernotepanner, leterrermairrener, panniher, plairhekehillerplue and Gadigal/Wangal people, whose territory UTAS campuses occupy. Our magazine is printed and distributed on stolen land. Sovereignty was never ceded. As the student magazine for University of Tasmania students, we recognise that the university was built from the proceeds of war and genocide. Through its teaching of a sanitised version of Tasmanian history, the university has contributed devastatingly to ongoing epistemic violence against the state’s Indigenous population that has denied them truth-telling and reconciliation. It has gatekept Indigenous forms of knowledge sharing that it has not deemed worthy. It has stolen Aboriginal artefacts and remains. Our responsibility as students is to recognise the role that our institution played in the systematic oppression of Indigenous people. We must go beyond tokenistic gestures and educate ourselves to realise our own complicity in the white supremacist state in order to make lasting material improvement to the lives of our country’s Indigenous people. We must include and listen to Indigenous voices. Above all, we must support their plight towards self-determination.

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre represents palawa/pakana people in their political and community development aspirations and has been federally funded since 1973. Visit their social media outlets or website to keep up to date with their campaigns, which include changing the date, preserving takayna and teaching palawa kani.

Djira is an Aboriginal Controlled Community Organisation based in Naarm, that is dedicated to the prevention of family violence in Indigenous communities. It offers cultural and wellbeing workshops, safe spaces for Indigenous women and access to family violence legal support. You can donate to them at

Happy Boxes is an organisation that supports the supply of basic toiletry products such as toothpaste, sanitary products and shampoo to Indigenous women in remote locations. Donate to them by visiting their website at

Pay the Rent is a grassroots Indigenous community group that seeks to address the inequalities of colonisation and stolen Indigenous land through monetary compensation. Allies can choose to make a one time, or monthly set donation which then is distributed accordingly across “land, law, kinship, ceremony or language” programs by an Indigenous advisory board made up of many different Indigenous nations and clans. Visit their website at Some stories inside talk about sensitive topics for Indigenous people and touch on Indigenous people and groups who have passed away. We advise that readers use discretion.

Togatus is printed by Monotone Art Printers.



CONTENT 6•.............................................................................The Editors 7•................................................................ A Togatus Manifesto 9•...................................................... Shit You Should Care About 11•..........................................Mourning Tasmanian Queer Spaces 12•.......................................................... Disability Rights At UTAS 13•.................................................................................. Your Food

15•....................................... Morrison’s War Against Accountability 16•......................................................................... Typical Girls 20•............................ Community Rallies Against Transphobic Group 22•........................................ Re-Examining Sorell’s Colonial History 24•.................................................................. UTAS Wage Theft Honest Payroll Bungle Or Predictable Prophecy?

25•..................................................................................... Us. 26•.... Caleb Nichols-Mansell: The Blakfella Behind Blackspace Creative 29•.Huxley’s Brave New World Is The Reason Why I Am A Socialist Today 30•. Kristie Johnston On Her Journey To Parliament, Independence And The Liberals’ Pokies Sell Out

33•........ Friends Of Palestine Tasmania On The Sydney Festival Boycott 34•...........................................................................Revolution 36•....... Six Environmental Hacks For The Impending Humanitarian Crisis 38•................................................................. Being Not A Body 40•.... University Of Tasmania Students And Staff “Stressed, Anxious And Confused” Amongst Law Faculty Fallout

42•............. Beyond Seen & Heard : Transgender Day Of Visibility 2022 44•......................... Freedom Of The Press Shouldn’t Stop At Assange 46•.............................................................................. Iceberg



The Editors

DESMOND MARCENKO AND CHELSEA MENZIE Welcome fabled Tog Reader, I am Chelsea and I’m your co-editor for Togatus this year. I would like to start by noting that sovereignty was never ceded and acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land we operate on today, the palawa/pakana people. I’m a Politics and Policy student, whinger and long-time subscriber to the transformative power of art and writing. I’m the first person in my family to attend university, and also a big believer in the age old adage “you can take a girl out of Glenorchy but you can’t take the Glenorchy out of a girl”. Our first edition for the year, Togatus Revolution, was inspired by the revolutionary political actions of our comrades historical and present. Our Creative Director Holly ClarkMilligan designed the beautiful cover you see today. It is an ode to those who came before us and those who walk beside us, the longest surviving culture in so called Australia, our Indigenous brothers and sisters who we look to with awe and admiration. This artwork and our inside contents are inspired by our outspoken First Nations friends, who we believe are too often left on the outskirts of ‘progressive’ conversations about what social justice looks like. Connection to Country and radical truth telling are a better future for everyone, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike.

My name’s Des and I’m your other co-editor for Togatus this year. We’re your favourite dirtbag socialist mag and the only independent student media of UTAS students. As I type these words, I’m stuck in my share-house in Kingston, freezing my ass off while my housemate has covid. Most hours of the day, I’m bound to the four walls of my bedroom, isolating from my other housemates lest one of us also has it. I think for a lot of people, coronavirus has heightened a sense of loneliness that already seemed so prevalent in our age. It feels like the pandemic - through its lockdowns and periods of self-isolation, has even further atomised a society that is so hyper-focused on the individual. In times like these, it’s hard to remember just how strong people can be when they come together. And that’s what revolution is all about. This edition of Togatus is packed with stories of people coming together to create change, from performers uniting to boycott the Sydney Festival, the nipaluna/Hobart community rallying against transphobia, or palawa artist Caleb Nichols-Mansell creating a collective for Indigenous creators. It’s also chocka-block with stories of inner revolutions, including pieces on the radicalising power of love and literature.

This edition has been inspiring in a plethora of ways, not only is it personally gratifying to see a project come to fruition, but it is inspiring to feel the warmth of the community that makes it happen. I would like to say a massive thank you to all of our artists, writers and poets. To our wonderful key contributors, Howra, Eva and Johnny, to our Creative Director, Holly and to my co-editor, Desmond. Thank you to the TUSA and their continued support and confidence in the Togatus team. And, thank you to our readership, without whom we would not continue to produce Tog!

It’s a timely theme too with Togatus shifting in a socialist political direction and being restructured as a workers’ coop this year.

In Solidarity, Chels

In the time-honoured tradition of editorial teams of old, the 2022 editors of Togatus – the independent student media of the University of Tasmania and the world’s first and only left-wing student magazine, present our vision for the future of this publication in the form of a manifesto.

be fully toppled without too the creation of the socialist state. We decry the modern neoliberal consensus and acknowledge how it has infested itself into the very heart of the higher education sector through bipartisan reform. Our commitment to providing a strong voice against the UTAS bureaucracy forms part of Togatus’ overall critique of capitalism.

Self-importance? Never met her.

I wish to particularly thank Nala Mansell over at the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for her guidance and blessing to pursue our cover, and for all of the resources the TAC provides for their mob and the wider community to remain educated and informed on Indigenous language and culture. I also wish to thank Caleb Nichols-Mansell and Rachel Hay for their graciousness and commitment to telling Indigenous stories.

In the interest of commie community building, you can also contact us on our socials any time with questions, stories or concerns. Thanks for reading!


Dear fellow revolutionaries.

I’d like to echo thanks to Nala Mansell at the TAC for her guidance on our cover design, and to everyone who contributed a piece for this edition - particularly our lovely team of key contributors. I’d especially like to highlight my co-editor Chelsea, whose radicalism and drive has helped us to reshape the direction of the magazine this year, and to our Creative Director Holly, whose dedication and artistry has made Togatus possible in 2022. Solidarity forever, Des.

I PUBLISHING ON STOLEN LAND At every step in the production and distribution of Togatus, we, the editorial team acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded by the traditional owners of lutruwita/Tasmania - the palawa/pakana people. We rally against the ongoing effects of colonialism on Indigenous people and aim to use our small platform to shed light on their struggles and triumphs. In doing this, we will centre the voices and art of palawa/pakana people and support their community-led efforts towards self-determination.

II SEIZING THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION We, the Editorial Team of Togatus, recognise and hold sacrosanct Marx’s understanding of historical materialism and scientific socialism. We recognise that the prime driver of all political action must be the eventual return of the means of production to the proletariat with the aim of creating a classless, stateless society. We rally against the fecklessness of liberalism, its conceited focus on the individual, and contentment with the tranquilising drug of incrementalism. We recognise that true democracy can never be achieved without workplace democracy and with urgency, seek to overthrow the existing dictatorship of capital.

III A FULLY REALISED CRITIQUE OF CAPITALISM, NEOLIBERALISM AND THE HIGHER EDUCATION SECTOR WITHIN IT Our critique of capitalism is intersectional in nature and thus seeks to locate the mode of production alongside other forms of oppression. We recognise that our current system of anthropocentrism, patriarchy and white supremacy cannot

IV PROVIDING A SAFE SPACE FOR ALL VOICES Togatus pledges to be a safe space for marginalised voices. We commit to offering a fully inclusive environment that provides an outlet for those of diverse backgrounds to share their unique lived experiences and understandings of the world. We recognise the importance of highlighting many different ontologies and ways of knowing. We are a product of an academic environment but we do not prescribe to the model that academia is all knowing or needs to be inaccessible.

V A DEMOCRATISED WORKPLACE AND FINANCIAL PARITY FOR THE EDITORIAL TEAM Togatus’ commitment to advocating for a socialist tomorrow will be reflected in the operation of our editorial team. Going forward, members of the Togatus executive team will receive the same fortnightly wage and function under a workers’ co-operative model. This ensures that creative decisions are arrived at by consensus, thus decentralising authority. We also commit to fair treatment of our contributors whose submissions we publish, boasting a generous honoraria program to ensure they’re paid fairly for their hard work.

VII INDEPENDENCE Togatus promises to always remain independent. The views of our writers and artists are purely our own and are not informed by the university bureaucracy, student association or formal political parties. We recognise the importance of independent media in a news landscape that is controlled by corporate monopolies and monied interests. We strive to act our best to be a counter-hegemonic institution.




Housing Alliance lutruwita

The Housing Alliance of lutruwita is a new “collective of renters and displaced individuals across the island of lutruwita/Tasmania”. They are working to start a mass movement of renters advocating for housing as a human right and advancing renters rights issues specific to lutruwita. They often hold monthly meetings online and around nipaluna/Hobart, as well as protest actions, media campaigns and fundraisers. You can find them on Instagram @housingalliancelutruwita and on Facebook.







Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR)

Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance work to advocate for First Nations Australians by providing educational resources to the public about disproportionately ‘Indigenous issues’ like incarceration, deaths in custody, invasion day and truth telling. They also provide urgent mutual aid to Indigenous members of the community in their different outposts in naarm/Melbourne and Meanjin/Brisbane, as well as to the group ‘Sisters Inside’ and individuals across the country. You can find them on Instagram and Facebook on @ warrevolt. Pay the Rent!

Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre is a community organisation based in lutruwita/ Hobart which emerged in the 1970s. They successfully advocated for land returns, ancestral remains returning, legislative recognition of Indigenous cultural fishing rights, financial compensation of stolen generations, Aboriginal heritage protection, among many other achievements. Today they offer aged and child care services, counselling, community advocacy, health and housing services, palawa kani language revival programs and legal help for Indigenous mob. They are also a leading voice in treaty and invasion day discussions in lutruwita/Tasmania. You can drop in on 198 Elizabeth St, nipaluna/Hobart or 182 Charles St, Launceston. Or contact them on 62340700 (nipaluna/Hobart), 63323800 (Launceston) or via email on hobart@tacinc.,

Scarlet Alliance Scarlet Alliance are the peak organisation for Australian Sex Workers. They work to advance the health of current and former sex workers, uphold their rights and promote respect to end discrimination against sex workers. Scarlet Alliance plays an active role in educating the public on the political and social issues of sex workers in Australia, they issue strategic plans and reports often and also work to influence causes like the decriminalisation of sex work, access to healthcare, workplace safety conditions, and advancing the autonomy of those in the sex industry. You can find them on Instagram @ scarlet_alliance, Facebook, and email them on

Grassroots Action Network Tasmania (GRANT) GRANT are a nipaluna/Hobart based community advocacy group that are working for locals in the midst of “climate, social and ecological crises”. They run weekly meet-ups every Monday at 4:30pm out of 130 Davey St Hobart. GRANT operates on the basis of collective, communal and non-violent political action. Their recent campaigns have included lobbying to end temporary visas, people not pokies, opposition to the environmental degradation of industrial salmon farming, as well as facilitating a publicly accessible food pantry for the community. You can find them on Instagram, Facebook, or email them on grassroots.tas@


JACK KELLEHER It is three o’clock in the morning and I am dancing. Sweaty, warm bodies thrust themselves into one another like colliding waves, grinding and swinging under the neon club lights. A metal pole is hoisted from floor-to-ceiling, covered in handprints and lipstick marks. Batting its silvery eyelids, it glimmers for action, searching for purpose. I do the same.

I lived on the beach with my family, for most of my childhood, and often felt isolated. I was trapped behind a dangerous, oceanic wall known as the Bass Strait. It was frequent that you could find me at the water’s edge —daydreaming of making it across the water, at least somewhat alive, to the mainland. I yearned to escape the small town, discover myself, and bloom, like a rose — or transform, like a caterpillar into a butterfly. If only I hadn't been born a writer, I thought. Perhaps, if I had made it my life’s mission to become a tradesman, or a carpenter, a masculine figure, I could have built my own raft, and sailed out of Ulverstone with nothing in my pockets, except for pride. When it came time to leave Ulverstone, however, some part of me was root-bound. Why had I struggled to let go of this place? I wanted to distance myself from it for so long. Was it the memories I had made as a young queer boy? The sloppy, amateur kisses I had handed out, like bruises, on the sand? The neighbours I often visited, and fucked, because there was no other choice? Truth was, I owed Ulverstone a lot. The homophobia I experienced as a young gay man had left me bandaged, battered, but it also made me resilient.




Queerness was few and far between in Ulverstone, and I was a nervous young thing, who spent most of their time by the ocean. There wasn’t a single safe queer space in sight.



Gay relationships were not legalised in Tasmania until 1997, just three years before I was born. Same-sex marriage was a hard pill to swallow in a small, tight-knit state, and an even harder one for a tiny rural town. Ulverstone had a poisonous past, once titled ‘Australia’s most homophobic town’, it was a hotbed of inequity.


I had never been to a gay club.


I was slurred-at. Spat on. Mostly by cis-men in passing cars. All I knew, was that leaving Ulverstone was my soul-purpose. Ulverstone had taught me to move forward, keep my chin pointed toward the sunset — but none of that was an excuse for misrepresentation and abuse. Hobart was a chance to start over. To gain control of my life, spread my wings. Breathe. Armed with a small baggie of cocaine and about a halfbottle of Amyl Nitrate, I ventured into the club scene astonishingly fast. There was only one completely safe, exciting queer space in Hobart, and everybody I spoke to treated Flamingos as a second home. Pre-pandemic, there were lines outside the door that stretched a hundred metres down the street. It was a fabulous sight, a bright, feathery, latex-y congregation of eager party-goers, smoking fat rolls of marijuana and holding their heads high with the strength of their steel spines, which they, too, had built with resilience. All night, I paraded alongside groups of drag queens, lesbians, gay men, and many other queer

people. Together, we felt strong, bonded, and mourned our pasts with spectacular cocktails and make-out sessions in the lounge. The pressure and weight that had made its way up my back, over the years, had suddenly dismantled. Finally, I felt at home. I felt free.

Despite a slaughter of safe spaces across the state, the community remains hard-fought and faithful. We are resilient. We come together to dominate and overthrow injustices, support one-another emotionally, and celebrate our pride from our phone screens.

These days, safe spaces and queer clubs in Tasmania are dead.

Queer spaces are necessary, not just in Tasmania, but globally. But we need these spaces in our state, in order to completely thrive. Places we can feel stronger together, that aren’t problematic or micro-managed. Places that encompass safety and individualism, that aren’t overly-surveilled.

In a post-pandemic world, LGBTQ+ events and venues have endured mass extinction. What was once a playful pink playground of sex, drugs and pop music, is now a skeleton of generations of queer families. ‘Flamingos’ has been blocked out, the pride flags torn from the building’s masts. Queer friends stay home in fear of being attacked in cis and heteronormative clubs. Friends have sacrificed their leather harnesses for bulletproof vests, swapped their heels for steelcapped boots, their ballgowns for cargo shorts and socks. The new owners of the venue vowed to make the building a, “Club for everyone.” It has been two years and we are still waiting.

Spaces that do not discriminate or judge, or spit at you from car windows. Spaces that empower, and nourish the spectrum of identity. Loud, proud, beautiful queer spaces, deserving of love and safety and brutal honesty. It is pride that drives us, as humans, after all. Tasmania needs to carve new paths, creative locales, that are constituted by the social and physical boundaries of queerness and identity. Pride is our legacy.


Disability Rights at UTAS IRIS BLAZELY

Education is a right that every person should have access to, however, institutions are often hostile environments for the disabled; UTAS is no exception. This has been exemplified during the Covid-19 pandemic which has been referred to as a “mass-disabling” event. In my first year of University, I was dealing with several undiagnosed conditions which were impeding my progress in the classroom. Until recently, courses within the Fine Arts at UTAS have had a maximum of three absences before an automatic failure of the unit; each day of nausea, migraines or pain I would evaluate whether I should skip the class, or save my absence for a “worse” day. One morning, I lay on the (filthy) floor of the Art School’s bathrooms in a foetal position in an attempt not to vomit. Realising the day would amount to nothing, I went to talk to my tutor. He looked me up and down with an air of disappointment and let me go home. I was judged on my ability to be in the classroom that day. While UTAS does have accommodations for its disabled students, these can be difficult to access and are not always adequate. Often you will need a doctor to sign off on your illnesses, this relies on diagnoses which are, in and of themselves, inaccessible. During the writing of this article I invited other disabled and chronically ill students or alumni to weigh in on UTAS’s practices in regards to disabled students. Several current and past students cited feeling “traumatised” after interactions with disability officers, while others have been ignored completely. This is alarming; our first suggested course of action when joining the university as disabled students is direction to obtaining a LAP (Learning Access Plan). Even in these supposed supportive environments, we still feel the burden of ableism. LAPs cover many issues which might affect disabled people which can include transcription of lectures, extra time during assignments and exams, and access to specialised equipment. As helpful as some of these resources can be there are many gaps which are unfilled. Some disorders under the neurodivergent umbrella, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), for example, can leave students unable to keep up with coursework due to issues with memory and executive functioning. With the focus of university shifting to self-directed learning during the pandemic, some students feel abandoned and directionless. Coursework is taught never with a neurodivergent person in mind. Information is retained better by many people


through doing hands on tasks and peer-to-peer interaction. Many course structures do not include these various modes of learning. Grading criteria also feels exclusionary of neurodivergence, with rubrics that have little distinction between grades and unit outlines being difficult to navigate. An individual with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) told me of their struggle of being graded on demeanor and eye contact while doing a presentation, things which are a challenge for autistic individuals. One past student described being forced into attendance at the Hedberg whilst no lifts accommodated for their electric wheelchair. Hunter Street’s main access lift is small and outdated, late last year it would stop working seemingly at random for months on end. This lift would be extremely difficult to navigate with any larger adaptive or mobility devices. Another student spoke of being dismissed when requesting the ability to do part time during an honors program, forcing them to leave university altogether. Finding work as a disabled person is difficult and demoralizing. To obtain AUS Study you must be doing a “full course load” (three or more units). This is simply impossible for a lot of disabled students; we are completely capable of doing well but get fatigued and overwhelmed when expected to do as much as our abled peers. This results in us having little to no income during our degrees unless we have employment, which, as stated, is difficult to obtain. Jobseeker payments are an option, but are frustrating even with a disability provider, attending bi-weekly appointments is a hurdle we shouldn’t have to jump. Personally I have seen many members of my cohort move on to other universities where they have more support.

How could UTAS help accommodate students? -Disability officers at each campus who are trained in nuances of chronic health issues and impairments. -A reduced focus on diagnoses to prove disability. -An overhaul of each campus to make them safe for all to navigate. -Flexibility with what constitutes “full-time” schooling. -Flexibility with attendance and the entire set of coursework being accessible online for students who cannot attend class in person. -Making classrooms safer for students with sensory issues, i.e. less fluorescent lighting.


The way you tear your food apart it’s visceral it’s disgusting you have my heart The way you sit and do your makeup you sigh and you stare on our floor I think you’re beautiful when you’re unaware of it You focus yourself inwardly I talk more than I listen it’s the worst part of me But you listen like it’s your duty I’m safe I’m loved you care for me with intentionality we hide ourselves from straight society they stalked us they sexualised us they threatened our safety I want to hold your hand in woolies it’s scary but we’re brave our love can be revolutionary

UTAS is financially capable of better supporting its disabled students and cohort but consistently chooses to spend money elsewhere. UTAS is complicit in the oppression of disabled people. Disabled students are sick of self-advocating, putting in extra effort to meet the school’s demands, and having pressure placed on them to conform to ableist ideas of education.



There are many crimes of the 9 years of Coalition rule, but perhaps none are as grave as the Coalition’s systematic undermining of safeguards against abuse of power. Any government that has been in power for a long period of time has the potential to change the institutions and structure of a political system. However, the Coalition have been unique in their complete disregard for accountability and disregard for the truth. They know that the only way they can hold onto power is through a web of manipulation and lies. They know that if the Australian people understood the extent of their unique combination of incompetence and treasonous behaviour that they would would bar them from government. Our last federal election perfectly exemplifies how the Coalition relies on deception and abuse of trust to hold onto power. Last election we saw a campaign built on the lie that Labor would implement a ‘retiree tax’. This was a calculated and dishonest misrepresentation of Labor’s reforms to franking dividend imputation, which would only affect a small portion of high income earners. Indeed, only three percent of those over 65 claiming franking credits had incomes over $180,000, but they claimed 43 percent of the value. It was this three percent that Labor were targeting in their reforms. But the Coalition turned this into the smear campaign of a retiree tax. As if this lie wasn’t enough, the Coalition then decided on no basis whatsoever, to campaign that Labor would introduce a death tax. It is impossible to emphasise enough that this claim was based on no evidence at all. It just began one day, not in response to any policy announcement. The campaign had no grounding in truth whatsoever, but it did work. The number of ‘death tax’ Google searches multiplied in the days leading up to the


election. Scomo will tell you that his election victory was a miracle, but it was nothing more than the fruit of a system of pathological lying. Those who think that this behaviour can be excused or is limited to election campaigns have not been paying attention and are in for a rude shock. Because of the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, intergovernmental cooperation (between state and federal governments) was increasingly required. However, right when the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) saw increasing use through necessity, Scomo decided that he would dissolve it. COAG was generally considered to have a good level of accountability, allowing voters to examine the decisions of some of the most powerful members of governments across the country. However, with this dissolution and the creation of the ‘National Cabinet’, Scomo was expressly declaring his intention to take some of the most important governmental decisions behind closed doors. This is because he attempted to have the documents under the National Cabinet classified as ‘cabinet documents’ for the purposes of preventing their release under the Freedom of Information Act. This calculated move to take information away from the Australian people in one of the most extreme and trying times represents a Coalition at war with accountability. This war is fought on many fronts. The election campaign built on a lie delivered them control of the legislature and therefore control over the budget. What did the Coalition do with this control? They used it to further cover up their corruption. When the National Audit Office uncovered their

pork barrelling of marginal electorates with sports rorts, the Coalition’s response was to slash the funding of the Australian National Audit Office. This undermines the very fabric of our democracy and the very concept of legitimacy. This highlights why the Coalition is nothing more than a corrupt self-interested cartel, not for a second thinking about public benefit and incapable of seeing beyond their own desire for power. The Coalition is at war with accountability because they know that if they are held accountable for the web of lies that keep them in office and the incompetence they display, they will be revealed for what they are. They will be revealed as a hard crusty shell of corruption and deceit protecting a rotten inner core of self interest. They will be revealed as a party committed to the destruction of the pillars propping up the legitimacy of our democratic system. This election represents a chance to finally remove this cartel from power, it represents a chance for order and integrity to be restored to the government. It represents a chance for the Labor Party to introduce a strong federal integrity commission to prevent this sort of systematic corruption from greasing its way into power again. This election we must vote out this conglomerate of corruption before they do more damage to our democracy. We must vote them out before it is too late.



We are taught how to view women through the media and through legacies distorted by centuries of patriarchal-backed bias. This is evident in how we perceive female historical figures. In this series, through digital illustration, I portrayed female figures, fictitious and real. These figures include Lucy Westerna from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the 16th-17th century Hungarian Countess, Elizabeth Bathory and the Austrian turned French monarch, Marie Antoinette. Look these women up and you’ll get results for their scandals, from murder accusations, spending habits, to their sexual prowess. They are treated as tropes, confined to one-dimensional thinking. These female-coded tropes have been handed down to us generation from generation, solidifying the fear of the female in the 21st century. To highlight these tropes, I have included these female figures with their “weapons of choice.” Lucy with her bloodlust, Countess Elizabeth with her mirror, and Marie Antoinette with her infamous cake. Despite the power these women wielded, we focus(ed) on the negative - anything to deny her of authority or even complexity. Why should we see female figures as one-dimensional figures? The fear of the female is still prevalent in today’s society. While we improve our relationship with our perspective of women in the present, we need to consider the ones before us. I believe we should embrace these women for their complexities and stories. Just as we should celebrate the complexities and the flux in our present identities.





Community Rallies Against Transphobic Group DESMOND MARCENKO

Hobart residents turned out en masse earlier this year to protest the meeting of a transphobic group at the City Hall. Hundreds flocked to Franklin Square late this February to attend Equality Tasmania’s ‘Tassie Supports the Trans Community’ event. Kicking off with speeches from organisation spokesperson Dr Charlie Burton and politician Jade Darko, supporters then marched to Hobart City Hall to take part in a peaceful vigil outside the venue in which a meeting of ‘The Coalition for Biological Reality’ was being held later that day. Members of the transgender community and cis allies alike showed their opposition to the group by drawing a transgender flag in chalk at the hall’s steps and participating in a singalong led by the QTas choir. According to Equality Tasmania’s Dr Charlie Burton, the event sought to show that Tasmanians embrace diversity: “The main message is to show that Tasmania is an inclusive community, and we reject the politics of fear and division. And particularly we want to show that Tasmanian women – cisgender and transgender, stand united behind the values of inclusion and equality.” The Coalition is an organisation with the self-described mission of protecting ‘the rights of girls, women, LGBs, children and parents in Australia and New Zealand’. Groups like the Coalition and Women Speak Tasmania co-opt the language of feminism and gay rights to further their deeply transphobic agenda. The gender essentialism of such groups, Burton said, is weaponised to threaten the rights of transgender women in particular: “They really seem to be targeting transwomen and seeking to exclude them from participating in


women’s sport, accessing women’s services and basically not wanting them to participate in the world as the people they are. Basically they are seeking to reduce human beings to the genitalia that is between their legs. Which is a very reductive view of humanity and I think probably flies in the face of the experience of most of us that we are far more than that.” The Coalition’s meeting courted further controversy by featuring Tasmanian Liberal Senator Claire Chandler as the keynote speaker. A long-time supporter of ‘sex-based rights’ which discriminate against gender diverse Australians, Senator Chandler used the event to defend her recent bill which seeks to exclude transgender women from sports. While Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke out in support of Senator Chandler’s stance during a recent visit to the state’s north, the proposed legislation has been overwhelmingly condemned by the community. Members of the Tasmanian parliament, including the leaders of all major parties, have also voiced their opposition.

country as we’ve seen with Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins and women around the world as we’ve seen with MeToo.” On the question of transgender women’s participation in sports, Dr Burton said that Senator Chandler’s legislation is not supported by the sporting community: “Tasmanian sports organisations and sporting codes and clubs have been seeking guidance on how they can become more inclusive, not less inclusive. So sports themselves are wanting more inclusion and wanting more diversity within their organisations.” Senator Chandler’s bill is unlikely to be debated before the federal election.

Burton and Equality Tasmania were disappointed by Senator Chandler’s willingness to associate with a transphobic group, arguing her priorities are better served addressing real issues facing women such as gendered violence: “I think Tasmanians would be right to be quite questioning Senator Chandler’s priorities. We know there are a range of issues – real issues, facing Tasmanians at the moment, and particularly Tasmanian women. And well, women around the


ReExamining Sorell’s Colonial History RACHEL HAY Two hundred years ago, Sorell was given its name by Governor Lachlan Macquarie whilst on a tour of Van Diemen’s Land. Sorell, earlier called Gloucester, saw its first white settlers in the early 1800s, as freed convicts were granted land in the area. As farms began producing, the area became known as the granary of Australia. In the 1810s and 1820s the town grew as a result of its successful farming, attracting a doctor, postman, regiment, magistrate and school teacher. Interspersed between the new Coles, petrol stations, weatherboard houses and a plethora of takeaway shops, century old buildings stand as memories of Sorell’s convict and colonial roots. There’s three sandstone brick churches which seem far too glorious for the small congregation that existed when they were built. Close by, there’s a handful of houses and homesteads with immaculate gardens. Down the road, there’s the Barracks, built in Colonial Georgian style. A few streets over, there’s the Old Council Chambers and dotted around the town are old hotels, adorned with rusting but ornate balustrades and railings. These buildings, often emblazoned with name plates or historical plaques, are just one way in which the township celebrates its colonial history. On the fence of the cemetery at St George’s Anglican Church are information signs, describing some of the key pioneering families buried there. Across from the cemetery is the Pioneer Park. Local groups research key figures in Sorell’s history and bring them forth to the light of the twenty-first century. Sorell has a history room in the Sorell Memorial Hall. The town even has a Pioneer School, where the local children are taught about the history of the area. One man who seems to personify Sorell’s pioneering history is Alexander Laing. Born in 1792, Laing was


charged with theft and transported to Sydney, before being later transferred to Van Diemen’s Land in 1815. He was married the following year, fathering twelve children over the course of his life. After being granted his freedom, Laing served as the District Constable of Sorell between 1819 and 1838. During this time he chased and captured bushrangers such as Lumpy Jones. In 1863, after spending some years in New Norfolk, Laing moved back to the area where he recorded, in a manuscript, 64 of his original fiddle tunes. Many of the songs are inspired by the local area, with titles such as Sorell Windmill and James Gordon of Forcett. He is now celebrated for his part in Sorell’s colonial history, with his manuscript of fiddle music stored in the Tasmanian Archive, a biography published, and musicians bringing his songs back to life. Laing is still present in the living remnants of Sorell’s past. The Police Magistrate’s House, on the main street, was built on a parcel of land that Laing originally owned, but had to forfeit to pay off his debts. This cottage is still incorrectly labelled as the Chief Constable’s house. Laing’s daughter, Georgiana, was the first to be baptised in the regal St George’s Anglican Church. The Sorell Gaol, where Laing was held up by the infamous bushrangers of the Brady Gang, was demolished in 1910 in order to build the Old Council Chambers. Laing’s descendants are buried in cemeteries in the area, and some even still walk around the town.

But Sorell’s history has a dark side — with Laing at the centre — which is not part of the colonial mythology perpetuated in the town. On the 8th of December 1826, a group of Mumirimina people, the first people of the area, were seen walking through Country near Pittwater. Laing gathered four soldiers and some stock-keepers, followed the group, and waited until dawn the next day to set upon them. They captured ten Mumirimina people, including Kikatapula, four other men, four women and a child. This story was reported by Magistrate James Gordon in a local newspaper later that week. What was not reported at the time, was that Laing and his compatriots chased fourteen others up the Sorell Valley to the headwaters of the Sorell Rivulet, where they killed them by gun-fire and bayonet.

area participated in the Black Line, alongside LieutenantGovernor George Arthur and his soldiers, who stayed at the Sorell Barracks. It’s likely that further kidnappings and killings of Mumirimina people occurred in the area, but were not documented by the white settlers. I’ve known about the colonial history of Sorell and its surroundings since I was a child. But after twenty-four years of living in the area, I’m ashamed to say I’ve only just learnt about the massacres of the Mumirimina people here. Not only that — I didn’t even know the name of the area’s first people until I actively sought out information about them this year. I examined my memory and the key monuments around the area, trying to determine why I had spent the last twenty-four years in ignorance. At primary school, and at Sorell High School, I remember being taught some things about the culture of First Nations people, in a very general way. Some of our house teams, and the streets around Dodges, seemed to be named in a First Nations language. But I don’t remember ever acknowledging that we were on the Country of the Mumirimina people, learning about their connection to this land, hearing about the atrocities committed against them, or how they fought back. The likelihood of my having learnt this and forgetting it seems unlikely, given how much I remember us learning about the First World War in school. From the little I’ve seen, things seem to have improved since I was in school. The Sorell Pioneer Village has had a yarning circle since 2012 to educate primary school students about First Nations peoples, and the kids at Dodges Ferry Primary School go on excursions to learn about their history. The Mumirimina people are now acknowledged at Dodges Ferry Primary School, and on information signs around Sorell and Carlton River. Whilst there is some information about how the Mumirimina people lived on these signs, it often seems to be tokenistic and overly simplistic. Some of these signs do not even refer to the Mumirimina people by name, and simply as the ‘Aboriginal people’ of the area. Equally,

there’s no celebration of the Mumirimina people’s quest to survive on the land where they had lived for thousands of years, despite being forced off it by settlers. There’s no mention of how the Mumirimina people fought back against those who had stolen the land and their people, through raids and defensive tactics. For all of the celebration of pioneers around the area, there’s not one mention of the massacres of the Mumirimina people. The main sign to the Mumirimina people is actually on the Sorell Rivulet where the massacre took place, but does not speak to the atrocities that happened there. There’s a monument to those killed in the First World War at the RSL, but no remembrance of the Mumirimina people killed in the frontier wars in the area. Even in the histories of Laing’s life, his taking prisoner, let alone his killing, of Mumirimina people in 1829 is not mentioned, despite it being well documented in newspapers at the time and other internet sites today. Knowing the full history of Sorell and its surrounds changes the remembrance of Laing from a colonial fiddler and protector of a town of bushrangers, to the only named perpetrator of genocide against the Mumirimina people in the area. In changing how Laing symbolises Sorell’s pioneer past, it elucidates a broader picture of its history — one where Sorell’s settlers were at conflict with the first people in the area, participating in the Black Line and massacres of the Mumirimina people. This is a truth which must be told in Sorell. The town cannot keep celebrating its colonial past without acknowledging the deep history and culture of the Mumirimina people, and the injustices perpetrated against them, upon which Sorell’s pioneering history is built. Dominic Flynn has written a string quartet drawing on Laing’s fiddle music, which aims to bring to light Laing’s part in the massacre of the Mumirimina people and challenge the celebration of Laing as a pioneer fiddler. In doing so, his piece reflects on his changed perceptions of the pioneer history of his hometown. The ideas behind this article, and my own reflections on Sorell’s history, are entirely thanks to Dom’s inspiration.

This is not the only massacre to take place in Sorell. In June 1829, a party pursued and killed ten Mumirimina people after they raided huts in the area in search of food. Two years later, the Black Line, which aimed to push First Nations people in lutruwita/Tasmania onto tukana/ Tasman Peninsula, ran through Sorell. Settlers from the


UTAS Wage Theft: Honest Payroll “Bungle” Or Predictable Prophecy? CHELSEA MENZIE The University of Tasmania has again featured in Tasmanian headlines this week. This time around they are accused of large scale wage theft, a seemingly endemic problem of the Australian higher education industry. UTAS’ underpayments affect ongoing and fixed term professional staff who were entitled to penalty rates, and casual staff who should have received minimum hours when they worked. In 2020 alone, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) estimated that they had recovered millions of dollars from 13 higher education institutions from around Australia (a whopping third of universities country wide).

So where does UTAS fit in? NTEU State Secretary Patrick McConville called UTAS’ role in the matter “careless” given the “dozens of human resources staff” for which “payroll management is the most basic task”. According to Mr McConville, underpayment and exploitation is an increasingly widespread practice, especially against casual staff members in the teaching sector. A breakdown of UTAS’ employment statistics reveal that at least half of staff employed by UTAS are on casual contracts. In the last year merely 0.01 percent of their 3100 casual staff who had their contracts reviewed were offered a more secure job.

Why is casualisation bad? The casualisation of the workforce generally in neoliberal, efficiency based economies is contributing to a culture of job insecurity, workers rights degradation and workers living pay-cheque to pay-cheque. And with UTAS’ reckless “bungle” of pay and working conditions their teaching faculty are at an even higher risk of exploitation and financial instability. UTAS staff in teaching, cleaning, security, administration


and beyond are already overworked, understaffed, and underappreciated by the institution which claims to centre around people. This is just the latest media controversy that showcases Vice Chancellor Rufus Black’s hypocrisy, McConville calling it “just the tip of the iceberg”.

Why is this important? Many students may not realise that most of the teaching staff at UTAS are on casual and oftentimes insecure contracts. As Mr McConville suggests, teaching faculty “typically don’t get paid for all the consultation, responding to emails, or administration that they do” and “they don’t usually have an office or any University issued resources to do their work.” They are expected to provide up to date research in their field while simultaneously being harangued by internal calls for efficiency, ‘streamlining’ and expectations of ‘student experience’. These wage theft accusations, amongst the federal Liberal Government’s latest blow to research funding and UTAS’ support of the Job Ready Graduates package (which effectively pushes the cost of university study further out of reach for financially disadvantaged students), paints a bleak picture for the future landscape of Tasmanian University staff and students.

How can students show solidarity to their teaching faculty? Mr McConville encouraged students to “understand the pressure that university staff are under”, by talking about wage theft, supporting any teaching staff industrial actions and by signing up to the NTEU if they are a student working for UTAS.


HANNAH CHARLESWORTH Ink and ball point pen on paper, 76 x 55.8 cm

Us. encompasses all that makes us human through using the sensorial body as a tool to create marks. I was interested in the technique of blind contour drawing, as it allowed my mind to be free and clear of intentions. Never knowing what the stroke will look like until you open your eyes, new perspectives and ideas flow onto the page. Taking blind contour drawing out of context in a class, I applied it to my work. I was creating a ground to work from, analysing movement and form through layering detail over the lines made. We have all grown up with what the human body looks like inside and out through scientific discovery and anatomical drawing. Yet we rarely look inside, looking at what makes us special and unique. This was a key concept I wanted to focus on in these drawings. Therefore, I focused on three parts of the human body that represent uniqueness but are universal through us all: a skull, a hand, and a muscle. Using anatomy, I looked at the chosen parts of the human being as a reference to branch into my anatomical drawings using ballpoint pens. Layering repeatedly, tracing over contours and forms to create depth and dimensions in the anatomical features, drawing over the lines created through blind contouring. I had to adapt and create new areas of interest within the detail, making uniqueness in the drawing itself.

He acknowledges that;

Caleb NicholsMansell: The Blakfella Behind Blackspace Creative CHELSEA MENZIE

Caleb Nichols-Mansell is the young pakana artist and activist behind the growing First Nations social enterprise art business, Blackspace Creative. Officially launched in September 2021, Blackspace Creative features authentic and often one of a kind Aboriginal made jewellery, homewares, apparel and art. The collective aims to build the profile of Aboriginal artists by supporting their artistic development and providing an avenue in which they can show and sell their artwork through digital and physical methods. Blackspace has also been an important venture in connecting with culture, language and country. Nichols-Mansell says that “from grassroots activism through to commercial endeavours, our community has always taken control of our future”. He believes that Blackspace fits into this self-determination through its arts and culture aspects. Indigenous Australians are the longest surviving culture in the world and through


sharing their work with Indigenous and Non-Indigenous audiences alike, Nichols-Mansell says, “we celebrate them”. He points to thriving Tasmanian Aboriginal owned and operated businesses like the wukalina walk, takara nipaluna tours, palawa kipli catering and the prevelance of NITA Education officers in Tasmanian schools as further examples of the community’s commitment to not only Indigenous futures, but Indigenous excellence. Outside of Blackspace Creative, Nichols-Mansell primarily works as a graphic designer and as an advocate for Indigenous and LGBTQ+ people. For him, being an artist and an activist seem almost inextricably linked:

“I believe in art being a mechanism for social change and influence and I hope that comes through in the work I create and the knowledges I share... As a Tasmanian Aboriginal artist, I represent and connect with a long line of creatives, story tellers, writers, singers, dancers, and performers.”

“for a millennia we have created art as a way of sharing knowledge which in turn has sustained our connections to country, culture, and community. These connections are integral to who I am as an individual and an artist, they underpin my creative process”. He has also worked closely alongside the Indigenous Brotherboy and Sistergirl communities since 2014, volunteering for the Aboriginal Nations Torres Strait Islander HIV Youth Mob which advocates for better education and conditions around bloodborne diseases in remote Aboriginal communities. Historical records show that our Aboriginal brothers and sisters have a long history of LGBTQ+ advocacy in so called “Australia”, often times before it was commonplace in liberal politics. Nichols-Mansell theorises that “historically we have always aligned with these minorities and sub-sections of society because we know what it feels to be discriminated against, isolated, ostracised, made to feel different and excluded”. He says that there are a lot of mob who need to navigate the intersections of identity when they identify as part of the LGBTQ+ or gender diverse communities.

“We know that historically these roles and classifications existed within our cultures because we have the Sistergirl and Brotherboy communities who took up and embodied roles of the opposite sex. They were considered special and admired by members of their community. It is only western concepts and societal structures that have broken these roles down and demonised them through the introduction of religion and destruction of cultural practices and knowledge systems.”

Emma Robertson, Maireener Shells, Black Crow Shells, 2021. Available to purchase through Blackspace Creative.

community broadly, and to a plethora of government legislation which denigrates Indigenous life experiences outside of western binaries more specifically, he hopes LGBTQ+ Indigenous Australian’s can “retain our sovereignty, culture, and connections.” Blackspace is both a business and social enterprise which actively “seeks to educate and deepen the knowledge of the broader community” so that they can “understand and more deeply appreciate the art and cultural practices of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community which have been sustained since time began”.

Nichols-Mansell encourages anyone wanting to get involved to -

“share our social media pages and posts, tell their friends and family about our website and creatives, and take the time to learn about why we (Blackspace and our artists) do what we do”, to “support blak communities, organisations, businesses, content creators, educators, entrepreneurs, academics, and artists by investing your time, energy, and finances.”

In light of the recently postponed Religious Discrimination Bill which echoes more policies of hatred against the LGBTQ+


I didn’t know what socialism was at that time but that’s where my journey began. The novel drew me in with its dark look into the control and manipulation of authority. The prospect of an individual relies on the interaction of nature and nurture, genetics and environment: but the ‘utopian’ state’s chain of command controls both. Naturally, I found this control alarming. To the readership, it challenges one of their deepest anxieties about the possibility of interference on their natural biological endowment, that they will someday be oppressed, exploited and manipulated by authority. Huxley plays on these trepidations to challenge the reader’s ideas of societal norms. He shows the fear that a future World State may rob them of the right to be unhappy. Very few writers were bold enough to challenge their reader’s comfort in this time in history, but Huxley certainly did. Bernard Marx is a key figure in Brave New World. Selfconscious and bumbling, he is yet an extraordinary individual and, conditioned to think like the rest of his society, he cannot help but have otherwise challenging thoughts. Bernard articulates a desire of freedom in such a world that can only be a freedom from conditioning. As he questions the value of dominant values, he also materialises a discontent. He is the first who develops a taste for solitude, which frightens Lenina, who never questions her society: “No, the real problem is: How is it that I can’t, or rather — because, after all, I know quite well why I can’t — what would it be like if I could, if I were free — not enslaved by my conditioning … Don’t you wish you were free, Lenina?” Being rejected by society, he spends most time alone, which leads him to comprehend that what looks like “freedom” to the World State is in fact, not, and cannot be much more than voluntary slavery. Bernard Marx, contextually, is an obvious allusion to Karl Marx. Marx is one of the most misinterpreted thinkers in history because his ideas challenge one’s beliefs and, when properly understood, he becomes a threat to the elitist class.

Huxley’s Brave New World is the reason why I am a socialist today

im m l-Ti A ra w o H

Huxley knew that with propaganda, most of his readers believe that Marx is to blame for human suffering, wars, poverty, government management, millions of deaths, economic busts and anything else they can point their finger at. Since the elitist class would be extinct if Marxism, as properly interpreted, takes hold in society, it would seem that Bernard Marx was a way for Huxley to challenge norms. What kind of norms are up to the reader to interpret. Benito Hoover is the stereotypical ‘Alpha’ who obeys all the social norms, quotes his hypnopaedic learning and happily follows all of the trends associated with the World State. His first name is an allusion to the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, who had governed with fascist beliefs. Benito fits perfectly into Brave New World as he represents every aspect of the World State’s government. In the World State, it is believed that everyone should follow the same lifestyle and accept the things that are forced upon them. When the novel was published, fascism was beginning to raise its ugly head in Europe, and the novel went far beyond any totalitarian dream and introduced readers to a new


Aldous Huxley’s satirical Brave New World is one of the most bewitching and frightening works of literature I’ve ever read. Naive to its context, I didn’t understand any of it when I first came to read it. It was at a time where I had no interest in politics, yet I knew I wanted to be a scientist of some kind and had a very pragmatic worldview. When Brave New World was recommended to me, I expected to escape into a world of science fiction. Instead I fell into a book that challenged my social and economic views.

nightmarish world controlled by cold, calculating scientific bureaucrats. It seems that Huxley was using the world around him as inspiration for a warning of what is to come, which is shockingly prescient with current issues concerning conformity. In the World State, “unpleasantness” has been abolished through the drug Soma. Soma weakens the characters, leaving them incapable of questioning the government’s methods. In Brave New World, the characters take Soma because their lives, like the society itself, is devoid of a higher meaning. John the Savage, by contrast, has a strong resistance. His happiness - and afflictions - don’t drive him to take Soma. Huxley cleverly influences the reader into siding with John as he supports the right to suffer sickness, pain, and fear. When he claims the right to be unhappy; the reader commiserates. The reader may also come to support, like John, “the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.”

John tries to convince hundreds of tired workers to refuse Soma, and instead to live their lives in freedom without this control. John had questioned the riled up crowd and as a result of a nonconformist action, they lashed out, only to be brought down by the police, who oddly enough controlled the uproar by spraying Soma gas to pacify everyone. The irony here confirms that Soma is really more than just a drug, for it is truly a distraction and an answer that fills any void in their dull lives of “Community, Identity, Stability.” This detrimental drug goes beyond the literal meaning in which it is being used and becomes the one thing that everyone actually lives for. With the prevalent norm of ‘ignorance is bliss’, the reader begins to question what today’s Soma is as they do not want to destroy themselves and become slaves to a society where they believe they have free-will like the way Soma does to the citizens of Brave New World. The world that Huxley created, an “idealistic” utopian society, has been created with features, specifically the characters, that have been explicitly calculated to alienate the readers as reading the novel elicits the very same unpleasant feelings in the reader which the society it describes has notionally subdued. We see that the formation of this “idealistic” utopian society by the elitist class comes at the expense of the working class. As Marx would say, the “bourgeois want all the advantages of modern social conditions without the struggles and dangers necessarily resulting therefrom.” The challenge that the novel offers to the reader concerns the here and now, asking them to challenge their own ideas of norms. Huxley tells the reader to look at themselves and to recognise what forces within their society and government prevent them from perceiving their world as it really is. For someone who at the age of 16 had been void of a political stance, this novel sparked a curiosity in me. While not directly driving me to become a socialist, the novel led me to question what kind of scientist or clinician I can be. I dismantled the long held notion I carried with me that science is just objective. I saw the social and economic issues that held the discipline together and questioned what the impact could be if I did not instill economically equitable values into my work. I read this book over and over again, each time gaining something new. Its insight into what capitalism and neoliberalism does and can do to scientific endeavors is one that does not change for me.

Kristie Johnston On Her Journey To Parliament, Independence And The Liberals’ Pokies Sell Out DESMOND MARCENKO


Kristie Johnston has made a political career out of being the conscience-driven outsider. As Mayor of Glenorchy, she rose above the insubordination of her fellow aldermen to restore public confidence in a council tarnished by corruption. Now representing the electorate of Clark as an independent, she faces a far tougher challenge: taking on a government paid for by the gaming and hospitality lobby.

Johnston’s first encounter with establishment politics ended in disillusionment. At the age of 17, she did what many well-meaning young progressives do: she joined the ALP. After putting in two years at her local branch however, Johnston left the party in protest of their asylum seeker policy. Her frustration with establishment politics would be one that’d come to define her political career.

Growing up in nipaluna/Hobart’s northern suburbs, Johnston was instilled with a keen sense of social justice at an early age. Her father, a former Baptist minister, parted ways with the church over their unpragmatic approach to community outreach. Johnston’s mother, who managed an emergency relief agency, supported the family while he returned to university to study sociology. Volunteering her time at her mother’s office as a teenager, Johnston saw first-hand the level of disadvantage faced by her community – exacerbated by the introduction of poker machines in pubs and clubs in the late 90s.

Graduating from UTAS with a law degree, Johnston went on to work for the Hobart Community Legal Service and the Tenant’s Union of Tasmania, before starting a family. In the midst of her newfound responsibilities as a mother of two, Johnston then embarked on a Master’s Degree in Criminology and Corrections. Her research focused on the relationship between transport access and criminal behaviour in the Glenorchy municipality. It was during this time as well that Johnston and her husband became involved with the Hobart Northern Suburbs Railway Campaign, an endeavour thorough which she was first introduced to the dysfunction of the Glenorchy City Council:

“I got involved in council – going along to council meetings and being involved in that, applying a more critical mind with my law and criminology background, to the things that I saw happening around the council table from the public gallery. And I really hated what I saw.”

donations, people become really sceptical”.

Johnston’s exasperation with the absence of critical thought and community consideration in the council’s decisionmaking motivated her to successfully run as an alderman in 2011. Her tenure at the Glenorchy City Council during this time only further revealed its deep-rooted infighting. This continued to intensify when Johnston was elected mayor in 2014, with aldermen brazenly undermining her authority on one occasion by holding a vote to dismiss 16 employees in her absence.

“We’re looking for an alternative. And I think that’s where independents have the opportunity to go, well actually, we could change the dynamics of politics and of parliament, by focusing on issues and solutions and being communicative. And admitting we’re not always right.”

In 2017, Johnston and the rest of the council were dismissed following a long awaited report by the Board of Inquiry, which upheld a complaint made by Johnston two years prior. The report highlighted evidence of the council’s maladministration and the dysfunctional relationship between General Manager Peter Brooks and Johnston. The council’s dismissal also came shortly after a scathing report by the Auditor-General. It found that the council had been involved in improper dealings with the consultancy company of former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett, alleging that over the course of 5 years, it had engaged CT Management for various projects without seeking quotes from other organisations. Vindicated at last, Johnston was re-elected as mayor in 2018 in a landslide victory. In February of 2021, Johnston announced that she was standing as an independent candidate for the electorate of Clark in the upcoming state election. In her press release, she acknowledged building a passenger rail through the existing Hobart rail corridor and fixing lutruwita/ Tasmania’s ailing health system as key issues for her campaign. Johnston was successful in clinching the fifth seat in Clark in a hotly contested race that May – the first time an independent has won in the electorate in 25 years. According to Johnston, her victory reflects a dissatisfaction with the major parties:

“People are so disillusioned with party politics. They just feel that parties are there to serve themselves, rather than actually serving the community […] The way that parties and politicians are bought by big funding election campaigns and political

Johnston also cites the surge of independent candidates standing in the upcoming federal election as proof of growing discontent with the parties at a national level. For her, independents represent a reprieve from the polarising politics of the status quo – offering instead an issues-based, collaborative approach:

Johnston draws some inspiration from fellow high profile independent Andrew Wilkie, who has served as the Federal Member for Clark since 2010. Endorsing her bid for mayor, the two often campaigned together at Glenorchy’s Northgate Shopping Centre in 2014, with Johnston taken by the honesty with which Wilkie engaged his constituents:

“What I’ve seen politicians do over and over again, is they agree with a person to their face. And they say ‘yes, yes I’ll fix that for you’, or they make promises, or they agree with a position. What I saw Andrew do, is he’d say ‘hang on a minute here, I don’t agree with what you’re saying’ or ‘what you’re saying is offensive to all of these people’ […] And I saw people walk away and they might not have agreed with what Andrew said, but they had an enormous respect for him”. Like Wilkie, Johnston sees her strength in parliament as being able to speak freely on the issues affecting her constituents, unconstrained by the need to toe party lines or appease donors. The member for Clark however, is also aware of her own limitations:

“As an independent, I can’t change a vote on the floor of parliament. I haven’t got the numbers, I haven’t got the balance of power. But what I can do, is I can be a voice. And give people the opportunity to have their concerns heard.”


One group of people that Johnston has consistently provided a voice for is those impacted by pokies addiction. As mayor of Glenorchy, she staunchly opposed the introduction of additional poker machines in the suburb, citing their already devastating consequences on the community. Indeed, Johnston has gone on record to describe the suburb’s CBD as the ‘pokies golden mile’, decrying the $2 million they rake in each month as ‘disgraceful’:

I’ve sat in too many people’s living rooms where they’ve told heartbreaking stories about the impact – the financial impact, of poker machines. People have had to sell up houses and things like that. Grandparents having to look after grandchildren because there’s no money for food.

Johnston’s advocacy against pokies led her to oppose the government’s Gaming Control Amendment (Future Gaming Market) Bill 2021 during her first year in parliament. This supposed reform saw the Liberals’ election promise of ending the Federal Group’s poker machine monopoly come to fruition. For Johnston, the legislation presented a rare opportunity to reduce the damage pokies inflict on the community – one that was sorely squandered. At every stage of the bill’s passage, effective harm minimisation measures such as slowing spin speeds, introducing $1 maximum bet limits and removing false ‘near misses’ were voted down by both the Liberals and Labor:

“It would have made a huge impact on those addicted to poker machines. But it also would have made a big impact on the poker machine industry’s bottom line […] That’s why Federal Group and the gaming industry – THA, were so opposed to those harm minimisation measures. It impacts their bottom line. And that’s why central parties didn’t vote for it.”


While much was made of the Federal Group’s projected revenue drop due to losing their monopoly, the Future Gaming Market policy is far from a step towards reigning in the predatory gaming and hospitality industry. Indeed, the legislation is expected to see profits from pokies increase in pubs and clubs by $14 million a year. And while the tax rate on poker machines will rise, it will remain fixed until 2043 when all licenses expire. Even Federal Group sets to benefit from the new arrangement. While losing their monopoly, the organisation will retain control of Keno in pubs and clubs, with the tax rate of poker machines and Keno in its casinos cut by half. According to a study from Meg Webb MLC, this will reduce revenue to the state by $250 million over the course of 20 years. Federal Group will also be eligible to apply for one of two new high-roller casino licenses created under the legislation. Tellingly, the government’s bill was quite literally written by the gaming lobby itself. It emerged from a co-written submission by the Tasmanian Hospitality Association (THA) and Federal Group in response to a 2017 Legislative Council inquiry. The introduction of the bill also followed the THA and Federal Group directly donating a combined $320,00 to the Tasmanian Liberals during the 2018 state election, with the THA spending a further $900,000 campaigning for them. Hesitant to draw direct comparisons to the corruption of the Glenorchy City Council during her tenure as mayor and her parliamentary colleagues in the Liberal Party, Johnston characterised the influence of political donations on lutruwita/Tasmanian politics as a corruption of democracy:

“What I think you’re seeing in parliament is a corruption of democracy through the undue influence of big corporations and industry stakeholders and things like that to the decision-making process. And that’s not healthy. Not at all healthy.” True to her strong commitment to social justice and independence, Johnston was an outspoken voice in last year’s conversation on pokies reform. Though it remains doubtful that anything less than a mass political movement will be able to remove the scourge of corporate influence from lutruwita/Tasmania’s democracy, in the meantime she is one of the few advocates in parliament for those whom the major parties have left behind.

Friends of Palestine Tasmania on the Sydney Festival Boycott DESMOND MARCENKO

Sydney’s/Djubuguli’s premier arts festival drew headlines this January after scores of performers have chosen to withdraw in protest of a sponsorship deal made with the Embassy of Israel. The Sydney Festival’s line-up was thrown into disarray just days before it was slated to begin on the 5th of January, with more than 20 acts cancelling their performances. Among the most notable include comedian Tom Ballard, burlesque entertainer Betty Grumble and Malyangapa and Barkindji musician Barkaa. Other acts such as a production of Seven Methods of Killing Kyle Renner by Jasmine Lee-Jones and Wiradjuri artist Karla Dicken’s installation Return to Sender are set to continue, but will do so in a separate capacity from the festival. The controversy stemmed from the Sydney Festival’s acceptance of $20,000 from the Embassy of Israel to stage a performance of Decadence by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin. The decision drew accusations of ‘artwashing’, with critics deriding the Israeli government’s financial support of the festival as a cynical means through which to normalise their oppression of the Palestinian people. Boycott of the Sydney Festival is just the latest action within the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS). BDS seeks to end international complicity with Israel’s apartheid regime and pressure the country to comply with its obligations under international law. These include providing full legal equality to Palestinians living in Israel, withdrawing Israeli settlements in occupied territories, and ensuring a right of return for dispossessed Palestinians refugees. Relevant to the Sydney Festival’s recent controversy, is BDS’s call for a cultural boycott of Israel. BDS supporters claim that Israel mobilises culture to deflect from its illegal occupation and denial of Palestinian rights, a fact which Israeli state officials freely admit. In the same vein as South African anti-apartheid activists, BDS thus calls for the boycott of events, activities and projects involving the state of Israel, its lobby groups, and cultural institutions.

Peta Fitzgibbon is the President of Friends of Palestine Tasmania, a community group that advocates for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. Ms. Fitzgibbon praised the bravery of artists who’ve chosen to withdraw from the festival: “I believe it’s like Desmond Tutu said about Palestine. If you understand the issues and you’re not for the Palestinian people, you’re on the side of the oppressor […] Everything is political. I think that for the artists it is an opportunity to use their voice to stand up for the injustices in a non-violent way, but a political way. An opportunity to raise the issue of the ongoing illegality of and expansion of Israeli settlements, the impunity which the Israeli state has, and the lack of commitment from the international community for any real peace process that is going anywhere.” Ms. Fitzgibbon sees the BDS movement as a peaceful way to protest Israel’s human rights abuses, giving individuals the ability to effectuate change: “It’s a non-violent protest. It aims to highlight the reality of Israel being an apartheid state. The obvious example is the recent 2018 act which basically says that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people. It is a way that individuals in their own country can make a stand against those companies that do business with the Israeli government and also brings home that in Australia, there are things we can do.” While the Sydney Festival’s board of directors has said that it has ‘spent time with a number of groups who have concerns about this funding and welcomed the opportunity to engage with them’, it later reaffirmed its commitment to accepting funding from the apartheid state.


Revolution EVA HALE

I am too tired to start a revolution. this is a most uncomfortable reality that I must sit with. the sediment settles to the bottom & the protests go on & I want to stand up I want to scream but I hold my voice in my pocket. when I don’t know what to do with my hands I stroke its smooth surface for comfort. it is soothing. my voice can be soothing when it is folded to fit in small places. I am too tired for the metaphors of change; the sparks & the explosions & the oceans of the world of the people who do not have the luxury of being too tired to fight. I bathe in the ocean and the ocean tells me I am lucky I can float I am lucky to keep my head above water at all.

I watch the moon & ask her to help me through another day. I wonder if I should be asking her to change the tides instead. my body is a slurry of wet ash & cold coffee. not crisp & on ice but stale. heartbroken. I want to join the revolution but some days the only revolution I can manage is deciding to be here. to stay here. to not choose leaving. I must first be here before I can change. I must first change before I can change the world.

Six Environmental Hacks For The Impending


Keep yourself busy


Climate change and environmental degradation will become one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time. It will inflame and influence not only environmental concerns and extreme weather events, but our pre-existing economic and cultural issues domestically and abroad. Human induced global warming for example, is predicted to usher in “irreversible” (IPCC 2020) changes to ecosystems and sea levels that have already begun disproportionately rearing their head in fiscally disadvantaged countries, presenting the world with new iterations of political and economic refugees. In so called Australia, our fair-go, sunburnt, country has transformed (in a mere 230ish years) from a place of cultivated and sacrosanct natural lifeforce into the flaming pits of big mining and logging, capitalist hellmouth (Buffy gays will understand). But, at least our beloved, quirky dad/full time prime-minister/part time curry-maker did a very cool pandering photoshoot with bushfire victims where they told him to fuck off! That’s kind of like climate policy in a sense. And with all of this talk of “having a go to get a go”, “hand ups and not handouts” and other catchy, alliterative, classist slogans that completely disregard the lived barriers to justice and action that us lowly poors face we couldn’t help but wonder about surviving and thriving under these conditions… Here are the top six Togatus approved tips for hacking this whole climate change and inevitable societal collapse business.


Slip, Slop, Slap!

The staff writers at Togatus prefer to receive all of our public health information from a singing seagull named Sid and it has never failed us yet! So do try to have fun outside as the world burns, but never be caught frying (embarrassing).



Buy more t-shirts

T shirts are a universal fashion statement. Think James Dean and classic Americana, think an effortlessly cool off-duty model. They are a universally acknowledged way to pretend that Metallica makes good music. But they also serve a greater environmental related purpose for all of those selfstarters out there: body heat regulation. It’s the next logical phase of evolution.

Fix this whole overconsumption thing by burning all of the waste The best magic trick is when fire makes things go bye-bye. When Richard Nixon said “the finest steel has to go through the hottest fire” he was 1. Calling himself sexy/fine and 2. Talking about how fire is super revolutionary and can kind of fix this whole debacle.


Just work harder and join the 1%

Have you ever considered that if you don’t want bad things to happen you should just pull your bootstraps up and buy the next available ticket to colonise space? Take a peek into the lineage of your larakin, murderous, convict ancestors by destroying the ecosystem of the next perfectly good thing to come along. My cousin’s dog dropped out of “Harvard” (whatever that is), mined bitcoin and got really into the NFTs with the monkey art and now he’s a millionaire at 12 and a very eligible bachelor. He has a degree in the school of hard knocks and a one way ticket to your anus. Work smarter not harder.

Deny, deny, deny. If you do other meaningless work there’s a good chance it will probably just blow over, even if there are already millions suffering and stolen land being degraded as we speak. How good is having a job?

Fix this whole overconsumption thing by simultaneously buying more things that say they are ethical.

Ever wondered how buying more products that are marketed with vague snake-oil claims like “green”, “ethical”, “vintage” or “conscious” actually make a tangible difference when they are still utilising new materials to be made, don’t provide any sources for their supposed ethicality and most likely probably still use sweatshop based labour while also shaming consumers for their carbon foot print in the face of a substantially more harmful neoliberal governmental policy of utter disregard for the environment? Well worry no more, because no one (especially not the manufacturers) even know how it is deemed ethical so shop until you drop girl, you deserve it.

We hope you have enjoyed our six environmental crisis hacks and can implement this practice of mindful alpha-ness to maximise your productivity and labour output in the face of adversity! Let us know if you have any environmental hacks that can streamline dying in a massive, never ending, horrifying bushfire.



Artworks by Malachi Quinn Photographs taken by Alex Walden-Baur

A story of sex and society, as told by the self portrait painting of Malachi Quinn. “Sex is the unnamed god of society. Sex, gender identity and sexuality dictate both the social realm, and individual conscious experience in numerous ways. Explicitly there are the overtly outdated gender roles, but on a more subtle level there is the philosophical assumption underlying traditional views on sex and gender: that people are their bodies. This argument posits that mind and body are one (as opposed to dualism: a mind with a body), and thus by extension no different to an animal or a complex biological computer. There is no soul, no free will- rather we are machinery fulfilling the urge to procreate until we die. Problematic. Treating people as merely their bodies is an argument long since used to justify discrimination. For social change to occur across the board we must change the underlying philosophy and begin to see people as beings rather than bodies. If we can view a person as a being, we make it possible to see past labels and create an authentic connection. Thus, discrimination becomes a foolish concept when we are able to see that fundamentally we are all the same. ​This exhibition features two years’ worth of self-portraiture, and a lifetime of self-exploration and philosophical inquiry into the nature of identity and existence. What began as a documentation of change over time turned into an


immortalisation of aspects of myself. In the paintings I depict myself nude in various settings. Clothing is a label: man or woman, rich or poor, formal or casual. When taking away this label we see the being as they truly are. Furthermore, the normalisation of nudity in non-sexualised

settings encourages the notion that bodies are not inherently sexual objects. Everyone has a body, and for some reason it has become a controversial thing to see or even discuss. We often only see nudity in sexual contexts: porn, sexualised music videos, advertisements profitting from the sexualisation of bodies. This misappropriation of the human figure internalizes the idea that the function of the body is limited to sex, and thus the body itself becomes an object of shame and secrecy. To counter this, I paint myself enjoying beautiful moments - a sunset, an art session, a bubble bath, a walk - all non-sexualised depictions of nudity. In this raw and real way I hope to be seen for who I am, which is a being, not a body. This painting series reflects my own journey of realising I am more than my body. Initially inspired by the recognition of one’s own mortality following grief, the paintings follow my journey of gender confusion and exploration. I began to go by he/him pronouns as I felt they better reflected who I was on the inside. Eventually, I came to understand that it is never our physicality that defines who we are, and gender expression is no different: people are more than their bodies. This transformation of ideology and physicality is shown chronologically in my paintings, with the 2020 works featuring my feminine side, with a cartoonish, colourful and cute style. This gradually becomes more fluid, dark and abstract, culminating in 2021’s emotive expression of masculine figures. ​The paintings are filled with symbolism which I have created to tell a more nuanced story. Each painting is a chapter, and the exhibition is the book. The images are the words and the symbols provide the key to reading them. The presence of the armour costumes and sculptures creates a sharp contrast to the 2-D nudity. This serves as a reminder that it is easy to think we are our authentic selves when in the privacy of our own minds, but in the 3-D world, the pressures of society have us guarded. The contrast drawn between the 2-D nudes and the 3-D armour is to illustrate this difference between who we are to ourselves, vs what masks we wear into the world and share with others. It is my hope that beginning to see people as beings, rather than bodies, will mitigate the need for such defences. The world I yearn to see is open and encouraging of expression and diversity. I believe this world begins with a subtle but powerful shift in perspective: recognising oneself and others as more than their bodies. ​Treating people as more than their bodies is a call to celebrate diversity and encourage open exploration of these ideologies. As sex and sexuality is such a fundamental facet of the human experience, squishing it into acceptable categories and punishing any deviation is not the way forward. Instead, we should celebrate all expressions of ourselves, accept others and aim to see people for who they truly are. Human beings are capable of so much more than fulfilling labels. Humans are beautiful and our bodies are not label makers. We are so much more than our bodies. Let’s celebrate ourselves and each other as human beings.”

Contact Info: Malachi_Quinn_Art 39

University of Tasmania Students and Staff


Students and stakeholders in the University of Tasmania’s Law Faculty have expressed concerns about the quality of legal education this semester amid heightened tensions regarding the proposed change to the Legal Practice Course. The current Legal Practice Course, a five month “hands on” postgraduate course, allows graduates to develop their critical legal skills in a face-to-face environment and remains highly regarded amongst the Tasmanian legal and academic community. Last year alone, it boasted a one hundred per cent employment rate. However, former governor Kate Warner, Chief Justice Alan Blow and Law Society of Tasmania President, Simon Gates (among other distinguished stakeholders) reportedly met in February to express their concerns over new proposed changes to both undergraduate


and postgraduate law courses, which were to lean heavily on online teaching delivery. Opponents of the course restructuring cite their concern amongst a devastating raft of sixteen academic teaching staff who have left the faculty since March 2020, and recently surfaced allegations about the decline of legal education across the board in the state’s only face-to-face university. Current law student and Tasmanian University Law Society (TULS) President, Fletcher Clarke, also met earlier this month with the Dean of the Law Faculty, Professor Michael Stuckey, Vice President (Education), Eli Bowe, and Secretary Lucy Milne to air his concerns given the recent controversies. Clarke has noted the “high levels of stress, anxiety and confusion” this latest raft

of restructuring has caused amongst his fellow students, which he believes “undermines the University of Tasmania’s ability to provide a quality legal education”. Clarke and TULS have lobbied for greater resourcing and support for students and staff of the law school, quality assurance in the deliverance of a new teaching model, limiting where possible the resignation of remaining law faculty academic staff and the speeding up of the recruiting process for new appointments (which so far has allegedly only filled two of five vacant positions at the time of writing). He says that students have “exhausted all available internal University means to rectify these issues”, which he notes students were not adequately informed of in the first place.

He cites severely limited feedback and constrained timeliness of marking on student assessment as well as staff “stretched thin” when trying to deliver “quality lectures, tutorials, assessment tasks and learning for students while also taking up several additional roles”. Kahles reports that as a result, “one lecturer last year had to take on over 200 students in a unit without support from any additional tutors or marking help”, calling his current studies in the law faculty a “disorganised, under-resourced and disheartening experience” which will inevitably “worsen if current proposals for changing the Tasmanian legal practice course are implemented”.

Following strong and well documented pushback to the Legal Practice Course change, the University has guaranteed a return to the in-person Legal Practice Course in 2023. Professor Stuckey however noted the improved “access” and “flexibility” of the proposed online course on ABC Hobart’s ‘Mornings’. Access and flexibility is a seemingly central value in the University’s controversial proposed Southern campus move, too. Many proponents of the current Legal Practice Course argue however, that disallowing graduates from commencing the course in person may be considered inflexible if they are to learn “real world” and interpersonal legal skills. They are advocating for either a co-existence of face-to-face and online or a complete return to face-to-face rather than the entire online shift. And although it is encouraging that the University has reformed their policy on the course restructuring based on student feedback, it begs the question, why was it changed at all without adequate student, staff or legal community consultation?

Concerns from at least 80 other law students have been echoed in two recent open letters on staffing, senior management and course delivery obtained by Togatus earlier this year. These letters paint a stark picture of the staffing conditions alleged within the law school, one letter stating that academic staff were told at an open

Miles Kahles, fourth year UTAS law student, told Togatus that “it has become clear” to him that the university “does not prioritise educational outcomes as its foremost goal” and that as such this has had “visible consequences” for his degree. Kahles alleges that the university has become enamoured in cost cutting

“has meant that no new staff have been employed on a part-time or full-time basis since 2015, reflecting a broader trend of casualisation of jobs in academia”. strategy, which according to him

staff meeting, “if

they did not like the way the law school was being run, they could leave as there were 40,000 unemployed academics that could fill their roles.” This is alongside alleged ‘non-disparage-

ment’ clauses in academic contracts which prevent former staff from being able to criticise the university under significant financial penalty, what may be considered hostile treatment of PhD candidates in the faculty and new staff that have been hired “mere days before the beginning of semester” without induction, guidance on setting up their courses, or “clear guidelines on the expectation and content of the courses they are teaching”. For now the legal practice course has been saved, although students and stakeholders still remain apprehensive over its future in coming years. Law students with ongoing concerns are also encouraged to contact the TULS committee on, which they are able to do under anonymity if required. As it stands, only time will tell how students’ concerns will be addressed.


Beyond Seen & Heard : Transgender Day Of Visibility 2022 JOHNNY VALKYRIE The transgender community has certainly been visible lately, and while prejudice seems to be the order of the decade, progress and potential are too. This Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) I will reflect on where I believe the University of Tasmania (UTAS) is at in terms of transgender liberation. I will also take the opportunity to introduce myself. I am transgender, transmasculine to be precise, and am in my first year of study at UTAS, though it is not my first time studying. My partner and I planned to move to Tasmania this year in time for my first semester, but like many Tasmanians, were unable to secure suitable housing, so I am studying via distance on the mainland, dreaming of the day I can call myself a ‘Trans-Tasman’. I digress. Tasmania has an interesting history when it comes to transgender people. The state has arguably, out of anywhere else in Australia, the strongest protections against discrimination and vilification, courtesy of the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act 1998. There are also advocacy organisations for transgender people in Tasmania including Transforming Tasmania and Tasmanian Families for Trans Kids. In 2019, Tasmania implemented gender optional birth certificate laws, the most progressive in the world to date, according to Tasmanian transgender activist Martine Delaney (she/her). However, the state was not always so progressive. Tasmania is infamous for being the last state in Australia to have decriminalised homosexuality, in the year I was born, 1997. Additionally, the lesser known criminalisation of crossdressing in Tasmania was so until 2000, which endangered transgender people particularly, given their expression of identity could be misconstrued as cross-dressing. I would argue (jokingly, clothes are genderless), that most transgender people ‘cross-dressed’ as their assigned gender until coming out, so would we have been following the law in pre-2000s Tasmania by dressing in a gender affirming fashion? We love to see accidental transgender affirmation, even if it is the recently redacted phallic logo of


the Federal Government’s Women’s Network. So, with the state being (mostly) great, what can be said about its only university? Here are some of my thoughts, referencing the results of a student research report conducted last year by Aisling McCullough (they/them) and QUEENS of UTAS (Queers’ Unique Experiences of the Educational Networks and Spaces of the University of Tasmania). My impression is that UTAS has potential. It has the basics of transgender inclusion and protection, but there is plenty to do to make the university truly welcoming and supportive of transgender students, employees and the general public. There are policies, statements and guidelines published on the official website relating to transgender students and employees. The online learning platform currently used by the university, MYLO, has capacity to display and update customised pronouns. Where employees are concerned, UTAS initially indicated support for paid transition leave in employee agreements, but has recently back-peddled according to the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), offering only ten days of special leave, casual employees excluded. The Pride Society of TUSA has three openly transgender board members (myself included), and is proactively supporting transgender people though education and advocacy. We released a video featuring our transgender board members in honour of Transgender Day of Visibility 2022. It is clear that there is movement, but there must be more, as evidenced by the recent studentled research project, QUEENS of UTAS. QUEENS of UTAS was a student-led research project conducted by Aisling McCullough (they/them) which sought to understand the experiences and aspirations of LGBTQIA+ students at UTAS. Its main findings as they relate to transgender people were that improvements to pronoun usage, gender-neutral bathrooms, and general experiences of LGBTQIA+ people at UTAS are required. Currently, the majority of employees and students at UTAS do not display their pronouns in communications such as in email signatures, on name badges, in presentations or

in online studies. The explicit use of gendered pronouns encourages people to not assume gender on account of appearances, and assists in the destigmatisation of transgender identities. The report in question found that pronoun usage was the most common response among all respondents, including cisgender respondents. This communicates an interest from the broader LGBTQIA+ community at UTAS in supporting the transgender community and challenging gendered assumptions. McCullough recommends that TUSA “…directly lobby senior administration staff at the university to include their gender pronouns in the signature on all email communication, and on their professional biography pages, and consider adding them on an opt-out basis to official university templates.” While I agree with their recommendation, I would argue that an opt-out for pronoun usage would perpetuate the current complacency on pronoun usage, and that it should be a mandatory field, as all people have pronouns. To oppose this position would indicate implicit bias against transgender people. Second, the existence of accessible gender neutral bathrooms is integral to transgender inclusion and protection. It was once so in Australia, that public toilets were designed exclusively for able bodied cisgender men, so advocacy on accessible bathrooms is far from novel. QUEENS of UTAS found that gender neutral bathrooms and changing rooms on campus were of particular importance to all LGBTQIA+ respondents, yet just under half of them

were unaware that such facilities existed. Strangely, only 18.8% of transgender respondents were aware that gender neutral bathrooms and changing facilities existed on UTAS campuses. This indicates to me, a lack of appropriate communication between the university, its student union and transgender students. McCullough, the researcher, recommended that TUSA be “…an active voice for the rights of transgender constituents regarding bathroom and changing facilities on campus…” and that “… [genderneutral] bathroom arrangements [must be kept] in mind when [UTAS is] considering its future location(s)…”. I agree, and this is of particular relevance as UTAS considers relocating its Sandy Bay campus to nipaluna/Hobart CBD, which in itself has demonstrated the importance of codesign. Finally, McCullough recommends that TUSA “…conduct further targeted research into the wellbeing of LGBTQIA+ students at the University of Tasmania, including directly addressing outness and community self-identification and participation.”, which is of course important, however research recommendations, such as those published in the QUEENS of UTAS report must be seriously considered, developed and implemented into meaningful improvements to the experiences of transgender people and the broader LGBTQIA+ community at UTAS. Overall, it is not enough to be seen and heard. Transgender Day of Visibility is about being seen and heard, but also accepted, included and celebrated. We deserve this, and most of all, liberation. And I believe we can get there.





Democrats responded to Trump’s brash attacks on the media by making press freedom a pet cause. With Julian Assange’s extradition to the US now cleared, Biden’s White House has demonstrated the hollowness of their rhetoric, persecuting a journalist whose important work has shone a light on the dark heart of American empire. A computer hacker in his youth, the Australian born Assange came to international attention in the early 2000s by founding Wikileaks, a website dedicated to publishing classified government documents. Assange was inspired by Daniel Ellsberg’s publishing of the Pentagon Papers following the Vietnam War, which revealed the previously unreported scope of US attacks on North Vietnam during the conflict. Like Ellsberg’s, the work of Assange came to reveal the true extent to which the American government is willing to lie to its people to hide their morally bankrupt agenda. As was the fate of Ellsberg too, Assange’s plight would land him in direct confrontation with the full brunt of the state. In July of 2010, Wikileaks first made headlines by publishing 90,000 documents exposing US war crimes in Afghanistan. These leaks revealed the staggering number of civilian casualties linked to the US’ military presence in the region, from indiscriminatory shootings of innocents by CIA paramilitary squadrons to the countless lives lost in airstrikes. One chilling account told of a deaf and mute Afghan civilian named Shum Khan, who was shot at by US troops as he fled from them on foot. Another recorded an incident where US Marines opened fire on unarmed civilians after witnessing a suicide bombing in Shinwar, killing 19 and wounding 50. Just months later in October, Assange was implicated in the largest leak in American military history, publishing the now infamous Iraq Logs. The logs brought into even starker clarity the immense human cost of the US’ imperialist wars, revealing that out of the 109,000 lives lost during the Iraq War, 66,081 were civilians. Testament to this staggering statistic was leaked footage of a US Apache helicopter gunning down eleven Iraqi civilians, two of which were Reuters journalists.


Replayed ad infinitum on major news outlets, the video provided the public with an uncensored depiction of the brutality of American troops overseas, continuing to shift the narrative on an increasingly unpopular war. The US’ civilian body count in Iraq was not the only war crime unveiled in the logs. Documents also confirmed that Western Coalition forces routinely handed off prisoners to the Iraqi ‘Wolf Brigade’: a commando police unit notorious for their use of torture. This blatant disregard for human rights was all but formal policy for the US, with the Guardian claiming the logs showed that authorities failed to investigate hundreds of instances of abuse, torture, and murder by Iraqi security forces. Revelations such as these continued to challenge the US’ status as moral paragon, as well as the humanitarian pretences by which the country invaded the region. Wikileaks continued to make waves in 2011 by publishing nearly 800 classified documents on the US’ Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. Despite the American government’s claims to the contrary, the Guantánamo Files revealed that many of the facility’s captives were not dangerous militants, emphasising their agenda of detaining individuals merely to extract information. Indeed, the documents showed that Guantánamo Bay had imprisoned over 150 innocent Afghans and Pakistanis without formal charges. Rather, justification for the detainment of prisoners in Guantánamo Bay relied on specious evidence extracted from others in the facility, often those who had undergone torture. Perhaps the most explosive revelation to emerge from the Guantánamo Files was that the US had detained Al Jazeera journalist Sami al-Hajj for nearly six years to provide intelligence on the news outlet’s activities. Al-Hajj would go on to allege that during his period of imprisonment he was subject to physical and sexual abuse. Crucially, Wikileaks was just one of many media outlets to circulate the human rights abuses alleged in the Guantanamo Files. Like the Afghanistan leaks and Iraq War Logs before

it, Assange’s revelations received extensive coverage from mainstream news organisations such as The Guardian and The New York Times. While Assange’s journalism rendered him a household name, his fame came at a cost. Following Sweden issuing an international arrest warrant for sexual misconduct, Assange breached the conditions of his bail to seek asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012. Assange did so by claiming that the charges in Sweden were merely a pretence for extradition to the US, where he would then be tried for his role in publishing classified materials. With his request for asylum accepted on the grounds of political persecution, the embassy would become Assange’s home for seven years.

administration’s decision to extradite Assange, Biden has destroyed any credibility his rhetoric might have possessed. While Assange should be considered far from a hero, his persecution constitutes the greatest assault on the free press in recent memory. It sets an immensely harmful precedent – that the US can simply lock up any journalist who publishes its state secrets. In exposing the violence and corruption covered up by the US at home and abroad, Assange has set himself apart as one of the most important journalists of our time – one whose freedom should be vociferously defended.

Throughout Assange’s exile, Wikileaks continued to shed light on the corrupt core of the American political system. During the 2016 Democratic primaries, the organisation released documents implicating the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in conspiring against Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Leaked emails revealed how supposedly impartial DNC executives expressed concern over the Sanders’ campaign and discussed how to advance Hilary Clinton’s bid for the nomination. A later round of leaks confirmed the DNC’s bias, showing that former Chair Donna Brazile had provided the Clinton campaign with debate questions ahead of a CNN Town Hall. In 2019, Assange was stripped of Ecuadorian citizenship and subsequently arrested by British police for contravening the Bail Act. Shortly after beginning his sentence in London’s Belmarsh Prison, the US then charged Assange with violating the Espionage Act of 1917. What began thereafter was a lengthy legal process to determine whether Assange could be rightfully extradited to the US. While initially District Judge Vanessa Baraitser denied the US government’s request, on the 10th of December 2021 Britain’s Court of Appeals ruled in their favour. The extradition request was formally agreed to in April of this year. Amidst pursuing Assange’s extradition, Biden’s administration has boldly proclaimed itself a defender of journalistic freedoms. Earlier this year, the president remarked in a statement released on World Press Freedom Day that journalists play an indispensable role in democracies by checking abuses of power and demanding transparency. Biden has also been vocal about the Chinese Communist Party’s suppression of journalists, admonishing Beijing in June for ‘wielding its power to suppress independent media and silence dissenting views’. However, Biden’s messaging on press freedoms has been just that: messaging. In choosing not to break with the Trump



To try to encapsulate how it feels to be alive in these times is to admit that there is something churning restlessly behind every little facet, crevice, and cranny of one’s life. How best to encapsulate the enormity of such baggage? Until recent years, to be fair, it has been a silent and pervasive bedfellow — for the most part, a vague sensation. However, if you let that vague disquiet swallow you — if you gave this unspoken feeling voice — I think that what you would find is the feeling of an iceberg that lingers coldly beneath the collective subconscious of a disenfranchised, disconnected, and selfish generation. But it’s not surprising that we are this way. We have been spoonfed selfishness along with our baby food and Milo. Selfishness is the magic energy of this bizarre contemporary system of ours; and like all gifts of inheritance, it is one we must reconcile with whether we would like to welcome it or not. Alongside the legacy of dysfunctional family units, slow metabolisms, or a propensity to loath coriander — we have neoliberalism. We were nurtured on it. And it’s hard, after all, not to be selfish, when you are forced into a system that churns on relentlessly with or without your consent. So perhaps, on the bad days, and in the moments when the cracks begin to show deeper, it starts to feel like we are orbiting nothing out there in blank space, and like we are doing it collectively, in a state of shared muteness. There seems an element of shame, and of repressive fear. Thus, to describe what it’s like to be alive in this time is to point out the ineptitude of the band-aid on our wound that gapes on and festers while, overwhelmingly, we are petrified to take a look because what if it’s as bad as we think? We are, at the risk of sounding histrionic, passengers of the Titanic; ploughing dreadfully onwards on our poorly planned mission, dressed in decadence as we do. If we could jump ship, perhaps we would, but there seems a shared sentiment that there is no life raft substantial enough to grapple with the foamy, tempestuous, livid retribution of this iceberg-bloated sea. And to know this, to be so self-aware, in such a smothered, phantom way, is paralysing. It begins to feel as though we have entered into an era of unintelligibility; for to know such things, and to not vocalise them — to not communicate, to activate, to steer course, not even to find solace in the mutual devastation of our voyage — feels like societal insanity. Indeed, there are moments, located, lurking, in news articles and stifling spring days, when it feels the entire world has started to crumble amid the lunacy of the status quo, that the reality of the finite fantasy of it all seems to render one into the most thorough of nihilisms. And in moments like that, the urge is to bury. To

kick off shoes and push feet into the dark, warm realness of soil, to lie with one’s back against wet earth and on a free afternoon stare mournfully at a bright, cloudless, pastel sky and simply shed tears of apologetic parting. Is there not, then, a cognitive dissonance between the emotional repercussions of anthropogenic climate change, and the degree to which this feeling is compartmentalised, if not outright ignored? The enormity of it all, of a goodbye to all one has ever known; to the concept of a planet, of a home, of life, stability, sanity, of shared futures; a goodbye to the concept of a learning curve, a narrative arc, a logical journey; is a bitter pill to swallow indeed. It seems then that to acknowledge such a reality is a kind of succumbing, a drowning in the un-reality that is our sprawling, predatory, secular, mechanical, expansive, foolish, grandiose modernity. Again, in moments like that, what I am most struck by is that sincere desire to simply sink into the dirty, earthy embrace of something real — that maybe, by planting oneself in the soil, by growing roots and feeling the beating core of it all, maybe in that moment, in that moment one would feel a genuine sense of real life: and by experiencing that, even for a moment, all else would be but a silly dream. So one might try. I know I certainly have. Sitting there, morose and inert, imaging I might fall into something bigger and better. But of course, it doesn’t happen. And of course, you get back up. You brush your hair, straighten your shirt, head back out, to work, to meet friends, to cook dinner, and you don’t talk about it. Because to talk about it is to render the aforementioned inane activities — which are meant to be soothing, which are meant to be normal, which are meant to be real life — well, it’s to render them part of a mechanism that is driving you apathetically forwards towards that icy formation in your restless midnight sea. And I guess if we

really are passengers on this boat, and we really know we can do nothing to steer course, I guess there’s a logic in that denial. Last happy minutes and all that. But it’s possible to be logical and also cataclysmically, unforgivably, wrong. So this is a core element of how it feels to be alive, right now. Perhaps you wish I’d left it vague. Yet there is, I think, a dignity in recognition. Retrospectively, after digestion, a certain degree of peace can be found: for at least a second, you will know you are neither insane, nor alone, when you taste the bleak reality of these times on your tongue. I relate this feeling to a term coined ‘tragic optimism’, derived from the existential psychiatrist, Victor Frankl. Frankl was a man whose allocation in life had him experience some of the most brutal, confronting, and confining of human experiences, for, alongside being a psychiatrist, Frankl was also a Jewish man who spent three years in Auschwitz. Frankl was forced to face conditions of extreme degradation to the human psyche, in an environment noxiously contrived to repress the basic conditions for self-actualization and free-will. Auschwitz was by all accounts a zone fundamentally opposed to the blossoming of empathy, connection, and rationality from one group unto another. However, Frankl did not emerge from such a place without a will to live, nor did he succumb to an intrinsic, and pathological nihilism, although he watched many of his friends emerge to less kind interior landscapes than the one he managed to cultivate for himself. A huge component in how Frankl claims he managed to survive is through the creation of the concept of this tragic optimism. For Frankl, life can be understood as comprising three inherent forms of tragedy, the ‘tragic triad’. Within this triad, Frankl identifies first pain and suffering as unavoidable lived experiences. Secondly, Frankl identifies guilt as an

inevitable symptom of free will. Finally, he suggests that life is demarcated fundamentally by the tragedy of the inevitability of death, with the incumbent conclusion of death being that life and everything within it is transient. Yet for its emphasis on the tragic triad and what is difficult and confronting, tragic optimism does not deposit one in a world of despair and disheartenment and leave them there without an exit strategy. On the contrary, Frankl suggests that this tragic triad should not inspire listlessness, immobility, or nihilism. Instead, nihilism, or in other words a lack of meaning, is diagnosed as one of the fundamental illnesses of modern society. How, then, does Frankl suggest we should proceed? Ultimately, what tragic optimism encourages is a step forward into selfcreated meaning, one that can come only after an acceptance of tragedy. Instead of diagnosing the state of affairs as a Nietzschean death of god and then abandoning humankind to a floundering amid such crippling postmodern conditions, Frankl calls for action, through our work or deeds, through experiences of encounters with other people of a loving nature, and through rising above, and growing from, the inevitable suffering which we will all experience at some point or another. So how to encapsulate how it feels to be alive in these times? Well, I think it is best to start with a recognition that we are, by all accounts and purposes, alive in a period of heightened tragedy. I do also think that Frankl is as prescient as ever when it comes to confronting this iceberg of ours lingering beneath the mundane day-to-day of our times. It feels in some ways that we have reached a point of no return; a snowball effect that will now continue to spiral. The iceberg will remain beneath us no longer. As it emerges, and we are forced to confront the effects of anthropologically induced environmental collapse, I think a lot can be drawn from tragic optimism. Crucially, as Frankl suggests, the first step must be to move beyond avoidance. So yes. Taste the bleak reality: taste it totally, and unabashedly; savour the acrid fullness and in doing so open the gateway to the next step. Perhaps tragic optimism could be a part of our life raft. There must be a way forward towards a self-created optimism, one that does not flinch from the tragedy of the iceberg lingering, but instead unfolds to accommodate it. I would argue that there is something medicinally selfless about facing the scope of the big picture, especially if it is done hand-in-hand with others. To this end, tragic optimism is just one possible perspective: but it is leaps and bounds better than an approach of censorship and denial.

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