CURIOSITY & CADAVERS • KIDNAPPED: 24 HOURS • JOSH PYKE GUN CONTROL • WINTER WARMERS
by the Stateon Council of the PublishedPublished by the State Council behalfon of behalf the TasmaniaTasmania University University Union Inc. Union Inc. (hf. “the publishers”). (hf. “the publishers”). The expressed opinions expressed are not necessarily The opinions herein areherein not necessarily those ofstaff Togatus staff or the publishers. The those of Togatus or the publishers. The copyright copyright in each in each piecepiece of work of work remains remains with with the contributor; however, the publishers reserve the contributor; however, the publishers reserve the the right to reproduce material on thewebsite Togatus website right to reproduce material on the Togatus (www.togatus.com.au) (www.togatus.com.au) The copyright in this magazine remains with the The copyright in this magazine remains with publishers. the publishers. Editor: Editor: Hannah Hannah Grey Grey email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Print Editor: Deputy Print Editor: Kate Elphinstone Kate Elphinstone Deputy Web Editor: Deputy Web Editor: Megan Tighe Megan Tighe Design: Design: JessSavina Curtis,Lim, Savina Lim, Leanne Jess Curtis, Leanne Steer Steer Design Editor: Design Editor: Sam Lyne Sam Lyne Advertising: Advertising: Pleaseeditor.email@example.com contact firstname.lastname@example.org Please contact
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FROM THE EDITOR Hannah Grey
There I was—zipped up and tucked in and ready for my first solo international adventure. Though you could hardly call it a solo mission when my brother was waiting for me at my final destination. I had 37 hours to kill and four f lights to board before I would reach that point in time (oh, the pitfalls of cheap f lights). Now, I know that travelling solo isn’t an issue for most of you. However, I am particularly challenged in the practical sense. It generally takes me more time to operate a ticket machine or read a map or work a photocopier than it does to write an essay.
answers, as English was their fourth language. Think about that for a minute.
Frightened as I was, my relative tour de force was slight compared to that of the experiences of many in the international student community. Instead of crawling off that last plane in Vancouver and arriving to a familiar face and a bottle of cinnamon whisky, international students arrive to a whole host of unfamiliar places and faces.
This issue, Samantha Mountford investigates our lesser-known Sydney campuses—Rozelle and Darlinghurst. Michelle Moran takes us through UTAS Journalism lecturer and foreign correspondent John Marktinkus’ ordeal of being kidnapped in Iraq. David Taylor and Amy Lugten chat to Elizabeth Pearce, creative writer and one of the original minds behind MONA. Oh, and medical student Hugh Jarvis explains what it’s like to slice through a human head.
UTAS has approximately 3000 international students from over 100 countries on campus in Tasmania. It is surprising how little we know about their personal backdrops, study transitions and stories from home. In this issue of Togatus, we have profiled four international students to hear a hint of their experiences living and studying in our State. One of the profiled students responded with some reservations about their written 4
It could be said that international students feel even more acutely a dilemma that all of us already face on a contemporary university campus—a latent sense of isolation and detachment. What with work commitments and f lexible online study options, students rarely stick around past a post-lecture coffee. It is now common to cruise through campus shoulder-toshoulder with interesting looking people, while feeling as though there are no opportunities to meet.
You may notice a few changes in this issue. Our new design team have put together some visual delights, and paired with these exciting spreads we have featured a fair whack of creative work (be it poetry, photography, art or prose). Look out for our
newly launched web series and get involved by commenting on each theme—a new topic is regularly featured online.
Enjoy the issue.
Editor's Note: Sometimes things don't go to plan. Gordon Luckman worked tirelessly to produce the planned part two of the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) series. However, for reasons beyond our control, we are unable to bring this to you at this time.
Hannah Grey @hannahlgrey
Canyons + Daniel Boyd performing at DARK MOFO Photography: Jack Pitt 5
'If drinks with K Rudd were on the cards for this evening, what would fall out of your mouth?'
Bachelor of Medical Science (Hons I), Bachelor of Medicine/ Bachelor of Surgery. “So... Rudd-Meister General... how 'bout letting all those kids out of our refugee detention centres?”
@Gluckman Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Business
David Taylor Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
“Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?”
“You've got the bravado in you, but you're going to have to out-Box and outSpeedo Tony on more levels than language!”
An acrostic poem to his name detailing all the reasons why he is actually a panda.
"We've seen Kevin '07, BenTen stole Kevin Eleven, and now we could be on for Tony '13. You've gotta outrhyme him, Kev. I propose a name change. Here's to Bertie Rudd. Bertie Thirteen."
@jaaameswalker Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Laws (Hons)
@zefsouvsouv Bachelor of Laws
@Lankaobserver PhD Philosophy
Bachelor of Arts "I take it the Greens were unavailable?"
Bachelor of Arts
“I once met Kevin Rudd and somehow managed to bring up Pokémon. Given another chance, I'd discuss something more serious, like Gossip Girl.”
Hannah Rodgers Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Education
“Do you like cats?”
An extremely bad joke that ruins the whole evening.
“What's your opinion of the Harrison Ford?”
“Fancy seeing you here, AGAIN.”
“What is the Mandarin term for backstab?”
Bachelor of Arts
“You got any idea who's playing full forward for the dogs these days?”
Bachelor of Arts
“Do I have to get out of my onesie?”
@roseh11 Bachelor of Arts (Hons)
“You should really hurry up and release all those innocent kids from those detention centres.”
whistleandblow.tumblr.com Bachelor of Arts
@michellemoran13 Bachelor of Arts
@lyndonriggall Bachelor of Arts
“Glad to see you got rid of that rather impressive selection of blue ties K-Rudd, now time to do something about that same-sex equality and gay marriage that you publicly backed before you got reelected, don't you think?”
“Lets talk about the overwhelming government bureaucracy required of the not-for-profits—or not?”
Illustrations: Sam Triffitt email@example.com bretandnancye.blogspot.com.au
Feature Out of Sight, Out of Mind /06 Activism and Apathy /10
All Bets Are Off /26 One in Five /38
Creative Curiosity & Cadavers /24 Leechers /34 Lies and Odd Socks /46 The Smile /47 The Modern Person’s Guide to Being Ignored
Kidnapped: 24 hours
/14 Elizabeth Pearce: A Creative Mind Behind the Magnetism of MONA
Long Way From Home
Fabric & Food Urban Farming /12 Outfit Repeater /28 Winter Warmers
Opinion Insight: Gun Control /18 Nauru: Australia’s Guantànamo Bay /42
/32 Photography: Jack Pitt 7
Samantha Mountford investigates the facilities and features of two largely unknown UTAS campuses tucked away in Sydney suburbs. Words: Samantha Mountford
The University of Tasmania campuses extend away from the Apple Isle to the mainland. Who would have thought? Since 2006, there have been two satellite campuses in Sydney suburbs Rozelle and Darlinghurst. They offer students of diverse backgrounds fast-track degrees in health services. I took on the task of finding out what these students have and most importantly, what they don’t have. A high percentage of matureaged and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) students frequent these campuses. I look into the resources and student support services that are being offered and more importantly, what is lacking. With approximately 495 students at both Sydney campuses (and growing) what funding is being provided and is the student voice being heard?
being directly connected to St Vincent’s and Mater Health Services. Nursing students can escape from the hospital by going to another part of the hospital, just a lot smaller. With little space to interact with other students and teachers and only three computers on site to research, surely this could be improved.
LET’S MEET THE CAMPUSES…
“There are approximately 125 nursing students at Darlinghurst, and 230 nursing students and 140 paramedic students at Rozelle. These Sydney campuses carry as much academic student loads as the Cradle Coast campus,” said Professor Craig Zimitat.
Firstly we have the Rozelle campus. All of its luxuries and amenities include two vending machines and a library, consisting of a handful of books, only open between the hours of 9am-4pm. Home to paramedic and nursing students, this former mental asylum still maintains its good looks, bars and all. This one of a kind building consists of one video-conferencing room, three tute rooms and one lecture theatre. Next we have Darlinghurst campus, with its inner city slickness you can’t go past 8
DIVERSE STUDENT BODY A survey completed last year discovered both the Darlinghurst and Rozelle student bodies are predominantly mature-aged and/or culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) foreign students with a permanent Australian residency. Professor Craig Zimitat, based at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, provided the statistics that 73% of Darlinghurst students were identified with a CALD background.
At Rozelle, the nursing student body consisted of 75% CALD. Approximately 80% of nursing students are mature aged. The paramedic cohort differs with two thirds of them mature aged students, and less than 20% from CALD backgrounds. With a high percentage of cultural and linguistically
diverse students with English as their second language, what support services and resources are available to these students?
NEW STUDENT SUPPORT With the introduction of Jane Wang at the Rozelle campus in April 2013, there is now officially a Student and Learning Skills Advisor available for the student body. Students from 2006-2012 did not have an advisor. Jane works full-time at Rozelle and has to cover both campuses as the Sydney student advisor and learning skills adviser. “I help the students with academic and English skills through workshops and consultations. I work closely with the lecturers to know their expectations and feedback on the students’ study so that I can develop discipline specific workshops. Students see me in consultations which are mostly conducted face-to-face. However occasionally, I have to do it by phone or email because the students are unable to come into the office,” said Jane. With such a high percentage of students with English as a second language, the need for such a service is high. However, there are no counselling services available for Sydney UTAS students. “I refer the students who need counselling or disability services to the Launceston campus. I’m the only one who directly provides student services here,” said Jane.
Above: the outdoor seating at Rozelle campus.
Besides Jane’s large workload for both Sydney campuses, the students have support at the beginning of the year with the Unistart program and cultural competence program allowing nursing students to speak with experts in the field prior to their first placement.
REPRESENTATIVE BODIES Societies and clubs are an integral part of interacting and meeting new people at university. Student Paramedic UTAS Union Rozelle, Sydney (SPUURS) is a new society aimed at fostering social networks and strong friendships between all undergraduate paramedic students. SPUURS President, Esther Nasso, is proud to be a part of UTAS Rozelle. “The teachers we get are fantastic and the access to information we acquire is very relevant and great for our degree,” said Esther. With 56 members currently, SPUURS organises and runs a range of social events, charity functions, sporting events, educational evenings, as well as passing on information regarding paramedic studies. “I think the fact that it is small we all have a really good sense of community, especially the paramedic community,” said Esther. “It [the small community] emulates the industry’s camaraderie and looking after one another as important aspects of the career. We’re able to experience this on the Rozelle
campus particularly with forming friendships and gaining leadership and teamwork skills that will help us in our careers”. However, this is only one of two societies available to Sydney students compared to over 135 societies available for Tasmanian students. The idea of a Sydney Student Representative Council (SRC) is now on the table. However, with students turning over every two years, building a long term relationship is difficult. Although Sydney does have a seat on the Northern campuses SRC, which has not been filled for some years, the TUU is acting to introduce an improved student representative body in Sydney. “It would be a unique opportunity for the TUU to have a vibrant presence on the campus,” said Tasmanian University Union’s President, Alex West. Alex is the first TUU president to visit Sydney UTAS campuses (and only a month ago). The TUU is intent on producing a paper this year to present to the University regarding the inadequate representation and further recommendations.
Service and Amenities Fee (SSAF) last year, an anonymous survey was posted online by the Tasmanian University Union (TUU). The question ‘are there any other things you think that the University should be spending the SSAF money on’ generated a variety of comments including ‘I doubt there is any way you can convince me that any of this money will benefit the students on my campus (Sydney)’ and ‘The Rozelle campus has nothing! No one cares about us, we pay the same as Tassie students and they get everything. They wouldn’t tolerate a campus like ours’. After reading the pleas and comments from both Rozelle and Darlinghurst students there was one that stuck with me afterwards. The question: ‘Do you have any other questions, comments or concerns that you would like addressed by the TUU?’ Response: ‘I have no need for any of these services, and the bulk of them will be inaccessible. Why am I forced to fund sporting and social activities for students in Tasmania?’
“We’re in the process of creating a Sydney Reflective Proposal to give to UTAS Sydney management. Hopefully, this will see the future implementation of a Student Representative Council (SRC) in Sydney across the campuses”.
Why do these students have to pay for support and services that they have NO access to? With over 1,609kms between Hobart and Sydney, these students must pay the same SSAF fee as Hobart students. However, they have nothing in return.
LIFE ON CAMPUS
After the introduction of the Student
Since the Rozelle campus has been 9
• Situated in a former mental asylum that still shows its roots with bars on the windows
• Satellite campus to Launceston Nursing Hub • Campus is an extension of St Vincent’s Hospital
• Library operates from 9-4 on weekdays and students are not allowed to take books home • Constant technology issues with internet and video conferencing failing with no on-ground technology staff • No on-site counselling or disability services or support • Introduction of Student and Learning Skills Advisor only 2 months ago
• Limited space • No on-site support staff for counselling or disability services • Shares one Student and Learning Skills Advisor with Rozelle and doesn’t have office at Darlinghurst • Dean and Student Experience UTAS staff all located in Launceston
• Two societies for students to engage with
• No student representation
• No student representation
operating for seven years now, and as a satellite campus, surely a high priority would be technology and internet service. Furthermore, technical support and ground staff to fix immediate problems timely should also be a priority of the university. TUU President Alex West has plenty to say on the lack of technology support at Rozelle campus. “The video conferencing frequently doesn’t work with internet services dropping out and for a week at a time,” said Alex. “They don’t even have IT support on the campus, the students find it frustrating”. This was also reflected in Rozelle student Nadia’s comments. Nadia is six months into her paramedic degree at the Rozelle campus and chose to study at UTAS as it’s the only paramedic degree offered in Sydney. “I had my first satellite class last semester. It was pretty weird and they certainly haven’t sorted out the system yet. Communicating with teachers in Tasmania is a lot harder. Although they are available via email, you really miss out on face-to-face contact and some of them don’t even have phones. This is really challenging,” Nadia expressed on her UTAS student experience. The campus facilities are very out-dated. I have 10
previously studied at a larger university and was quite shocked to find such a lack of student opportunities. You can’t even borrow books from the library”. Out-dated campus facilities, lack of resources, sparse library, no student accommodation—this would be enough for me to simply say no to studying at a university that listed all of the above. Students like Nadia are paying for a lessthan-average student life and opportunity.
body representation yet, the question must be asked whether these small campuses should be prepared to offer more students a learning environment? Will efforts be taken to improve these areas of concern before the influx of new students? As a fellow student, I believe that everyone’s voice should be heard. No matter what your campus postcode. No matter whether you study for two or five years.
FUTURE OUTLOOK With the announcement of more courses running next year in Sydney, is UTAS in a position to be increasing the student cohort with an obvious lack of resources and student support? “We are taking the state of Rozelle and Darlinghurst campuses seriously and we don’t see an equitable amount of student services and especially for the cohort of students. This will be at the centre of our report,” said Ms West. After only just acquiring a Student Advisor and Learning Skills professional, with limited library opening hours and no student
Above: the only food and beverage options at Rozelle campus.
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ACTIVISM VS APATHY With the federal election looming, Rosie Hunt examines how young people at UTAS are using various organisations to help their voices be heard. Words: Rosie Hunt
Along with the fashion of the sixties and seventies and a few regrettable haircuts, anyone flicking through the Tasmania University Union centenary history book, State of the Union, will notice plenty of faded photographs that capture student activism and political engagement. Unsurprisingly, 1966-72 is described as activism’s ‘heyday’. During this time, students protestedagainst the Vietnam War and conscription, and called for Aboriginal land rights. Also documented are protests and pranks from earlier years, such as a banner reading ‘PRAVDA FREE PRESS’ which hung above the Mercury building in 1961. But are the pages of history the only place you can find young people who care about politics? Will the current decade be described in future history books as the most apathetic time ever experienced? Or is our generation unfairly dismissed in this regard? It is not hard to find political organisations spruiking their message on campus. These organisations are not the only way young people get involved in politics, but they are certainly a major one—and they might be an indication that young people are not quite as apathetic as our reputation would suggest. 12
A disclaimer seems necessary here, as I am an active member of Young Labor. Don’t hold that against me, though, as this article isn’t about recruiting new members to the Australian Labor Party. It is about young people at UTAS who are involved with politics in one way or another, what they do and why they do it. Zoe Kean is co-president of the Tasmanian Young Greens. She joined because she had a passion for environmental campaigning and saw the party as her best chance to make a difference. As co-president, she helps coordinate volunteers and tries to give young members access to the party. While Zoe acknowledges that her perception of youth engagement may be biased by the friends she has, she does not think it is fair to say that young people today are apathetic. “I think we’d be doing our generation a disservice if we said that we weren’t all politically engaged and that we’re an apathetic generation,” says Zoe. Another student who is definitely not politically apathetic is Christian Street, President of the Australian Liberal Students Federation (ALSF) and Secretary of the
Tasmanian Young Liberals. Christian joined the party in 2007, when he wanted to get involved with a federal election campaign. As President of the ALSF, his responsibilities include commenting to the media and sending out campaign materials to other Liberal clubs. Christian believes that being
a member of a political party is the most effective way he can make change. “The political parties are still the ones that can make a difference,” he says. “They’re still the onesthat have the power, they’re still the ones that can form government.” Young people are also getting involved in politics outside of mainstream parties. Our generation has reached adulthood at a time where we are often hearing that the heyday of political party membership has come and gone. As an alternative, there are groups like The Oaktree Foundation, a youth-run volunteer organisation that aims to fight poverty through education. Many students would be familiar with their ‘Live Below The Line’ campaign, which asks people to live on $2 a day for a week to raise awareness and funds. Rob Hortle, the Tasmanian Director for Oaktree, has been involved with the organisation for a few years now. He says the emphasis on young people is one of the main reasons he has stuck around. Rob does believe our generation is interested in politics. “They [young people] do want to make the world a better place, but what they’ve found is that maybe being involved in traditional
political parties isn’t the best way that they can make change,” he says.
they do, you can look back and say ‘I was part of that’.”
“There’s so many issues around now that young people kind of have to pick their one thing that they really want to care about and get involved with that and put everything into it.”
Rob had similar thoughts, telling me that while lecturers and family members often assume his involvement with Oaktree is about helping his future career, it means much more to him than ticking a box on a job application.
Regardless of how exactly young people choose to get involved, joining a political organisation undoubtedly requires some commitment. Students today are burdened not only by their university workload, but also by part-time jobs and the pressure to get (probably unpaid) work experience. So why do young people choose to dedicate their time to these organisations? Morris Malone, President of the UTAS Labor Society, says that although he puts university first, he always tries to make time for his involvement with the party and its youth wings. Morris has been involved with campaigns for party candidates and has attended two Labor Party state conferences, where he says Young Labor had an important role in debates on the party platform.
“To be putting the amount of time into that most of the people at Oaktree Tas do, there has got tobe something more to it than just wanting to further your career—that just doesn’t sustain you,” he says. With the federal election only months away, many members of youth political organisations will be putting in countless hours of their time: sacrificing sleep, socialising and study for their chosen cause. Whether they are doorknocking for a political candidate, raising awareness about a particular issue or lobbying the government to make change, these young people will certainly be proving that they are anything but apathetic.
“It’s rewarding,” he says. “Sometimes the campaigns you work on don’t win, but when 13
URBAN FARMING TASMANIA Words: Emily Dunn Photos: Bridgette Watts
It is scientifically proven that from little things big things grow, but you don’t have to be scientist to appreciate what the recently acclaimed Urban Farming Tasmania collective has done for the Launceston community. I bet some of you are asking, what is urban farming?! We’ll get to that shortly. First of all, I believe it’s important that all you curious George’s understand why it started, so here’s my amateur all-encompassing global capitalism crash course summary: After two thousand years of agricultural development (maybe more), humanity has become rather efficient at making a lot of one thing for big $$$. This is called mass production, and is sustained by its partner in crime, mass consumption. This co-existence creates a universal consumer culture, a way of life that most westerners find progressive and convenient. Unfortunately, no matter how much frosting you smother on it, consumerism is wasteful, ecologically unfriendly, and bulldozes cultural traditions based on selfsufficiency, craftsmanship and community. Accordingly, a growing number of postmaterialists, like Urban Farming Tasmania co-creators, Bridgette Watts and Tamara Henri, are crafting innovative solutions for tackling these problems. For Inveresk art students, Bridgette and Tamara, the concept of urban farming began as a school assignment. The pair was 14
tired of seeing perishable food rotting away whilst people within the community were struggling to find sustenance. They knew the solution was simple; it just required a different perspective on socially acceptable methods of collecting food. So the Urban Farming collective became the Robin Hood’s of Launceston, but instead of looting the rich, they collect unwanted food and give it back to the community. Once the idea gained leverage, organisations such as Colony 47, local media outlets, and the general public (through social networking), appraised the collective’s initiative, helping make their projects a reality. Every Monday since the collective began, a fruit and veggie Share Market is held at the Tasmanian College of the Arts in Inveresk. The market is designed as a means of sharing fresh food that has recently been collected. Everything the market offers is completely free, encouraging participants to bring something to share. There is also a ‘seed bank’ to promote the distribution of diverse edible plant species. The seeds are free, but like a bank, the collection encourages deposits as well as withdrawals. As Bridgette explains, “it’s a cycle system…people who come to the market will plant their own fruit and vegies, then return with it to complete the cycle.” The concept is simple: give and you shall receive! Whilst the share market may appear to be primarily concerned with food, it mustn’t be
forgotten that the organisation was created by creative creatures. Hence the market is an experience, one could almost call it a bit quirky, promoting the sharing of individual talents and desires (PG ones of course), from poets, music makers, finger painters, and interpretive dancers. The Urban Farming collective holds community harvest days dedicated to collecting of excess fruit. This initiative supports local farms by clearing rotted fruit that inhibits the welfare of the trees, as well as deterring the invasion of pests such as paper wasps, but most importantly, it ensures the distribution of what would be wasted fruit. On top of the share markets, the organisation has been donating harvested produce to community groups such as the Link youth group, as well as creating a public fruit tree map (available on their website) that details public trees that are approved for public consumption. By far the biggest project Urban Farming Tasmania has taken on is the Tassie Food Forest Project. This project aims to establish mapped out fruit and vegetable depositories in community spaces, whilst building social networks and events celebrating the healthy exchange and preparation of good food. This project is hoping to go state-wide, and is currently awaiting the approval of a Food Grant sponsored by Colony 47. Very shortly the collective is celebrating
‘Sustainable August’, and for the first time is holding a ‘Big Sunday Market’ on the 25th at the Tasmanian College of the Arts. There will be a giant seed and seedling give away, so lovers of all things green and delicious should make an appearance! Urban Farming Tasmania is about sustainable living; a trait that every community should relish. As Bridgette and Tamara say, “we support new friendships and stronger communities through growing, collecting and sharing fruit and vegetables.” The ingenuity of these two students demonstrates the power of good ideas through positive action. The collective is always looking for fresh perspectives and support, as well as places to hold community harvests, and the expansion of the Tassie Food Forest. For more information on the collective visit these pages: Website: urbanfarmingtasmania.org Facebook: facebook/urbanfarmingtasmania Twitter: @urbanfarmingtas If you wish to contact Bridgette or Tamara personally, email them here: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 15
KIDNAPPED: 24 HOURS Respected UTAS journalism lecturer John Martinkus was kidnapped in Iraq as part of his work as an SBS foreign correspondent. Michelle Moran writes of this terrifying space in time. Words: Michelle Moran Pictured: John Martinkus (above, far left) the day prior to his kidnapping
It didn’t take much to get ready to leave the Al Hamra complex that Saturday afternoon on the 16th October 2004. John’s camera was loaded into the car as he climbed into the back seat, his translator Hussein and driver Saif in the front as they prepared to get the required footage. Very quickly they were on the road; driving past check-points, past the Australian embassy and around the first left corner, heading towards the nearby river. It was when they were out of view of any checkpoints that it happened. They had been waiting for this moment, for when foreigners would be vulnerable. Before John knew it, a black car pulled out in front of them and blocked the road. They hadn’t noticed the car following behind. “Reverse!” John yelled, his driver in shock. 16
It was too late. Men got out of both cars, pulling guns out from under their shirts. The thought ran through John’s head: I’m being kidnapped. He reacted quickly, his hands grabbing the car door, pulling tightly as he held it closed. An armed man tugged hard against the door, trying to pull it open to gain access to the vehicle. The men were well prepared; the attack co-ordinated. It wasn’t until the armrest came off in his hand that the door flew open, the man not hesitating to jump into the car. John wrestled for the gun, his hands wrapping around it as they fought, things looking slightly hopeful as he pointed it back around towards the gunman and into his crotch as he tried to pull the trigger. They’re not going to get me. The car started to move after another gunman entered. They travelled down the side street,
John turning to look at an Iraqi police post and opening his mouth to attempt to yell out the window, turning to try and be heard. The gun wrenched from his hands as his grip slipped. He had no choice but to stop fighting. He tried to keep up with the conversation to no avail; his Arabic was not good enough to follow the conversation. “They said, ‘Don’t worry, we’re not criminals, we are Islamic militants’,” Hussein told him, and the dread flooded over John at his translators’ words. So you don’t want my money. You just want to cut my fucking head off, he thought to himself. The car was moving slowly, held up by an American convoy, and John’s eyes moved, watching the convoy go past. There were two ways it could go. If he got out, the man beside him would shoot him in the back. Or the Americans would
#feature shoot at him, seeing a bearded man running towards the convoy. It only took the small eye movement to send the gunman’s arm flying across John’s chest, holding onto the door on his other side, blocking his path out. He had known what was going through John’s mind. Before he knew it they were making their way through a building, heading up the stairs and into the second story of the filthy house, being lead into a dirty room with a grubby mattress in the corner. Then he saw it. John’s heart almost stopped, terror filling him as he saw the chain on the ground in the centre of the room. The three sat down, immediately being told to shut up, and John’s eyes rested on the AK47 in the man’s hands. More men flooded into the room, John’s eyesight being stripped as he was blindfolded and his hands tightly bound. “We’re waiting for the Emir,” they were told, and another wave of terror flooded over John. The word Emir was linked to Al Qaeda, he knew that the Emir was a leader. When the Emir arrived, the questions didn’t stop. They came for an hour, accusations of being CIA, of being American, of being an American supporter. John couldn’t be more grateful for Hussein, the man he trusted, saving the day. Hussein tried to make connections, working hard to establish that John wasn’t working for the Americans, that he wasn’t a pro-American journalist, and that he was trying to honestly report on what was happening in the country. “He’s going to go and check our story,” Hussein explained when the Emir left, and John took a deep breath. He didn’t know if he should be worried or relieved that he had finally left. The Emir was gone a good two hours, and John couldn’t help but get edgy, his hands still bound, wanting nothing more than a drink of water and a cigarette. When the Emir returned, the atmosphere immediately changed. Guards moved, John’s hands were untied, and he was relieved to be able to move them again. “There’s been a mistake. You are an honourable man. Your work is honourable. We’re going to release you, it’s just going to take some time.” The Emir
sat down and spoke to John, the two talking about the work John had done, John realising that they must have checked his story on the Internet. John, Hussein and Saif were moved to a bigger, nicer, cleaner room, and when the sun went down they were brought food and water. John tried to eat, but he couldn’t. Soon it was time to move again. John and his companions lay down in the back of the car as they were driven to another house.
expecting to feel the blade of a knife against the back of his neck, just waiting for it to come and end his life.
The guards kept changing, and every time they did, they would have to run through their story again. When would they be let go? Not that night. The night dragged on, the men claiming that they couldn’t let them go because there was fighting outside. John could hear it. Morning came, and as time dragged, Hussein and John repeatedly asked if they could go. “Not yet, we have to film a statement”. John offered his camera, saying they could keep it, trying to get things moving. “I’ll film it myself,” he offered, but the answer was no. They would wait for their cameramen. As the hours went by, John felt sick to his stomach, and he could see Hussein becoming uneasy. They’re bullshitting us, they’re not going to let us go, he thought to himself.
His hope was destroyed as he was forced to repeat his story from the beginning.
They got up and made their way through to the other room, though what John saw there made him sick to his stomach. He felt the need to vomit in fear as his eyes fell on the banner he recognised from videos he had seen of the other journalists who had been murdered. John went where he was instructed, sitting down in front of a line of three men, their faces covered as they held their weapons. He looked up and saw the hostility in the eyes of the men behind the camera.
Then, it was over. He was taken back to the previous room, and relief filled John, feeling as if he was going to live through what was a hellish experience. All of a sudden all that hope was crushed as another man was brought in, a Sheikh, a leader from another group.
“Your work is honourable,” the Sheikh concluded “But you’re an Australian citizen, and Australia is part of the coalition and I don’t know if we can release you.” It was at that point John felt as if he was going to break. They had been so close. The Sheikh left, and very quickly the first group, the original kidnappers, were back, and hurrying John along, trying to get him to get his shoes, urging him to go. John realised what the urgency was. They were letting him go. They were setting him free. But they had to hurry, they had to be quick before the other group came back. Everything was rushed, they were very quickly put back into the car and dropped in the street close to Hussein’s house. John’s hands shook, unable to believe he was finally free, while trying to get his sim card back into his phone. He was finally free and would be finding somewhere safe.
The look on the face of the cameraman terrified John; he was the most evil-looking man he had ever seen in his life. They’re going to cut my head off. They’re going to do it, and he’s going to film it. He had never felt more as if he was about to die than in that moment. His passport, press card, and his camera were laid out in front of him, and he started to read his statement back to the camera: “My name is John Martinkus. I am an Australian journalist for the SBS network and I came to Iraq to report on the occupation. John Howard, pull the troops out now,” he recited, every second 17
ELIZABETH PEARCE: A CREATIVE MIND BEHIND THE MAGNETISM OF MONA UTAS graduate and writer for MONA’s ‘O’ Guide, the ‘Monanisms’ book and the MONA blog, Elizabeth Pearce hopes to demystify the aura around art criticism. Words: David Taylor and Amy Lugten
Enough superlatives have been spent on the wonders that the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) has provided Hobart, and Tasmania, without reiterating those words here. Its bounty has spread into almost every facet of Hobart life, and its magnetism has drawn visitors from around the world. But there would be no MONA without people to provide the foundation for creativity and ideas. Cue Elizabeth Pearce (formerly Elizabeth Mead), UTAS graduate and writer for MONA’s ‘O’ Guide, the ‘Monanisms’ book, the MONA blog, which all emerge from the depths of Berriedale. Elizabeth holds a Masters of Arts in English from UTAS, and admits that she felt “actual euphoria carrying out textual analyses”, delving into the writing of JG Farrell and Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang. It is clear that Elizabeth has a passion for both academic and, with the development of her role at MONA, a passion for the MONA gonzo style of writing. David Walsh, she says, pushed her beyond typecast academic writing, for which she is grateful. But it was never as easy as that.
As a school student—and even now—she feels, and felt, a tremendous aversion to third person writing. “It makes me feel icky— like a fraud,” Elizabeth says. However, the disapproval of terse school teachers eventually gave way to praise from University lecturers for her academic strengths. “Writing essays
for my drama and English teachers was so far my only experience of positive feedback, other than my Mum telling me she liked my stories.” Positive feedback led her to study a Masters, then go on to tutor at the University and teach a course on Australian Literature at the Rhode Island School of Design. Not
ELIZABETH MEAD ON FEMINISM AND CLUSTER-FUCKING Elizabeth has a bone to pick with that modern tendency of people to whimsically group together sets of ideas that seem to fit one another—something she refers to as ‘cluster-fucking’. Something that may or may not fall into this category is feminism, according to Elizabeth. “The widespread claims that young women are apathetic, lazy or don’t appreciate the battles fought in the past bore me to tears. Womankind has well and truly won the right to be as diverse, and conflicted, and as individual, as men.” Feminism is so ubiquitous, Elizabeth says, that it has no solid meaning any more. That is not to say, however, that there is no feminism or that it has no direction. It is, she asserts, alive, and very strong. Here she tells us something, eloquently and brilliantly put, that should be ever-present in the feminism debate. “I am a strong, independent woman who believes, in the words of Caitlin Moran (who is a cluster fucker) that ‘I am in charge of my vagina’. Does that make me a feminist? Who cares. The labels should be less important that the outcomes. In that context—where everyone with a vagina is a feminist—asking if feminism has lost its way is more like asking if women have lost their way. No, of course not!” That is, then, something for us all to latch onto and recite whenever this debate veers off topic.
CREATIVE CUTS EXAMPLES OF ELIZABETH'S WAY WITH WORDS. surprisingly, she tells us that she found tutoring first-years terribly scary: “It remains the most frightening and exhausting work I have ever done.” Post-University life was something of a disappointment at first. After missing out on a Commonwealth Scholarship to study a PhD abroad, her luck changed when she found herself writing for MONA. David Walsh was attracted to her skills because of what he called her “elegant naivety” about art. “Of course I care a great deal that visitors to MONA get something from the experience of reading my words.” There is an element of egalitarianism Elizabeth’s approach to art, and art writing. She would feel most proud, she claims, if she played a part in demystifying the aura around art criticism. Whilst writing is her field of work, her job is also to commentate on contemporary art. “Often writing about contemporary art means shuffling words around into a sentence and paragraph structure that cheaply mimics something like French philosophy inexpertly translated into English,” she said. In other words, there is an obvious element of over-complication in much art writing and criticism. “I don’t read it. I can’t be bothered sifting through the crap.” Good art criticism, good art knowledge, Elizabeth says, is about making complexity and intellectuality an inclusive, not an exclusive, practice. The notion of an ‘in’ and ‘out’ crowd she believes is “nothing more than the willingness and capacity to master a vague, impressive-sounding way of writing about art, as opposed to any special knowledge of it.” Likewise, viewers of art have an obligation to seek out knowledge about art and its context where they deem it necessary.
“Context can be essential, or totally inappropriate. Small pieces of social, biographical or historical information can totally transform a piece of art—others can obstruct a more genuine engagement with it.” So it’s no stretch of the imagination to understand that Elizabeth’s role at MONA is important. The ‘O’ guide is the gallery’s mouthpiece, functioning as a doorway to not just the art but also the ideas and observations. But there are other women behind the scenes, too, most notably Jane Clark, MONA’s expert on modern Australian art, and Nicole Durling, curator. Still, when we ask if women thrive in the art industry more than others, Elizabeth is reluctant to ascribe sweeping notions and positives. She is rather hesitant she claims, to fall into the trap of what came first, the chicken or the egg. Whether it was more women in the art industry, or more women wanting to join the art industry, Elizabeth is unsure. So, where to now for our interviewee? What’s the end goal? She wants to write more of everything, write more blogs, write a book, and keep realising that she doesn’t have it all under control. But she’s ok with that. “More than anything—this sounds disgusting but it’s true—I want to read stuff I’ve written, for the O, for catalogues, for our blog, or my own independent work—and think it’s good, and I want my friends, my mum, my boss David, and my husband to think it’s good, too!” A rather unf lattering review in Quadrant (in which she was described as “girls behaving badly having a twitter meltdown”), Elizabeth jokingly says, was not a saddening experience, but on the contrary, it was rather thrilling. “I love the description,” she exclaims, “and wear it as a badge of honour.”
The running description with Erwin Wurm's Fat Car (2006)
I Would Take Away Your Keys Olivier is our curator and also my friend. We have an issue. The issue is that he thinks I should lose weight, to look better and to be healthier. He likes to make suggestions about how I could go about this. I get extremely angry when he does so. We have ‘broken up’, as friends, at least once over this. He says—you are my friend. I want the best for you. If you tried to drive home drunk I would take away your keys. I say—get fucked! P.S. For context: I’m, like, five kilos overweight, max. From the exhibition catalogue for ‘The Red Queen’ at MONA
When it comes to art-making, the last people you want to ask about the reasons why are the artists themselves. That’s like asking your breasts to account for their very perkiness. An artist can of course shed a lot of light on context and conscious drives, which are important and interesting (see the interviews dispersed throughout this catalogue). But we’re concerned here about the deeper drives that sit below the surface of our consciousness. We are reaching for an original ‘why’ that might mingle with the other ‘whys’ of our personal and cultural reality. A friend who read this draft, a singer, commented that she thought people make art ‘because it feels good’. There’s no doubt about that. But why does it feel good? From a Darwinian perspective, pleasure is often a pointer to a biological imperative. She also asked what it meant, in terms of sexual selection theory, that she is a female artist—an important question, to which I will return. 19
Americans and Australians are similar in a lot of ways. But one big difference still standsâ€” American people have the right to bear arms. The question is: Will Australians ever understand how Americans feel about guns?
NO FAREWELL TO ARMS: Why America stalls long after Australia said goodbye to guns. Words: James Walker
Australia and America are not on different planets, but to many Australians the American response to gun violence seems, well, nuts. As with any complicated legal and social issue, there are many reasons for this; the power of the National Rifle Association (“NRA”) and the sheer number of guns in the US are two. One other key contrast between Australia and America is constitutional. The US founding fathers were faced with very different considerations to the drafters of the Australian Constitution and so had a very different approach to arming the citizenry. The Americans got the Second Amendment; Australians did not.
THE FACTS Australia’s history of mass shootings has recently resurfaced in a series of skits on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. According to the Australian Parliamentary Library, between 1981 and January 1996 nearly 70 people were killed in 12 mass shootings. On 28 April 1996, 35 more people were killed in the mass shooting at Port Arthur. The response by Australian governments was to restrict the sale, possession and use of firearms. As former Prime Minister John Howard pointed out on The Daily Show, there have been no mass shootings since. America’s history of mass shootings is better known. According to the Congressional Research Service (“CRS”), since 1982 nearly 550 people have been killed in 78 mass shootings. Twenty-five have occurred since 2006, seven in 2012. According to The Washington Post there has been, on average, one mass shooting per month in the US since 2009. The CRS contrasts this data with the number of people murdered with firearms, noting that the Federal Bureau of
Investigation reported 8,583 people were killed with a firearm in 2011 alone.
The Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights reads:
The response by American governments over this period has been the opposite of their Australian counterparts: since 1980, 44 states have passed laws allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms. Since 2005, 25 states have passed laws allowing citizens to “stand their ground”, meaning that if someone feels they are in imminent danger they can use a firearm to defend themselves or their property and are protected from criminal and civil liability for doing so. In 2004, Congress let the Federal Assault Weapons Ban lapse and despite six attempts to renew it, no Bill has even reached a vote.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
In April 2013, the Obama Administration responded to the Newtown, Connecticut mass shooting by seeking a bipartisan compromise to ban high-capacity magazines, ban assault weapons and expand background checks for gun buyers. All of these measures failed in the Senate, with many Senators citing the Second Amendment as their reason for voting against. Despite expert legal opinion that the Second Amendment would not prevent these types of restrictions, the contrary view is increasingly popular with American politicians and voters.
THE WEIGHT OF HISTORY The US Constitution, establishing their system of government, is complemented by a Bill of Rights, designed to empower citizens to participate in their society and government. As these are the highest forms of law, if a court decides any law passed by Congress is contrary to them it will be struck down as unconstitutional.
One view of the Second Amendment is that, having just fought a revolutionary war to throw off British rule, it is designed to ensure citizens can deter tyrannical government and put down counterrevolutionary forces. Another view is that it enables citizens to assist with law enforcement and defend themselves. Traditionally the Supreme Court has favoured the former “collective rights” over the latter “individual rights” view. Former Chief Justice Warren E Burger called the individual rights view “a fraud”. The Supreme Court did not fully examine the Bill of Rights until the twentieth century; much of its earlier jurisprudence focused on explaining the terms of the Constitution. In 1879, the Court said in United States v Cruikshank that the right of an individual to bear arms was “not a right granted by the Constitution”. In 1939, the Court said in United States v Miller that a law would not be contrary to the Second Amendment if it places restrictions on firearms without a “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia”. Particularly in Miller the Court focused on the historical evidence suggesting this was the Second Amendment’s “correct” meaning.
THE SECOND AMENDMENT RISES In 2008, a majority of the Supreme Court rejected the collective rights view in favour of the individual rights view. Many commentators 21
have put this down to a consistent lobbying effort by the NRA and other groups and individuals who share the individual rights view. Justice Antonin Scalia authored the majority opinion and hel that the purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure individual citizens could defend themselves and their property, including against a tyrannical government. The Second Amendment did not, however, allow individuals to carry the military weapons that would best enable them to resist that tyranny. Justice Scalia’s reasoning combined the historical evidence for both the collective and individual rights justifications to bear arms, but the outcome of the Heller decision vindicates the modern understanding of the individual rights view. An odd outcome, but one that “illustrates how constitutional politics can guide and discipline judicial review”, according to Professor Reva B Siegel writing in the Harvard Law Review in 2008. Constitutionally the Heller decision does leave a lot of scope for Congress to act on gun control, especially on military weapons. Professor Laurence H Tribe, one of the best known experts on US constitutional law, notes that gun control measures (like those proposed by President Obama in April) are “plainly constitutional … Even in colonial times the weaponry of the militia was subject to regulation”. The explanation for the rejection of these measures in Congress would seem to have another explanation.
THE AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION Much of Australia’s Constitution, particularly important structural elements, like the separation of powers between the branches of the federal government, was borrowed from the US Constitution. Our Constitution is based on a draft written by Andrew Inglis Clark in 1890 and debated and amended at a series of constitutional conventions in the 1890s. Clark is largely responsible for the US influences and of the 128 sections in our Constitution 86 are from or can be traced to Clark’s draft. Australia’s federation debates were completely different to those in America. We fought no 22
great revolutionary war against the British, quite the opposite: we thought they were great. In the convention debates, delegates argued that Australia would not need a federal army because we had no enemies and if we did we could rely on the United Kingdom to defeat them for us. Although it was agreed there should be a federal army, this meant there was no need for armed militia. There are some rights in the Australian Constitution (such as to a jury trial for some federal crimes and the free exercise of religion) and the High Court has implied others (such as the implied freedom of political communication) but the drafters of our Constitution did not see the need to include a Bill of Rights. The drafters of our Constitution were concerned that stating rights meant limiting them. There was yet to be much judicial guidance from the US on the issue. The scholars who influenced the drafters of the Australian Constitution – such as AV Dicey and James Bryce – emphasised that putting rights in a constitution was less important than the system of government established by it. In other words, these scholars viewed the progressive nature of democracy, parliament’s exclusive power to make law, the common law and the rule of law as better guarantees of individual rights than a Bill of Rights. Lastly, Clark copied only those rights he considered necessary for local conditions; there having been no revolutionary war here and the memory of the US Civil War still recent state militias made up of an armed citizenry must have seemed less attractive.
AFTER PORT ARTHUR The drafters of the Australian Constitution did not grant power over firearms to the new federal government. Instead this power, with all other powers not explicitly granted to the federal government, was left to the states. After the Port Arthur massacre the Howard Government decided to implement a system where it would use Commonwealth powers (such as over customs) to prevent more firearms being brought in to Australia and others (such as to appropriate money from the Consolidated Revenue) to pay the states to legislate firearms
restrictions and create a buyback scheme which would compensate gun owners for handing in their guns to be destroyed. By August 21, 1996 the Howard Government had passed the National Firearms Program Implementation Act 1996 (Cth). Within a year, more than 550,000 firearms had been handed in. At a meeting in May 1996 the state governments agreed to the National Firearms Agreement. The Agreement makes an interesting comparison for measures currently being debated in the US: a national firearms registration system, a ban on assault weapons and semi-automatic weapons, a 28 day waiting period to purchase a firearm, firearms licences, restrictions on those with mental health issues or criminal backgrounds owning firearms and secure storage requirements were among those agreed to. These were soon implemented in uniform state legislation such as the Firearms Act 1996 (Tas). All of these steps were taken over the vitriolic opposition of pro-gun groups and parliamentarians. Today, looking back, it was the right response.
AND A RIGHT TO KILL? On the one hand, comparing the gun control debates in Australia and America invites a comparison of political processes. It also invites a comparison of our constitutions and, perhaps, demonstrates that the drafters of the Australian Constitution were able to learn from American experience and do it better. We might not have a Bill of Rights (and even if we did we wouldn’t include a Second Amendment-style clause) but what our Constitution allowed in 1996 was for our elected representatives to act boldly when faced with a terrible massacre that demanded radical action. The Second Amendment has allowed the contest for action over guns to be pushed into the world of private lobby groups and campaign contributions. Constitutional meaning changes over time but if the new scholarship of the Second Amendment means tens of thousands of Americans continue to die and individual ownership of military weapons with hundred-round drum-fed clips remains legal then that really is nuts.
WE DON'T DIAL 911 Words: Neika Lehman
A Dutchman and three Australians borrow a car and go to a shooting range. It sounds like the beginning of a terrible joke. In some ways I wish it were. I have always been strongly opposed to America’s gun laws, and even more so since moving to Austin and having listened to many of my young, leftwing friends talk anti-war but still advocate their right to a gun. Interesting. Also interesting is that at my school, the University of Texas at Austin—an enormous and wildly proud institution of more than 50 000 students—there is a continuous battle by gun advocates for the right to carry concealed handguns on campus. Also interesting that on the 6th floor of the library where I slave away my evenings, a gunman in 2010 pulled out an AK-47 and let fire on a popular walkway, before turning the gun on himself. Last week another shooting took place at a different Texan university, luckily this time outside of Austin. Have I set the mood nicely? Good. The main point of this story, however, is that despite all of this, I recently went and shot 6 bullets from a handgun, making me even more of a rampant hypocrite than I already was. It was Pim’s (the Dutchman) 22nd birthday, and what a better way to have an American birthday than shooting shit for the first time. Of course I refused the invitation, as I had done many times before, giving my regular spill on pacifist political correctness. Pim replied simply, proposing that you can’t
have a proper opinion on something until you’ve experienced it. Applying that logic to this situation didn’t quite run with me. But the renovated “well you can’t have a proper opinion on write about something in detail until you’ve experienced it firsthand” did pretty nicely. So there—my defence. It is 41 degrees outside and we’re about to walk in to the building. We’re far south of Austin, standing outside a huge warehouse, which is painted bright white and red. Nice and sanitary. The Colgate colours. And hey, it’s called Red’s Shooting Range. Red’s sits on the outskirts of a deserted shopping complex that has obviously seen better days. Better days being the 1980s. We are all childish excitement and burning energy until we pull open the heavy iron door. Everything is windowless and dim. An endless abyss of khaki, camouflage, and gun-babe postered walls. Framing the babes, the walls are lined with more guns and knives than I’ve ever seen in my life, with a few bows and arrows for good measure. I’m not talking the humble few in that hunting shop on Elizabeth st, I’m talking hundreds. The air is thick and heavy and it’s quiet, except for the punctures of sporadic gun shots coming from somewhere I’m yet to pin point. I realize I’ve been holding my breath since we walked in, and I look across to Alex (another Australian) who’s got the same perplexed feeling all over his face that for me is turning quickly into fear.
I’m surprised how packed Red’s is for a Wednesday afternoon. It’s all men and lads and boys and dads. One father is helping his son hold up a rifle that’s more than half his height. In a brief moment of relief I notice a woman half hidden behind her man. She’s all giggles and screams taking photos of him, who’s posing for the camera behind another beast of a rifle. My relief quickly reverts back to the disturbance that has been sinking deeper inside me as each second drags by. We move to the counter and my nerves are so shot to shit that even the snapping of the woman’s gum on her tongue is making me flinch. I’ve walked into the aorta of all that I hate about America, and there’s some guy asking what type of handgun I want. “First timers, eh?” He smirks to the other server. The images and words of all the countless stories of American shootings start blurring my thoughts. I realize I’m not alone; the others are quietly discussing a recent gun scare in a shopping mall. “Sorry, I can’t do this,” I tell the guy behind the counter. “You gotta, it’s an experience like no other,” he drawls inattentively. I wonder how many times he’s had to say that. Everyone else is signing the required forms and 23
I remind myself again of the story. Legitimate defence, legitimate defence. I sign, put on the protective ear and eye wear and follow them into the range. I knew the gunshots were going to be loud, but nothing can prepare you for an echoing corridor of ten people firing right next to your ears. The sound of each shot is gone in an instant. It comes and goes so fast that by the time you’re aware of what has just happened, all that is left is your nerves electrocuting your entire body, and a heightened sense of alertness that I hadn’t felt since I was eleven at my local swimming competitions. I felt horribly alive. No one talked as the guns were loaded; there was only one reason to be here. Time took on a new motion in that hot, heavy air. I’d stopped jumping at every shot (which was happening on average three times every ten seconds) and seemed to be in a distant trance. Pretty soon it was my turn. I’d watched Pim load his gun earlier with a methodological calmness that probably came from experimenting on the hearts in his lab (author’s note: despite this description, he is not a psychopath). I had no such grace and the bullets swam in my sweating fingers. The magazine was loaded, I looked at the gun, there was nothing left for me to do but shoot. So I did. And I felt nothing. Leading up to this moment I had experienced the most intense mixture of emotions I’d had in years. But as soon as I pulled that trigger, no single emotion registered. All there was the tremendous sound, and the force of the gun as the weapon sprung back in my hands. I shot again, and again. The sheer power of this thing was so engulfing that for those seconds, my existence seemed to amount to no more than the gun itself. Was this how it felt in the act of murder? A momentary lapse of humanity as the gun takes over all senses? I don’t know what I was expecting to feel, but to feel absolutely nothing is still the greatest shock. I walked away feeling numb, and took photos for the others. Being behind the viewfinder seemed to match my increasing detachment from the reality of the situation very well. They loaded, re-loaded; 24
Pictured above and overleaf: Neika Lehman shooting at Red's Shooting Range in Austin, Texas.
#creative I shot a couple more times. I don’t know why. We ran out of bullets, paid silently, and left the warehouse with hardly a word. Everyone had a similarly confused look on his or her face, except for Andrew (the third Australian), whose smile reached each ear. Seated back in the car with the air conditioning blasting, I seemed to finally let out a breath. I want to call this new side of American culture that I was exposed to, something like ‘the seedy underbelly of America’. But it’s not an underbelly. It’s a part of this country’s spirit. And whether its condoned or not, it’s a stone each American must carry with them. For some, first and foremost, it is a right. A right to security, a right to be your own agent. To take the law into your own hands, to serve and protect yourself, and your country, without relying on a government body to do it for you. But it’s also something more than security. Something I can’t quite pinpoint. I don’t quite know, and I don’t think I really want to. So now I can say that I have done it, and I know I will never do it again. My opinions haven’t changed; I’m just even more confused by humanity. But now, when someone will ask how it was, the thing that scares me the most, is that I’ll tell them what I felt was nothing. Somehow, this seems pretty close to the root of the problem.
CURIOSITY & CADAVERS Words: Huw Jarvis Illustrations: Savina Lim
In 2003, popular science author Mary Roach wrote a non-fiction book called Stiff: The Curious Lives Of Human Cadavers. For a full history of the use of cadavers and the surrounding moral and ethical issues, read that, because you won’t find it here. From the moment you open the letter stating you have been admitted, there is a buzz surrounding medical school. You imagine you’ll be like Dr. House without the cane, or J.D. without the daydreaming, or maybe even someone from Grey’s Anatomy (without the ‘lame’?). Forget helping people, making a difference, or any of that crap—for just one moment you let yourself think like Dr. Cox, who once explained that he became a doctor for the “same four reasons everybody does: chicks, money, power and chicks”.
There are rumours surrounding what medical students get up to; most of them involve heavy drinking but some of them are more creative. There was once a medical student who, after a long day in the dissection lab, brought two aspects of his day home to share with his housemate—the first was the zombie film 28 Days Later, which they watched that evening, and the second was revealed the next morning when his housemate ran from the kitchen screaming, having found a human finger in his cornflakes. Sure, most of the rumours are not accurate, but one thing that is true is that when a medical student packs their lunch in the morning, they also pack a surgical kit complete with forceps, suture material and scalpel blades, and perhaps even a little cadaver juice on the zip. Dissection tutorials are held in a lab with a dozen beds, each holding a cadaver, zipped up in a body bag like you may have seen on TV. On first glance, they appear to be extremely realistic dolls (Mary Roach wrote of cadavers: ‘You are a person and then you cease to be a person, and a cadaver takes your place’). The tissues have become slightly sunken with gravity but rigor mortis means that the flesh is firm to touch. Their complexion is yellow due to a lack of blood flow in addition to the chemical preservation process. A strange smell hangs in the air—a combination of off meat and formaldehyde that is unpleasant but not offensive. People’s initial reactions vary, from becoming nauseated to being a little too content with the scene before them. Creepier still is that some people claim the smell makes them hungry. My own experience was representative of how most people felt: I was mildly put off by the cadavers at first, but quickly became desensitised to them. A couple of years ago, the heads of our cadavers were being used
for specialty neurosurgery training in South Australia… you won’t find too many medical students who didn’t find it creepy to work on headless cadavers. The use of cadavers is a huge privilege, which medical students acknowledge and appreciate. Getting used to cutting through real human skin, muscle and other tissues is vital for learning surgical techniques. In addition, learning anatomy in this setting reveals the huge person-to-person anatomical variation of which doctors must be aware. Despite how easy it is to generalise about the shortcomings of the typical medical student, it is to their credit that medical students always show respect while using cadavers. But that didn’t stop me from proudly telling my friends over a beer once that I had sawed into a man’s head earlier that day. After all, Mary Roach wrote of her own book: ‘Many people will find this book disrespectful. There is nothing amusing about being dead, they will say. Ah, but there is.’ 27
ALL BETS ARE OFF Simeon Thomas-Wilson delves into the gamble of online sports betting. Words: Simeon Thomas-Wilson
Have you watched a sport game or five minutes of television in the last year or so? If you have, you’ve probably seen an ad for online sports betting.
Cross University in New South Wales stating that betting on sport has doubled in popularity in the last few years amongst Australians.
Whether its Tom Waterhouse telling us what he can’t do, Samuel L. Jackson telling us what is ‘amazing’ about Bet365, or Sportsbet ‘helping’ us out by giving us great odds and money back specials, online sports betting is now a mainstay in Australian sport and society with Australians spending $303 million from 2009 to 2010.
The report said that the people engaging in sports betting are likely to be younger male adults, university educated, coming from a higher socio-economic background with constant access to the internet.
If you were to sneak a quick glance at a young Australian males’ smartphone you would probably find at least one sports betting app that allows us to bet whenever we want and wherever we are on sporting events all around the world.
His love of sport was the platform for his dive into the world of online sports betting, which quickly led to relatively high levels of debt. “I got into it (sports betting) just through my love of sport. Because I watch a lot of sport I was always interested in the odds and similar things,” he said.
Currently I have three of these apps on my smartphone, even though I only use one of them to occasionally bet on sporting events once in a blue moon, or if it is something like the Melbourne Cup. While my sports betting apps rarely get used, some people are using them everyday, with devastating consequences. For them, what initially was a couple of cheeky little bets, have now turned into substantial gambling addiction. There has been an explosion in sports betting in Australia, with a study by the Southern 28
Adam* is very much one of the people this report identified.
This nearly led to Adam not being able to attend university this year. His addiction also impacted significantly on his social life, with him feeling compelled to have a bet whenever he was near a place that could accommodate his needs. “If I was at a pub or place that had the TOTE I would always feel the need to have a bet on the dogs, horses, etc.” Similar stories to Adam’s are being seen all to often in Australia today. Adam says that this is due to the thrills
some people experience from participating in this increasing social activity. “I believe that people get addicted to it because of the thrill of betting and winning. Even when you lose you still want to find that win and because of this you keep gambling until you do or to win back the money you’ve just lost,” he said. Adam largely conducted his sports betting online, something that has come to define the new form of Australian sports betting and the people who engage in it. This has been identified in Southern Cross Universities report, with the report finding that online sports betting is now the preferred outlet for Australians to bet on sports. Ben Ross from the Gambling Support Program in Hobart says that this rise in online sports betting is worrying, especially as there is no regulations to protect people who are betting online. “The increasing access to gambling and sports betting is associated with the increase of risky gambling and betting.” This is especially present in a place like someone’s lounge room where they don’t have the regulations of a gambling venue which has a closing time and staff to look after you,” he said. Much of this has been driven from the
Illustration: Savina Lim
constant sports betting advertisements consumers are bombarded with when they are watching television, regardless of if they are watching a sports event. With their messages of telling us to bet on the event to ‘enhance’ our experience, they have become a mainstay in how we watch sports as we may not know the athletes involved but there is a good chance that we know the odds. Ben believes that this impacts on how we view sport to such an extent that it is becoming normal to associate watching sport and sports betting. “I think that with the advertising of sports betting in sports matches and the association of sports its starting to be that if you want to experience a sporting match you aren’t really experiencing it unless you are having a bet on it,” he said. The broadcasting of live odds also fueled this increasing association between watching sports and having a bet during the sports events.
This united many across the nation in their disapproval of what had become a main aspect of watching sports events. The opposition to live odds broadcasting was so fierce that it led to the Labor Government introducing regulations to crack down on this practice in May this year, eliminating live odds broadcasting in television. Ben says that this can address some of sports bettings’ hold and reach over people, but other action such as educating people about the risks of participating in this increasingly popular activity is also needed. “The regulations introduced to combat live odds broadcasting is one way to address the rise in online sports betting, I also think that consumer information is important around the gambling product itself.”
information, which allows consumers to make informed choices about sports betting,” he said. Despite losing a considerable amount of money, Adam feels that since is now aware of the risks that are a part of sports betting, he is now able to make more informed choices if he decides to bet than he would have in the past. “If I bet now, I’ll only do it in smaller volumes and a lot less regularly as I’ve experienced the bad things of it and I don’t want to experience it again,” he said. For those who may be vulnerable or are having trouble with sports betting and other gambling, the Gambling Support Program recommends that people should visit their website http://www.dhhs. tas.gov.au/gambling, ring the 24 hour free gamblers help service on 1800 858 858, or consider using the counseling services at the University of Tasmania.
“People who don’t understand how sports betting works are more likely to lose so them knowing what the risks are is important which is part of communication and product 29
OUTFIT REPEATER Words & Styling: Zefy Souvlakis Photography: Annie Benham Models: Sophie Laird & Emily Handley Fabric: Billie-Jo Location: Property of Pilgrim
It’s official—winter is here! If you’re looking for the ultimate cool kid staple, you can invest in a few key leather pieces to keep you warm while channeling your inner biker chick or biker dude. That badass element of insouciance inherent in a leather biker jacket cannot be easily sibsituted. What can be substituted, however, is where the leather comes from. Opt for vegan of faux (PU) leather if you’re against the industry practices or are running on a tighter budget. Whether it’s a classic pair of leather pants or an edgier leather-sleeved bomber jacket, the versitility is endless. Leather details, such as a pair of gloves to keep your fingers warm, can completely transform a casual day outfit. When out for a night of fun with your friends, count on a leather dress or a skirt for a more sensible coldweather outfit. One thing is certain: leather, real or not, is our ally this season!
JOSH PYKE AN INTERVIEW WITH HIS BIGGEST FAN Words: Hannah Rodgers
I’m waiting patiently. How does one greet the renowned folk/pop singersongwriter Josh Pyke? ‘Hello, nice to meet you Josh,’ doesn’t sound right. Surely you can’t call Josh Pyke just Josh. Maybe, ‘Yo, JP how’s it going?’ The phone rings. Now I have to decide. “Hi Josh,” I say. Ok, now that the musician and I are on a chummy first name basis I begin asking questions, because just sitting there listening to him breathe would be creepy. Here goes.
“What were you drawing on when writing your new album?” I ask. “It’s sort of been the most intense period of my life,” he says with an exasperated laugh. “It’s been insane. I mean, becoming a father just before the last album came out, dealing with that and learning how to be a person and man in the world. They are things that everybody has to go through but it certainly doesn’t make it any less intense.” After ten years, four albums and eight songs in the Triple J Hottest 100, Josh Pyke has continued to make his mark on the Australian music scene. “What’s unique to the creative process is struggling just to break new ground, trying to stay inspired, and losing confidence and gaining confidence and losing songs and finding songs,” said Josh. The musician’s new album The Beginning and the End of Everything may have an apocalyptic sounding title but that is not Josh’s intention. “I actually had to go through a long process over the years to sort of figure out my own moral compass. What’s at the beginning and the end of every decision I make,” he said. “So its kind like a reminder for myself to stay on the path I want to stay on I guess.” As can be expected as a writer of such poetic lyrics, song writing for Josh is a process that helps him to make sense of the world. “The other day I was just coming home in a car from the airport. I sent a Facebook post out about a book I’d finished and I was asking for some suggestions about the next book to read. And I suddenly thought about how
you can tell a lot about a person by the sort of books they read. And I thought that could be a good line for a song and I started writing from there,” he said. “I have a book called One for Sorrow, it’s a like an etymology book on the origins of old phrases—like one for sorrow for instance. That triggered a few songs. This album I’ve got to say I was more influenced by my life and the things I was seeing rather than just books. Definitely in the past, books played a huge part in certain songs, like ‘East of Eden’ in the New Year’s Song and also a book about Dutch and maritime traders,” he said. Imagery and symbolism plays an important part in Josh’s song writing. Consider the bird in 'Memories and Dust', ‘waiting for its little wings to form’. Wanting to go deeper into the concepts I asked Josh about his new album cover and if the wolf had a symbolism related to his first EP, Feeding the Wolves: “Animal imagery has always been a part of my song writing. And wolves generally, and their sort of mythology that I’ve created in my song writing are always a negative influence. So the first line on ‘The Beginning and the End of Everything’ is ‘too many wolves in my ears’. I guess the image on the front is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde thing,” he said. Another ongoing concept in the latest Josh Pyke offering is nautical imagery. Like the popular ‘Light House Song’, new single ‘Leeward Side’ continues to attempt to ‘bottle up the sea breeze’. “The title ‘Leeward Side’ comes from a sheltered side of the ship or the sheltered side of a cove. The idea is basically
that you have these things that you love but they are always going to outgrow your love for them,” he said. “You can’t own anything, you can protect something…but everything is moving away from everything else which is the nature of chaos and entropy and everything”. Josh’s new album was recorded in his new home studio at the bottom of his garden: “I will say that it’s the first album of mine that I’ve really enjoyed listening to from beginning to end. I love and am proud of all of my other albums but I can’t listen to them. For whatever reason this album is one I really enjoy listening to. Hopefully that’s a good sign,” said Josh. “What happens with anything once you’ve been doing it for a long time is you make creative decisions quicker and in theory you’re going to be happier and think that you’ve made all the mistakes you’re going to make, the path that your on is moving forwards.” I thought I couldn’t love Josh Pyke more as I hang up the phone and leave my room. I came across my sister with her ear against the wall. “Ok, so I couldn’t make out exactly what he was saying but I could still hear his voice!” my sister said with a grin. Maybe I’m not his biggest fan after all. Darn you Josh Pyke and your charming, sensitive humbleness. You can catch Josh on his The Beginning and the End of Everything tour from August till September. While the tour excludes Tasmania, he promises to return very soon.
WINTER WARMERS Words: Emily Dunn Photography: Nathan Gillam
MUESLI HOT CAKES WITH CARAMELISED BANANAS One morning I entered the kitchen and found myself faced with a not so unfamiliar dilemma; what to have for breakfast?! After foraging through the cupboards I found the necessary ingredients that gave me two options: muesli or hot cakes. Unfortunately it was one of those days where the decision of one’s breakfast was like being Neo in the Matrix deciding between the red or blue pill… so I settled with purple and married the two together. On this fine morning ingenuity conquered indecisiveness, and with the addition of a healthy banana (smothered in butter and sugar) a worthy winter brekky was forged.
METHOD Muesli Hot cakes: Whisk milk, egg and cinnamon together in a bowl. Sift flour into a separate bowl and stir in brown sugar. Make a well in centre of the dry mix, add the wet mix to the bowl and whisk until combined. Stir in sultanas and muesli and leave to sit for 3–5 minutes. Scoop about a 1/3 cup of mixture into a medium-sized saucepan glazed with melted butter over medium heat—you should be able to cook 2 cakes at a time (*note* make sure the saucepan is hot enough, but not too hot as to burn the hot cakes before they’re cooked through). Cook hot cakes until they begin to bubble, then flip them over and continue to cook for roughly another two minutes.Place cooked hot cakes in an oven with low heat to keep warm whilst preparing the caramelised bananas. Caramelised bananas: Cut peeled bananas in half, then cut length ways. Place the cut bananas in a bowl with brown sugar and cinnamon, coating them until they’re fully covered. Melt the 1/3 cup of butter in a saucepan over low heat, then add bananas. Cook until they soften (approx two minutes) then take off heat. Stack hotcakes (3 per serve) and place caramelised bananas on top. Drizzle maple syrup over hotcakes to finish off your tasty treat. Yum! 34
INGREDIENTS • • • • • • •
1 1/2 Cups of Milk 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar 2 Tsps. of Cinnamon 2 Eggs 2 Cups of Self-Raising Flour 2 Cups of Toasted Muesli 1/2 Cup of Sultanas
Caramelised bananas • Two Large Bananas • 1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar • 1/3 Cup of Butter • 2 Tsps. of Cinnamon
SPICY WINTER CHICKEN WITH YELLOW RICE With f lavour fusions of Mexico and the Mediterranean, this wintery wet dish is cheap, easy, and delicious. It’s a great crowd pleaser, and if you give it some chilli lovin’, it’ll defrost your belly… and your senses. This to me is the epitome of comfort food. It’s like a sassy warm cuddle (in chicken form).
METHOD Drizzle olive oil into a large pot. Once heated, add chicken cutlets (*note* if you’re a vego, this dish is still delish, just replace the chicken with either potato or more beans) and cook until browned, then take them out. Add diced onion, garlic, ginger, and sliced chilli (keep them chunky for texture). Sauté until you can smell the flavours erupting and then return chicken. Add diced tomato, sliced capsicum, butter beans and the cup of chicken stock. Stir it together thoroughly, and place the lid on to simmer. Leave it for 30 minutes over low to medium heat. Whilst you’re patiently waiting for your chicken, organise the yellow rice. Put a smaller pot on the stove and add olive oil. Once hot, add 2 tbsps. of caraway seeds and two tsps. of turmeric powder, followed by 2 cups of rice. Quickly stir until the rice is yellow, then add water and salt. Because we are using the absorption method of cooking rice, make sure the water level is about a thumbnail over the rice (approx. 4 cups). Leave to cook over medium heat for about 9–11 minutes, then turn heat off and allow the rice to steam for an additional 2 minutes. Make sure you don’t take the lid off or stir the rice until the steaming is complete. Return to your chicken and check that the seasoning is up to scratch. If you feel there isn’t enough heat shining through from the chillies, you could add a few sprinkles of cayenne pepper. Once you’re satisfied the sauce is perfecto it’s ready for serving. Place a scoop of rice in a bowl followed by the spicy chicken. Add a spoon full of light sour cream (optional, but good for chili virgins) and chopped coriander for garnish. Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS • • • • • • • • • • •
500 g of Chicken Thigh Cutlets 3 or 4 (or 5!) Green and Red Chillies 1 Red Capsicum 2 Tins of Diced Tomatoes 1 Can of Butter Beans 1 Cup of Chicken Stock 1 Large Onion 3 Cloves of Garlic 1 Nub of Ginger 2 Scoops of Light Sour Cream (optional) 1 Bunch of Coriander
Yellow Rice • Basmati Rice • Caraway Seeds • Turmeric Powder Prep Trim: the fat off Chicken Dice: the Onion, Garlic, Ginger Slice: Chillies and Capsicum Peel: Lids of Cans… I discovered two things making these dishes. First of all, cooking good food is about tasting your way through the process, adapting and tweaking the dish to get the best possible result. For instance, these dishes work for me, but you might find a variation that better suits your style and palate. Therefore, the second thing I learnt was to be inventive— just because you might be an amateur doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to have a punt. I suggest you all try it sometime; you might be surprised where you find your taste buds.
LONG WAY FROM HOME Four international students from UTAS were kind enough to share their thoughts and experiences of their time in Tasmania. Photography: Liam James
Xie Can (Carol Xie) Degree: Master of Information Systems. Home Country: China. Interests: Reading books and watching movies Why Tasmania? Firstly, our university in China has the collaboration with UTAS. Also, Tasmania has more relative proportions of locals to understand their culture. And the beautiful views in Tasmania also attracts me here. First Impressions: Clear sky and clean air to live, and Tasmanians make people feel comfortable. It is very quiet here and there are few entertainment activities in the evening. Challenges: Communication problems! Sometimes, I can understand the words of others, but I cannot explain mine clearly. I needed to change some of my traditional customs, such as eating Chinese food every day, and remembering to always walk on the right. Memorable Moments: The first time I stayed with friends abroad at the traditional spring festival.
Li Yuxuan (Sara Li) Degree: Master of Applied Science (Environmental Studies). Home Country: China. Interests: Swimming, singing, writing, camping, travelling. Why Tasmania? I’m really keen on learning something about nature and the environment while doing my masters degree. The major in environmental studies at UTAS is outstanding because of the beautiful and natural scenery in Tassie which is good for doing environmental research and studies here. What’s more, I love small cities because I prefer tranquillity and a simple life instead of a noisy and bustling life in big cities, such as Melbourne and Sydney. First Impressions: A peaceful place. The air is fresh; the sky is so blue and Hobart has a really starry sky at night, and you can even see the Milky Way when the weather is clear. People here are friendly and live a simple and peaceful life. The houses along the road are delicate and totally different. Challenges: Being a student whose mother language is not English, especially when I chose a major which I don’t have any learning background about. My Bachelor Degree is Information Systems, but now I am doing my Master Degree on Environmental Studies, which is really a big challenge. Memorable Moments: My memorable moment I want to share is climbing Mt Wellington with friends from the bottom to the summit, which took us about 7 to 8 hours. When we arrived at the top, we saw it had snowed and the temperature was really low. But when we climbed down it rained which really made it difficult to go down. And when we continued to go down, it was sunny again, which made us see the fantastic rainbow on the mountainside. It was like we experienced spring, summer, autumn and winter on the same day! Biggest misunderstanding or misconception: It seems I am effeminate, but I’m really strong inside. I don’t want others to think that I am a hothouse girl. Actually, I am tough and brave and optimistic to all the difficulties in life.
Arthur Hebin Huang (Arthur Wong) Degree: Master of Professional Accounting (Information Systems). Home Country: China. Interests: Learning, volunteering and surfing the net. Why Tasmania? UTAS is one of the â€œsandstone universitiesâ€? with a worldwide reputation, which also provides some international students with a Tasmanian International Scholarship. Last but not least, because Tasmania is the only island state in Australia. I wanted to experience the differences of life after completing my previous master degree on mainland Australia. First Impressions: Fresh air, friendly people and fabulous place like an artwork combining natural beauties with architectures. Challenges: Streets are dead every day after 6 PM, which means fewer entertainments are available in the evening. The scale of study and life balance is easily tipping towards studying. It is a place to study indeed. Memorable Moments: This year in May, I was sponsored by Rotary Club of Hobart to participate in 2013 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program at Camp Clayton located at Ulverstone West, which was really my life-changing event. I know I am different and the world is much lighter for me after RYLA. Biggest misunderstanding or misconception: Most people I met assumed I could speak Mandarin once they knew I was from China. Actually Taiwanese, also known as Hokkien, is my mother tongue rather than Mandarin. Since China is such a big nation with a huge population as well as varied dialects, Chinese also contains several other branches such as Cantonese and Shanghainess. Although most people in China may speak Mandarin, be careful about making the same assumption for different individuals. Anything extra? I was the winner of Tasmanian International Student of the Year 2012.
Gerard Quek (G.Q) Degree: Bachelor of Laws. Home Country: Singapore. Interests: Reading, music, DJing, soccer, discussing the autonomy of a platypus and a wombat to name a few. Why Tasmania? I wanted to study in a place vastly different from the city life I was used to in Singapore. Melbourne and Sydney are, in my opinion, considerably similar due to the bustling city life. I felt that Tasmania could provide me with a different yet enriching experience due to its magnificent natural surroundings. Turns out, I was right to choose Tasmania and I am really enjoying the culture, people and nature here. First Impressions: I noticed many dead wallabies on the road [upon initial arrival in Australia] and felt intensely devastated as I could not believe how an animal with such small hands (manus) and incapable of causing harm could die so horribly. What made it worse was when I saw wallaby sausages in the supermarket; my heart shattered and I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. However, the fresh air and space calmed me down. I often feel like a caged up sun-bear in Singapore so the space that Tasmania offers is something I really appreciate. Now, I feel like a free-range bird balling and rolling around the streets of Hobart. Challenges: After being in the military service for two years, going back to school was not the most exciting thing to do— especially to read legal judgments where some judges refrain from using punctuation! The experience of trying to decipher their literature and ‘stories’ requires immense analytical skills. Memorable Moments: One of my most exhilarating experiences at University was DJing at my first super barrel. I will always remember how I was thrown into the air by the crowd after my gig. It was certainly a highlight of my university life and a testament of what I love doing. I have been so fortunate to meet many people, both local and international, who have supported me and made my experience in Tasmania enjoyable. I wish I can name them all to express my gratitude but I am sure they know how I feel. Anything extra? I just want to share a simple philosophy in life that my old man said to me many years ago. He said: “We live one life, we do what we can to make others happy, bearing no intent”. When I first heard it I thought he had lost his marbles but I realised how beneficial it was as you inevitably attract people sharing the same philosophy.
ONE IN FIVE Words: Emma Tanchik Illustration: Leanne Steer
They say that smells are a powerful memory trigger. For me, the stench of chemical cleaning agent evokes memories of sterile white walls and a sense of fear. I like to think that I’m a strong person— but to this day the smell of a hospital momentarily makes me a child. As a child I remember wondering why the courtyard of Ward 1E was surrounded by a huge ring-lock fence. Having grown up on a farm I had seen fences like those to keep cattle in. Did society see their mentally ill patients as cattle? Or do people just fear what they do not understand? There is that word again—fear. Fear holds us back from talking and from understanding. One in five Australians, at some point in their lives, will suffer from mental illness. I face that statistic every day. When I was five my mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and a whole host of other mental health issues. I would like to make it clear that these conditions were a result of genetics, not of substance abuse. However it cannot be denied that there is often a link between drug use and mental illness. Given my predisposition I find it difficult to 40
understand why people, especially the bright university students that I am surrounded by, recreationallwy use drugs. The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that of the 16 million Australians aged 16-85, 7.3 million have a mental illness and of that 7.3 million 45-60% will have a mental illness concurring with drug use. Mental health is something which I find people do not talk enough about. Having opened up about my background I find that I am not alone and almost everyone has a family member, a relative or a friend who has been affected by mental illness. We, as friends and family, are all directly or indirectly affected. So should we have an obligation to speak up about our experiences to people who use cannabis and stop them from possibly becoming that one in five? It has been proven that in some users high doses of marijuana can produce a temporary psychotic reaction (involving hallucinations and paranoia) and that and using marijuana can worsen the course of illness in patients with schizophrenia. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has said that ‘recent research has suggested that it [cannabis] can be a major cause of psychotic illnesses in those who are
genetically vulnerable’. This is something which I have been acutely aware of for as long as I can remember. But being at University is almost a guarantee that you, your friend, your partner, or your housemate has, or will, at some stage use cannabis. A keen-eyed observer wandering around University may notice people smoking a joint at a Barrel or recognise the smell on someone walking past on their way to class; it comes as no surprise that there is a drug culture amongst these young people. Section 3.2 of the university Drug Policy states that: ‘no worker or other person shall unlawfully possess, use, sell, or distribute illicit drugs while engaged in University business or on University premises’. I have had too many encounters with people who use cannabis to count. I am friends with a lot of them and they are some of them are the most lovely people I have ever met. I have nothing against people who use drugs- just against their life choices. But who am I to judge something which I do not understand? I recently spoke to Hannah Graham an Associate Lecturer in Criminology & Sociology at UTAS. She has worked extensively
in the area of comorbidity (comorbidity refers to individuals who suffer mental illness and substance abuse simultaneously). “I think Universities for many generations represent a time and a life stage where people choose to use substances more” The good thing that the University does is offering student support services. I’m confident as member of the teaching staff, as well as still being a student myself, that if someone is struggling with issues of substance use or with mental health issues that we’ve got a number of options here which can be confidentially boffered,” she replies. Cannabis is commonly known as a ‘gateway drug’, a study carried out in 2011 found that in people aged between 20-24 years old who smoke cannabis more than once a week are 2 to 3 times more likely to begin using other illicit drugs. I know of people who use cannabis but there are always the few who have gone to the extreme and use other illicit substances such as cocaine in the bathrooms of nightclubs. At the end of the day it is your personal choice to measure the benefits against the risks of doing drugs, but having experienced what I have, I would not wish it upon anyone and certainly not upon their friends and families.
In my mother’s case it was a long, long road back with many, many appointments with psychologists and our then G.P to get the drug cocktail just right. Pharmacists have to be respected for their command of chemicals to return a person to a state of normalcy. After such a long road I have a Mum whose recovery makes me proud every day, and a Dad who never gave up on the woman he loves. As I’m writing this I am wondering what my parents would think if they read this. ‘Family things stay in the family’ is the motto which I grew up with, but not talking about an issue just leaves you feeling isolated and alone. There is no shame in acknowledging that you or someone that you know suffers from a mental illness. Indeed, there is no shame in admitting that you or someone you know has a problem with drugs. The resources are there and the support is there. Speaking up leads to awareness, awareness leads to acceptance and acceptance leads to change.
lee·cher (n) someone who takes a lot but doesn’t give anything of substance in return. Words: Anneliese Farmer Illustrations: Alice Camm
THE FINANCIAL LEECH
THE EMOTIONAL LEECH
THE PRODUCTIVITY LEECH
They drain your bank account, never pay for food, pretend their wallet got stolen so you pay for their double-shot soy caramel mochaccino, and always whinge about the cost of shipping for their online shopping.
The ultimate sucker of emotional energy. Variants include the Drama Diva and the ‘Can’t you see I’m Having a Crisis’ leech. You may find yourself avoiding a certain person’s company, phone calls, emails, texts, or tweets.
A knack for interruption facilitates your descent to their level of procrastination. Habituating in a common area such as the staff room or kitchen, sub species include the Judgmental Leech and Whinging Worker.
TREATMENT: Don’t be intimidated. Pretend to lose your wallet, tell them to get a job, and do not fall for ‘but I need your help to get back on my feet’ lines. Be productive and point them to an established method of getting money—Centrelink. Avoid ostentatious displays of wealth and don’t leave your bank statements out.
TREATMENT: Recognise the infestation; attachment is dangerous. Take action by talking calmly to the offender. If they make you feel like a horrible human, do not fall for Leech Lines like ‘Oh you must be having a bad day’ or ‘You’re the only one I can talk to’. Take joy in the fact they attached themselves to you because you are a happy person. Keep moving and talk to new and different people.
TREATMENT: Wear headphones, set social hours, make an obstacle course complete with glass shards to your door. At least they’d have to mimic Bruce Willis to get to you. And if that fails, there is always burning or salting the leech off. If the leech is more virtual in nature, switch off your phone, website block, or delete all your friends and start again. Leechers are incredibly perceptive at finding slackers, so stay productive. You might even escape their grasp with a promotion.
A sub species is the Food Leech—never bringing food to gatherings and eating like a pig, or worse—turning up to take food and leaving right away.
NAURU: AUSTRALIA’S GUANTÀNAMO BAY Words: James Stewart Illustration: Savina Lim Photo: Adam Viney www.behance.net/adamviney
The similarities between Guantànamo Bay and Nauru are obvious. However, unlike Guantànamo Bay, which is designed to hold alleged terrorists or enemies of the state, Nauru is designed to hold asylum seekers.
The existence of Nauru is a moral smear on the Australian nation. The similarities between Nauru and Guantànamo Bay are striking and unpleasant. Many argue that Guantànamo Bay is an immoral institution. Obama himself stated on the floor of the US senate on September 2006 that prisoners at Guantànamo Bay are having their right of habeous corpus violated. Since then he has twice signalled that he intends to petition Congress to close the facility. Nonetheless, he is unable, or unwilling, to make good on his promise. If Guantànamo Bay should be closed, it is difficult to see how we can continue to support the existence of the Nauru detention centre given the similarities that both facilities have. What possible basis could there be to maintain Nauru—which is a facility not even designed to hold alleged terrorists—only asylum seekers? In certain ways it can even be argued that Nauru is worse than Guantànamo Bay because the people detained in the offshore immigration facility are not even suspected of having committed a crime. Let’s get clear about the similarities: Guantànamo Bay is an installation run by the American military and holds individuals who have not been charged of any crime. It is a facility located off the American mainland away from prying eyes. What
goes on in that facility is largely mysterious, barring the reports of whistleblowers who have come forward to unveil the horrific treatment detainees are subject to. Whether the individuals detained in that facility are innocent is now immaterial since they are no longer able to receive a fair trial. This is also something accepted by the Obama administration, hence why they will not be charged with any crime and will therefore remain in indefinite detention. This legal limbo has led a large number of the detainees to participate in a long running hunger strike. Their aim is to either be released or die in the attempt because death is a better fate than the misery they are subject to at Guantànamo Bay. In his coverage for The Guardian ( June 13), Paul Harris has reported that these prisoners are now subject to force-feeding. Harris has also noted that this practice is regarded as unethical by a leading medical ethics journal and that the authors have demanded that medical personnel at Guantànamo should end their cooperation with this abuse. Nauru, by comparison, is a facility set up by the Australian government but run by a private firm. Outsourcing the running of the facility is prudent not only because it is less costly but also because the government is not immediately responsible for any abuses that go on there. You might say that the Americans have a lot to learn from this
approach. The Nauru facility is kept away from the Australian mainland, again, away from prying eyes. What goes on there is mysterious insofar that independent scrutiny has been promised but not yet realised. The detainees at Nauru, in the meantime, are subject to indefinite detention due to certain provisions of the Migration Act 1958, which entails that that non-citizens who cannot be removed from Australia must be kept in immigration detention. Indeed, some asylum seekers have been detained for unreasonable periods of time, sometimes years. This has led, as in the case of Guantànamo Bay, to hunger strikes. The government, predictably, claimed that this was an attempt to blackmail the government into accelerating their applications. It was actually an attempt to protest their poor treatment and the government’s inability to provide reasonable timeframes. The result is that these strikers were given ‘medical treatment’. The similarities between Guantànamo Bay and Nauru are obvious. However, unlike Guantànamo Bay, which is designed to hold alleged terrorists or enemies of the state, Nauru is designed to hold asylum seekers. In other words, they are individuals who have done nothing criminal in applying for asylum and are not even accused of criminal activities. All they have done is exercise their right to argue for asylum in Australia. In order
to make this claim they have risked their lives. For their troubles they are shipped to an offshore facility where they are made to sleep rough under tents and with limited amenities. Some might say that this in itself is a gift given their previous unhappy experiences in their countries of origin. I, on the other hand, fail to see how forcing people to live in a state of indignity is a gift.
course, is that these are desperate people who look to Australia for some level of compassion because they know that Australia is wealthy, blessed with a large amount of space, and is a nation with an awareness that the marginalisation of minorities is not to be tolerated. Nonetheless, they are unceremoniously deposited in modern day concentration camps.
Let us not forget, by the way, the reasons why these individuals are seeking asylum. They seek asylum because they are subject to some form of persecution in their home of origin. They seek asylum because of extreme poverty. Some argue that individuals seek asylum in order to “rort the system” and to enjoy the bounty of the Australian state but without having to obey the ordinary rulers of immigration. To this I simply point out, as many have done before, that there is no obvious benefit in gambling one’s life only to risk eking out a marginal existence in one of Australia’s major cities. The more likely explanation is that they really are facing some significant hardship or persecution from which they really are desperate to flee.
To put things in even more context, and to illustrate the bitter reality of the situation, you have to consider the fact that many of the individuals detained at Nauru and other similar facilities have already been subject to unjustified detention and abuse in their countries of origin. At the end of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009 detention centres like Nauru were set up throughout Sri Lanka to hold displaced Tamils. Tamil activist groups regularly complain that Tamil civilians are regularly deprived of their rights and are put at a considerable disadvantage compared to the Sinhala majority. Nita Bhalla writing on behalf of Reuters has reported that “tens of thousands” of Tamils were interned (Sep 26, 2012). Why? Ostensibly so that they can, like Nauru, be processed for resettlement. Unfortunately, as Bhalla has observed, these individuals are kept in unsanitary, often dangerous, conditions.
The reality of their persecution, of course, is yet to be determined, but the truth is something the general public won’t know since the details are kept secret. All we know is that some applications are denied and others approved, though the reasonableness of the process is called into question when you consider the fact that independent oversight committees have overturned the majority of the government’s application decisions. The oversight committee invariably ruled in the applicant’s favour. Opposition groups want to depict asylum seekers as hustlers wanting nothing better than to short circuit the Australian immigration system for their own gain and profit. This is surely false. The reality, of
Having been released these Tamils are subject to further abuse by the government and nongovernmental nationalist groups. Under these conditions many Tamils flee the country for a better life in Australia only to be interned in yet another camp—this time, and unlike the case of Sri Lanka, for a potentially indefinite period of time. This is just a particularly apt example of how victims of abuse are further victimised by the Australian mandatory detention system. Yet this is the case for any asylum seeker who has been subject to persecution in their country or origin, whether they be a Sri Lankan Tamil or a
Hazara Afghani or an Iranian dissident. Much to the victim’s horror, the rescuer becomes the new abuser. This is one way that Nauru and Guantànamo Bay are markedly different: Guantànamo Bay victimises individuals who have not yet been victimised. At Guantànamo Bay, people who have been simply mistaken for known terrorists have been imprisoned; others were indirectly and unknowingly associated with terrorist elements and were therefore imprisoned; others still ignorantly assisted terrorist activities not knowing the extent of their complicity. These are people living normal lives who were plucked from their existence by agents of the United States and “rendered” to their final resting place at Guantànamo Bay. Nauru is quite different. Nauru, perversely, is a place where people who are already victims of persecution are subject to new forms of abuse. These are individuals who lived abnormal lives, who were under the thumb of a regime, tortured, subject to humiliating living conditions, threatened with death, or lived in a state of abject poverty. They had the courage to try and make a change for the better but instead they are treated like criminals. Undoubtably, Guantànamo Bay is vastly more unpleasant than Nauru: detainees are, after all, systematically tortured there. But it is shameful that, in at least this one respect, Nauru can be said to be more morally pernicious than Guantànamo Bay.
Asta performing at Festival of Voices Photography: Phil Kitt 47
Words: Topher Webster
Have you ever lied just for the novelty? There is something sublime about sarcasm without foundation, conversation with out relevance, true freedom of speech. Lies, without the connotation of deceit, result in fabulous fictions and fabrications that patch the gaps in the grey of your day. Fiction (which comprises the majority of the literary canon) is evidence of this: stories are better when they never actually happened.
So, what are you wearing under your clothes?
Why is this fact yet to make the leap from page to speech? Any little chat could benefit from the addition of fiction, but rarely does. Rather, it seems, contemporary conversation is confined to a series of observational statements with the occasional insert of opinion or outrage.
Appearances, however subtle, are conscious decisions you put on how you want to be seen, or, at least, your lack of preference signals the same. So what is inadvertent about the things you wear? Everybody has a pair of lucky undies (gents, read: clean) but what else do you have hiding beneath your winter layers?
Monotonous monologues stem from the stress we have been tricked into placing on the truth. Before one learns to talk fact, fiction is what fills the world. Take, for example, any preschool child (don't forget: ask permission first). Before the distinction has been drawn between reality and all the rest, their mind, and therefore their conversation, is sublime.
If shoes are the part of the outside world which protect you, socks are the first layer of individual insulation. A primordial denial of your physicality, a fabric fabrication between sole and soul, socks reassure us that, beyond the practicality of a thick skinned boot, we are one extra step removed from the world. Socks cushion us, comfort us, cradle and support us.
Seemingly disconnected, following a toddler's narrative is like falling down Alice's rabbit hole, only to land head over heels down Escher's staircase. Stories from minds which have not learned the difference between reality and imagination are, as we would call them, liesâ€”and they are all the better for it.
They isolate us from the harsh world of reality. They are as vital to psychoanalysis as Freud's slippers ever were. Arthur Dent had his towels: I have my socks. Socks are vital for mental wellbeingâ€”go camping in Tasmaniaâ€™s winter if you don't believe me. Despite all this, their importance is often ignored. How
Before the inevitable face-slapping, allow me to explain. Any time you conceal something, you lie: these secrets make you more interesting.The next step is to turn monotonous facts into fictions through the alchemy of secrecy. Secrets undermine truth as sappers do walls; secrets are clues to the labyrinth of the mind.
many socks are worthy of being called sexy, or alternative? For socks, as for rubber gloves, one sterile size fits all. I believe socks hold the potential for change. Colourful, concealed yet unashamed, socks are the temporary tattoo you wear every day. The greatest journey starts with but a single step, and, if the foot which takes this step is remarkably distinct from its partner, just imagine wherethat journey could lead. Mismatched socks, the most base level of secret, have the potential to lead your otherwise predictable chatter astray. Part fabrication, part sole-food, unexpected socks are the little secrets which bridge the gap between lies and reality.
The Smile Words: Daniel Spinks
Smeared lipstick instant, shining through the midst Of life, her blue eyes were lowered. Transfixed, I watched the evening glimmer in her light-lined Lips; the sunshine without which I am blind. I was close enough to drink in her scent Like wine, yet she vanished in a moment In the crowd. In vain I sought her, listless; I couldn't but know her smile, once witnessed. In some unknown place, she will continue To exist as a lustful blink. She drew Me towards her, in that captured second I died a little death when her eyes beckoned. When I sleep, her visage revisits me. I can't be sure if it's changed physically, But I no longer know what that instant means Or if this smile was thought and never seen.
Photography: Annie Benham 49
THE MODERN PERSON'S GUIDE TO BEING IGNORED Words: Lyndon Riggall Illustration: Laura Wilkinson
I am not going to tell you my name. Names are not important. A name is what you would use in conversation, and we are not going to talk. I have not talked to anyone in 117 days. I stay alone. Here’s my secret: apparently there are like seven people that you can really care about in that I would take a bullet for you kind of way, and about 150 that you might show up to the funeral of. The important thing is not to slip into anyone’s community of 150—especially not anyone’s seven. Sit at the back of lectures, or listen online. Write average and unremarkable essays. Wherever possible, embrace Facebook; ironically it makes people feel more like they don’t have to see you in person. You are someone who ‘likes’ things now, you don’t love them: love is a strong opinion, and strong opinions are for people who want to be noticed (no, you are not going to that party. RSVP maybe—they won’t ask again). We have designed the world so that we can spend less time with people, and more time with moodless, unwavering machines. Enjoy the soullessness of pushing buttons and ticking boxes. Remember that woman in Sydney who lay dead in a flat for eight years, still getting Centrelink payments every second week? Play this right and one day that’ll be you—hundreds of letters and Woolworths catalogues lining the polished wooden floor of your hallway, while you lie upstairs, your hair and skin turning to dust. For now you’ve still got to shop, but even if you can’t use a selfcheck, crank your iPod. The white vines of those headphones are your 50
friends. If anyone talks to you, pretend you can’t hear them. They are being rude, not you. Lose yourself in the crowd. I started this as an experiment, like an alcoholic choosing to take a month off drinking. Maybe I’m addicted to silence. But I broke a few weeks in: 117 days ago. I was rushing out of the supermarket and I collided with an old lady—milk, tomatoes and eggplant tumbling to the brightly lit laminated floor. It just slipped out of my mouth: “Sorry” (beware that word). She reached for my hand as I helped her pick her shopping up, and I felt the soft grooves of age and her human warmth. She looked into my eyes. How long had it been since someone looked into my eyes? But I will crush my apologetic nature. I will not wash my hands under the hot tap for too long, dreaming of what it is like to touch someone, and to have someone touch me. Other people hurt you, and I refuse to be hurt. Say it with me: I am fine by myself. I don’t need anyone else.
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TASMANIA UNIVERSITY UNION STUDENT MAGAZINE / QUARTERLY PUBLICATION. 52