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Togatus. May 2010 FREE!

Exam Tips . The Arts Degree—What is it good for? . Thinspiration


Published by the State Council on behalf of the Tasmania University Union Inc. (hf. “the publishers�). The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Togatus staff or the publishers. The copyright in each piece of work remains with the contributor; however, the publishers reserve the right to reproduce material on the Togatus website ( The copyright in this magazine remains with the publishers.


Julius Ross


Alexandra Gibson

Design and Layout:

Jacky Ho, Sam Lyne, Adele Mirowski, Anneke Van de Vusse

Design Supervisor: Pete Saunders


Trent Binning


Please contact


Katie Boutchard, Nicole Calabria, Simon Febey, Alexandra Gibson, Peter Gibson, Jessica Hancock, Ella Kearney, Megan Macdonald, Ella MacGregor, Alex Morris, Chris Rowbottom, Jean Somerville-Rabitt, Alex Stuart, James Walker Printed on FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) environmentally friendly paper by Print Directions Togatus PO Box 5055 Sandy Bay, Tas 7006 Email: Togatus welcomes all contributions. Please email your work or ideas to It is understood that any contribution sent to Togatus may be used for publication in either the magazine or the website, and that the final decision on whether to publish resides with the editor and the publishers. The editor reserves the right to make changes to submitted material as required. Togatus is published quarterly. Photo by Corey Rondeau

Deadline for next issue is 19 June. 11



Julius Ross

There appears to be increasing anxiety attached to the contemporary university degree. Anxiety over the choice of degree, anxiety over the finances associated with the student lifestyle and anxiety over whether a university degree will deliver the necessary requirements for entry into the workforce. The latter is a genuine concern shared by students within the varying faculties here at the University of Tasmania. However, it appears the anxiety is more pronounced within the Humanities. In particular, Bachelor of Arts students are increasingly questioning whether their degree provides the necessary prerequisites for future employment. This apprehension has been magnified by staff cuts in Arts faculties across the country, a decline in domestic enrolments and an overall reduction in government funding of higher education, which now accounts for 40 per cent of university income, down from 60 per cent ten years ago.

Further, a ‘career culture’ has surfaced in modern universities where many degrees are centred on a student’s end occupation and direct vocational outcomes — something which is often abstract from an Arts student’s perspective. Recently, employment trends have favoured scientists, lawyers and medical professionals, and, in the depressed contemporary employment market, it is understandable that Arts students struggle to envisage a tangible benefit of their degree. As a result, Arts students appear to face the most ridicule in the tertiary environment and constantly have to justify their choice of degree. But does this anxiety and ridicule have any basis? To explore the issue in more depth, Simon Febey scrutinises the modern Arts degree in his feature ‘The Arts Degree — What is it good for?’ (pages 17–19).


Student anxiety over financial circumstances is discussed by Megan Macdonald in ‘Centre-Strain’ (pp 26–27), while Nicole Calabria analyses the world of the postgraduate student in ‘Post-Grad Prospects’ (pp 22–24). Accompanying these articles are some handy exam tips (pp 10–11) from Ella Kearney, a harrowing feature on the online movement ‘Thinspiration’ which encourages young girls to develop eating disorders, by Ally Gibson (pp 28–31), a profile on Melina Marchetta (pp 14–16), an interview with Australia’s emerging band Cassette Kids (pp 38–40) and, as usual, much, much more. I hope that readers will enjoy this edition of Togatus as, sadly, it will be my last as editor. It has been a fantastic journey in the hot seat of this publication and it has been an extremely rewarding 12 months. I’d like to thank each and every one of the contributors who have helped collate the four issues I have edited, no matter how big or small their contribution. They have sacrificed their free time to contribute to our magazine with the sole purpose of serving the students of this University.

Yes, it provides a fantastic opportunity for students to showcase their work. But, like any mediaoriented publication, Togatus should exist to hold the University and the Tasmania University Union accountable. They are the big players in the University game and their decisions will ultimately affect your Uni experience. I challenge you, the students, to scrutinise those in power. Questions should be asked and fingers pointed. I won’t say much more than that, but I assure you I will be pounding that into the skull of my successor (figuratively, not literally) as this is the one regret I have leaving the post. On that reflective note, I’ll leave you to ponder the pages of issue two for 2010. For the last time from me, enjoy. Julius Editor The new editor can be contacted at

And, of course, I’d love to thank you, the dear Tog readers. I hope you’ve found entertainment and inspiration in the last four editions. While I leave the position happy that I have brought Togatus forward over the past year, the publication isn’t quite where I think it should be.

Julius Ross has embezzled over $20,000 of TUU money while posing as editor of Togatus… WIN!



contents FIRSTLY State of the Union 7 Letters to the Editor 8 Exam Tips 10 Vox Pop 12 PROFILES Melina Machetta 14 FEATURES A Bachelor of Arts: What Is It Good for? 17 Post Grad Prospects 22 Centre-Strain 25 Thinspiration 28 Make Poverty History 32 The Golden Key 35 INTERVIEWS Cassette Kids 38 REVIEWS Music Review 41 Book Review 42 Game Reviews 43 END NOTES Keeping A Job Is Harder Than It Looks 44 Political Commentary: State Election 46

Photo by Jacky Ho 55

Contributors Design Supervisor

Pete Saunders once taught Dick Cheney’s niece how to ski — but wasn’t allowed to touch her bodyguard’s gun.

Featured Writers Ella Kearney was the inter-school champion for aquatic underarm (a.k.a Doggy Paddle) in grade 5 and 6. The trick is to keep your head down. Read Ella’s exam tips on page 10.

Design Team Jacky Ho is commonly known as an Asian on the outside and Australian on the inside. His favourite food is pop music and has appeared in a music video. Jacky also dreams of being your friend.

Sam Lyne has been doodling for many years. He also enjoys playing video games, drinking beer and watching TV. That is all.

Katie Boutchard is an aspiring journo who likes to think of herself as being in the ‘know.’ She’s got her finger on the pulse and her ear to the ground. Katie loves to use clichés to describe herself, but will avoid using them when producing high quality journalism for Tog. Yep, that’s right. Enjoy the read! Check out Katie’s profile on Malina Machetta on page 14.

Adele Mirowski is studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Anneke Van de Vusse’s favourite activity in prep was writing stories and illustrating them. In Uni she writes news and designs graphics.
What will she do next year after graduation?

Photos by Pete Saunders 6


STATE OF THE UNION Hello students and welcome to the stress-free pages of Togatus, where you may forget momentarily that we are rapidly approaching the end of first semester 2010 and the bizarre ritual that academic staff like to torture students with; exams. I know what you’re thinking, how did we get here so quickly? Am I ready to test what I’ve learnt this semester? Where can I buy a pallet of No-Doz? Well…while you attempt to answer those colossal questions, feel free to relax your thinking organ even just for a little while, and enjoy the wonder that is student journalism.

The Tasmania University Union is proud to have such a swanky publication at UTas. The Togatus office, located in the TUU building, is always bustling with activity, with the Editor and editorial team pouring sweat, blood and other bodily fluids into their work to bring you this pumping mag. It is therefore a great shame that the release of this copy of Togatus also sees the end of the term of our fabulous editor Julius Ross. I would like to thank Julius for his hard work and dedication which has seen Togatus retain its high-quality, massive improvements in the Student Observer, and a move from an almost non-existent website, to a fully functioning seriously sexy online presence. There is no doubt that Julius is moving on

to bigger and better journalism achievements, but he will be sorely missed. Keep an eye out for the next issue of Togatus to find out who is taking over!

Back on the student representation front, your student representatives at the TUU have finally sat down and decided on our strategic direction for this year! And we’re going to need your help. This year we will be lobbying both the State Government and the University to provide free public transport to all Tasmanian University students, we will be fighting for quality teaching and learning, and we will be perusing a range of campaigns to increase the standard of the University student lifestyle. If these are issues that affect you, then we need you to help us fight for change! Don’t stress too much UTasers! In the upcoming exams, remember; they’re looking for what you do know — not what you don’t! Clare Rutherford State President, Tasmania University Union


Letters to the Editor e The fem inism in th on le tic ar Gregor’s e w ith her e whole I agre se to Ella Mac th on on sp re le a hi W is 2010). this notion This letter t, Weeks 3&4, . The first is an ts in (R r po ve o er tw bs w ith W hile that Student O to take issue perk y breasts. e ve lik ha ld to ou w is I t say that girls ly trai ar ticle, ink its fa ir to pica l woman th ty I eo er ng st pi y ty ke eo other reasons, that a edia ster and there are rception of m s st pe ed r ea he br y be rk ht m ig , I have notic have pe cision. Indeed s de ould prefer to st w at ea th es br lv ce t’s se en en em th male stud fe ng, that in flu of pi ze ty si eo e er th er st re that the wat ? other than something in as a student he s e ar er th ye y Is . an te m m ing ra ghts’. W hile I during my sing at an alar n of ‘equal ri ea tio cr no in is be th to t: sexes, one of nd poin appears between the e to my seco m y . lit gs ua in br eq is of en themselves A nd th notion cause of wom eartedly the be I -h le is en y ho th it w , al t er re or be a supp ing bigg ntinues not to s tits are gett t co k’ is it ic yn s ch og on at is as th m re e the at I notic ) a “sex ist, th M y ’s sa d ch an en ng t D ? Nothi . e Judi If I come ou se from Dam levant to men ra re ph ts a en m ow m rr am (to bo e sim ilar co if women mak dinosaur”. But m fe inists? eq ua lity now, W here is your

r, Dear Mr Edito

Lara Bingle: get off my television. I am sick of seeing your Photoshopp ed face on the cover of magazines when I go to the supermarket. I don’t understand why you would flush a $300,000 diamond ring down the toile t, leave your Aston Martin unlocked , or let Brendan Fevola in your house. You are clearly unhinged. I’m not saying that you deserved to have that stup id photo of you published but I am gett ing tired with having to look at you everywhere! You might as well be running as a candidate in the elec tion, you’ve got the name recognition! Yours Sincerely, Where the bloody

hell are you not?


Firstly. To the edito r, W ho is th is Ja me s Wa lk er twea ker? h is a rt icle s a nd he is a Rea lly, whe ll over the re d id you I u nders ta n plac e ba r h fi nd h im? I d that st ud is con si ste read ent me d ia to get their nt left y bia is fre q uentl me ss age a s. W h ile y u se d by c ross, p erh con sider g the loude st aps Togatu ett ing a p voic e s s/The Stud olitic Kev in Rudd ent Ob serv ’s tw it ter, th a l opin ion colu m n is t e r cou ld e w c opy of D a L a b or Pa rt ho is not s Kapital ne y’s we ek ly su b sc ri b e d newsletter x t to h is b e to Revolution a nd do e sn’t d a nd a c o on h is b oo py of L en in h a k shelf. H is s a T U U’s pu b ’s The State attempts a lic ation s a re and the t w riti ng b u nconv inc in a ll that left a la nc e d co g. I don’t k n y sh it but I py for the ow if he ac g ue up w it h a ll tua lly do e s of h is st upid ss he do e s b ec au se oth look at erw ise how a rt icle s. cou ld he co me Yours Sincer ely, Lef ty-sc um-hater

ones who pus exactly? I thought they were the What does the TUU do around cam properly? it e ertis why the hell didn’t they adv ran the O-week concert. If they did, working e eon som ask ady there and get them to I had to call a friend who was alre couldn’t I ause bec ing play e time the bands wer behind the bar to figure out what erfly Butt The ? way any s time set arranged the find the line-up or set times. And who be to e d hav and a bag of potato chips but you’ Effect might think they’re all that set dj a play you should’ve had Bag Raiders a complete no-hoper to realise that a completely it properly Miami Horror, who are last and that if you’d advertised If the TUU d! crow on ing to a seventeen pers sick band, would not have been play es to have selv them e vinc nd semester or they con organises another concert for seco knows ally actu who rge cha in we get someone another one next O-week then can sure I’m and ents stud ng keti mar t plenty of grea what they’re doing? The Uni has ic mus ds, ban here who know something about there must be some other people the for nity really, what a waste of an opportu promotion and advertising. Because d acts. students to see some great mainlan the TUU to make some money and for And Justin Long of course. hour Yours Sincerely, No more amateur

HAVE A SUGGESTION? WANT TO VOICE YOUR OPINION? SEND TOG A LETTER We like ‘em fast and loose, like Lara Bingle’s moral compass. 9


Create a ‘powerhouse’ mix tape/CD. This CD will become the anthem for your study period. Soon you will be associating songs with different theorists or for those who are doing mathematics; different formulas ‘n’ shit. Punch the air repeatedly every time you get up for a drink or to go to the loo. Some track recommendations include: Don’t Stop Believing by Journey, Walking on Glass by Annie Lennox and Man in the Mirror by my man Michael for those self-reflective moments.

Eat whenever you desire. It’s 11am and you’re on your third meal break. So what. Treat yourself. Who cares if you’re a bit pudgy come exam time, a fat student is a happy student. Demand utter silence. Apart from when you decide to play your specific ‘exam time’ mixed CD, you should enjoy a complete absence of noise. If anyone in your house attempts to play other music or switches on Deal or No Deal shut them down immediately. It should get to a stage when you can simply give ‘the look’ to a household member and they will exit the room. The only background noise you should be hearing is your mother or another significant other preparing you food in the kitchen. This is your time.

Get some extra study in at work and other non-typical study places. Somehow intertwine your specific areas of study into every conversation. This way you are hitting two birds with one stone. If you do this with care and precision, people will not realise your dirty little agenda. Ask people what they think about Foucault’s notion of power as though you were just wondering. “How’s your mum? Oh she’s great, have you heard about Foucault?” 10 10


Buy heaps of new stationary. Look, no matter how many highlighters and sticky post-it notes you have, it will not make you smarter in any way. I don’t give a shit if you’ve colour coordinated your study binder according to theorists and concepts. And just because you’ve highlighted every second sentence in your reader does not mean you suddenly possess an entire wealth of knowledge.

by Ella Kearney

Tell everyone how you started studying four weeks prior to the exam and now you’re just doing a week of ‘overview’. Actually…this is a ‘DO’. Even if this is total BS, it will piss people off and probably make them feel inadequate. If you want to take this to the next level, keep sighing and saying you simply don’t know what to do with all this spare time.

Neglect hygiene. People tend to think that the exam study period excuses them from their daily hygiene routine. Boys, in particular, act as though it is some representation of their dedication to the cause when they stride into the exam room looking somewhat like a dehydrated caveman. Really, you just smell.

Try to act like your exam timetable is the worst of all time. Every year, come exam time the conversation of ‘who has the worst exam timetable’ comes up time and time again. “Yeah I’ve got three exams in one day and then one the following morning which I have to drive to Launceston for because blah blah blah”. No one actually cares about your timetable except you. It’s like telling people about your dreams, if that person wasn’t a main feature and you weren’t fucking them — they simply don’t care.

Photo by Anneke Van de Vusse


a) How far out from exams do you commence study? b) What do you do to take a break from exam study? c) What is your biggest distraction while studying? Nik Communication and Marketing a) Three days b) Play sport and visit friends c) Internet and friends

Patrick Science a) Two-three weeks b) Exercise c) Internet and gaming

Paul Arts a) Two weeks b) Go for a walk, see friends c) Everything

Becky Biology a) Two days b) Go for coffee c) House mates


Erin Arts a) Two weeks b) Hang out with friends c) Drinking


Tamika Arts a) Two days b) Go for a walk c) Everything

Brennan Business a) Two–three weeks b) Get some fresh air c) Other people

Adrian Philosophy PHD a) I’ve never studied b) I watch TV when everyone else is studying c) TV Susan Arts a) Two–three weeks b) Go home from the library c) The noise (construction on the Morris Miller Library)


MELINA MARCHETTA by Katie Boutchard Melina Marchetta is always ecstatic when she finishes a novel. The acclaimed, multi-award winning Australian author of Looking for Alibrandi visited Hobart recently to launch her latest book The Piper’s Son to equally ecstatic fanfare at Fullers Bookshop. Marchetta provided her fans with a sneak peak of the plot from her new novel, explaining The Piper’s Son as “the story of love, friendship, family, war and never really growing up. It’s the story that reminds us that we all need saving at some point”. Marchetta informed her followers that the story would revolve around the main protagonist, Tom Mackee, who is one of Marchetta’s characters the Saving Francesca (2003) — the prequel to The Piper’s Son — and the novel which followed Looking for Alibrandi (1992). In The Piper’s Son, Tom is now a young man seeking oblivion and learning some harsh life lessons. Despite the grief in the story, Marchetta incorporates hope and love — it is important to her to leave the reader with a sense of hope at the end of the novel. Tom originally appeared as the villain in Saving Francesca, a novel Marchetta wrote when she was the year 10 coordinator at an all boys’ school. Her novel emerged from her connection with the boys she taught, who she originally described as “obnoxious”. However, by the end of her teaching year Marchetta was “crazy mad about them”. 14

Profile. Feature.

Portrait courtesy of Penguin Books.

Marchetta loved her job as a teacher; however, when she found it extremely challenging to write and teach simultaneously. “I can’t believe that I wrote two novels while I was teaching. I couldn’t tell you how I did because I don’t know.”

“I kind of make these deals with them [the characters] and let the ideas hang around in my mind.”

Ideas for her novels are born through characters who emerge in her life — such as her students — and who “knock… on [her] ‘brain door’, demanding a story”. The main two characters in The Piper’s Son, Tom and his aunt Georgie Finch, came to Marchetta’s ‘brain door’ when she was watching an episode of Australian Story about a veteran’s sons returning to Vietnam to collect their father’s body, 42 years later. It was the one moment in her writing career when Marchetta can remember exactly when a character came to her. “It was like he [Tom] sat next to me on the couch and said ‘that’s my story and Georgie Finch is my aunt’.” Initially, Marchetta was reluctant to write Tom’s story. At the time his character emerged in her imagination, she was completing Finnikin of the Rock and room in her mind for any other characters was sparse. However, Tom remained at the forefront of her thoughts. 15

“I kind of make these deals with them [the characters] and let the ideas hang around in my mind,” Marchetta said.To develop Tom’s character, Marchetta began by imagining his voice and conversations and then constructed a dialogue for the character. A lot of this does not end up in the story, but Marchetta said she needed to hear it in order to develop a character. Even more interestingly, Marchetta listens to her characters’ ‘music’ as a way of understand them. Marchetta talks about the characters in a unique way; as if the characters are part of reality. “A lot of people say that I speak about them as if they are real, but they are not real, I know they are make believe. They are very constructed… but I constructed them, I made Tom into what I wanted him to be.” Marchetta found The Piper’s Son emotionally challenging to complete. A number of people close to her were experiencing difficult circumstances when she was engaged with writing the novel.

“It was just awful watching people’s grief and depression. It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve tried to write,” Marchetta said. Marchetta has a set rule when she writes; she avoids writing anything about herself. Instead, she writes about the world around her. While she admits she “steals” lines said in conversation with friends — with permission — and draws on personality traits, Marchetta will never actually use an event that happened to a friend or a family member in her writing. The Piper’s Son is Marchetta’s fifth novel. Deciding which novel is her favourite presents a difficult task. “[It is like] loving five children, [you] just can’t choose. But you love every one for a different reason.At the conclusion of the launch, a long line of eager fans twisted its way around the bookshop, as they waited to speak to Marchetta and grab an autograph. It was a positive sign Melina might have another ‘hit’ on her hands. 16

Feature. If you want to know what University life is all about, go and visit the dunny. The walls of our Uni loos are covered with opinion polls, explicit art, jokes, ideas, short stories and poems; each one a revealing insight into the mind of the graffiti artist and the opinions of students. The range of topics covered is endless. The latest theory of complex micro-economic management is just as likely to appear alongside a more relaxed discussion of the search for new methods to optimise genital interaction between men and women. A particularly infamous piece of graffiti that appears in many of Hobart Uni’s relief stations, attempts to explain the atrocities of the Nazi regime by accusing Martin Luther, a priest of the 16th Century, of being the originator of German anti-Semitism. This piece of graffiti also reveals another great wall tradition; the student response. “What drugs are you on wanka?” can often be found connected to this particular theory.

A Bachelor of Arts: What is it good for? Simon Febey

‘Dunny critics’ are just as prevalent as the graffiti artists. They provide the vital service of rating the art found next to the porcelain throne and as we all know, academic work does need to be properly peer reviewed. These critiques can be quite intelligent and informative; at other times they simply question the original author’s sexuality. One particular piece of dunny graffiti that frequently appears — and seems to provoke the most debate — is the one that has an arrow pointing to the toilet roll holder with an explanation; ‘For Arts Degree – Tear Here’. This succinct piece summarises a popular view that a Humanities degree is ‘good for absolutely nothing’, or at best, only useful for certain activities. Ask almost any Arts student and they will be able to remember, multiple times, when friends, family or even complete strangers at the local pub have asked, “An Arts Degree? So what are you going to do with that then?” Beyond the basic bias contained within this question, there is usually a level of concern. Well, the guy at the bar is probably just being a smart arse.


The lack of an obvious career path should probably be an even greater concern to Arts students now that Australia has woken from Gough Whitlam’s dream of free education. Today, students find themselves in a Bob Hawke initiated, John Howard inflated world of student loans, which adds increased pressure to the need to secure a well paid job. Even though the HECS-HELP loan, which pays for a student’s tertiary education, is often referred to as the ‘cheapest loan a person will ever receive’, it is important to remember that Australia’s tertiary education ranks among the most expensive in the world. A 2008 report from the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling placed the lucky country behind only the USA and Japan, with an average student debt of $20,579. Generally, students take seven to eight years to repay this debt. This economic pressure can often be found looming over Arts students. Even though they often refer to life experience and the enjoyment of learning as integral to their time at University, they still seem to be conscious of the spectre of life after Uni. Victor Gomez was originally born in El Salvador. His family moved to Australia when he was a child and he is currently completing an Honours Degree in History. “I’m basically learning for learning’s sake…I’m just in love with the actual process of learning and absorbing knowledge,” Gomez said.

However, Gomez’s time at Uni is still spent trying to find the “balance between being idealistic and realistic”. When asked the ultimate “five year plan” question, he fiddles with his glasses for a moment and talks about becoming a professional academic, or failing that, entering the public service. Dr Stefan Petrow was educated at the University of Tasmania and gained his PhD at Cambridge. He is now an enthusiastic senior lecturer in Australian history at UTas and believes that those in the ‘higher’ echelons of Uni have particular ideas of what a university’s role in society is. “Because of Thatcherism and Howardism, universities have been turned into a business [and] students have been turned into customers. They are assigned a dollar figure… we get them in, get them out and that’s all we’re interested in,” Dr Petrow said. He believes that many of his students dislike this approach and consider their time at Uni as a chance “to learn things that they didn’t know and to think more critically about the past”. Dr Petrow insists there are vocational skills that can be learnt from a Bachelor of Arts, but they are not the core function of the degree. So it seems tertiary education can be about expanding personal horizons as much as it can be a simple yellow 18

Feature. brick road to a six figure salary. The Arts student can relax. Their three year degree and $20 000 debt will amount to much more than an expensive wad of toilet paper. But wait, it probably wasn’t an Arts student who scrawled the bog roll graffiti. What other perceptions of University life are there? Thomas Gregory, an earnest computing student, responds to the idea that Uni can teach you something about life. “It would be somewhat useful to know things about life, but a lot of people would find that, frankly, to be a complete and utter waste of time.” He shakes his head, “I’m not sure whether it would be beneficial in the long run.” But it’s not as if an Arts degree does not lead to career opportunities. The ranks of our public sector are filled with those whose degree is supposedly printed on loo paper. In 1997, the most recent ABS figures on this matter, one out of every five employed Australians were in the public sector. Over half of these employees held a tertiary level qualification, with a Bachelor degree in health or education being the most numerous. Arts students only need to look to our Mandarin-speaking PM as an indicator of where an Arts Degree, admittedly with first class Honours, can get you these days. However, there is growing concern the Arts degree itself may be in danger. The Bradley Review of higher education in 2008 — the first in Australia in over two decades — revealed that during the last decade Australia has slipped from seventh to ninth amongst the OECD countries for the proportion of the population that holds a graduate diploma. To regain our position, the sector needs to move our current 29 per cent of 25 – 34 year olds who hold tertiary qualifications to 40 per cent by 2025. This means pushing an extra 330,000 students into the system by 2020. Obviously such targets will involve some dramatic changes. A frenzy of media speculation has surrounded what measures Julia Gillard and the Kevin Rudd team will adopt. Political discussion on higher education has mainly revolved around issues such as funding changes, teacher-student ratios and quality control. However, the issue that really has the Arts on edge is the idea that future Commonwealth funding may “follow the students” out the door.

Rob Meredith is a fourth year Law student and former Tasmania University Union President. He is worried about this possible change in tertiary funding. “There is a concern that demand will force universities to focus on things like Law and Medicine. [These] really desirable courses will end up having hundreds of thousands of students at the expense of things like Philosophy, History and English … which don’t necessarily have the same kind of pulling power for students.” He predicts that funding and infrastructure may be taken away from courses where there is less demand, to fund those that are perceived to offer students a ‘golden’ future. Professor Susan Dodds holds a Doctorate in Philosophy, and is the current Dean of the Faculty of Arts at UTas. She argues against these changes. Prof Dodds notes the fact that the Arts are an extremely cost effective area of education. “Humanities are mass education at low cost. Our tutorials don’t require any specialised equipment. They may require a few more seats, but not a new lab or any specialised occupational, health and safety issues.” Prof Dodds also believes that students who have been trained in the Arts have more generalised skills which employers need, such as the abilities to think critically and adapt to new situations. She seems more concerned such a funding scheme may only fulfil the short term needs of society. She provides the excess of engineers — now mostly aimless — who had trained themselves for the WA mines, as an example. So Arts students can derive pleasure from their studies, gain a greater understanding of the world and gain the vocationally sought after quality of having an intelligent, adaptive mind. Albert Einstein, who graduated with Diplomas in Mathematics and Physics, once said “… the value of a liberal Arts education is not to learn facts, but to train your mind to think about things that cannot be learned from text books.” If only he’d put pen to wall. Simon Febey is a carnivorous apple who is currently completing a post graduate Diploma in Journalism … and is hiding in the darkness underneath your bed waiting for you to fall asleep. 19



What is your opinion of the Arts Degree? Do you think it leads to employment opportunities or is it a waste of time?

Alexander, Arts/Law I enjoy Arts a lot, particularly history, but it doesn’t seem to lead to many job opportunities. I see it as something nice to do.

Elyse, Bachelor in Behavioural Science It’s a pretty general degree, it’s good for people who don’t know what they want to do.

Pippa, Bachelor in Psychology There doesn’t appear to be a lot of scope to the Arts degree. It can be worthwhile if you can major in something like Psych. It can be good for jobs if what you want to do is available for study within the Arts degree, but I think it’s important to have a specific goal.

Simon, Business Arts is a waste of time


Vox Pop.

Dustin, Computing I’m not doing an Arts degree, so I wouldn’t know, but I know people who say it is good. I honestly can’t see it leading into a job.

Nicola, Bachelor in Psychology I think it is a versatile degree because it is very broad. It can be good for securing a job, but it usually depends on what you study.

Patrick, Arts/Business I find my Arts subjects are a way of keeping myself sane during my Business degree. The theory behind Business subjects is often boring, where as I find arts interesting. I can’t see it leading to jobs, but I think it produces more rounded people.

Harry, Business/Law Arts is a really good degree for developing critical thinking and to help students think independently, but I don’t think it’s very practical or great for scoring a job. Unless, maybe, you were planning to go into a government job.


by Nicole Calabria Each year there are an estimated 24 000 graduates across Australia who transition from full-time study to employment. With Tasmania’s unemployment rate yo-yoing like a multi-coloured-clown’s-toyat-a-circus during the last 12 months, it is understandable if you aren’t quite sure what’s going on (and why are we talking about clowns, anyway?). In April last year, the state’s unemployment rate had risen to the highest in the country at 6.2 per cent. It recovered temporarily to 5.2 per cent in December last year, but in early March 2010, the figures had shot back up to a worrying 6.4 per cent. In the current climate this is very disheartening news for all local job-seekers, including those who have recently escaped the clutches of University with their little coffee-stained scrolls of paper to prove it. Recent graduates would have been likely to have thrown their graduate scrolls despairingly in the air if they missed the UTas Careers Fair on March 5. Not only did they miss out on a whole lot of handy career-oriented advice, but they also lost their chance to bag a heap of free-goodies. Each year UTas hosts the Fair to help students create or envisage a career path and receive valuable advice on their future after Uni. Many of Australia’s leading graduate employers attend, representing the post-grad options of areas including Business, Law, Engineering and Information Technology. “It’s a good idea to give some thought to the companies you want to talk to and deliver your ‘pitch’ to,” Josephine Thompson, Telstra’s HR Manager in Resourcing, advised students on the day. 22 22

Features. Feature.

Photo by Travis Hutchins “Work out what you want to say to recruiters ahead of time, so you can be as succinct as possible.” This is great if your field of study is well covered by the Fair. However, if you’re like me, you’ll notice that as you wander around sucking on that free lollipop from the nice lady at the Centrelink stall, there are minimal opportunities highlighted for those studying in a number of areas — including Fine Arts and journalism. You might leave slightly disheartened, albeit with a satisfied sweet tooth. In this case, you will have to come to some conclusions about your potential career options and employment future on your own. Current Honours student Eli Ebsworth took a year off to work and travel after completing her Science degree in 2008. She has now returned to ‘upgrade’ her degree and make herself more employable. “Everyone I spoke to in [the] Science [faculty] says it’s really worth having that extra year,” Eli said. Achieving Honours illustrates to employers that you’ve got good time management skills, you can pick and research a topic and have solid writing ability. “These are all skills you need to be a scientist,” she said, “But it’s also as much about me feeling capable to do a job than to get one. I guess it gives me more confidence that I can do it.”

It seems that these days no degree provides guaranteed security; with courses such as Medicine and Law breeding their own employment issues. High graduate numbers can mean people miss out locally and nationally on opportunities, as there just aren’t the positions to match each newlyqualified batch of bright-eyed hopefuls. Many legal graduates choose to do six months of ‘Legal Prac’ to improve their chances, while Medical students rely on internships to kick-start their careers as health practitioners. However, this is no longer a sure thing for graduating Med students. “Over the next three years the total number of Australian medical graduates will increase by another 17 per cent from 98 in 2009 to 115 in 2012.” Mr Ross RobertsThomson, President of the Australian Medical Students’ Association, warned. “Only 65 places were available for these graduates in 2009, and at present, the same amount will be available in 2013.” Considering the vague employment outcomes for those studying an Arts degree, it is important to be realistic and the saying “you have to kiss a few frogs” is probably true to securing employment. So if you are disheartened by this, here are some hints to get you ready for the potentially long, hard, job hunt (are you encouraged and excited yet?). 23

1. The most time-consuming part of the application process is writing a detailed selection criteria for each job. Recent Law graduate Will says he deals with this by writing one comprehensive template, then adjusting it for each application.

So, don’t hold back and don’t give up on the dream you clutched to your chest as you wandered around campus with your shiny, expensive new textbooks on that first day all those years ago.

“Usually prospective employers ask similar questions in different ways, such as ‘describe a time when you showed initiative’,” he recommends. “I have one solid answer that I go by and it saves time.” It makes the process of filling out endless selection criteria more bearable and efficient. So as long as you are carefully moulding answers to each new question, there are no excuses not to apply for everything you can. It’s also important to research each organisation that you apply for, especially if you get an interview. It won’t cut it if you don’t know anything about the place you’re trying to gain employment at and will make you look sloppy and potentially stupid. “It’s true that first impressions count,” Ms Thompson advised and “Ensure you are genuinely interested and passionate about the companies you apply for, it will come through in everything you do.” In the end it’s most important to make sure you relax and be yourself and as long as you stay diligent and don’t lose heart, something will eventuate. In the words of Nelson Mandela; “There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Nicole Calabria would spend her whole life travelling and writing if she could…At least until she got bored, and who knows when that would be? Hopefully never. She is a journalism and Fine-Arts graduate, and desires to do something creative yet worldchanging, with the hope of somehow getting paid an awful lot for doing it. 24


Centre - STRAIN

The Pressures of Youth Allowance on the Working Student by Megan Macdonald

“Youth Allowance provides assistance for young people who are studying full time, undertaking a full-time Australian apprenticeship or training and/or looking for work…as long as obligations are met,” (An excerpt from Centrelink’s Youth Allowance prospectus).

While these measures are put in place to ensure students do not con the system, any discrepancy with reporting income must be paid back in full and only slight levels of discordance can warrant a fraud conviction. This constant surveillance appears an unnecessary pressure for thousands of university students across the country and should ultimately be reassessed.

Centrelink. The very word sends shivers down the spines of university students everywhere and often prompts them to share horror stories about their dealings with the statutory authority. Yet, the institution itself provides the much needed financial support for full-time tertiary students across Australia to attend university in the first place, so why all the angst?

“I’m constantly having to be very precise for fear of being audited by Centrelink or making a mistake, which is quite easy to do in my experience… it’s quite frustrating,” Catherine said.

Take Catherine Thompson, an Arts student in her final year of her undergraduate degree, for example. In order to major in journalism, Catherine had to move to the next city, two and a half hours away, as the course wasn’t provided at the campus closest to her. She took a year off after grade 12 and worked full-time, meaning she was lucky enough to qualify for the independent Youth Allowance payment. In order for Catherine to be able to meet the costs of basic living— food, rent and amenities — Catherine works a casual job at a retail department store. So she can retain her Youth Allowance payments — and subsequently ensure her rent is paid every fortnight to prevent her from ending up on the streets — she must record her employment details every fortnight. This includes calculating — often down to the exact cent — her pay and amount of hours worked and report these to Centrelink.

Courtney Pryor, an Arts Law student at the University of Tasmania also experiences the fortnightly anxiety when reporting her financial circumstances to Centrelink. “I think there could be a more efficient way for Centrelink to be able to obtain your work hours and pay, in order to ensure that students don’t make a mistake even when we do strive to get it exactly right every time,” Courtney said. Students often associate frustration, stress, anxiety and even fear with Youth Allowance payments. These emotions arise from the contemporary balance students have to manage between their study and employment commitments. While they appreciate the Youth Allowance service is available, it is often a hindrance more than a help. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for students who genuinely try and support themselves throughout university by maintaining a work-study balance, to be caught in the misreporting trap. 25

Photo by Cavell L. Blood

This forced financial observation is only one of the strict and rigid obligations placed on university students by the Federal Government. It is bemusing politicians fail to recognise the importance of financially supporting tertiary students. The Federal Government should recognise supporting higher education students as an investment in the future of Australia. The constant changes to the Youth Allowance scheme, namely in May 2009 and March this year have ignited national debate over the state of student welfare policy. Prior to the March changes, the National Union of Students (NUS) declared that Youth Allowance payments were 48 per cent below the poverty line and 42 per cent of tertiary students live on less than $200 per week. They also reported one in two students admit their studies are affected by financial stress. While the Youth Allowance benefits pave the way for many university students’ futures, the ongoing obligations that are attached with the payment are unnecessarily tedious and demanding of those students who are required to work during their time at university. Financial status can no longer be considered an inconsequential factor in the contemporary tertiary environment. It appears students, rather than being rewarded, are being punishment for working.

“I’ve been deterred from working and studying while on Youth Allowance,” another student, Sean Waddingham said. “I made that choice because I see how strict the requirements are with the allowed working hours and reporting schedules. “It’s definitely an aspect of university life I choose to avoid, but I suffer financially because of that.” Many people consider Australia the lucky country. Access to education is universally recognised as one of the fundamental human rights, which begs the question; why does Australia’s student welfare policy have so many unresolved issues and problems? Students need to act now. Your voices can help force the leaders of Australia to take action and provide a fair and equal system where students who are trying to do the right thing are not punished, but are rewarded.

Megan Macdonald is a Journalism Honours student who feels just as prepared to be a journalist as she did before starting her BA. Over her degree she has gone from one shot lattes to two, learned not to do a subject in the business building as it requires walking up a steep hill, and has perfected the art of rambling. All important lessons.



k n i l e r t n Ce Crime doe sn't

pay Photo by Travis Hutchins

“I want to attend university, gain a higher education, contribute to the Australian economy and start a shining career for myself. I don’t have much money but I do have the will to learn,” I say to those guys in Canberra. “Well that’s fine! We can give you enough money to get by,” K Rudd replies from behind the Centrelink desk. “Oh great that’s a relief.” “Just a couple of questions, how much money do your parents earn?” “Oh… well surely that is irrelevant, they aren’t in a position to pay for my university.” “Uh huh, how long have you worked since College?” “Well a few months but I was hoping to attain a career with my uni degree.” “Sure, are you in a De Facto relationship with a person who is employed?” “Technically, but they can barely support themselves let alone me.” So as the door shuts in my face and those Canberra fat cats laugh at the idea of uni students being an investment, I think that maybe the local government guys might put in for some scholarships. I knock on their door. “Don’t come in!”

“Sorry I just wanted to ask about education…” I walk in but they have escaped out the window. So after all that, I take my parents advice, grab a part time job while I’m ‘doing my studies’. I figure the UTas website could help me with this but as soon as I start browsing my timetable harshly informs me that I wont have time for a job. I go to a lecture and the lecturer starts complaining that all us ‘kids’ are distracted from uni by our jobs, all so we can pay for our ‘gadgets’. I’m sorry Mr. Lecturer but if a stack of criminally overpriced text books can be found in Dick Smith, at least they would have come with a three-year warranty. No my parents can’t pay my way through uni, and how many of us had to buy their own books as they watched their rego expire. How about this, if I deem that the pollies haven’t helped me gain my degree then they can’t take the tax I earn with the high paying super job I will end up in? The bottom line is, if we aren’t meant to be working and Centrelink won’t pay us until we jump through twelve hoops of fire, how am I meant to survive Uni? I can’t eat my text books; I can use them for fire to heat my sharehouse, but only once. Does Uni provide a world of possibilities for everyone or just those with parents who can pay for them? By Alex Stuart 27

By Alexandra Gibson “Entering the world of thinspiration feels like stepping into a religious circle.”

Ever heard of ‘thinspiration’? It’s easy to find. Type the term into Google and it will return over 200,000 results. Type thinspiration into a YouTube search and you’ll be hit with confronting images of this concerning trend. Frequently, there will be a short warning declaring that the video may contain content that is inappropriate and a video starts to roll. In one such video, a slow beat begins and Mickey Avalon sings with conviction that he ‘likes a girl who eats and brings it up, a sassy little frassy with bulimia’. A girl appears as the images start. Young, painfully thin, leaning forward and holding a camera above her head as she stands in front of a mirror. Her hipbones are peaks on either side of a hollow stomach. Her bare legs are hardly there. The image changes. From behind, another girl curls her spine away from the camera. I count down her 24 ribs. The sequence continues, each image slams the viewer with purpose. Sure, you may have seen anorexic photographs, even girls in the flesh, but this is something different. Words appear across the next image in big writing, girly and pink: “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels”. This paints a picture of the unsettling movement of thinspiration (thinspo for short); the online concept of inspiring young women to continue or develop an eating disorder. Followers provide supportive videos containing images of underweight models or ‘real girls’, accompanied by emotional music and ‘inspirational’ quotes, such as: “Blessed are the starving for they teach us not to eat”. Entering the world of thinspiration feels like stepping into a religious circle. 28

Feature. “It’s got that religious, cult feeling because cults are all about fervour,” Dr Michelle Williams, a paediatrician for the Royal Hobart Hospital said. “These people [operating thinspiration] have a major mental illness.” Dr Williams explains that those suffering from anorexia nervosa suffer intrusive, voice-like thoughts they can’t get rid of. Like the constant internal conversation a sufferer of an obsessive-compulsive disorder experiences, anorexics find it hard to distinguish between the thoughts induced by their mental illness and their own thoughts. Thinspiration actively promotes and encourages these internal voices by naming them, Ana and Mia. Dr Williams defines Ana as “…the beautiful, skinny princess, [promoting] ‘if you can only get to your goal weight you will be fine, life will be great, all your troubles will be gone’, while Mia is exceedingly critical, ‘you big, fat, lazy slut, why did you do this?’” On one thinspiration website a follower writes: Dear Ana, I have betrayed you, disrespected you. Now I come crawling back to you. I have eaten way too much. Please take me back, I can't live without you. I love you. I promise I'll never do this to you again. Find it in your heart to forgive me. Without you I am nothing. With you I am unstoppable! I don't know what I would do without you.” Thinspiration also has a list of 10 commandments; “1) Thou shall not eat without feeling guilty, 2) Being thin is more important than being healthy…” each is as alarming as the next. Dr Williams explains, “Part of the therapy we have [for those suffering an eating disorder] is getting them to rename their voices”. Dr Williams uses cognitive behavioural therapy which attempts to encourage individuals to challenge their own thinking. However, this is exceedingly difficult to achieve when you are strongly encouraged by online support groups to listen and respond to messages you believe are critical to your own happiness. I contacted a young Australian girl who has posted two of the 2800-odd thinspiration films available on the Internet. She explained to me;

“[Thinspiration] is more than just making videos, it’s a support network. We all stick together and help each other and I think that’s why it is so important. Especially considering anorexia is an illness with no cure.” This was once a reality for Cori Magnotta. As a young American girl she found enormous comfort in the online thinspiration network. “I worshipped it like a religion. To this day I can still remember the quotes. The tips [advice on how to lose weight] at the time felt like a Godsend. These girls understood me.” Cori explained that one of her thinspiration friends from the UK offered to send her diet pills that were illegal in the US, where Cori lived. “I got hooked very fast, they were basically speed.” She remembers posting on a thinspiration forum how sick they were making her and she had started to hallucinate. “[My thinspiration friends] told me to keep taking them because being thin was worth it.” Soon after heading their advice, Cori woke up unable to breathe and was rushed to hospital. After this incident Cori was put into a mental institution, but was released soon after. Although not fully recovered when released, Cori took it in her power to become a spokeswoman for the National Eating Disorder Association. But while she acted as role model for healthy eating, Cori fell back into her thinspiration regime and began taking the stimulant, ephedrine. One of her thinspiration friends saw a video on YouTube showing Cori being interviewed for NEDA and was furious at her betrayal. “[My thinspiration friends] planned an all out attack on me to ruin my reputation. I received hate mail full of profanities for weeks on end. They started a Myspace [.com] page absolutely trashing everything about me. They found my phone number and called at all hours; they called my husband and told him mostly lies [and some truths] about private information I had posted. They called my place of work and told them I was a drug addict. They used everything I had ever posted or emailed over the past five years against me.” 29

“Dear Ana, I have betrayed you, disrespected you. Now I come crawling back to you. I have eaten way too much.”


Feature. Followers of thinspiration who I have spoken to, seem to believe the media and child abuse are responsible for causing eating disorders and therefore they feel thinspiration is merely a way of dealing with and making the most of something you cannot control. However, Hobart Psychiatrist, Dr Fiona Wagg explained the process of the disease, “If you have traumas of various kinds in your background then you are more likely to develop a mental illness [and] I think the media has a role in being a stress in those who are genetically vulnerable.” However, while the media and early abuse are triggers, encouraging the symptoms through thinspiration guarantees deterioration. “If you’ve completely succumbed to the belief that this is what you want and it’s a good thing and you’re giving power to it to control your life, then that’s incredibly dangerous and very unhealthy,” Dr Wagg said. The most harmful impact of thinspiration relates to recovery. Dr Wagg explains the most effective therapy for adolescents involves a supportive network encouraging healthy eating. “[Thinspiration] complicates treatment because [the victims are] getting one point of view from their therapeutic team and then a completely different point of view supporting and encouraging the behaviour from another source.” Dr Williams reinforced the importance of support, “Your best chance of recovery is when you’re living in a really supportive family environment. We don’t let our girls join a group therapy session until they’re psychologically strong enough not to be feeding off each other’s anorexia.” Followers themselves say thinspiration is so effective because of the support they receive online. “It’s not easy if you live with your family. You have to explain why you’re not eating and obviously you start to lie,” a German thinspiration filmmaker said. “After a long time with anorexia you start to feel alone because it’s not something you can talk about, so you have to stay alone with your sorrow.”

Sharon Hodgson, who used to moderate a thinspiration website, is the founder of the website We Bite Back. “ is an attempt to make recovery real for myself by making it a part of my identity and encouraging recovery [for others],” Sharon said. Sharon provides a forum for sufferers to discuss how to get back to healthy eating habits and attempts to challenge thinspiration beliefs. The home page of We Bite Back states; “Anorexic behaviours will give you a false feeling of control initially, but you eventually lose your control to your eating disorder. On this site, we regain control by mutually encouraging one another to get better instead of worse.” This is a positive step towards countering the effects of thinspiration. According to the Eating Disorders Foundation of Victoria, anorexia nervosa is the “third most common chronic illness for adolescent girls in Australia [after obesity and asthma] and is the most fatal of all psychiatric illnesses. Mortality rates after 20 years are between 15–20 per cent”. Considering the battle between freedom of speech and censorship today, I asked Dr Wagg whether she believes the way to abolish the effects of thinspiration is to restrict all access to it. She argued that talking about these issues is more effective. “I don’t think you can just ban things. It’s not going to work. I think you need to raise the issues. These things are there and they are potentially causing big problems and we need to be aware of that.” To view some sample thinspiration videos and websites, or to comment on this story, visit the Togatus website @

Alexandra Gibson loves to write and thus has begun her Master of Journalism. A beautifully constructed sentence is to her what porn is to sex addicts. Do not watch films with her that she has already seen, as she has a nasty habit of saying ‘this bit is awesome’ just before it happens and then watches your face for your reaction.



by Jessica Hancock Traditionally, young people are the leaders of rebellion, progression and revolution. It is not surprising that the 20-year-old Alexander took over the Persian Empire in 13 years, nor that the protests of Tiananmen Square and Kent State University were led by university students, nor that 50 per cent of American voters in their noncompulsory system are aged between 18 and 29.

Togatus met with Maddi Charles and Laura McIlhenny, the Tasmanian Recruitment Manager and Head Facilitator and Advocacy Manager, respectively, to discuss the upcoming event.

In our own lives, this generation has peers volunteering in international communities and rallying behind causes with a scope beyond the reach of even a university student’s caffeine-charged imagination.

This road trip was a landmark success, when 700 young ambassadors travelled through 17 cities across Australia in a week. Through six concerts and national and international media, the Zero Seven advocates communicated their message of commitment to help change the lives of more than 20 million people worldwide.

This imagination is realised in modern movements such as ‘Make Poverty History’. This crusade promotes awareness through various events such as the ‘Make Poverty History Road Trip’; a week long journey of 1000 young people from around Australia, 50 of whom will depart from Tasmania. Aged between 16 and 26, these ‘ambassadors’ will ultimately converge on Canberra this month [May] to demand that the Australian government meet its aid target of 0.7 per cent Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015.

“The idea came from the Zero Seven campaign,” Maddi said. “In 2007, the Zero Seven road trip marked 07/07/07, which was the halfway point to the Millennium Development Goals.”

The advocates were rewarded for their efforts when at the final concert Prime Minister Kevin Rudd agreed to lift Australia’s foreign aid commitment from 0.32 per cent to 0.5 per cent GNI by 2015, proving such movements can generate change. This figure translates to an estimated $4 billion contribution from the Australian government to the world’s poor. 32 32


However, this is still far short of the desired 0.7 per cent target by 2015. Further, the Millennium Development Goals — an agreement in 2000 by United Nations member countries to halve world poverty by 2015 — are far from being realised. In fact, with only five years to go, not one of the targets has been reached. Hence the need for another road trip.

“Based on my experience, this kind of event is great for raising awareness, but they are an enormous waste of personal energy and resources for the outcomes that people want to achieve.”

However, some students have questioned the logic of using a road trip. They believe it is contradictory to damage the environment while fighting for an altruistic cause.

“One of the main missions is education,” Laura said.

Road trip advocates have informed Togatus that the campaign is planning to make the road trip carbon neutral, through purchasing carbon offsets. Others wonder whether these attempts are worthwhile. Sustainable Development and Biology student Robbert Van Boxelaere cautions that throwing money at the problem isn’t the solution. He notes the recent controversy in Britain in regards to the Ethiopian aid of 1994–95 as an example where these attempts can be counter-productive. This view is similar to that held by Hobart City Council alderman and mature-aged student at UTas, Eva Ruzicka.

At the very least, raising awareness is certainly on the agenda for the Road Trip, but education is just as valuable.

“Through us knowing about these circumstances we’re empowered to make a difference in our own communities, and to teach others that these things are happening,” Maddi said. “Furthermore, it is community movements and attitudes, like the Make Poverty History Road Trip, that generate change in national, state and local governance. We are fortunate to live in a democratic society and governing bodies not only look for community movements that generate public interest, but rely on it.” Whether the goals of this road trip will ultimately be reached, mirroring the success of the Zero Seven campaign, is questionable. However, the support for 33 33

Head Facilitator and Advocacy Manager Laura McIlhenny, left, and Tasmanian Recruitment Manager Maddi Charles of the Make Poverty History Road Trip. Photo by Trent Binning.

the event is overwhelming. Generous donations from AusAid have laid the necessary financial foundations and communities and businesses across Australia have illustrated support by donating accommodation and food for the young ambassadors.

own hands. Whatever the results of the road trip, it will remind Australians of how privileged our lives truly are; for we have the power to save thousands of lives, not for any self-serving purpose, but merely for the dream of making poverty history.

Furthermore, the willingness of these young people to throw themselves behind the cause has been tremendous. Road trip organisers informed Togatus that one young Tasmanian was so keen to take part that he applied three times and students from the ACT have been asking whether they could start in Tasmania in order to take a more active part in the road trip.

For those interested in following the road trip, tune into Edge Radio and follow the website or join the Facebook group for the Make Poverty History Road Trip. The Tasmanian team will be in Hobart on May 8th, in the northwest on the 9th, and in Launceston on the 10th, before the ambassadors will all come together in Canberra on the 12th–14th.

“I think that seeing a [strong] youth movement [developing] and just seeing the drive behind the whole campaign will empower a lot of people in our national community, but also in international communities, to see that we are the generation of change,” Maddi said. “[It will communicate] that we don’t want to live in a world where people live in poverty while we indulge in expenses that we really don’t need… while others don’t have enough food to eat.” While success of the Road Trip may be uncertain, it is promising that our generation is taking matters into their

Jessica Hancock is one of those frustratingly pedantic English students who spots grammatical errors, misuses of punctuation marks and incorrect spelling in every sentence. She suspects that this will ultimately lead to her demise in a future incident involving a curling championship… 34

n e d l o G key





In the dark recesses of a seemingly disused Faculty of Business building, lies the headquarters of a secret and mysterious society, known by its followers as the ‘Golden Key’ society. What is this society all about? How many students know about it? How can people join? Is it some elaborate intellectual scam to steal students’ money? Are there special initiation procedures to go through before you join? Could there be a real life Da Vinci Code mystery right here at UTas? And what exactly is this ‘Golden Key’ and which door is it likely to open? These questions were running through my mind when I met Mr Andrew Kimpton, the current president of the executive committee of this imagination-capturing society. On the surface, he looks like a normal Uni student. I find out that he’s studying a double degree — a Bachelor of Business with a major in Accounting and a Bachelor of Information Systems — nothing remarkable there, so how does this make him president of this elusive society? After speaking with him, I uncover many truths about this society and he dispels some of the myths I had previously been so curious about. It turns out there aren’t any crazy initiation ceremonies, so no chance of any mystery-solving here, unfortunately. Kimpton informs me the society was founded in the United States in 1977 but now reaches across the globe with nearly two million members in over 300 tertiary institutions in countries such as Australia, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. “The society was originally founded on the idea of recognising and encouraging scholastic achievement and excellence among university students from all academic disciplines,” Mr Kimpton said. 35

Above: Lauren, Kimberley and Natalie dressed as a trio of Queen of Hearts Below: Natile, Lauren and Kimberley pictured with the author of Mao’s Last Dancer, Li Cunxin


Feature. “In America, there had been many different honours societies but some of these discriminated against people in terms of their race, gender or social status so Golden Key was established as a society for all people who excelled in their studies.” “Here at UTas our society is focused on recognising the achievements of students and conducting activities for the benefit of our members and the wider community. One way that we’re starting to do this is through a new Tasmania University Union society we’ve created called ‘The Academic Link’ which aims to provide opportunities for high achievers to volunteer their time as tutors for any students requiring assistance with their studies.” Three members of the society, UTas students Kimberly Martin, Natalie Conlan and Lauren Quinn, recently attended a conference in Sydney for all Golden Key members in the Asia-Pacific region. I met with the girls in a quiet part of the Morris Miller library, where they informed me how, in three jam-packed days, they learned about various aspects of professional development at the conference. The conference also provided them with information on scholarships the society has on offer to its members. The conference also utilised high-profile guest speakers to encourage young people to continue to excel in their studies. “I think a major highlight of the conference for me personally were the guest speakers, namely Todd Sampson and Li Cunxin. Both were inspirational and instilled a sense of self creativity and [emphasised] following your dreams,” Kimberley said. “I found the opportunity to meet and talk with significant leaders in a variety of industries — as well as post graduate institutions — extremely beneficial, and I now have ideas and a greater direction in life after uni,” Natalie said. “For young adults in general, we all have many life-changing decisions to make in the next few years. The amazing life stories and achievements that these speakers told us about gave me much advice on how to deal with university and my future goals,” Lauren said.

“Entry is only open to the top 15 PER CENT of university students. This feels a bit like HARRY POTTER waiting for that ever elusive letter from Hogwarts…”

Now armed with a greater understanding of what this society is all about I think it might be something that I’d be interested in joining, so I ask where I can sign up. Mr Kimpton informs me that entry into the society is by invitation only, so I will have to hold my breath and wait until this year’s invitations are sent out. Entry is only open to the top 15 per cent of University students. This feels a bit like Harry Potter waiting for an elusive letter from Hogwarts, but I guess I will just have to wait and see.

Jean Somerville-Rabbitt is in her final year of Law, even though she is 99 per cent sure she never wants to be a lawyer. She dreams of working as a foreign correspondent and travelling to far away places in the future but for the time being is happy being a student journalist. 37

Chris Rowbottom by Chris Rowbottom If you haven’t heard of the Cassette Kids, don’t worry; their name is about to become very familiar. The Kids, who formed in 2007 are an eclectic quartet from Sydney, riding the wave of the recent Australian dance and electronic boom, personified by groups such as Cut Copy, Grafton Primary, PNAU and another group you may have heard of, The Presets. But the Cassette Kids have created their own niche in Australia’s competitive electronic market, departing from the mainstream sound, which differentiates them from these well-established acts. “People are always asking us how Australia produces so many different styles of dance and indie rock bands,” Kids’ lead singer Katrina Noorbergen told Togatus. “I guess where we differ is through that departure from a modular type of sound. I don’t think we sound too much like Cut Copy or The Presets. Our new album challenges that. We have punk influences, and even a string section.” Their distinctive sound was born from a mash-up of different musical styles, all as unique and original as each other, and from this a band was created with no particular direction in mind. 38 38


“I guess when we first got together we never really sat down and said let’s be ‘this kind of band’,” Noorbergen said.

“We want people to take something from this album,” Noorbergen said.

“I mean, [drummer] Jake [Read-Harber] was heavily into his punk, Dan [Schober] was really into his grunge and loves all his different pedals and guitar effects. Dan [Deitz] likes his bass and went through the phase that all bass players go through, like the weird, slap funk, Primus thing, and I guess I was looking at a mixture of all our personalities.

“People will have a lot of different ideas about where the album should sit in terms of genre. We definitely have pop and dance elements, but then we have songs that are more punky and aggressive. Dark songs.

“I’m not really sure how it all came together but we wanted to make sure all out styles would intercept and, keep it in mind, we had to bounce off each other in the studio.” This interception of opposing styles has been the subject of much debate in the music industry when categorising the Kids. Pigeonholing the band into just one genre is a near impossible task, as their lexicon of sounds become increasingly broader, mirroring their rise up the ranks of the Australian music scene. Their newly released album Nothing on TV is set to plunge the spanner even deeper into the works, as the Cassette Kids aim to bend their genre even further.

“We like to chop stuff up and make it crazy. There’s a lot of new things we have been wanting to try out, but I guess at the heart of it we’ve tried to write a collection that’s really interesting and reaches a lot of people.” It is a work that is sure to have the eyes of the industry gazing closely, but as delicious as Nothing on TV sounds, the Kids’ first feature-length album has been a long time coming. Following the success of their EP We Are, released in 2008, the Kids worked tirelessly throughout 2009 refining their craft, searching for new sounds and honing their performances. It was a process that was spurred on creatively after touring with the likes of The Presets and British sensation Lily Allen. “She was amazing,” Noorbergen recalled. 39

“I think that was the first time we may have actually got a little bit scared. I think after watching the likes of Lily Allen and Calvin Harris who really knew how to work a crowd, you sort of subconsciously try to mingle some of those elements into your own performance.” Live performances may be the key to the Cassette Kids’ success. Their live acts are as energetic as they are passionate and they are known for their frenetic pace and dance-inducing vibe — an experience that Noorbergen clearly treasures. “Our shows are a workout,” she said. “People come to our shows for an experience. We really want to break down the barrier between us and the audience so they can feed off their own energy; and, more importantly, so we can feed off theirs. We usually come off stage pretty sweaty and gross, but that’s what we hope to give to our audience.”

Cassette Kids are: Katrina Noorbergen: Vocals Daniel Schober: Guitar Daniel Deitz: Bass Jacob Read-Harber: Drums

After playing the London scene and signing themselves an agent in Europe, the Kids touched back down in Oz recently after a trip to the United States to perform as part of the world-renowned ‘South by South West’ music conference in March. So what next for the Kids? Well, a national tour is on the cards for the end of June, with Noorbergen hinting at the possibility of a Tasmanian leg. “If we get a few shout outs from a few Tassie people then I’m sure we can come down. I have family down there, so it’s probably about time we came back down. Maybe at the end of the national tour for a week of chilling out.” Stars in the making, the Cassette Kids are shaping up to become one of Australia’s premier dance-indie-popelectronic acts. Whether it be by theft, loan, download or good old-fashioned money over the counter purchase, be sure to get your hands on a copy of their latest album.

Get amongst the Kids on twitter (@cassettekids) Myspace ( facebook ( or their website (

Chris Rowbottom is a snake-hipped dandy who can be seen flouncing about the Arts faculty sporting a sequined cape and glitter-coated shoes. Not really. He spends his days trying to achieve a degree in being pesky and underpaid (journalism) and as part of his parole, is now writing for Togatus. He enjoys cats, blue staplers and the sound basketball shoes make on a gymnasium floor. 40 40

Music. Reviews.

Tons of Friends CROOKERS (2010) Before pressing play, expectations of Crookers’ debut album Tons of Friends were always going to be pretty high — expectations derived from the plethora of hangover-inducing remixes Crookers have previously brought to the table. The two boys from Milan have produced some outstanding re-hashed versions of Bloody Beetroots, Chemical Brothers and Snoop Dogg tracks in the past — and most would (shamefully) admit they’ve found themselves letting out a cheeky pelvic thrust on the dance floor when the DJ selects their remix of Kid Cudi’s ‘Day N Nite’. However, these juicy samples Crookers served up prior to the release of Tons of Friends may have let our expectations rise just a little bit too high. Of course musical palettes vary, but if you like Crookers for their progressive house sounds, fresh electro beat with a fidget twist, you might want to save your money on this album.

Peter Gibson give off that exciting festival feel that Crookers are rapidly becoming famous for. This (unfortunately) small handful of clever songs are the only tracks on the album where I didn’t imagine the music clip to be filled with bad-ass blinged-up hustlers standing in front of pimped-out patrol trucks (you’ll understand when you listen). It’s unclear what Crookers are trying to do with their debut album; express their diversity, please their record company, or appeal to a more ‘Gangsta’ friendly audience. All I know is it’s a much cleaner sound this time, not so many climatic builds or big base drops, which is what I believe drew the big crowds to these guys in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong; there are still a few songs on their new offering that have already reached my ‘most played’ list on iTunes.

There’s a reason Lance rides bikes, there’s a reason the Bulls passed the ball to Jordan, and there’s a reason Crookers make house music; they’re just better than the rest. Stick to what your good at Crookers.

These include featured remixes with the likes of Roisin Murphy, Mike Snow and Soulwax and Mixhell which all

Image courtesy of Bea De Giacomo. 41

Book. Reviews.

War and Peace LEO TOLSTOY In Tolstoy’s own words on what his book War and Peace actually is, he offered the astonishingly unenlightened statement: “It is not a novel, even less a poem, and still less an historical chronicle”. It appears defining what War and Peace is not, turned out to be far less of a challenge for the author and the same was true for this reviewer. War and Peace was certainly not short. At over a million words, the Wordsworth Classics translation had been compressed into a single volume of slightly under one thousand pages, though the original Russian text published in the 1860s was made up of four books and an epilogue. The miniscule writing in this compression made pageturning a much slower task than your usual novel and each sitting achieved only minimal progression as a result. Think of those clichéd dreams where one runs but never seems to get anywhere — this is Tolstoy, in a mild and hyperbolically understated version. To be honest, it took a month of despair and agony to finish. War and Peace was also far from an easy read. As the title immodestly suggests, the story is about war and peace; specifically Russia’s experience of the Napoleonic

Jessica Hancock War between 1805–1813, through the eyes of its central protagonists. And their dependents. And their relatives. And their friends. All of these more than five hundred characters with long, complicated Russian names and titles, which were difficult to reassign to characters that one had long renounced to the twisted, frozen landscape of Tolstoy’s Russia two hundred pages previously. Added to which, much of the dialogue is in French, for which the invaluable translations in footnotes at the bottom of each page were praised unequivocally. Furthermore, the plot of War and Peace was irregular. The action shifted erratically from gory battle scenes, to gossiping women in Moscow, to the author’s own voice declaring his philosophy that history is an ultimately inexorable process. But, it was gripping. The characters were flesh and blood, the landscapes fresh as a Russian winter morning in the mind’s eye and the narrative enthralling. Besides which, the bragging rights for having completed War and Peace are unparalleled. Reading the story may have been a dream, but it held me for the figurative nights of the summer holidays and on waking to University, I found myself only the richer for it. 42

Games. Reviews.

Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360, PC) New Super Mario Brothers Wii (Wii)

Alex Morris

If you’re even remotely into games, you’ve probably heard about Modern Warfare 2. It blazed through the sales charts last Christmas and it’s still one of the most played games out there. So we’re not going to talk about that game. Instead, here are some games that you might have missed over the summer. Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360, PC)

New Super Mario Brothers Wii (yep, Wii)

Mass Effect 1 was a brilliant piece of gaming with a few notable flaws. The sequel improves on the original in almost every way, from tighter shooting to a refined levelling system to a stronger cast of characters. Mass Effect 2 feels more like a purebred shooter than the first game in the planned trilogy, and while this will come as a disappointment to some, the move really strengthens and refines the gameplay. Mass Effect 2 promises the be the second game of a trilogy and will leave you anxiously anticipating the finale.

Remember the old Super Mario games you played as a kid? This is one of them. It’s got a new coat of paint and Mario’s got more moves these days, but the strangely-titled New Super Mario Brothers Wii (not to be confused with New Super Mario Brothers, a Nintendo DS game) feels like it could have come out the year after Super Mario World on the SNES. Aside from new levels and fantastic graphics, the most important addition this new game brings to the table is a full-on multiplayer mode — you and three friends can now play at the same time. Chaos will ensue.

Why You Should Play It: Stupidly fun combat, a really engaging story and the opportunity to flirt shamelessly with your personal assistant. Also: Martin Sheen is in it!

Why You Should Play It: It’s a Mario game, and one of the best games for the Wii in ages.

Handy Hint: Play Mass Effect 1 first — your choices will carry through to the sequel and have a big impact on the plot.

Handy Hint: You can pick up other players and throw them into pits. You may lose friends over this. 43


by Ella MacGregor Don’t be fooled by my bright smile and confident stance. My polished professional appearance and easy casual manner is a trap — a luring, potent swindle that even I, myself, get sucked into on occasion (every time). My extensive resumé may suggest I’ve had a vast variety of different hospitality jobs across the board, but if you want someone who’s had quality long-term experience in all or any of the jobs listed, then stop reading right now. Since I first began my experience in hospitality, I’ve spanned the range of work from local corner store, to London’s haughty silver service restaurants and everything in between — only to see every job come to a similar fate: I left; quite quickly; and very rarely by my own volition. Now, I’m no imbecile. Just so you know. At Uni I have high expectations of myself and rarely hand in an assignment that I’m not, fairly sure, will bring back a good mark. I’m socially quite normal (kind of?) and usually able to sustain reasonably un-awkward conversations with both strangers and associates alike. It’s only when I step into that bizarre and overwhelming world of the restaurant, café or bar — under paid circumstances — that something happens; something horrible; something from which I never, ever seem to learn: I become… really stupid. My first real hospitality job — if you can call three shifts ‘real’ — was at Juiced Up in North Hobart where my sole ambition became ‘to strategically find ways of avoiding customers so as not to be coerced into mixing up lurid combinations of fruits, vegetables and condiments while recalling the specific order, quantities and prices of each concoction under the watchful and impatient gaze of the recipient’. Conclusion: they let me go the subtle way — meaning they never called me again. Must’ve lost my number. After recovering from my Juiced Up failure, I wandered down the block to the restaurant Sens Asian, where I recall spending most of my time out the back with my arms plunged elbow-deep in the greasy brown washing 44

Advice. End Notes. up water that I was not allowed to empty. Something bad happened here. I’m not sure what it was. Maybe they saw my grimacing face when they told me that they store food under the bench without lids, or maybe it had something to do with my persisting fear of customers, but they let me go the subtle way too. Conclusion: no call. Some people are really bad at holding onto my number. Job number three lasted a miraculously long time. I think I may have spent nearly two months at the breakfast joint, Timeless Way — or maybe it was one. It was a fairly pleasant place to work, with mostly friendly people and some sympathetic regulars. But the atmosphere was gloomy and constant fear meant that I always forgot to ask how the guests wanted their eggs done or whether they wanted white bread or brown. Normally I’d forgotten the entire order by the time I’d made it to the computer and couldn’t read my writing because I was too stressed to write any real letters while standing at the table. I went home after one shift and told my mum that I’d quit because the boss was mean. Conclusion: I lied to Mum. I actually got fired because I was really bad. I had a trial at the Boathouse restaurant once but red wine was spilled within the first hour — on a customer. Conclusion: unsuccessful. Someone else got the job. Competitive. The boss at the pizza joint, Marti Zucco’s must have liked my attitude because she let me stay on for two weeks before she told me gently that I was incompetent and could only offer me one ‘training shift’ a week — unpaid. Conclusion: fired but with sympathy and misled faith. I declined the kind offer and she seems to no longer recognise me when I go there for pizza. Sometime after this I found myself serving time at the One Stop Shop, the seedy, musty smelling corner-store near my house. This job was extremely undemanding as it mainly required stacking shelves and re-loading fridges, which apparently I did “very well”. But the shifts began at 7am and once I came up with a complex ‘late excuse’ that went terribly wrong (something about my phone deviously jumping out of my bag on my way over and causing me to have to walk the whole way back in search of it) when I realised my mother had called up before I left home prewarning them that I would be late because I’d slept in.

Conclusion: fired. Because I was “great” while I was there, but I was just never there. During my time in London I attempted waitressing again in an up-market silver service restaurant near Green Park called Greens’. Needless to say this was one of those horrible times in one’s life when you feel that dark shadow of depression and suicidal dread from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep. Conclusion: quit — because I hated it and I overheard the boss saying I was going to get fired. I was advised never to try hospitality again. I defied them. My next job was at another restaurant, Waxed Bar where I added to my list of great failures a record-breaking two months of forgetting orders and being sent home before my flirtatious boss sat me down and told me painfully that as ‘gorgeous’ as I was, he could not afford to have me damaging his business anymore. The disappointment was minor. It had been long coming but I was nevertheless a little sad to go. I’d met some great people there — some of which I still catch up with today — and it was a valuable experience — the most valuable of which being the final word of advice my boss offered me: “Babe, you should really not be in this industry. Really, never again”. Why I didn’t get it the first eight times, I will never truly know, but for some reason I think this one finally hit home. Rest assured restaurant owners. Now that I know that the job of the apron and notepad can only ever bring shameful and nonnegotiable failure I can prevent the onset of any further devastation for the time-being. But you and I both know that we’re only safe until the next time arrogance clouds my logic and we fall into my own trap once again. Conclusion: can’t say you haven’t been warned. Ed: Each workplace have been blacked out in order to protect both the reputation of the establishments and prevent Togatus being dragged into a legal shit-fight.

Ella MacGregor is in her 21st year of life and her 3rd year of a Fine Arts/Arts degree which should finish next year but won’t because she keeps delaying real life by adding on new courses.



The notion that the Labor and Liberal parties are basically identical is a popular one. In a seemingly post-ideological era, where what matters most is emptiness or otherwise of someone’s bank account, the two major parties fight over a bland middle ground of economic responsibility. This looks to have begun in the 1980s when the traditional cleavage that separated the parties and their supporters were confused by new economic uncertainties. The parties looked for a common middle ground to expand their voter base and become ‘catch-all’ parties. It’s something that the Greens have also attempted to do in their 2010 state election campaign by emphasising their commitment to ‘mainstream’ values. So what are the differences and why are they important? Compared to other Western nations, our party system is young. The modern Labor Party only emerged at the turn of the century and the modern Liberal Party emerged out of a coalition of anti-Labor groups united by Robert Menzies in the 1941. The purpose and histories of the parties is a clear indicator of what differentiates them. The Labor Party emerged to represent the interests of organised labour; the Liberal Party is a reaction to the organised labour and designed to resist it through the Parliament. The Liberal Party says that they are the party of individual liberty and free enterprise; the Labor Party is for representing collective interests (even if a group of people is still made

up of individuals, but whatever). The Liberals are inherently suspicious of government intervention in the market, centralised power, and are conservative in wanting to preserve what they see as the best of our traditions. Their belief system has been described by Australian political scientist Dean Jaensch as a “gospel for any occasion”. Labor occupies, or has for most of its existence, a space on the moderate left and draws on many ideological traditions including anti-clericalism, egalitarianism, Puritanism and democratic socialism. Whereas the Liberals see every person as equal to pursue their own future, Labor traditions dictate that the government is duty bound to provide an equitable distribution of the common wealth to protect and provide services to poor, sick and aged. This tradition has been adopted by both parties; while both might tinker with Centrelink and other forms of support for the disadvantaged, it would be political suicide to think that anyone would ever propose wrapping up the welfare state. The Labor Party has also adopted plenty of Liberal beliefs, like courting the support of small and big business. It is obvious that the two major parties have different histories and ideologies; how then have they converged on a middle-ground? Jaensch calls the parties “two capitalist parties offering two slightly different capitalist programmes”. The economic


Soapbox. End Notes.

changes that became obvious during the 1980s and the concurrent decline of partisan loyalties as the population becomes increasingly urbanised, have been impossible to ignore. As such, much of the responsibility for this convergence lies with the parties themselves, who, in the pragmatic style of Australian politics, have responded and sought to reshape themselves to fit a political landscape in which economic management is the real battleground. Not surprisingly, given its origins on the Left, the Labor Party is criticised most for the convergence of the major parties. As the notion of class becomes much more ambiguous, a “middle-classing” of the Labor Party has occurred to parallel that of Australian society, leading to criticism of Labor. Ironically then, the move to the Middle can accurately be called a Labor construct. It began when the Hawke-Keating Government in the 1980s and early 1990s was able to, through an Accord with the ACTU, pursue an agenda of economic reform that embraced the market. Labor managed Australia’s transition to a modern global economy but did so by surrendering much of their hard won socialist tradition. Interestingly, policy moves such as “floating the currency, deregulating the financial sector, adopting conservative budget strategies, privatising publicly owned companies, cutting corporate tax rates, loosening the centralised wage-determination system, and so on, seems like Labor cutting the Liberal Party’s lunch.

as immigration and asylum seeker policy for example, that hark back to a more ideological era. These traditions still feed the policies of both parties but you have to wonder how much. Both at the State and Federal levels, the two major parties have become scarily similar and now, in Tasmania, the Greens appear to be following suit, even if Nick McKim doesn’t seem to own any ties. It’s sad in a way: is the only thing that unites us the desire to accumulate more wealth? And if not, then why do we elect parties who promise to make us wealthier?

Conversely, the Howard Government initiated further reforms that seemed to appropriate much of the Hawke/ Keating legacy. Kevin Rudd tried to steal this ground back for Labor by calling himself a fiscal conservative during the 2007 election; no doubt it is something that will resurface to dominate the next Federal election campaign in 2011. Combined with the desire to catch all voters, the need for party unity and the focus on personal leadership has also served to make the two major parties more similar. But this trend is still opposed by the partisan nature of parties, the parties. While overarching ideology is less important, the major parties instead use wedge politics, over issues such

James Walker is a hack who wants to be a hero. He battled Tom Morello on medium and lost. Three times. If only he could nail the whammy bar attack, he would win.



Journalists, Photographers, Artists, Designers, Editors

Get Around It and Get In it Contact

Deadline next issue: 19 June 2010

Next issue coming in July‌

Quarterly Publication.

Togatus Issue #2 2010  

Issue #2 of Togatus 2010

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