PAGE 1 11 AUGUST 2011
Vol.63 no. 10
ELECTION DEBACLE Major constitutional problems cause ANUSA elections to be postponed
ANGUS MINNS TOM WESTLAND EDITORS
The ANU Student Association elections have been postponed after major problems with the new ANUSA constitution were identified early last week. The problems came to light after a meeting between ANUSA executive members Brody Warren and Shaun Wykes, and representatives of the Office of the ViceChancellor (OVC), including Jan O’Connor, the Returning Officer; Leslie McDonald and Ken Grimes, the University Legal Counsel. In particular, it was revealed that several key electoral regulation provisions were not transferred from the old ANUSA constitution to the new constitution that was adopted after the association incorporated earlier this year. Specifically, the old constitution stated that office bearers would hold tenure for a year from the 1 December in the year that they were elected. As it stands, the new constitution does not specify the length of terms. Under ACT law, when a constitution is silent on this issue, office bearers hold their position until the next Annual General Meeting. This would drastically alter the operation of the association’s electoral process, making it practically impossible
for the association to function. The Returning Officer told Woroni that “the Constitution and Election Regulations of the Australian National University Students’ Association Incorporated do not specify the term of office as being one year from 1 December, as was stated in the call for nominations, and this made the call for nominations invalid.” In addition, the electorates of the faculty representatives were not defined, meaning that elections for all faculty representatives would have been open to all students, regardless of which College they belong to. A Special General Meeting was called for 12PM Wednesday 24th August, at which constitutional amendments will be proposed to rectify the situation. ANUSA Vice President Brody Warren told Woroni that although he was expecting significant criticism, ANUSA was “pretty confident that the SGM will approve the constitutional changes.” (See Woroni website for updates on the SGM) Assuming passage of the amendments, the earliest feasible date by which elections could be held is the first week of Term 4, due to the need for a two week call for nominations and two weeks of preparation. The timing is further complicated by two long weekends in the coming months. However, the elections must be approved at the last OGM of the year, which has been scheduled for the 12th of October. ANUSA will incur some costs due to the postponement. No firm
figures are currently available, however, Warren says that it is unlikely that the figure will be substantial, since the election process was halted before any significant expenditure took place. ANUSA expects the eventual elections to cost somewhere in the realm of $16,000-$22,000, in line with the figures from previous years. ANUSA General Secretary Shaun Wykes defended the constitutional drafting process, which began last year. He said that ANUSA sought extensive legal advice from ANUSA’s lawyer,
the ANU legal counsel and independent lawyers. The constitution was also approved by the University Council and was accepted by the ACT Office of Regulatory Services. Admitting that a mistake had been made, he denied that the process had been rushed, Warren said: “It is unfortunate that these problems occurred in an area with such big ramifications.” However, he said, constitutions always need to be upcontinued Page 2
OPINION AFFORDABLE HOUSING FORUM P.2
GAY BLOOD P4
Housing crisis debated UMA PATEL
The concerns of students dealing with the accommodation crisis has received the attention of the mainstream media and been referred to the ACT government for action. A Q&A style session was held at the ANU bar on the 16th of August where over 60 students attended to grill the panellists over their accommodation queries. The forum covered various issues including the ever-increasing ANU residence rent, a failure to foster a community culture in new student housing and the first year guarantee. The outcome of the event did not stop at the exit sign of the ANU Bar, The Canberra Times, WIN News and ABC NEWS have all reported on the forum. The ACT government has also been notified of the students’ concerns in a detailed document that was forwarded to the ACT Standing Committee on Education, Training and Youth Affairs. The panelists included Luce Andrews, who has been newly appointed to ANU accommodation services this year; the president of the ACT branch of the National Union of Students (NUS); Rogan Hogan; David Lamont, who directs ANU Exchange – which confusingly has nothing to do with exchange students and is in fact responsible for the UniLodge empire; continued Page 2
ALICE SPRINGS P. 14
NEWS ANUSA election debacle
continued from Page 2 dated to reflect the changing needs of the student population. He also said that no matter how much drafting occured, errors would always remainand there were probably still matters that would need to be fixed even after problems with the election process have been addressed. The reaction from leading candidates has been largely one of exasperation and
disappointment. Presidential candidate Fleur Hawes (Golden Ticket) expressed her intense frustration at the delay. Michael Hiscox (Stimulate) said “We were ready to get in to full campaign mode so it is frustrating that it has now been postponed. However, these things happen.” Ryan Turner (Activate!) expressed disappointment in the delay, given the efforts of the tickets so far. He was concerned
that tickets had prepared based on a set of assumptions that may no longer hold, and that the state of play between tickets and candidates may change. However, he said, it was positive that as soon as ANUSA became aware of the problem, they moved quickly to recitfy the situation. Woroni has received unconfirmed reports that some tickets may look to use the extra time to field candidates for more positions, however, the tickets that Woroni has contacted have denied any such plans.
Housing crisis debated continued from Page 2 Christian Dent, on behalf of ANUSA; Dallas Proctor, who is the treasurer of the student housing co-op; and Jarrod Hulme-Jones, who is the current president of Burg-mann College. As the event developed it became apparent that the variety of complex issues facing students can be linked to a surge in demand for university accommodation that has resulted in increased rent prices, a pool of students offered suburban hotel accommodation and a failure to encourage a community within newly built accommodation. Lamont and Andrews both explained the pressures on
student housing including increased demand, a lack of space and a failure of previous governments to fund maintenance. However, the students remained unimpressed, as Hulme-Jones pointed out – the vast majority of students seeking accommodation preference Daley Road halls and colleges over the newly built residences, yet ANU accommodation services and ANU exchange choose to invest in the UniLodge template of high rises that lack a community feel. After Andrews explained that it is not affordable to build more Daley Road style residences Dallas Proctor responded with the only comment of the event that received a clap. Proctor suggested that we rethink
the way we provide accommodation and services by replacing administration and cleaning staff with students in order to lower the cost of rental prices. As the event convener Alice Crawford explained, “UniLodge is a better overnight solution but more needs to be done to meet the students’ concerns.” Although it is doubtful that the forum will result in an immediately different approach to student housing, it provided the first form of dialogue that has built a bridge of communication between the media, decision makers and the students whose concerns have previously fell by the wayside.
Hancock renovated CAMERON KNOTT EDITOR
The upper west wing of Hancock Library has reopened for student use after renovations lasting almost a year. The new facilities include computer labs, reading desks, group study rooms, printing stations, and ample power points. Although minor renovations are still being completed, the new wing is functional, and students are already moving in. The renovations take place within the broader context of ANU’s new Science Hub within Banks Precinct. ANU Submissions and Contact: Editor Woroni ANU Newspaper ANUSA Building 16T Union Court Acton 2601 Email: email@example.com
Students get their hands dirty GUS LITTLE WRITER
Last Friday, despite the usual hangover, nearly 100 students were up early and volunteering around the Canberra region as part of the first ANU Neighbourhood Day. Coordinated by ANU Volunteers and ANUSA, groups of up to 10 volunteers helped out at organisations such as Red Cross Meals on Wheels and were involved in projects like surveying rare species at the Botanic Gardens. ANUSA president Leah Ginnivan said: “we wanted to create an opportunity for students to get involved, learn more about the Canberra Neighbourhood, and meet new people.” Callum Waugh was part of a team which helped replant
trees at the Landcare Australia Memorial Forest. “It was great to meet some new people while helping out,” he said. Following a morning of volunteering, participants were provided lunch, prepared with assistance from the Food Co-op. Meanwhile, a volunteering expo was held in the Manning-Clarke Centre to help students connect with more opportunities and providers. “We’re so pleased with how well students and volunteer organisations responded to the day and we’re keen to make this a growing annual event” ANU Volunteers President, Jessica Saunders said.
WE WERE WRONG
Photo by Cristoph Spiegel
is currently building two chemistry complexes, a new science teaching facility, and a workshop for combined scientific research. Printed By mpd – printing the news everyday Unit E1, 46-62 Maddox Street Alexandria NSW 2015 2011
Construction is expected to be fully completed by 2013. Further interim openings are expected in the meantime.
Woroni Branding By Editors Chandler Specialist Design Elouise Fowler, Scott Bolton, firstname.lastname@example.org Simon Thompson, Sophie Turnbull, Angus Minns, Tom Westland, Uma Patel, Cameron M. Knott
Woroni is highly embarassed by a very prominent typographical error in Edition 9, in which the name of a residential college at the ANU was misspelt in a front page headline. We are sorry. John XIII, born to a noble Roman family, reigned as Pope from 965 to 972; he was, on his election, briefly imprisoned by a group who disliked his strong connection to the Emperor, Otto the First. Pope John XXIII, in contrast, was elected as the Bishop of Rome in 1958 and died in 1963. He called the Second Vatican Council, responsible for many modernising reforms. However, he was not the 23rd pope to take the name John; thirteenth century scholars erroneusly believed in the existence of a pope between the actual John XIV and John XV, hence there was no John XX. Sub Editors Cam Wilson, Lisa Visentin Will Walton, Izzy Roper, Zid Mancenido.
Letters To the Editor Love us or loathe us, we’d love to hear from you. Letter of the Fortnight will receive a kilo of coffee from our friends at Lonsdale St Roasters. (email@example.com or to Woroni ANU Newspaper ANUSA Building 17A Union Court Acton 2601)
National census-ation Australian went to the forms on Tuesday August 9, answering questions about their income, household and disability support provision. The current census was the focus of a “No Religion” campaign, urging people of no religious inclination to tick “No Religion” rather then enter the ever hilarious but statistically abused “Jedi” religion. Luddites resisted calls to fill out the Census online, arguing that hiring people to mindlessly re-enter data into computers was an excellent use of taxpayer money.
Perry-sh the thought
Television will kill you
Republican Governor of Texas Rick Perry has declared he is running for President. Recent polling placed Perry second after former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney among the Republican field. Perry is perhaps the first candidate with equal appeal amongst American fiscal and social conservatives, and may spoil Romney’s early lead.
Every hour of television that you watch could be bringing you closer to death, according to a new study. The study, conducted by the University of Queensland suggested that for every hour of TV you watch, you could wipe 22 minutes from your life. Talk about watching your life slip away.
Amazon street view
Yanks I-ran afoul of the law
Google have now begun to apply the same technology that brought you street view to the rivers of the Amazon. In conjunction with charity organizations Google will be training locals to acquire images of the Amazon and Rio Nigro rivers. Google’s hope is to raise awareness of environmental issues and the effect of climate change.
Animal rights group PETA have announced plans to launch a pornographic website. The activist organisation says they hope that smut will draw the punters to their website, which will also host graphic videos of animal mistreatment. The odd juxtaposition has drawn fire from feminist groups who argue that pornography is degrading to women and shouldn’t be used to sell other products, no matter how worthy the cause.
Two Americans have been sentenced by an Iranian court to eight years prison for illegally crossing into Iran and spying on behalf of US Intelligence services. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were arrested by Iranian border police in 2009 after allegedly crossing the Iraq/Iran border in northern Kurdistan. The American government has maintained that the two men are not spies, and that they are hikers who unwittingly crossed the unmarked border while travelling through northern Iraq.
1 Which union’s credit card was used to pay for more than $15 000 worth of services at a prominant Sydney escort agency? 2 Which 21 y.o. Wallaby said he is willing to “cop” whatever punishment after missing the World Cup team announcement after overindulging the previous night? 3 Which national leader recently addressed his supporters by saying “Those rats were attacked by the masses tonight and we eliminated them.”? 4 Which other Australian University recently usurped ANU as Australia’s top ranked university? 5 Which former NSW premier denied claims by his estranged wife that he is suffering from dementia by saying that he is “firing on all four cylinders”?
Dominique Strauss-Kahn may have charges of Sexual Assault against him dismissed. The speculation comes in light of comments made by the alleged victim’s lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, after a meeting with prosecution lawyers. Mr. Thompson recently told the New York Times, in light of receiving a letter from the prosecution “My interpretation of that letter is that they’re going to announce that they’re dismissing the case entirely, or some of the charges.” If the charges are dismissed, it would mark the end of the three month trial of Mr. Strauss-Kahn.
Thomson in hot water Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has called for Labor minister Craig Thomson to step down from his position as Chair of the Lower House Economics Committee. The call come amidst allegations that Thomson used his union credit card to pay for the services of prostitutes. Abbott has refrained from calling on Thomson to resign as Representative for Dobell, although the ensuing by-election would almost certainly tip the balance of power in favour of the Coalition.
Tripoli to fall to rebels Libyan rebels appear to be close to finally overthrowing Col Muammar Gaddafi after reportedly seizing control of much of the Libyan capital, Tripoli. A rebel spokesmen, however, has been quoted as saying that forces loyal to Gaddafi still control between 15-20 per cent of the capital. Many expected the uprising, which began in February of this year, to settle into a long-term statemate between rebel forces in the East of the country and forces loyal to Gaddafi in the West.
6 Who, of the Woroni editorial staff, is the most eligible bachelor? ANSWERS 1. Health Services Union 2. James O’Connor 3. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi 4. Melbourne University 5. Neville Wran 6. Scotty Bolton
Every drop counts, except for yours SCOTT BOLTON
As I sat there filling in the Red Cross blood donation questionnaire today, I started to get angry. Not at the man sitting next to me who should have worn more deodorant, or at the lovely old dears offering me a milkshake or water – no, I got angry at a question. This question made me lose my sense of pride for donating and left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. Although I have filled out this form many times before, it was only now that this question really sunk in. The question asked if I had recently been engaged in “man-toman” sex, protected or unprotected. It hit me. If I was gay, I could not donate blood. The donation of blood is an essential part of our health
care system. The demand for blood products far outstrips the supply of donations and synthetic products combined. According to the Red Cross website, one in three Australians need blood while only one in thirty donate. I asked the nurse helping me about the “discrimination against gay men”, and “don’t they need all the blood they can get?” She simply said it was to ensure that the blood was “safe”. When you enter the donation clinic each person, new or regular must fill in a 3-page questionnaire before they then have an interview – just to double check things. This detailed process is designed to act as a safeguard, identifying risks and reducing them. Because of this, Australia has one of, if not the safest blood supplies in the world. So strict is the system that declaring false information on your form can see you serving gaol time and paying $3,000 worth of fines. Finally, the Red Cross performs tests on all blood before it is used. These tests include HIV/AIDS,
Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV) and syphilis. It is because of these tests that the denial of donation to anyone who answers “yes” to the question about maleto-male sex is aggravating. On their website, the Red Cross have released an official statement on why they do not allow gay men to donate. The basis of their argument is focused around key two factors: “the statistically higher incidence of some blood borne diseases (such as HIV)” and the “existence of ‘window period’ infections”. The Red Cross are right to point out that the risk of catching HIV is higher in gay men. Scarily, over 90% of new HIV infections occur as a result of man-to-man sex and in 2009 over 66% of new HIV diagnoses occurred among men who have sex with men. Gay men may be the majority of people with HIV, but the majority of gay men are not infected with HIV. It is this point that the Red Cross seem to be forgetting. It is also true that there is a la-
lattés at night-time) and it often isn’t pretty. People believe things that are, forgive me, just not true. Barack Obama was born in Kenya. Australia is being overrun by illegal immigrants. Crime is spiraling out of control, blah blah blah. The average voter is ill-informed about national and world affairs, ignorant of the principles of economics, fearful of crime and social phenomena which might not even exist, and vulnerable to being duped by a sensationalist media and populist scoundrels like Tony Abbott who know exactly what a bunch of gullible hypocrites they are dealing with. The problem with all this is that with democracy, sometimes the people get exactly what they want. It’s a recipe for disaster. That won’t stop most members of the public whining about how politicians ‘just don’t listen to us’ and ‘don’t understand our problems’. Let me tell you, people of Australia: judging by what you tell the pollsters, you don’t even understand your problems. Just imagine if a fraction of the resentment and focus directed towards
our imaginary illegal immigration crisis or the imminent depression caused by the carbon tax were diverted to, say, public education, aged care, the future of our foreign policy or any other, y’know, real issue. Churchill also said that ‘democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried’. Fair enough, but Australia (and many other countries) has perhaps taken it a little too far. What we need to do in this country is ease up a little on the democracy. Why should ministers have to be members of parliament? What’s wrong with an election every five or six years instead of every three? And enough already with politicians’ constant invocation of the wishes of the public. Every time I hear some hack go on about how the ‘Australian people’ are for or against some policy I have the urge to shout: ‘what the f#&k would they know?’ Our democracy is anathema to real leadership—that is, knowing when to listen to the views of the people, and knowing when to tell them to shove it.
tency period between infection and diagnosis, often between 2 to 12 weeks. Flagging that a person has been with a new sexual partner in this time is definitely something that needs to be declared on the form and test taken accordingly. However the flat out rejection of a donation based on sexual
preference seems to be an overreaction. The issues come down to what steps people are willing to put in place to ensure blood is safe. My question is whether these steps are appropriate or are they too restrictive?
Has Australian democracy jumped the shark? MAXIMUS HAM WRITER
Winston Churchill, as I’m sure most readers of Woroni will know, once said: “the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” He wasn’t wrong. I’m sure that all of us—particularly those whose trips ‘home’ take us to the less latté-soaked parts of our great country—have been given a useful reality check when confronted with the opinions and general worldview of those who live outside the ACT bourgeois-left bubble. Let’s face it: it’s easy to forget just how much smarter we are than most people out there. Don’t act shocked; you know exactly what I mean, don’t you? We’ve all had encounters with that which is often described as the ‘Real Australia’ (I assume I don’t live there; I get Radio National podcasts and often buy
Overhaul needed for Union ROBERT WIBLIN FORMER EDITOR
I was very pleased to see both tickets in Union elections this year campaigning on a platform of substantive constitutional reform. As an occasional Union follower for the last six years I can assure you it needs all the reform it can get. Currently students have almost no opportunities for input into the Union outside of brief elections each year. The Union only needs to hold a single meeting with students each year and reach a quorum of just 20 members. That would be all of 11 students if the Board showed up. This year the Annual Report was approved and the Annual General Meeting was over before you could even find your seat. Students can call Special General Meetings to discuss an issue, and only one issue, if they can muster 100 members. However there would be no point doing so as these meetings have the power to do precisely nothing, as was discovered in the Supermarket closure fiasco years ago. This is absurd for an
organisation whose raison d’être is to be a ‘non-profit, student-run body’. According to the Union constitution, the Union Board must meet monthly during semester. Unlike Students’ Association meetings which are widely advertised, reported on and attended by a menagerie of interest groups, Union Board meetings are “smoke filled rooms” only a handful of students are even aware of. Recently three months went by between meetings, apparently due to scheduling difficulties; the meeting after this break attracted just four of the Board’s seven student members. In elections three weeks ago, a large number of students were disenfranchised because they were left off the printed list of members. Given the importance of the Union’s services to student welfare, we need better than this. Improving this situation means holding widely advertised meetings with Union members that actually have some teeth. It means promoting Union Board meetings and holding them in public so that representatives and management can consult with the students they work for and be held accountable. Both tickets this year supported these proposals and I am optimistic this is the year the Union’s constitution will finally be fixed up. However, as important as they
are I do not think these changes will be sufficient. The reality is that for years even bright and dedicated student representatives have had rings run around them by a conservative General Manager, who has worked in the Union since time immemorial, and the two unhelpful ANU representatives on the Board. As is so often the case, transient student representatives lack the experience or knowledge to challenge the status quo. Fortunately the Subway and Zambreros outlets were opened despite this conservatism and are now the most popular places in the Union. However the wide ranging improvements suggested in this year’s campaign will require an energy and enthusiasm for change that can only come from outside, perhaps someone with experience
a fair idea of where you want to be afterwards and how you’ll get there. Now for those with your hands still up, how many of you began with that genuine passion as a first year? My question is - couldn’t you imagine being more engaged with your learning than you are? When students talk about being disengaged and apathetic, drifting through university, in my experience we give two conflicting explanations. The first explanation is that the system restricts our choice. From day one, society pushes us through exam halls towards office careers like so many batches of fried chicken. Without the freedom to be creative and pursue our interests it’s no wonder we end up as disengaged zombies. Sound familiar? Well, hold that thought – the second explanation is that the system forces us to choose. At enrolment we face a vast array of degrees
and courses without any idea of what we’re really interested in. Paralyzed by options we end up drifting from one course to the next, disengaged because we’re lost wondering, “what do I really want to be doing here?” So in other words, what’s limiting our passion for our learning is a system that restricts our choice too much and also gives us too much choice? Pardon my cynicism, but that paradoxical thesis sounds like something I’d hack out at 4AM after an all-nighter. Perhaps all this self-centred whinging is also getting a bit un-Australian. Eloquently blaming everything on the system is more the specialty of the Poms, and anyway we’re missing the “eloquently”. Perhaps it’s our job to find ways to engage with our study, choices or no choices. Perhaps, to take our learning into our own hands, we need to worry
Are you one of those amazing people who are genuinely passionate about what you study? I don’t mean the “of course I’d love to check data tables 12-hours-a-day instead of go for a skiing holiday” kind of passion that we can all magically summon for internship interviews. I mean the genuine passion where you read graduate texts on your subject in your spare time (and not with the intention to casually leave the books on your desk when your friends come round guilty, your honour). I mean the kind of passion where you know deep in your private self exactly why you are here at university, and probably have
THE NEWS EXPLAINED MAX PHILLIS WRITER
The Eurozone crisis
Woroni endorses any reform that results in better coffee
managing a successful university union interstate. Whoever comes to shake things up at the Union should look at how the Subway and Zambreros are thriving and open more popular food chains and perhaps an IGA. The Union itself has neither the incentive nor the scale to deliver us quality, affordable food. However there is no reason it can’t rent out its space to those who can and use the income to run events and support the services provided by the Students’ Association and others. Next year I recommend talented young undergraduates ignore the disproportionate attention the Students’ Association receives and run for the Union Board instead. The squeaky wheel should get the grease.
There is no cure for curiosity
a little less about our own precious degrees, and have a bit more gung-ho curiosity in what the other people around us are learning. In my third year, I’m finally realising that meaningfulness, whether in studies or heck life in general, comes from taking an interest in other people - not from wallowing in my own angst about what I’m doing at university. A whole bunch of my friends knew this ages ago. They’ve been having a blast here, dancing through their studies and sharing what they’re learning, excited rather than dismayed by the mysteries of knowledge and how it may or may not be relevant to “real life”. Being actively curious about others doesn’t have to lead anywhere. It can be an end in itself. And perhaps, for this brief so-fortunate time of our lives, at this so-fortunate university in this so-fortunate country, it’s the only real end worth seeking.
High spending coupled with high levels of tax evasion in Greece have left it in a bad way. Not surprising really to anyone who can do basic arithmetic. The Greek economy has never been a paragon of best practice within the Eurozone, but things have recently gotten much worse. The country is the worst placed of the ingloriously named PIIGS nations (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) owing more than 140% of its GDP. It maintains the highest yielding bonds in the Eurozone and its economy shrank 6.9% the May – July quarter this year. These are hardly cheerful numbers. They are also causing serious concern for other members of the Eurozone. The majority of Greek debt is held by the French and German banks, so any delay in payment or even talk of a debt default spreads this problem to the Eurozone’s biggest economies. It also makes it much more expensive for the Greek government to borrow money to pay back outstanding loans, effectively trapping it in a cycle of increasing levels of debt, as interest payments grow and they have less ability to pay it back. While this is not ideal for France and Germany, it is much worse for the other PIIGS countries who each hold a sizeable chunk of Greek debt. For them the uncertainty could ward off potential investors and further destabilise their own economies. This risk of contagion led to the European Central Bank’s decision to give billions of euros to Greece to hopefully ensure timely repayments. Regardless, this problem has become one for all Eurozone countries as the common currency spreads the risk of a Greek default. The implications for the Euro are unclear, but Europeans’ reactions mean more austerity and politicking are more than certain.
When a house becomes a home
Dallas Proctor from the Student Housing Co-Op argues that we need to think outside the box for student housing
DALLAS PROCTOR WRITER
Imagine waking up each morning to the warm aroma of freshly baked bread, covered with jam made from fruit grown in the veggie patch out the back. Think about living with 20 to 40 of your closest friends, enjoying the type of control over your living environment currently only available through property ownership. It’s this type of self-directed, communityfocussed living that the model of the housing co-operative is capable of providing – as it does to hundreds of students in Berkeley, California and at Sydney University’s STUCCO Co-operative. Consider the current range of undergraduate residences offered at ANU. You might be puzzled by people who tell you there’s no choice; after all, we’ve got seven vibrant halls, lodges and colleges catering to all types of people. However, once you bring price into consideration, any notion of choice gets thrown
out the window. A key accepted indicator of unaffordability is “housing stress”, where more than 30% of gross income is committed to housing. For a typical ANU student on youth allowance and working part time, housing stress kicks in at $125 per week – a figure 15% less than the cheapest room on campus. Applying this formula to Unilodge residents, you’d have to be earning at least $687 each week to “afford” the cheapest room. Put simply, the chosen models of housing that we see on campus completely fail to target those who are actually supporting themselves. Considering the angst displayed by some at Tuesday’s Accommodation Forum, and talk of a push to attract more students from low socio-economic backgrounds, it’s no longer acceptable for the university to ignore this slice of the market. This is where we come in. Our principles are simple – in a co-op, all maintenance, administration, cleaning and cooking is done by student residents. Think of a coop as a share-house on steroids, but without ongoing concerns about rental security or frustration brought on by fruitless attempts to get a landlord to com-
mit to basic capital expenditure. Not only do low overheads mean low rents, but the need to define your own rules, governance structures and to do basic household tasks has a wonderful capacity to draw residents together closely, in a way that could never occur through the social and sporting events focussed on for this purpose elsewhere on campus. We strive to be innovative, both in the way we’ll orientate our residence to neighbouring local communities and through a big focus on sustainable living. We also recognise that living in a co-op exposes residents to a raft of empowering opportunities, as well as a large range of skills stemming from the notion of self-reliance. We’ve reached a stage we’re
we’ve identified the end-goal: a purpose-built or converted property to house between 20 and 40 students in Canberra’s innernorth. On the way we’ve met with many key stakeholders in the property market, including community housing organisations, government and educational institutions. We now face our greatest challenge yet; the development of a strategic plan capable of drawing in interested investors or benefactors. We know that this model is efficient and capable of supporting itself financially; we must now justify this to those with the capacity to deliver. In the world of low-cost accommodation, it’s easy to forget about undergraduate students. We’re told that our low incomes are only
temporary; that somehow our future career prospects impact our ability to afford accommodation now. It’s assumed that we have some mysterious source of income that can be relied upon to fund our modest lifestyles, even if that source is parents trying to fund their own retirement or youth allowance which most don’t even receive. And the appropriate response to these unacceptable assumptions? From the Canberra Student Housing Co-operative’s perspective, at least, it’s all about bringing forward tangible solutions, which is exactly what we’re trying to do.
DEBATE IN A MINUTE FOR Considering the ACT only banned bestiality earlier this year after 23 years, don’t let your moral repugnance stop you from reading the next 200 words. The arguments for bestiality- like most arguments for human freedoms- begin with the arguments of “why not?”, continue with “negative socialization breeds ill will and psychosis”, and end with arguments of “illegality encourages greater illegality”. The first is easy. We kill animals. We eat animals. We force animals to copulate by putting them together in small enclosures. We negate consent in all aspects of their lives- including sexual autonomy, for example, in procedures like
artificial insemination in cows for milk. Second, laws banning private acts are incredibly difficult to enforce and they do more to victimize and marginalize the minute few who practise them than impede those who do. Illegality means limited access to mainstream support, psychiatric assistance, and veterinarian services. And last, banning bestiality forces those who want to commit such acts into more devious strategies- including, but not limited to, illegal puppy mills, disregard for animal health, and general cruelty and limited veterinary visits in order to maintain secrecy. And you thought there was nothing more to it than the “Ew” factor.
“Should we legalise bestiality?”
Every edition, members of the ANU Debating Society tackle a controversial contemporary topic...in 200 words or less.
AGAINST Ew. No. To start: the basic rights argument. Animals live and breathe. That we should respect their right to a pain free life can be seen through the existence of near-universal animal cruelty laws. Our interactions with animals and any infringement upon these rights are guided by necessity and accepted social practice. Bestiality is neither. The vast majority of animals (dolphins and pigs being the notable exceptions) experience no sexual gratification during intercourse. Any penetration must therefore be considered an active form of cruelty. This brings us to argument two: the classic slippery slope. Legalization of sexual fetishes is inherently dangerous. Fetishes exist
on the fringes of accepted practice; constrained by society’s disapproval of them. Acceptance of bestiality acts as a green light to individuals, freeing them up to move on to more extreme acts to fulfill their desires.
Why are we still talking about gay marriage? LISA VISENTIN
Not having a Barr of discrimination UMA PATEL
Why are we still talking about gay rights? On 24 June this year New York fell to the gays. As Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Marriage Equality Act into law, hardline Christian Conservatives bustled their children into the safety of their houses lest they be lured into depravity by the lecherous celebrations of the homosexuals as they converged on the streets of downtown New York. The devil incarnate, as it turns out, does indeed wear Prada. Humanity and its millennia-old institution of marriage had been fundamentally destroyed and His Lord would seek vengeance on these repulsive fornicators just as He had destroyed the town of Sodom and all its sodomisers way back in the Genesis of intolerance. Naturally, the world was coming to an end…to the soundtrack of Gaga and Ricky Martin no less. Then, the following day, Saturday 25 June, the sun arose once more. And the world continued henceforth. A month later, when the Act came into operation, the world watched in anticipation to see which couple would be the first to have their love officially recognised by the state. Invariably, the crescendo of pre-prepared “Awws” became a little less convincing when the poster couple was revealed to be an extremely geriatric pair of lesbian lovers. Nevertheless, they proved that love is indeed blind (if not also visually impaired). In the three weeks that the law has been in operation thousands of samesex couples have married. And the world has continued to, well, continue. Last Tuesday, the Australian branch of intolerance (Australian Christian Lobby and the Australian Family Association) descended upon the Great Hall of Parliament House to effectively remind all Australians that close-minded bigotry is still tolerated within the confines of our leading democratic in-
Obstacles to equality: Barnaby Joyce and Bob Katter at the Marriage Day Rally in Canberra last week
stitutions. The keynote speaker, Rebecca Hagelin, imported from the US for the occasion, was a true charmer. In what was either a demonstration of her deplorable grasp of history or a shameful employment of literary exaggeration, she sermonised that the world had seen no greater evil than the prospect of gay marriage. Legalisation of same-sex marriage would, of course, lead to sanctioned polygamy and marriage between paedophiles and children. Before anyone could snap their fingers and say “Girlfriend be cray-cray,” a host of conservative Australian MPs took to the stage, proving that right wing lunacy, in all its insufferable pious self-righteousness, is not unique to American politics. All the usual circus acts were there. Bob Katter accused the gays of semantic thievery, informing the adoring crowd that the word ‘gay’ was one of the most beautiful words in the English language and that “no one should have a the right to take that word off us.” In the same breath which announced this superior heterosexual right to word ownership, he dismissed the right to marriage equality as a proposition which “deserved to be laughed at and ridiculed.” Natu-
rally, Barnaby was also there, his mouth once again functioning as a gushing cavity of moronic lunacy as he incoherently postulated that gay marriage would somehow affect the marriage prospects of his four daughters. Whether this is because all of north Queensland’s potential suitors would suddenly shack up with each other or whether his daughters would suddenly “succumb” to lesbianism was unclear. Liberal MP, Kevin Andrews, announced that, “there is no widespread agitation for changing the definition, only a small minority who wish to reorder society in their own vision.” Oh really? A Galaxy poll released on the same day suggests otherwise, finding that 60% of Australians support gay marriage. Further to that, 53% of Christians surveyed were also found to be in support. So what of it? Well, Katter is right, it is ludicrous that we are still talking about gay marriage. It is a shameful indictment on our society that the terms ‘gay marriage’ and ‘gay rights’ still feature so divisively in our public discourse. They are distinctions of inequality that allocate superior rights to those that society still deems as holding a more desir-
able sexual preference. Unequal access to rights means that in 21st century Australia we have made second-class citizens of our gay members. How many more vitriolic exposés such as this need to feature in our print media; how many more petitions, surveys, marches, rallies, online campaigns will it take before gay marriage is no longer a “thing” and marriage simply becomes a non-discriminatory right of Australians who are lucky or deluded enough to believe they have found their soul mate. Surely we don’t have to wait until the bigoted, vocal Katters and Joyces kick the bucket and ascend to the exclusive realm of the righteous (to frolic about for the rest of eternity in their homosexual-free heaven) before the rest of us can live in a society that imposes no encumbrance upon love? New York has shown that humanity will not disintegrate, vengeful plagues will not descend upon the earth and paedophiles will not make spouses of our children. To the chagrin of all those who prognosticated such Armageddon outcomes, the only consequence of the Marriage Equality Act has been an increase in the number of people allowed to say “I do.”
In a recent interview for Barry Drive FM, Andrew Barr, the Deputy Chief Minister of the ACT, commented on the current status of gay marriage within Australia. Barr recently received a 90% vote from his ACT Labor counterparts in support of gay marriage and intends to advocate for Labor national policy to support gay marriage at the National Convention in December. When asked on the difference between civil unions and gay marriage, Barr explained: “it is like asking gay people to ride a different bus to reach the same destination.” Barr also commented that despite public opinion that Gen Y is an apathetic generation, the majority of his support has come from younger people, and that the perception is unjustified as younger people simply choose to voice their opinions in different ways. Whereas previous generations chose to protests with picket signs, our generation choose to protest over social media. Barr also expressed concern that the gay marriage policy would be given a conscience vote at the National Labor Convention, so even if the right to marriage is supported by the majority of members, it would not be binding and the Gillard government would not be obliged to legalise gay marriage. The full interview with Andrew Barr will air on Barry Drive at 9:30AM 29/8/2011 on 2XX: 98.3fm. You can listen to the podcast at barrydrive.com.au
Come Out Queer Stars e? am s of N A er six month What’s in t t at last! Aft ou e Departmen g th in s, m ge co e an ar ch t e en m tm na and two Queer* Depar , with a new entity crisis The ANUSA r inbow banner plosion of id ra ex g i in in ur years unde az m bl a , a ange after fo arguments ved under ch ri A ar s n. io of ha s at ir y) cism ualit d insp due. The criti (formerly Sex s, change an was long over litical gays inclusivenes po ge to t of an , en ch ss e itm ne m m com e of clique ent, the na ns tm se ar a IQ. ep eBT D m y LG en the sa I part of the Sexualit ve always be about the BT d ha t re en ca ly tm al ar the Dep no one re ess tic gays, and ive. Inclusiven versus apathe of the Collect e s th gm of di ra um pa tr g ec ts the shiftin ge, of the sp ange represen ation of diversity, of chan and queers ex rs te in , s* This name ch br le an tr ce res a s, al is xu It ord. , bise ent that desi is the buzz w gays, lesbians ral developm t’s ltu ha cu -t a ity in s. g un te in m ipat w deba GLBTIQ com ... I’m partic hich spark ne t in the know rspectives w pe h es fr for those no of n connotations d an injectio difference an d varied. From an y an m jection of e ar eory, to a re rm “queer” Th te er e ue th Q t ou ith t without erns ab ciation w is word is no th Now, the conc ms and asso y, ai t et ci tis so ra e pa s, se rmativ by heterono of strangenes lt words used su in g in m ai recl an ial! It houses controversy. which has much potent so ity rs un fe m of m unity- a co m term, Queer m la co el e br th um an cts of However as for every aspe for inclusion n. io ity at un ol rt is po al op soci s become suffered from traditionally gagement ha en e iv political ct lle co ed the more sen, and er ri s pp ha pe n s io ha at Theory cial particip flective way. on of Queer This year, so k and self re Yes, discussi an e. fr on ly r ng be hi m priority nu but in a refres * e Collective, as the Queer aspects of th strange, but . at y” th lit en ua ev eq aren’t wards d some of us ning curve to those ar an g , le in er a tt le ue on Q y l l pl al al t is sim We’re not ests, “we are e Departmen website sugg directives, th e. w er ne th e Department e m ’r so that they name and pport, know su r With the new fo g in ok there, lo students out * Officer Deputy Queer er ay D rm i n Fo d an D an & ect Brett Jones er* Officer El * Officer/Que er ue Q y ut ep D epartment NU Queer* D
RETRACTION From the author of last edition’s letter on the Queer* department: I have come to the con clusion after much consideration that the art icle I wrote was unjustified, undignified and frankly shameful. It proposes that the Qu eer* Collective has done nothing in aid of the queer community on campus, which is comple tely untrue. For this I am sorry to anyone wh o has been offended. The Queer* Department is and will continue to be an excellent collective advocating for Queer* safety and awareness aro und campus. Gabriel Coburn
Dear Editor, As France’s greatest ever film star Gera rd Depardieu recently reminded us all, its time to use the crystal ball to shed the past and to make future predictions. My Six Future Crystal Ball predictions are: Prediction One: United States Of America and its superpower third world banana republic economy will return to the black under USA President Barack Obama who will be reelected in 2012! Prediction Two: In the name of Prince Charles (the modern Prince John), David Cameron , the modern day Sher iff of Nottingham, will completely destroy modern day Robin Hoods and all modern day English outlaws forever! Prediction Three: By the end of the 21st Century, the countries of South America, Eastern Europe , and Africa will be the richest countries in the world with the world’s highest wages and lowest unemployment rates. Prediction Four: The 2012 Olympic Gam es will be held in Sydney Australia.
The London 2012 Olympic Games will not be held in England due to riots. Prediction Five: The Red And White Aust ralian Rules AFL team, Sydney Swans, and the Red And White National Rugby League team, St George Illawarra will not lose another football game in 2011. Prediction Six: In Australian federal polit ics, The Liberal National Party will force Labor to a federal byelection in the seat of Dobell (Wyong and NSW Upper Central Coast) very shortly. The Liberal Nationals will win this Dobe ll federal electorate by election and this will force Labor to an early fede ral election before Christmas 2011. Once the Liberal National Coalition wins the Xmas federal Election 2011, Tony Abbott will become the long est serving Australian Prime Minister ever by defeating the existing current record held by Sir Robert Menzies ( 1949 to 1966)! Tony Abbott Australian Prime Minister will make Australia a republic ! A new Australian National flag, new Australian Head Of State and a new Australia National Anthem will soon follow. Julia Gillard will be the last Australian Governor General and Kevin Rudd will be the first Australian President! Yours Predictably, Jane Wallace Prediction Seven I must get home to see “Columbo” on television at 4 pm 1600 Thursday Afternoon.
s ght a Ro tni
t or S ale e F
d f th s Lon r o e
t t e L
s r te
Minding your language: boat people & human rights HECTOR RODRIGUEZ VALDES WRITER
The use of language and the various ways in which it is applied does not strictly pertain to grammatical descriptions or semantics. It also, perhaps more importantly represents or evokes different ideas, perceptions and even behaviour. This implies that most language is emotionally charged. For instance when we use the word terrorism, most people would have a negative idea or emotion of what it represents - ideas of destruction, violence and death may be evoked and rightly so. Conversely when I use two seemingly innocent words together such as boat and people, it should not be perceived as negative and if it is
FOR MORE INFO, VISIT:
we must question the reasons for this. In most cases these negative perceptions would be unfounded, the reason being that the the main output for these ideas; mainstream media and political discourse, often portray the term boat people in a negative form. Hence, when individuals hear the term being used, automatically they register it as negative, for that same reason the human rights discourse, in regards to this issue, is left forgotten. Then, it is important that when dealing with issues of human rights and equality that the language that individuals, institutions and media use are a fair representation of the issue at hand without portraying any bias or unfair judgment. By this I mean, that the use of the derogatory term used to describe illegal immigrants arriving by boat to Australia “boat people” cease to be used by virtue of distorting a critical discourse on hu-
man rights and turning it into a discourse of fear and judgement. This dissociative effect separates the human rights’ aspect and places the focus on notions of national security, terrorism and nationalism. The argument that I put forward does not forget to recognise all the different facets of the problem. Indeed national security, economic feasibility, human rights among other things should all be considered, but we ought to recognise that all of these should be considered equally and fairly. In order to move forward and address important issues in our society we as society must first use appropriate language to address issues, hence deriving rightful connotations that in effect translate to efficient individual and government action. Hector is a postgraduate student at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics.
FOLLOW US ON:
Meet people. Develop ideas. Devise a plan. Take home $25k.
Fracking with our future EVE FIGLEAF WRITER
Sitting in a coal seam gas (CSG) strategy meeting up in Lismore in June this year, held by some of the town’s most passionate environmentalists, I was slightly bemused to see a checkered shirted, RM Williams-shod bloke amble in and pull up a chair – a farmer in a converted meditation room, complete with sequined curtains. In introducing himself, he acknowledged that he felt extremely out of place and would not normally spend his Saturday talking shop with this particular crowd. But the potential damage he worries his farm would suffer if a CSG company gained access rights and began to drill under his land was enough to compel him to attend. Hydraulic fracturing, dubbed “fracking” for short, is a technique for extracting coal seam gas and it has been getting its fair share of media coverage of late. What is fracking? It involves pumping large amounts of water, sand and chemical fluids underground at high pressure to reach gas (mainly methane) deposits trapped in coal seams. The pressure within the seam causes fractures in the ground, which allows the gas to travel to the surface, where it is trapped and collected. CSG extraction is big business in Australia – in Queensland, the current CSG supplies, from the 3000 or so wells there, exceed the State’s total gas demands. The industry is beginning to take off in NSW as well. There are some pretty serious environmental and human health concerns with fracking. A study by Australia’s National Toxics Network (NTN) found that the fluids that are used to help release CSG include a number of human carcinogens, toxic chemicals and radionuclides. Methanol, for instance, is used in CSG projects in NSW and Queensland. It’s a volatile organic compound found to cause degenerative changes in the brain and nervous system depres-
sion. Ethylene glycol is another and it has been linked to spontaneous abortion and sub-fertility in women. The list goes on – have a look at the NTN website if you’re feeling game. When these chemicals are pumped underground, there is no surefire way of managing their release and their safe disposal. One of the methods of dealing with the “produced water” that comes to the surface is to release it into rivers. A Queensland fracking permit allowed release of waste water from the fracking process to the Condamine River, a tributary to the Murray Darling, over an 18 month period. More than 80 chemical compounds and radionuclides were included in the permit, which allowed 20 megalitres of disposal to the river per day. You might also have heard claims about the possible depletion of underground water sources associated with fracking. In “The Gas Rush”, a Four Corners documentary broadcast in February this year, a farmer from Queensland, Scott Lloyd, claimed that his bore level had dropped five meters since CSG companies had started operations on and around his property. There is also a risk that underground water will be contaminated through the fracking process, since coal seams lie below the water table and the fracking fluid would need to pass through that water to reach the coal seam. The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association’s website states that the character and dilution of chemicals used in Australia means that fracking does not impair water quality. But a spokesman for the industry group, Ross Dunn, recently conceded that drilling will inevitably have an impact on adjoining aquifers, stating that “the extent of impact and whether the impact can be managed is the question.” There are lots of questions. Farmers across the east coast are reeling from the news that their land ownership does not extend to the minerals and resources below the surface of their land. What can they do to stop a company entering their farm and turning it into a gas field? Their options are limited. Farmers can negotiate an access arrangement to allow the company to drill, in exchange for
some generally meager compensation, or they can resist and face the costs of arbitration and possibly a court hearing. Who will support landowners politically? There has been a growing ambivalence within the Liberal-National Coalition towards the issue of CSG. On the one hand, governments have benefitted from consistent mining revenue, but on the other hand, farmers, who are traditionally represented by the National Party, are demanding that drastic law reforms be made to better protect their land and livelihoods. Some farmers are starting to question their long-held skepticism of
the Greens, which is calling for a complete moratorium on CSG activity in Australia until the cumulative environmental impacts are assessed. The rationale for exploiting the country’s coal seam gas reserves is, ironically, an environmental one: gas-based energy has traditionally been thought to be far less polluting than coal. The foundations for this claim are becoming increasingly fragile. Research is emerging that the energy-intensive nature of CSG processing and transport, the escaped emissions that occur through extraction, and the higher potency of methane compared with carbon dioxide,
could mean CSG-based energy has greater global warming potential than coal. The growth of the coal seam gas industry in Australia looks to be posing some serious threats to our environment, our food production, water supplies and human health. If you’re interested in learning more about the issues associated with the industry, come along to the ANU Environment Collective meeting, held every Tuesday at 5pm in the Student Space.
Where in the world is Jiang Zemin? BRENDAN FORDE WRITER
On the 1st of July 2011, luminaries of the Chinese Communist Party gathered in Beijing to mark the 90th anniversary of the foundation of their Party. Rather than a celebration it was a sober commemoration with Hu Jintao delivering a long address. But there was one figure missing from the event: former leader Jiang Zemin. Jiang’s absence was the subject of reports and speculation from Western media outlets on the event.. On the 4th of July, a story began running that Jiang had died or was dying. The news spread quickly through blogs, drawing the attention of outside observers. Soon, censors intervened: blogs were removed, foreign news websites were blocked, and restrictions were placed on search engines. Searches for Jiang’s name and even the word “river” (which shares the same character as Jiang’s surname) were met with the regime’s standard censure response: “According to relevant policies and laws, the search results are not shown below”.
By this time, the news had spread. Media in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea reported that Jiang had died. Shandong News website even ran a story about Jiang’s death, before having it removed. This is not the first instance of speculation on Jiang. Rumours about Jiang’s health have been circulating for some time. His attendance at the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the People’s Republic was noted for his apparent poor health. The last, unconfirmed public appearance of Jiang was in 2010 when he visited Sichuan where he was allegedly escorted by an ambulance. Apart from the censorship, the regime’s response has been ambiguous. Reports indicated that senior leaders had been summoned to Beijing ahead of a major announcement on the 7th of July, whilst Chinese television and radio stations were put on notice. An announcement was made under the headline “Jiang Zemin’s death ‘pure rumour’” and the state newsagency, Xinhua, circulated the a report dispelling the rumour. Another statement was issued from the Publicity Department of the Communist Party stating, “About the news that Jiang Zemin has passed away, news organisations
can’t do reports on their own, all news reports should be in accordance with news releases from Xinhua”. Why this reaction? The health of China’s leaders has long been a guarded secret. The natural inclination of the regime has been to obfuscate certain details about its leaders, both past and present. This is undeniably a factor motivating the censorship, but it does not fully explain the regime’s response. Domestically, China is operating in a highly sensitive political climate. With the leadership transition next year, Jiang would have played a significant role in the political negotiations. His influence has probably been used to advance certain candidates; there has been speculation about the relationship between Jiang and Vice-President Xi Jinping. It is possible that Jiang’s death or hospitalisation could impact the succession, hence the secrecy. Chinese citizens exercise little influence over the leadership transition process. Jiang, alive or dead, will not change that. The intended audience is not the general public but the other leaders in the regime, with the speculation surrounding Jiang being used as a political tool in leadership negotiations.
Another development may also hold some clues. One of China’s most wanted men, Lai Changxing, was recently extradited from Canada. Lai was a leading business figure from Xiamen and allegedly engaged in significant smuggling operations. The extent of Lai’s connections with the elite leadership, and Jiang in particular, cannot be completely ascertained, but Lai has threatened that he will implicate senior leaders when he returns to China. Jiang had previously threatened
that Lai would be executed if extradited, but the Chinese government has now promised that he will not face such a penalty. Perhaps the regime does not want Jiang’s death to overshadow the leadership transition, or the attempts by Xi Jinping to solidify his power. This may be a case of the regime withholding information, waiting only to release it only when they are ready.
by a wave of hushed and uncomfortable silence. Some break the silence by attempting to ask me why I study it, some make it a point to persuade me not to study it (“What will you do after you graduate?”), while others even commend me for studying it, albeit for the wrong reasons. (“Its good that you’re so carefree about your future!”) However, it seems that Malaysian society is not alone in sidelining the role history plays. Even as a history student in Australia, it is often easy to forget the importance of history and what it represents when facing the mammoth task of juggling assignments and essays. Yet there is no doubt that the study of history is extremely important. One need only type the words ‘history’ and ‘important’ into Google and lo and behold, a stream of cliché metaphors will
flood in. “It is a beacon of light, illuminating our present circumstances into the unchartered future” scribbles one blogger while another proclaims that history “charts the direction into the future”. Cheesy literary devices aside though, the importance of history is often underestimated and downplayed. Outside the confines of academia, most people only vaguely remember their encounter with history in the course of their primary and secondary schooling. In Malaysia, the government’s decision to make history a compulsory subject at high school has erupted in a furore of controversy among many people, not least the parents of students affected. Apart from glaring inaccuracies in history books targeted for inclusion in the curriculum, there is common suspicion that history
is being re-written to cast certain ethnic groups such as the Chinese and Indian migrant population in a less favourable light with their contributions to nation-building largely ignored or diminished. Worse still, some groups have accused the government of approving history books whose contents tend to denigrate these ethnic groups and cast them in unflattering stereotypes. A case in point is the Government’s curious move to make Interlok, a work of fiction, a compulsory history text. Despite widespread unease and unhappiness at the book’s inclusion, which detractors say insults Indians and Chinese and casts them in an inferior light, the Government has remained unwavering in its decision. Some say the decision of the government in making history a compulsory subject and the at-
titude of the government vis-à-vis Interlok betrays a continuing tendency towards asserting the Malays as the dominant race in the country. Although the contents of the novel have been watered down in the face of opposition, this incident serves to emphasise the importance of history in reflecting past events that guide the present and determine the future. Even in a society that has traditionally overlooked the importance of the study of the humanities and social sciences, the government, through its actions, has ironically revived interest in history.
Malaysia’s lesson in history
MARIE NGIAM WRITER
Over the summer, I made a trip to Malaysia where I had the chance to visit old friends, old places and perhaps not-so-old relatives. The countless hours spent with the latter group involved uncomfortably squirming in my seat as they interrogated me about various things such as my ability to use a stove and whether I had failed any courses. Without failure, our topics of conversation would stray into the realm of what I was studying. I would tell them that apart from law, I study history and language. It is at this point that I am met with gasps of horror followed
New Learning and Teaching Spaces in the Hancock Building
Levels 2 and 3 of the Hancock West Building have been refurbished and are now available for use by students and staff! The level 3 refurbishment is an extension to Library space and provides eight bookable Group Study Rooms and four Group Study areas, all with PCs, DVD players and a wall screen. There is also a new Flexible Learning Laboratory for group teaching and project work, a video conferencing room, lounge spaces, laptop bench spaces, networking spaces, study tables, and breakout spaces with occasional furniture. Power outlets, wireless access and printers have been provided as part of the refurbishment. These Library areas are available for student use whenever the Library is open. Level 2 of Hancock West has been refurbished as a teaching space, which now provides four 24 seat and two 36 seat teaching rooms. There is also a video conferencing room on level 2 as well as laptop benches, networking spaces and casual study areas. These areas are accessible from the western end of the Hancock Building but are not accessible from the Library. These areas are available for use from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday.
Information Services http://information.anu.edu.au
The economics of (un)happiness? JASMINE ZHENG WRITER
I was walking around the campus when I came across the poster presenting the premier Canberra screening of the movie “The Economics of Happiness”. Over the last few months, I have read one too many articles on how Australia is the happiest nation in the world. With the gradual increase in emphasis on happiness, I can’t help but wonder why society has become so obsessed with “the pursuit of happiness”, so much so it has to be measured quantitatively. Since the 1970s, economists and governments around the world have been arguing that economic growth doesn’t equal happiness. Way back in 1972, the then King of Bhutan instituted a GNH (Gross National Happiness) index as the basis for the country’s future planning. The GNH was carefully selected as a measure rather than the usual GDP (Gross Domestic Product), which the Bhutanese
believe reflects only one aspect of national development. Last year, the UK government launched its own “happiness index” as an alternative to relying on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a basic guide to the nation’s progress. Three months ago, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) unveiled Australia as the “happiest” nation in the world according to its Better Life Index. The Index allows citizens to compare wellbeing across 34 countries, based on 11 dimensions the OECD has identified as essential, in the areas of material living conditions and quality of life: housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety, work-life balance. Yet, just a few weeks ago, the Reserve Bank’s governor, Glenn Stevens, suggested that Australia’s households are unlikely to see a return of the “good old days” of rapid spending growth, as consumers are now more cautious, suggesting that the country seemed “mostly unhappy”. So, are we quantitatively certified “happy” or “unhappy”? Why are we so obsessed over measuring happiness? Do these mea-
sures really reflect happiness? In today’s society, it has become common to associate “the pursuit of happiness” with a certain level of material success and economic activity. There is a constant pressure for people to have “bigger, better, more”. Yes, governments have attempted to shy away from focussing on GDP and economic statistics as a measure of wellbeing and happiness. However, measuring happiness has its flaws. Have a look at the Better Life Index launched by the OECD. Happiness economists, like the people at OECD, have attempted to measure well-being by taking into consideration citizens’ answers to quality-of-life questions like: “How satisfied are you with your life?” and “How would you describe your health?”, and “Do you know someone you could turn to in a time of need?” How accurate and reliable are these responses then? Other measures of well-being include looking at measures like income, jobs, education standards, political freedom and economic prosperity. However, reality seems to suggest that people do not seem to feel better when they have access to more money or when they are
consuming more. Rather, a better quality of life seems to stem from a range of mostly immaterial things. The happiness paradox then questions the following: Why don’t people feel better despite the high standards the Western world has reached in terms of fields like economic prosperity, political freedom, hygiene and health standards and life expectancy? The happiness paradox therefore belies the statement ‘more income means more well-being’. In reality, what we realise is that
economic activity is largely related to providing relief for unhappiness. We constantly seek solutions to the negative externalities such as environmental degradation that comes with economic growth. So, instead of investing time and money into indices that actually says “Yes, you’re indeed the happiest nation in this world”, why don’t we focus on the economics of (relieving) unhappiness instead?
[deceased] whale and Migaloo is 100 per cent white,” said Oskar Peterson, a widely respected expert on large white things. Further testing confirmed the whale was indeed not Migaloo to the relief of well-wishers who had gathered to conduct a candle lit vigil. Yet Migaloo’s death would come as no surprise to many in the industry who have known for years Migaloo’s struggles with his weight and skin colour. Early in his celebrity career he encountered criticism from his whale peers for knowingly basking in praise that was solely based on the colour of his skin rather than any merit based achievement. Insiders say Migaloo’s behaviour was an accurate reflection of a modern whale society driven by a cosmetic agenda of titillation and cheap gimmicks than one in pursuit of intellectual fulfilment. This was particularly telling when Migaloo fronted a revolu-
tionary Jenny Craig weight loss campaign in an attempt to battle his krill consuming habit. Already an ill-conceived campaign, it had to contend with the launch and
sudden popularity of Masterchef and the fast growing slow-food movement. Needless to say Migaloo preserved his rotund figure, and with it, a pervading sense
of hopelessness. But the big question on everyone’s glands is just how long the Migaloo party will last before it all ends in tears.
Migaloo’s mainies come to an end
NAKUL LEGHA WRITER
There are fears that Migaloo, the famous albino humpback whale, may have been found dead after a long struggle with the pressures of celebrity and a growing infamy within the whale community. Over the past two decades, Migaloo’s mainies up and down the Australian east coast have attracted the attention and adulation of many because of his distinct skin colour. Last week it was reported that the carcass of a similarly proportioned white whale was found floating off Palm Island. However, the outpouring of grief was short lived as aspersions were cast on the carcass’ authenticity. “There are black spots on the
CULTURE POETRY Interhall Poetry Slam Winner Stuart Owen with two new poems...
I took a stroll, shodless and sockless, In finer terms known as: barefoot. Through a park, called something, No distinct name or sign. But the Canberrans told me; the name of it shook; They called it Rape. In the dankly dark. They called it Rape. Rape park. From then, the Sun was stripped and eclipsed, I felt its rays but not its heat. Canberrans mutter and curse on the street, In the valley, In the heartless sun. My skin was ice upon the stone Each, in,divid,ual step; The right that scantly follows left, Crumbles the bone, shatters the crest. I should have felt the grass; alone. Midday, mighty clouds hung low. Squelching frost in muddy toe, Rocks and spiders cling, without a clutching of their own. I thought ‘Because I chose this path’, But I will see it through. Till midnight came around I roamed. Lights on the horizon, murmurs from the hills. A shadow spoke of hearts and pills And an academy, for dancing foam. Then in the park around they came, more and more and further more Silhouettes stretched, over expand, In tumults of fury, with Bottles on bottles of bottled up scorn. I slowed and stood to still; My feet alone could bare no more. I could not see, nor did I ever expect Again to see the dawn. I thought I’d gone and left the world, This valley an illusion. And by the time the sun had cleared the sky I met it with a degree of confusion. Still no shoes. Limping back to my birdcage they call a room. A mind like a crumpled can of coke, Beaten down, Choking on smoke, Smoking on a stick of choke. Skin unbruised still unassured: Mangled; spread across the walking broad. And a twinge in my foot till I got to the door. And looking to my foot, its soul, As it gushed out blood on the mat, And the door. Stole through my feet like an iron tack, A machete and a baseball bat. If I could have my chances twice, I would still brave the cold Canberran ice. Now I’ve nothing, nothing to lose. Although next time I go, I will go out in shoes..
“All For the Morning: Wring Your Wrists” Made up with the sunrises, next after next. After many colder nights; Before, Befire, and a cursed dialect, I could not, in my anguish, vanish behind curdling tears. The Eye, The one I could not deny. And the crest, He makes across the sky. The reaping he insists. Blankets crumple off the side. A warded heap, In the jerk of light, that Slits the morning mist. Bent over, then over, Propelled from discharge; next to next. Wracked, Dashed and thrashed Three times over. Thrice a day. Face splashed, teeth dashed, If there’s time a shave. In that cold, stainless, toxic water. The first real thing: The sink tap. Churning out another day. All for the morning Wring your wrists. In motions of dismay.
I came, I saw, I left VINCENT CHIANG WRITER
After a stunning production of Much Ado About Nothing earlier in the year, Bell Shakespeare proves its hitand-miss reputation yet again with a confused and at times incoherent production of Julius Caesar. In typical Bell fare, traditional Shakespearean imagination has been revamped for a contemporary setting. Togas and the Roman senate are replaced by suits and business seats; the roaring Roman crowds are micro-
phone-induced screeching; Julius Caesar is inexplicably Russian. It is at this point, however, that the first problem of the production becomes apparent. Bell’s advertising suggests “To see the future one must only look to the past”, with a female Cassius implying an allegorical parallel of Gillard’s usurpation of Rudd. And yet Bell Shakespeare fails to prove any particular point. We never quite understand what is really going on, and as the production continues, Bell’s avant-garde obfuscates more and more. After the first two or three uses, the microphones become an outright annoyance, and the scaffolding being randomly constructed on stage is initially impressive but detracts from an ending sequence already awkwardly abridged. Even the killing
of Caesar himself, an immortal moment in the Western consciousness, is “creatively” undone; it is portrayed through interpretive dance. Individual performances
are a mixed crowd. None of the three leads are particularly convincing: Alex Menglet’s Caesar seems to have had too much vodka, alternating between drunken stupors and random shouting. Kate Mulvany’s Cassius, true to her real-life parallel, speaks in annoying, nasally tones, coming across more as a cartoon supervillain than a scheming politician. Colin Moody’s Brutus is downto-earth and human, but at times sounds bored rather than reflective or conflicted. It is somewhat befitting then that Mark Antony’s funeral oration is one of the few scenes which remains intact without any particular detriment to it. “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears! I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him!” he says. And sure enough, Antony’s
Best way to stay ALICE SPRINGS FOR TIGHT ARSES
I’d recommend the Annie’s Place Backpacker’s, because it’s central and has an awesome bar where you can meet locals and tourists alike. Don’t worry, the place has air-conditioning in the rooms and a pool. They also can sign you up for daily tours.
KARYNA JANSONS WRITER
The Rock Bar for good cocktails or Annie’s Place for a good jug of beer or two. Both have an awesome atmosphere where you can make lots of new friends. If you want a very touristy (see: stereotyped Aussie) evening then head to BoJangle’s Saloon. If you’re drunk enough, you’ll end up there anyway.
Eat Cheap Anywhere on the Todd Mall for lunch or the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens. Annie’s Place serves up some tasty morsels for very cheap too, with cheap-ish beer to boot! Challenge: How many desert animals can you eat? Camel is surprisingly good, just not at all like chicken.
Explore Basically everywhere. When you go and see the beautiful MacDonnell Ranges (which you must), nearly every gorge or walking trail is free to admire. If you go in summer, you can even swim in the gorges if there’s been enough rain. If you want something closer to town, head to the Telegraph station for a wonderful picnic.
Visit The Todd Mall Markets (every Sunday except in the middle of summer). You’ll find unique art, jewellery and hand-made locally produced clothes, home decorations and great food.
Walking. Honestly, Alice Springs is small enough for this to be feasible. All accommodation is in the CBD, even though calling it a CBD is a bit of a joke. Tours will take you everywhere by bus or Troopie (4WD) in air-conditioned comfort.
words are ironically fitting: there is little to praise with this production of Caesar, but plenty to be buried.
Nice Night Out Oscar’s Café and Restaurant – Known as one of the best places to eat in town by the locals, it’s reasonably priced with a modern cuisine menu and enough desserts to make your sweet-tooth ache.
DON’T! Dodgy looking art galleries and walking around town at night. Both will give you an experience you didn’t want and cost way too much… like your life..
Don’t Panic: they’re still brilliant...
The lead singer of The Panics, Jae Laffer, chats to Woroni about their latest album, their inspiration and the Queen’s busy hands TOM WESTLAND EDITOR
“Who’s been touched by Her Majesty?” ask Jae Laffer promisingly on “Majesty”, the opening track of the Panic’s new album Rain On The Humming Wire Somewhat unhappily, it transpires that the question is rhetorical. The extra-curricula activities of Mrs Windsor’s hands are left to the listener’s imagination. Loyal monarchists that we are, we decided to call up Laffer to ask him whether he was insinuating something scandalous about Her Royal Highness. “No - she’s probably a bit too old for that. She’s probably a really sweet old lady” he says. Given the imagery of the song, is it safe to assume he’s a republican, though?
“Yeah, I think it’s probably inevitable that it will happen, I think Australians know that we’re able to run our own show.” Turning to their new record, a masterfully crafted follow up to the critical and commerical succes that was Cruel Guards, we asked Laffer about what it was like writing songs in Manchester. “We were in Salford, a really working-class, industrial sort of suburb, which had a great feeling and atmosphere.” The Panics have established something of a home away from home (normally they live in a sharehouse in Collingwood, Melbourne) in England. “We also recorded a lot of this album in New York, so we’ve really been all over the place.” What effect does this jetsetting have on record? “The process behind this album was drawn out and fragmented. I didn’t know how the record was linking up, but I was really happy when eventually it all came together.” Laffer told us that Rain On The
Humming Wire feels like the conclusion to a lot of the themes that have dominated the previous three Panics albums - hearbreak, nostalgia, and homesickness. “There’s a feeling of being on the road; there’s a lot of looking back and taking stock of what we’d achieved as a band. It’s also about being homesick and seeing relationships breaking up, going back as far as growing up in the hills of Perth.” What can fans expect from the lives shows? Laffer says that while they will be playing us some songs from the latest record - including songs he says “sound even better live than on the album” there’ll also be some reworked versions of “some older material that we feel has stood the test of time.” We then asked Laffer about a label that seems to have attached itself to his band. From a track on their début album called “My Brilliant Career”, after Miles Franklin’s seminal novel, to the evocative lyrics on their new al-
bum (“summer with no end in sight”) how does he feel about being called a quintessentially Australian band? “Yeah, I guess people have always said that about us, but it’s hard to know what that really means. What makes music Australian? Of course your music is affected by where you grew up, what you’ve experienced, but we like to think that we make music that’s accessible to people from all around the world.” That being said, what is he influenced by in the songwriting process? “Well, I think we have a very unique sort of sound as a band, and while you can play around with that, I try not to be overly influenced by other artists. But definitely, you’re influenced by the sort of music that you’ve grown up with, artists you admire.”For example? “Bob Dylan!” Similarly, the Panics have never really collaborated with other artists. Is this something they might want to explore in the fu-
ture? “Yeah, we never really have collaborated in that sort of way; I guess maybe we might think about it, maybe look at working in a female vocalist - that’s something we’ve never really done.” But Laffer says if the Panics were to colloaborate in any serious way, it would have to be with someone who pushed them outside the box. What sort of artist? “Jay-Z?” suggests Laffer. And where does he see the band going? Nothing human shall be a stranger to them. After spending their twenties “travelling the world and getting into mischief”, The Panics want to “write songs about things we’ve never done before.” The Panics play at ANU Bar Wednesday 21 September, tickets available from Ticketek. Rain On The Hummingwire is out now.
The exhibitioNIST SCHOOL OF ART GALLERY Da Dun Fine Arts
Opening 6.00PM Wednesday 14 September This jumbo exhibition spreads over both School of Art galleries. Over 100 works spanning photography, sculpture, digital art and traditional crafts are brought together as a selection from Taiwan’s Da Dun Fine Arts Prize.
Canberra Contemporary Art Space at 55 Ainslie Avenue, Braddon. John Johnson + Jenni Kemmare Martiniello + Yhonnie Scarce Opening 6.00pm Friday 26 August (exhibitions run until 01/10/11) This opening is for a collection of solo exhibitions by three contemporary indigenous Australian artists, working in painting and glass. Each artist examines ideas of cultural identity through themes of resurrection, entrapment and ectopia respectively.
CRAFT ACT Elements: Clay + Elements: Fiber + “Garlands of String” Kay Lawrence Opening 6.00pm Thursday 6 October (exhibitions run until 5/11/11) This opening sees the gallery split into 3 mini exhibitions, a solo by Kay Lawrence and two installations of the Elements series. Elements: Clay and Elements: Fiber (have a guess at what sort of work this is) showcase pieces by leading local designers and crafts practitioners. M16 Artspace: 21 Blaxlan Cres Griffith “The Beetle and the Butterfly” Claire Pendrigh + Michele Grimston, opening 6.00pm Thursday 25 August (exhibitions run until 11/09/11) This collaborative exhibition combines sculpture, drawing, found objects, textiles and mixed media under an overarching theme of the “natural environment and places we create”.
Megalo Print Studio and Gallery - Canberra Technology Park 49 Phillip Ave Watson Single State + Residency Show. Opening 6.00pm Thursday 8 September (exhibitions run until 17/09/11) Single State is a group show featuring a series of unique prints. This will be shown in combination with the 2010 Print Maker residency exhibition.
I see dead things ZID MANCENIDO OUTREACH SUBEDITOR
30-million-year-old dinosaur footprints have been discovered on the coastline of the Kimberley in the North of Western Australia. The Kimberley is “one of the most important and most diverse dinosaur track sites in the world with at least 15 types of dinosaur prints recognizable,” according to UQ paleontologist Dr Steven Salisbury. Shame that Woodside Energy have proposed a Liquid Natural Gas development nearby that might erode
some of the fossils. Then again, not like I value pre-historic podiatry much anyway. To advance, but not stray too far from my two-edition streak of talking about endangered or dead animals, let’s turn this week to dead people.Polish conceptual artist Roman Opalka has died at age 79, nowhere close to achieving his goal of painting all the numbers from one to infinity. Mr Opalka began his project in 1965 and had reached 5.5 million by July 2004.Curiously enough, it is difficult to find out exactly what number Opalka was before his death; in 2008, he began painting white numbers on a white background whose color he called “white merité”, or “wellearned white”.Someone whose existence may seem less quixotic is Harry Coover, who died
at age 94. Coover invented Super Glue. What a man. And now for someone a little closer to home. If you’re not a cult follower of the Australian amateur bodybuilding circuit, you won’t know his name or care (but read on). Aziz “Zyzz” Sergeyevich Shavershian died at age 22 after suffering a heart attack in a sauna in Bangkok. Lots can be said about his popularized lexicon - including words like “shredded”, “mirin” (“admiring”), and “jelly” (“jealous”) - or the heart complications that come from using buckets of illicit steroids like Human Growth Hormone, but let’s leave that to his almost 100 000 fans on Facebook and over one million YouTube video hits. That’s right, he’s more popular than the carbon tax.
Where can you get free (or heavily discounted) wine and cheese? Yasmin Masri gives you the rundown of art exhibitions around Canberra, but takes no responsibility for the quality of the wine or cheese.
BELCONNEN ARTS CENTRE 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen “The Divided Heart - Still Life and the Domestic” Kristen Morris + “Habitat” Jo Hollier Opening 6.00pm Friday 2 September (exhibitions run 18/09/11) Morris explores the tension between her role as a mother and artist through still life. Hollier’s work is a mix of etchings and prints based on environmental concerns for the sustainability of local flora and fauna. MANUKA CONTEMPORARY ART SPACE 19 Furneaux Street Manuka “An Idea of Things, or, the way things feel” - Poppy Mailk Opening 6.00pm Friday 2 September (exhibitions run until 11/09/11) A recent graduate from the ANU print workshop, Malik’s work “ranges from charmingly crafted words in different mediums, to symbols of safe places” “A Matter of Time” – Kate Barker Opening 6.00pm Thursday 15 September (exhibitions run until 25/09/11) Another recent graduate from ANU, this time from painting, Barker’s work looks at depictions of “the human body in space”. Got any hot tips about cultural happenings in the capital? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Movies Of The Week
Trivia To win two free double passes to any film showing at Dendy Cinemas Canberra send in your answers to woroni@ anu.edu.au and the person with the most correct answers will win. 1. Previous to Cowboys and Aliens, how many comic book adaptations had Dreamworks made? 2. Which Oscar winning composer wrote the score of Jane Eyre? 3. In Friends with Benefits, Justin Timberlake sings “Closing Time”. Which band performed this song in the late 1990s? 4. Name the creator of the Cowboys and Aliens graphic novel? 5. Senna set a record opening box office taking for a documentary in the UK. How many pounds did it take? 6. True or false? Quentin Tarantino was considered to direct the The Green Lantern. 7. True or false: Mr Schuester and Holly Holiday sing a duet in the Glee 3D concert movie? 8. Friends with Benefits director Will Gluck previously directed Emma Stone and Patricia Clarkson in which film? 9. Name two Australian actors who contribute voices in the The Green Lantern? 10. Which acclaimed actress plays Mrs Fairfax in Jane Eyre?
The latest adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s novel is actually quite good. The film follows the orphaned titular character from her childhood at a dreary girls school to a tumultuous stint as a governess at the isolated Thornfield Hall, where Jane meets the troubled Mr. Rochester and makes an ill timed, shocking discovery regarding what lurks within the walls of the manor. Director Cary Fukunaga plays out the dark gothic plot quite faithfully, with only minor changes to Bronte’s novel. The Celtic scenery is used to great effect, with the landscape forming a character in itself and providing for the development of the plot. The film has the typical hallmarks of a period drama, but is not at all boring – there is an emphasis on the darker plot points, but the plot plays out a little too hurriedly. Though Michael Fassbender is somewhat flat and one dimensional as the brooding Mr. Rochester, Mia Wasikowska shines in the title role, inhabiting the iconic literary character with ease. Some of the dialogue is over-dramatic, but it is above all a gothic Victorian era drama. It’s worth seeing the film for Wasikowska’s performance alone.
Normally there is nothing worse than watching a film in which you know the main character will die, except when that character isn’t an actor but a real person, you know exactly how his story will end. When Ayrton Senna’s Formula 1 car hit a wall at 135mph the world stopped for he was far more than just another driver he was the hero Brazil had clung to in its darkest days. Senna, the documentary about Senna’s life, is narrated by the surviving characters, including former world champions Alan Prost and Rubens Barrichello, along with team bosses Frank Williams and Ron Dennis. However, it is the memories shared by Senna’s sister and parents that are the most haunting, and give the deepest insight into man beneath the helmet. Director Asif Kapadia manages to find an almost perfect balance between showing off Senna’s almost God-like racing ability and his humanitarian work for his greatest fans - the underprivileged youth of the Brazilian slums. The cinematography of Senna’s final lap finds its mark perfectly with a chilling sense of inescapability. My only real complaint was that the clip of Senna stopping mid-race to assist fellow driver Erik Comas midrace was relegated to the credits (YouTube – Heart of Senna). Otherwise without a doubt Senna is the best documentary of the year and a must ,whether you are fan of Formula 1 or not. Rest in peace, Ayrton.
It seems this year every third film is a superhero film. Some are fun films to switch your brain off to, and others just miss the mark. Directed by Martin Campbell, and brought to you by the same studio that did the Dark Knight, Green Lantern definitely falls into the second category. Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a fighter pilot whose only real issue in life is that he is occasional scared. After encountering a dying alien, he is given a powerful ring, which he must use to save earth and in the process learn about himself. That’s the plot in its in entirety. One film reviewer labelled it “thinly written”, and it’s the best way to describe it. The film is overflowing with Sesame Street morals and corny America values. The thing that redeems this film is the amazing visual affects. The computer graphics for the planets, suits and aliens are just so detailed and intricate. However this is not enough to save the film. Ryan Reynolds again plays himself, Blake Lively is gorgeous but her performance is lifeless and more screen time should have been given to the supporting actors as they held the film together. This seems to be a common thread among superhero films. It is surprising to think that this is the same film company that released The Dark Knight and set the bar so high for superhero films. It is a shame that they have produced a film which doesn’t push the boundaries and just falls short of what Marvel are doing.
Last week’s trivia answers
Congratulations to this week’s winner PAT BENT. Head to the Woroni office to get your double pass to Dendy. Answers: 1) King Kong 2) True 3)2006, 2009 4) $31, 603, 106 5) 1968 6) Atonement and Anna Karenina 7) Steve Carrell and Jim Carrey 8) $140, 000, 000 9) Emily Blunt 10) True, she won the crown in 1998
The crisis of the cappuccino A WORONI SPECIAL INVESTIGATION SIMON THOMPSON EDITOR
There is an evolving crisis in cafes around the capital. Far removed from free trade, single origin or organic deliberations, this issue is far closer to home. The humble cappuccino, in its traditional glory, is at risk of extinction. A coffee frequently bastardised by misspelling (Cappaccino, Cuppaccino, Cappicino, Cupofchino), it’s always been a drink that associates more with middle age than anything else – a drink that your parents order when they feel like they deserve some ‘naughty chocolate sprinkles’ after a trundle around the lake. While general coffee snob wisdom has the reverse take on the ‘bigger is better’ issue (piccolos, ristrettos and macchiatos have never been so revered), the cap is being left behind in the swell of coffee-cool. But it’s not the general PR issue that concerns me about the future of the cap. Baristas simply don’t make them properly, in a traditional sense. They’ve been recreated in secret; right under our ever-more discernable noses. The cap is best enjoyed as a breakfast coffee. According to numerous sources, among them coffee houses and World Barista Championship rules, the cappuccino must satisfy several criteria. It must show at least 1cm of foam (measure by inserting teaspoon vertically and dragging
across to reveal milk level), served in a cup with a handle and not adorned with any ‘additional toppings, sugar, spices or powdered flavourings’, amongst other requirements. So what is the root of the crisis? Gripe #1: Too Little Foam. This is what is integral to the cappuccino; what defines and characterises it. In a shallow, standard coffee cup, the 1cm foam requirement means that the foam is around 30% of the contents of the cup. The 30mL espresso is diluted by less milk giving you a stronger flavour of coffee. So why is this such an issue? Baristas, and they should commended on this, exhibit a high level of skill in their latte art. But latte art is best performed with finely textured milk – whereas to achieve the perfect foam to milk ratio for a top cap, course texturing is required. Baristas are prioritising art over form. Gripe #2: Cap in a Glass. Some cafes are serving up their caps in a glass. The taller vessel disrupts the ratio of foam to milk, and what are you left with? A latte with chocolate dusting. That’s not what I ordered! Gripe #3: Keep that Chocolate Away from My Espresso! OK, so apart from the fact that a traditional cap shouldn’t have chocolate dusting at all, there’s a little trick that baristas like to use when they’re
about to get fancy. If the chocolate dusting is applied to the shot of fresh espresso, it caramelises into the crema; a brilliant canvas from which to paint a latte-art masterpiece, with the chocolate bordering the white art in a way that would bring Renoir to tears. But what happens when you add chocolate dusting to hot water? Weak chocolate sauce. What kind of drink does this make? A mocha. Here, beauty over taste. Not why I order a coffee. So, baristas of Canberra, here’s the challenge. Let’s bring back the cappuccino in all its traditional glory; the perfect blend of strong espresso, the right quantity of perfectly textured foam all had from a cup with a handle. Leave the art to the lattes and the flatties; people who order cappuccinos aren’t cool anyway. Is that too much to ask?
Tune in on Mondays @ 9.30am!
League staring down a Giant problem rapid expansion of the GWS with their limitless backer, the AFL, and the indisputable fear of the NRL only gives the AFL what they lack in Sydney, and that is a media presence. When this author reads about the â€˜school yard bullyâ€™ image of the AFL attempting to muscle their way into an area with the highest population growth in Australia, and the NRL falling over themselves to counter-attack, it brings a smile to my face, and you can only imagine that Andrew Demitriou is smiling too.
MURRAY ROBERTSON WRITER
I smiled as I read the Saturday Sydney Morning Herald last week, not because of the London riots but rather because the AFL is doing its own share of rioting in the Rugby League heartland, and it is working. Coming from the AFL stronghold of Victoria, it is obvious that the Sydney Morning Herald has bigger priorities then the Australian Football League. During the week, this AFL fanatic will be hard pressed to find a paragraph on the Sydney Swans, even if it was only 6 short years ago they claimed the holy grail in 2005. Rugby League dominates the Sydney papers, the disgraceful handling of Todd Carney grabbing the lionsshare of press time, which, whilst not being a flattering portrayal of the NRL at least provides coverage and interest. However, each morning as this author flicks through the pages on rugby gibberish, a miraculous change is
slowly occurring. Sadly for Swans fans, the interest in the AFL in the tabloids has not been through them, rather it is in the looming presence of the AFL backed GWS that has brought a rush of opinion from among others, Rugby League guru Phil Gould. The NRL are scared, that is blatantly clear. The crisis talks between the four clubs in the Rugby league foundation area of the West barely scratches the surface of the fear of the NRL. They are being made to look second
FOR MORE INFO, VISIT:
rate in comparison to the all conquering AFL, fresh off the back of their 1.25 billion TV deal. One only has to cast an eye up to the Gold Coast to see what AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou is capable of. The newly formed Suns have, after only one season, eclipsed their Rugby League rivals the Titans, in membership and crowd attendance. They also have the unwavering backing of the AFL, as well as a young, star-studded team in the process of being assembled, a nightmare for NRL boss David
Gallop. However, the AFL expedition into Western Sydney will be much more difficult then their foray up north to the Gold Coast but it is clear that the AFL has received an unprecedented level of press over the last month, which brings us back to the smile on the face of this author. Thanks to the Sydney Morning Herald and other publications, the AFL has achieved much more then they ever could have dreamed for. All the mentioning of the crisis talks, the
FOLLOW US ON:
Meet people. Develop ideas. Devise a plan. Take home $25k.
The Hawks have survived a fast finishing Carlton on Friday night in a match which saw Carlton take two and a half quarters to score it’s second goal. Carlton’s blues looked set to turnaround when they kicked the last seven of the match’s nine goals, having done jack all in the first half. However, it was not to be, with the Hawks holding on just. In homage to the Facebook group “Taking Carlton off your shoulders after a hard day of being Chris Judd, the big man failed to fire, something that tends to doom Carlton. The win puts the Hawks into the top four with September’s finals season just around the corner. Although not technically anything new, Collingwood is a mess, with coach Mick Malthouse continuing his weekly tantrums and president Eddie McGuire trying to keep the club under control and within their parole reporting requirements.
The fortnightly punt with Gus Heslop
After last week’s defeat of Serena Williams, Sam Stosur has continued to impress as the US Open nears, reaching the quarter-finals of Cincinnati’s WTA event, beating French Open champ, Li Na. No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki has dumped her father as coach in an attempt to combat a form slump. Christmas will be awkward.
The Melbourne Storm continues to set new records (this time, not salary for salary cap breaches), with its win over St George a club record 12th straight win. While the Dragons looked strong in the opening period, but the Storms’ defense improved to ensure it’s opponent’s eighth loss in ten matches.
The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series sees a bunch of blokes in tiny speedos jumping off dangerous geographical features (usually cliffs), doing a few flips, and then plummeting in excess of 26 metres. Next up on the tour is Boston where divers will jump off the city’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. A potential new one for college sport?
With poor form leading up to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, the Wallabies have a new captain, James Horwill. Despite a good win in South Africa last week, the national side’s form is cause for concern. However, coach Robbie Deans is breathing life into the squad with new inclusions, including the successful gamble last week with bigtackling Pat McCabe. On the other side of the world, Wales have defeated England at home 19-9 in a great match, which saw Wales triumph despite big losses of territory and playing two men down at stages.
The Harry Kewell dramas regarding his return to Australia appear to be over, with the old boy signing with Melbourne Victory for 3 years. Appearing more ruthless businessman than footballer, Kewell will receive a percentage of any revenue increases the Victory achieve from his arrival in the team.
Old V8 Supercar racer, Marcos Ambrose has finally claimed his first win in America’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series after moving to the states to compete in the sport 6 years ago. In a crash-marred race, Ambrose was able to move from starting position of third to finish victories under a yellow flag.
2. Telecom Corp. More fun from New Zealand! Telecom Corp, a major sponsor of the All Blacks, has thrown the marketing handbook into Dante’s Inferno in favour of an Abstain For the All Blacks support campaign in the World Cup. During the sevenweek campaign stout supporters are encouraged to wear black rubber rings to demonstrate that until the conclusion they shall indulge only in intimate hugging (not a euphemism). A spokesman called it Kiwi humour. TOTF is inclined to agree.
tance with communication. That’s hilarious. According to the venerable Dr. Gordan the most intelligent national player is Rocky Elsom, making the former captain almost as intelligent as your average Australian.
Woroni team of the fortnight WILL WALTON SPORTS SUBEDITOR
1. A New Zealand U12s Rugby Coach. A local Otago peewee rugby coach was apparently quite irked when his band of budding All Blacks, one of which happened to be his son, didn’t clinch the win in their game. So distraught was he, in fact, that he decided the only reasonable repercussion for his youngling was a friendly drunken headbutt. Perhaps that was a little erratic…
3. Dr Evian Gordan. The resident Wallabies neuroscientist. Oh yes, the Wallabies make regular use of a neuroscientist for assis-
4. Port Adelaide. They featured in the last issue for being simply woeful, but this fortnight Port Adelaide make an appearance in TOTF by virtue of their philanthropy. They gifted Buddy Franklin 8 goals, and hand-wrapped Hawthorn’s largest ever winning margin in club history: 165 points. Now wasn’t that nice of them? 5. Isaac Luke. South Sydney Rabbitohs hooker Luke has a ca-
reer on Broadway beckoning after taking a dive in golden-point extra time against the Cowboys. Luke was the recipient of one of the most inconspicuous high tackles TOTF has ever seen, however his mid-game catnap proved the difference maker. Perhaps if theatre isn’t his forte he could try a stint in the Premier League? 6. Harry Kewell. Forget the World Cup goals. Forget his time at Liverpool. Harry Kewell has done something truly astounding: he’s made the A-League vaguely interesting. What an achievement. 7. Kobe Bryant & Luke Walton. For once it’s a time for sincerity in this section. Over the
course of the bloodbath known as the NBA lockout the LA Lakers have thus far had to lay off 20 administrative/training staff, most of whom should get their jobs back once the façade has ended. Players Bryant and Walton felt obligated to make personal donations to a number of the victims whilst the deadlock continues. Though it may not have made their wallets noticeably lighter, it is admirable nonetheless – jolly good show.
BACK PAGE with Tom Westland
WORONI BOOK CLUB
THE BACK PAGE INVITATIONAL
Send in your answers to email@example.com: you don’t need to attempt all the challenges; an answer any single one could bag you two movie tickets!
Invent a new sign of the zodiac, and give a horoscope for it.
PARTY OF ONE
Bob Katter’s new party has been banned from using the name “Australia Party”. Suggest a new name.
HEADLINING What’s the most boring headling you can think of? (In 1986, The New Republic nominated “Worthwhile Canadian Initiative”, but we feel Woroni’s readers – or the Canberra Times – can easily beat this.)
SLOGANEERING In one sentence, convince us to purchase Greece’s sovereign debt.
YOU CAN’T REVIEW THAT! with JAMIE FREESTONE
The Bible If you enjoy incest, then you’ll love the early passages in this work. They describe a group of people who continually resort to the practice when they make the mistake of not having female children, or when the women they do have idiotically turn around to look at burning cities and get themselves transmogrified into pillars of salt. Overlong and open to interpretation, this work is wildly popular, despite some stylistic quirks. We are told that the book is the word of “God”, the author, who employs multiple narrators to tell the story, but gets into a bizarre Charlie Kaufman-esque situation in which he writes himself in
to his own narrative. The Bible seems to be one of those postmodern novels that was popular in the 1970s, but this meta-fictional approach gets particularly tiresome when a new character, Jesus, is introduced and is alternately referred to as the son of God, the Son of Man, a man and God himself. The climax is a bizarre sequence wherein this schizoid but hitherto kindly character judges the rest of the characters (and indeed everyone) as some kind of proxy for the author. Jesus’s earlier, touching act of self-sacrifice and his message of love, seem somewhat incongruous with the appalling bloodbath that follows the judgement. Contra the “love-thy-enemy”
ROUND 1: RESULTS
Back Page was amused by the excellent entries received for the inaugural Invitational. Lee Constable impressed us by pointing out that ANUSA VP Brody Warren is, unlike Beaker, not a redhead; a point echoed by Xie Pie Shi, who also correctly guessed that the phrase “Stupendously inbred” was the answer to the question, “The Miliband brothers are...?” Pat Brent, on the Brody Warren challenge, pointed out the essential difference: “One is a muppet; the other is Beaker.” Patrick Bacon described the venerable Dairy Goat Journal with the phrase “better reporting than the News of The World and twice as chewy”, a statement Woroni is considering adopting as its own. Andaleeb Akhand struck a note of genius with his slogan “Canberra: where Australia’s elderly come to die”. However, it was Samuel Voller who took out the prize with his slogan. Dryly evoking Canberra’s existestenial angst, he suggested: “Canberra: because you shouldn’t have to drive from Melbourne to Sydney in a day.” Congratulation Samuel, and everyone else who entered.
message he propagated earlier, Jesus unveils the fact that he actually wants to kill and torture everyone who has not sworn allegiance to him. The moral dodginess of doing this to people who have never even heard of him, let alone embraced him, is thankfully overshadowed by the enthralling symbolism and rich imagery of beasts, trumpets, fire, gold, horsemen, falling stars and brimstone which accompany the inauguration of the book’s final conceit: the New Jerusalem, whatever that is. The sex scene, Song of Songs, was actually very good and the bit on prohibitions, Leviticus, was hilarious; in fact, overall it’s well written and profound, but thematically inconsistent. More concise than the Mahabharata.
REALISTIC ROMANCE: SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS
The balding laird’s lassie
Romantic fiction is a depressing genre that imbues its readers with unrealistic expectations of love and sex. Fortunately, Woroni is here to help. Each edition, we present extracts from our new book series, Realistic Romances, available in good bookshops nowhere.
Aileen MacAileen sighed as she gazed up at Angus MacAngus, the ageing laird of Glenbarren. How had she been so lucky? Angus MacAngus had beautiful, thinning hair, which radiated with the colour of sheep’s liver. His grey eyes glistened like an overcast Scottish winter; while his skin, which she so ached to touch, reminded her of a delectable suet pudding. “Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, great chieftain o the puddin’race!” cried Angus as he clutched clumsily at the buttons on her blouse.
It’s finally happening, she thought. Their lips met tentatively. Aileen felt something unpleasant. Angus MacAngus unfurled his heaving bagpipe and after a few minutes of something that Aileen would have preferred to forget, she felt a small prick of disappointment. Was this all there was? The laird clutched at her breasts with his clammy hands. “So smooth,” he said, and she nodded. They were smooth. Suddenly his fingers were touching her all over, and she shuddered at an invasion only slightly less
damaging than the Glencoe massacres of 1692. And then it was all over, and Aileen felt the cold Scottish wind across her craggy face. She gazed across at her lover, the balding laird of Glenbarren. He was sleeping contentedly under the blanket, like a handsome, kindly lump of offal simmering gently in the stomach of a sheep. He wasn’t, on reflection, the man she dreamt of as a little girl. But he would have to do.
Published on Aug 15, 2011