Woroni Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
“hardly a slick political answer”, Dr kim huynh muses towards the end of a response
gentrifob: ripping up newspapers at the pharmacy Victor wang
go fuck yourself phoebe hamra
Issue 12, Vol. 66
the way of the emoji caroline Hendy
cover contributors: emoji
Ria Pflaum, Michael Turvey, Lauretta Flack, Ross Caldwell, Bremer sharp, isaac dugdale, holly zhang, caitlin macleod, kanika kirpalani, lawrence rogers, Pia maselos, blair williams, tony gu, amelia richardson, jade mckenna, jessy wu, kat carrington, resa le, benjamin roberts, phoenix tian, fred hanlin, linnea smith, daniel mckay, clodagh o’doherty, raqueeb bhuyan, hanna zurcher, joanne leong
Issue 12, Vol. 66
anusa’s ethnocultural department launches at ogm 3 miguel galsim
anu moves to decrease dependence on enrolments from china alex joske
The battle for kurrajong: an act election debate briony roelandts
ANUSA DEPARTMENTS RECEIVE PAYMENT OVERHAUL
why we wear brands
icons - sibelius: a review
liam brewin higgins
why trump will win
nuts presents death and the maiden - an interview with the director
oil: blessing or curse? nahed elrayes
i see beauty in human nature juntao liu
“islamic state”: if not the end of days, then what? phillip etches
ruben seaton & izzy nomchong
the tempest: a discussion jen mcrae
radio campus style 48
vc schmidt introduces sage project for gender equality in stemm
iconic art: nolan’s kelly
interview with the ethnocultural department
anu enterprise bargaining process begins mark han
“hardly a slick political answer”, Dr kim huynh muses towards the end of a response
the way of the emoji
fuck the patriarchy liam fitzpatrick
Ten questions with julie melrose
violence and the sacred: reflections on afganistan and syria
go fuck yourself
who is your icon and why?
WORONI INTERVIEWS SIMON HUNT (AKA PAULINE PANTSDOWN)
why i need mocha
it’s political not criminal andrew martin
floriade in bloom alexandra green
the role and potential influence of crispr
GILLIAN TRIGGS AT THE JOHN XXIII WOMEN OF NOTE SPEAKING SERIES
gentrifob: ripping up newspapers at the pharmacy
TRIGGER WARNINGS FOR AND AGAINST...
when will you ever be famous or great? fernando goh
EXTREME INTERNATIONAL PENNY PINCHING
the tale of two cultures
RESPECT MY AUTHOR-ITY
arts & reviews 36
dendy film reviews
A VOTE IN THE HAND IS WORTH TWO IN THE HOUSE
a vision for a fossil free anu miriam adams-schimminger
on e-waste matthew lord
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS 57
debriefing on australian unemployment rates VICTOR SUKEERTH MUNAGALA
arts revue: a review
israel and australia: two nations at the agricultural technology frontier
cream festival: a review
real illusions kumar sambhav gupta
fox (quartet) anna miley
farewell sweet prince
‘tis the season to...
are low oil prices really good?
frederick olaide yinka-kehinde
a shot & a beer - live podcast: a review
songs to grow up to: lior discusses the art of songwriting at beyond festival
revival of the japanese economy tatsunori yamaguchi
the australian promise
the artist formerly known as renee kellweger stars in bridget jones’ bABY
annabelle klimt & josh bebgie
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Board of Editors
Editor In Chief - Ria Pflaum Deputy Editor in Chief - Daniel McKay Managing Editor - Liam Osawa News Editor - Miguel Galsim Communications Editor - Finn Pedersen Content Editor - Bronte McHenry Radio Director - Caitlin Magee Creative Editor - Joanne Leong
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Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
ANUSA’s Ethnocultural Department Launches at OGM 3 Miguel Galsim
the Women of Colour Collective and providing resources for sexual assault survivors.
On Friday September 23, attendees at ANUSA’s third Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) voted unanimously to establish the Association’s first Ethnocultural Department, capping off a long journey that began with discussions in mid-2015. Existing as a committee in the intervening period, the group promises to advocate for ethnoculturally and linguistically diverse students who self-identify as people of colour. Rashna Farrukh, Secretary of the previous Ethnocultural Committee, opened by saying the Department would fill an “empty space where ethnoculturally-diverse people felt they weren’t being represented by the university.” Kat Reed, Co-Chair of the Committee, labelled the passing of the motion as “historic”, especially since other Australian universities like University of Sydney and La Trobe already have equivalent departments, as does the National Union of Students (NUS). Farrukh particularly expressed frustrations that the sexual assault survey
Speaking to the motion, Afif Haque argued the Department would be a “space to feel accepted and safe,” and would foster “greater understanding and real, positive change.” He also alluded to problems of racism within the wider society. Expanding on this, Farrukh told Woroni “It is true that today very vocal elements of racism exist in not only Australian society at large, but on our campus. However, it is also true that everyday implicit forms of racism which go unnoticed by the majority of people, can be extremely hurtful to the marginalised students that we represent.” She continued, advocating for a strategy of local change within the University, “So although we aim to - in the long term - bring about change in divisive rhetoric which has been a strong media focal point lately, we believe in the saying that ‘change begins at home.’”
being conducted at ANU – led by the Australian Human Rights Commission and Universities Australia, and kickstarted by the NUS – did not consult students of colour, and does not currently plan to include recommendations for them. She cited the unique experiences of persons of colour, particularly the dimensions of shame and stigma that may prevent ethnoculturally-diverse students from reporting crimes. She told Woroni that the historical absence of ethnoculturally-diverse voices from discussions of sexual violence needed to be addressed. The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre’s online resources see feelings of community betrayal, shame, and exclu-
sion as barriers to the reporting of sexual assaults, as well as a lack of trust in health services. An Australian Law Reform Commission publication on sexual assault reporting also notes that community pressures, isolation, immigration status, and language barriers may interfere with women reporting crimes. The publication also stressed that Indigenous women could suffer from similar conditions, with distrust of police and systemic barriers to essential services also factoring in. Farrukh hoped that the Department would work with the Women’s Department on this issue, particularly in hosting educational events with
Raqeeb Bhuyan, supporting the motion, also noted at the OGM that adequate resources would be needed for the Department. Farrukh later told the reporter “we hope that we are consulted on issues that would affect the administrative processes of ANUSA our Department uses in order to fund our campaigns and projects.” She looked forward to a “friendly and efficient system” of financial and administrative cooperation with ANUSA, and hoped for guidance from ANUSA’s financial team in establishing the Department. Needless to say, Farrukh and the executive were pleased. She concluded to Woroni: “By giving ethnoculturally-diverse people the dignity and agency to go out into the ANU community, we are hoping to send a message which says that ‘we are here, and we have opinions and experiences which matter.’”
Issue 12, Vol. 66
ANU Moves to Decrease Dependence on Enrolments from China Alexander Joske
A Woroni analysis of Australian National University (ANU) documents uncovered by a Freedom of Information request reveals that ANU is moving to lower its proportion of Chinese international students, a group it describes as “dominating” international student numbers. One report dated to May 2015 stated that “The University remains exposed to the Chinese international market,” and that “Diversification strategies at College and Central level are addressing this issue, but will take time to make a meaningful impact.” Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Outreach) Professor Shirley Leitch said that “Diversification has been on the agenda for the Australian university system for the past five years.” The earliest documents received by Woroni indicating a move towards countries other than China are dated to early 2015. The move forms part of ANU’s diversification plan, by which it intends to target potential students from five nations considered “university-level priorities”: India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Singapore. These intentions appear to buck the trend of the Australian economy, which is increasingly reliant on Chinese demand for imports and real estate. Should ANU succeed in its diversification plan, it would also be going against the trend in enrolments from Chinese nationals at universities across Australia, which currently overshadow those from all other countries. Work in progress However, numbers from recent years do not reflect a shift away from China, which ANU’s statistics treat separately from Hong Kong and Taiwan. In 2011, Chinese students accounted for 42.1% of ANU’s enrolled international students. Since then, that figure has dramatically risen to 59.1%, according to data from July 2016. Over 60% of commencing international undergraduate enrolments came from China this year. The fruits of ANU’s efforts to increase enrolments from non-Chinese priority nations have been mixed. A comparison of figures from 2015 and 2016 shows that of the five university-level priority countries, only
Singapore and India grew in terms of enrolments, by 8.0% and 24.7%, respectively. ANU International Students Department President Harry Feng said he was unaware of the diversification strategy, but said, “I am not concerned as long as all the applicants … are treated fairly with the same set of standards.” “It’s indeed one interesting piece of information … given the fact that, as far as I know, there are quite some universities in Australia which are solely concentrating on maximising their profits by recruiting as many international students as possible,” Feng said. Professor Leitch emphasised that ANU’s international intake is largely driven by external factors, and that ANU will accept any students who meet its academic requirements. Professor Leitch added that ANU has never pursued international marketing, and instead relies on student recruiters to increase its international presence, but that it is looking to develop an international marketing strategy to drive its diversification plan. “We don’t think that an overreliance on a single market is particularly good for the student body, so we would like a greater range of source countries,” Professor Leitch said, pointing out the increased diversity in the classroom that would come from diversification. The May 2015 report pointed out that, compared to the Group of Eight (Go8) average, ANU has the largest proportion of Chinese student load. This heavy dependence on China was raised by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington in a February 2016 ANU Council meeting, where she mentioned the need to “mitigate potential risk exposure in the event of market downturn.” The May 2015 report goes into College-specific priorities, aiming for a target of 39% of international commencements at the College of Business and Economics (CBE) coming from countries other than China, particularly the five priority nations, and a 100% increase in CBE revenue by 2020. Professor Leitch indicated that the increase in CBE revenue
would predominately come from increased fees rather than increased international student numbers. Currently, only 26.1% of CBE international students are from countries other than China.
Master’s degree program, agreements with scholarship agencies, articulation agreements with other universities, and creating more short-term non-award exchange opportunities.
The College of Engineering and Computer Science is also targeting international students.
The University of Sydney, which has a high proportion of Chinese international students, declined to comment on whether it is pursuing similar strategies. Room for improvement The May 15 report mentions the need for improved management of the University’s international agents. ANU has agreements with hundreds of overseas education agencies who act as middlemen in the recruitment of ANU international students, and are used by many if not most international students. In 2015, an ABC Four Corners investigation exposed the sometimes corrupt and fraudulent activities of Chinese education agents, including some representing ANU. In some cases, students with International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores of only 4.5 were being admitted to Australian universities. ANU requires an IELTS score of 6.5 for admissions. These failures to follow entrance standards were found to have been facilitated by agents, who willingly accepted fake academic transcripts. A study by Zinch China, a consulting company that advises American universities, estimated that 90% of Chinese university applicants forged recommendations, 70% submitted personal essays written by others, and 50% forged their high-school academic transcripts. The degree to which such behaviour is prevalent at Australian universities is unknown. Another area for improvement explored in the report was the conversion rate from student place offers to acceptances, with around a quarter of postgraduate coursework degree offers being accepted in the first half of 2015, a decline of 8% from 2014. Other parts of the diversification strategy include expanding its double
“There is no sign that the Chinese market is going to fail any time soon,” Professor Leitch said. “I think what is happening is that people are now starting to think that in ten years time, at the rate that the Chinese university system is developing its own high-quality universities, there will be less demand [for overseas higher education].” ANU’s diversification plan displays a cautious long-term outlook towards the Chinese market for overseas higher education, but shows its confidence in the broader Chinese economy. This confident outlook is at odds with the views of many China analysts, including Jonathan Anderson of the Emerging Advisors Group, who has historically been optimistic about the Chinese economy, but warned this year of a credit-driven crisis. “For years we have been waiting for China to make the tough choice and sacrifice near-term growth in order to stabilise macro balance sheets and stop its exploding debt cycle,” Anderson was quoted in the Financial Times as writing, “[But] the costs of taking real adjustment are clearly too high for the government to bear … Right now we put the initial potential crisis threshold at around five years.” Arthur Kroeber, editor of China Economic Quarterly and managing director at the research firm Gavekal Dragonomics, has a similarly dim view of China’s economic future. However, instead of predicting a collapse he has warned of a Japan-style economic slowdown. Kroeber pointed out in an interview with Matt Phillips of Quartz that the Chinese government has lent money carelessly. He then argued that this situation leads to a Japan-style economic doldrums, where “there’s this very, very high debt level, and growth that has gone down to a very low level because most of this debt is going into totally unproductive stuff, and you basically have no way to get out of that.”
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
THE BATTLE FOR KURRAJONG: AN ACT ELECTION DEBATE Briony Roelandts It is less than 3 weeks until the ACT Election, which will take place on October 15. Many students at the ANU will be required to vote in this election, and it is important that we are informed about candidates, policies, and the electoral system used in the ACT. On Wednesday September 21st, ANUSA hosted the ‘Battle for the ACT seat of Kurrajong’ in the Manning Clark Lecture Theatre, with Education Officer James Connolly monitoring the debate. Students registered to vote using an address in the vicinity of the ANU will likely be voting in the Kurrajong electorate. The candidates present at the debate were Elizabeth Lee (Canberra Liberals), Leah Dwyer (ACT Labor) and Shane Rattenbury MLA (ACT Greens). Some may know Elizabeth Lee, who has lectured Law at both the ANU and UC, and has lived in Canberra for 18 years. Leah Dwyer moved to Canberra 8 years ago and completed her Masters of International Relations at the ANU. She now works for the Department of Employment. Shane Rattenbury is
the current Member for Molonglo, a former Speaker of the ACT Legislative Assembly, and has lived in Canberra for over 20 years.
Rattenbury stated the Greens’ support for Labor’s transport plan and stressed the importance of an integrated transport system.
The first part of the debate saw candidates answer questions about policy relating to transport, health and rates. Afterwards, candidates took questions from the audience.
Health was another contentious issue, with Lee stating that the Liberals would use the money from the Light Rail to improve the ACT’s health system, as well as education. Dwyer maintained that ACT Labor would be able to improve health and education, as well as funding the Light Rail.
One of the election deal breakers is undoubtedly set to be the Light Rail. The ACT (Labor) Government has been announcing Light Rail stages throughout the year, with Dwyer providing the specifics of this Light Rail plan as well as ACT Labor’s plans to improve the ACTION bus system. Lee responded with her party’s opposition to the Light Rail based primarily upon cost and proposed the widening of Northbourne Avenue to accommodate for bus lanes instead. She added that Labor’s ACTION bus plans were only announced after the Liberals’ had announced their bus plans, which will apparently be utilised by more Canberrans than ‘the tram’.
There was some debate over the Canberra Liberals’ announcement that they will provide Gunghalin and Tuggeranong with a “mini hospital” if elected. Dwyer and Rattenbury pointed out that these hospitals will only be for minor injuries, and that patients with more serious cases would have to be transported to the larger hospitals anyway. They were concerned about the confusion such hospitals would create amongst the public and recommended that the Canberra Liberals stop promoting a “24-hour emergency department”, when somebody having a heart attack would not be able to be treated there.
Dwyer then talked about ACT Labor’s health plans that will include upgrades to existing hospitals and a new 12-bed child and adolescent mental health unit at the women and children’s hospital. All three parties stated their support for the 100% renewable energy target and their dedication towards improving Canberra’s schools, universities and vocational institutions. Finally, it is important to recognise that the ACT uses the Hare-Clark electoral system, meaning that each electorate elects 5 members to the Legislative Assembly. Each party can run up to 5 candidates in an electorate and voters must preference them. Therefore, Lee, Dwyer and Rattenbury are not the only candidates running in the Kurrajong electorate. For more information about the ACT Election go to http://www. elections.act.gov.au. Briony Roelandts is a Member of the Australian Labor Party
ANUSA Departments Receive Payment Overhaul Miguel Galsim At ANUSA’s third Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) on September 23, a motion to establish new regulations governing department payments was passed, facilitating increased payment to officers in the form of stipends, and authorising honoraria for select department individuals. In previous years departments were given only $5000 each in honoraria to split between the officers and deputies. Last year the Queer* Department reportedly only received $8000 to share between the officers and deputies as payment – lamentable to many given the heavy workload of the roles. According to the new regulations, the seven departments (Indigenous, Women’s, Queer*, International, Environment, Disabilities, and Ethnocultural) will each take a $15,000 slice from the “default amount” of $105,000 provided for department pay from SSAF fees. The total amount is also pegged to the Consumer Price Index, and any changes in excess of CPI movement must be approved by the Student Representative Council (SRC).
Of the $15,000 given to each department, a substantial amount will be paid to the respective officer in the form of a stipend. The regulations stipulate that the amount paid to one individual in a year must fall between 33% and 75% of the agreed amount given to the Department – between $4950 and $11,250 if the default amount remains unchanged. The regulations do not cover how the stipend will be determined in each case. Regardless, they do allow the ANUSA Executive to withhold or suspend payment to an officer if the Executive determines they are not fulfilling their duties. However, the Executive can only do so on recommendation of the concerned department, and if department members successfully move to withhold/ suspend the officer’s stipend in their own meeting. The Executive must also ensure the department members have gone to adequate lengths to counsel the officer and attempt to remedy the officer’s shortcomings.
On the other hand, honoraria payments are “discretionary” and determined by department members in internal meetings. The regulations state they are to be paid for “voluntary service to the student body... over and above any basic duties of an office.” Speaking for the motion, ANUSA President Ben Gill labelled the process as long, but consultative. He believed the payment reforms were necessary to provide a supportive community at the ANU, and to introduce “access and equity into these positions.” Disabilities Officer Tom Kesina praised the new system as one “[promoting] fair pay for the extraordinary work the departments have done.” Kesina also argued that it was “one of the best systems in Australia as it preserves autonomy.” Similarly, Queer* Officer Fred Hanlin described the motion as “one of the better outcomes [for departments] in the past five years.” He felt that officers and their deputies “would like
to be recognised” for their hard work. Kat Reed, current co-chair of the Ethnocultural Committee, also praised the reforms as they would allow more students to stand up for the rights of marginalised peoples. Aditi Razdan, co-chair of the same committee, also supported the reforms and said ANUSA had the responsibility to support minorities through the payment overhaul. Women’s Officer Linnea Burdon-Smith agreed and emphasised that much consultation had taken place with the departments, and called for attendees at the meeting to support the passage of the regulations. The motion was passed unanimously, and prior to the vote Gill concluded that “ANU would not be the university that it is without departments.” Full implementation of the new payment scheme will occur in 2017.
Issue 12, Vol. 66
VC Schmidt Introduces SAGE Project for Gender Equality in STEMM Miguel Galsim
On Wednesday September 28 Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt introduced the SAGE Pilot program and its planned application in ANU. The self-review and reform initiative launched by Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) – of which Schmidt was a Founding co-Chair – ultimately aims to create gender equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) fields. Based on the Athena SWAN program in the UK, the SAGE Pilot program in Australia pushes involved institutions to implement reforms to increase gender equity. It rewards successful institutions with the prestige of attaining a high gender equity rating, and in the original UK program, medical research funding was contingent on gaining higher levels of Athena SWAN accreditation. Dr Saraid Billiards, SAGE’s Head of Strategy and Engagement, recognised that the SAGE Pilot does not currently plan on tying research funding to gender equity progress, but cautioned that SAGE experts would need to first ensure that the same framework would work in Australia. The SAGE Pilot program also requires institutions to implement policies reducing barriers for transgender and Indigenous researchers, researchers with disabilities, and induces the institution to engage with intersectional issues. Schmidt expressed hope that the ANU, since officially undertaking the project earlier in September, would be able to combat gender inequality in the University through the initiative. He labelled it a “systemic problem” and its manifestations, particularly the steep numerical drop-off between female STEMM students and female researchers, as pos “an existential risk to academia.”
He stated, “gender equality is important precisely because one half of the population is women, but only 25% of professors are women… there is clearly a barrier at this institution, and at others in Australia.” The problem, often illustrated as a “scissor graph”, sees the number of women undergraduates in STEMM as slightly higher than men. However, as academic stages progress from honours, to postgraduate studies, and to researcher positions, the number of women drops significantly, while the number of men in these later positions rises. What results is a high proportion of men in higher research positions, and substantially fewer women. One female academic who Woroni spoke with prior to the SAGE announcement acknowledged the existence of the phenomenon at ANU. She observed her own Research School of Physics and Engineering as
“not particularly bad... but not good either” in terms of gender balance. The Research School of Chemistry was an area she described as worse. While she felt blatant sexism was uncommon, she highlighted cases of subconscious gender bias in ANU and in other institutions, such as inappropriate comments, objectifying jokes, and assigning pastoral care and outreach roles to female staff members. The academic also found that small groups around her School had a “laddish mentality... kind of like a boys club.” Such “micro-cultures”, according to the researcher, were “tough for women to integrate into... and can be really intimidating to a lot of women.” Additionally, she lamented that Physics students generally don’t see a female lecturer until third-year, based on her own observations. Furthermore, Head of Department meetings at the School were often dominated by men. Billiards hoped the adoption of the pilot by ANU and other institutions would be “the beginning of instilling systematic change throughout Australia.” While recognising severe biases against women – motherhood “penalties”, increased teaching loads for women – she also stated that the same dynamics could impact men as well. She noted that men could be pressured to take more work hours, and stigmas still prevent men from staying home to take care of family. Modelled after, but not mirroring, the Athena SWAN program, the SAGE pilot at ANU would begin with an extensive self-review, implementation of policy reform, and continuous evaluation of progress in a four-year action plan. Members of SAGE would evaluate progress externally. Additionally,
the Department of Innovation has pledged $2 million to enact the program, from 2016/2017 to 2019/2020. Integration of students into the largely staff-centred pilot is also a concern. After being questioned by an attendee, Schmidt stated that the action plan developed by ANU in the future might include students into the scheme, and make their engagement required for higher accreditation. Commenting on this, Emily Campbell, Fifty50 co-President, said it was “good news to us, and Fifty50 would love to contribute not only to the assessment stage but also developing action plans.” Campbell described the SAGE Pilot as a “much needed initiative” and hopes the ANU will “participate proactively during all stages of the accreditation.” This is especially important as Fifty50 considers gender inequities in academia as detrimental to the student experience. “One clear example of this is the lack of females in leadership positions, especially in STEM. There also exists a culture of meritocracy that is based on metrics, competition and reinforcing of gender stereotypes that can pervade their interactions with students. When considering post-graduate students, the pipeline into academia has a lot of issues, job security and parental leave are concerns for women, and the behaviour of and culture created by supervisors is really influential.” Regardless, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) Richard Baker stated the program was still in “very early days.” Billiards also noted “you can’t have institutional change if you just focus on STEMM.” Schmidt signalled his desire for similar initiatives across other colleges. He argued, “inequity is not just a problem in the Sciences – it actually goes across the whole university.”
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
ANU Enterprise Bargaining Process Begins MARK HAN
graphs courtesy of the NTEU, highlighting added by Woroni The ANU Branch of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has initiated the preliminary steps towards a new enterprise bargaining agreement. The enterprise bargaining agreement, which will affect all staff at the ANU, is the first since 2013, and will be in effect from next year until 2020. The branch’s mass meeting on a rainy Wednesday afternoon last week outlined the process of negotiation and passed the Log of Claims, which delineates the demands which the ANU NTEU Branch hopes to achieve in the next Enterprise Agreement. The log of claims, which was passed without incident, calls for a 15% wage increase over the next four years. Furthermore, the Log of Claims also outlines improvements on job security, a consequence the ongoing instability surrounding the School of Culture, History and Language. “I believe that the current enterprise agreement is genuinely a good agreement,” says Rachel Bahl, the ACT Division Secretary for the NTEU. “However, there are parts of the agreement that can be improved, such as domestic violence leave.”
Bahl also presented limited figures at the mass meeting, which reveal that the wages at the ANU are average or below average when juxtaposed against other universities. The issue of wages raised a passionate response by one of the audience members at the mass meeting, who questioned the ANU’s willingness to become the best university in Australia despite offering less in wages than their counterparts. The initiative taken by the NTEU to begin preliminary steps now requires the ANU to respond to the Log of Claims whenever they are ready to initiate their side of bargaining. However, the ANU administration has not made any signals to continue bargaining with any haste, according to Bahl. The process is expected to take up to half a year, with any contracts signed during the transitionary period during negotiation will come under the current enterprise bargaining agreement in effect.
Issue 12, Vol. 66
“Hardly a slick political answer,” Dr Kim Huynh muses towards the end of a response Cam Wilson
He’s right. Dr Huynh’s answer isn’t one that you would hear from Andrew Barr or Jeremy Hansen, but that doesn’t seem to bother the academic, who is clad in cycling gear emblazoned with his campaign slogan for the seat of Ginninderra. “I’m a fast learner. I’ve got a good power-to-weight ratio, I like uphills, I like steep learning curves. I’ve written about every topic I can think of. I’m surprised about the sheer size and breadth of the crap that I’ve written,” he says. “I think that puts me in the good position to be on top of a lot of things, but, at the same time, hold to concrete principles and to act in the interest of Canberra.” Dr Huynh sits across from me and answers my questions in a professorial, almost circuitous manner. Despite wanting to talk about campaign matters, Dr Huynh can’t help but give extensive responses. He frequently references philosophers, scientists, political theorists, and his campaign manager - the “most objective man in the world” - Tom Chen. “It’s a massive leap for me as an international relations lecturer to go to into local politics,” he says, when I ask about his transition from political theory to practice. “It’s a huge leap in terms of going from the abstract to the concrete. But, that’s exactly the leap I’d like to make.” It is a big leap. The odds of being elected are stacked against independents. ACT has no independent representatives currently, and hosts an electoral system that favours the major parties (something that he is no doubt aware of given that he wrote about it in the Canberra Times). Some of his campaign’s decisions - such as Dr Huynh’s refusal to use his face in his material, to the chagrin of his campaign team - are, at best, a thumbing of the nose at conventional wisdom, and, at worst, a serious impediment to electoral success.
for me is a political statement. It’s an “up yours” against the forces that drove me and my family out of Vietnam and nearly killed me. It’s an “up yours” to totalitarianism, prejudice and oppression.”
You wouldn’t know this from the way Dr Huynh is campaigning. Early in the election period, Dr Huynh seems to be settling into the swing of things. He diligently mentions his policies, weighs in on the light rail debate, and weaves in his background story of how his family fled from Vietnam on a boat and then settled in Canberra decades ago. He even takes a jab at his political opponents’ opportunistic use of community involvement. Compared to some politicians who are only familiar with declarative statements, Dr Huynh revels in each topic’s shades of grey. “I thought for ages for one word to describe me. It’s curious,” he says. “I like ambiguity, I like asking questions, I like talking to people, I like learning about other people’s curiosities. I’m that post-modern - I celebrate other people’s quirks and curiosities and differences and I get out of understanding them myself.” Occasionally, I am shocked to hear him answer a question rather than deflecting. Dr Huynh is well known for relying on the Socratic style of teaching to challenge and inform his students. Some of his answers surprise me, from his declaration that he would “in some ways, be the worst Immigration Minister” because of his close emotional connection to the topic, or his admission that he is a regular attendee of Canberra’s premier car show (and bogan Mecca),
Summernats. Towards the end of the interview I asked Dr Huynh whether he considers himself as more of an outsider than an insider. This was the only moment where it felt like he didn’t have an answer already prepared. There’s a pause. He starts slowly. “I’ve always felt that there’s a lone wolf part of me that is inescapable. It might be a refugee thing. It might be a nonwhite, fitting in as a young kid. I always fitted in really well, I’ve never had a shortage of friends. But I think my friends would all agree too, that I am a lonely character, that I’m a bit distant in some ways…” Suddenly, he finds solace in an answer that satisfies him. “Let me say something and see if it rings true. I’m still ill disposed towards institutions, rules and regulations but …” There was a beat, and then he says, “I’ll go back to curious. Yeah, I’ll go back to curious.” Despite his self-deprecating remarks about appearance or his professed admiration for his students who “are doing better than [him]”, Dr Huynh seems to have an anti-authoritarian streak. When talking about why the campaign’s imagery focuses on fitness, Dr Huynh gives insight to his aversion to authority. “I’ve always felt like fitness
It strikes me as contradictory that a man with a disdain for authority would choose to run for political office. In many ways, Dr Huynh doesn’t fit neatly into categories. He’s a lecturer who listens more than he speaks. He’s a family man who is well connected to his community, but describes himself as a bit of a lone wolf. He says his parents often emulate him and his brother, rather than the other way around. There is one part of the interview which I think offers the key to understanding how Dr Huynh navigates these contradictions. He shares that many well known refugees respond in one of two ways to having everything taken from them - he says the ‘seismics’, such as Albert Einstein and Primo Levi, become liberated by their experience, whereas the ‘phobics’, such as Roman Polanski and Leo Strauss, become sceptical, neurotic and fearful. “These different types are two sides to the same coin. All my answers reflect this ambiguity. This flipping, tossing coin - you never know where it is going to land. All these refugees are both seismic and phobic at the same time. But my end point is this: either way, there’s still value in the coin’s metal.” photograph from cass.anu.edu.au
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
Woroni interviews Simon Hunt (aka Pauline Pantsdown) Vera McCarthy
In the 1990’s Simon Hunt shot to prominence in the Australian consciousness with his surprise Pauline Hanson parody hit ‘Backdoor Man’. What followed was a whirlwind of infamy, court cases and musical parody. His drag character, Pauline Pantsdown took on a life of her own and through music countered the boiling pot of anger, racism and ignorance that had taken over the media. After a 15 year hiatus Pauline Pantsdown reappeared to shake up the online media dialogue and as her rival Hanson has also re-emerged, back to social prominence.
and it was the number one request every day after that. How do you feel now that Pauline Hanson is back? It’s worse that she has more power now, even though she hasn’t done anything yet. At some point the government will try to get a legislation through, and will really need her vote, and it remains to be seen what things they will compromise on. The reason I’m not rushing out right now is because it’s not 1998 anymore. She’s not the most racist person in parliament anymore. I think that some liberal party members, like Cori Bernardi and George Christensen, have much more extreme views. Now she’s having cups of tea with Tony Abbott, when he was once part of a scheme to have her thrown in jail. I’m more focused these days on defending people who can’t fight back, people who are ignored by the media. I have this position as a B celebrity, and I’m going to use it.
Why did you choose to use humour to combat Pauline Hanson? We were in a time where there hadn’t been a lot of racist discourse in the media and in the public for quite some time. So she seemed to sort of appear out of nowhere, and particularly for the groups she was targeting, it was very painful. A choreographer who I worked with, who was from Malaysia, said to me, “Look I’ve been here for fifteen years, but for the last year I’ve started to wonder if I belong here, if I’m welcome here.” It was sort of like she allowed racist speech in public. I was angry, but I’ve always responded with humour. It allows me to speak more pointedly and come at the issue sideways. A lot of people have said it allowed them a conduit to laugh back at her, and to get rid of that feeling of powerlessness. What made you create the song ‘I don’t like it’? Over that year [Hanson’s] popularity had grown, and so had her public profile. She won nearly a third of the vote in the Queensland election. So the stakes had risen in terms of how dangerous she was. I said, “she’s not going to stop me.” Back then a small number of people had internet; people still relied on radio, television and newspapers. I knew that I needed to
compete with her in the same media, to be seen as an alternate Pauline. I needed a pop song hit. I spent about 6 months making it. I gave it an 80’s sound because the djs at that time were all in their 40’s and I wanted to tap into their longing for their youth. I aimed it at both kids and adults. Adults would get the, “Please explain why I can’t have my blood be coloured white”, but for the kids, it was the chants, “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, racist rubbish, racist hate.” Afterwards people would tell me their kids had sung it at end of year concerts.
Did you originally think the song was important enough to risk any consequences, or did you think it would never go anywhere? I actually made it to be performed at an underground queer party in front of all my friends, and we had given a copy to Triple J to promote the party. My friend who organised the party was a drag queen friend, Vanessa Wagner, who did some work for Triple J at the time. He basically just took it in and said, “Look we’re doing a party on the weekend can I do a little interview about it? Here’s the song we’re going to perform,” and that was day one. Everybody called the station
What forms the basis of your values and beliefs, and your social activism? I don’t have any religious beliefs and don’t define myself within any particular value system. So it’s something I’ve formed myself. For any sort of minority group, for me, being a gay man, there comes a time when you realise you don’t have the same rights as everyone else. Homosexuality had a fourteen-year jail sentence in New South Wales until I was twenty-two years old - so I was facing fourteen years in jail every time I had sex until then, if you can imagine that. In a situation like that, you tend to realise that society is not always treating everybody equally, and that gives you a particular interest in how people have fought against it - in my teens I was fascinated by the American Civil Rights movement of the 60’s, and I kept following activism from there.
Issue 12, Vol. 66
Gillian Triggs at the John XXIII Women of Note Speaking Series Georgie Hatch
Content Warning: Discussion of Sexism Imagine a time when the quality of a woman’s legs was the determining factor in obtaining membership into a Law society, or where only 10% of law students were women. This was the time in which Gillian Triggs attended university. When listening to Professor Triggs explain her university experience on Tuesday 20th, at the John XXIII Women of Note speaking series, I couldn’t help but draw incredibly close parallels to my own university experience. When Professor Triggs graduated, it was a time of hope and expectation for women - the expectation that things were going to change. It saddens me, therefore, that nearly fifty years later, not much has. A woman’s worth, personal and professional, is still too often based on appearances and a willingness to comply. We are still objectified and pitted against one another, and we are still getting left behind in the professional world.
Professor Triggs’ talk resonated with me because it highlighted the false sense of accomplishment our society holds. We think that because more women attend university, and are more represented in the workforce, that our work is done – it is far from over. The fact is that one in three women experience some form of sexual violence at university, a statistic that the class of 1969 would likely have thought would drop significantly. It was confronting to hear about the
optimism and confidence Gillian’s generation had in the futures of women, and the general feeling amongst them that they could change everything. This feeling is one we all know too well, but I can’t help but think, are we just as naive as they were? If the way young women are treated
Union of Students, have generated a nation-wide survey to collect data on the extent of sexual assault and harassment prevalent at universities. The survey consists of a qualitative section and a quantitative one. 3000 randomly selected students at the ANU will receive the survey in the
Although the statistics Professor Triggs shared were disheartening, it was reassuring to see a large, supportive and engaged audience, who shared a passion for equality, sitting behind me.
They represent a cry for change that can no longer be ignored. The National survey, the first of its kind in the world, is a big step in the right direction. As Professor Triggs highlighted, this survey will finally publicise the substantial figures that account for the stories we all hear far too often.
at university has not changed in the last fifty years, how can I remain so positive and confident that it will for our children? Even though we are not proving our worth in a Miss University Pageant – as Professor Triggs did in her time - we continue to fight the casual sexism and harassment that is still so widespread in our society. It is these microaggressions that create a mentality of dominance , which sexual assaults then stems from. Professor Triggs and her colleagues at the Human Rights Commission are are working to change this. The Commission, along with the collaboration of 39 Vice Chancellors from around Australia and the National
next month. It is strongly encouraged those who receive it do complete it, in order to obtain a clear idea of the extent of sexual harassment and assault on our ANU campus. For those who do not receive the survey and wish to tell their story, you can make submissions directly to the Commission. The Commission’s decision to compile two parts of data is very valuable, and once it is collected it will provide foundations on which to develop more effective and comprehensive policies. It is, however, just as important to gather the stories of students who are not just statistics, in order to gain a deeper understanding of what is happening on our campus.
The ground-breaking film, ‘The Hunting Ground’, had a large impact on Professor Triggs and the Commission, as it did to most who saw it. After such an outcry in the United States was followed by no Government response, it is encouraging to see positive action being taken here in Australia, as we are one of the first to investigate sexual assault on such a large scale. I hope that this movement will spark a change to policies at ANU. Unlike in Gillian’s year of graduation, ignorance is no longer an excuse for our universities to sweep sexual harassment under the rug.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
Daddy Not-So-Cool Emily Jones
Content warning: Sexual Harassment
When you strip us of our ability to walk away, you strip us of our ability to give consent.
This article is about an incident that has greatly changed the way I view the culture of my college, and my home: Burton and Garran Hall. The incident took place on the dance floor at the B&G/Ursula Hall ‘Thrift Shop’ mixer in August this year, and I feel it embodies the toxic culture that underpins many women’s experiences at residential colleges at ANU. On the night of the mixer, my friend and I had been talking in the games room. When we heard the familiar opening riff of Daddy Cool’s ‘Eagle Rock’, we ran to the dance floor. For a while, we were in our own bubble, laughing at each other’s terrible dancing. I noticed a few of my male friends had begun to put their arms around each other, but I didn’t pay much attention at the time. When I eventually took stock of my surroundings, I saw that all of the girls dancing around us had removed their shirts. I threw a confused look at my friend, who looked equally perplexed. A few seconds later, I felt someone tugging at my own shirt. “Take it off Emily”, urged a friend of mine, continuing to her attempts to lift my shirt off. Surprised, and a little shocked, I pulled away from her. Now uncomfortable, I turned to leave the dance floor. Only, I couldn’t. We had been encircled by a group of my male college mates, who had linked arms with one another, effectively leaving us women trapped in the circle. Many of these men had dropped their pants to their ankles, exposing their underwear. However, unlike my shirtless friends in the middle of the circle, most of the men weren’t dancing. They were watching us. Though some were laughing, others were watching on with hungry expressions, looking at us like we were meat. I can only describe my feelings in that moment as a mixture of helplessness, anger and disappointment, that all-too-familiar feeling that comes with being objectified, yet again, against one’s will. Only this time, these feelings were compounded by the fact that many of these men were people whom I profoundly respected. Men who regularly preached feminist ideals, or purported to. When the song finished, I approached another college friend and asked her whether she had ever witnessed this
Beyond that, the act itself is inherently gendered. As usual, it is us women who are expected to parade our bodies around for the gratification of male onlookers. Of course, many women enjoy sexualising themselves in this way, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, what bothers me is that we would never see the tables turned. It is not as if we swapped roles halfway through the song and watched on as the men shook their genitalia around for us. Many would find such a proposition laughable. But why should it be laughable in one case and not the other?
phenomenon. She said that this was the norm at Burton and Garran Hall, and she too had found herself trapped in the middle of the ‘Eagle Rock’ circle during her first year. This prompted more questions. How on earth did this bizarre ‘tradition’ kick off? Did it start with one girl removing her clothes, and the men surrounding her on the dance floor? And why the Eagle Rock of all songs? That night, as I was lying in bed, I was trying to ascertain just why I felt so deeply unsettled about the night’s events, given that many of the women I was dancing with (themselves often vocal feminists) seemed to find nothing amiss in this scenario. Just as puzzling was why many of my well-educated, progressive male peers, many of whom are outwardly supportive of women’s rights, also seemed to engage in this behaviour without a moment’s thought. I know what many of those reading this, particularly those from B&G, will be thinking: if
we women consented to taking part in this ‘circle’ and seemed to enjoy ourselves, then what’s the problem? Isn’t this just a manifestation of the women’s sexual liberation movement? Shouldn’t I be happy that these women were free to remove their shirts in a public setting? A major issue, of course, is that not every woman who found herself in the circle actually consented to being there. Based on the experiences of other women I’ve spoken to, it all-too-frequently arises that unsuspecting first year women (some under the age of 18) become trapped in the middle of the circle and feel pressured to remove their shirts. When our male peers form a tight circle around us, we are essentially stripped of an escape route should we decide that we don’t want to be involved. It cannot be said that all women in the circle were simply having a ‘good time’, and that nobody was ‘forced’ to take part.
I am also left asking why it is only permissible for us women to remove our shirts in public when men allow us to do so. Is it truly a ‘liberating’ experience to remove our shirts for the viewing of our male peers if we would be condemned for doing so in any other setting? I’d say probably not. Once again, our breasts have been transformed into purely sexual organs, and we are only welcome to show them in public at the behest of men. In my mind, this is a manifestation of oppression, not liberation, and will continue to be so until I am allowed to be seen publically shirtless in a non-sexual context, just as my male friends are. I recognise that many will still perceive this act as a little harmless fun. Nobody was assaulted or hurt (to my knowledge), and people seemed to enjoy themselves. However, a problem arises when this culture of objectification is allowed to manifest itself on college campuses. When first year boys see/take part in this behaviour in O-Week, they are taught that objectifying women in this manner is acceptable from the outset of their university careers. It is incidents like these that make it unsurprising to me when I see the astronomically high rate of sexual assault in residential colleges at ANU. I know that most of the men who surrounded us in the Eagle Rock are decent people, and wouldn’t dream of sexually assaulting any of us. However, for all the men who wouldn’t, statistically speaking, there was probably one among them who will go on to do just that.
Issue 12, Vol. 66
TRIGGER WARNINGS For & AGAINST... photography by HANNAH AXELSeN For On Knocking on the Door Freya Willis
sis. Some are worse than others, and sometimes it’s just about avoiding as many of them as possible.
CONTENT WARNING: Sexual Assault
Triggers are an emotional and physiological reaction to severe stress. Learning to cope with triggers is hard. It’s like training your brain to run a marathon. Just like how sometimes you don’t have the energy to go to the gym, sometimes, I don’t have the energy to engage with content which reminds me of being sexually assaulted.
Trigger warnings are like knocking on someone’s door before you enter. You knock to give the person a heads up that you are coming in. They might yell “come in” and you enter, or maybe, it isn’t a great time. Maybe this is because the person is naked, and they just need to prepare themselves for a second before you come in. Maybe, they need to work and don’t want to be disturbed, but you can come back and talk when they have finished their readings. Maybe, you just got into a fight and they are upset with you, and yes - maybe they will run into you later and you will have another fight, but right at that moment, they don’t want you to see you. Trigger warnings are like knocking on someone’s door, except that what is knocking is a potential tsunami of deeply distressing memories. Let me be clear about what I mean by ‘deeply distressing’, because I don’t mean that my feelings are hurt. I don’t mean experiencing the kind of emotion that I can control. I don’t mean something which I can learn to “cope” with, just because I am confronted with it a few times. What I mean is that all my muscles start to seize up, I feel nauseous, a lump grows in my throat, and my hands start to shake. I mean that I zone out, and an uncontrollable tide of memories of being raped flood my brain. I mean thinking I can feel his touch on parts of my body that I never gave him permission to touch, while I dig my fingernails into my arm because I need the physical pain to bring me back to the present. I mean reliving my sexual assault in every sense of the word. Here’s what I wish people knew about triggers. Triggers are something that remind a person of that traumatic event. And yes, if you have suffered trauma, there are going to be a lot of triggers which you have to deal with on a daily ba-
Most importantly, trigger warnings don’t mean you can’t share your opinion on triggering topics, that you can’t teach that topic, or that those with triggers never engage in the issue. It just means writing four words at the top of your page. It just means you have to knock on my door, and that if I’m having a bad day, I’m not going to say “come in”. On Persuasiveness Rob Morris I get it. I don’t like progressivism, or PC culture, or whatever you would call it. I’m not like that. I like offensive jokes. I consider trolling to be an art. And to be honest, in the majority of instances, I think trigger warnings are used less for their noble origins of protecting PTSD sufferers, and more simply used to end discussion rather than stimulate it. But we – those who would in principle oppose trigger warnings - should use them, if only because it makes our opposition listen. First of all, it should not be your goal to win arguments, but rather to persuade. Too many people consider these to be the same thing. I’m not saying that there isn’t a time when an argument is fun: when you’re with people who agree with you, and you want to solidify support by pointing out how mind-numbingly dumb your opponent’s beliefs are, it’s great. But arguments are never convincing. You can win the argument resolutely only to have your opponent spout the same nonsense a week later. Surely, this isn’t what you want: to have the same formulaic conversation over and
over again as if it were a Marvel sequel. No, you want to get somewhere, explore ideas, and genuinely communicate with the other person. For that, you must be persuasive. The fact is, whether you agree or disagree with trigger warnings is irrelevant. The people you wish to convince like trigger warnings, so you should use them. Play the room. Use their language. Come across as someone within their in-group who understands and still disagrees, not as the ‘other’ that can be dismissed offhand. If using a trigger warning encourages people to read or listen to your first sentence, isn’t that a positive thing? Of course, some will think you’re a piece of shit either way, and consider your disagreement a moral deficiency. But some – specifically the silent observers - won’t, and it is for those people that you should use trigger warnings. We should be very careful with our words for they are our means of sophisticated communication. We should understand our goals and what we actually want. We should empathise with the people we disagree with, if only to understand why they make the arguments that they do. We should do this so that when they inevitably make the same horseshit arguments they always do, they might listen to you when you call them out on it. On Empirics and Academic Debate Lawrence Rogers Trigger warnings – warnings specific to those suffering from PTSD - on media content are unambiguously positive. I would assert, however, that the term ‘content warning’ is much more inclusive, and is much more appropriate. For example, for most of the media we see on television, we receive a content warning before the program begins – be that a rating or a description of what content might be inappropriate for certain viewers. This is a good thing. It allows people to choose whether or not (based on their own experiences) the content will cause considerable emotional stress. The audience of a content
warning includes people both with and without disabilities, whereas a trigger warning is explicitly targeted at those with mental health issues who are ‘triggered’ by the content of a piece of media. In response to the first main point of opposition: content warnings do not harm academic debate. Many people take issue with trigger/content warnings because they are “conducive to poor academic debate”, inasmuch as people may choose not to participate in a discussion of ideas that are oppositional to their own opinions. But empirically, the overwhelming majority of content warnings do not refer to the nature of the discourse in a political/ideological sense, but rather relate to the aspects of the content which can be emotionally stressful to face. These include violence of various forms, discrimination, certain offensive language, and things along those general lines. Some people argue that if we let content warnings become prevalent it will become ‘a slippery slope’ wherein all types of harmless things will be requisite for a warning. But once again, empirically, there is no evidence or legitimate push for content warnings to include ‘anything and everything’: instead, they seem to be almost exclusively limited to the categories mentioned above. There is no fair reasoning for this slippery slope outcome. Content warnings have the opportunity to help everybody. They allow people to prepare themselves before engaging with content, removing the possibility of a nasty shock at something confronting. Content warnings enable people to engage with content in a way that minimises emotional harm to themselves. Discourse of ideas is almost always unaffected by this, and academic integrity is not going to be threatened by a three word pretext. It is an easy thing to do, that may lead to a good deal of benefit, so I say: why not?
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
AGAINST On the Fear of Falling H. Gilbert I’m not a sociologist, or whatever you have to be to make valid academic arguments about trigger warnings. I’m not even really an academic. All I do is go to class and make sure I pass courses - but trigger warnings hurt me. Have you been to a waterpark, or a theme park, or even to Questacon, and been on one of those freefall-based rides? They’re intense. They’re terrifying. When you’re waiting and watching and your feet are on flat ground, everything’s fine. But then you make it up the ladder, past all the safety signs and you’ve memorised everything that could go wrong. Then you’re being buckled in and you can almost feel the way it’s going to be when everything breaks, and you fall, hard. Plus the worker’s so nonchalant, and that makes it infinitely worse. Then you’re clear, and you go, and it’s fine, and after the first second it’s like flying, so you line up and you go again. It’s never as frightening as it was the first time, but you never quite forget the fear and shame of being worried. I know anxiety far too well. I haven’t found drugs that work. So every day is full of little comforting things I can do to calm myself down. I also have a relatively traumatic past. You’d think trigger warnings would help me. No. God, no. When I’m sitting in the first lecture of semester and hear, “Texts in this course contain graphic scenes of sexual assault and may be disturbing for some readers”, the buckles click. When is the floor going to give way? How far am I going to fall before I land? So then I read the book, because
I want to pass. Every page is overwhelming. It takes me weeks to make progress. I’m exhausted. Sometime soon there’ll be something bad enough that my lecturer thought it was worth warning us about. But then there’s one scene where some jerk aggressively propositions the heroine. She walks away. It’s not even character-defining. Was that it? Really? All that fuss for something so trivial? But now I don’t want to ride again. It’s okay to warn people. Sometimes we need warnings. Arms and legs remain inside the vehicle at all times, and nobody should have to relive sexual assault for class. But make your warnings simpler. I don’t need to be told what I should fear. Tell me, instead, that you’ll be here for me, and you’ll understand if I find the content emotionally overwhelming. On Psychology & Cultural Politics Mark Fabian The arguments around trigger warnings tend to relate either to psychology or cultural politics. Drawing on psychology, advocates argue that trigger warnings are important for protecting trauma victims from episodes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health conditions. This movement was kicked off by a case where a rape victim was triggered by a class discussion of Ovid’s metamorphosis. The first thing to note in this context is that PTSD is extremely rare, even among trauma victims. As Harvard psychology professor Richard McNally recently explained in the New York Times: “Epidemiological studies show that many people are exposed to trauma in their lives, and most have transient stress symptoms. But
only a minority fails to recover, thereby developing PTSD. Students with PTSD are those mostly likely to have adverse emotional reactions to curricular material, not those with trauma histories whose acute stress responses have dissipated.” Given this knowledge, it seems relevant to consider how many people exposed to material with trigger warnings are likely to have PTSD, how frequently reading said material would therefore trigger PTSD, and how severe these episodes would be. Is the harm averted by trigger warnings greater than the benefits of not having them? For conciseness, I will mention only one argument in favour of a more raucous university environment: anti-fragility.* Bone is anti-fragile - if you treat it gently, it will get brittle and break; you need to pressure it. Human psychology is the same. People who are not exposed to triggers and challenges will develop anxiety and become depression-prone individuals. Perhaps more importantly, from a harm minimisation perspective, it turns out that avoidance of triggers is counter-therapeutic. Fleurkens et al’s study of sexual trauma victims found that “avoidance is a maladaptive control strategy... trauma-focused treatments stress the role of avoidance in the maintenance of PTSD... Prolonged exposure to safe but anxiety-provoking trauma-related stimuli is considered a treatment of choice for PTSD.” Personally, I can’t think of a much better example of ‘safe but anxiety-provoking trauma-related stimuli’ than reading Ovid in a class of literature majors. There is, of course, an important counterargument to be made here, namely, you do not give someone
psychotherapy without their consent. However, one could argue that if a University was to send you a letter explaining that content within university courses might be triggering - as Chicago recently did - and you attend anyway, then you have given consent. Yes, the language of Chicago’s letter was chest-thumping, but it seems an otherwise sensible policy. The notion that the costs of trigger warnings outweigh the benefits is a liberal argument grounded in classical utilitarianism. This moral paradigm argues that social justice is whatever arrangement maximises total welfare, which is derived by adding up the utility of each individual. Trigger warning advocates, however, are usually not utilitarian, and this is where the cultural politics comes in. Advocates instead typically operate in what public choice theorists call a Rawlsian social welfare function. They define ‘justice’ as the maximisation of the utility of the worst-off person in society, even if it means disproportionately reducing the utility of everyone else. To a Rawlsian, no matter how much utility is lost by the ‘privileged’ students at university who don’t have PTSD, it doesn’t outweigh the utility gained by the few ‘oppressed’ students who benefit from trigger warnings. Classical utilitarianism and Rawlsian/Marxist paradigms are irreconcilable. So whether trigger warnings preponderate will ultimately depend on the values of students, and whether universities can specialise to cater to diverse consumer groups. * For more arguments, see Psychology Professor Jonathan Haidt’s YouTube lecture on Coddle-U versus Strengthen-U.
Issue 12, Vol. 66
(Inter)National Nitpickery Curious about world news, events or the occasional Australian political blunder? Every edition, we’ll be deconstructing politics and topical events from the outside world, poking the shitty bits with a nice long stick and commenting on its tangy smell. Perhaps we’ll find a nugget of golden wisdom lurking within?
Extreme International Penny Pinching Adrian Hindes
In Austria, Starbucks pays less tax than a sausage stand. Now, Austrians love their sausages, no doubt about it, but somehow I doubt that there’s a multi-billion dollar sausage street stall in Vienna. Similarly, I doubt Austrian sausage stands are paying millions of dollars in tax, no matter how great their Käsekrainer are. Wait, so does this mean Starbucks (and other multinational corporations) pay little to virtually zero tax in Austria? Shock! Horror! Okay look, as a broke university student I’m admittedly impressed at how good Amazon and the likes are in their penny pinching abilities. However, it is a bit worrying that the Australian local pie shop equivalent pays more tax than some of the most powerful international corporate forces in the world. I love capitalism as much as the next privileged white male, but that level of tax avoidance is taking it a tad far. The whole multinational corporate tax thing has been in the public spotlight for a while now. Even prior to the Panama Papers, everyone knew that Apple, Amazon and Google were all setting up subsidiaries in Ireland, Cayman Islands and other such ‘tax haven’ countries. Of course, these subsidiaries are often a single offices or call centres, and do little to no work, despite on paper having sales and services routed to them. In fact, tax avoidance is so com-
mon now amongst corporations that it may as well be regarded an art form - from the good ol’ inversion trick of buying an offshore foreign company in order to shift corporate headquarters with no effort required, to the cleverly named “Double Irish and Dutch Sandwich” that involves three subsidiaries. Recently, however, the EU got fed up with Apple’s sneaky bullshit, and the European Commision ruled for $13 billion (plus taxes) to be coughed up and paid to Ireland. Naturally, Apple called the move “total political crap”. This is the latest in a string of retaliations from the European Commision, thanks to a spearheading effort from Margarethe Vestager, the EC Commissioner
for Competition, who’s been nicknamed the “Iron Lady of Denmark”. Google, McDonald’s and Starbucks have nowhere to hide from her fine-inducing stare. It’s thanks to the EC’s stellar work that the US and other countries are actually finally considering crossing corporate tax reform off their to-do list. A couple of US senators ironically called the recent Apple ruling a “cheap money grab”, despite plans forming to repatriate several billions from Apple next year. In Australia however, we can thank our shaky Senate for the Government pulling back from its
$2.7 billion tax cut to big businesses and banks - they are, however, still moving forward with small and medium business tax relief legislation. The Liberal Government is still planning on moving ahead with its original election plan at some point, since apparently giving big businesses tax cuts incentivises jobs and growth, or something like that. But given exactly how much Apple and their ilk pay in taxes, I, for one, would like to see sausage stands get a tax cut one of these days.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
Bored? Stressed? At a loss for intellectual stimulation? Well, looks like you need to take a look at a book, my friend. Whether you’re a literary prodigy or a novice at novels, stop by my column to see what to read and what to skip over. Keep on squirming, bookworms!
Respect my Author-ity
A vote in hand is worth two in the house Numbers are being tested in the 45th Parliament Rhys Dobson
Alexandra Elgue The Vegetarian by Han Kang (translated by Deborah Smith) You know how it is: it’s the holidays Sometimes, a book comes along that reminds you exactly why you choose to read. If you ever become disenchanted with modern writing and find yourself lamenting that there’s just no more good writing ‘out there’, this is the book to restore your faith in the unending value of novels. Expertly translated from its original Korean by Deborah Smith, the book is only about 150 pages long, so not one word is wasted. A delicate balance is struck between the beautiful and the visceral in this story of a Korean housewife who makes the radical decision to turn vegetarian. This marks the beginning of her rebellion as she takes control of her body and her life. The novel carefully touches on a number of taboos you may not even be aware control social interactions, exploring them with an exquisite subtlety. Undoubtedly, the story loses something in translation. A number of sentences sound strangely artificial, such as the practice of referring to a character by the simple phrase ‘sister-in-law’, but this hardly detracts at all from the carefully crafted story. Delicate as silver and just as rich, the dense story is almost lovely enough to be considered poetry. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy today. You’ll thank me for it.
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood Nothing starts off the third term of the year quite as nicely as a little dash of murder. That being said, this book is nothing as banal as a simple murder thriller. In true Margaret Atwood style, this book crafts together a careful analysis of not only the real life murderess Grace Marks, but also of the tropes that surround female criminals. Biting, brutal and beautiful, the book is nothing short of a literary success. Fans of Hannah Kent’s celebrated ‘Burial Rites’ will not struggle to find similarities between the two stories: real live female murderers of history, recounting their stories of enslavement to a sympathetic confidant as they await their judgment. The two books are even structured the same way, switching between first and third person narration, punctuated by correspondence and other, more official, documents. Yet, where Kent’s works are set in the glorious landscapes of Iceland, ‘Alias Grace’ has a much darker, more confined tone, that makes the novel almost chilling. Still, if you’ve been swept up by the recent surge of thriller novels, you should most definitely take a look back at how the trend became so popular in the workplace. If you take gender studies, this book is a delightful read, crammed full of subtle touches and references to the relationship between men and women. Power games are beautifully expressed and explored in Atwood’s works, making it a novel worthy of deconstruction and analysis. However, even if you don’t ascribe to Judith Butler-style language study, this novel is worth picking up. For fans of twists and turns, you may find the novel a tad dull - nonetheless, murder is murder, and Atwood chronicles it with her classic brilliant style.
There’s a tension boiling within the corridors of Parliament House. It’s 4:30pm on a Thursday afternoon, at the end of the first sitting week of the 45th Parliament, and there is mischief afoot. Keen to test the wafer-thin majority of the newly elected government, a group of MPs quietly spring a cunning plan into action. Like something out of a Bond spy thriller or a classic Italian Job heist, the government was led to believe that it’s opponent was pulling up stumps for the day. One Opposition MP was told to walk between both houses dragging his suitcase behind him, to imply he was preparing to journey back to his electorate in the Northern Territory. There are even rumours of an airport spotter at Canberra’s International Airport relaying information about ministerial departures back to the hill. Clearly this was an extensively tactical operation put into action by the opposition to test both the government and it’s leader’s mandate, by making them believe it was just another Thursday evening. With a slim majority in the House of just 76 seats, every single member of the Coalition government must be present to independently pass motions, bills, or to work through parliamentary business when a division is called. Realising numbers were reduced in the government ranks, the opposition brought forward a previously failed motion for a royal commission into the banking sector. As a division was called to vote, it became apparent the Coalition, due to the absence of government ministers and other members the government, did not have the numbers in the house to vote it down. It was then that history was made, with what was believed to have been the first time a majority elected government has lost a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives in
more than 50 years. Embarrassing to say the least. The government proceeded to lose a series of consecutive votes. It was only when a motion to adjourn debate passed, by just one vote, did the embarrassment subside. If not for that respite, it is likely the house would have sat late into the night. At the heart of this event is the political instability presently on display in Australia. In amongst all the leadership tensions, the scandals of corruption and bribery, and the day-to-day theatrical parliamentary rhetoric, instability exists in the formulation of the 45th parliament. Bipartisanship is the only way anything will be achieved over the next few years. The days of the last Abbott-Turnbull Government are long gone. The government can no longer be granted a leave of absence at the end of a sitting week, no matter long or drawn out it may have been. Ministers and Backbenchers can no longer be excused to give lengthy media interviews, and nobody can now simply go home early. And rightly so. The people of Australia deserve members and senators that are honest, and actually present, in the parliament when they are expected to be in order to ensure adequate representation. The slim majority of this government will be tested every single day in parliament. As Independent Queensland MP Bob Katter put eloquently, “don’t have your mother die because you can’t go to the funeral”.
Issue 12, Vol. 66
CREATIVE WRITING Real Illusions Kumar Sambhav Gupta Real illusions argue in my mind, Rare ray of truth side by side. What is real and what is illusion? A precise confrontation of confusions. This is a state of mind, Neither you nor him or she will survive. Wake up from the dream, Reveal the map and follow the dream.
A dilemma or a paradox, Sufficient and memorable thought. Win them all for an iconic spot, A pure request please don’t flaunt. In the end it’s nothing but just maya, You learn it today or tomorrow, truth is pious. Let me restart the game, Perform better and add it to my name. Snap! So true I created a paradox again, Agree with me or not, I don’t really care.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
Fox (Quartet) Anna Miley I The stoned streets curved inward Toward iron gates: Cloaked in dusk she crept upward Against windows stuffed with lamplight And roofs patched with crows. The castle stood against ruffled clouds. As the world billowed around her She kept hands in pockets, Feet on cobbles. II The gates stood firm against her way, Within their shelter the King lay. His lies had set his feet in stone, His golden gyred Queen was gone, He howled for young Miss Renard’s head, Caught with Morpheus in his bed, He flung her to the dirty ground, Called her a whore and broke her sound, Had his court denounce her words, Cast her off but had in mind A pantomime of borrowed parts, About a fox with many hearts, Some of steel, some of jam Who in the name of pain and art Used her blood as crimson paint. Renarde slunk back to her nest, And dreamt up poisons in her rest, Stored them up in diamond jars And retraced her battered steps.
III The back door advertised ‘Kitchen hand - part time, reward rates.’ A fox faced girl, medium build, Impressive CV. ‘You’ll sweep the kitchen, empty bins And prepare food for his Majesty. No shirking. Aprons over there.’ Poison percolated whispered now, She slipped it in the golden ale, Served with ice, drunk in haste, The King lay dead upon the floor, The clock beat out his last gasps, Glass shards swam in bubbled fluid, The dog licked at a cold hand. Miss Fox faded out of sight, Cloak brushing cold cobbles. IV The fox within me lives.
Issue 12, Vol. 66
Refugee Policy Daniel Cotton
CONTENT WARNING Mentions of Sexual Assault, Suicide, Violence
by the European Court of Human Rights to violate not only the European Convention on Human Rights, but also the principle of non-refoulement. The finding that sending asylum seekers to detention on Manus Island or Nauru constitutes ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment’ means that Australia violates its international obligations by doing so. Locking people up without trial, who have not committed any crime under any international or domestic law, is a form of arbitrary detention - which clearly undermines international law, and the most basic definitions of justice. Australia is the only country in the world to mandate the indefinite detention of children; in fact, it is the only country that mandates the indefinite detention of asylum seekers.
Daniel is a member of the ANU Refugee Action Committee - a group helping to build the social movement in Australia that will close detention centres and force the government to treat refugees with humanity and fairness. In a Woroni comment article - Issue 7, Vol. 71 - Alex Bainton asserted that offshore processing and boat turnbacks are “unfortunate but necessary” components of Australia’s refugee program. He also argued that human rights abuses, secrecy and violations of international law should be decreased. His article mainly consisted of a comparison between Rudd’s 2007 refugee policy and the current bipartisan one, arguing that because many died under the former, the latter is the only feasible policy. Firstly, I would like to clarify that these policies are not merely ‘unfortunate’. This word does not capture the atrocities that are occurring. Women are raped, children are sexually abused, and men take their own lives. We also know of lip-stitching, self-harm and suicide attempts by children as young as eight. These are hot, cramped and degrading camps that are wreaking havoc on the mental health of the refugees and asylum seekers there. Since 2014, fifteen young men have died as a result of Australia’s detention policies, most of them at their own hands. Four young men immolated themselves. Reza Barati was bashed to death. Substandard medical care killed Hamid Kehazaei. These are systemic issues that have been repeatedly reported by whistleblowers, Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, the Human Rights Commission, the Australian Government and the UN Refugee Agency, amongst others. These policies are heart-breaking. They are deplorable. They are cruel. This, is the intention. By the rhetorical logic of the government, Australia’s policy must be cruel to have any impact on asylum seekers, who are fleeing some of the worst regimes and worst situations in the world. A logic of deterrence has no room for cushy, human-rights-friendly centres that hold people in humane conditions - as what kind of deterrence is that?
Policies of deterrence are founded on paternalistic aggression - threatening people with cruelty to deter them from seeking safety here. It is awful that 3-5% of people coming to Australia by boat perish, but there are other ways to help refugees than by threatening them with cruelty – this is not a legitimate way to help them! This logic assumes that refugees are just too stupid to see that they are better off sitting at home waiting for the Taliban to come, than they are seeking safety in Australia. This assumption is wrong. Refugees are not stupid, and they are not better off in their country of origin. In the words of Julian Burnside, policies of deterrence “might stop people drowning inconveniently in view of Australians at Christmas Island. But if they do not get on a boat and are, instead, killed by the Taliban, they are just as dead as if they drowned. The real difference is that our conscience is not troubled by their un-noted death somewhere else.”
Furthermore, deterrent policies are not necessary. The premise of Alex’s piece is a false dichotomy that has been an enormously successful: either we set up cruel measures to deter asylum seekers or people will die at sea. But these are not the only two possible outcomes. We could resettle refugees from Indonesia directly, processing applications there, or guarantee resettlement. Because it is unavoidable that some will still come on boats - such as those from Sri Lanka or Myanmar - we need to work to make boat journeys to Australia safer, and set up rescue op-
erations. There are alternative policies laid out by the Refugee Action Committee, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Academics for Refugees, and also a forthcoming document by the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce - any one of these would successfully break the false dichotomy of deterrence or death. The violation of international law and human rights protections is implicit in the current policy. Boat turnbacks violate the spirit and the letter of the 1951 Refugee Convention, and were found
Turnbacks and offshore processing can only ever be cruel. They break international law. They persecute refugees. Rather than attempting to rationalise and defend the government’s cruel regime, we need to be fighting to have it dismantled. One day, Royal Commissions will be held, and people will look back at the atrocities of Australia’s refugee program today. I just hope that we will be able to look back on those days knowing we did everything we could to change them.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
Scarborough Howard is a third year PPE/Law Student with a passion for international affairs, politics and economics. He writes about all of these things in such profuse amounts normally, that he felt it best to channel into something constructive, like a Woroni column.
The Australian Promise Howard Maclean
Muslims aren’t incompatible with Australian values, but a ban on their immigration is.
We owe our success to the Australian Promise. That no matter where or to whom you were born, you can become Australian, a citizen of a democratic, free and egalitarian society. Of course we have never fully realised this promise, but our history has been one of constant progress towards this ideal - from the achievement of women’s suffrage at the turn of the 20th century, to aboriginal rights in 1967, and the racial discrimination act of 1975. And, despite our remaining issues, Australia remains one step through to a mile ahead of the rest of the world.
By now, the Essential Poll which found that 48% of Australians were in favour of a ban on Muslim immigration will be last week’s news. An examination of what this means for our society should not be. Many commentators have labelled this result as surprising, but they shouldn’t. 9/11 was 15 years ago. For those 15 years the West has been at war with an enemy that has no face, and no country, but happens to claim the same faith as just under a quarter of the world, be of a loosely uniform skin hue, and recite in the same language. I was six when the twin towers fell. The war – as it was fought in Iraq, in Afghanistan, on the London tube, in Syria, in Martin place – was the constant backdrop of my childhood, and the topic of every newspaper and evening news bulletin. It was a formative influence on my politics and my worldview, just as it was for the slightly-under-half of Australians who were children in 2001. I’ve now voted in two federal elections. People who were just learning to drive back then are now in their early 30s, and are likely young parents with families and career jobs. Ours is a generation raised on fear of an invisible, unknowable foe that hides within. This ultimately is the wellspring of the global rise of the alt-right - from AfD, UKIP and Brexit, to Trump in America and One Nation at home. Last time Pauline Hanson was in
This of course is not an idea unique to Australia. It’s the common thread of the Western liberal democracies. It’s the idea that won the Cold War. It’s the idea that has dominated the world for the past quarter century.
parliament in 1998, her comments on “being swamped by Asians” sat uncomfortably with Australia, as one final reactive echo to the demise of the White Australia Policy 30 years prior. This time, the four One Nations are the wave rather than a reverberation. Nothing has changed in the method or the rhetoric, just the target – and the fact that in 1998 Australia resoundingly rejected the notion of defining itself as something exclusive to certain religious, racial and ideological groups, while Australia in 2016 is considering it. This is something to truly fear. Turnbull is not wrong when he
describes Australia as the “most successful multicultural nation in the world”. Australia remains the country with the second-highest Human Development Index in the world after Norway, with 0.933. The Economist Intelligent Unit names Melbourne the most liveable city in the world, while the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development chooses Canberra, and on both rankings the state capitals feature highly. Australia today is one of the most prosperous, stable, safe, educated, free and healthy nations in the history of the planet. We are currently in the second longest period of economic expansion in recorded history, and by 2018, it will be the longest.
And more than any rocks in the ground, it’s this idea which drives our prosperity. It’s not mines in the Pilbara that make Melbourne the fastest growing city in the West. It’s that promise of a better life secured by our status as one of the most durable democracies on the planet. Pauline Hanson and One Nation claim to be patriots, but true patriotism flows from a love of the fundamental principles of our society, rather than a reactionary tribalism. Any ban on immigration discriminating against faith would be a dangerous step backwards from what makes Australia exceptional, the first we have considered in half a century. And we should take no steps back.
Issue 12, Vol. 66
Ethics in Global Fashion Emma is a Law & International Relations student, and aspiring diplomat with a passion for journalism. This Semester she will be challenging the everyday choices we make, and the origins of the very clothes on our backs, as she explores a range of ethical concerns relating to global fashion.
Why we wear brands Emma Wiggins
Wearing clothing with brand names splashed across the front is extremely popular - we all definitely have at least one ‘branded’ item in our wardrobe. Looking at reasons why this trend continues is less about the actual clothes, and more about our self-images. One month ago Nike released an ad called “Unlimited You”. The ad didn’t mention prices, nor did it even suggest that there were Nike clothes for sale. What it suggested was for sale was a ‘successful you’. The ad showed a girl at a local tennis club, who the narrator told us would one day win the City Open Tournament. She didn’t believe the narrator. It then changed to a girl who didn’t believe she would one day have the “best [golf] swing in the state”, and then to an aspiring swimmer who was surprised that he had actually started “winning” races. It goes on like this. Each of these athletes is fit, strong and happy, achieving things they didn’t think they could ever do, being successful in ways they thought were impossible, and wearing Nike clothes. It’s an attractive lifestyle – it’s the old ‘they kicked butt and looked good doing it’ thing. The ad plays on our weaknesses: self-doubt, lack of confidence and assumptions we make about ourselves and of our limited capabilities. Seeing ordinary people like us (who don’t believe they’ll ever be elite sportspeople) be incredibly successful allows us to hope that we too can be as successful. Our subconscious associates the brand ‘Nike’ with this lifestyle. Physically, Nike makes a profit by selling us sportswear. The only thing is, we didn’t think we were just buying pieces of material we could wear - we thought we were buying a lifestyle. Globalization has seen branded clothing become a worldwide phenome-
non. Increasingly, the idea of every city being a ‘global city’ is becoming a reality. It doesn’t matter if you walk into a store in Australia, America or India – the same multinational corporations will be there selling branded clothing. Multinational corporations (MNCs) are predominantly founded in the West. Therefore, many argue that this commercial globalization is Westernization, and furthermore, that it is detrimental to the preservation of cultural identities, and thus diversity within our world. I recognize that it is Western-style clothing which is being projected globally, and acknowledge that this is a sad reality of our world. However, I wonder if this spread is not something Western culture inherently drives, but rather a strategy MNCs have taken it upon themselves to employ for maximum revenue. I say this as, arguably, citizens of the Western world are detrimentally impacted by this consumerist spread of branded clothing too. MNCs have influenced the messages Western society projects to its citizens. It’s sad that one of these messages is that people can only create an identity for themselves in a few ways - one of these ways being a walking advertisement for a multibillion-dollar brand. MNCs prey on any small dissatisfaction we may have
with ourselves. They pick at this dissatisfaction, making it feel more and more significant to the point where it undermines our sense of self-worth. So long as they ensure we are never truly satisfied with our lives and our image, they can offer to sell us ‘identities’ to patch the hole they picked in our character. In the West too, we are pawns in their game to obtain maximum revenue. Although this all sounds very dark and sinister, ultimately, we can ‘use’
brands too. Researcher Mrijn Meijers from Tilburg University in the Netherlands found that employers more likely to hire individuals who presented themselves at their job interview wearing brand logos. The likelihood increased if the brand was an expensive one. There is this perception in society that brands are trustworthy and project positive values. In associating yourself with a brand, people receive a clearer indication of what you stand for too. In choosing to ‘brand’ ourselves, we could be making a public statement of our values and aspirations. Or, we could be simply paying to advertise an MNC and buying into beliefs of our own inadequacy. It feels like a choice we make when we ’just do it’.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
The Armchair Expert As an Arts and IR student from Melbourne, my column offers a broad perspective on current International affairs. I’m in my first year, draw political cartoons and major in history. Living on campus and keen on politics, my column Armchair Expert hopes to keep you informed for when politics come up in conversation.
Why Trump will win GUY EXTON
When Trump announced his campaign, the Huffington Post said that it would cover it in the Entertainment section - this may be harder to do when he’s president. Put simply, Donald Trump will win because it’s the Republicans’ turn to win. It’s hard for an Australian to understand this type of polarisation. Whilst we are a two-party system, at least we have the Greens and old mate Pauline to poke fun at. In America, the only non-Democrat or Republican in the senate is Bernie Sanders – who ran for the Democratic nomination. This ‘us and them’, ‘with us or against us’ politics is the American way, and historically, it hasn’t been such a bad thing. When a Republican like Herbert Hoover dragged us into a recession, we could rely on a Democrat like Franklin D. Roosevelt to pump up government spending. When a Democrat like Lyndon B. Johnson threw us into Vietnam, the Republican Richard Nixon got us out. When a Democrat like Barack Obama introduces Health Care, opens up Cuba, and makes a historic nuclear deal with Iran, you can rely on a Republican/ Libertarian/Palmer-United-Party-Member like Donald Trump to increase the President’s salary, build monuments of himself and nuke Japan. Simple.
2012 was both wonderful and terrifying for Democrats. They had won the White House again, but in doing so, they lost it in 2016. Eight years is long enough for any diehard republican to watch the first African-American president ‘be the worst President we’ve ever had’, let alone twelve. I’m sure the Democratic establishment was thrilled when it became apparent that Donald Trump was tipped to win the nomination. So thrilled, in fact, that Obama was game to spend a large chunk of both his last White House Correspondence Dinners making fun of Trump. But when you laugh at Trump, you laugh at Trump voters. You laugh at the people that hate you already, and you embolden them.
All Trump has had to do to get this far, is be blonde, be white, and not be called Barack Hussein Obama. With Trump occasionally posting a Twitter photo in a private jet eating KFC, the everyday fat blonde white republican can relate to him – albeit without the jet (or car (or custom gold bike)). Here at the ANU, we like to think we’re geniuses at foreign policy, and assess the world with a rational, utility-maximising mindset. We also expect others to do the same. That is why we cannot understand why people vote for Trump. He offends minorities, majorities, the rich, the poor, you and me. We cannot understand that Americans do not vote for policies or budgets, but for people and personalities.
The other reason Trump will win, is of course, called Hillary Clinton. No one likes a Hillary Clinton. Again, this is hard for Australians to understand. We see a sensible, centre-left (think: centre-right), experienced, woman candidate who we’d gladly spend our Saturday voting for if the alternative was Donald Trump. But, as always, Americans are the exception to the rule. They see the first lady of Arkansas in 1979, the first lady of the United States in 1993, the senator for New York since 2001, the ‘not Obama’ of 2008, and the Secretary of State since 2009. This condition has been termed “Clinton-fatigue” – a disease not unlike pneumonia. They want her to stop hogging up all of the airtime, even if she does want to give them free health care – or whatever. While I for one welcome our new overlords, I’ll level with you – despite the title of this article, Trump probably won’t win. The republican base has been shrinking since the 90s, and Clinton will probably scrape through on the median-voter theory. But, if he does win, it won’t be because he’s a Republican, it will be because he’s not a Democrat.
Issue 12, Vol. 66
Oil: blessing or curse? Nahed Elrayes
Of the 22 states in the Greater Middle East, the six with the tiniest oil reserves happen to be Turkey, Tunisia, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Morocco. Respectively, these are the first secular Muslim democracy, the only success of the Arab Spring, an OECD democracy, the democracy it occupies, and the two most liberal monarchies in MENA. Ignoring 2016’s Turkey and skipping Palestine (as Western tourists oddly do), it suggests the usual choice of student-friendly, liberal, stable and nightlife-loving travel hotspots in the region. Of course if you were an oil magnate looking for new drilling locations, these are the last places you’d choose for business. Strange as it seems, this has never been a coincidence. The modern Middle East is an outlier in several respects. In 2015, regional oil production amounted to 28 million barrels per day (65% of OPEC’s total), while it held roughly 50% of the world’s proven oil reserves. Just a handful of its 22 countries are functioning democracies. Some of the world’s wealthiest and poorest nations share borders, while the three deadliest conflicts of 2015 were hosted by Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. A large body of research has examined the relationship between these abnormalities, the most prominent of which holds that the latter three – autocracy, fragile economies and political instability – are significantly bolstered by the abundance of petroleum. How? Basically, the accountability of Middle-Eastern regimes to their citizens, particularly in the Gulf, is profoundly
influenced by their ability to influence public sentiment using the wealth from oil trade. Oil is a valuable source of economic rent – simply, it can be successfully marketed for a price that far outweighs the cost of its production. We consequently see the emergence of “rentier states”: regimes that use this rent to lower taxes and increase welfare for civilians, diminishing their willingness to revolt. We live in Australia, a democratized state without great resource dependence, where taxation is a relatively larger source of government revenue. In return for this taxation, citizens expect the government to be representative of their interests and rights. Meanwhile, such families as the House of Saud are able to provide public goods for their citizens for little taxation, essentially trading oil profits for a prolonged democratization. There is plenty of data supporting the label of rentier states from 1970s Iran to modern-day UAE, and plenty of criticism of its methodology – but for brevity, two important things should be remembered. Firstly, natural resource “windfalls” have little effect on either established democracies or deeply entrenched autocracies – it is on moderately-entrenched autocracies (which nearly every MENA country has been) that resources are highly likely to prolong democratization. Secondly, in most data sets, oil’s impeding effect on Mid-Eastern democratization only becomes clear from around 1970. If anything, this strengthens the theory of the rentier state-civilian dynamic. The decade when democratization prospects slowed in such states as Saudi Arabia is the same decade
that OPEC states shook off foreign oil firms, to capture the rent from their resources for themselves. Returning to Jordan and Morocco, the oil-poor monarchies suggest that its abundance is not a necessary cause for autocracy. But in fact, it explains why their rulers implement much more progressive reform than the oilrich states, especially in the face of civil unrest. In addition to parliaments and a separation of powers, Jordanians and Moroccans enjoy substantive freedoms to religion, gender, lifestyle, and to an extent, sexuality. During the Arab Spring, King Abdullah dismissed two prime ministers and dissolved the Jordanian parliament, while King Mohammed VI conceded some political power and held a referendum on Moroccan constitutional reforms. For Jordan, regime stability is also explained by a chronic fear of instability held by both the throne and the street, given the proximity to unstable Lebanon, failed Syria and Iraq, and Israel and Saudi Arabia, who would surely become tangled in the aftermath. Israel would be concerned about the political mobilization of refugees and pro-Palestinian sentiment, while the collapse of a monarchy in its North would be anathema to the House of Saud. Thus, at least directly, oil is not the only factor in King Abdullah’s safety. Autocracy aside, why would oil spur fragile economies? For one, resource abundance spurs the “Dutch Disease”. The incentive to manufacture products is muffled, while imports pile in, enabled by the unending supply of oil revenue. This “one-dimensional economy” leaves regimes in a particular state of precariousness when oil prices drop; their revenues decrease
and they are forced to pass on losses through lower welfare payments and higher taxes. Little to no contribution has been made to the productivity of states that trade large quantities of oil. Of course, the revenue generated can then be invested into other sectors that boost productivity, something which the Gulf States are in the process of doing successfully. But this is not a necessary outcome when authoritarian rulers can pocket the lion’s share of revenue for themselves. Many will object to such a gripping portrayal of the world’s most valuable energy source. We’ve seen the glistening buildings of Kuwait, the billions in humanitarian aid from Riyadh, the metro system of Dubai, the journalistic depth of Al-Jazeera. Obviously oil wealth is not automatically a curse; it is simply wealth and carries with it the power to alter outcomes. How would these skylines have looked otherwise? But who shares that power, what is done with it, and how quickly it is spent means everything for the people of the Arab World, and their neighbours. To them, oil found itself in pre-existing autocracies with internal fractures, poor economic planning until 2000, and predatory foreign interests such as the Bush Administration. It profoundly slowed democratization, spurred the economic Dutch Disease and deadweight losses, and sparked turmoil from either petro-aggression or aggression for petrol. Although autocracies have diversified their economies from their fragile state in the 1970s, for oil to be a true “blessing” would entail that its inhabitants have full autonomy over how its profits are allocated. It is a prospect which the 2011 uprisings suggest is possible, but distant.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
I See Beauty in Human Nature Juntao Liu Recently my friends and I saw the movie ‘Train to Busan’ - a zombie apocalypse movie, where the theme is human nature rather than the traditional horror. Afterwards one of my friends commented that the movie showed the selfishness of human nature, however, I thought it showed the beauty. Indeed, there were many disappointing scenes in the movie. For instance, when some survivors reached the front train car, other passengers had locked the car door behind them, fearing in-
fection - in order to ensure safety to the majority, the minority were treated cruelly. The film also, however, depicted people sacrificing themselves to buy the others’ time to escape. These are the magnificent heroes who we should learn from. Some argue we are born good, others say we are born bad, however, it doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that human nature can be changed, it can be influenced by others. If you see a person show altruism, you will be moved. What is more, you’ll admire it,
pursue it, even imitate it. This is embodied in the movie when after the sacrifice made by the first hero, many heroes appeared. This phenomenon also exists in our daily lives, and I have personally experienced similar things. I was once cleaning a classroom alone, and when some other students saw, they also came to help. I once went to supermarket and did not have enough change, and the person after me gave me the difference. Then, when I found that one stranger did not have coins to
take bus, I gave money to him without hesitation. Human nature is more beautiful than you might think. Even if you lose confidence in the world, you cannot lose confidence in human nature - it is always surprising as a rainbow emerges when the whole world is stormy.
“Islamic State”: If Not The End of Days, Then What? Phillip Etches Since it shot to prominence by taking the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014, much has been made of the threat posed by the group currently calling itself ‘Islamic State’. This is not unfounded – the organisation’s success in taking and holding territory in Syria and Iraq has bolstered its credibility in Jihadist circles as a contender for the next caliphate. Similarly, IS’ use of visceral media products has made it appealing not only to the ‘old jihadist crowd’ – those people who got their start fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and North Africa, or running assassinations in Egypt – but also to those disenfranchised, unstable, or vulnerable people seeking to assert or reinvent themselves with a supportive in-group. This sort of threat has led to a panicked reaction from observers in the West, particularly for those on the right who see the combination of ISIS and Muslim immigration as a ‘barbarians at the gates’ scenario, which precedes the end of days, or at least, the end of civilisation as we know it. Fortunately, the reality of Islamic State is that it—and organisations like it—
will not destroy civilisation. On the contrary—it is losing ground within Syria and Iraq, its leadership is being hunted by US-led forces, the people it attracts to carry out operations abroad are not the most intellectual of souls, and security services are getting a feel for the methods of the organisation. But with every good there is bad, and despite these positive signs there are still problems which the organisation can pose. One is that the environment which allowed it to recover from its post-Zarqawi slump will not go away. The Syrian civil war continues with no end in sight, while Iraq is a failing state which is becoming a battleground between Iran, the US, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and itself. As long as the parties concerned fail to take the measures necessary to stabilise Iraq and Syria, the conflicts therein will be the incubator for an entire generation of terrorism. All the rollback of the organisation will be for nothing if Iraq and Syria provide an environment for it to recover and rebound.
Another concern is the character of the threat – as the uppermost ranks are “trimmed” the organisation will become increasingly aggressive. Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi may lead an organisation known for its brutality, but he rose to the top due to his ability to think and compromise, not through attrition. The sort of figures who rise up to replace Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani, Wail Al-Fayad, and eventually Al-Baghdadi will likely be less-restrained, and more eager to make their mark as leaders while they can. If that means focusing on carrying out more mass-casualty attacks in Brussels, Berlin, Paris, or even Sydney and risking an aggressive Western response, then so be it. But perhaps the biggest hazard is the way in which an ill-considered reaction can impact society in Australia, the United States and Europe. One of the most difficult challenges – that of Europeans, Americans, Australians, etc joining the Islamic State – has been made worse by a failure to consider and address the interests of vulnerable communities. The rage of the far right
and the condescension of the far left have only made this worse, by making certain demographics feel like they are rejected or seen with contempt, respectively. Just as the fragile situation in Iraq and Syria leaves Islamic State with an environment for a rebound, and targeting ill-considered leadership will lead to a more-aggressive organisation, the failure to properly address the grievances and vulnerabilities of the persons who go to fight, or carry out attacks, will leave us with a persistent insider threat. The takeaway from this is that Australians shouldn’t lose a week’s sleep over the threat of Islamic State, but they should at least understand that even as the group is degraded, it will not cease to be a problem anytime soon.
Issue 12, Vol. 66
Iconic Art: Nolan’s Kelly Gemma Smith
Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly Series – on display at the National Gallery here in Canberra - is about as Australian as you can get. Of the 25 large paintings in the series, the most iconic is of Ned Kelly statuesquely positioned on his horse, with the great Australian outback in the background.
art. I was filled with curiosity. How do other people view the works? The Kelly story is controversial, so is it right to see a convicted, police-murdering thief as a hero? Is he a cultural icon for everyone? How relevant are these paintings to us today? I watched as people moved around the works in a reverent, orderly fashion. Beside each painting was a plaque, hosting pieces of text from the 1881 Royal Commission into the police conduct during the hunt for Kelly and his band of outlaws. Each visitor paused at each plaque, absorbing the information before moving on to the next. There was a dynamism of movement. It was like a lively dance.
The word ‘icon’ traditionally has two meanings: the religious icons that used to be sold in shops, pictures of religious martyrs and little statues of saints that were pedaled for entry into the other promised worlds; and the tall statues of victorious, muscly Greek gods. Nolan’s ‘Ned Kelly’ (1946) features the notorious hero sitting, helmeted, high on horseback. The painting represents a symbol of Australian martyrdom, as Kelly was executed by hanging for his crimes, and also depicts a powerful god-like being, towering over his environment. Perhaps this does not exactly reflect the more traditional icons, but Kelly’s status is iconic just the same.
But our idea of Kelly is fiction. Even Nolan, painting seventy years or so after Kelly’s death, knew that he was bringing to life the stories that fed the myth. So why did Australians’ embrace the Kelly story so readily from the beginning?
Walking through the collection at the gallery is a little like walking reverently around the interior of a Catholic church, stopping before each station of the cross. Each stop depicts a scene from the dramatic end of Kelly’s career as a bushranger, as he railed against injustice and the wrong doings that the petty English bureaucracy inflicted on the poor Irish of the time. With one graphic scene after another - from the police shooting at Stringybark Creek and the slimy pitiful police officer making a pass at Kelly’s sister, to the siege at Jerilderie and the final courtroom scene where Kelly curses the judge - each strengthens Kelly’s mythological status, as well as solidifying the iconic status of the artwork. Kelly has long been an icon. He was the subject of the world’s first motion feature film - ‘The Story of the Kelly Gang, made in Australia 1906 - and two classic Australian novels: Robert Drewe’s ‘Our sunshine’, and Peter Carey’s ‘The True history of the Kelly Gang’. Sidney Nolan painted his series in 1946, nearly a century after Ned Kelly’s death, and though there are countless Kelly inspired documentaries, biographies, re-enactments and even bumper stickers in existence, when Australians reference Ned Kelly, it is largely Nolan’s iconography that comes to mind. If Kelly, high on his horse, has become our icon, then Nolan’s work elevates
Kelly’s story grew out of the early dispossession of land. He represents; the infighting of the blended invading nations under the banner of the British Empire; the tensions between the poor Irish and the ruling class, as well as the rich and the poor more generally, especially to the final years of the gold rush; and, the vulnerability of single parent families, and even the strength of women as single parents and their mistreatment at the hands of predatory police. In our imagination he is positioned solidly in the country, instead of the city, or in our own reality. Kelly symbolises the ability for the ordinary person to break through and fight back. Perhaps we choose Kelly again and again because it allows us to stand up for our own aspirations, and to rise above those suppressing us.
this status by creating a mythological figure by creating a painting equivalent the immense statues of Christ or Buddha that tower over people around the world. We look up at Kelly. His figure dominates the canvas. His black metal helmet with the rectangle slot shows his strength and vision - though significantly we do not see Kelly’s eyes looking back at us, but rather, but the
bushland beyond, making him part of the landscape and its timelessness.
This makes me think about our icons. Somewhere under all of our perceptions, all of our own interpretations, is the real person - but the icon we revere is far, far from this person. The iconic work in the gallery uses Kelly’s myth to draw a long bow and shoot our imagination through to a different reality. That’s the role of the artist.
On the day I visited the Kelly exhibition I was filled with awe and excitement – it was the first time I had seen the paintings in person. There seemed to be more paintings than 25, as they were displayed in a circular row – a 360-degree panorama – of narrative
Our need for icons perhaps replaces traditionally orthodox religious needs, for more modern secular ones. We have always needed a hero. One who does not to come from the ruling class, but who was an underdog, who was one of ‘us’.
Slip of the Lip Hailing from the glorious city of Queanbeyan, I spent my first year of uni dabbling in Physics, Maths, English and Music. By some drastic turn of events, I am now majoring in German and Linguistics. A Slip of the Lip is a linguistics studentâ€™s attempt to provide interesting and (reasonably) well-researched language titbits.
The Way of The Emoji Caroline Hendy
Emojis: the icons of our generation. They express the complex emotions (winky face), concepts (suggestive eggplant), and situations (dancing red-dress lady) that written words alone simply cannot convey. What writing lacks in the way of hand gestures and facial expressions, the emoji goes a long way in making up for â€“ so much so, in fact, that the â€œFace with Tears of Joyâ€? - đ&#x;˜‚ - emoji was the â€œOxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015â€?. However, there is more to these adorable little pictographs than meets the eye. Given that emojis are so tied up with written language, it is perhaps unsurprising that theyâ€™ve developed their own grammatical patterns. Linguist Tyler Schnoebelen wrote an entire chapter on emoji grammar for his Stanford University doctoral thesis back in 2012. What he found is that people tend to use emojis in similar ways, despite the fact that thereâ€™s technically nothing stopping anyone from using them however they want to. Firstly, emojis tend to supplement written text, rather than replace it, and come at the end of thoughts rather than in the middle. Thus we have â€œhey cutie ;)â€? not â€œhey ;) cutieâ€? and â€œI love you <3â€? not â€œI love <3 youâ€?. Secondly, angry tweets and tweets with the phrase â€œf*ck youâ€? tend to be emoji-less, indicating that something about emojis is incompatible with genuine rage. Thirdly, feeling or â€œstanceâ€? emojis come before other emojis â€“ people weep and then have broken hearts, rather than having broken hearts and then weeping.
So with all these grammar rules, can emojis take on a linguistic life of their own? According to Professor Vyv Evans at Bangor University, emojis are the â€œfastest growing form of language in history.â€? However, linguist Neil Cohl of the University of California argues that itâ€™s unlikely that emojis have the flexibility required to become a genuine language. The ambiguity of the symbols works both for and against them on this front. On the one hand, the ambiguous characters are able to express almost anything you want them to. Are the hands pressed together clapping or praying? Answer - whatever you want! This poses problems, however, if you want to tell an emoji story wherein which you are both clapping and praying. On the other hand, adding more and more precise emojis â€“ like Apple is currently doing â€“ makes the process too unwieldy. Emoji users are no longer able to recall the emojis from memory, but instead have to spend precious seconds scrolling through the list to see what is available. The fact that users also have no control over the creation of new emojis is a big drawback. It seems that, for the time being at least, emojis are restricted to supplementing written language. What is clear, however, is that emojis arenâ€™t going away anytime soon. Though emojis canâ€™t quite do the job of a face-to-face conversation, they go a long way to bridging the gap between written word and speech, and with so much of our daily interactions taking place online, this bridge is indispensable. The suggestive eggplant and the dancing red-dress lady are here to stay.
Follow Fash â€˜nâ€™ Treasure at www.instagram.com /fash.n.treasure
Issue 12, Vol. 66
Violence and the Sacred: Reflections on Afghanistan and Syria Shamim Mazari
Cella of Temple of Bel, Palmyra, Syria (destroyed 2015) My doctoral research looks at sacred places in Afghanistan, and how places become iconic, blessed, or meaningful for those who inhabit them. I get to study some intriguing things: a mulberry tree with goat skulls attached to its branches, and thousands of nails hammered into its trunk; the resting place of a famous hashish smoker; the grave of a princess, which people secretly visit to write graffiti to loved ones. I also study the opposite, places we might consider “cursed”: the ruins of a Buddhist monastery; the shells of houses destroyed in war, with collapsed roofs and walls riddled with bullet holes; a grave where a jinn, a mythical being made out of fire, is buried; a desert which blooms with wild tulips in the spring, but whose sands are sometimes blown away to reveal mass graves. I was recently talking to a friend in Afghanistan about my research interests. “People are dying of starvation over here,” she said, “and you’re wasting your time studying shrines?” I had no answer for her, and had to go away and think about it, rationalising it to myself. How could I justify such a niche research interest, with no immediate way to relieve social injustice, when such terrible things are occurring in the world?
But there is a strange relationship between suffering, violence, conflict, and sacred places. Places of worship are often targets for attack: they’re often symbolic of an old order, and taking control of them can symbolise taking power over an entire region. They are prone to attack by one’s enemies, and often defiled and desecrated. Think of the Bamiyan Buddhas, or the Assyrian artefacts of Nineveh. But they’re rarely forgotten. After conflict, they’re often built over, layer by layer, like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, or the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. I visited Syria in early 2011, before the war. The Syria that I saw was beautiful, vibrant, and peaceful. I remember storytellers captivating listeners at coffee shops, and shoppers bargaining over clothes in Ottoman-era bazaars. I saw archaeologists dust away ancient bones and sherds of pottery on hilltop ruins, and religious students tiptoe barefoot through the spotless courtyards of medieval mosques. I sat drinking pomegranate juice in the morning sun at my favourite café in the shade of the walls of Damascus’ old city. I’ve always been drawn to these kind of places. Perhaps one of my favourite memories of Syria was a day spent walking through the majestic ruins of Palmyra (which had flourished in the third century). I imagined caravans of camels and traders making their way
through the desert, and embassies visiting from far-off lands. I was oblivious to the fact that, barely a few kilometres from where I walked, political prisoners languished in one of Assad’s most notorious prisons. I was equally oblivious to the future of these ruins - that they’d be destroyed once again, that the impressive temples beneath where I walked would be reduced to dust. It’s difficult to imagine the devastation of war from watching the news. You have to see its effects, and to talk to people who survived it, to really appreciate how tragic it is. I haven’t revisited Syria since the war began, but I have been to Afghanistan several times post-war, and have often found it difficult to believe my own eyes: walls scarred by bullet holes; rusted ammunition casings; razor wire; entire villages turned to dust; graveyards that continue endlessly through the landscape, dotted with green flags to mark the burial place of a martyr. War doesn’t end when people put their guns down. The poverty in Afghanistan is surreal, and has to be seen to be believed. When I first landed in Kabul I was shocked to see widows on the street, with sunburned children laying over cardboard in front of them; little girls begging for money in the middle of chaotic and polluted intersections; teenagers with hollow faces and empty eyes, as if they had been robbed of
their soul, collecting cans from the gutter to buy heroin. This is painful to watch, and painful to be around. It is painful to feel powerless to change it. This poverty and suffering will, unfortunately, be the fate of Syria that I’ll confront if I’m able to visit again. I’ll walk into an Aleppo lying in ashes. Many former residents will return, confronted by the ruins of war and sites of violence. They’ll rebuild broken homes and shattered businesses. Those old enough to remember will have a tough time reconciling this reality with the paradisiacal Syria in which they grew up. They’ll tell stories and dream of better times. When this happens, how will they confront the places of their past they once considered blessed and sacred? Medieval mosques, mountaintop monasteries, and Sufi shrines have been reduced to crumbling brick and rubble. Their walls are riddled with bullets and partisan graffiti. Unspeakable atrocities have been committed in these places of prayer. I don’t think they’ll be forgotten. Like in Afghanistan, they’ll probably be rebuilt. Martyrs from the recent war will become part of the sacred landscape, and stories of violence will be remembered and passed on to the next generation. And if possible, I’ll be there to make pilgrimage to the places I love so much.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
Who is your icon and why? Morgan Alexander
I’m not one to idolise the Hollywood world, but Natalie Portman is an exception. At Harvard University, she co-authored two research articles as a student of psychology. As an artist, she won an Academy Award for her acting efforts, and recently wrote, directed and starred in a Hebrew-language film. She is also an animal rights activist and a mother. It’s inspiring to look at someone who has accomplished so much, but more so, I respect any celebrity who manages to maintain a degree of privacy for themselves and their family. I look up to Ms Portman as a feminist, and a testament to feminine strength, audacity, composure and excellence.
There are two people from history who are my icons. The first has no name, but was a 9th century Irish monk who copied Bibles in a beautiful hand. He demonstrated skill, dexterity and some knowledge of Latin. However, in the margins, he wrote in his native language of Ogham, ‘hungover’. The second was Hegelochus, the original Orestes in a Euripides play. Before the time of social media he mispronounced his Attic Greek and said ‘weasel’ instead of ‘calm’. He never lived it down, comedic playwrights made fun of him years after. These two men are my icons, as they are remembered for being so very human.
Excluding family, the icon which has had the greatest influence in my life would have to be David Pocock. He has utilised his status as an Australian sporting great to promote positive social change. He has redefined the boundaries within which sporting icons can promote change with their popularity.
Alex Lewis My idol is my dad. Losing his mother at the age of two and coming from a very low socioeconomic situation, Dad has had harder times than most. Playing in the Victorian Football League for teams such as Fitzroy and North Melbourne, he has skill and determination. Heading up a division of over 100 people at CBA he notably cared for their prospects. Yet, through all his adversity and accomplishments, he has remained humble, hilarious and loving. He sees the world with a level head, without gender binaries, and with respect for all people. The youngest of four - just as am I - he has shown me the littlest can roar. How lucky am I. Alexandra Green My icon is Leandra Medine. To me, Leandra Medine, the founder of Man Repeller, represents smart, forward thinking businesswomen, who in every respect have maintained their femininity under their own pretence. I first came across Medine in an article discussing why she didn’t wear makeup. It is not to make a statement, or to “act like the most extreme, hyper-literal and violent version of a man repeller”, but simply because she is too lazy, too busy, and most importantly, does not feel the need. She is comfortable in her own skin and capabilities. To me this is iconic, and is just one example of how she is a role model for young women who want to make their mark on the world, but are afraid of losing themselves in the process.
Lauretta Flack The Samsung scream emoji, as a visual representation of the world we live in, speaks more truth than any politician, activist or even artist would dare to. Let’s be clear, I’m talking about the one with the ghost coming out of their mouth (unique to the Samsung keyboards) here. Don’t bother me with that crass iOS shit. For me, this emoji is both a symbol of resistance to those who might oppress us, and an acknowledgement that sometimes these enemies will get the better of us. It is strength in weakness. In a world full of problematic faves, I am proud to call the Samsung scream emoji my least problematic. Nahed Elrayes Invite ten of the richest living musicians for dinner, and I’d shove aside my plate to share one pipe with Ludwig van Beethoven. In person, Beethoven was rude, unpredictable and strangely reserved. He was also a gifted composer robbed of his own hearing, a radical political idealist disillusioned by Napoleon, and a private romantic whose longings were constantly tortured by class differences. The famous “miracle” of the Ninth Symphony is that a deaf man composed it. I think the real miracle is that a character so downtrodden by the final years of his life would craft something so divine, beautiful and overflowing with love and promise for humankind. Beethoven will long outlive Napoleon, but I’m sure he knows that.
Waheed Jayhoon My icon is Stanley the Sausage Dog.* The only thing I ever have on my mind, is why doesn’t Stanley have a show on cartoon network. In this imaginative world, Stanley would live and interact with a number of characters in the house – like the pet fish, the plants, other miscellaneous inanimate objects, but none of the humans in the house will ever acknowledge their sentience. So Stanley the Sausage would deal with all manner of moral dilemmas. * Editor’s Note: follow Stanley on Instagram @stanley.thesausage
Zoe Cameron I’m not very good at picking idols. Every so often, I fall in love with a public figure, only to shortly fall violently out. Humans seem to have an almost artful knack of completely fucking up the good impressions you have of them. I loved Anthony Kiedis until it became clear that his taste for girlfriends between the ages of 17 and 23 wasn’t limited to an acceptable period during his youth. I appreciated Lena Dunham’s work until it was impossible to overlook her perpetual ignorance of racial and class issues. David Bowie? Again with the underage girlfriend problems. Beyonce? For all her girls-running-the-world ideations, her Ivy Park garments are made by sweatshop workers who definitely aren’t feeling those vibes. It seems impossible to find a powerful figure who doesn’t have an equally powerful dark side. Which is why, these days, I lean away from pedestals. As Roxane Gay says, “People who are placed on pedestals are expected to pose, perfectly”, and the truth is that pretty much nobody does. Instead, I look for the values I’ve idolised in people in the past in my friends. I admire radical honesty in one close friend, wild creativity in another; the impressive getting-shit-done aura of several powerful women I know; the resilience and grace of my best friend since childhood; and the insight and wit of my partner. Rather than imagining that there are flawless people out there to idolise, I’m starting to feel like it’s more powerful to celebrate the qualities of ourselves and the other flawed people we know.
Issue 12, Vol. 66
MoCha is the ANU Ethnocultural Department’s magazine, by Men of Colour, for Men of Colour. MoCha has been in the works for a few months now, and just last week the online site went live! You can check it out at
mochaanu.wordpress.com Currently, it’s just lone Reza who is in charge of the magazine, but applications are open for a new Editorial Board! We’re looking for an Editor-in-Chief and Content Editors, so if you’re a man of colour (MoC) and currently studying at the ANU, please consider applying! To find the application and further information, simple check out our Facebook page: ANU Ethnocultural Department. If you’re a MoC whose eager to have your work published on our site, then please visit mochaanu.wordpress.com/how-to-submit/ for more information. We accept all sorts of submissions - from articles to poetry, artwork to videos! From all of us here at MoCha and the Ethnocultural Department, we hope you enjoy a sample of our content… so much so, that you come looking for more. Reza Mazumder Previous Treasurer of ANU Ethnocultural Department Founder of MoCha
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
Why I need MoCha DC P.S McComrick DC P.S McComrick is an African-American who graduated from the ANU with a Masters in International Relations (Coursework) and Masters in Diplomacy (Advance)—Diplomatic Advocacy of Queer Rights in State-to-State Relations Case Study: U.S-Zimbabwe Relations.
I was asked by Reza to write an article for the new Men of Color (MOC) magazine called MoCha. I asked for a subject to write on. He said that he didn’t have one and that I could write about whatever I wished. I had a blank check for this project. This left me in a conundrum. One of the things that I liked about attending college, for the last 8 years, was the process of writing. I take my reader on a journey, guided by my words and driven by my thoughts. However, during most of my scholarly years, I was given a specific topic to write on. This article was going to be in the inaugural issue, and I had to get this right. I was panicking. I got an invite to a group at ANU for Queer Person of Color (POC) to meet up for coffee. In Canberra, getting a chance to connect with other POC on a genuine level is not something that happens often. So, off I went. However, as usual I was late, CPT of course. I showed up an hour late, but there were still a few people around and it was cool. I mentioned the magazine and shared the difficulty I was having. Other people were just as lost as I. One person, who happened to belong to the Women’s Department, said that they would write about toxic masculinity if it was them. That comment sat with me and festered. Ultimately, it drove me to the write on the topic of, ‘Why I need MoCha.’ I took the suggestion, writing about toxic masculinity, as erasure of my
race. Before I continue, I must make clear certain declarations. I am not a feminist, nor is this another meninist red pill manifesto for the Manosphere. I am not anti-feminism. I think that there is a place for feminism in this world. I’ve read wonderful third-wave feminism, by black feminists, black womanists, and third-world feminists that have inspired me to think about inter-
sectionality. I appreciate how these branches of feminism have given various Women of Color (WOC) such as our mothers, sisters, and friends, voices to talk about their experiences. It allows them to move from being an object to being a subject. They know their stories better than anyone else, and they can speak about, and with, their own experiences. This shines light into the blind spots left by mainstream white feminism. Further, these branches of feminism are not off limits to men. We are able to enter them as observers, listen to their stories and to consider their experiences. MOC are in-
cluded in these intersectional places, and they are the object of some of these works. However, within black feminism and third-world feminism, MOC are never subject, and such feminism is not centered around male experiences. This is as it should be for feminism and feminist spaces. I need MoCha because it creates space for MOC to be the subject,
and not an object. This allows us to engage with our shared experiences in a unique manner. My father didn’t teach me the lessons of how to be ‘a man’ in this world. He taught me the lesson of how to be a ‘black man’ in this world. I am not visible as a black male in society, but I’m seen as a black-male in society. My race and gender presentation have been so intermingled that they are inseparable and I experience them both at the same time. This is because the modifier of race is infused with my gender presentation. This marks my visible masculinity. MOC are often seen as more threatening than
white men. This often causes social trauma to MOC that is not talked about. The coded social language and signals that MOC specifically deal with are numerous. This is not to say WOC don’t have to navigate through similar things. They have to endure misogynoir. However, we MOC don’t talk about our experiences with this social trauma openly, and we suffer in silence. An African proverb goes, ‘he who hides his disease cannot hope to cure it.’ Spaces such as MoCha aim at giving voice to Men of Color as we are ignored by the rest of society. I’m often frustrated when I speak about the social issues that I have to navigate through daily life, as a MOC presenting person, and people don’t get it. They either outright dismiss my experiences or they gaslight, whether they mean to do it or not. Once or twice in a lifetime can it be written off, however when it’s a constant thing, it’s overwhelming. There’s a feeling that I get when someone understands and acknowledges the chronic experiences that I speak about. It’s an indescribable mix of emotions - it’s part release, part joy, part excitement, and so many other wonderful feelings. Overall, it’s the feeling of finally being visible and tangible to someone. In the pages of MoCha MOC can finally be visible subjects.
Artwork by Akshat Agarwal
Issue 12, Vol. 66
Small Hands Reza Mazumder Reza Mazumder is a South and West Asian MoC who studies a Bachelor of Asian Studies (Asia-Pacific Security Major, Korean Language Minor) at the ANU.
A sky of blue, looks almost teal under the yellow hue, of sunlight. In the reserve next door, people laugh, because in the sunshine, their everything is alright. The sunshine cuts through the window panes, and heats up the blood coloured carpet. The fibres tear at the skin of my knees, as I kneel in front of his silhouette, begging, ‘Please.’ Ordered onto the sofa, and the force of bare feet is dull. But the slap of hot skin onto skin covered in sweat, still, you know, fucking hurts. ‘Of course I have the right to be angry!’ She swings me around, terrified, of how I slap my chest, and screech at him. She thought I was so angry, That I would hit him, The irony. I wasn’t man enough to do it. He was though. The iron(y). When I saw the silver shine of the hotplate, reflect back my face, I laughed. Smaller hands pulled his arm back, I amuse myself sometimes, thinking if they’d not done so, I could’ve finally found out if you could see blood on red carpet.
Kneeling again, beside his chair,. and from above she looks down. At me. She says nothing, But her contorted frown, and her bulging eyes, they tell me. Say it. Her teeth are clenched under tight lips. He shifts in his seat. Say it. The heat of her hands sears my shoulder. She pushes me forward. Say it. My knees are going to get carpet burn, I think to myself. Say it.
‘You’ve lost your mind. You have no right to be angry at us. Say it You must never be angry like that ever again.’ Say it.
Say it. … … …
‘I’m sorry.’ Since I laughed at the shine of the hotplate, things have not been alright. And to this day I wonder, what my face, the one on the hotplate, what it would of looked like, if it weren’t for those small hands.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
Gentrifob: ripping up newspapers at the pharmacy Victor Wang Victor Wang is a Han-Uyghur and is currently studying a Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours – Mathematics) at the ANU.
14 August 2016
This is the church from my childhood. It towered above the neighbourhood. You could see it from the next train station. It was my guidepost, my way home from school, if I was ever lost, or ran too far away from the aggressive Doberman who never forgot my scent. This sandstone remembers the blood from my scraped knee. The pulpit smells like my first spring in Australia; I have hayfever. The confession knows me, knows me well:
The August of two thousand three, you and I purchased a dining table and four chairs and a fridge, and found on the streets a sofa bed and TV. The weeks preceding this purchase was: dinner on the kitchen benchtop – the surface white-onblack linoleum with peeling corners and permanent sticky oiliness. Thirteen years ago on this day – 14th of August – I took my first leap onto Australian tarmac, flat yellow landing strips, and cityscape flush against harbour and sky blue. We pushed a whole cart of luggage, which seemed enormous at the time, but contained your whole life and six thousand US dollars you had saved up to last us until you could find a job. And you did, at Intercontinental and Shangri-La, as housekeeping; you used to teach comparative literature at university.
An occasional dinner let us afford wings – you told me you preferred the tips – more flavour apparently. My clothes from Kmart – fitted like blankets, swaying on a stick thin frame; I was jubilant to finally own a hoodie. My lunch and her idosyncracies: smells, umami, and textures. Seaweed and its unique personality. I tried my very best to convince you of the virtues within bread and bland devon sandwiches.
The family above us was robbed; when the police came they shrugged and said “It’s the norm.” The neighbours helped replace that which was stolen. That too established the norm – a community of families in diaspora in short term welfare housing taking root on suburban soil. We are waiting for the bloom, for each spring to wrap us deeper in blue, for each day to ferry us closer to our own Castle. We lived across a tall Anglican church, a park, a post office. It was affordable housing: one/two bedroom apartments stacked side by side, up and down, and linked by a common veranda. In this apartment we slept on a double bed; the extra bedroom was rented out to international students to help with the bills. We found an antique TV on the side of the road complete with antennas and particleboard panelling. It only received Channel 10 and the ABC. The tired Venetians had animal stickers on them; the family in the house across the road walked their
You rushing to my after school care from work, stopping by the library to pick up a reserved copy of Eragon. You knew I wanted to read it but you couldn’t afford the book so you reserved it the day it came out. The same week you cried at work because you lost a key to a Shangri-La suite and you knew you couldn’t afford to replace it. In the end your manager paid out of her own pocket. dog past our window. Our home, with its eclectic found furniture and preloved carpet, would be the jealousy of many a hip Surry Hills cafe. Recently I returned to the neighbourhood and the apartment blocks are gone, replaced by cream and glass town-houses. The park has shrunk to a mere green strip, the post-office a gastropub named Ruby’s, or Emerald’s, or Sapphire’s. The other precious gems I know remain:
the tennis courts with inches thick dead leaves from decades gone past piling by the fence, the skate park with new graffiti, the Franklins. The playground is still here – the monkey bars from my childhood conquests and the path where we walked our lanterns during the Spring Festival. There the church stands; in front of its forest green door I breathed in the streets I no longer know, but remember.
This is the Australia I know. My halfway home for migrants, snug in every suburb of Sydney, in her cracked smiles across black asphalt roads, the warm embrace of fragrant eucalypt, and I didn’t understand anything until I’d already grown up.
Artwork by Akshat Agarwal
Issue 12, Vol. 66 Artwork by Akshat Agarwal
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
When Will You Ever Be Famous or Great? Fernando Goh Fernando Goh is a Malay, Chinese, Indonesian and Dutch MoC who studies a Bachelor of Commerce (Market Major) at the ANU.
I remember being twelve years old and sitting alone on a patch of grass by the library of my high school – books and schoolbag strewn in the space around me. I had no friends, but was happy being engulfed in my own little delusional world consisting of fictional books and fantasies of stardom. My innocent mind was highly imaginative, and I had huge plans for the future. I wanted to be a model or a highly successful businessman. I wanted to be adored and loved by all for my talents. I remember vividly blasting Paris Hilton’s album through my cheap headphones as I daydreamed and read my books, thinking that her and I were so different and yet so the same. Just like her at the time, we were both ridiculed for being who we were. She was hated by many, and I kind of felt the same way in my high school. I didn’t have many friends, and being in such a toxic heteronormative environment, I found that not many people appreciated my interests in fashion, cinematography, music and design. Furthermore, people would make me feel terrible for straying from the “norm” by attempting to hurl homophobic and racist insults towards me. That initially affected me, but it got to a point where I had built a thick skin and immersed myself in my own little bubble of dreams and ambition. While all the other boys talked about dating girls, motorbikes, sports and so forth, I immersed myself in the world of high fashion, branding, marketing, pop culture and music. Without even realising it at the time, I had a strong passion for the dynamics of marketing and advertising. I adored the idea of being able to contort and twist the image of something to make it lust worthy by the public. I was fascinated by how people would clamour over products by a certain brand, or how people would blindly follow a particular celebrity. Because of this, I was fascinated and also
frustrated at how the social structures of high school were formed. In my mind, I saw everyone in high school as one giant marketing ploy. Everyone were brands that tried to fit the current trends to gain more of a market share. This one incident in particular made me suddenly realise how unfairly grotesque my predicament was as someone who was a queer person of colour. I was sitting with a group of “friends” who were all chatting while looking through trashy gossip magazines during the lunch break. They were all rating different celebrities and complaining about their apparent use of plastic surgeries to enhance their appearance. Being the imaginative and ambitious teen that I was, I immediately chimed in with “hopefully I won’t be pressured to get plastic surgery when I achieve something great.”
At the mention of that last word, one of the girls turned to me and said, “when will you ever be famous or great?” I remember that day so vividly. Being in an environment that was predominantly white and dominated by heteronormativity, I felt like an outcast with no one I could relate to or go to. I’m surprised I didn’t crack under the pressure and toxicity of that environment at the time, but it did affect me then and still does to this day. Ever since that day, I promised my-
self that I would do whatever it takes to achieve great things, even at the detriment of my own genuine self. If I want something, I would go for it. The more people tried to talk me out of a decision, it drove me to pursue it more. It was a burning desire – an itch – to prove myself worthy for whatever daunting obstacle was thrown at me. I felt the need to be better than everyone who wronged me; to play the game of life and win, so I would one day turn around and laugh in the faces of my enemies. Fast forward a few years and I am now in a much better place in the sense that I’ve achieved everything I wanted in my early teen years. I study at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, intern as a social media marketer for a tech company, and model on the runway for the city’s biggest annual fashion event. I have had an amazing boyfriend, I have travelled the world, I have conquered my intense university classes, and built a tiny social media following around my cinematography. My world now consists of designer fashion, parties, stunning people, academics, travel and so much more that I once only dreamed of having. I built this life all on my own, and as much as I am thankful for what I’ve achieved so far in life, I will always remember that moment in the past that shaped me to be what I am today. Through what I’ve dealt with in terms of the discrimination and prejudice that I’ve faced, it has forcefully carved me into the person that I am now, whether I liked it or not. I look back now and appreciate my younger self for being so strong and resilient, but wonder what would have been if I were brought up in a different environment, or if I were brought up with the privileges that others possess. As much as I am disgusted and thankful for the way my past has shaped me, I would never wish for such a predicament to hap-
pen to anyone. The issue here is that I shouldn’t have had to change myself. Rather, society has to change, so that one day in the future a version of me will be sitting on a grassy patch of land in high school, but this time with a group of friends and a sense of belonging. This ‘me’ will one day grow up in an environment where they don’t have to form a thick skin due to the unfair prejudices that they have to face every day. I hope that one day, this ‘me’ can walk into a cafe with his boyfriend and sit down with no care in the world. He’ll be smiling and laughing, as his boyfriend orders coffee. They’ll be reading a history book together for one of their university courses and wonder why any prejudices and negativity existed years ago. For now, I imagine myself laughing at the faces of my enemies as I walk down the hallowed halls of my university, surrounded by the people I care about and pursuing the things I’m most passionate about. Paris Hilton still plays through my headphones from time-to-time; my little childhood idol and motivator through the toughest times of my adolescent life. Our similar predicaments in our early eras being my little secret as I walk past a sea of faces. I now head into class with the determination to succeed and do great things. Despite my personality and true self being so warped and fragmented due to my past, I am determined to bring justice and right all the wrongs in the world.
Issue 12, Vol. 66
The Tale of Two Cultures Charles Chu Charles Chu is an Eastern Asian MoC who studies a Bachelor of International Relations at the ANU.
Three years ago, I jokingly said to my ex-partner, “Hey, I am going to Australia to pursue my studies, and of course, I want to stay there.” He glanced at me and said in an aggressive tone, “Well congratulations, I heard that it is hard for Asians to be successful there. Good luck.” I rolled my eyes so hard that I think they reached the back of my head.
At the time, I had never seen a white person in real life, despite 18 years of living in Hong Kong where there is a sound number of expats. The only white people I knew were from Mission Impossible, Avatar, and, of course, porn. I had a fictional imagination of how a white person behaved; they were gentle, educated and rich. Looking back I realise that these ideas were constructed by the Eurocentric education syllabus I was taught from, as well as all the ‘beautiful and successful white people’ I saw in the media. My parents – immigrants from mainland China – were also implicitly indoctrinated by the colonial government that was in power between the 1980’s and 90’s. They said things like, “White people are always more civilised and put together because their countries have a democratic political system and more egalitarian social values.” Needless to say, when I was young, such impressions of Western countries made me believe they were a paradise-like parallel universe vis-a-vis where I was born. So when I first landed in Sydney two and half years ago, I took a deep breath and thought my new life had started. What I did not know was the fact that an identity crisis was just at my doorstep. When I first walked in a high-end restaurant, almost all of the floor staff was white. When I turned on the TV or flipped through a beauty magazine, it got even worse. I struggled quite a lot with the fact that my English was pretty bad and I used very weird phrases. This did not only bar me from communicating with people fluently, but uncovered the racial and cultural dynamics that existed here. I did not realise how it would affect my life, and that my body would gradually become a political site.
On the façade, this country was proud of its multicultural demographics, but the claim of multiculturalism might have swept all the unjust social relations under its grand narrative. While I was shocked by this as an international student who was born and raised in Hong Kong, the ongoing debate surrounding racial and cultural dynamics was too foreign to me. As racial stereotypes became apparent to me, the way I used to conceive my body has encountered a massive change. Although white supremacy manifested itself in Hong Kong, I was in a relatively privileged position as white supremacy was manifested only through colonial imagination; Asians were the majority. In Australia, the supremacy was so concrete and intact that it ranged from a lack of diversity in media to racial stereotypes people used in front of me on an everyday basis. It could be everyday micro-aggressions where people assumed that I could not speak English properly, or in a more disguised way where they spoke on my behalf. A sentiment of self-hatred was slowly emerging within me because of the manifestation of racism. I started to become very unconfident in my appearance, and even in my personality. I hated myself for not articulating myself well enough. I hated myself of being too political all the time. I hated myself not being considered physically attractive or masculine. Those thoughts lingered in my head and I knew very well that if I gave in, I would become one of the people who helped perpetuate these stereotypes. I thought I could laugh it all off but it tore a rift in my mind. As I was told, I was not “assimilated”
enough to understand such dynamics. Does assimilation mean that diaspora populations are required to subscribe to the residuals of colonialism’s nasty past? Some may argue that the racist days in Australia left when the Racial Discrimination Act was established back in 1976. However, the feelings of segregation and being stereotyped shifted from the political sphere and the parliament to my body and my mind.
Wednesday 19 October 2016, 6pm
Finkel Theatre, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, Garran Road, ANU Support your fellow undergraduate students as they compete in the 2016 Lions Oratory Competition. Have your say on who should win the $800 People’s Choice Award and be in the running for a Lucky Door Prize on the night.
Contestants: Skanda Panditharatne ANU College of Law
Matthew Lord ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences
Albert Patajo ANU College of Physical & Mathematical Sciences
Victor Sukeerth Munagala ANU College of Business & Economics
Jarrod Grabham ANU College of Asia & the Pacific
Lam Chung ‘Charles’ Chu ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences
Louise Blessington ANU College of Medicine, Biology & Environment
Mish Khan ANU College of Asia & the Pacific
Lescinska Fernandez ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences
For more information or to secure a seat: T: 6125 4144 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Each speaker has just five minutes to convince the judges that they deserve to win the ANU Lions Oratory Trophy and prizes totalling more than
$3,000 in cash. Refreshments will be served after the event. Seating is limited. Please try and arrive before 6pm.
ARTS & REVIEWS
Issue 12, Vol. 66
Dendy SULLY reviewed by Mary Waters
In 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 was forced to land on the Hudson River after both of its engines were disabled - thanks to the heroics of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom
The Confirmation reviewed by Alison Schofield
The Confirmation is simultaneously a heart-wrenching and heart-warming movie, in which Anthony and his father Walt spend a weekend together. The movie adeptly explores themes
Blair Witch reviewed by Hannah Beaven
In 1999, the Blair Witch Project terrified audiences around the world. Its claim to be genuine “found footage” led many to believe that what happened to the three students in the Black Hills Forest was real. In 2016, the sequel, Blair Witch, attempts to scare audiences in the same way as
Hanks), all of the passengers and crew survived. ‘Sully’ fascinatingly encapsulates the story surrounding Sullenberger, and the events that occurred after the forced landing. Directed by Clint Eastwood, Sully is cinematographically spectacular. It is an immersive experience that combines outstanding special effects with real footage of the incident and the media coverage that followed. The film is most gripping because the events of the flight are provided from various perspectives - it does not disappoint. But the real story is about the aftermath of the event – particularly in the details of the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. This series of events is one of the most emotionally tense, espe-
cially during the examinations, of the simulations that are tested and subsequently challenged by Sullenberger. However, if you had no interest in the real story when it played out in 2009, you may not find it as enjoyable. This is perhaps the only issue I had with the film.
of morality (demonstrated largely by religious experience), circumstance (exemplified by alcoholism and divorce) and family. Anthony’s mother is Catholic and wishes him to adopt the faith. We see Anthony’s confusion surrounding religion: especially the concept of sin. Throughout the movie, Anthony and his father challenge typically religious definitions of morality, and we see the difficulty of applying steadfast morals to particular circumstances. Anthony’s father is an alcoholic, but when we see the trials of his withdrawal and how his behaviour actually worsens, we see how changing a lifestyle can be problematic and dangerous (particularly for his son). Violence, stealing and alcoholism are all, removed from context, severely judged. Nonetheless, the movie
challenges what it means to be good, and whether there is moral truth to be had. Anthony and his father love each other dearly and do their utmost to care for one another at great risk, but as we see in one tumultuous weekend not everything is clear-cut. This emotional movie is subtle and powerful and presents challenges to our way of thinking. Many movies in cinema explore family through slapstick humour and well-worn clichés, but this movie beautifully demonstrated the complexity of family situations. I would highly recommend seeing A Confirmation!
the original, only this time with more high-tech gadgets. The film’s premise is that James, along with some friends, venture into the Black Hills Forest in search of his sister Heather (who disappeared in the first Blair Witch). What ensues is a series of strange events, some of which are very similar to the first film: hanging wooden stick figures, a derelict house etc.
been overused in recent years (due to some films such as paranormal activity). The plot is also weak and at times ridiculous. While the first film effectively played on our fear of the unknown, the sequel dispels much of the mystery surrounding the Blair Witch. The scariest bit about the film was probably the deafening sound effects.
While most horror films scare the living daylights out of me, this one surprisingly didn’t - it relied too much on the formula of the first one to propel its fear factor. The film’s faux documentary style is certainly not as effective as it once was because it has
Overall, Sully is a fantastic story about real heroism, and the people who did together to pull off a miracle.
I recommend this film if you don’t like scary films - the horror is so diluted that you won’t have to worry about sleepless nights (unless you’re considering going camping).
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
ARTS & REVIEWS
Film Reviews THE RED TURTLE reviewed by RORY CADDIS
The Red Turtle is a French-Belgian-Japanese film - WOW what a mix - which premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2016
Cannes Film Festival (if you do not know what that means please go educate yourself). The film has no dialogue and is about a man who ends up on an island alone with only turtles and crabs for company. AND of course, a giant red turtle - shocking I know.
If you’re feeling artsy, or you’re just a bit of a wanker who likes to tell people that the mainstream American trash they watch is corrupting their minds, you should definitely make sure you take the time to get to Dendy and watch this fresh to death film.
The whole giant red spirit nature turtle concept is very typical of a Studio Ghibli production - I wasn’t wowed by it, because who didn’t see that coming? While the story was very predictable, this film obviously has a lot more to give as it is breathtakingly beautiful and the animation style is rather unique.
ARTS & REVIEWS
Issue 9, Vol. 66
Arts Revue: A Review Anonymous An annual highlight of ANU’s arts calendar - the Arts Revue for 2016 went into the arena with the title FUN NATION, responding to the meteoric rise on the political stage of that ginger sheila Pauline Hanson (again). Appropriately, she has been the star of much of the show’s brilliant marketing and has her very own recurring segment in the show. Perhaps the writers and directors - double act Matt Barton and Matt Rogers - should have spent more time thinking about someone else during production, as FUN NATION is a bit too similar to the bogan human torch herself: outrageous, odd (funny) and offensive certainly, but in need of some refinement all the same.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of the Revue, it is essentially a boneand-flesh Robot Chicken, with some university-specific jokes and musical numbers that parody recent news stories, public figures and the general absurdity of modern life. The main symptoms of many revues (and skit shows in general - such as The Wedge) are of course the problems that arise due to the lack of overarching cohesion across the show. Some witty and well-acted skits are interspersed with dross, and nothing much links them together. This is a problem that FUN NATION possessed, though with a greater strike rate than most revues, as I for one wished for a greater sense of structure. The end result was a water-
slide of meme-ish bits that passed by quickly, producing some amusement but lacking in deep impression - which might be just the thing some people were looking for. Perhaps a more apt title would have been FRUS TRATION. The show’s great strength was in the energy of the cast - there were standouts, with plenty of natural comic timing and some kickass accents, as well as the mostly witty writing. The skit involving the unusual life of the mind of Kevin Rudd during the U.N. General Secretary lark was brilliantly and cheekily conceived, as were the reliably funny digs at the various ANU colleges (poor Griffin) and the merits
of studying Law. Some skits, however, either went on past their use-by date or were never edible to begin with, as a meta-moment involving the racial casting of the show was just uncomfortable at best, and some of the staging of the musical numbers was uninspired, though well sung by the cast. Nonetheless, I can say that FUN NATION did make you chuckle some. Admittedly, seeing a Revue in a packed audience is a whole heap of fun, involving laughing along with your mates to the absurdities on stage, which I am certain occurred over the duration of the Revue’s performances.
Cream Festival: A Review Ruben Seaton A walk along Lake Burley Griffin near the end of winter can be quite a dismal affair: the deciduous trees sit naked and quivering in the cold air, and a nasty wind picks up small waves along the water’s edge. It’s grey and miserable. Westside Acton, however, was treated to a break from the monochrome bleakness on August 27th, with the first installment of Cream Festival. As a congregation designed to celebrate all things great about Canberra’s local scene, lucky ticket holders were treated to a day of unique and eclectic music, food and art. The lonely shipping containers that litter the ground floor were adorned with quirky community walls and murals. Despite the cold rigidity of the Westside structures, the downstairs area felt strangely organic due to a variety of ‘live art’ areas, where a selection of talented individuals were let loose with paintbrushes and spray cans before our very eyes. It may not be Questacon or the Skywhale, but Cream has all the credentials to become Canberra’s next calling card. The Aviary Rooftop was home to the musical magic. From early in the day until the middle of the night, a stunning selection of artists guided the crowd through a display of wonderful homegrown talent. Through the after-
noon, up-and-comers such as MONDECREEN burst onto the stage with a throbbing and lively brand of electro pop, and a vibrancy that’s unable to be captured in their online recordings. Slow Turismo provided a dense soundscape of indie rock, influenced by electronica that called to mind Snakadaktal or Glass Animals. Their set, tinged with an ample amount of saxophone, was a beautiful thing to hear as the sun fell behind Black Mountain. The small scale of the event let it explore the unique dynamic between a concert and a major festival, and it did this remarkably well. The demand was certainly there: tickets sold out more than a week before the event, and the crowd had a strong mix of university students and older groups looking to enjoy the nightlife. Unfortunately, even though the Aviary tried its best to be cozy with gas heaters and delicious brews of mulled wine, nothing stopped the winter winds from tearing through the plastic blinds. The festival took its chance to cement the strong status of hip hop in the ACT. Let’s start with Coda Conduct, who spent no time messing around before starting up their well-oiled performance machine. Sally and Erica may have relocated to Sydney, but their bouncy and cheeky rhymes felt perfectly at home as they rolled through new
and old songs with undeniable chemistry. There’s plenty to turn heads about the duo, whether it be their matching outfits, dense and fast lyricism, or their Missy Elliot-inspired vibrancy. With a new single under their belt, it will be rewarding to watch these girls as they work towards a debut album. Born in Ghana, brothers Genesis Owusu and Citizen Kay have taken the Canberra hip hop scene by the horns and made it theirs. The pair have burgeoning solo careers ahead of them, but they used fairly similar devices to drive the crowd into a frenzy: direct and satisfying lyrical observations about their youth and the world, good-humoured crowd interactions, and a talented taste for a good sample and beat. Genesis, however, pulls more from the book of artists like Joey Badass, showing that he isn’t afraid to break the flow with a few lines of spoken word poetry. So far, Citizen Kay has been defined by chopped horn samples and catchy choruses – more, say, of a Lupe Fiasco – and chances are we’ll be seeing lots more of him on the radio in the future. At various points throughout the afternoon it was easy to spot many of the artists themselves standing around and having a chat, or, more likely, mingling inside the crowd and bouncing along to the sounds of their fellow
performers. This strengthened the “local for local” ethos that the festival proudly pushed - observing the acts show such a strong affinity to the town they called home was great to see. In between conventional acts, the DJs proved to be a mixed bag. The frenzied messiness of Amastro and Truples caused a form of confused anarchy to be imposed on the thinning crowd. Thankfully, this was cleaned up Orlando Wolf’s mindful and meditative beats, and then by the funky, soul-infused house music of the sublime Sondrio - don’t miss him later this year at Spilt Milk Festival, where Coda Conduct are also making an appearance. Representing one half of The Aston Shuffle, Mikah Freeman ended the night by spinning a track from Jamie xx’s 2015 album ‘In Colour’. This appeared to be a strange choice – surely one of his radio smash hits would have been better suited to close out such a triumphant night – however, on second thought, it was the perfect song to end the inaugural Cream Festival. It was an homage to the work put in by the organisers, turning a cold winter evening into a showcase of how colourful Canberra really is.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
Arts & reviews
‘TIS THE SEASON TO.. Go on a road trip with your best pals, dress down and boogie your life away! Grace Shalders With the arrival of Spring comes the promise of Australia’s music scene delivering some of the best experiences you’ll ever have. With the slow demise of Soundwave and Big Day Out came a rise in the ‘boutique festival’ - immersive experiences that draw on wider music and arts culture. For me, there’s no better way to spend warm, sunny days than stepping into a different festival world with your friends over a drink, or three. Here’s a small list of some of the festivals you’ll want to keep your eye on, and save your spare change for!
Granite Town Moruya, South Coast NSW 28-30 October 2016 What used to be a small annual Jazz festival has been completely transformed into a festival encompassing this tiny South Coast town. Food, lights, beaches and world class artists galore! Highlights include Tash Sultana, dropping by off the back of her world tour; Citizen Kay, a Canberra raised up and coming star; and Kim Churchill, bringing the chilled out beach vibe we love. The timing coincides with stuvac, and what better way to relax and focus than treating yourself to a weekend by the beach?
Field Day The Domain, Sydney 1 January 2017 Both Chance the Rapper and Childish Gambino feature once more as the headliners for this festival, with another hot list of artists shining through at the same time. Safia, Client Liason and M0 are some of the biggest and best names, though the setlist is massive - particularly for one day!
Falls features a stellar lineup - Childish Gambino, Matt Corby, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and Grandmaster Flash to name a few! 4 days of camping in a beautiful location means you can’t go wrong. Tickets are limited - Marion Bay (TAS) is the last one not yet sold out - a bit of a distance to hike, but if Tassie is your holiday hotspot then this festival is a must!
PROXIMITY TO CBR: 3.5 stars AFFORDABILITY: 4 stars ARTISTS: 4.5 stars EXPERIENCE: 4 stars
PROXIMITY TO CBR: 1 star AFFORDABILITY: 2 stars ARTISTS: 5 stars EXPERIENCE: 4.5 stars
PLUS, students around ANU have organised an ANU STUDENT DEAL which includes a BUS from door to door, a campsite, and a full weekend ticket for just $150. Check out more at www.granitetown.com.au! PROXIMITY TO CBR: 4.5 stars AFFORDABILITY: 4 stars ARTISTS: 3 stars EXPERIENCE: 4 stars
Falls Festival Byron Bay, Marion Bay, Lorne Staggered from Dec 28 - Jan 2 2017
Spilt Milk—Canberra. 2-4 December 2016 Beyond the Valley Gippsland, Victoria 28 Dec - 1 Jan 2017 Falls features a stellar lineup - Childish Gambino, Matt Corby, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and Grandmaster Flash to name a few! 4 days of camping in a beautiful location means you can’t go wrong. Tickets are limited - Marion Bay (TAS) is the last one not yet sold out - a bit of a distance to hike, but if Tassie is your holiday hotspot then this festival is a must! PROXIMITY TO CBR: 1 star AFFORDABILITY: 2 stars ARTISTS: 5 stars EXPERIENCE: 4.5 stars
Most of you would have seen the rush for tickets when Spilt Milk came rushing onto the scene a few months ago. The festival is currently sold out, but those of you who managed to grab tickets will find a host of star artists, both local and international. Highlights include CBR locals Peking Duk, the haunting vocals of Vera Blue, and the Canberra raised-Sydney dwelling fem duo Coda Conduct. See more at http://www.spilt-milk.com.au and try and scrounge yourself a ticket! PROXIMITY TO CBR: 5 stars AFFORDABILITY: 4 stars (if there were any tickets left) ARTISTS: 2 stars EXPERIENCE: 3 stars
Secret Garden Brownlow Hill Farm 24-25 February 2017 Described as a ‘48 hour dress up party run by a bunch of mates’, this unique festival is home to all things wacky and wonderful. They give profits to charity, and keep the lineup a secret until the festival tickets are all sold out - though previous years indicate a stellar mix of Triple J Unearthed and Aussie artists. Tickets have just been released! PROXIMITY TO CBR: 2 stars AFFORDABILITY: 3 stars ARTISTS: between 1 and 5 stars EXPERIENCE: 4 stars
LIFE & STYLE
Issue 12, Vol. 66
A Shot & A Beer - Live Podcast: A Review Loretta Lackner A Shot and A Beer’s live podcast is prefaced with stand-up comedy, and my attendance was prefaced with a greasy meal from the Hamlet. Despite feeling ill from the chicken I had just eaten, the stand-up made me laugh, with Kirsty Webeck noting that she was “trying to get [her] baby body back” because she was a “particularly small foetus” - a timely reminder of the meal I had just thrown back.
for a while. Laura Campbell, in the lead up to having a 3D printed hip popped into her body, described the best graph she had printed. It visualised the amount of nuggets she was legally and able to consume before dying. Her newly printed 3D hip, however, was designed specifically for the dolphin archaeologists who would find it with the words ‘new phone who dis?’ engraved into it.
Ian Worst opened the show, vocalising all of the struggles we all feel as 20 somethings. Pointing out the reason we buy ‘pot’ plants for our bedroom as being specifically to prove we are able to keep something alive, and also to breathe more fresh air than we have
For the third time Andrew and Danny were guested by Riley Biel, a Canberra comedian with a conglomerate of personas. His stand-up personalities were only mildly downplayed for the sake of interactive conversations and the audience listening from home.
The live podcast begins with standup sets, followed by the headliner act joining the recorded segment. In the intermission, Danny had found himself in the Truman Show, seeing twin pairs consecutively occupying the toilet spaces around him - setting up a truly wigged podcast. Having listened to previous episodes of the podcast before arriving, the inflated animation of Riley gave the live setting edge. It appeared to be designed for the audiences present, with the hopes that they will show their friends and bring them along next time. The comedy is tailored for Canberran audiences, and seemingly ones living below the poverty line as many of us are, with the all the comedians vocal-
ising experiences familiar to anyone who has had a night out in Civic. In essence the night was fun, straight up, easy to listen to fun. For those with $10 to spare every third Wednesday of the month, I would recommend a trip to Civic Pub: banter doesn’t get better than this. You are also able to listen and subscribe to ‘A Shot & A Beer’ on your preferred podcasting app.
Songs To Grow Up To: Lior discusses the art of songwriting at Beyond Festival Hayden Fritzlaff
“I remember standing side of stage when they were about to go on,” says Lior when I ask him about performing with Carole King and James Taylor. “I had this sort of accidental voyeuristic moment. They were sixty-nine years old and about to walk on stage to play for sixteen thousand people but they just took a moment and hugged each other and said ‘how lucky are we to be doing this?’ ” Even though it’s been six years since he supported the pair of songwriting immortals – not to mention a decade since the release of his debut album, Autumn Flow – Lior is showing no sign of letting up. With new material and a national tour in the works for 2017, Lior takes some time out to chat about his affection for the songwriting craft and its masters - an affection that’s as deep as ever. “Around fourteen I kind of discovered singing and felt that that was really the core of my musicality,” he says. He started out playing classical guitar at
age eleven but that soon took a backseat. “I became much more interested in seeing what kind of songs I could come up with.” He rattles off a long list of influences that includes King, Neil Young and Nick Drake; the free-flowing songwriters of the 60s and 70s. They’re the musicians, along with Canadian, Leslie Feist, that shaped Lior’s lush, earthbound sound. James Taylor, it seems, was particularly inspirational. “The biggest thing for me is his believability,” says Lior. “I just believe what he is saying. I think as a songwriter you strive for a sense of authenticity and I don’t think there’s anyone who has more of that than James Taylor.” Keeping it genuine means that Lior now casts his own influence. I ask him to pull apart This Old Love. It’s the song that kick started his career and inspired a new generation of songwriters. He can sense, I think, that I’m a fan.
“You know I really can’t remember,” he says, laughing just a little when I inquire about the process behind the song. “I think I probably would’ve had that guitar progression going on and then maybe I had the chorus lyric. I remember wanting to write this sort of love song that was grounded in reality, you know? Rather than fantasy. And then I just kind of combined the two and started filling in the gaps and putting the puzzle together.” It’s not the first time that he’s referred to songwriting as a jigsaw. The analogy fits well too. Whether it’s orchestrating a string quartet and fingerpicked guitar or coupling burrowed-in chord progressions with diary entry lyrics, Lior’s work is all about musical marriages. He took a similar approach on a recent songwriting trip to New York, though the results could be a departure from his previous style. “I collaborated with some great musicians and producers,” he says. “It was all about seizing the inspired moment,
and as we were writing it and then recording it that naturally lends itself to a bit of a different sound.” But whatever the future holds for Lior, he doesn’t want to lose the visceral charm that those master songwriters captured so fluently. “It’s always gonna be organic and made by humans,” he says, in what might be a cheeky dig at the washedout, electronic production that some of his peers have adopted of late. Lior however, is defiant. “It’s something I’ll always have at the core of what I do.” School of Music students Brendan Keller-Tuberg and Hayden Fritzlaff host Woroni Radio’s Songs To Grow Up To on Mondays at 6:30pm.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
Arts & reviews
SKIPPY AND BEAGLE Skippy and Beagle met in a dusty Film Studies tute (because who goes to Film lectures?) back in 2014. The amount of times the pair have agreed on a film is about the same amount of times as you’ve used your mid-semester break to actually catch up on readings. Now, at the end of their degrees, they have realised that writing a Woroni column is the most use they will get out of their Minor, so they figure they might as well get their money’s worth.
The Artist formerly known as Renee Zellweger stars in Bridget Jones’s Baby Annabelle Klimt and Josh Begbie
Bridget Jones’s Baby is the third installment in the chick-flick gospel that is Bridget Jones Diary. This time Bridget is 43, still single, but pregnant and with two potential baby-daddys. That is literally it in terms of plot. Sorry for spoiling the movie folks!
to acknowledge this distinction when watching because otherwise you’re just not going to enjoy yourself. B: But honestly Skippy, this movie is porn. It’s the equivalent to a dude rocking up and asking ‘did anyone order a pizza with extra sausage?’ Bridget just floats through her life, being incompetent in almost every way, while millionaire/model/gentlemen fall head over heels for her! This schtick that Bridget Jones is the everywoman is just rubbish!
S: It’s been 12 years since Bridget Jones has graced our screens, and I’m certainly not the first to point out that things are a little different. But if you can get past the fact that Zellweger is débuting a new face, and a much leaner figure (one entirely unfamiliar to famously chubby and loveable S: That’s actually offensive. I litJones), it’s still pretty bloody good. erally still request Whitney Houston’s ‘I’m Every Woman’ at Moose B: No it’s not. I am so sick of re- every Thursday as an ode to Jones, boots it’s not funny. Can’t we just and all things ‘Woman’. let a classic movie fade into history without ruining all we once B: Don’t get me wrong – I love loved about it? Let me warn the fantasy. I’ve been trying to conreaders before we go on: I did not vince people that Lord of the like this movie and I won’t pre- Rings is the greatest story ever tend this movie has any value. told for the best part of a decade. Blind Bridget fans beware. But if you find yourself identifying with Ms Jones for more than 50% S: Yes, it’s cheesy, yes, I cringed, of the movie, please either reconbut at the same time I also sider your life decisions or prepare laughed, A LOT… and that’s your apartment for an abundance what counts right?? You have to of cats. understand that you’re not there to watch something that is going S: See I don’t think it is the trato intellectually challenge you. ditional ‘cat hoarding’ single gals Instead sit back, relax and let go movie that lots of the other chickof your wanky sense of film ap- flicks seem to fall into. I like the preciation. This is not a film. It’s Bridget Jones franchise because a movie. And it is important she is a little more relatable, a lit-
tle more honest, and at least a lot funnier. B: Yeah, I get it. Bridget relates to that awkward part in each of us that just can’t seem to nail it. Except by age 43 Bridget Jones sucks. There were a few parts of the movie where Bridget was the loveable clutz we saw in the first two movies, but other than maybe 20 minutes total of loveable Bridget, we spend the rest of the movie watching people who were attractive in the 90s try to convince us life post-40 is still exciting. S: My only critique, was the movie worth making without the cooperation of Hugh Grant (aka the Naughty Daniel Cleaver)? In replacing him with the knight in shining, American armour, Jack Quant (Patrick Dempsey), I felt the sense of competition between the suitors which drove the original two movies was almost entirely lost. To me, the straight-edged Marc Darcy was the obvious favourite when up against the stereotypically ‘perfect’ Quant because he was just such a douche. He lacked the edge of Daniel Cleaver, and was far too politically correct for my liking. S: True, but this void was partially filled by the always amazing Emma Thompson, who made an appearance as Bridget’s sarcastic, dead-pan ob-gyn who picked up a
little bit of the fire lost with Grant. A message to the boyfriends out there – duck and weave fellas. If your girlfriend is looking for a date night, take her out for dinner! Go see Snowden or something. Hell, go throw rocks at trains for all I care. Just avoid this movie at all costs. S: Take exhibit A – Beagle, not even my boyfriend, who spent bulk time checking his phone and looking at his watch – something he blasts me for during most of the other ‘films’ we see. B: Oi, I only checked my phone once! I genuinely laughed about 3 times, so that’s something. 0.5/5 Beagles. S: That’s actually effed. Stop being a wanker. I seriously enjoyed myself... I’m giving it a hearty 4 Skippy’s. B: Bullshit. I’m choosing the movie next week.
Arts & reviews
Issue 9, Vol. 66
Icons - Sibelius A Review Liam Brewin Higgins
When faced with an empty Saturday night, would you rather: a) head to Civic and get #looseatmoose with public servants b) watch the Canberra Youth Orchestra perform at Llewellyn Hall? Now, we could address the absurd notion of a Uni student who goes out on a Saturday night, or, we could find all the drama, energy and passion of a dance floor in one sitting, lead by an incredible young orchestra. The CYO is conducted by ANU alumnus Leonard Weiss, and their third concert in the Icons series was lead by ANU School of Music concert master, Helena Popovic. This vibrant ensemble recently brought to life their third instalment featuring later 19th century repertoire, including works by Jean Sibelius, Antonin Dvorak and Tchaikovsky. The solo performance of Popovic in the second movement of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major was played with passion, finesse and great skill. Popovic was also solidly supported by the orchestra throughout, with the woodwinds in particular adding subtly and contrast to the solo violin. A selection of Slavonic Dances by Dvorak, combined with Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances provided innate stylistic excitement and a palpable vibrancy, before the evening
concluded with Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2. It was here that the versatility, energy and musicality of the CYO really shone through. Whether it be in the atmospheric moments of soft reflection in the second movement, or the stirring brass chords at the end of the symphony, the CYO’s ability to tackle challenging repertoire from the start to the finish of the program was impressive. When queried as to the importance of the CYO, conductor Leonard Weiss reflected that the young collegiate spirit of the orchestra produced not only enthusiasm and passion on stage, but a sense of community amongst all the musicians. Throughout the performance it was obvious that this same enthusiasm and infectious joy for music brought the orchestra alive. The CYO released their 2017 program on Saturday night, promising a huge array of notable soloists including trumpeter James Morrison, percussionist Claire Edwards, and award winning acapella group The Idea of North. When university begins to feel like a drag, and downstairs Moose seems less appealing, remember the highly skilled and exciting youth orchestra right on our doorstep. There is a final concert in the Icons series to be held on December 4 at Llewellyn Hall, featuring the work of Brahms.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
Arts & reviews
NUTS Presents Death and the Maiden - An Interview with the Director Ruben Seaton & Izzy Nomchong
As the opening of NUTS’ anticipated production of Death and the Maiden, Woroni had the chance to pick the mind of director, Sammy Moynihan.
the play in a variety of cultural contexts. Ultimately, the play is set in any country that is uncertain about their identity and future. In this sense, I viewed the play as being set on a blank canvas waiting to be painted on. This is very much reflected in our set design and avoidance of culture-specific tropes.
What’s your background in theatre and directing? I am a somewhat familiar face in Canberra’s theatre scene, having been involved in theatre in various capacities since high school. I performed in various local productions and have directed pieces for Tempo Theatre, Canberra Youth Theatre and my own short-lived company, Deviant Theatre. I was also an associate director for CYT in 2013. I currently work for Mind Blank, a mental health organisation that uses forum theatre to engage teenagers and children in conversations about anxiety, bullying and self-care. I have really enjoyed my time with NUTS and am excited about any group that encourages experimentation, creativity and harnessing the voices of young people.
What can you tell us about the cast and the characters they portray? The play follows Paulina (Georgia-Cate Westcott) and Gerardo (Regis Heijnekamp) as they attempt to rebuild their lives following a revolution. Paulina in particular is quite damaged, as she had undergone a lot of torture from the previous regime. While she tries to be hopeful about her future, she cannot let go of her torturous past. When Gerardo’s car breaks down, he is assisted by Doctor Roberto Miranda (Daniel Greiss) who later visits the couple at their house. Paulina believes she recognizes the doctor’s voice and is convinced that he was the person who tortured her. So begins a thrilling game of cat and mouse, with Paulina capturing the doctor and insisting they put him on trial.
What drew you to this play? Why did you pick it? We are increasingly being confronted with issues of global conflict on the news, on Facebook, and in our everyday lives, to the point that we’ve been desensitised by it. I often see people discussing the injustice and political upheaval that takes place internationally in a rather cold, statistical way. It is easy to detach from these issues and forget about the individuals that go through them. The thing I found remarkable about this piece is the way that [writer, Ariel] Dorfman captures a complex political issue - in this case, a revolution after a dictatorship - and turns it into a very intimate tale about humans trying to rebuild their lives. He explores the notion of a revolution in a deeply personal sense, and deals with characters trying to understand the past in a nation desperately looking to the future. It’s almost like a war between individual justice and justice on a wider, more socio-political level. I also responded to the beautifully realised characters and Dorfman’s blatant
Without giving too much away, what parts of the play are you most excited to share with the audience? refusal to give the audience any easy answers. Death and the Maiden is a very complex and intense play psychologically - what are you hoping the audience will get out of the production? The power of theatre lies in the conversations it inspires. There is a real thirst for social change amongst ANU students and I really wanted to interact with that and explore it further. The deliberately ambiguous way that the events unfold, lend themselves to
many audience-driven discussions. I suspect that a lot of people will be arguing over drinks after viewing the play. Death and the Maiden is originally set in a South American country soon after the demise of a dictatorial regime in the early 1990s. For your interpretation, are you connecting with this context? While the play is inspired by events in Chile, the themes and characters are so relevant and easily identifiable, that Dorfman encourages people to adapt
As well as the three actors, I worked with a string quartet, led by our musical director, Enrica Wong. Some of the music is taken from Schubert’s long-form composition Death and the Maiden and some of it has been originally composed by Enrica. The music is quite beautiful and haunting, so I am looking forward to sharing that with the audience. NUTS Presents: Death and the Maiden will appear at the ANU Drama Lab from October 5-8. Tickets are available online at trybooking.com.
arts & reviews
Issue 12, Vol. 66
The Tempest: A Discussion Jen McRae
Last week Woroni caught up with Caitlin Overton and Felicity (Flick) Anderson – the director and dramaturg of NUTS’ upcoming play ‘The Tempest’ – to ask them a few questions about the upcoming production. The performance will be held at the Black Mountain Peninsula on 12 – 15th of October.
C: With the help and dedication of a wonderful executive team, led by Producer Kat Carrington, who has cross-checked everything from rain contingencies and the likelihood of blue-green algae outbreaks, to show interruptions by angry wildlife.
Why The Tempest?
C: It was honestly a daunting task uniting an oddball band of castaways scattered on different parts of the island for most of the play - but it has been a dream from start to finish. I think it’s important to confront headon any preconceptions your cast may have regarding the ‘typical’ mode of a Shakespearean actor - you know the sort: melodic voice, flailing gestures of the arms and lots of muttering to skulls - and to establish early in rehearsals a greater scope for negotiation with the text, and an eager openness for any new interpretation the cast members bring. I believe this put us in good stead to create a re-telling that is both vital and unpredictable - as all good theatre should be.
F: The Tempest is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. Last year Caitlin and I were just discussing ‘plays we wanted to direct one day’ and we began discussing experimenting with plays staged outdoors. I think I just suggested doing The Tempest outside, and Caitlin jumped on board and we started throwing around ideas. I knew N.U.T.S were taking director applications for 2016 and we applied on a whim. N.U.T.S took a chance on us, and now something that was a ‘it would be so cool if’ is now a reality! C: I’ve always been fascinated by the potential to reinvent Shakespeare for modern audiences, however, The Tempest is a particularly exciting challenge. The Tempest likely represents Shakespeare’s final celebration of the capacity for language to control and mystify as the magic power of words, that inspire one moment and disparage the next, keep this play - as the title hints - in a constant state of flux! The Tempest pushes the limits of theatrical convention, as characters flit rapidly between emotions; cavorting spirits appearing to blur the boundary between the real and imagined, waking and dreaming. No amount of SFX can ultimately compare to the magic of a few words, passed between curious new actors, 400 years since their writing, conjured in the faint sunset on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. What is magical and ephemeral is embodied by the raw and corporeal, and as such, Shakespeare’s fleeting farewell lives on in permanence. The performance is outside, how do you tackle this extra element? F: Lots and lots of preparation, OH&S considerations, and endless site visits trudging around in gumboots.
As a director, how did you go about uniting the cast?
Can we expect a traditional portrayal of The Tempest? C: Short story - no. Long story - we have opted for a modernised staging of the play that hopes to complement the natural beauty of the site, while highlighting the fragility of our outdoor setting on an unusual stage that features both sand and shallow water. In the play disparate worlds collide, alliances are broken as quickly as they are formed, and perceptions shift mercurially. As the light moves from dusk to nightfall, we hope to blur the edges of the audience’s reality as both characters and audience, reconciling past hate and finding joy in the gloom, leave the island changed. We have experimented with surround sound in the outdoors and engaged in shadow play beyond the aureole of the lights, in order to recreate the iconic storm of the play’s first scenes, let loose disembodied spirits, and conjure frightening illusions. The energy and enthusiasm brought by the whole cast is important, but in particular, the unlikely pairing of the extraordinarily talented Georgia-Cate and Samuel in their portrayal of Caliban, has also allowed
us to interrogate both the colonial and gendered aspects of the play with a new vigor. Why do you think theatre is important? C: I think theatre represents the expression of a basic human need to mimic, to project stories onto ourselves and others, and to create meaning through narrative. Theatre brings people together, in a collaborative meeting of storyteller and listener, as both play witness to an electric exchange that is never quite the same in each re-telling. From the child mapping farfetched tales in the playground to their grandfather telling long-winded anecdotes at dinner, theatre matters - in essence - because we can’t help it. F: Theatre is a medium that is too often overlooked as modern life allows us to live life through screens of various shapes and sizes. I don’t deny accessibility to art has increased in capacity since technology, but there’s something magical about being able to appreciate a story performed live. Unlike screen acting, theatre has intense rehearsals - not to replicate the delivery of lines but to build and explore relationships. This means, if you’ve got a dedicated cast and director, things like dialogue come secondary to the organic reliving of the story with each show. No show will be the same as the next, and with this, the audience has this experience of watching something never seen before, and never to be seen again. If that’s not magic I don’t know what is. Is this your first production as director and dramaturge? How did you find your experience? F: This was my first chance to act as a dramaturg, despite being interested in the role as a concept for a while (but purely by accident!) Originally we were co-directing, but a family emergency prompted a necessary interstate move and so it was originally a way to keep me involved as I could only be on location up until rehearsals started, and then at the very end. Being a part of the conceptualisation of such an experimental and raw show was constantly humbling as I worked alongside the incredible Caitlin Over-
ton. Being able to focus on the context of Shakespeare and ideas for the show, and letting someone you know is incredibly talented change those imaginings into a tangible show, are both very exciting! I think trust was a huge part of me feeling safe leaving my ‘baby’, and of Caitlin feeling like she had that support when suddenly faced with heading the project solo. C: This was my third directing venture, but the first time trying my hand at a Shakespearean play in its entirety - so I was naturally petrified. Honestly, I cannot overstate how wonderful it has been to have not only the benefit of Flick’s unending talent and natural curiosity, but her generous support while working on this project, both as Co-Director and now Dramaturg. What would you like the audience to take away front the performance? F: I think all too often Shakespeare is pushed aside and underestimated when people are presented with his texts and performances in school settings. I really feel like this production was the product of Caitlin and I’s love of everything Shakespeare’s work is at the core, and everything it has the potential to become. Too often the higher language, or unfamiliar settings, can intimidate those who have certain ideas about the playwright, but one thing that brings me back to Shakespeare time and time again is the people and the stories. When you bring theatre right back to its core, it’s a storytelling mechanism. If people can walk away from this performance having enjoyed a story, then I think we’ve done our job. Why should we go and watch? F: If you love Shakespeare, the cast and crew of The Tempest have created a refreshing and compelling take on a classic Shakespeare piece. If you hate Shakespeare, the cast and crew of The Tempest just might change your mind. The outside setting, the honesty and integrity of the acting, and the direction of this play makes it one not to miss.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
Woroni Radio Playlists: ICONIC Brendan Keller-Tuberg Some of the biggest celebrity icons in pop culture history were musicians. The bands and musicians featured in this week’s playlist are the best of the best: they excelled and innovated in their artistic pursuits, while garnering a huge following for their personalities on and off stage. Enjoy, and look out for playlists in future issues!
Life on Mars – David Bowie Hail Mary – 2pac Paranoid Android – Radiohead Thriller – Michael Jackson Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd Last Donut Of The Night – J Dilla I Walk The Line – Johnny Cash Joga – Bjork Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen Straight Outta Compton - NWA Let It Be – The Beatles Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana Crazy In Love - Beyonce Like A Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan Psycho Killer – Talking Heads Power – Kanye West God Only Knows – The Beach Boys Hey Ya - Outkast Last Nite – The Strokes Tiny Dancer – Elton John
Hitchhiker’s Guide to Canberra Josh Begbie and Briony Jane
Briony and Josh jump on the Woroni Radio waves every Wednesday at 8:30pm, taking you back to a simpler time through the transformative magic of old So Fresh CDs. B: 2001 was a special time for all of us. I was in year 2, so as a 10-yearold, every song I heard was devastatingly powerful and holds a magical place in my heart.
one, with Destiny’s Child ascending from the ocean looking hawt and dangerous, and Beyonce stealing the show as always. What even happened to the other two?
J: Dayum right, and So Fresh: Hits of Winter 2001 was the preacher on the hill, bestowing immortal hits down upon primary schools across the country.
Song 3: Outkast—Mrs Jackson J: Part of our show is about asking the question: is So Fresh still fresh? Clearly the answer is at least sometimes. I don’t think I fully understood Mrs Jackson when I was in year 2, I just liked the animals in the video clip! But man, this song has aged beautifully. It might not fill a dance floor like Hey Ya will, but whenever I have been handed an AUX cord in a car full of strangers, Mrs Jackson has been a winner.
B: Let’s take a trip back to the days of handball, finger-painting and wishing for the coolest new CD for Christmas so you could then play it on repeat for the rest of the school holidays! Song 1: Craig David— Seven Days J: Alright I want to start with this one. We mentioned 2001 was a time when loose CDs would roll around in your car doors from that family holiday last Christmas. For me, Craig David was king of these lonely CDs. No joke – I went back into my family car just last week for a rummage and found trusty Craig still awaiting a play in the car door. I gave it a play, and quickly remembered Seven Days is the only good song on the album. I put it back in the car door. Song 2: Destiny’s Child— Survivor B: Destiny’s Child - what a time to be alive! For me, as a naive 10-yearold, this was the start of the whole ‘I’m an independent women, I don’t need a man’ phase. This is a universal message that all the gals out there can relate to. Aside from all the underlying ‘go women’ jibber jabber, the opening scene was a memorable
Song 4: Nelly Furtado— I’m like a Bird B: Oh, listening to the sweet, sweet voice of Nelly Furtado got me through my first break up -- a relationship where we never talked and only hugged once. This was Nelly’s mellow soft stage, before she hit her bada$$ phase with Promiscuous Girl (an absolute all time favourite of mine) in 2006. Although I’m Like a Bird doesn’t quite live up to Promiscuous Girl, let’s be honest, no song ever will. J: That’s a little taste of us for you! 45% nostalgia, 30% unqualified opinions, 25% more entertaining than the Bachelor, and 100% a good time. B: Join us on Wednesday nights at 8:30pm. In the near future we will be expanding beyond So Fresh CDs, and having a peek at our favourite film soundtracks from the same era (cough Shrek cough).
Life & style
Issue 12, Vol. 66
Style on Campus Instagram: @woroni #styleoncampus Tony Gu
Wandi (22) studies international relations and development studies. Her favourite brand is C/Meo Collective, she listens to alternative music, and her favourite spot on campus is Gods Cafe.
Anne-Marie (18) studies Law / Arts. Her favourite brand is Topshop, and likes to study in Hancock.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
Life & Style
Get featured! Follow our facebook and instagram for updates: we’ll post where and when we’ll be taking photographs
Maddison (left), 21, studies Visual Arts and is a big fan of all things vintage. Her favourite place on campus is Gods where you can find her listening to The 1975. Ellie (right), 20, also studies Visual Arts, and also loves vintage. You can find her hanging out at the ANU bar listening to Sticky Fingers.
Ian (19) studies international relations and languages (French). His favourite music is Cat Empire, and can often be found hanging around Biginelli’s
Life & Style
Issue 12, Vol. 66
Deeply Divisive My best friend once told me that I was a shit guy, but good for humanity - I have a big enough ego and a good enough dirty look that I had to agree with her. So, consider this column a space where I can air my grievances, confront cultural cringes and try to tackle issues - all at once. I want to instigate discussion and tear friendships apart. Well, maybe not… but you get the idea. Thanks for joining me.
Fuck the patriarchy Liam Fitzpatrick I’ll never forget consoling a girlfriend, tears rolling down her usually stoic face as she spluttered, “I put so much of my identity into this position, and to have these men throw it back in my face is so hurtful.” I was baffled. Baffled by how someone who I derive so much resolve from, could be broken by shit men who mocked her for wanting to make the lives of women better. They sneered at her online, challenged her authority, and accused her of being omniscient. I’m honestly not sure if they were threatened by her, or if their feigning masculinity couldn’t handle a left wing, female activist, but their behavior isn’t unique; just ask Hilary, Gillard or the legions of other feminists who’ve come before her. Still, it didn’t make the treatment any less isolating. They consider themselves bastions of free speech and champions of the ‘All Lives Matter’ movement, but these are the men who posted on the Sex
and Consent Week page accusing ANUSA of promulgating debauchery - because who gives a shit about the experiences of sex workers anyway? They mock those who take a stand, and scorn activists for being “trigger happy”, incessant and “radical”. In my last column I condemned the victim blamers who accused Alex Lewis of over-reacting and seeking attention. Since then, I’ve had a number of men, all too often outside of Mooseheads, approach me, invade my space, mock me for my sexuality, and attack me for the things that I’ve said, and written, and believe. Afterwards, my Mum told me that I should never set foot in John’s again, fearing I’d be “gang bashed”. Don’t these people realize that we need activists? That we need those who agitate for change? I think they’re gutless, but their effect drips down. Activism is replaced with vanilla inoffensiveness, the fight is
Take the Legal Health Checkup Today People realise that maintaining their health requires regular checkups. You should also check your ‘legal health’ to ensure that your legal affairs are in order. The following are some of the things you should check. Not all of them are purely legal issues, but they could have legal implications if things are not in order.
Motor Vehicle Worries
Have you been drinking or taking drugs and driving? Do you have insurance for your car? Have you been in a car accident? Do you have a fine?
All is OK with my car:
The recent ANUSA elections were a byproduct of this. They were a flaccid expression of political activism. What I think we saw were tickets succumbing to this culture of not wanting to be seen as activists, but rather, as people pleasers.
As for the joke tickets? Well, the joke is on them, and those who didn’t vote too, because ANUSA 2017 will still control 1.9 million dollars of their money.
In my opinion, neither ticket expressed a desire to fight the warped and avaricious changes ANU are making. Cuts to the schools of Asian Studies and Music, a failure to prioritise sexual assault survivors over the university’s reputation, or never consulting students properly to begin with. The university administration got off scotfree.
We need more people involved, as only then will more voices be heard. We need to have passionate and intellectual debates, not shut them down, or mock those who instigate them. We need a campus where more than just a few engage in the conversation. If we don’t, the damaging intolerance, policies rendering survivors voiceless, and culture submitting to vanilla living and easy listening will prevail – and all at the expense of the generation that will come after us.
You cannot run a campaign based solely on being diverse and inclusive. Having people who are queer, of colour and from varying economic backgrounds on your ticket is not enough. Elections need to be rigor-
Do you owe someone money, or have outstanding bills? Do you have a debt from your mobile phone, internet provider, or a credit card? Are you trapped in a contract you no longer want be part of?
My finances are in order:
Are you concerned about how someone is treating you? Is someone: Ø harassing, stalking, threatening you? Ø damaging your property? Ø hurting you physically, emotionally, sexually? Ø is their conduct offensive?
I feel safe:
ous, not online, and candidates need to be judged on how well they will advocate for students, not on how animated they look in a gif.
‘LEGAL HEALTH’ CHECKLIST
disbanded, and buzz-words reign supreme. All of this, because of them.
Unsure against any of
Are you behind with your rent? Have you been forced to leave your house? Do you need your bond back? Problems with your neighbours? Or do you just want to know your housing rights and responsibilities?
My housing is in order:
the items in this checklist then you should call for free legal advice.
(02) 6173 5410
9.00am to 5.00pm Every weekday. 2 Allsop St Canberra ACT 2601
Does your employer owe you wages, or are they paying you too little? Have you been fired unfairly? Have you been injured at work? Are you being bullied in the workplace? Is your employment contract unfair? Do you think your employer is making unreasonable demands?
My work is treating me right:
Once something is on the internet, it can be hard to take down. If you feel like you have had your privacy breached, if images of you have been distributed online, if you are being cyberbullied, or if you want to know more about sexting, we can help.
I feel safe online:
Are your parents getting separated? Or are you expecting a child? Are you going through a break up with your partner, and want to know your legal rights? Has your partner ever abused you? Do you have a case in the family court?
My family affairs are in order:
If you ticked No or
Youth Law Centre ACT
Do you have any involvement with police? Do you feel the police have treated you unfairly? Have you been given a court date or any court documents? Have you witnessed a crime? Or have you been the victim of a crime and want help?
All is okay for me with the criminal law:
__________________________________________________________________ Legal Assistance If you ticked No or Unsure against any of the items in this checklist then you should give Youth Law Centre a call today on (02) 6173 5410 or visit us at 2 Allsop Street, Canberra, 2601.
It is far better to speak to a lawyer before your problem becomes a much bigger problem. The Youth Law Centre is free and confidential – we are here to help.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
LIFE & STYLE
Sonder Sonder is defined as the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own - populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness. In a series of interviews, Arts student, Georgia Leak, aims to explore the lives of the colourful characters that call the ANU home.
Interview with the Ethnocultural Department Georgia Leak Following the likes of Lionel Shriver’s pro-cultural appropriation keynote speech at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival, the whitewashing of the 2016 Oscars, and police violence in the U.S against African Americans, it is undeniable that people of colour (PoC) around the globe often find themselves being misrepresented and unsupported on cultural, structural and institutional levels. This week the ANU has moved forward in leaps and bounds in its representation of PoC with the Ethnocultural Committee being made an official ANUSA Department. I had the privilege of chatting with its new executive, as well as some members of the Collective, about what they do, the right of representation, and what lies on the horizon for the fledgling department. Founded as a committee by alumni, Monique Langley-Freeman, and continued by the current executive*, Aditi Razdan, Kat Reed, Rashna Farrukh and Reza Mazumder, the Ethnocultural Department aims to represent and campaign for Ethnocultural people on campus, by providing a safe space for solidarity in its Collective, and education to the wider ANU body. According to Collective member, Afif Haque, being a part of the Ethnocultural department’s community has helped him to find his voice in a world that, quite often, drowns out the sound of minority groups. “In the Ethnocultural Department I believe
eloquently pointed out that it is not just important, it is an indisputable expectation. “Racial, ethnic and religious identities make up one part of who we are, but it is an important part, and a part that often goes unnoticed or is minimised. In the current polarised and xenophobic climate, PoC need to feel represented and uplifted at every institutional level: and ANU is just one of them.”
that I’ve found an excellent platform to advocate alongside other like-minded individuals for an important idea.” Having their committee finally recognised as a department has represented a change in the tides of representation of PoC here at the ANU. However, this road to recognition has been anything but a smooth one. “It is one thing to be working on the administration or even planning campaigns, but to create a space that people are motivated and eager to be a part of is slightly harder to map out. Motivation and passion have to
be stoked through campaigning, solidarity and activism on campus, that remind PoC that their voices, their racialised experiences and their beliefs are valid,” the Executive members relayed. “We can only hope that with an Officer, increased funding and greater publicity next year, there will be more motivation to join the Collective, take the lead with campaigns and deconstruct the notions of whiteness and what is ‘normal’ in our current context.” When asked how important it is for PoC to have a voice here at the ANU the co-chair, Aditi,
With their sights set on the organisation of a PoC mental health photo project, a Men of Colour publication, and a possible Multicultural Week for next year, I think we all have much to learn from the Ethnocultural committee, its Executive, its Collective, and their campaigns for PoC here at the ANU. Seeing a critical gap in the representation of identities on campus, these young people sought to create a supportive space in which Ethnocultural members of the student body could deconstruct what race, ethnicity, and even gender means to them - and that they have. I can only hope that - as it has been since its inception - the only way is up for the Ethnocultural Department, and that they continue to gain leverage and visibility within the ANU community. You can reach the Ethnocultural Department on Facebook and Wordpress. *(Ed’s note: correct at the time of writing)
LIFE & STYLE
Issue 12, Vol. 66
The ANU Alumni Series
Ten Questions with Julie Melrose National Campaign Manager, The Wilderness Society Areti Metuamate Environmental lawyer and campaigner, Julie Melrose, left the ANU with a Juris Doctor (Honours) and Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice only a few years ago, and yet her CV shows an impressive range of experiences in activism, politics, law and policy. A former PARSA President and active advocate for the environment while at ANU, Melrose is currently the National Campaign Manager for The Wilderness Society Australia, and is the second person to feature in Woroni’s ANU Alumni Series.
ulation, and I was staunchly opposed to this. Do you have a favourite ANU lecturer or researcher, and what was it that you liked about her/him? My favourite course at the ANU was Environmental Litigation with Dr Chris McGrath who is a practising Barrister in Queensland. He was excellent in linking theory to practice, and taught us really practical skills in running environmental law cases. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your ANU student self?
What is it that led you to your current role? I grew up exploring the Australian wilderness with my family, who are really into exploring, which is how I became passionate about protecting the environment. When this position came up at the Wilderness Society it aligned perfectly with my values, passion for wild places, and desire to work to protect them and to address threats like climate change. From where did you come and why did you choose/get sent to ANU? I did my undergraduate degree in International Studies at the University of Sydney, which is where I am from. While at Sydney Uni I started working in the Australian environment movement for a few different NGOs, and got to attend several UN climate conferences. I did heaps of travel in my undergrad years and got the travel bug, so I took a year off and went backpacking around Central America. I fell in love with the Caribbean, and so stayed and did my Divemaster training in Belize. After living on a small island for a while, something deep down told me I needed to come home and keep working as an activist. There was so much more to be done in my lifetime to help protect our precious environment. I wouldn’t have been able to keep diving in the beautiful ocean every day knowing how much everything I loved was under threat. But I knew I needed more skills to be able to make a real impact, which is why I decided to become an environmen-
tal lawyer. I remember I was sailing in the Caribbean when I climbed up the mast to call mum and found out I got the offer to study at ANU. What did you love and hate the most about Canberra? It couldn’t have been more of a contrast moving from living on an island in the Caribbean to living in Canberra, but to my surprise, I absolutely loved it. I loved how easy it was to meet like minded people who were into the same things as me. I took up mountain biking, joined the ANU Mountaineering Club, met heaps of new people through becoming involved in PARSA, and became more and more politically active in campaigns. I loved how Canberra felt like a community, and that I got to live and study with amazing friends from all over the world. There’s not much I hated about Canberra, but I did resent the fact that the lake was not swimmable. The other thing I now hate, is that because all your friends you make in Canberra are from all over the world and Australia, inevitably, you all scatter away after uni and you don’t get to see much of each other anymore. But the plus side is you do have great friends to visit in interesting places.
What else did you do (other than study) at ANU? I got involved in PARSA and was President in 2013. I took a group of students to Brazil to research sustainable development. I sat on the ANU Council. I researched deforestation policy at the UN climate conference in South Africa. I also played water polo for ANU at Uni Games, and ran a few social sporting teams like touch footy and indoor soccer. What was your go-to meal while you were an ANU student? Dickson Asian Noodle House Laksa for takeaway. I was also in a 7-person share house where we had an arrangement that each person would cook one night a week each, so we usually had awesome home cooked family dinners every night. My friend Ian always cooked Rogan Josh, Nick did Tuna Pasta, Irish Liz always made something with potatoes... What was the biggest political issue affecting you and your mates when you were at ANU, and what were your views on that issue? The biggest issue was probably the proposal for higher education dereg-
In 2013 I had a real health shock when I became severely burnt out by the sheer amount of things I was doing - studying law full-time, working as acting Executive Director of the ACT Conservation Council, PARSA President, and then running for Parliament in the Federal Election. I don’t regret doing any of those things, but the advice I would give is to do a few things really well and take care of yourself in the process. If the Vice Chancellor called you up today and asked you to tell him one thing you think he should do to change/improve the ANU, what would it be? I would encourage him to be more proactive in implementing bridging programs and outreach programs to increase the number of Indigenous Australian staff and students at the ANU. What do you think is the biggest issue facing Australia today, and how can ANU students be part of addressing it? The biggest threat facing Australia and the world is climate change. Addressing climate change requires a complete rethink of our entire economic system, and requires innovation and creativity to rebuild a more sustainable world. There are endless opportunities in every single field of study to contribute to solving this challenge and being part of creating a better world.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
Life & Style
Doing You Phoebe is a first year PPE / Art History and Curatorship student. They say ‘write what you know’, so as an Explorer and Adventurer of all things pertaining to sexuality and a control freak looking to take risks, she’s decided to write this column. She will be discussing Sex from a different angle in each Edition.
Go Fuck Yourself Phoebe Hamra Although sex does have its reproductive uses, I have been religiously avoiding testing out that function. I, therefore, am going to stick to talking about what I do know, and the function I do take advantage of, and that is the pleasure part. Here is the sell: Tired of your partner’s inability to make you orgasm? Do you find it hard to just be in the moment and enjoy sex? Are you not quite ready to invite a friend to join in, but are still chasing that O? Or perhaps you’re even frustrated with your impressive ability to orgasm within three minutes? Well buddy, go fuck yourself. No really, please do - it will solve all your problems. Go. Do. Yourself.” Sex with another person can be a lot of fun - sometimes even... like wow - but the intimacy of sex with a partner can be intimidating. Mastur-
bation is a great way to get in touch with your own body and get comfortable with yourself, so that you can then be comfortable with someone else and just be in the moment. You need to find out what turns you on, how you like to be touched, and what leads you to orgasm. Many of us are not gifted with the ability to get off solely using our imaginations, so we are left to navigating the frequently terrifying world of PORN. If you don’t want to be permanently scarred, or disgusted by the rampant objectification of women in porn, but still need a little stimulus to get yourself going, then start with solo porn. Some of it is actually surprisingly tasteful, and it will also give you a bit of inspiration as to what to do down there. Reading erotic fiction is also a whole different kind of sexy, some of it is escapist, but some is very intimate
and authentic - a lot less confronting than some of the mainstream videos. So maybe you’re pretty confident in bed and happy with your selflove habits, but you want an extra little challenge. If you can’t control when you orgasm, and you’re ready to step up your game, I have two challenges for you. When you’re doing you, bring yourself as close to orgasm as possible, and then just stop. Leave yourself at the brink as many times as you can, and you’ll have the kind of orgasm they write erotic fiction about. After doing this for a while - and to be clear, it isn’t an exact science - you’ll have better control over when you orgasm during sex. This is good for quickies, long sessions, or that elusive simultaneous orgasm. This brings me to challenge number two - aka the most underrat-
ed way to improve your sex life. You’ve probably heard about these somewhere on the sexvine, maybe you’re already a pro at them, but exercising your pelvic floor muscles holds untold benefits for your sex life. They’re so easy to do, just expand and contract like you would any other muscle - Google for the specifics. The best part is that it’s a work out you can do at any time, in any situation, in any clothes, in any position, and no one will know. There’s even an app to remind you. The best thing about getting sexy with yourself is that it allows you to explore your sexuality in a way that can only goes as far as you let it. You are completely in control of your own exploration and orgasm. There is no pressure to please anyone apart from yourself. Sound good? Well go on then, go fuck yourself.
FREE PUBLIC LECTURE Dr Karl Kruszelnicki
MONDAY OCTOBER 24 @ 6.30 PM LLEWELLYN HALL, William Herbert Place, ANU ADMISSION RSVP for
IS FREE numbers at
ALL WELCOME www.andrewleigh.com
Be a part of Doctor Karl’s mission to interpret the beauty and the mystery of the scientific world around us. The Fenner Lecture series is hosted by the Federal Member for Fenner, Andrew Leigh. With the new electorate of Fenner having been named after the scientist Frank Fenner, who better to christen the series than our most prolific and well known populariser of science, Karl “The Doctor” Kruszlenicki.
PRESENTED BY LABOR’S NORTHSIDE REPRESENTATIVE
Andrew Leigh MP
Authorised by Andrew Leigh, 8/1 Torrens St. Braddon 2612
SCIENCE & LIFE/STYLE
Drug Re-education My childhood drug education of “take drugs and you will die!” left me dangerously ill-equipped to navigate the drug-rich environment of Uni life. Certainly I am still no expert, but I’m hoping I can convey some more factual information about drugs and drugs policy that might help create a safer environment for everyone here at ANU.
It’s political not criminal Andrew Martin If you take a rat, put it in a cage alone, and give it the choice between two bottles - one containing water and the other containing water laced with heroin or cocaine - it will almost invariably become addicted and self-administer the laced water until it kills itself. However, if you take a caged and addicted rat and put it in a “rat park” with other rats to play and have sex with, space to run around, toys, interesting food to eat, and again give the rats the choice between the two bottles, none of the rats will become heavy drug users or die. Now consider if you were to take a human, addicted or not, and put them in a prison cell alone… For me, the way our society punishes drug users, and in particular those suffering from addiction, is one of our greatest moral failings. In his book ‘Chasing the Scream’ Johann Hari states that “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.” The challenge of connection - of love - is to see one’s self in another. We are taught not to connect with, not to love addicts. We are taught that they are different from us, that they are the other. Certainly it is not always easy to see ourselves in, and love, addicts, and their often extremely self-serving behaviour. Bell Hooks states that “addiction is both a consequence of widespread lovelessness and a cause.” All human behaviour, however, from the “junkie” taking drugs to the “saint” giving selflessly, is an attempt to alter one’s consciousness, and each and every one of us are motivated by the same core needs - including the need to connect and the need for love. To say there is no “us” and “them”, no “junkies” or “saints”, is not to say there are not people in need of help, in need of love. This, however, is not “tough love”, punishment, pity, or charity,
Issue 12, Vol. 66
but rather, love between equals or “brotherly love”. As Erich Fromm states, “Brotherly love is love between equals: but, indeed, even as equals we are not always “equal”; inasmuch as we are human, we are all in need of help. Today I, tomorrow you. But this need of help does not mean that one is helpless, the other powerful”. Studies have shown the vast majority of drug users, including heroin and ice users, do not become addicted. Coupled with other experiments like the Rat Park, this suggests that the likely cause of addiction is mostly environmental, and only in a very small part chemical. If the likely cause of addiction is environmental or luck, and not a personal failing or choice, punishing and imprisoning drug users rather than deterring or rehabilitating them is illogical, and frankly cruel. Thankfully, the tides are turning globally in regards to drug policy. Including, most notably, in Portugal, where the possession of all drugs was decriminalised 15 years ago, leading to very well documented positive health and economic outcomes. To truly tackle the issue of addiction I believe much broader economic policy change is needed. As Bruce Alexander states, “Today’s flood of addiction is occurring because our hyperindividualistic, hypercompetitive, frantic, crisis-ridden society makes most people feel socially and culturally isolated.” Or, more simply, as Erich Fromm puts it, “the principle underlying capitalist society and the principle of love are incompatible.”
Floriade in Bloom Alexandra Green Slowly but surely spring has hit Canberra, and inevitably, so has Floriade.
new physical beds’, thus helping to uphold Floriade’s responsibility to maintain park conservation.
In the past, Floriade has been developed alongside set weekly themes. This year, however, the festival has “gone back to everything organically tailored to a garden show”, and just as you would expect from a Canberra-run event, this over-arching theme is rich in ‘innovation’ – ah yes, that ever-pertinent word.
Adapting off feedback from visitors, Floriade has developed classes and workshops that engage visitors. Everything from cooking workshops to floral arrangement classes with local florists, Moxom and Whitney. The aforementioned events are, however, ticketed, but for free days out look no further than the free yoga hosted by Lululemon on Sundays (BYO mat), and Yoga Enlightenment on Thursdays, which is actually seated yoga, meaning is likely caters for older generations.
Including the never-before-seen use of 192 planter boxes - trialled last year to see how they would grow - this years festival represents current innovative trends in gardening and landscape design, with planter boxes now making up 1/10th of the overall 1 million total bulbs displayed this year. In a world where the idea of getting a large garden is but a dream, planter boxes are a popular fixture to create garden space on inner city apartment balconies and patios. As Canberra transforms from a country town - wherein which Floriade started into a booming cultural centre, it’s great to see the festival take this idea and trend into consideration, and transform along with them. Planter boxes sit further apart, are easier to move - “you can drop and drag them wherever you like” - and they grow in the same way as the flowers on site, meaning that there is no hindrance to the overall spectacle. They also allow for even more flowers to be in bloom without having ‘to turn additional soil or dig
Least but not last, if you have a dog, you really do have to attend Floriade’s Dog Day Out on the 15th of October. For just one day dogs of “any shape or size” are allowed to make their way freely (on a leash) through the festival. This will, of course, be accompanied by “dog themed presentations and demonstrations”. Plus, if your dog is especially cute, dress them up in their Sunday best because there are prizes to be won. Floriade is up there with Questacon as “the thing to do in Canberra”, and despite the few early days of torrential rain, consistently perfect spring weather has since followed. So, if you have a free day somewhere between now and the 19th of October, I urge you to go.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
The role and potential influence of CRISPR: An interview with Dr Gaetan Burgio Giordi Borzuola
Dr Gaetan Burgio is group leader and Head of the Transgenesis Facility at the John Curtin School of Medical Research. He sat down with Giordano Borzuola to discuss the ethical and social implications of the fascinating new biotechnology, CRISPR.
When asked about this, Dr Burgio disagreed with the need for a moratorium for all CRISPR research, however, supported the notion that the technology should only be used for therapy. Burgio also noted that these issues, while morally contentious, are not pressing. Citing the need for further testing, as well as an almost decade long process to gain safety approval before CRISPR can be used on humans, Burgio argued that “we’re at least 10-20 years away from being able to use CRISPR in [an ethically contentious] way.”
Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR), are segments of DNA that contain short repetitions of base sequences. CRISPR associated proteins recognise CRISPR sequences, and can cut these sequences from the genome. This interaction can be used by researchers to ‘genetically engineer’ an organism’s DNA by removing undesired genes and replacing them with others.
When asked about the best way for lawmakers to attempt to create laws in anticipation of possible ethical issues surround CRISPR, Dr Burgio argued that the law had to adopt a reactionary stance. By the time that law can be created, Burgio argued, the technology will have shifted to render the legislation obsolete. “We need to wait and see what direction the technology moves in before we can look to create policy around it,” he contended.
When talking about his research, Dr Gaetan Burgio stated that “at this stage, we just want to learn more about how CRISPR works.” Using multidrug resistant bacteria and the malaria parasite, Burgio’s goal is to “uncover novel ways to combat deadly infectious diseases, such as malaria or hospital acquired infections.” Earlier this year, researchers in China conducted the first attempt to genetically engineer human embryos using CRISPR. Using non-viable embryos, the team used CRISPR to bind and splice target DNA at specific locations to effectively remove a faulty gene, which could then be replaced. Whilst groundbreaking, the experiment was met with limited success. Of the 71 embryos that survived, only 28 were successfully spliced, with only a fraction of those containing the desired replacement genetic material. As noted by the lead researcher Dr Junjiu Huang, “if you want to do it in normal embryos, you need to be close to 100% [success rate]… [the technology] is still too immature.” When asked about this, Dr Burgio echoed these sentiments in emphasising the need for patience, “there is so much we don’t yet know… I cannot overstate how long it will be before we can use it (CRISPR) in that way.”
Despite the limited success of this initial experiment, it still raises complex ethical issues. Edward Lanphier, chairman of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, argues that the work could be exploited for “non-therapeutic” modifications – such as to change a child’s eye colour, or even enhance their athletic
or intellectual capabilities. George Church, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School, supports a movement amongst some scientists to create a moratorium on embryo editing until “safety issues are cleared up and there is general consensus that it is OK.”
In the CSIRO Strategy 2020 report, Minister for Industry and Science, The Hon Ian Macfarlane, indicated that modern scientific research should be centred around research that can be commercialised. Macfarlane argued that the CSIRO should look to boost “commercialisation of Australian ideas” by putting “science, research and technology at the centre of Australian Industry.” When asked about the perceived conflict between “blue sky” scientific research and “industry-centric” research, Dr Burgio argued that it was impossible to have the latter without the former. “Ideas that can be commercialised come from blue sky research,” Dr Burgio argued, “penicillin, Wifi, radar are all technologies that came about as a result of research that didn’t have an immediate commercial goal.”
Issue 12, Vol. 66
Shirty Science Katrina Zivkovic
Have you ever asked yourself what would happen if you combined art with science? Shirty Science is a project created by ANU student, Madison Hartill-Law, who is studying a Masters in Science Communication. She has worked at making science more accessible by combining ANU PhD students and local artists to create an artistic representation of the scientific projects on t-shirts. Cool! Madison came up with the concept after seeing too many pun based science shirts. “Scientists should be wearing shirts about their own research,” she said, “I wanted to create something that would spark conversations about new scientific discoveries”. Last weekend was the unveiling of these impressive shirts at a weekend-long exhibition at Anvil Design Studio & Gallery at The Hamlet. Imagine wine, artwork and passionate scientists and artists discussing their work, and you’ve got the exhibition release. Each shirt was been given a ‘team’ name, from Team Malaria to Team Eukaryote. My favourite was Team Brain – not only was it a super cool looking shirt but when you learn the science behind it, it is a super clever creation. The scientist, Francesca Maclean, from the College of Engineering and Computer Science, is designing a ‘material system’ that can help the brain repair after traumatic injury. The art created by Mahnie Blakey (a first year studying design with a major in textiles) not only looks awesome, it used Francesca’s actual microscope slides which capture the repair process. These slides were used to create a collage in the shape of a brain. Being a female in science it was great to see that the majority of both artists and scientists in the project were female. The project opened so much opportunity to promote areas of science study that are underrepresented. Not only that but this is a great platform to make science understandable and accessible - something which doesn’t often occur in the higher levels in science. See http://www.shirtyscience. com/ for all the amazing designs!
Images from shirty science
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
The vision for a fossil free ANU Miriam Adams-Schimminger for Fossil Free ANU
Over the past few years we have had an ongoing conversation about the future of the ANU and the modern Australian university. Should we deregulate fees? If the Sydney College of the Arts isn’t profitable should it be moved, or whittled down like our School of Music was? How should we approach the renovation of Union Court? Should researchers have to endlessly apply for grants and churn out papers to stay viable or should we foster a culture of research for its own sake?
The campaign has received a large amount of support thus far as alumni and students are unwilling to give their money to an institution that invests in climate change. Meanwhile, the ANU has signalled that it is moving in the direction common among American universities of relying on alumni donations as a new source of revenue. This being the case, the ANU is likely to benefit from divestment. A brief by the Australia Institute from June last year found that “universities deciding to divest [from fossil fuels] would be met with much more support than criticism from the public and from their own alumni. Indeed, universities may find alumni more willing to donate, and are unlikely to find many people become unwilling to donate” (Leading by Degrees: Universities and Fossil Fuel Divestment).
Basically, should Australian universities be run as for-profit institutions that sell degrees to those who can afford them or as spaces that foster creativity, education, and research and are open to anyone who wants to come along? Fossil Free ANU (FFANU) are proponents of the latter. FFANU is an autonomous and student-run movement of the Environmental Collective, campaigning for ANU to divest from the fossil fuel industry. They see the modern university as a place that allows people to come together to learn, create, do research, share knowledge, and celebrate human endeavour. Moreover, they believe things should be available to all and should be funded with public taxpayer money, to encourage a public institution which works for the public good. The ANU’s continued investment in the fossil fuel industry is one barrier to this vision. These investments are mutually exclusive with the vision of a just and equitable university. They make the ANU—and by extension, its students—complicit in funding climate change. By investing in the fossil fuel industry and its associated injustices, the ANU is turning its back on the hope of it being a public institution that operates for the public good. How can the ANU operate for the public good if it’s invested in an industry that is killing the Reef, bringing our farmers to their knees, and widening the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians? How can it claim to be an institution that celebrates research when it ig-
nores its own scientists who repeatedly support divestment from fossil fuels in favour of kick starting a renewable economy? How can it claim to be a #thoughtleader when it is ignoring every argument and every piece of research showing that being a leader today suggests it must be a leader in the fight for climate justice? The ANU lags behind in this fight. It could have been the first university in Australia to commit to divestment, but La Trobe took that crown in May of this year; the Queensland University of Technology followed suit earlier this month. Across the Tasman, the University of Otago in Dunedin similarly divested on September 14. Any one of the universities of Canberra, Sydney, or Melbourne could be the next: so when will ANU divest?
Over the past five and a half years the FFANU campaign has produced small but significant steps towards divestment. They made scientific, moral, and financial cases for divesting. They demonstrated that ANU staff and students, and the wider community, overwhelmingly support divestment. They convinced the university to adopt a Socially Responsible Investment policy, which resulted in a divisive partial divestment decision in October 2014. This semester, FFANU is trying something new. The Alumni Pledge campaign combines a new class of people (alumni) and an issue that is very close to the ANU’s heart (donations). Students and alumni simply pledge that they will not donate to the ANU until it has committed to completely divesting from fossil fuels.
Yet moving to the American model could also deepen the ANU’s commitment to the kind of university reliant on private sources of income; where profit is central and education is commercialised. To strike a balance between these possibilities— donation and divestment—FFANU recently updated the Alumni Pledge campaign. Now when an individual takes the Pledge, the University must remove that person from the donations contact and communication list. If the University commits to divesting from fossil fuels they may re-establish contact on that issue. Thus, alumni in support of divestment will only donate if the ANU represents their values, rather than a corporate agenda. FFANU is confident that focusing on the ANU’s bottom line will get their attention in a way nothing else has, and are looking forward to doing this in a way that also highlights and protests the corporatisation of Australian universities. We—students and staff concerned about the environment and the future—need to free the ANU from what Canadian author Naomi Klein calls “corrosive corporate influences” so that it can live up to the vision of a liberated, inclusive and creative modern Australian university. This inextricably means completely divesting from fossil fuels.
Issue 12, Vol. 66
On E-Waste: An Interview with Dr Assa Doron Matthew Lord
Have you ever asked yourself, “Where does my laptop go when it dies?” Far from a recycling centre in the clouds, the answer is more likely to be either landfill, or one of the large-scale e-waste dumps that exist around the Third World. From places like Accra on the south coast of Ghana, to Guiyu in southern China, massive flows of e-waste are dumped each year, with both environmental and social impacts. I caught up with Dr Assa Doron from the ANU’s School of Culture, History and Language, who recently convened an international workshop titled, “World-Making and the Environment in the Asia-Pacific Region” to discuss the growing e-waste problem. “It’s a loose category”, Dr Doron says when asked what items actually come under the ‘e-waste’ label, which can be anything from the smallest phones to some of the massive TVs that now are a normal part of the electronics market. “And of course in between you have the middle range, the computers, laptops, desktops”. Many of these items, once thrown out of the household, end up being transported to the third world e-waste dump sites. Given that the movement of hazardous waste between countries is banned by the 1992 Basel Convention, e-waste is often smuggled into receiving countries, where cheap labour and lax regulations make such
places attractive dump-sites for ‘First World’ waste. Sometimes e-waste is hidden within shipments; other times it is imported as second-hand goods as part of charitable efforts to bridge the digital divide between ‘First World’ and ‘Third World’ countries. When e-waste arrives, the poorest members of the local communities often task themselves with salvaging raw materials (such as copper, silver and gold) from these old computers and televisions. “The technologies that they use are very basic to try and extract these valuable items, so they actually cook them in acid in order to pry open, to pulverise the e-waste, and this is very dangerous.” This work often comes with huge health consequences, ranging from direct contact with the acids to breathing the fumes. An episode of Dateline on SBS called ‘E-Waste Hell’ showed that the toxicity from the e-waste was not isolated to the dumpsite, and had spread to the local food market causing health problems for the community at large. Furthermore, it is clear that Dr Doron sees the e-waste flows as part of a bigger problem. He points to what he calls ‘fashion obsolescence’ – our concern with “being left behind, the need to constantly update ourselves”. This trend stems from ‘planned obsolescence’, whereby companies deliberately design their products to last
only a given period of time to ensure consumers keep buying. Planned obsolescence goes back to the 50s and 60s with the emergence of the global consumerist society, and instilled in consumers the need to constantly purchase new items. Dr Doron points to the recent iPhone 7, saying “if you take for example the iPhone 7. Now there is no jack for the earphones— what will happen to all these headpieces?” It’s a worthwhile question, especially when one thinks already about the number of iPhone docks and cables rendered useless by Apple upgrading the iPhone’s main power connection. However, there is some progress being made on the issue. When I asked about who was responsible for dealing with the problem, Dr Doron contended that private industry and the state both had roles to play. “In some areas they’re trying to initiate Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), so that companies, whether it’s Samsung or Sony, are obliged to purchase back the items that were discarded and take responsibility.” He also spoke of a recent development in Sweden, where the Social Democrat and Green parties proposed a range of tax breaks for repairs, in an attempt to push the economy towards a repair service industry rather than constantly replacing goods. “It makes it more worthwhile to repair your
items, than to simply discard them and throw them away.” Nearing the end of our discussion, I started to think about what I might do with my laptop, which, purchased second-hand a year and a half ago, is nearing the end of its life. When it’s planned obsolescence kicks in and it finally stops working, there are a few options for me. I can throw it in the rubbish or recycling bin, where it ends up in landfill or who knows where else. I could also try to get it fixed. Or, I can choose to do what Dr Doron says many Australians do – shove it in a drawer and forget about it. But given the social and environmental effects of e-waste on the people and places in some of the most disadvantaged regions in the world, I think the journey to a local disposal centre is worth my time. Dr Assa Doron’s book, co-authored with Professor Robin Jeffrey, is titled ‘Cleaning Up India: Garbage, Growth and Government, and is to be released in 2017. For information on how to properly dispose of your electronic items, see http://www. ecoac tion.com.au/resources/ home/e-waste/.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
Debriefing on Australian Unemployment Rates Victor Sukeerth Munagala
image from new daily The national unemployment rate is one of the most closely scrutinised statistics, and it for a good reason; it’s a brilliant indicator as to how dynamic the market is, and how well it is able to manage itself in harsh conditions. So what is an unemployment rate? Simply, it accounts for the percentage of people who are unemployed, though able and willing to work. Well, these are the parameters that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has set for someone to be classified as unemployed.
Last month, Australia’s unemployment rate grabbed attention by dropping significantly to 5.7%. This, however, was in spite of the Australian economy
shedding 3,900 jobs, instead of gaining roughly 25,300 as estimated by analysts. With Australia’s unemployment rate holding steady, despite the consistent exogenous shocks occurring across the world in 2016, it would seem that the economy is quite resilient and is able to deal with multitudinous slowdowns and general economic woes (e.g. China’s ‘Black Monday’). Yet, there is much uncertainty in the air as to how the unemployment rate will look in the next couple of month. The economic market has been plunged into the dark because of events like Brexit, and the ambiguity surrounding the upcoming United States Presidential Election, the latter of which could potentially spell economic doom for the rest of the world – which includes Australia. Let’s take a closer look. The Northern Territory and the ACT have a particularly low unemployment rates - 3.5% and 3.6% respectively – while NSW and Victoria maintain unemployment rates of between 5% and 6%. The states, however, that are truly worrisome, are Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. Tasma-
nia takes the trophy for the highest unemployment rate, with a vexatious 7.2%, while South Australia has 6.8% and Western Australia follows closely behind with 6.2%. Interestingly, Western Australia is actually facing a drain in the labour force, as people are migrating to states like NSW to seek employment. South Australia, on the other hand, is facing terrifying employment challenges, specifically in regards to steelmaking and car manufacturing, as Holden will be axing jobs with some of their shutdowns later this year. All in all, these states have their work cut out for them, yet their respective governments seem eerily optimistic about bringing down their unemployment rates. Whether this is possible is yet to be seen. So what does the future look like? Will Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘ideas boom’ plan work in time? At this moment it seems as if the effects of his plan will not be immediate enough to be helpful to those who are seeking jobs. After the mining boom, analysts in various firms are concerned about whether the economy would be able to weather a possible slump, and hence, cause fear such an event would cause unemployment rates to rise. Given the data of last month, it would seem that either the economy is still managing, or the consequences have been delayed through stimulus plans. Perhaps it explains the rise of underemployment rates: those who wish to work more hours, yet are in
jobs that require them to work lesser hours. While Turnbull’s plan is longterm, and an ‘ideas boom’ can last forever compared to a ‘mining boom’, it would seem that the World economy simply does not wish to cooperate. Australia’s economy is highly dependent on China’s, so given a slight slowdown on their part, the Australian economy has expectantly suffered. To make matters worse, China’s exports are declining more than expected following the Brexit vote, and this raises concerns for the Australian economy. Demand in the United States for exports has fallen as well, and this in turn also adversely affects the Chinese economy. Unless China recovers from their problematic streak of economic mishaps, Australia could land in some trouble. I have quoted Brexit a few times here as well, as it will definitely unfavourably distress the trade accounts of Australia, while a Trump Presidency, along with protectionist policies, could also wreak havoc on the global economy. We are facing a presidential election, a possible triggering of Article 50, uncertain stock markets and an underperforming Chinese economy filled with bad debt. Thus, when you combine this with lingering fears that the Australian economy will collapse following the mining boom, the future seems dark and full of terrors. The Australian government must navigate these waters scrupulously.
Business & Economics
Issue 12, Vol. 66
Israel and Australia: Two nations at the AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY frontier Sam Taylor
Australia and Israel: Two nations whose total landmasses comprise of 70% and 60% deserts or semi-arid zones respectively. Evidently, these are not, one would assume, environments that are naturally conducive to high-yielding and productive farmland. However, at closer inspection, it is clear to see that agriculture has played a pivotal role in both nations from the outset. In Israel, the Kibbutzniks claimed back and vegetated the Negev desert for their survival, while in Australia most early settlers took to establishing small-hold properties as their main source of income. As a result, the countries have, through continuously improving the efficiency of the farming practices, learned to take full advantage of the fertile regions available to them. It is also for this reason, that in spite of the small amount of arable land each enjoy, that both have incredibly pioneering agricultural technology (AgTech) scenes at the leading edge of the global industry. What is Agtech? AgTech is not strictly limited to innovation in agricultural science, with developments being witnessed in associated industries and in varying aspects of Agribusiness. It encompasses employee productivity, asset utilization, supply chain and logistics efficiencies and improved customer experience to name but a few areas. Aside from attracting investment, the growth of AgTech is also being fuelled around the world by a range of factors such as demographic trends, population growth, climate change and a shift in consumer preferences. Looking at AgTech in Australia, the recently released AgTech report by StartupAus gives a broad and detailed picture as to the shape of the Australian ecosystem, comprehensively referencing a large number of major AgTech projects and emerging
startups. One particularly interesting figure contained in the report was the local estimated worth of the industry by 2030, placed at a $100 billion. Australia currently has $43 billion of agricultural exports and this is expected to increase as sector growth intensifies. It also points to the establishment of accelerators in the regional centers, namely Australia’s first SproutX, as well as the emergence of dedicated research infrastructure through Australia’s higher education institutions and scientific bodies. There is also a steadily increasing amount of foreign direct investment, with the sum sitting at $1.6 billion in 2014. These are some optimistic statistics and the report suggests that Australia is set to continue on a path that is wholly supportive of AgTech, provided it puts sustained effort into commercialization, attracting investment and technological adoption. So what then have been the notable startups has Australia produced to date as a testament to its expanding AgTech scene? Due to the diversity of technological solutions within the industry, these startups often have the potential to complement each other.For instance, agAlytics seeks to streamline nutrient management for improved yields, while Full Profile, a commodities and asset management software, aims to ensure that the agricultural product of this technology goes to market at minimal cost and for the best return for the farmer. Other startups include AgDrafter, which intends to address seasonal labour shortages and AgerSens which serves to act as a ‘virtual shepherd’ to achieve fenceless farms. Looking to Israel, perhaps the most prominent of AgTech innovation is that of the drip irrigation, envisioned in 1965 as a product of the forerunner to global irrigation giant Netafim. Since then, Israel has continued to
rapidly produce startups in the sector. A relative success stories has been that of Prosperpa, an Artificial Intelligence system that helps eliminate the guesswork of farming by recording processes and trends through an extensive on farm sensor array. It received $7 million worth of funding in 2016. Funding like this may well be set to continue, with venture capital firms Finistere Ventures, Cloud Break Advisors in conjunction with agricultural industry leaders such as DuPont, announcing an alliance to create $15 million AgTech accelerator fund Radicle. This fund will invest in core markets, of which Israel is one of the prime focuses. Chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer also partnered with Israeli accelerator Trendlines to form a $10 million fund dedicated exclusively to Israeli AgTech. In addition to investment sources, the role of Israel’s enviable research institutions and networks in AgTech cannot be discounted, with the majority of Israel’s universities having almost all having faculties of Agriculture. This is in addition to the many regional research centers and the Agricultural Research Organizations (AGO) playing an active part in developing the mixed farming practices which transformed Israel’s agricultural industry. As a whole, this collective expertise from Israeli agricultural innovation has also contributed to combatting major world food production issues such as desertification, as evidenced by the world’s largest conference on the subject at Ben Gurion University in 2008. Startups such as Sensilise are also praised for its ability to restore soil fertility and Biobee, which releases predatory mites to kill off harmful insects chemical free, have the potential to assist greatly in ad-
dressing food security dilemmas. Indeed, many have already exported their technologies to developing nations such as India and Colombia. It is significant to note that a strong innovation link between Australia and Israel is already present. Over the last year, this has manifested in initiatives such as the Landing Pad, whereby Australian startups get the opportunity to receive mentorship through an Israeli accelerator. Given this pre-existing relationship, could it then become more industry specific to allow for both countries to leverage off their shared strength in AgTech? Collaboration was recognized in the StartupAus report as a major barrier to Agtech, with Australia ranking as the least collaborative in the OECD in terms of innovation. Indeed, such a partnership could indeed combat this and it clear from both nations AgTech capabilities and diplomatic willingness that it could come to fruition. It appears the idea already has some government support, with the University of Sydney and the Israel AGO signing a research agreement in April 2016. Together the two institutions aim to work on improving biosecurity and aquaculture systems amongst other goals. As such, whilst still at an early stage, this still budding startup sector is well placed to collaboratively utilize the R&D findings emerging from both nations in the wake of AgTech’s increasing prevalence and significance to both commercial and humanitarian aims.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Farewell sweet princE Glenn Stevens ends a remarkable innings as RBA Governor RHYS DOBSON On September 18th 2016, an era of Australian economic leadership came to an end. Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Glenn Stevens, ended his term, which coincides with one of the most prosperous eras of economic growth seen in Australia since the Post WWII Long Boom. Charged with managing this nation’s monetary policy, in 2016 Stevens and his board guided Australia into a record 26th straight year of economic growth. While there have certainly been favourable circumstances that have aided this performance, such
as a mining boom, robust Terms of Trade and a strong Aussie dollar, his record speaks for itself. During his tenure of 10 years he has dealt with the Global Financial Crisis and the European Debt Crisis, as well as consistent domestic political instability that has historically hampered economic growth and consumer confidence. Growth in Australia throughout this volatile period has never dropped below 1%, and is projected to reach 4% this year. Not afraid to be both bold and unexpected, Stevens recently cut the
benchmark cash rate to a low of 1.50% - the record lowest rate ever recorded for Australia. Overseeing a time of continual change in the Australian economy’s structure, Stevens has played a large role in managing the ongoing transition from a manufacturing and mining based economy, to one based on services. In addition to overseeing structural changes he has also been unafraid to raise concerns about a price bubble in the Sydney Housing Market, a realm few governors wouldn’t dare commenting on for fear of inciting instability. After a concerted effort to see off low
inflation and stimulate wage growth in the country, the actions of the governor and his team appear, for now, to be producing signs of economic improvement. Philip Lowe, long-serving deputy governor of the RBA, will succeed Stevens and endeavour to fill the big shoes of the departing legend of Australian economic leadership. In a period that has brought us 5 Prime Ministers, 5 Treasurers and 6 Opposition Leaders, Stevens has had guiding hand in our economic prosperity and has much to be proud of.
Are Low Oil prices really good? Frederick Olaide Yinka-Kehinde, Co-published by the Trading and Investment Collective
WTI and Crude are the two most common oil indices in the world for the price discovery of oil. They both have a very similar oil concentration, and are usually called light or sweet oil when compared to lower grade oil (such as Sulphur/sour crude oil). In essence, the price of different grades of oils are set according to these underlying prices. For example, WTI is set as the American oil benchmark and Crude is generally the benchmark for parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia. Those readers who are financially orientated would have recognized that oil has been dropping at an exponential rate during the last couple of years - from its peak of U.S. $147.27 in 2014, it has fallen to a record low of approximately $26.16, breaking a 15 year record that had been in pace since April, 2003. From a consumer perspective, this is a cause for celebration. Lower oil prices mean consumers generally have more disposable income, increasing savings and greater purchasing power. This is because many prices are correlated with oil, so cheaper oil leads to the cheaper transportation of goods, cheaper energy to power homes, cheaper plastics, gels, jet fuel (which is why the airline industry has soaring
profits, especially Qantas) etc. Oil is a vital cog in the economy and, in literal sense, lubricates the economy. However, the rest of the economy might have a different view about the plunge in oil prices. This comes back to the general hypothesis that oil is an indicator of global demand and production. Correlation between oil and the global financial markets has been rampantly increasing since the rout in oil prices reaching somewhere around 50% correlation. In layman’s terms, that’s really quite high. Major world indices such as the S&P/ ASX 200 and S&P 500 (US) were down 7.3% and 14.15% respectively at the turn of the year. Not all of this fall is due to oil; some of it comes on the back of a global rout in demand within commodity driven economies such as Australia, stemming from China’s slowly declining pace of economic growth, and also partly because of uncertainty in financial markets brought on by the lack of stable central bank policy around the world. However, this high correlation between oil and global security is causing pain for fund managers around the world. For consumers, this means
that money investment in pension funds, superannuation, retail funds, and general investments is likely to fall in value as market risk reaches its highest value since the China devaluation, indicated by the VIX index, which generally measures level of volatility. As if that was not enough, oil prices being low are not the factor that’s most alarming to the market. Rather, it is the repercussion of oils unintentional spill over into inflation, or deflation in some cases. If Japan’s lost decade from the 90’s (persistent deflationary pressure and stagnant growth over a decade, which some believe is still going) is anything to go by, it is that deflation is a greater cause of concern than high inflation. Deflation, in economic terms, is quite scary because it can spiral and become a self-fulfilling prophecy of economic turmoil. Deflation to rational consumers like you and I incentivises us to hold off spending and wait for lower prices in the next period, and when we do so, this lowers economic activity and investments. In most cases this also leads to a loss of jobs and income, which means you have less money to spend and are therefore, now again incentivised to wait longer for prices to fall so you can afford the same amount
of units with the reduced income you have and the cycle continues. Due to frequently external factors such as central banks intervening to stop deflationary spirals, this doesn’t happen often. Deflation, along with other factors, and its correlation with oil which correlates with global markets, is the reason why oil prices falling too quick and too fast are not a net benefit for consumers in the long-run. Oil prices, when steadily falling to its mean-reverting average, is a positive for consumers with little dead weight loss (economic inefficiency), but dislocation of supply and demand leads to falling prices and large values of dead weight loss upon society. Why should we be alarmed? As Mark Papa, former EOG Resources Inc. CEO said, “Over the long-term, U.S. shale drillers could become the dominant producers in global markets, ahead of the world’s largest supplier, Saudi Arabia. Producing up to 13-14 million barrels a day by 2022.” This correlation of oil and market volatility might dissipate over time, but deflation could become a real obstacle and constrict global growth.
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Issue 12, Vol. 66
Revival of the Japanese economy Tatsunori Yamaguchi
“Self-deception is ultimately the reason of Japan’s plight. The Japanese never accepted change was in their interest”- Paul Samuelson In the 1980’s Japan was the envy of the world, as Japanese corporations dominated in every industrial sector possible. The United States Congress held enquires into Japanese efficiency, as many believed their economy would surpass that of the United States.
level of production in the economy. The demographics of the Japanese population have been distorted to produce a labour shortage: there are a large number of old people who rely on pensions, whilst not enough young people contributing to tax revenue. Consequently, the government
academic hierarchy was still present. Japanese firms should move towards fully abolishing the academic hierarchy to allow graduates with the best skills to compete for jobs. Brightening the prospects of Japanese employees is a step towards to increase the population.
Negative interest rates would initially increase prices due to consumption and investment. Rising prices would mean idol cash would lose value, forcing people to spend it immediately. The quantitative easing program would then lower the value of the Yen by flooding it into the foreign exchange. With a lower Yen, Japanese companies would be able to compete internationally and make profits, whilst the domestic problems were solved through government policy. Toyota has benefitted massively from a lower Yen, reporting a profit in 2015. As business prosperity rises and the value of the Yen lowers, corporations will hopefully raise wages to increase the living standards of Japanese workers. With increased company profits and consumption, the Japanese government should be able to service its public debt. 85% of Japanese public debt and 90% of Japanese domestic debt is fixed – so a lower currency value would be a non-issue and inflation would mean the government could service these debts easily.
This obviously never happened… In the 1990’s Japan enjoyed their golden decade, kick started by Japanese bureaucrats signing the plaza discord, which lead to an appreciation of the Yen. The Yen appreciated to such an extent that Japanese companies could no longer sell their high quality goods at a low price and, in the face of fierce competition, some went bankrupt. Simultaneously, the bank of Japan used its window guidance regime to increase credit supply in the economy, leading to high levels of speculative investment within the economy. The Nikkei Stock Market Crash, beginning in 1989, saw a drop from 30,000 to 8000 basis points which, when fueled by extensive credit in the economy, led to panic within the Japanese and world economies. The Japanese people lost confidence in the political, social and economic system entirely, and this loss of confidence set the scene for a greying and deflationary economy. Recently, Shinzo Abe has implemented a 3 Arrow Plan to return economic prosperity to Japan, however, effects so far have been minimal… In Western societies the notion of life long unemployment is irrelevant, however, in Japan, it plays a huge part in the constructs of social order. Japanese workers were laid off in unprecedented numbers after the Nikkei Crash, and graduates from the top universities in Japan were underemployed. The crash decremented the social fabric of Japanese society. People became pessimistic about the economy, and were less inclined to have children or start families. One decade later and the Japanese workforce is now insufficient for the
program to 3 trillion Yen. As a monetarist, I believe the Bank of Japan should be more liberal in its monetary program by further increasing negative interest rates to; punish savers, create incentives to spend, and force corporations to invest earnings into new projects or replace depreciating capital.
runs deficits, resulting in a huge pile of public debt. Though Japan could simply ease immigration policies to fix these problems, social complications arise because Japanese society has always been, and must remain, homogenous. Japan’s current Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has decided to introduce more women into the work force as part of his economic revival plan. The policy is promising, however, Japan will need to deregulate its labour market entirely. After the bubble burst, Japanese firms adopted United States style labour hiring practices, where wages were determined by performance evaluations rather than seniority wage, however,
Visa programs for expats should also be more generous in terms of their lengths and perks – if more expats were available within the market, Japanese firms would be able to attract the skills to compete in the internationally once again, whilst maintaining a homogenised society. Public debt is also a problem in Japan, having reached 200% of GDP, and the Bank of Japan must, therefore, commit to its current plan to raise inflation to 2-3% once again. The current Bank of Japan Chief Governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, has implemented a negative interest rate regime, and increased the quantitative easing
Given that the social conservative status of Japan needs to be maintained, Japanese public policy should be aimed at ‘filling the gaps’ and allowing current social issues to recover. Whilst some problems are being solved, the Bank of Japan has a responsibility to create a favourable environment for businesses with aggressive monetary policy. Socially, Japan does need to fix its population problem, but considering the amount of infrastructure, monetary policy should be able to fix the public debt and corporate profitability.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
Inward Bound 2016 Jackson Bursill, 2016 IB Race Director
Across the University’s eight halls and colleges, training miles are winding down and final preparations are beginning for this year’s Bupa Inward Bound on October 14th – 15th. Now in its 54th year, we will see 228 runners, 300 volunteers and over 500 spectators come together to endure the challenges and rewards of this unique adventure race. We’re excited to have, for the first time, a team of staff members from the ANU mathematics department who, along with a team from the Australian Defence Force Academy, will compete in division 6 this year. This year, Inward Bound is excited to be teaming up with Batyr. Founded by ANU alumnus Sebastian Robertson in 2010, Batyr aims to raise awareness of mental illness amongst young Australians. Through this partnership, we hope to highlight parallels between Batyr’s message and the nature of an event such as Inward Bound. Long endurance events can
be a powerful metaphor for an individual’s battle with mental illness. A battle which can be fought alone but seems to pass more quickly when we reach out to others and talk. Through the years that I’ve been involved with Inward Bound, I’ve witnessed people run distances and achieve feats that they never thought possible. It goes to show that with the encouragement and support of others, even the toughest of challenges can be met. Each competitor in the event this year will receive a pair of socks from Batyr which can be worn in the event to show their support for this message. We were very fortunate to have Bupa join us this year as the event’s principal sponsor. Their support has allowed us to provide a free bus service to all supporters to get to and from Endpoint. We strongly encourage any spectator wishing to attend the finish line to catch one of the 8 buses departing from each of the colleges at 6:30 am. There is also a late bus departing Union Court at 9am. More
information about spectating, including times for the return shuttle can be found here: http://anuinwardbound. com/important-info/spectators/ After Division 7 has boarded their bus, links to the live tracking and information on Endpoint will be posted on the website and the Facebook page. It’s important that spectators know that if they plan to drive themselves and others to Endpoint, that they have to register their car online before leaving ANU on Saturday morning, this can be done on the webpage above. The website is the place to visit throughout the event for live tracking, twitter and snapchat updates.
I would like to give a big thank you in advance to all volunteers who help the event to run smoothly, without your efforts the event simply could not go ahead. If you would like to volunteer for the event, there is still time to sign up, and it is highly rewarding! I’m looking forward to seeing all competitors at the final briefing on Tuesday 11th October in Copland Lecture Theatre at 6pm.
Issue 12, Vol. 66
Remarkable: These Quokkas have taken over the ANU Financial Department and have cut the university’s budget deficit in half! Tom Russell-Penny After months of doom and gloom, we finally some good news coming from ANU management. A large group of Quokkas have gained control of the university’s Finance and Business Services Division, and have streamlined the 2016 budget. At first, the high-ups in ANU management were sceptical that a team of Quokkas would be able to sort out all the nitty-gritty financial issues facing the university, but in only a matter of weeks, they’ve got the 2016 budget back on track.
Amazing! These Quokkas have sure showed those suits in chancellery a thing or two about budget savings. While some critics claim that the university administration is taking a major risk by effectively placing the future of the ANU in the hands of a group of land dwelling, mainly nocturnal marsupials – these figures don’t lie. Since the Quokkas’ arrival, savings have been made everywhere! For example, instead of cutting costs by selling new college contracts to Unilodge, the Quokkas have suggested creating a semi-arid, shrub domi-
nated, bush landscape on Daley Road and just leaving Fenner alone! Wow! Why didn’t we think of that? These cute little fluff-balls sure know something about efficiency, and predictably, and the remarkable turnaround of the ANU Budget has not gone unnoticed over the lake. The Quokkas’ exceptional savings measures have piqued the interests of Scott Morrison and Mathias Cormann, who believe the short-haired marsupials could play a key role in bringing the Government’s budget
back to surplus. The ANU, however, is not about to let go of their most prized asset any time soon. Back off Morrison! Why these Quokkas came to ANU we can’t be sure, but with management skills this good we do know one thing: they’re here to stay.
German Scientists Prove that a “Ghap Yhear” Increases Intelligence Hamish Paine
Commonly labeled as a year to ‘experience the world’ or ‘find oneself’, the 12-month hiatus from studying has now been scientifically proven to increase a student’s intelligence.
Claus von Art. The extent of increase in intelligence is still unclear, however, a student’s ability to apply cultural awareness to their studies is largely attributed to a gap year.
Funded by the Technological University of Munich, a team of German scientists have discovered that a specific region behind the forehead and left ear is stimulated if a student partakes in a gap year.
When questioned if there are any variabilities in the degree of intelligence, Von Art stated, “the more exotic the location the more intelligence a student is expected to possess.”
“We have found that the section connecting the left prefrontal cortex and left temporal cortex are linked with intelligence and gap year participation,” said head scientist, Professor
According to Arts/Law Undergraduate, Siobhan Blackwall-Cox, “After taking my ghap yhear in a Peruvian shepherd village high in the Andean Mountain range, I feel as if my intel-
ligence levels are light years beyond anyone in my cohort. I always thought I was just, you know, more spiritually connected, you know, to the world around me. Like, there is no race but the human race, you know?” “I think travel is the best thing you can do to like expand your mind? The universe has a way of making sure everything works out in the end,” Siobhan continued, “Of course, my parents are paying for my flights… and accommodation and a daily allowance. But some things are just more important than material wealth.”
Considering the results of the study carried out by the German Institute, the Australian National University is reviewing the decision to base their admission into arts and humanities related courses upon whether or not the student undertook a gap year. “They just understand the world on a deeper level,” explained Professor Paul Pickering, Dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences.
Week 10, Semester 2, 2016
The Perks of Being Short Sighted Eleanor Armstrong
As a middle class, white, able bodied Sydneysider, it can be hard to have something legitimate to complain about. It is an endless struggle to find inspiration for relatable, self-deprecating humour, so that people will think I’m J-Law levels of cute and quirky. It is for this reason that I thank my lucky stars that my blindas-bats parents passed on their shortsighted genes to me. The experience of disintegrating 20/20 vision was not only humbling, but a journey of self-discovery. Not only do I now have the sustenance for many kind-of-but-not-really funny anecdotes, but I am also privy to a whole other world of benefits of which I previously had no knowledge.
For one thing, glasses are just cute. We all remember the nerd trend that graced the pages of teen magazines a few years ago. Now YOU can revive that iconic 2012 look with the real deal (not just 3D glasses from the cinema). That ‘smart but sophisticated’ vibe is a hit, and can afford all sorts of privileges – such as being called on by lecturers because you always have to sit in the front row. It also gives you another way to ‘express the inner you’. For example, red frames could express your burning hatred of the world. Clear frames could mean that you secretly have a passion for interior design. Don’t want to wear glasses because it’ll mess with your #aesthetic? Con-
tact lenses freak you out? Don’t worry, the visual impairment itself also brings joy and excitement. Everything is a fun surprise! It’s always a great time when you realise that the giant black thing coming towards you is actually a cyclist gesturing for you to get out of the way. Further, the blissful state of fuzziness means you’ll never have to see the pure harshness of the reality of the world you live in! How fun!
What an effort. You don’t have time for that! So, if you’re bummed about losing your high quality vision, remember there are plenty of things to be appreciative of. And at the end of the day if you haven’t gotten enough social validation of your attractiveness in glasses, you can always schedule a Mia Thermopolis-esque reveal by swapping into contacts.
Not one for small talk and regular social interaction? You now have the perfect excuse – ‘oh sorry didn’t see you there’ becomes ALMOST semi-believable, and you can avoid having to flash the obligatory smile to an acquaintance in the street.
John Howard Accidently Summons Enraged Ghost of Sir Robert Menzies in Documentary Séance Byron Knight
Armed with nothing but an Ouija Board and an ABC Film Crew, former Prime Minister and world’s largest rat, John Howard, yesterday summoned the enraged ghost of mid 20th Century Conservative Apparatchik, Sir Robert Menzies QC. Mr Howard, emboldened by years of channeling Sir Menzies in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, had finally taken the great leap to summon the unholy spirit. His hands glided over the Ouija Board as he chanted: “God save the Queen, long may she reign over this humble colonial abode.” The entire satanic mass was caught on ABC Cameras’ and has shocked the nation. When pressed for comment one elderly Canberra resident said, “Dear God he is back! Well I guess it’s back to poorly made con-
sumer goods. Still, he should be happy about the trend of our current immigration policies.”
a first class knack for sycophancy regarding our dearest monarch Queen Elizabeth II.”
Bob Hawke, whom was being interviewed for the program, looked on in drunken disbelief, commenting to the ABC Camera crew, “Fucking hell boys, I think this calls for another stiff one.” Mr. Hawke then went on to pour himself a large rum remarking, “All this sailor jerry’s spiced shit is just Bundy for cowards,” before downing the drink unflinchingly in one swift gulp.
Sir Menzies also felt vindicated by recent scandals involving Senator Dastyari stating, “I still maintain, as I always have, that the Australian Labor Party is nothing more than Communist shill designed to penetrate the heart of this great nation. Indeed, I have it on good authority from those darling patriots at ASIO, that Senator Dastyari is nothing more than a Maoist stooge who wishes to corrupt the moral fiber of the young men and women of this proud nation, via the ghastly cuisine of the Mohammedan People’s. I’m with Pauline. I don’t want a snack pack, no matter how Haram it is.”
The ghost of Sir Menzies was reportedly calmed when Mr. Howard showed it his attempts as PM to drive the nation violently back to the 1950’s. Sir Menzies reportedly stated, “Young Johnny has shown a marvelous tact for xenophobic populism, and
Mr. Menzies went on to comment, “If
I had it my way, and if it were not for those Communist Sympathizers and Sexual Deviants who have the gall to call themselves the ‘High Court’, I would have all such politicians shot on sight.” Sir Menzies has since returned to the realm of the undead where he spends his time occasionally haunting the residence of former PM Paul Keating – taunting Mr. Keating with memories of the failed Republican Referendum.
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3/10 Floriade Commonwealth Park 9am-5pm Runs all week đ&#x;…ž
4/10 Stock Pitching â€“ Trading Workshop COP G30 4pm đ&#x;…žđ&#x;…• Chill â€˜nâ€™ Chat: Anti-Death Penalty BKSS 5pm đ&#x;…žđ&#x;…• Bike Maintenance Workshop Union Court 6pm đ&#x;…ž How do you market yourself in a globalising world? CBE Lecture Theatre 3 6.30pm đ&#x;…žđ&#x;…• Women Careers Panel & Networking Evening Allan Barton Forum 6.45pm đ&#x;…ž
10/9 Floriade Commonwealth Park 9am-5pm Runs all week đ&#x;…ž Mental Health and Wellness Week Inc. a petting zoo and free massages! đ&#x;…ž Bike Maintenance Workshop Union Court 6pm đ&#x;…ž
11/9 Spring (Vegan) Potluck BKSS 5pm đ&#x;…ž ANU Women in Leadership Launch Great Hall University House 6.30pm đ&#x;…žđ&#x;…•
5/10 Knitting Workshop: Making Spaghetti Bags BKSS 1pm gold coin donation DSA AGM Spoons Space 4.30pm đ&#x;…žđ&#x;…•
Screening: Bee Movie National Library 1pm đ&#x;…ž
Students Race Day Thoroughbred Park 11am-6pm đ&#x;…ž
Amnesty ANU: Write for Rights Coffee Grounds 3.30PM đ&#x;…ž
Czech and Slovak Film Festival National Film and Sound Archive, multiple screenings Runs till 09/10
Constitutional Roundtable #3 Woroni Office 5.30 đ&#x;…ž
Casino Macau Davey Lodge Common Room 6pm $5.41 (win up to $100) đ&#x;…•
Young Alumni Council and ILS Networking Evening White Rabbit Cocktail Room 6.30pm đ&#x;…ž
ANU Dance AGM BKSS 6pm đ&#x;…žđ&#x;…•
8/10 Annual Bonsai and Penjing Show Canberra Grammar School 9am-4pm, $3 Runs for 2 days Highland Gathering & Scottish Fair Kambah Oval 10am-5pm đ&#x;…žđ&#x;…•
9/10 Old Bus Depot Market Kingston 10am-4pm đ&#x;…ž CrĂ¨me Valaze National Portrait Gallery 2pm đ&#x;…ž
Forest Open Day Arboretum 11am-4pm đ&#x;…ž Beatles in Symphony Llewellyn Hall 2pm $55-88
Nuts Presents Death and the Maiden ANU Arts Centre 7.30pm $15 or $10 for NUTS Member Runs till 08/10
The Tempest Black Mountain Peninsula 6pm $15 or $10 for NUTS Member Runs until 15th
Roundtable on NUS ANUSA Boardroom 2-4pm đ&#x;…ž
Future Possible: Text Futures Gorman Arts Centre 6pm $15 inc. drink Transposition (Puppet Theatre) Canberra Theatre Centre 7.30pm $35
đ&#x;…ž 0$ Free đ&#x;…• Food provided
Alesa Lajana The Street Theatre 8pm $20
Light the Night Kingston Foreshore 5.30pm
Dogs Day Out Floriade 10am đ&#x;…ž
Fenner School Cocktail Night: Wild Lights Treehouse 7pm $39 inc. 2 drinks
Riesling ActewAGL Consumer Tasting Albert Hall 11am-3pm $45 inc. souvenir tasting glass
Sonic Sea Courtside Westside Acton Park 8.30pm BYO chair/blankie đ&#x;…ž
Bee Friendly Garden National Library 2pm $15 inc. refreshments
16/10 Old Bus Depot Market Kingston 10am-4pm đ&#x;…ž Othello in Conversation Hotel Hotel 1pm đ&#x;…ž