Woroni Special Edition 6.5 - The Broadsheet

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WORONI vol. 73, issue 6.5, semester 2, 2023

page 3 Eight Years Later: Schmidt’s legacy


Page 11

Sexual Consent: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Page 19

Territory Vs State: Where Are NT And ACT Rights?

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Two Sides of the Same Coin: Scholarships and School Funding in Australia’s Education Inequity Epidemic

Vol. 73, Issue 6.5

2 - Contents News

The Territory



Eight Years Later Joseph Mann and Alexander Lane

The Havelock House Picket And Housing Activism In Canberra 40 Years On: Where Did We Come From And Where Are We Now? Joseph Mann


ANU’s QS Ranking Drop Indicative of Larger Issues? Ruby Saulwick 7

SR Scholarships To Be Retained In Win For 2024 Student Residents Luca Ittimani


Territory vs State: Where Are NT And ACT Rights? Ruby Saulwick The Nation 21

ANUSA Election: Stand Up! Eats into the Incumbent’s Majority Alexander Lane

The Disgraced and the Disgraceful: Federal Politics in the Higgins Affair Aala Cheema



Your ANUSA for 2023 Editors

Housing Politics Is Hurting All The Wrong People Luca Ittimani


Acknowledgment of Country Woroni would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land upon which we operate, and upon which this broadsheet was produced: the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples. The name Woroni, which means mouthpiece, was stolen from the Wadi Wadi people. Following consultation, it was decided that Woroni could continue to use the name, as long as it acknowledged the theft, and strove for future reconciliation. We are continuing in our goal of reconciliation and aim to be a mouthpiece for indigenous experiences on campus. Editors Charlie Crawford Lizzie Fewster Alexander Lane Jasmin Small George Hogg Rosie Welsh Matthew Box Lucy Spencely

horoscopes Reviews 10

Horoscopes Crystal Lotus The University


Head of Radio’s Top Albums of All Time George Hogg 26


Sexual Consent: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Brigitte Assi 12

Two Sides of the Same Coin: Scholarships and School Funding in Australia’s Education Inequity Epidemic Aala Cheema

Why You Should Watch Bogan Motorsports Jasper Harris 27

Woroni’s Book Recommendations Editors and Sub-editors satire



Crazy Rich Office Bearers Editors

Remaining Friends With The Ontologically Evil APS Friend Claudia Hunt


The Politics, Philosophies and Economics of White Men Raida Chowdhury

Follow us on social media @Woroni for more content and updates

Sub-Editors Brigitte Assi Aala Cheema Raida Chowdhury Jasper Harris Claudia Hunt Joseph Mann Luca Ittimani Ruby Saulwick Jocelyn Wong Benjamin Van Der Niet Madeleine Grisard Chris Jackson

Radio may be over, but we’ve immortalised it on Spotify Want to Contribute?

Stay tuned as applications for subeditor positions open up before O-Week next year Woroni is powered by... mislabelled Daily Market tea

News - 3

semester 2, 2023

Eight Years Later Authors - Joseph Mann and Alexander Lane On the last day of the mid-semester break, campus is quiet when we sit down with Brian Schmidt. The brown brick Chancellery building is not a hub of student activity, and as we walk over it appears a bit like ANU’s own Battersea power station. Inside, it has been done up in traditional Australian colours: rusty red, muted orange, yellow here and there, brown wood panelling, and a soft sense of beige. As we wait in the lobby, the building feels a bit empty, except for when someone walks through and jumps into the elevator. The tranquillity is pierced, but not broken, by ANU’s departing ViceChancellor and Nobel laureate, Brian Schmidt. He is not loud, but passionate, and he has a lot to say on a lot of things. But most notably, he is an arm-waver. As he speaks, every concept is given a corresponding gesture. Dwelling on the aim of an inclusive community, he swings his arms out wide, and when he waves off criticism about large capital purchases, he points to where the two purchases sit, beyond the office and the gum trees outside. In February this year, at his State of the University speech, Schmidt announced that this year would be his last in the role and that he will be returning to research and teaching. It is hard to know if Schmidt’s status as a cultural icon comes from who he is, or from his last name, which has proved endlessly punnable for ANU students.

Having spent eight years in the top full-time position at the University, he is tired of the work. When we ask him about his pay, which is less than most other Vice-Chancellors in the country, he is clear that he would never be a Vice-Chancellor at another university, and that he did this for the ANU. Of course, he is still paid in the ballpark of $500,000. He argues there would be a “disequilibrium” if he were paid less than the people he hires, and the people he hires are paid around that much. Schmidt is distinctly American as well. Listening to this thick accent while tall

gum trees sway outside, with classic Canberra pollen in the air, feels slightly anachronistic. It extends beyond his accent though. When he speaks of his aims as Vice-Chancellor, it is about putting ANU in the same league as other word-class institutions. The first that comes to him is Harvard. When he discusses inclusion on campus, he does so in a distinctly American liberal tone: disagreeing with what may be said, but defending people’s right to say it. As we begin to ask Schmidt about his time at the ANU, the first thing that becomes apparent is his candour.

He wants to talk about the areas where the ANU is not doing well. We open by asking him if he is excited to return to a quieter pace of life, and he is quick to describe the job as relentless, throwing his life out of balance. There is, he says, a lot of unpleasantness to it. To explain further, he uses what sounds like a frequent anecdote: 20,000 people come to the ANU everyday, and most people work 20,000 days in their life, meaning that everyday is bound to be the best day of one person’s life and the worst day of someone else’s. And he estimates they deal with one out of ten people who are having the worst day of their life. Throughout the interview he returns to the issue of sexual assault, and it seems he sometimes has to address events like this. He admits that this includes executing the procedural fairness of the university.

The Long View

With a mammoth institution like the ANU, it is difficult to know what gives it momentum and what can push it to change course. Schmidt says his focus has always been on students, despite the expectation that as an academic he would focus on research. In his eyes, his impact has been to give the campus and the University’s research “the foundation of a vibrant student community,” including a distinctly Australian undergraduate experience. ANU, he believes, may lack the “gold plating” of Harvard, but he maintains that

“if you get a degree from ANU, it’s as good as a Harvard degree.”

Schmidt attended Harvard for his postgraduate and then taught at the ANU, so he is better placed to comment on the two universities than most. But ANU did slip this year in the Global QS rankings, suggesting that the gold plating may not be the only thing ANU is missing. Schmidt has clearly thought about this or at least had this discussion before. He rejects the methodology of rankings, like QS or Times Higher Education, arguing they don’t reflect the ANU’s mission. He says the focus should be on students’ experiences on campus, and that Quilt surveys show that ANU students have good experiences on campus, better than most other Australian universities. He also questions the methodology, asking rhetorically how something like QS can measure satisfaction better than Quilt. The value of ANU lies in breaking people out of their “high school clique” and exposing them to the diversity of Australia. Schmidt believes on-campus life and ANU scholarships and programs achieves this. Some ANU students may reject this characterisation of the on-campus experience. ANU has one of the lowest enrollment rates for low socioeconomic students, and the interstate move for many students presents a cost barrier not often found at other major universities. On-campus rent is itself more expensive than off-campus, further alienating the people who Schmidt wants to include. But, this may also reflect the growing cost of tertiary education in Australia, as higher inflation means that HECS has now become an important, if not crippling, debt for many young people.

The government, in Schmidt’s eyes, is not doing enough to support inclusivity and diversity across the sector, but to him ANU is doing more than most, in an area where it matters more. When he talks about inclusion, Schmidt means more than just making students feel included. He chastises the idea that certain people should not be allowed to speak at the ANU, and he is clearly frustrated when he brings up the example of Michele Bullock’s address. Bullock, now the Reserve Bank Governor, gave an address on campus

which was briefly interrupted by students who said that if unemployment had to increase to reduce inflation, Bullock’s job should be the first to go. Holding an enlarged Jobseeker application form, the students walked past the stage, yelling with a megaphone, before being escorted out. As he explains his philosophy on free speech, he echoes historian Evelyn Hall’s famous quote, often attributed to Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Schmidt’s line of thinking fits into the broader issue of free speech on university campuses across the anglophone world. In Britain, the US and here, many controversial speakers have had events brought to a standstill by students protesting. The subject matter of the speakers has ranged, from Malcolm Turnbull at the University of Sydney, to transphobic speakers and academics. Schmidt wants students to ask hard questions, not stand up and shout, or to protest outside the event. Of course, a student asking a question gets probably half a minute of airtime, someone like Bullock gets the full hour.

More Recently

Serving as Vice-Chancellor for eight years - two four year terms - Schmidt has gone round the block more than a few times. His second term, though, was dominated by COVID-19, which presented a short-term and a longterm challenge. With one of the largest on-campus populations in the country, ANU administered its own lockdown. This presented immediate issues, from food provision for students living with communal kitchens or eateries, as well as the money spent on Rapid Antigen Tests and personal protective equipment. Part of the ANU lockdown involved Senior Residents distributing food to rooms, something they were not paid for and which led to protests, especially from Burton and Garran Hall. He noted the pay freeze agreed to in early 2020 as an example of a hard decision he had to make about the University’s staff: had staff not agreed to it, he says he would have had to make 90 more staff redundant. In the long term, COVID-19 tightened the belt of ANU, and Schmidt has found that the financial constrictions stemming from the pandemic have impacted everything they do. “It’s one

4 - news thing,” he says, “just being flat, but

it’s another thing having pressure to become smaller and… it’s not an easy place to be squeezed.” There is, for him, no easy way to make things work. With staff enterprise bargaining having concluded this year, one of the centre points of the debate was how much the ANU could afford to pay. Schmidt, from his own description, was not a diehard unionist before he became Vice-Chancellor, he only took note of union opposition to hiring young researchers, chiefly because he was a young researcher. However, he now sees the value in having the views and values of staff represented, because otherwise “there’s no one to talk to and you can’t actually get a sensible agreement.” But, he follows this up with an admonishment of what he calls “the theatre of the strike…

call it whatever you want, it’s theatre from my perspective.” He doesn’t see the cause for the halfday strike, which, with around 300 participants, was one of the largest protests on campus in the last few years. He claims that it didn’t matter in the end, as the bargaining ended up where he wanted it to, although he would have taken the first deal: a payrise of about 16% over five years (compared to the 18% in the final deal). He believes that on casualisation, he was offering terms that were “far more exciting” than the language “that the Melbourne union office was using.”

Key Issues

Another recurring challenge for him, and for university administration across the country, has been sexual assault and harassment (SASH). Last year, the National Student Safety Survey (NSSS) found that ANU had the second-highest rate of assault in the nation, and the highest of all Group of Eight universities. This year saw the establishment of the Student Safety and Wellbeing Committee (SSWC), which Schmidt points out is the only committee of its stature - reporting directly to ANU Council - in the country. Last year the University also established the Student Safety and Wellbeing Team to provide assistance for students and to walk them through the often quite complex processes of the University. These are two key

Vol. 73, Issue 6.5 student demands that the ANU has met, and Schmidt is now “much more comfortable” with the position and work that the University is doing on SASH.

policy, but one can imagine that if any university is to teach it, it should be the ANU, along similar lines to Schmidt’s thinking.

Sexual assault in the university sector is more likely to happen the more people live on campus, and Schmidt both understands that ANU has substantial work to do, but also thinks that ANU’s on-campus nature contributes to its poor performance. However, this is not an excuse for him, and he believes it only increases the University’s responsibility. With the SSWC reporting to the Council and having both students and sexual violence experts sit on it, it is likely that ANU is entering a new era in reform around SASH. Whether the University takes up the committee’s recommendations, will be the work of the next Vice-Chancellor. Earlier this year, Woroni reported on the ANU’s failure to progress its Disability Access Plan; it remains to be seen if the University has learnt from its mistakes.

Education and research into nuclear energy and nuclear-powered submarines is also part of successful nuclear stewardship, Schmidt believes. This argument is a bit more familiar to students, with speakers at the student union arguing that there is a space for nuclear research. However, the controversy revolves around the conditions of any AUKUS-related scholarship that the Department of Defence offers. Will recipients be expected to work on AUKUS submarines, and what steps will be taken to ensure the education can’t be easily applied to nuclear armament? Without more details, these are moot questions, and we will have to wait until the scholarship program is formally announced.

Another alleged mistake the ANU, and Schmidt personally, are often charged with is the purchase of large capital assets to be developed in the future. In 2021, he oversaw the purchase of a $17 million disused bus stop from the ACT, and this year he announced another similarly large purchase of a parking lot to build a new health sciences precinct on. Schmidt denies that the purchases are too expensive, noting that the cost of the acquisitions are amortised to be paid over a number of years and that the land will be used to realise the University’s long-term goals. He also says the purchases were a drop in the ocean compared to the pay rises the NTEU demanded. The conversation next turned to the ANU’s involvement in AUKUS, which Schmidt denies: “It’s news to me.” Schmidt made a point not often discussed by students which is that the ANU, as the national university, ought to meet the educational needs of government policy. Hence, if there is to be a nuclear-powered submarine program, and Schmidt does not express his views on the alliance itself, then the ANU should provide the requisite education. It’s a reason which doesn’t seem to always be applied evenly at the University, which attempted to cut its Bachelor of Public Policy (BPP) last year, a degree which surely aligns to the government’s interests, even if broader society may not care. Of course, the BPP does not map onto any specific government

No one person can accomplish everything, so what would Schmidt like to have achieved as Vice-Chancellor but never did? An academic overlay in on-campus residences, something he promises he’ll work on after his term, and hence tells us to stay tuned for. The second aim is more equity scholarships. The goal “is that every person who needs a scholarship in first year should get one.” ANU has a growing asset pool, and it may be that, like Harvard, Schmidt wants to fund equity scholarships from this pool. He doesn’t pull his punches though, and says the federal government could do

more to fund tertiary education.

Looking Forward

On Tuesday the 26th August, ANU announced that Professor Genevieve Bell would be its 13th Vice-Chancellor. She will be the first woman in the position, and Schmidt mentioned his passion for a more equitable hiring as Vice-Chancellor. Bell, like Schmidt, comes from the ANU, however she has worked as the Director of the School of Cybernetics, a more administrative role than academic. But, her experience in computing and anthropology makes her well-poised to lead the University in the age of AI, or at least the age of paranoia around AI. Schmidt’s advice for Bell is clear: “Get out and talk to people, talk to students, include the students in the decision making that affects them.” At the conclusion of our interview, Schmidt mentioned that he doesn’t want to be an “alien overlord” believing that Vice-Chancellors must be “a part of the community, not an alien overlord.” Schmidt can be seen around Kambri fairly frequently, including in the queue at Daily Market. Having provided the name of ANU Schmidtposting, the ANU community’s largest online community, he is in a sense, instantly recognisable, and understood to be a part of the ANU. Whether he seems like a member of the ANU community is up to the reader. W

Photography - Benjamin Van Der Niet

semester 2, 2023

News - 5

ANU’s QS ranking drop indicative of Larger issues? Author - Ruby Saulwick

Content Warning: Institutional Betrayal, SASH, Racism Higher education analyst Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) compiles an annual ranking comparing universities across the world. While there are many organisations that do this, the QS outcomes are highly regarded as the most comprehensive. The new 2024 rankings were released in June 2023. This year, adjustments were made to the ranking criteria, including the addition of three new categories: sustainability, employment outcomes and international connectivity of research. Existing rankings are research reputation, internationalisation, and teaching and learning impact. Research reputation accounts for the perspective other universities’ academic experts have on the type and quality of work produced by each institution. Internationalisation is determined by the percentage

Photography - Madeleine Grisard

of international students and staff. Teaching and learning impacts are measured by ratios of faculty members to students, to determine how wellresourced a university is, assuming “the more academic staff that are available per student, the more … an institution has adequately funded and resourced their teaching commitments.” QS acknowledges that “priorities in higher education are evolving,” resulting in the introduction of their new measures. Sustainability is a new focus, stemming from the QS International Student Survey 2022 that found “80 percent of students think universities could do more for the environment.” Sustainability garnered a five percent weighting. Employment outcomes were also added, again with a five percent weighting. Employer reputation was given a higher weighting, increasing to 15 percent (from ten percent). The third new criteria addresses “international research networks,” or how globally connected an institution’s research is.

See below table for a breakdown of the criteria, the weighting, and changes since last year.

for student satisfaction, a result not demonstrated by their place on the perceived academic ladder.

In 2016, ANU was ranked within the top 20 universities in the world. However, the last three years have shown a steady decline in ANU’s ranking. In 2022 ANU dropped to 30th and this year, it dropped four more places to 34th.

The consolidated rankings, while meant to provide a holistic review of each university, are not without their flaws. Often, individual elements of analysis are lost in the congregated score. For example, ANU scored first in the Group of Eight universities for student satisfaction, a result not demonstrated by their place on the perceived academic ladder. demonstrated by their place on the perceived academic ladder.

ANU has held the title for top Australian University since 2015. But this year, ANU moved down to fourth institution in Australia, behind Melbourne University (now in 14th place from 33rd), University of Sydney and University of NSW (tied 19th from 41st and 45th respectively). The consolidated rankings, while meant to provide a holistic review of each university, are not without their flaws. Often, individual elements of analysis are lost in the congregated score. For example, ANU scored first in the Group of Eight universities

Ranking systems, particularly the QS scheme, have also come under fire in the past for their heavy weighting on reputation (whereby results are garnered through subjective surveys) and their ignorance of other factors which might contribute to a ‘good’ university. Such factors include campus amenities, quality of accommodation, student support services, and

6- news

accessibility and availability of other facilities or resources. However, the drop in ANU’s score may not be unfounded. In recent years, the ANU student body participated in an average of seven protests each year, mainly targeted at their institution’s misgivings (perceived or otherwise). The topics of such protests may provide insight into ANU’s declining ranking. Across this year and last, students argued against the University’s cuts to subjects, particularly objecting to the disestablishment of degrees and courses in the College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS). Students have expressed frustration at the 529 courses disestablished since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are anxious that the streamlining of CASS specialist degrees into Arts majors could lead to further reductions in courses and limit students’ ability to complete their studies. While CASS was impacted the most, the College of Asia & the Pacific (CAP), College of Science (CoS) and College of Business and Economics (CBE) also felt significant cuts to their course offerings. Fifty-four courses were cut from CAP, forty-eight from CoS and another thirty-six from the CBE. Students also supported National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) strikes in July and August this year. They were striking to demand better working conditions for faculty members, including healthier workloads, higher pay, job security and decreased casualisation following a year of stagnating enterprise bargaining. A new enterprise agreement was eventually achieved, but not without industrial action. As teaching staff are instrumental to effective and impactful learning within the university, their dissatisfaction may point, and lead, to broader issues. Another major issue at the ANU is the

Vol. 73, Issue 6.5

pervasiveness of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment (SASH) incidents. The 2022 National Student Safety Report reveals the ANU has the second highest prevalence of sexual assault in the country. While this statistic might be skewed based on the high levels of incident reporting in the ACT, any instances of SASH are too many. The 2022 ANU Sexual Misconduct Report stated that “In 2022, the Student Safety and Wellbeing team received a total of 204 disclosures [of incidents of SASH].” Students protest annually on August 1st (on the anniversary of a 2017 watershed Australian Human Rights Commission report) to demand further action and change. Ongoing demands include better support and training for Senior Residents who provide peer support within halls and are often exposed to disclosures, a renewal and overhaul of the Respectful Relationships Unit (RRU), an educational program run by the ANU in residential halls, and creating a system that accommodates survivors and removes perpetrators from ANU. Part of the ANU’s formal SASH policy is its sexual violence prevention plan. This entails building infrastructure to improve reporting tools, intended to enable better reporting of “violent supportive attitudes and behaviours.” However, as demonstrated by the Broken Promises and Follow Through ANU reports compiled by the Women’s Department Officers, many students feel ANU is not doing enough. As the cost of living increases, particularly within the ACT, students are feeling the burden. This was emphasised by student protestors at a recent speech given by Michele Bullock, new Governor of the RBA at ANU. The median rental rate in Canberra is the highest of any city in Australia at $670 per week , making three person student share houses (the most common type of property) approximately

$223 a week, or closer to $296 per person in suburbs neighbouring the ANU. To live on campus, average rent across catered residences is $492.2 per week for 44-48 weeks. Rent prices have increased yearly, making accommodation on campus increasingly inaccessible. Other costs of living including food, transport, textbooks and healthcare are expensive and unsustainable on the average income of a full-time Australian undergraduate student, $18,300 per annum or $352 a week. Many students at the ANU benefit from parental support. ANU has 3.5% of low SES students, the lowest low-SES enrolment of any Group of Eight University. For these students, and others who don’t receive parental support, increasing costs force students to juggle intense workloads alongside their study, or push these students out of the education system at ANU entirely. Post pandemic, student-to-faculty ratios have been severely altered with reduced numbers of staff members diminishing the quality of education. The impact of COVID-19 has also created dissonance between students and teaching staff, with online learning diminishing the chance to connect and build rapport. Students are feeling disconnected and disenfranchised in their current learning, and lecturers have had to endure blank screens and reduced engagement from students. These struggles of teaching staff could be identified in another QS ranking element, “employability outcomes.” This encompasses the “strength of connections the institution has with employers.” This year, this factor was weighted higher at 15 percent (from 10 percent) and in this category, ANU only earned a 70.2 (contrasting, for example, UniMelb at 92.3 and UNSW at 88.1.)

Another area where ANU may be lacking is its sustainability measures. In the QS rankings, ANU received an 87.4 for sustainability whereas UniMelb was rated 90.4 and UNSW 99.6. ANU rolled out an environmental strategy in 2021, named Below Zero, which aims to reduce ANU’s Greenhouse Gas emissions to sub-zero by 2030. The Below Zero progress report (July - December 2022) highlighted the difficulties associated with such a goal, “the ANU is at an inflection point in terms of its commitment and ability to achieve Below Zero due to its weak financial position in the aftermath of COVID-19.” Other areas that may be impacting ANU’s declining ranking include the need for greater support and reform for students with disabilities, complaints about ANU’s underfunded medical centre and reports of racism and transphobia. Student experience on campus is a vital part of what makes up a university. The ANU 2022-2025 corporate plan notes a key risk is “the University not delivering a student experience (including learning and teaching, residential and wellbeing) to the satisfaction and levels expected.” One of its proposed mitigation strategies is to conduct a “review of student services to address emerging issues and underlying causes, supported by high-impact intervention and mitigation.” But the University has been receiving reports and suggestions from the Women’s department, the BIPOC department and from student and staff protests alike on what issues are at the forefront for students. We will have to wait to see how the ANU addresses and improves upon these key issues. While the decline in ANU’s score can be explained (in some) by changes to the QS ranking methodology and COVID-19, reasons for ANU’s drop may run deeper. Students and staff alike are voicing their dissatisfaction in protests across campus, stressing their frustration and anger over course cuts, high levels of SASH, minimal environmental action, lack of student support, and staff treatment. While universities are not without their flaws, ANU needs to address student and staff concerns to improve student outcomes, the ANU experience, and of course, to improve its ranking. W

semester 2, 2023

News - 7

SR scholarships to be retained in win for 2024 student residents Author - Luca Ittimani Photography - Chris Jackson

Content Warning: Self-harm, Attempted Suicide, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Alcohol Abuse, Domestic Violence. The ANU has confirmed there will be no reduction in Senior Resident (SR) scholarships under the new 24/7 staffing model to be adopted for oncampus residences in 2024. Students, residential leaders and ANUSA advocated for SR scholarships to be maintained after ANU’s announcement of a residence staffing overhaul sparked fears that scholarship amounts would be cut. While the new model is not yet finalised, the Acting Director of ANU’s Residential Experience Division, Felicity Gouldthorp (she/her), emailed residents on August 31 to confirm that any changes “will not impact the value of SR scholarships in 2024.” ANUSA President and former Wright Hall SR Ben Yates called the announcement “a fantastic outcome” in a Facebook post. “On-campus residents want SRs to be well-funded, well-supported roles,” he wrote.

SRs at ANU-owned residences are remunerated with a scholarship, currently fixed to 100 per cent of the occupancy tariff for a standard room. This means SR scholarships differ between residences, as living at Burton and Garran may cost less than living at Bruce, but will cover a full year of occupancy at any given hall. ANU earlier this year canvassed moving overnight “on-duty” responsibilities from SR positions to 24/7 staff members. SRs currently serve as emergency points of contact for students at their residences during their overnight duty shifts while residence reception is closed. Beyond pastoral care and social support, on-duty SRs have been expected to support students through physical and mental health emergencies, including alcohol abuse, self-harm, and sexual assault and sexual harassment (SASH). The proposal to shift responsibilities was welcomed by SRs but sparked fears that the ANU would reduce SR scholarships to reflect a fall in expected workload. ANU Interhall Council (IHC) chair and Bruce Hall residents’ committee

president Pippa Buchanan praised Thursday’s announcement, saying scholarships could “ensure that valuable members of the residential community, particularly later-years, choose to live on campus.”

strike in the past. This year’s decision by the ANU to increase resident lockout fees to $100, for example, was made without consulting SRs or their student managers, Community Coordinators (CCs).

She said it is “essential that older students see value and worth in staying in on-campus residences” to support younger students with their “experience and maturity.”

However, a current CC told Woroni that ANU’s communication throughout the SR review process was “really poor” and has “added to a lot of financial and housing stress amongst SRs, CCs, and even hall management.”

An experienced current SR told Woroni that maintaining the scholarship value “provides financial security for those applying to the role.” “It’s good news for next year’s SRs,” said another.

Poor Consultation

The announcement broke a monthlong period of silence after the university gave SRs an indication of the new model’s direction in June and ran a consultation period in June and July, including anonymous surveys for students and focus groups with SRs. The ANU’s consultative approach to the SR review improves on its previously lacking incorporation of student feedback into staffing models, which has prompted student leaders to

They criticised the limited opportunities to provide feedback, saying they didn’t receive an invitation to a focus group and that the only SR focus group “was conveniently timed in the middle of the Winter holidays when the vast majority of SRs weren’t in Canberra.” Other SRs said the consultation period was too limited. “Both SRs and the Head of Hall were quite suspicious of the consultation strategy,” said one. “They believed the consult was actively trying to undermine any meaningful feedback or advice, and just trying to rush through the process.” The CC told Woroni that their SR team received no direction from the ANU after consultation ended and had been “expecting a significant decrease

Vol. 73, Issue 6.5

8 - News based on the limited bits of information we heard.” “That made it impossible for current leaders to know if they could afford to return to campus and stay in their roles, meaning great SRs who are excellent assets to our community had to start planning sharehouses instead of returning.” New staffing model The abrupt announcement that scholarships would be maintained aimed to keep experienced students in residences but gave no clarification of what their working conditions will be like under the new model, which is not yet finalised. An ANU spokesperson emphasised that while the university intends to “invest significantly in more professionally trained staff in residences,” it has not “made any final decisions on 24/7 staffing.” The ANU appears to be moving towards a model where SRs and 24/7 staff work in tandem. Gouldthorp told residents that any new “after-hours staff support must work collaboratively with the residential community, and in particular with Senior Residents.” Buchanan and the IHC said reforms are “necessary … to protect senior leaders from being confronted with situations beyond their capacity.” Patrick Stephenson, a former SR at Davey Lodge, said “The SR role puts severe stress on every student who takes up the position…many SR’s have dealt with much more serious issues than should be expected of the role.” Stephenson identifies having to respond to “attempted suicides and domestic violence,” saying he was “left with a significant feeling of institutional betrayal towards the ANU for the previous model of the SR role.” Stephenson welcomed the potential implementation of employed overnight staff in residences. Other SRs contacted by Woroni were also optimistic about potential changes, with one saying their role “would be less stressful and easier dealing with anything alcohol [related],” if 24/7 staff were there to back them up. However, they emphasised a sustained lack of communication over practical questions about the new model, with another SR pointing to “a lot of

unanswered areas.” “What background, training and experience do these new staff have, and how will they be promoted and integrated into their respective college communities?” they asked. A central fear is that shifting SR responsibilities to staff could limit the position’s pastoral care function for their student peers. One SR told Woroni that on-call staff would provide less effective support than student SRs, as “people wouldn’t feel fully comfortable disclosing issues to an ANU staff member, such as if someone was paralytically drunk.” It is also unclear how possible increases in workforce size would be funded, although cuts to SR scholarships are now off the table. Other options could include cuts to the number of SR or CC positions. Most halls employ two CCs, who are paid as casual staff and work alternating overnight duty shifts, supporting the on-duty SR. This means CCs get paid for the amount of hours they work, as opposed to receiving a scholarship for their position. A current CC told Woroni that they feared ANU might cut CC pay and duty shifts to fund new staffing arrangements. “ANU can promise to pay 100% of the current rate and then still tinker with duty shifts throughout 2024,” the CC said. “If CCs stop doing duty, that means a huge part of the job is cut, and the [CC] fortnightly paycheck will drop by maybe a third.” Buchanan said it was “essential student consultation is maintained as the responsibilities of SRs evolve throughout 2024.” An ANU spokesperson said work is still being done, and “the Residential Experience Division will continue to consult with key stakeholders over the coming months to inform the afterhours model.”

Where to from here?

The new staffing model aims to deal with the decade of controversy over SR responsibilities and the role’s suitability for emergency response. More recently, SRs had to enforce

COVID-19-related health restrictions set by the ANU and facilitate the university’s lockdown of its residential halls in 2021. SRs were at the front of arguments over the lockout fee hike, with university staff claiming the increase would reduce SR workload, while ANUSA and the IHC argued it would damage the SR-resident relationship and efficacy of pastoral care. As the staffing model is implemented and the dynamic of the new SR-staff

relationship emerges, residents will likely see further changes to the SR position. Gouldthorp told residents that “SR responsibilities in 2024 will initially be similar” when the model is first implemented, but that these will subsequently “likely evolve.” For 2024, at least, reductions in the SR scholarship amount will not be part of any changes. w

ANUSA Election: Stand Up! Eats into the Incumbent’s Majority Author - Alexander Lane The results from this year’s ANU Students’ Association elections are in and Stand Up! - the Labor and SAlt joint ticket - has made a historic gain, even as Together for ANUSA retained a majority on the Student Representative Council. This year saw two main tickets go head to head. Together for ANUSA, with Phoenix O’Neill as the presidential candidate, and Stand Up! who put forward Brandon Lee for President. Together for ANUSA featured a set of largely incumbent candidates, drawn from the loose, “independent and left-wing” political faction that has dominated ANUSA for several years now. They ran on a platform of leftwing activism and effective student services provision, while Stand Up!, featuring candidates from Labor Right, Labor Left and Socialist Alternative (SAlt), emphasised a need for change and a focus on different kinds of activism. Ultimately, Together for ANUSA beat Stand Up!, winning the Presidency and a majority of seats on the ANUSA executive. However, for the first time in years, two members of the executive will now come from Labor - Will Burfoot as Treasurer and Milli McDonald as General Secretary. Together for ANUSA still retains a majority on the ANUSA SRC, the organisation’s primary decision-making body. The faction does not bind votes like other groups, so the possibility of dissent and disagreement always exists. Where supermajorities are required to successfully pass motions, Together for ANUSA’s numbers could pose a problem, but for the majority of motions, and procedurals, the ticket still sits relatively comfortably.

However, these election results are beginning to point to a trend of improving electoral success for Stand Up!. Whether this is the result of the unconventional alliance between Labor and SAlt is unclear; it could reflect more on students’ satisfaction, or lack of, with the incumbent ANUSA office bearers than anything else. During the election, much was made of Stand Up!’s ability to effectively govern if elected. Now both Burfoot and McDonald will have to work largely with Together for ANUSA in order to achieve their election goals. With the incumbents copping a lot of criticism for their governance and efficacy, a lot is riding on Burfoot and McDonald. Should they be ineffective, it will give Together for ANUSA a greater leg up in the next election. It is also unclear if the alliance underpinning Stand Up! will last throughout next year and into the 2024 election. There has already been disagreement between the two factions on motions put before the SRC since the election. SAlt’s Wren Somerville won the Environment Officer election, and SAlt’s criticism of the Labor government’s actions on climate change may put them at odds with other members of Stand Up!. Only time will tell exactly what the impacts of this year’s election are. No doubt each ticket has its own analysis of what worked and what didn’t. For now though, it suggests that students should focus on the tangible work of specific office bearers. ANUSA can no longer be homogenised so easily. w

News - 9

semester 2, 2023

Your Anusa for 2023 President Phoenix O’Neill* Together for ANUSA

Vice President Charlotte Carnes Together for ANUSA

Treasurer Will Burfoot Stand Up!

General Secretary Milli McDonald Stand Up!

Education Officer Luke Harrison Together for ANUSA

Welfare Officer Skye Predevac* Together for ANUSA

Clubs Officer Seungbin Kang Together for ANUSA

Environment Officer Wren Somerville Stand Up!

Parents and Carers Officer Fariba Aurin Stand Up!

Undergraduate Coursework Officer Harrison Oates Together for ANUSA

Postgraduate Coursework Officer Rishik Reddy Maram Stand Up!

Postgraduate HDR Officer Diana Tang Together for ANUSA

General Representatives Sarah Strange Independent

Sam Gorrie Stand Up!

Jade Poulton Stand Up!

Hayden O’Brian Stand Up!

Nick Reich* Left Action

Elise Chau Student Left Alliance

Nadeeka Karunasekara Together for ANUSA

Keira Rosenburg Stand Up!

James Donnelly* Independent

Allegra Hac Independent

Charley Ellwood Stand Up!

Raffy Edis Together for ANUSA

Luc Campbell Together for ANUSA

Harriet Ryder Together for ANUSA

NUS Delegates Lara Johnson Stand Up!

Neve Lawson Power in Union

*also an NUS delegate

10 - Horscopes

Vol. 73, Issue 6.5

Horoscopes Author - Crystal Lotus Art - Jocelyn Wong

Sagittarius You’re going to have a romance right out of a period drama. I’m talking Austenlevel yearning gazes across the Kambri lawn, fingers brushing as you both go to tap into Chifley late one night, getting caught in the rain together with only one umbrella. They’re going to be obsessed with you, in a normal non-creepy way, because you’re obsession-worthy.

Cancer Go outside more. The weather has turned, and it’s the perfect time to sit out in the sun or go for a walk. Maybe even without music – subject yourself to an hour of your own company and see what happens. Eat without Youtube. It won’t be as bad as you think. Talk to yourself out loud if it’s too hard to keep it in your own head. You’re actually pretty interesting – everybody else thinks so.

Scorpio Look, Tess, I want to end things. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. Sorry you had to find out this way. And for the rest of you Scorpios, I don’t know. Focus on yourself for a while. Take time to heal. Do some meditation, buy yourself a fancy candle with a sugary scent.

They’re studying Commerce, though. Do with that what you will. Leo Be prepared: it’s going to be the wildest summer ever. High highs and low lows, new friends and old ones, great nights and terrible mornings after. Make some drastic change to your appearance – bleach your hair, get a facial piercing, lean into it. Taurus You’re going to get an enemy, and not in a hot way. Keep an eye on the dead weight in your group project, or your coworker who gives you a dirty look every time your lunch break is a little too long. You’ll triumph in the end, of course – you’ll be surprised at how strong you are – but until then, watch your back.

Hold on tight, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. But a very fun one.

Virgo They want you back. Every dream and Tiktok tarot reading and vague feeling has been right. They lay awake at night wondering what it’d be like if things had gone differently. It’ll haunt them for years to come.

Aries You’re going to pass all your exams. The work and the stress will pay off, and it’s all going to be okay. You know more than you think – you’re like a sponge, absorbing information all semester long. Except for the one you didn’t go to any tutorials for. The stars can’t do much about that.

Pisces You’re going to find ten dollars on the sidewalk tomorrow, which is extra lucky because you didn’t think anyone used cash anymore. Money and opportunities are coming your way, so apply for that internship you don’t think you’ll get and write a few cover letters where you balance the bragging and the grovelling so well that they’ll just have to hire you.

That’s not to say you should go back. You shouldn’t – your friends are also right. You are better and you deserve better. Look forward to the good things ahead. Get yourself a little treat on the way.

Gemini It’s time to let your creative side out – it’s definitely in there somewhere. Try a new hobby. Buy some air dry clay or cheap brushes and take an afternoon to make something ugly. It doesn’t matter if you’re bad at it, it’s just for you. Pour every bad emotion over the last few weeks into it and let yourself relax.

Capricorn Reconnect with your tween self. Listen to the Spotify playlist you made when you were fourteen and bask in the nostalgia. Watch a TV show you loved, stalk your Year Eight best friend’s Instagram to see what they’re up to. Did you wish them a happy birthday this year? Don’t worry about it. You were never that cringe. And all the ways you’ve changed are for the better.

Aquarius Call your friends. They’re your support and your bedrock. And they don’t all secretly hate you – they love you, and they want to spend time with you. You’re funny and kind, and it draws people to you like a magnetic field. Plan a dinner party and make everyone dress up really fancy. Grab a coffee in between tutorials. Study together in Marie Reay.

Libra Say ‘yes’ to everything you conceivably can. Go to drinks with your coworkers, ask that friendly acquaintance for coffee, join that society you thought looked cool on Market Day. Things have been hard and sometimes lonely, but they’re about to get better. Step outside of your comfort zone and see what happens.

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the university - 11

Sexual consent: The good, the bad, and the ugly Author - Brigitte Assi During a previous long-term relationship, my partner at the time and I had a lot of sex. Most of the sex was good, and satisfying enough, and it was all consensual. It was also, at times, unwanted. I would tell them I wanted to have sex, and that I wanted to have it in a particular way, but not because I desired to have sex. More because I didn’t really know how to say no. To them, I had consented to every sexual interaction we ever had. However, to say that our sex was unproblematic would not be accurate. There was a clear sexual violation; I had sex I did not want. The nuance is in the fact that the sexual violation was not due to a lack of consent. I told them I wanted it. Consent was given. However, my giving of consent did not protect me from having problematic sex. This experience is common among women and femme people. Having sex with someone, not out of desire or wanting but out of something else, highlights the intricate power imbalances present within interpersonal relationships.

The bedroom is not protected from complex, oppressive, and engrained social and cultural norms. Situations like this force us to consider how effective consent is as an arbitrator of good or bad sex when we live under patriarchal conditions - in a culture where not everyone is taught how to say no to unwanted sex, and where bad sex is the norm. Bad sex is sex in which one or more parties are disenfranchised from the interaction. University of London lecturer Katherine Angel conceptualises bad sex as emerging “from gender norms in which women cannot be equal agents of sexual pursuit, and in which men are entitled to gratification at all costs”. Bad sex is sexual interactions that are unfulfilling, unsatisfactory, undesired, and unwanted. Bad sex can also be consensual. That is, a lot of women consent to have unsatisfactory

Existing unequal power relations make the reliance on consent as a model for good sex inadequate, as the consent model assumes that each party has equal power in the pursuit of sexual gratification.

or unwanted sex with their partners, precisely due to gendered norms which often map out people’s sexual terrain. I understand how criticisms of consent can come off as patronising or infantilising if not done with consideration. The assumption that women do not actually know what they want sexually, or that some other arbitrary authority knows more than them, such that a woman’s ‘yes’ becomes as interrogated as her ‘no’, risks the enforcement of the very patriarchal structures I set out to critique. My argument is not that women do not know what they want during sexual interactions. It is that women do know what they want, they just do not receive it because the bedroom is not isolated from broader gendered structures which we are all implicated within. The structures which, as mentioned before, empower men to seek sexual gratification at all costs, even if at the expense of women’s pleasure. Putting the onus for good sex on individual women does not facilitate their sexual gratification because women’s sexual gratification is not socially prioritised, and is often actively punished. And so the issue of good and bad sex ought not to be conceptualised in the realm of the private, but rather be examined as a political issue. It is an issue of unequal access to self determination, bodily autonomy, and sexual pleasure along gendered lines. The reliance on consent designates women’s sexual pleasure as being only their burden to bear, rather than a matter of social emancipation. My criticism with consent goes beyond just my own personal experiences with its inadequacy in navigating problematic sexual territory. The bigger issue for me is how consent conceptualises sexual violence. The consent model views sexual violations as singular instances where one individual crosses the sexual boundaries of another individual. And so, the violation becomes an issue of miscommunication or ignored communication, one person says no (or nothing at all), and the other person either willfully or unintentionally ignores them. Thus, when sexual violence occurs, the onus of the violation is on the violator. Singling out individual perpetrators for when sexual crimes occur is the norm in Australian carceral systems. However, the simplistic understanding that crimes are solely

the fault of individuals does hardly anything for those who are victimised by crime. I am not suggesting here that perpetrators of sexual violence are not to be held responsible for when they violate someone. In most societies, sexual violators are not held to any responsibility, and often the victim is blamed for the attack. Rather, I am asking what taught this person that sexual consent does not apply to them? What taught this person they are owed sexual access to whomever, irrespective of the feelings of the one they pursue? The broader social conditions that compelled the individual to violate someone’s sexual boundary ought to be put into question when we discuss sexual violence, or else we risk inadequately accounting for the realities of gendered and sexual relations.

Why is culture let off the hook when humans take up and live culture through their actions? Why does Weinstein have to go but Hollywood can stay? And most importantly, how useful is consent as a concept when we live in a world whose social fabric is arbitrated on gendered power dynamics and sexual oppression? Sexuality has long been considered a matter of the private. Sex happens in the bedroom, in the hotel, in the pub bathroom, but not in the public. Thus, sexual violence is also a private affair. It’s an unreasonable boyfriend, an abusive husband, a predatory

The reality of sexuality and sexual violence is that it is an ever permeating atmosphere, more potent in some areas than others, but nevertheless present in every institution, organisation, cultural norm, and private conversation. And none of us are above the whole of society. boss. When we have sex, we are not just acting out sexual actions without any cultural context of who and what taught us these actions. We inherit sexuality from material history, and history is situated within a patriarchal norm. When the badness of sexual violations is conceptualised through an individualised consent model, we often forget that this individual action takes

place in a long genealogy of sexual violence and unequal sexual power, a genealogy which we all inherit. Sexual consent’s ineffectiveness in being a viable tool for sexual emancipation extends beyond its individualistic placement of blame when sex goes wrong. Due to how consent conceptualises sexual interactions, as two or more people expressing willingness to engage in some sort of sex act, sex going wrong can be understood as mere communication breakdown. That is, person A misunderstands the sexual signals given from person B, crosses their sexual boundary, and thus sexually violates them. This understanding of sexual violation is often used as a tool in legally defending sexual assaulters. The list of excuses looks anything like, person A simply did not hear the ‘no’ person B gave, person A thought that the ‘no’ person B gave was playful and really meant ‘yes’, person A was going off person B’s prior consent and did not know it did not extend to this particular act, or, person B did not say anything and so person A assumed everything was all good. And so, the sexual violation that occurs can be viewed as person B simply not communicating what they wanted effectively enough for person A to understand. The responsibility of sexual violation is thus held by both people, A for misunderstanding, and B for miscommunicating. To most people, it is clear that the responsibility to understand outweighs the responsibility to communicate. However, when sexual consent relies so heavily on open, clear, and non-coercive communication, communication becomes just as necessary as understanding. What consent models often miss is that even if open and safe communication with your sexual partners is necessary for good sex, open and safe communication is not always an option for some people. And the assumption that effective communication is in everyone’s sexual repertoire simply misses the reality of how sex is actually had in the world. My affirmation of my ex partner’s sexual advances, even though they were unwanted, was not a miscommunication. However, there was clearly something larger than just me, my partner, the room that we were in, that motivated my sexual communication to lead them to believe I wanted it. Like a lot of human behaviour, the reasons and specificities

12 - the university behind why we do what we do cannot be taken Like a lot of human behaviour, the reasons and specificities behind why we do what we do cannot be taken at face value. And the specific violations I and many others experience when we have bad sex cannot be taken as mere communication breakdown. We require a sexual model that can understand the nuances of sexual interactions as not occuring within a social vacuum where everyone has equal access to open and non-coercive communicative tools, but as a social activity that is intrinsically dependent on existing cultural norms and expectations. When reflecting on this piece, and my own experiences of sexual violation and bad sex, I would often ask myself why I am attacking consent in the first place. Consent as a concept has surely done the world some good; it surely deserves some respect and the chance to reform and change as our sexual landscape does. As a person who believes in a world where true sexual emancipation is not just a fraught and failed dream from the 1960s and 70s, but rather a tangible future that we ought to reach toward, I refuse to accept the little tools we are given by the patriarchy to make sense of our sexual experiences in the world. I am reminded of French philosopher Alain Baidou, where he defends self immolation, the destruction of property and social services, and the destruction of our streets in the name of revolutionary riots. When poor people riot and burn down the few bus stops and public spaces they have in France in protest of the continuous neoliberalisation of their country, they are telling their leaders, we see what you give us. We see what little capitalism has given to us poor, and we are willing to burn it all down to the ground if it means justice. If it means change. We rather risk having nothing over the current humiliating status quo.

Vol. 73, Issue 6.5 to our patriarchal legal systems, patriarchal parliamentary systems, and the patriarchal social scripts and resources they give us, when we are all suffocating under the boot of sexual violation? This is a proclamation that I deserve more. I deserve to live in a world free from sexual violation, bad sexual experiences, where people treat me as a human being worthy of respect, instead of the sexual object I am often designated as. I deserve to not be afraid of men, and to expect more from them when we have sex. I deserve to not feel shame as I sleep with women, as I ask men for more, as I go through the world as a sexual person who enjoys their body and who wants their body to enjoy sex. And consent cannot give me this. And I should not be required to wait patiently in hope for something better. And so as feminists, we march toward the revolutionary horizon that will emancipate ourselves from the suffocation of patriarchy, and we will do so with ash stained feet as we leave behind the current world. w

Two Sides of the Same Coin: Scholarships and School Funding in Australia’s Education Author - Aala Cheema The Tuckwell Scholarship, valued between $76,000 and $136,000, is awarded to twenty-five individuals annually for three to five years of undergraduate study. It aims to allow “talented and motivated students to realise their potential by providing financial support, personal enrichment and development opportunities.” To be eligible for the scholarship, students must have studied English and Mathematics in Grades 11 and 12 and have a predicted ATAR of at least 95, or if they are eligible for consideration under the Educational Access Scheme, an ATAR of at least 90. Applicants are considered against four criteria: academic potential and achievements, other significant achievements, demonstration of the Tuckwell attributes, and connection and commitment to Australia. The website says that the scholarship is looking for people who have “done the best with what was available to them” and that “it is not the hand you are dealt [in life] that counts but what you do with it.” From an analysis of the schools attended by all 275 Tuckwell recipients in the scholarship’s 11-year history, it is evident that most scholars are dealt an incredibly hefty hand.

That is, I see what little the patriarchy gives me. I see consent. And I want more. And I am willing to attack what little I am given if it means any hope for more. Because as humans we are deserving of full flourishment, and we are often systematically denied this by oppressive social structures that keep us pinned to the ground by our necks. Who am I to tell a suffocating person to be grateful for the little air their lungs are given? Which is to say, who am I to tell women that we ought to be grateful

The number of recipients from government and non-government schools slightly favours government schools. At first glance, it is promising that the scholarship is awarded to public school students. However, 64.5 percent of students nationwide are enrolled

in government schools, meaning the swing towards government schools should be much higher. The number of recipients from government and non-government schools slightly favours government schools. At first glance, it is promising that the scholarship is awarded to public school students. However, 64.5 percent of students nationwide are enrolled in government schools, meaning the swing towards government schools should be much higher. Most recipients are from New South Wales, followed by Queensland and Victoria. Only four Australian Capital Territory students and two Northern Territory students have received the scholarship in its 11-year run. 72 percent of students attended schools in major cities. Only two recipients went to a school in a remote region; no recipients have attended schools in very remote areas. The Tuckwell application asks applicants whether they studied a higher-level maths or English subject. Research shows that subject selection correlates to socioeconomic status. More wealthy students do stereotypically ‘smarter’ subjects that can allow them to attain better ATARs. In contrast, students of low socioeconomic status and those from non-metropolitan areas are pushed into vocational subjects and subjects with average achievement levels. Students in regional and remote areas often do not have access to more difficult subjects due to a lack of demand. Schools will naturally allocate their funding to subjects that fill up a classroom at the expense of the handful of students who wish to do an extension subject. Gender also plays a factor, with a 2018 article from The Sydney Morning Herald reporting that boys made up 64 percent of the cohort studying the highest-level maths subject for the HSC, while girls made up 72 percent of the highest-level English subject. Girls dominated textiles and design, dance, and biology, while boys dominated physics and engineering studies.

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the university - 13 government special schools or majority Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander schools.

The Index of Relative Socioeconomic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD) was calculated using the Local Government Areas where the schools of Tuckwell recipients were located. The index demonstrates the economic and social conditions of people and households within an area. A higher score points to advantage, while a lower score points to disadvantage. Sixty-six percent of recipients attended schools in areas with the highest index score, demonstrating that the scholarship goes to students that might actually not need the financial support at all to study at the ANU. Furthermore, the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) was created by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. It allows for a fair comparison of NAPLAN test achievement by schools across Australia. The national average score in 2022 was 1000. The Tuckwell average amongst recipients’ schools was 1110. While the Tuckwell Scholarship does not claim to be equity-based, this

data shows that it is available to a sub-sect of incoming ANU students. Trends demonstrate that students who attended a school in a major city, preferably NSW, are far more likely to receive the scholarship than a student from a regional school within a territory. The OECD’s Equity in Education report found that inequity in Australian schools worsened between 2006 and 2015. Australia ranks fourth among OECD countries for the most class-stratified system: “disadvantage [is] twice as concentrated as expected if social privilege were evenly distributed across all schools.” Furthermore, UNICEF ranks Australia in the bottom third of OECD countries in providing equitable access to quality education. As a result, disadvantaged students are denied the same outcomes as students from more advantageous socioeconomic and geographical areas. In 2011, David Gonski delivered the final Review of Funding for Schooling report to the Gillard government. The report defined equity in education as the ability of every child to achieve their potential irrespective of school, culture,

economic background, property, power, or possession. The report recommended imposing a “sector-blind” funding model that allocated money to public and private schools based on need. A Student Resource Standard is a base amount with up to six needs-based loadings. It is used to estimate the amount of public funding a school needs to meet its students’ educational needs. The 2023 rate is $16,397 per secondary student. Four student-based loadings are available: students with disability loading, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander loading, socio-educational disadvantage loading and low-English proficiency loading. There are also two school-based loadings for school size (i.e., small schools) and school location (i.e., rural schools). The SRS base amount is discounted for non-government schools depending on the school community’s Capacity to Contribute (CTC) to the school’s operating costs. The higher the CTC score, the more the SRS is reduced. There are exemptions for non-

However, policies implemented by successive governments have not effectively reflected the report’s recommendations. The Gillard government allowed the Catholic system and other private schools to maintain revenue from the government. The Abbott government’s 2014 budget scrapped school funding increases intended for public schools. The Turnbull government introduced a Commonwealth funding cap of 20 percent for public schools, with the remainder to be covered by state governments. For private schools, the government introduced the opposite. The Morrison government negotiated a $4.6 billion increase in funding for Catholic schools over ten years. No additional funds were designated to government schools. As Bri Lee writes in her book Who Gets to Be Smart: Privilege, Power and Knowledge, federal politicians and their attitudes towards religion and conservatism impact disadvantaged students by determining who gets money regardless of need. In the decade since the Gonski review, funding to non-government schools has increased almost twice as much as funding to government schools. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority data shows that 98 percent of private schools are funded above the SRS, and more than 98 percent of public schools are funded below it. If all schools were funded to the same benchmark, government schools would receive more funding than non-government schools. This is not the case.

14 - the university Financial data from 2021 of the schools attended by Tuckwell recipients show that the average amount of net recurrent income was $22,333 per student, which is higher than the SRS base rate. While non-government schools have substantial school fees, if the SRS base rate were discounted per the CTC, the amount would be lower. 68 percent of recipients had a net recurrent income above the SRS rate. 69 percent of recipients with recurrent income greater than the SRS rate attended a non-government school. Of the income below the SRS rate, 93 percent of the recipients attended a government school. This funding issue is exacerbated by the fact that private schools can source capital funding from both state and federal governments. In contrast, state schools are typically limited to the state government. Private schools can also fundraise for themselves, while public schools cannot. Recurrent funding covers the ongoing costs of running a school and cannot be spent on capital projects. There is limited transparency around fund allocation and spending, opening up the possibility for the misuse of governmental funds and the ability to shift money from recurrent to capital, according to Adrian Piccoli, the director of UNSW’s Gonski Institute for Education and the former NSW Minister for Education. Piccoli states that the NSW Government gives the Catholic school system $800 million a year in exchange for a one-page form that verifies that the money has been spent appropriately. In September 2020, ABC News reported that more than $300 million in public funding was being diverted from the poorer NSW Catholic primary schools to those more affluent by 2023. This was designed to keep school fees low in wealthy parts of Sydney to prevent them from attending other well-funded metropolitan schools. The Victorian Auditor-General, the National Audit Office, the NSW Auditor-General, and the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audits have all raised concerns about the lack of transparency. Nevertheless, the National Catholic Education Commission and the Independent Schools Council of Australia have contended that current accountability measures ensure that recurrent funding is spent on the operating costs of schools. An ABC News investigation into school funding conducted in 2019 found that

Vol. 73, Issue 6.5 the four wealthiest schools in Australia spent $402 million on new facilities and renovations despite teaching less than 13,000 students. Comparatively, the poorest 1,800 schools spent $370 million and taught 107,000 students. Interestingly, the additional funding to private schools has yet to produce higher-achieving students, according to the Centre for Policy Development. This makes sense, as an aquatics centre doesn’t mean a student will score better on their HSC. It also goes to show that despite coming from schools with higher funding, Tuckwell recipients are not necessarily ‘smarter’ than students from lesser funded schools or more ‘deserving’. A Tuckwell recipient could live in the most expensive room on campus on their scholarship alone. For someone from Bellevue Hill, not receiving the scholarship would not prevent them from studying at the ANU. For someone from Peppimenarti, it could be the difference between whether they had the means to go to university at all. It is easy to say that the Tuckwell scholarship is not intended to be an equity-based scholarship. But, it is also not a merits based scholarship either. So what exactly is it? It’s a scholarship mostly for the rich. It gives more and more to students who are already incredibly privileged in their educational access, thus continuing a cycle that maintains the status quo. The Albanese government is currently holding a wide-ranging school review and will report in October this year. Underfunded schools are desperately hoping that the government will deliver on the recommendations of the Gonski review. Education inequity is an extremely troubling phenomenon in Australia. The disparity in government funding leaves public schools underfunded. Non-government schools receive more public funding than they are entitled to. This deprives underprivileged students who do not have the means to afford a fancy private school education of facilities, resources, and opportunities. Opportunities that one day may manifest as the Tuckwell Scholarship. w

Crazy Rich Office Bearers how they are paid. After all, we’re paying for it.

Author - Editors The Student Services and Amenities Fees (SSAF) is a product of 2011 federal legislation that gives tertiary education institutions the power to levy a fee to be charged on students for nonacademic based interests, giving them almost complete power to determine what these amenities could be. ANU charges full time students the legislated maximum of $326 per year in semesterly installments, with part-time students charged half this. The legislation provides examples of what SSAF can be spent on, and mandates particular structures to oversee its management. This includes a compulsory formal process of consultation with democratically elected student representatives and the publishing of its annual expenditure. – particularly concerning given that over a

The fee is charged regardless of whether students use the services paid by it third of students who answered an ANU survey regarding SSAF in 2022 said they were unaware of what services are actually funded by it. In 2023, ANU SSAF was allocated to a wide range of university run and student run organisations.

Going into 2024, democratically-elected, student-run organisations will wield almost 70% of SSAF now that ANUSA has managed to secure funding previously allocated to PARSA – just under 4 million dollars. But do you know where – and to whom – that money actually goes? Each of your student associations’ leadership are democratically elected or are filled through casual vacancies. It is vital students have, at the very least, easy access to information on the responsibilities of office bearers and

ANUSA ANUSA receives the largest proportion of SSAF by a significant margin – even more so going into 2024 as they have secured funds previously allocated to PARSA. These positions are: • 7 executive members (President, Vice President, Treasurer, Clubs Officer, Welfare Officer, Education Officer and General Secretary); • 3 Academic Representatives; • 1 Parents and Carers Officer; • 8 Department Officers; • 14 General Representatives; and • 24 College Representatives. For seasoned ANUSA experts these numbers look slightly different than previous years as ANUSA created many new positions in the middle of the year, reconfiguring their leadership to explicitly include postgraduate students. One person can only occupy one position at a time. The President’s stipend is stipulated in the ANUSA constitution, assuming they serve a full term and requiring calculations of 2017 rates to be adjusted by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The 2017 annual stipend was $44,500. The Vice President’s stipend can be a maximum of 70% of this, and the remainder of the executive a maximum of 40%. Adjusting for CPI in 2023, this would make the President’s stipend ~$54,000, the VP’s ~$37,800, and other positions ~$21,600. Academic Representatives receive a stipend of $7,500, and the Parents and Carers officer $15,000. Each ANUSA Department receives a pool of $35,000 in Stipend, with a default of 80% ($20,000) going to the Officer. Finally, neither General Representatives nor College Representatives receive a stipend, but their efforts may be recognised through Honoraria payments at the end of


Percentage of SSAF

Amount ($)




ANU Sport



Student Services






ANU Observer









*Noting that this included the 33% allocated to PARSA, which has since been passed over to ANUSA.

semester 2, 2023 Semester 1 or 2 – requiring them to be nominated and is restricted to a maximum of $1,000 per person per year. These stipends are largely reflective of the amount of work expected from office bearers – with the President constitutionally expected to prioritise their ANUSA duties over all else (including studies) and perform duties equivalent to a full time workload. The rest of the executive’s hours are estimated in the constitution as 24.5hrs and 14hrs weekly for the Vice President and other positions respectively. These numbers are mere estimates, with many representatives working far greater hours – expected to promptly respond to developments on campus, or to input/questions from students almost every day. General Representatives and College Representatives have no mandated hours, and despite being expected to attend SRC’s or their respective College Councils – in practice the hours are largely up to the individual level of commitment. ANUSA also employs a range of people to staff their administrative roles and the Brian Kenyon Student Space (BKSS). This information is quite accessible and easy to understand (shockingly, considering the generally hard to understand intricacies of student politics). All of this information came from reading the ANUSA Constitution, which was updated in August 2023 – and simply required calculations of CPI adjustments on my end. Quality job ANUSA.

the subsequent General Meeting. Constitutionally, there is no hour amount placed on workload but there is a list of duties of each Editor – notably each General Editor manages a team of Sub-Editors for their relevant content output (being TV, Content, Radio, Art and News). The Editor-in-Chief acts as the president and chairperson of the Association. The remaining Executives’ role is more elusive. The Deputy-Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor position descriptions largely parallel the roles of a Secretary and Treasurer, respectively. This information is much more difficult to find compared to ANUSA. Whilst the roles are prescribed in the Constitution, stipend allocations are found in General Meeting minutes and the Honoraria Policy. For anyone interested in finding information about the roles – you have to open many more tabs than you ought to, to find specific numbers. Observer For Observer, their board of editors is made up of an Editor in Chief, a Finance, Community and Visual Content Executive, Secretary, and two other Editors. Honoraria is also awarded to remaining members of Observer as recognition of their contribution – this is done through nominations to their Arbitration panel. One person may hold more than one position – however this is restricted in practice due to recognition of the difficulty of maintaining this.

Woroni Woroni and Observer are your student media organisations – which you may best know from their incessant Schmidtposting presence. Both organisations have some form of elected board of editors responsible for all output they produce. For Woroni, this looks like an executive composed of the Editor-in-Chief, Deputy-Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor, as well as five General Editors responsible for different portfolios. Sub-editors (managed by the board) are paid based on their honoraria policy in recognition of the amount of work contributed. One person must only occupy one position.

Observer divide up their stipend into payment units per semester (w), with each position earning a proportion of this unit in recognition of expected/ comparative level of work of each role. Every payment period (with five per year), each position will receive a payment based on calculations in their Payment policy. These numbers were recently changed this year and the calculations per term, plus their consequent annual stipend is as follows: • Editors and Visual Content Executive = w = $10,689.05 • Finance Executive = 0.75w = $8,026.8 • Secretary, Community Executive and Web Executive = 0.25w = $2672.25

The stipends for Woroni Editors are equal across the Board of Editors at $7,500 annually, paid out each academic term when ratified at

Luckily for us, similar to Woroni, Observer’s position titles make it pretty intuitive what their role entails. The Executives are in charge of their

respective teams, and the Editors are more generally responsible for all output produced and the direction of the association. Curiously, the Editor-in-Chief position does not exist constitutionally – however one can likely assume they would possess the combination of both of the above responsibilities. The Editor-in-Chief receives the same stipend as an Editor, thus the distinction between the roles is unclear. Similar to Woroni, this information can be found through a mix of looking at the Constitution and the Payment policy. However, specific allocations are again found in general meeting minutes, and changes can be made within board meetings. For example, changes were made to stipend coefficients in a March board meeting of this year - but these changes are yet to be updated on the payment policy (only a person with a silly amount of time of their hands to look through all the minutes, i.e me, would likely find this change). Again, anyone with a mere interest in finding this information will necessarily fall down a rabbit hole of (mis)information in order to get the (out of date) specifics. How do we match up? UNSW has 37% of their university SSAF allocation allocated to their student union. The University of Sydney has ~60% allocated across their SRC, undergraduate and postgraduate unions. University of Melbourne allocates just over 50% combined across their undergraduate and postgraduate unions. It’s clear that ANU matches up quite well to other universities across Australia in terms of how much of university SSAF allocation is put back into the hands of students – particularly given the independent funding of our student media organisations (rare in the context of our comrades at Honi Soit, Vertigo, and Farrago). However we ought to always be vigilant – if the death of PARSA has taught us anything, it is that

the ANU is actively willing to intervene in the funding of student organisations regardless of their significance on campus. Conclusion Fair compensation for work is no doubt important – particularly with roles that take up such a significant portion of people’s lives – but knowledge over

the university - 15 what you are compensating is equally so.

Each of these organisations ought to invite criticism over how accessible their finances are to the general public, as none are quite as clear as they ought to be. Ultimately – none of this information will remain relevant next year. As the elected representatives change, so too will their budgets and the relevant goal posts. I hope, at least, that this encourages you to ask more questions and look a bit closer. It’s important not to focus on getting the most value for money in paying office bearers. It’s unfair to expect students to have the emotional or logistical workload of qualified, much better-paid professionals, especially when studying and volunteering is such an inaccessible option. A better frame may be to use compensation as a benchmark and a point to ask whether people are roughly meeting this benchmark in terms of the work they do. It’s not an excuse to cut pay, but it is possibly a reason to hold people to a higher standard. Is it too much to ask for an annual report card of where my SSAF goes? “$10 funded paints for banners for a protest on campus,” “$20 made sure the BKSS was restocked with gluten free bread,” “$30 went to an office chair that Brian Schmidt personally used.” Okay… maybe it is.W

16 - the university

Vol. 73, Issue 6.5

The Politics, Philosophies and Economics of White Men

Author - Raida Chowdhury Photography - Madeleine Grisard and Benjamin van der Niet Michel Foucault challenges that power is wielded by people or groups by the way of acts of coercion. At the ANU, course material is at the discretion of convenors. Although I will argue that PPE as a degree is Eurocentric, prioritising European concerns, cultures and values, I do not believe our three convenors are attempting to exert euro-centrism onto the cohort, as coercive as the reading response mandates might be. The first integration seminar brings to the stage the poster children of PPE— John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Kenneth Arrow, Amartya Sen—and begins the never ending stream of game theory. As such, the accepted canon of political theory overflows with Eurocentricmasculinist knowledge. Occasionally a white woman appears; Elinor Ostrom, Elizabeth Anderson, Susan Moller Okin, and like a dying plant I soaked up every drop of feminism she has to offer. The first integration seminar brings to the stage the poster children of PPE— John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Kenneth Arrow, Amartya Sen—and begins the never ending stream of game theory. As such, the accepted canon of political theory overflows with Eurocentricmasculinist knowledge. Occasionally a white woman appears; Elinor Ostrom, Elizabeth Anderson, Susan Moller Okin, and like a dying plant I soaked up every drop of feminism she has to offer. Integration One primarily focuses on decision theory, social choice, collective action and public choice. Discussions of race have the potential to emerge primarily in the topics of

Justice, Freedom and Rights, however, the integration remains awkwardly quiet. When I asked Dr William Bosworth, “Is the course material of Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics Eurocentric?”, holding the definition of Eurocentrism as “placing an emphasis on European concerns, culture and values”, I had the apprehension that he would deny it was because a majority of thinkers in Integration One are of Anglo-American origin, not strictly European. My definition, which in retrospect is misleading and awkward, something that Dr Brian Hedden, the convenor for the second integration course will point out, ignores that much of the PPE canon I aim to criticise is also AngloAmerican. However, Dr Bosworth seemed to understand what I was getting at. “I would say, ‘yes’, PPE is Eurocentric by your definition. Like every discipline on offer at university, it has been disproportionately influenced by scholars associated with European (particularly Anglo) universities. This will likely lead to bias. But as a discipline we try our darndest to control for that bias.” He continues, “I personally think some of the analytical tools you learn in the PPE degree are our best bets for doing so.” I agree with this. In many ways my criticism of the current PPE curriculum is a product of the pretentious ability to find flaws in everything and anything that PPE has so gracefully embedded

in me. “It is also Eurocentric in the sense that its subject-matter is politics and society and a large number of countries have been fundamentally shaped by European colonialism. This is not to celebrate that fact at all - if anything, it is to lament it - but it is a reality we have to come to grips with. Part of which may be to reject ‘Europeanised’ institutions and to push for radical reform. To do so though we need to know the nature of these institutions. So while there is probably more “emphasis on European concerns, culture and values” that is because there is a pressing need to critically scrutinise this European influence. At least that is the hope.” Overwhelming exposure to European knowledge opens up European structures to criticism; but in ANU classrooms, these critiques come in the form of marxist and feminist critiques, reflective of a predominantly left-wing, white, and woman-identifying cohort. Take Rawl’s Theory of Justice for example, which is frequently subjected to Susan Moller Okin’s “‘Forty acres and a mule’ for women” feminist critique, as it should be. However, in our classrooms, it is largely taken for granted that the Theory of Justice is racially conscious, despite race scholars contesting this. Without proper representation of racially conscious content in the curriculum, the course ends up leaving much of this work to its students. But can a predominantly white cohort meaningfully bring about a race

critique, in the same way it brings about marxist and feminist critiques? In my experience, the faculty has been incredibly accepting of race critiques, but as I mentioned, the PPE cohort is not exactly multi-cultural. Not only is it deeply distressing to level accusations of racism against white people, in a room full of white people (I am reminded of the anxiety I felt watching Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017)), but without proper BIPOC representation in the content, race critiques encouraged by the experiences of BIPOC students do not have the academic rigour nor prestige to compete against established European knowledge. The production of European knowledge has emerged from colonialism and persisted beyond it. However, there is a growing body of critiques that interrogate the racial bias of European thought. If European knowledge is not actively subjected to such race critiques, European knowledge will continue to command dominion and masquerade itself as the only legitimate knowledge. In turn, our cohort, much like the victims of Stockholm syndrome, will go on to affirm and protect this hegemony and inequality. Identity and representation have implications for power and legitimacy in knowledge. This is particularly important with philosophy. Philosophy is believed to be rightly eurocentric, with even contemporary philosophers claiming the origins of philosophy to be in Ancient Greek society, despite

semester 2, 2023 a majority of historians disagreeing. Philosophy additionally, most of all, emanates white men energy, both because of the predominance of white men in the field, and because of the subject’s obnoxious sense of selfimportance. Dr Hedden’s response was considerably different to Dr Bosworth’s; First he raises his critique, “Before answering this question, we should ask what is meant by “Eurocentric.” The interviewers have given a working definition of “Eurocentric” as “placing an emphasis on European concerns, culture, and values.” But I must say that I don’t know what “European” concerns, culture, and values are, and I’m uncomfortable with the somewhat homogenising presupposition of that definition, just as I’d be uncomfortable about talk of “Asian” concerns/culture/ values or “African” concerns/culture/ values. There’s quite a lot of diversity within any given region!” But presumably being accustomed to undergraduates wishing to say one thing and writing the other, he overlooks my mistake, “I do not regard PHIL2116 as Eurocentric, largely because it is problem- and issuebased, rather than historical. We don’t focus on a number of famous philosophers and explore their views in depth. Instead, we focus on questions which I take to be of universal, rather than distinctly European, concern. These questions include whether and why inequality matters (and if so, what kind of inequality), what our obligations to future generations are, whether you can make a difference in large collective action problems like climate change mitigation, and how to compare and trade off harms of differing magnitudes. These are questions that do and should matter to everyone, and we can try to answer them in a way that doesn’t reflect any distinctive cultural background. We do look at what some historical and contemporary philosophers say about these questions, but that’s always in the service of trying to answer these questions for ourselves. We do think that it’s important to include a diverse range of authors on the syllabus, and while we’re always trying to do better with respect to diversity, already only a few of the readings are by Europeans.” As I write this article, in the seventh week of this course, I can attest that the course does encompass questions

which are universal and arguably necessary. Racially-conscious discussions, such as the topic of Native Title came in the periphery, tangential with the topic of private private property as defined by John Locke, who also owned stocks in the slave trade. Who better to ask about private property rights? How knowledge is produced has significant implications for which knowledge is privileged as legitimate, and which is disregarded. Neutrality from race is only comforting to white guilt. Under this veneer, knowledge denies the existence of racial inequalities and further perpetuates European and Anglo-centric experiences. Racial divisions introduced through colonialism have been central in the discussions of politics, philosophy and economics, not in the peripheral. Whether it be climate change, pandemics, nuclear powers, inequality; discussions of which all have racial dynamics. Why have these discussions not entered our classrooms? And by ignoring race, are we then positing that race does not impact one’s experience of inequality, climate change, social justice, freedom, rights, democracy etc.? Very few people will answer economics is their favourite portion of the degree. The number is much smaller for those who have completed Microeconomics 2. Similar to its counterparts, the main enets of Economics taught in the degree have their roots in Europe. In his book, What is global history? Sebastian Conrad explains, “The problem with Eurocentrism (is that) Europe/the West is seen as the locus of innovation, and world history,” this problem is particularly prevalent in Economics. The same economic models that are claimed to be universal, are legacies of the Age of Enlightenment and the European Industrial Revolution. In saying that, although the majority of the curriculum for the third, and final integration, is based on the contributions of Anglo-American and European economists such as Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, John Stuart Mill, there is space designated for the concepts of Slavery, Capitalism and Imperialism.

Dr Aditya Balasubramanian, the convenor for Integration Three, was the only convenor who cited an active involvement in adding raciallyconscious material: “I’m not aware of what the other conveners do, but in my own course I have sought to place the evolution of economics against the backdrop of slavery, imperialism, and decolonization and cover the ideas of thinkers from the nonwestern world.” Students in Integration Three, confirmed that the concepts indeed occupy the “backdrop.” However, one must ask, should concepts of slavery, serfdom and decolonization take a back seat, do they ever take a back seat in the way our economies function? In pure PPE student fashion, nothing I have said is an original thought. Movements such as decolonising the curriculum and Rhodes Must Fall have elaborated on the implications of eurocentric knowledge. Despite these, I can’t help feeling disillusioned, sitting on those cranky lecture hall chairs in room 2.02 at Kambri Cultural Centre, when the degree I choose to better understand the world, time and time again ignores mine. In tutorials, I take care not to bring up race too often, in fear that I might make my peers uncomfortable,

the university - 17 or that they might not have anything to add. Knowledge deemed legitimate determines who has power. Who has power determines what knowledge is legitimate. Knowledge is power, but not to me. The solution, in the opinion of an unqualified undergraduate with too much time on her hands, is a curriculum that involves itself with post-colonial understandings. No knowledge can ever separate itself from biases located in the social and cultural structures from where it is born. Similarly, post-colonial approaches also have their pitfalls; the dichotomy between the coloniser and the colonised has the same homogenising tendencies as eurocentric knowledge. However, this dichotomy is essential for the power dynamics to be exposed. The power dynamics of who produces knowledge, and who must swallow the knowledge unquestioningly is at the root of the struggle. In my opinion, the attractiveness of a post-colonial approach is its ability to interrogate knowledge, to interrogate power, to interrogate colonial legacies, and of course the politics, philosophies and economics of white men. w

18 - the Territory

Vol. 73, Issue 6.5

The Havelock House picket and housing activism in Canberra 40 years on: Where did we come from and where are we now? Author - Joseph Mann A lack of affordable accommodation has been a perennial issue for every new Canberran, including ANU students. Right from the start, Canberra has always had periods of housing shortage - about 2,000 of the workers who built Old Parliament House lived in tents. The Federal Minister for Territories, who directly ruled Canberra until 1989, quickly realised that it would need a way to house public servants required to move to the city while more permanent housing was constructed. One of the solutions was the construction and support of various hotels and hostels. At the time, per the late local housing historian Alan Foskett, about a fifth of the population lived in one of the government’s hostels. Many hostels functioned very similarly to the residential halls at ANU with social activities and residents’ committees. Until the 1970s, many new Canberrans would have slept their first nights in one of these government-run hostels, including Havelock House, on Northbourne Avenue near Ipima Street station. The house opened in 1951 as a hostel targeted at single public servants and teachers moving to the city to take their posts. One Havelock resident’s account describes it as “upmarket” compared to the other hostels of the time. The hostel was reputed for its vibrant social circuit, though another resident remarked in another account at the sharp division between younger, more socially-active new arrivals and older, longer-term residents who would criticise their antics. In 1982, the Fraser government handed Havelock House over to the Australian Federal Police to use as office space. The handover coincided with, what was at that time, an unusually severe rental housing shortage in Canberra, particularly affecting those on low incomes and retired people. By this point, the older house-style hostels like Havelock were becoming less popular with new public servants as cheaper options like Gowrie House, later to become the original Fenner Hall, were opening at the same time that sharehouses were becoming viable.

To understand what happened at Havelock House after the handover, it helps to set the scene for what the housing situation was like in the early 1980s. Cuts to government expenditure over the previous decade, particularly after Malcom Fraser won the 1975 election, caused Canberra’s economic growth to stall after the boom of the 1960s. The effects of decisions made by the government and its National Capital Development Commission (NCDC) to sell public housing properties to occupants and to shift residential housing construction from inner urban rentals to suburban detached houses were exacerbated by the cuts. Those that could not afford to buy were confronted with a shrinking rental market. Cuts to government departments meant that less people were moving to Canberra and, among those who were, options other than hostels like share houses were now available. The government would respond to a lack of demand from new arrivals by closing hostels. That many usable hostels sat empty despite increasing homelessness in the city was a constant point of outrage. Many Canberrans’ jobs were cut due to budget constraints with unemployment rates, particularly among young people, reaching heights unseen for decades. Despite low vacancy rates the NCDC was forced to “pause” virtually all residential construction between 1979 and 1982 for lack of funding.

From 1971, a vibrant and militant culture of housing activism would emerge. Over the following decade, people would squat in empty hostels, abandoned embassies, and whatever vacant dwellings they could find. The closure of many hostels in 1972 saw the formation of a new Committee for Low Cost Housing to advocate for their use as emergency homeless shelters. The campaign was supported by students and, in an unusual alliance, the local branches of the Communist and Liberal parties. The local Communist branch secretary at the time, Ray O’Shannassy, would frequently be before the courts on trespass charges

for leading many sit-ins and squats of vacant housing estates. Later, to protest large rent hikes, the same committee would organise rent-strikes at housing precincts around the city. ANU students would join in the wave, protesting similarly large hikes in 1980, by refusing to pay. Students held sitins and camps inside the Chancelry to demand cheaper options. By November 1982, the Canberra Times frontpage editorial was lamenting the “passing of the hostels” as almost all of them had closed with only a couple still being used as low-cost housing. Back at Havelock, after the new Hawke government announced that the previous Fraser government’s closure of Havelock House would be permanent

in June 1983, local community groups, including student groups, members of the local Communist Party, the local Trades and Labour Council (TLC), and a local Squatters’ Union set up tents and picketed the site for the rest of the year. The TLC put bans on any works on the building. The picketers’ demands were that the former hostel be used for community housing and that the government hold an inquiry into the rising homelessness problem. The picket would continue, 24-hours a day, through the frigid winter. On 16 August 1983, the protests escalated with a group led by O’Shannassy voting to occupy the building’s courtyard, leading to at least four arrests including O’Shannassy and civil servant David Eastman (better known for being wrongfully accused of murdering Canberra’s police chief in 1989). Nine more activists, mostly social workers who would have seen the impact of the housing crisis firsthand, were arrested on September 6 after they linked arms in an attempt to prevent AFP employees from entering the building. The picket ended in December with the Hawke government agreeing to the picketer’s demands. Charges against those arrested were dropped as part of a deal between the government

and the Trades and Labour Council. After consultation, renovations to the lodge and the opening of a new office for the AFP, the house had its first new residents by 1988. By the 1990s, the keys were handed over to the Havelock Housing Association: a charity which manages the house to this day. The inquiry into homelessness tabled its report to Parliament in May 1984. It found that various structural factors, chiefly “an inadequate supply” of affordable options and especially public housing, to be major contributors to Canberra’s perennial housing problem. Per the inquiry’s findings, Canberra could have had as many as 4,000 people in housing stress: about 1.6% of the population at the time. Homelessness and housing stress at the time predominantly affected single young workers, younger parents, those on low incomes and the elderly. Those finding themselves without a place to live faced either or both of the public housing bureaucracy and the unscrupulous rent-seeking tactics of private landlords. Per data from SQM Research, for most of the past 20 years, the residential vacancy rate in Canberra sat around 1 per cent. This was as low as it was at the time of the Havelock picket: a rate viewed at that time as unusually low. This shortage of available rentals, public or private, could be palpably seen in the long lines outside rental showings. In April this year, the rental vacancy rate reached 2% for the first time in about eight years. More recent data from the ACT government suggests that there are about 1,700 homeless making up less than 0.01% of the population. This low homelessness rate is despite a sharp reduction in the number of public housing properties in Housing ACT’s portfolio since many of the largest properties were sold to developers in the 2010s. With national vacancy rates hitting their lowest point in decades, housing has re-entered the national conversation.

The Albanese government came into office in 2022 promising a permanent longterm fund to provide capital for expensive public and social housing projects.

semester 2, 2023 The fund passed into law after significant debate about whether there should be more direct short-term funding of projects from the federal budget. At ANU, student activists created the Housing Collective to organise demonstrations demanding the construction of more houses to meet the 3,000-plus-long waitlist, and rent freezes. Perhaps due to a lack of accessible empty properties and low youth unemployment rate (and associated lack of free time), the Housing Collective has yet to follow the Havelock coalition’s example of pickets, sit-ins, and squats. ANUSA has not led a rent strike on campus in decades. The only recent action I could find that is truly similar to the wave of the long 1970s was a 2018 sleepout held by the (now-dissolved) postgraduate union PARSA outside the Chancellery held to highlight the perilous housing situation for HDR students.

townhouses, walkups and dual-ocs in between detached houses at one end and towers at the other. How exactly this “missing middle” is to be achieved has caused some controversy.

There are strong signs of change for the housing problem in Canberra over the long term, though the short-term outlook still seems grim with even public servants now reporting severe difficulty finding secure housing. In the 2010s, the Territory government began to embrace “urban infill” as complementary with the construction of the light rail. While this policy change has seen a large increase in dwellings constructed in the inner suburbs, one of the pathways adopted by the government was selling the largest public housing properties to private developers. While the government has been building properties like Common Ground with a view to replacing what has been lost, government backbenchers like Johnathan Davis have criticised the ministry for being behind on its public housing construction targets.

There are no more public lodges for local housing activists to take over in the winter, as there was at Havelock House in 1983. Housing activism in Canberra now, as elsewhere, has been focused on debates for the planning of the near-future rather than building rooms right now. The Havelock House picket was the peak of an outburst of housing activism, the causes of which had piled up over decades of planning decisions which did not foresee the cuts of the seventies. The tactics are different, of course, but the current discourse on housing, density, and the “missing middle” has been the

In this decade, there has been a new wave of (perhaps less militant) activism for more housing construction: a stark contrast to the antidevelopment or “NIMBY” activism which has frequently dominated the conversation since the 1980s. After advocacy from a coalition of “YIMBY” groups and community housing bodies including the Havelock House Association, all three parties in the Assembly now endorse policies of gentle upzoning to allow more homes to be built in established suburbs. The housing coalition calls the policy the “Missing Middle”: the “middle” being

The government’s new draft Territory Plan has made allowances for small dual occupancies on land zoned as “RZ1”, though the reaction to this change suggests that advocates were hoping for more. Noted “YIMBY” and former ANUSA general representative Howard Maclean criticised the policy for its cost. The criticism, in short, goes that while homeowners in these suburbs can still build house-sized extensions without hassle, they cannot build house-sized houses without a development application and its massive associated fees. The Liberals criticised the new plan as, essentially, a half-assed attempt at a policy they brought to the 2020 election.

consequence of decades of planning decisions which did not foresee the fiscal consequences of self-government, the

The Territory - 19 re-growth of the public service, or the effects of low-density suburban sprawl. w

Territory vs State: where are NT and ACT rights? Author - Ruby Saulwick Photography - Madeleine Grisard

Not all states are created equal. Especially when they’re territories. During colonisation in Australia, following the initial invasion in 1788, land was carved up under British rule and six colonies were established. The six colonies were determined between 1788 and 1859 and were constitutionally connected to Britain, separate to one another. This process consisted of brutal relocation and massacres, the theft of land from the original Aboriginal owners, and the evisceration of Indigenous knowledge, history, and expertise. This land was stolen, and sovereignty was never ceded. In 1901 the six Colonies formed a Federation of six States – named the Commonwealth of Australia. The Australian Capital Territory was formed in 1909 as the seat of the new government of Australia under the newly formed Australian Constitution. The area chosen (in part to placate the debate between Melbourne vs Sydney as the location, and to sit somewhere in the middle) was transferred from New South Wales to the Commonwealth.

Then, in 1911 after South Australia determined its northern half to be “unprofitable,” it ceded the land to the Commonwealth government and it was subsequently renamed the Northern Territory. The Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory have different rights to the six Australian states. While they operate in a similar way and are granted power to form parliaments and make their own laws, they are restricted in their authority. Territories do not have their own constitutions, and the federal Constitution means the Parliament has the power to make laws for the territories. State laws are enshrined and protected by the Constitution whereas territories are limited by the power granted to them by the Commonwealth.

This means any law made by the NT or ACT Governments can be federally overridden. The Australian Capital Territory is unique in Australia because its Parliament combines the responsibilities of both a local and state government.

20 - The Territory When the territories were divided, they were not initially given rights to vote in referendums. This was overturned in 1977 under then Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser by a resounding ‘yes’ referendum which enabled all Australian residents with these rights (including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were counted as a part of the population from the 1967 referendum onwards.) However, people in the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory still have different voting power to the states in referendums. The Australian Constitution can only be changed if it’s agreed to at a referendum. A proposal for constitutional amendment must obtain “a majority of all the electors voting” and a majority of electors “in a majority of the States,” otherwise known as a “double majority.”

But votes cast by territory residents are treated differently, with their votes only counting towards the national majority. They are then discarded when determining if a proposal has won enough support “in a majority of the States.” Therefore, if you were enrolled to vote in the NT or the ACT your vote weighed less than other Australian voters’ in this year’s Voice to Parliament referendum. Territories have smaller populations than most states, and some argue that giving them state-like power would provide them too much influence over constitutional reform. However, Tasmania sets a precedent for a small state with the power and influence, and the combined population of the NT and ACT is greater than Tasmania. Additionally, the NT is home to the highest proportion of First Nations people of any jurisdiction, about 30.8%, and others argue this regulation limits their ability to contribute to change. Therefore, the limit on territory rights directly disadvantaged First Nations people in this year’s referendum. In order for these rights to shift, a proposal could be put forward in a referendum, or the Commonwealth Parliament could confer statehood to the territories. In 1998, the NT government put the question to a referendum. Ultimately, 51.9% of Territorians voted against statehood, narrowly maintaining the status quo.

Vol. 73, Issue 6.5 There has been limited recent federal discussion of conferring statehood.

Often, rights for territories are seen as less important, especially under assumptions that all citizens exist in harmony with the Commonwealth. However, Australia has seen paternalistic government intervention in the past, for example under the Northern Territory Emergency response (NTER), colloquially known as the NT Intervention. In 2007, then Prime Minister John Howard declared a ‘National Emergency’ and launched the program following the release of the ‘Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Mekare Report’ (‘Little Children are Sacred Report’). With no warning, and no consultation, the federal government swifty gained control of many aspects of residents’ lives, implemented coercive measures and created a new set of regulations that impacted existing law. Seventythree targeted remote communities were affected, in ways that would have been unthinkable in non-Indigenous communities. The government also suspended the Racial Discrimination Act, which is intended to protect people from less favourable treatment because of their country of birth, ethnic origin, or skin colour. Some measures implemented by the intervention (also known by Aboriginal communities in the NT as the “invasion”) included the deployment of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), banning alcohol, removing the permit system for access to Aboriginal land, abolishing government-funded Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP), subjecting Aboriginal children to teaching in a language they don’t speak for the first four hours at school, quarantining 50% of welfare payments, expecting Aboriginal people to lease property to the government in return for basic services, compulsorily acquiring Aboriginal land and subjecting Aboriginal children to mandatory health checks without consulting their parents. The NT intervention expired in 2022, however 15 years of discriminatory and neocolonial policies have left their mark on the NT. In the past, the federal government has also overridden laws passed by the NT. For example, when the NT passed the first Australian law to legalise

voluntary assisted dying (through medically assisted euthanasia) in 1995, it was then nullified in 1997 by the Commonwealth. In 2022, the Restoring Territory Rights Bill, with a purpose “to amend the Australian Capital Territory (SelfGovernment) Act 1988 and the Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978, to remove the provisions currently preventing the territories from passing legislation which would allow for voluntary assisted dying (VAD)” was passed in a watershed moment. There had been nine previous attempts to pass a version of this Bill. However,

the federal Parliament is attempting to, once again, interfere with territory rule. In 2022 the ACT passed a bill to decriminalise small amounts of personal drugs, with the intention to reduce incarceration and focus instead on prevention, health and safety services. The Bill is meant to take effect in October and will penalise possession of small amounts of illicit drugs with fines and rehabilitation treatment rather than jail time or criminal records. The bill underwent rigorous investigation, including an inquiry, and was passed with support from both parties of the Labor-Green coalition. This month, Shadow AttorneyGeneral Michaelia Cash - who does not represent the ACT - introduced a private senator’s bill named the ‘Australian Capital Territory Dangerous Drugs Bill 2023’ with the aim to revoke the legislation. She is supported by federal opposition leader Peter Dutton. Cash argued that the passing of the bill “opened the door to dangerous drugs.” Dutton claims that “Police resources are already scarce. This will be a disaster as drug dealers see Canberra as a new boom market for organised crime.” ACT Labor senator and former chief minister Katy Gallagher stated the laws were a “matter for the ACT Assembly,” and that “the ACT Assembly is a mature parliament, democratically elected by ACT voters.” Independent ACT Senator David Pocock reiterated this idea, describing the bill as an “attack” on Territory rights. This is the third time a federal politician

has attempted to override ACT laws. The ACT took over the private Calvary hospital last year, with the intention to build a new public hospital. Liberal members of the senate attempted to force an inquiry into this process, following the departure of midwives from the hospital. Ultimately, it did not pass, and the ACT continues with the new building process. Regardless of the outcome, the recent increased involvement of federal politicians and government within territory proceedings is causing local concern. Will interference increase, reminiscent of past governments’ involvement, and slow down already voted-upon territory wide changes? Should territories instead be afforded the standardised liberties of the states, providing citizens across Australia with the same rights? w

semester 2, 2023

The Nation - 21

The Disgraced and the Disgraceful: Federal Politics in the Higgins Affair Author - Aala Cheema Photography - Madeleine Grisard Content Warning: Discussions of Sexual Assault and Harrassment, Police Negligence, and Institutional Betrayal

After three weeks of evidence and one week of jury deliberation, the trial of Bruce Lehrmann for the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins ended abruptly after the discovery of juror misconduct. The prosecution did not pursue a retrial for fear of Higgins’ health. Lehrmann pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual intercourse

without consent, asserting that no sexual activity occurred between him and Higgins on the night of 23 March 2019 at Parliament House. Yet nearly a year after the trial’s conclusion, resounding repercussions have ensued in the realm of federal politics. From a damning inquiry to a disgraced resignation and a slew of defamation claims, the Higgins-Lehrmann affair portrays the inadequacy of the justice system to effectively resolve sexual assault disputes and the impossibility of political detachment from such a gendered and ideologically powered issue. In November 2022, then ACT Director of Public Prosecutions, Shane Drumgold SC, wrote to the ACT Chief Police Officer, Neil Gaughan, alleging that detectives were pressuring him against prosecuting Lehrmann. These accusations ignited the Sofronoff inquiry, conducted by the former President of the Queensland Court of Appeal Queensland Solicitor-General, Walter Sofronoff KC. The report’s release was shrouded in controversy as it was prematurely released and interfered with due process. While the ACT Government voiced their intention to determine the lawfulness of the release, they maintained confidence in the report. It concluded that Drumgold developed

The report was, to say the least, incredibly condemnatory of Drumgold. a “baseless suspicion” that police were interfering and attempting to sabotage the case and that he “at times…lost objectivity and did not act with fairness and detachment.” The ACT Police Detective Superintendent, Scott Moller, stated that he was eventually convinced by Drumgold to charge Lehrmann but admitted that other officers were unconvinced. Police opinions tendered to the inquiry depicted Higgins as an evasive and manipulative witness. Drumgold alleged that “rape myths” were the source of the police’s resistance to prosecution, which Moller fervently denied. Notably, the report found that it was appropriate for both the AFP and DPP to prosecute Lehrmann based on the evidence

available to them. Documents that pertained to an ACT police officer’s opinion on Higgins’ credibility were kept from the defence; the inquiry found that they should have been disclosed. In this respect, Drumgold was accused of deliberately advancing a false legal professional privilege claim to deprive the defence of the documents; he “egregiously abused his authority.” Mistakes made by the police during the investigation were recognised by the inquiry to have caused unnecessary pain to Higgins. This included subjecting her to a second recorded interview the risk to Higgins’ health was found to have outweighed the minimal evidentiary value that could have been gained from further questioning. The report also found that Higgins’ private counselling notes were accidentally sent to the defence team by the police. Another of the inquiry’s findings concerned the speech journalist Lisa Wilkinson delivered at the Logies, which led to a delay in the trial. At the time, the presiding judge over the case, ACT Chief Justice Lucy McCallum, accused Wilkinson of delivering the speech despite being warned by Drumgold. However, the inquiry revealed that Drumgold had not warned Wilkinson during their meeting but instead amended the file note the day after the Logies to suggest he had. He had presented the court with these notes, saying they had been made at the time of the meeting. Responding to these findings, Drumgold said it was unreasonable to suggest he had a duty to warn Wilkinson not to give her speech or that he “knowingly lied” about the file note. Furthermore, Drumgold’s interrogation of Senator Linda Reynolds during the trial was labelled as “grossly unethical.” Reynolds was quizzed on her partner’s presence in the court in the days preceding her appearance and about a text message she sent to the defence team asking for a transcript of Higgins’ testimony. Drumgold was required to have evidence to suggest wrongdoing. When announcing that the prosecution would not pursue the case after the mistrial, Drumgold said there was a

22 - The Nation reasonable prospect of conviction and that Higgins had acted with bravery, grace, and dignity despite receiving unprecedented attacks. These comments were rendered “improper.”

In response to the inquiry, Drumgold resigned, labelling his continuation in the role as “untenable.” He also filed court documents with the ACT Supreme Court requesting that the report be suppressed or declared invalid. Alternatively, he seeks to make the findings specific to him invalid. In this way, he wishes to prevent the ACT’s Attorney-General, Shane Rattenbury, from acting against him per the report’s findings. Drumgold alleges that the inquiry did not give him a fair hearing, denied him justice, breached the law, and entailed a reasonable apprehension of bias. While the Sofronoff inquiry provides strong evidence of wrongdoing from Drumgold,

it also depicts the mistrust between two critical branches of the legal system: police and prosecutors. This impairment to the working relationship diminishes the integrity of the prosecuting authorities and casts doubt on the procedures used to decide which cases to prosecute. The inquiry presented recommendations in this regard to improve police policies, including defining the threshold required to charge a suspect. After the report’s release, Higgins claimed that the accusations made by Drumgold did not disgrace the police but their own conduct. She alleged: “They made a fun folder full of unfounded claims in a literal attempt to discredit me as a permissible rape victim to the office of the DPP.” She described the officers as “absolutely awful” and that they made her feel “violated.” They also regularly reiterated why she should not proceed with pressing charges. She accuses them of never wanting to charge Lehrmann. Higgins’ comments on her social media have resulted in a defamation claim against her by her former boss, Linda Reynolds, who was the Minister for Defence at the time of the alleged rape. Reynolds filed a writ for defamation and breach of contract for a settlement from March 2021 that contained a non-disparagement clause against

Vol. 73, Issue 6.5 Higgins in the Western Australian Supreme Court. This followed an earlier concerns notice issued over an Instagram and Twitter Post in July 2023, which Reynolds claims defamed her. Reynolds is seeking damages and an injunction to prevent Higgins from making any further defamatory publications or clause breaches. She has accused Higgins of “us[ing] the media to make defamatory comments about my conduct” and that “ever since Ms Higgins first made allegations of rape public, I have been the target of unwarranted criticism and abuse.” In 2021, Reynolds apologised to Higgins for her handling of the rape allegation. She has also previously apologised for calling Higgins “a lying cow.” Higgins has claimed that she felt pressured by Reynolds not to pursue a police complaint after the event. Reynolds is also suing Higgins’ fiancé, David Sharaz, over tweets that alleged that the Senator bullied Higgins, interfered with the investigation and trial, and leaked privileged material relating to the compensation claim settled between Higgins and the federal government. In addition to her defamation claims, Reynolds has voiced her intention to refer the Commonwealth’s settlement with Higgins to the new National AntiCorruption Commission. Higgins received an undisclosed amount in December 2022. Reynolds’s concerns with the settlement pertain to the speed

of the process and the fairness of the Labor government’s handling of the case. The Prime Minister has stated that it would be “entirely inappropriate” for politicians to direct the NACC to investigate. Reynolds also accused the Finance Minister, Katy Gallagher, Prime Minister Albanese and the Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, of having a potential conflict of interest due to their previous statements. The Attorney-General said the claim was managed consistently per the Legal Services Directions Act 2017. Questions were raised about Gallagher’s knowledge of the alleged rape as she knew Higgins’ fiancé from her previous role as Chief Minister. Gallagher revealed she received information about the alleged rape before the media reports in 2021, but as the information was confidential, she did not breach Higgins’ trust. Tanya Plibersek was questioned about whether Gallagher had misled the Senate in a television interview. She stated: “The central point here is that a young woman made an allegation that she had been sexually assaulted in her workplace and that it had been inappropriately investigated, even covered up by her employers.” Reynolds, feeling she was being accused of attempting to hide the commission of a criminal offence, issued a defamation concerns notice to Plibersek. Despite




Plibersek’s comments, the mishandling of Higgins’ initial allegation and the subsequent events that have unfolded since the trial are troubling.

A year has passed since the trial, yet Higgins continues to endure a public crucifixion. Drumgold’s actions as the prosecutor reflect poorly on her despite no wrongdoing on her part. Reynolds’s defamation threats against Higgins and Sharaz continue to drag them through the legal system, which has substantially harmed her well-being. And Reynolds’s insinuation that Higgins’ settlement was mishandled seems to dig the knife deeper.

This entire affair also demonstrates the ease at which politicians throw around accusations of defamation. Evidently, political infighting has occurred at the expense of Higgins’ welfare since she first went public with her allegations in 2021. This must stop. A woman was allegedly raped in Parliament House, which should be the safest building in the country. The mistrial denies any form of closure or justice for both Higgins and the accused, and federal politicians seem to be using that to play their cards and squabble with each other instead of amending the system to ensure that the same mistakes will never be made again. w

semester 2, 2023

Housing politics is hurting all the wrong people Who owns your home?

private developer can’t build.

Maybe it’s owned by your parents. Maybe a landlord. Maybe a super fund, or global investment firm AMP Capital, if you’re one of the 6000 students living on ANU’s campus. Maybe, just maybe, it’s you.

So governments are also trying to make it easier for private developers by pushing local councils to loosen building restrictions and speed up approvals. The Victorian government has even gone full Dictator Dan and threatened to take over planning rules from recalcitrant antidevelopment councils. There’s a good chance that this top-down pressure will make councils approve more new builds soon, but it will still take a few years for people to move into them. Supply moves slowly.

But most people reading this don’t own their place and they won’t for years. A third of Australia’s population is renting, and they’re pretty much stuck there. Growing numbers of Australians are becoming painfully aware that they’re locked out of the housing market as house prices hurtle upwards. Any economics student can tell you price rises are produced by rising demand or falling supply. Australian housing demand growth is ridiculously high right now, as rapidly increasing immigration increases our population at the fastest rate this century. Supply growth, meanwhile, is painfully low. For many builders, it’s become too expensive to buy building materials, pay workers, and manage the red tape restrictions faced by new developments. So millions of people will be stuck renting. But all the demand growth and supply slowdowns hitting housing hits renters too, and the rental market is getting uncomfortably tight. Rents rose 10.2 per cent on average in 2022 and keep rising. As we approach the end of the year, budding sharehouses will start venturing off campus to find places to rent. Prospective tenants, be warned: you will find yourselves in lines going down the block for any rental within five kilometres of the ANU campus. We need to fix this, and our politicians are putting forward proposals for change. But most of the national debate is stuck in Microeconomics 1. The state and federal governments are focused on the supply issues. They’ve set a goal of 1.2 million new homes in the next five years, and they’re paying to build new houses, like with the Albanese government’s $10 billion housing fund. But this direct spending will have limited effect because the shortage of tradies and building materials means every house a government builds is a house a

However, we can shift demand quickly by cutting our immigration intake. Less population growth would mean less housing demand, and every house we stop an immigrant from buying is an extra house a renter can buy. 60 to 70 per cent of Australians understand Dutton’s proposal and support capping immigration, and federal opposition leader Peter Dutton reckons it’s the best way to fix the housing crisis. It sounds straightforward, but cutting immigration is also highly racially charged and would cut Australia’s future economic growth. Using immigration cuts to fix domestic policy issues reeks of “Stop the Boats” dog whistling and White Australia nostalgia. More importantly for Dutton, our national income has depended on importing skilled, capable migrant workers since the first boatload of convicts docked in Sydney Harbour. Besides all of that, tinkering with demand probably wouldn’t improve housing affordability anyway.

This narrow focus on demand and supply ignores the distribution of housing. Who owns your home? Around 70 per cent of Australia’s private housing stock is owner-occupied. The other 30 percent of houses are investment properties. That 30 percent is held by 2.2 million Australians or around 20 percent of Australia’s 11.4 million taxpayers. Investors hold more than their share.

This skewed distribution is directly encouraged by Australia’s tax system, which is rigged to cover investors’ costs if they put money into housing. We let

investors take a 50 per cent discount when paying capital gains tax, and they can claim tax deductions (AKA negative gearing) when it costs them more to pay off and maintain a house than they get from renting it out . Even if we boost supply or cut demand and put houses on the markets, investors will keep buying them all up. Every house an investor buys is a house a renter can’t buy, and the middle-income and younger generations will stay locked out. We have to go beyond mere demand and supply to solve the housing crisis. Maybe we could force landlords to play nice by limiting their rent increases. Maybe we could push them out of the market entirely. The Greens spent this year calling for rent freezes. They blocked the federal government’s housing fund bill for months, demanding extra spending and a pause on rent increases. The proposal made it all the way to national cabinet, where it was rejected by each of the federal, state, and territory governments, but the campaign had caught the nation’s attention. While the Greens gave in and struck a deal to pass the bill in September, their housing spokesman Max ChandlerMather tells Woroni that the housing fund fight was “just the start,” and the party would keep negotiating for rent freezes. One of the capitalist criticisms levelled at the Greens’ proposal is that a rent freeze would give investors cold feet about putting money into housing and would probably just prompt them to exit the market. The story goes that less investment means less new builds, less supply and higher prices. The criticism is mostly wrong. We should encourage divestment from housing, not fear it. If landlords sold out of the housing market, house prices would fall and renters could buy in. These renters wouldn’t be competing for rental properties anymore, so the rental market would become less tight and we could lift the rent freeze. There’s enough housing demand outside the investor sphere to maintain supply growth in the longer term. Housing crisis solved? Probably not. Housing is such a profitable investment (thanks to tax concessions)

The Nation - 23 Author - Luca Ittimani that landlords would probably still hold onto their investment properties. Maybe a couple years without an increase would reduce investors’ profit margins, but housing is so overpriced (and the tax concessions so generous) that many investors would probably just stick it out. Worse, a freeze would mean landlords would have no financial reason to renovate their 1960s-era two-bedroom in Narrabundah. Rental properties would gradually get more and more shit because, no matter how many shiny new kitchens they put in or how much black mould they clean up, landlords won’t be able to charge more rent. That’s why ACT Senator David Pocock says a full freeze is “just kicking the can down the road for a couple of years.” He reckons the solution is to rejig the allocation of existing supply by taking away those generous tax concessions. “If you start out from the point of view that housing is a human right, rather than an investment vehicle or wealth creation tool,” he tells Woroni, “then you change our tax system.” The independent Senator reckons the real policy problem is the “whole heap of people who have invested, just based on rules.” From his point of view, we need to “turn the ship” and change the rules. Pocock wants the government to cut the capital gains tax discount and “limit the number of properties that you can negatively gear, and slowly phase out over time or grandfather some of the arrangements.”

Tax reform would make housing less profitable, pushing landlords out of the property market (and hopefully into more productive and innovative investments). Some renters could buy in, and those who keep renting won’t be facing as much competition. Housing crisis solved. Unless supply growth crashes and it turns out we needed private investors for new builds all along. At that point, we’d have to get the government to supply the shortfall and nationalise the housing industry.w

Vol. 73, Issue 6.5

24 - Reviews

Head of Radio’s Top Albums of All Time Author - George Hogg

It is no secret that my top albums in a year are often soundtracks from video games or breakbeat hellscapes. However, on the rare occasion that I listen to actual music, these are the ones I find myself returning to over and over again. I can’t rank them, so here they are presented in order of release. 1.

The Age of Consent - Bronski Beat (1984) Synthpop, Disco | English | 42:22 Imagine being gay, in the 80s. Now you are sad. That’s ok, Bronski Beat’s debut album The Age of Consent will solidify that sadness into a deep seated depression. Jimmy Sommerville croons over a funky disco beat that will have you dancing while crying. Perfect for sitting on the bus to Sydney while contemplating your latest situationship breakup, staring out at the cows who will never know the epic highs and lows of queerness. RECOMMENDED TRACK: Smalltown Boy (Full 12” Version) 2.

Demon Days - Gorillaz (2005) UK R&B, Rap | English | 51:42 Little did my father know that introducing four-year-old me to Gorillaz via this album would shape all of my creative choices in the future. Demon Days, Gorillaz’ second album, is the oldest album on this list and yet stands the test of time. With nine features and six producers, Demon Days is a journey through the best of early 2000s UK R&B. The final three songs of the album tell a story that crosses genres and, while definitely one of the more out there tales, define the style that Gorillaz has come to be known for. RECOMMENDED TRACK: Fire Coming out of the Monkey’s Head Visions - Grimes (2012) Dream Pop, Electropop | English | 46:56 No one hates Grimes more than Grimes fans. Visions is quite possibly my favourite experimental pop album of all time. As a not-so-proud owner of all of Grimes’ albums, I feel qualified to simultaneously dunk on and celebrate her music. This breakout album is not Grimes’ best (that title belongs to Art Angels) but it is the one that introduced me to her page on myspace, and while that immediately dates me, this hauntingly beautiful album has stuck with me since finding it almost a decade ago. Do drugs…or listen to this album. Same effect. 3.

RECOMMENDED TRACK: Vowels = space and time 4. racine carrée (√) - Stromae (2013) Eurodance, House | French, Portugese | 45:31 Everyone who’s ever done a French course ever has heard a song from Stromae. racine carrée is Stromae’s second album, and works off his previous album’s beats with lyrics relating to our modern, ever-changing world. Every song is an earworm, and even if you can’t understand French, you will find yourself thinking about every line and note you hear throughout the day. The perfect album for lovers of Afrobeats and witty, meaningful lyrics. RECOMMENDED TRACK: ave cesaria 5.

Save Rock and Roll - Fall Out Boy (2013) Pop Rock | English | 40:41 If you were on YouTube in the year 2014 and an emo of any kind, you remember watching The Young Blood Chronicles in all of its unrestricted, uncut glory. Fall Out Boy’s post-hiatus album Save Rock And Roll aimed to do just as its title says, and while it might not have saved rock and roll, it certainly saved many teenagers from a life free from being emo. Full of features from some of the most (in)famous names in rock and rap, this Fall Out Boy album may not be their greatest musically (or at all), but it holds a special place in my heart as one of the first albums I ever owned. Thirteen year old me (and my best friends) were never the same. RECOMMENDED TRACK: Rat A Tat (ft. Courtney Love) 6. Trench - Twenty One Pilots (2018) Alternative Rock, Rap Rock | English | 56:09 I was told this was cringe. I disagree. Unlike many Twenty One Pilot fans, I only began listening to them as a newly minted adult. Trench is an album that I held close during the beginnings of adulthood and during the loss of childhood. Trench tells the story of a dying faith and an escape, something I knew and dreamed of towards the end of my high school years. The album jumps from genre to genre, telling the tales of different characters in the city of “Dema”, each song a lyrical masterpiece. Kill the part of you that cringes, not the cringe itself. RECOMMENDED TRACK: Neon Gravestones

semester 2, 2023

Reviews - 25

Delta - Mumford & Sons (2018) Folk, Indie | English | 61:00 I will hear no Delta slander. The fourth album by Mumford & Sons is long, and not for everyone, but if you’re willing to look (or listen?) past the length, you will find a gorgeous album about love and loss. If you like crying while listening to music, the second half of the album will be perfect for you. If you prefer more upbeat, folky music, the first half will likely tickle your fancy. No matter where you start or end, Delta will worm its way into your heart and, perhaps, like me, you will have it in your top albums for multiple years on end.


RECOMMENDED TRACK: Darkness Visible 8. S16 - Woodkid (2020) Chamber Pop, New Wave | English, Japanese | 48:24 Seven years after his debut album, Woodkid returns to ruin dance competitions and showcases for everyone with his second album, S16. Full of sweeping strings and wild machine noises, S16 is an audio metaphor for the rapidly industrialising world we live in and the inevitable collapse we approach. I highly recommend blasting this album in a car while driving down the Hume Highway in the middle of the night to truly experience the album’s greatest question: Is the universe heaven? RECOMMENDED TRACK: Minus Sixty One 9.

If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power - Halsey (2021) Alternative Rock, Pop-Punk | English | 42:57 I might be biased, having been a listener of Halsey since her Tumblr micro-celebrity days, but If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is one of the greatest albums I have ever heard. Produced by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame, this album is sonically creative, mixing music with organic sounds and raw vocals. Framed by Halsey’s experiences during her pregnancy, her controversy-filled artistic career, and her personal life, If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is frequently emotionally devastating and feminine rage inducing. Highly recommend listening if you want a good cry. RECOMMENDED TRACK: Bells in Sante Fe 10. The Happy Star (幸福星) - Lexie Liu (刘柏辛) | (2022) Electropop, Dance-Pop | Mandarin, English, Spanish | 41:00 Lexie Liu’s fourth album The Happy Star boasts an eclectic mix of genres, from melancholic ballads to up-beat eurotrash dance tracks, with each song being inspired by a different Major Arcana card. A departure from her previous R&B and rap-heavy albums, Liu masterfully demonstrates her ability to mix Western pop with Chinese classical instruments, and approach previously unexplored genres with a sonic and lyrical genius. Despite coming out in November of 2022, The Happy Star found itself as my top album of the year and continues to be one I have on repeat well into 2023. RECOMMENDED TRACK: MIRA

HONOURABLE MENTIONS (in release order) 1.

Brand New Eyes - Paramore (2009) Emo Pop, Punk Rock | English | 44:35 Another emo teen classic. RECOMMENDED TRACK: Decode - Twilight Soundtrack Version


Sistemik - Son Feci Bisiklet (2020) Indie, Alternative Rock | Turkish | 33:38 Mellow and sombre guitar RECOMMENDED TRACK: Uyuk


How To Be A Human Being - Glass Animals (2016) Indie Rock | English | 43:16 Lyrically insane, musically fascinating RECOMMENDED TRACK: The Other Side of Paradise


Mercurial World (Deluxe) - Magdalena Bay (2021) Dream Pop, Synth-Pop | English, Spanish | 70:00 Do you like ANU Confessions? This is that in musical form RECOMMENDED TRACK: Dominó - Spanish Version


RELAXER - alt-J (2017) Folk, Alternative Rock | English | 48:59 Also lyrically insane, pushing the limits of alt-J’s signature sound. RECOMMENDED TRACK: Adeline


MONTERO - Lil Nas X (2021) Pop Rap, Hip-Hop | English | 41:17 Hell yeah. RECOMMENDED TRACK: LOST IN THE CITADEL


amo - Bring Me The Horizon (2019) Electronic Rock, Pop Metal | English | 51:54 This train is now departing Metalhead Station, next stop: Heartbreak Hill. RECOMMENDED TRACK: Nihilist Blues


Preacher’s Daughter - Ethel Cain (2022) Americana, Ethereal Wave | English | 75:42 If you’re not deeply uncomfortable while experiencing art, you’re not doing it right. RECOMMENDED TRACK: Gibson Girl


Limbo - Ok Goodnight (2019) Progressive Metal | English | 36:28 A mix of instrumental and lyrical tracks that scratch the brain. RECOMMENDED TRACK: Think Again

10. Sonic Frontiers OST Stillness and Motion - SEGA Sound Team (2020) Soundtrack, DnB, Rock | English | ~ 6 Hours I’m not even sorry. They put literal crack in this OST. RECOMMENDED TRACK: Break Through It All (ft. Kellin Quinn & Tomoya Ohtani)

26 - Reviews

Vol. 73, Issue 6.5

Why You Should Watch Bogan Motorsports Author - Jasper Harris

Hello, DTS fans and to whom else it may concern, Australia is a car-focused nation. We are a nation of big roads, big cars and big speed in those big cars. Considering the growing appeal of motorsports such as F1, it’s time for more people to look closer to home at our own premier racing series, which is not dominated by a single team (this year) and features some very close, actionpacked racing. The Repco Supercars championship is a championship of two cars, the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro - a continuation of the decades-long Ford vs. Holden rivalry. This year’s series is an all-Australian affair with a race in every state and the Northern Territory on big famous tracks like Bathurst and the Melbourne Grand Prix to street tracks in the heart of the Gold Coast and downtown Adelaide.

But the big reason to get excited is that for 2023, the championship changed its cars, and there has never been a more exciting time to get interested in the

as it heads into a new set of regulations shaking up the competitive order and producing closer racing. For 2023 the cars changed as we said goodbye to the Holden Commodore and the seventh-gen Ford Mustang itself, a replacement for the Ford Falcon, and said hello to a new pair of muscle cars for the championship, lighter, sleeker and meaner. The rear wings have been downsized from last year, creating less turbulent air and making it easy

for the cars to follow and have tighterfought battles. The cars carry new E75 fuel which is not only better for the environment but they shoot flames out of their exhaust when they downshift. Above all the cars look much more like what you can go to a showroom and buy, going back to the old saying “win on Sunday, sell on Monday”. The cars also have different body shapes and two different engines. The Ford has a 5.4-litre V8 with dual overhead cams and 4 valves per cylinder, and the Chevy has a 5.7-litre engine with a single camshaft and 2 valves per cylinder. But despite the differences, the cars have been tested by the Supercars championship and Motorsport Australia to ensure they are as close as possible to guarantee the fairest possible competition and the closest racing so one team can’t just run away with the championship, *cough cough* unlike in F1 in 2023. The Championship also has a tremendous amount of variety. Since the cars can be refuelled, it means that they can run longer races with driver changes and refuelling, allowing for more strategy and more exciting races. In 2023, the championship will be contested over 12 rounds and 28 individual races in three distinct formats. The first format is the super sprint, with usually one Saturday race at a little over 100km race distance with one mandatory pit stop for tires and then another two races over similar lengths on Sunday. The 500 format has two format types for this race type. One is with two 250 km races with one driver and at least one pitstop for fuel

and tires. The other format, which for 2023 will take place at Sandown in Melbourne, is a single 500 kilometre with two drivers each having to do at least 168 km in the car and a pitstop for fuel and tires at least once. Then there is the 1000, which is reserved just for the event at Bathurst in NSW, the famous crown jewel of Australian motorsport, The Bathurst 1000, held this year on the 5th-8th of October. The great race will see a driver pair race to see who can complete 161 laps of the 6.2-kilometre circuit first. The tremendous variety of circuits and formats is an excellent challenge for driver and team alike, as the number of variables can change so much from weekend to weekend. Even though for the longer races, the drivers sometimes have a buddy to share the load, when you’re piloting a two-tonne racecar at over 300kmph, lap after lap, with 20 other guys around you, a lot can and does happen. The who’s who in terms of teams and drivers is important as the championship has a long and storied history from the Touring car racing of the sixties to the modern world-class racing outfits we have today, and the variety of teams and the characters and their stories really help make the championship engaging. The place to start is with the current big two teams, who have the privilege of having taken multiple drivers and constructors championships. These big two teams also have the task of homologating, which is building the template race car on behalf of the manufacturer and then building the race cars for the other teams on the grid on behalf of the manufacturer. For General Motors, formally under the Holden brand and now under the Chevrolet brand, there is triple eight race engineering racing as Red Bull Ampol Racing, from its base in Queensland this team has racing for it the reigning now 3-time champion Shane Van Gisbergen who is the guy to watch in terms of his awesome ability to drive a race car and make any strategy work best exemplified by his recent win in NASCAR on only his first time of asking! The young Broc Feeney is driving alongside him, a future champion in the making, already with multiple wins to his name. The team homologating the Fords is Dick Johnson Racing, currently racing under the Shell V-power racing banner. After some fantastic form in the recent past with Scott Mclaughlin, they won multiple championships with the last Ford Falcons in the series and saw the

Introduction of the Mustang into the sport. Young Anton De Pasquale and the experienced veteran Will Davison are the current drivers this season and have struggled to get the car to perform but with Anton taking a recent win at Sydney the team looks to be recovering in form. Sticking with Ford teams, there is Tickford Racing, currently fielding 4 drivers their star driver is Cameron Waters racing in the monster liveried Mustang, currently despite always fighting close to or at the front in recent years, a championship still alludes to him. The other large Ford team this year is a newcomer to the manufacturer WAU or Walkinshaw Andretti United, who recently switched from GM and fields the fast and multiple Bathurst and Race winner Chaz Mostert, who also seems just to need that little bit extra to fight for a championship and is one to watch. Back to Chevy and this year’s championship leader and the team to beat is Erebus, known as Coca-Cola racing by Erebus. They have jumped to the front of the grid and been the team to beat this year with the superb pair of Brodie Kostecki and Will Brown. Currently, Brodie leads the standings and may just take the championship if recent form is to go by and now, even with Will Brown leaving to go to Triple 8, it’s a team now firmly at the front for the future, I reckon. The best thing to see down the grid is that many other smaller teams who can and do get podiums and race wins, such as Brad Jones Racing, based out of Albury with their star driver, Andre Heimgartner. With a plethora of other teams as well, it is a stacked and constantly evolving field in Supercars with many rookies and experienced talents on any given weekend the racing is always a fun and exciting watch. Concluding this odyssey of awesomeness through the world of V8 supercars, we are at the tail end of the 2023 season. The great race at Bathurst will be on the 8th of October and if you didn’t manage to catch it live on Kayo, the race recap and videos of iconic moments and big crashes are on YouTube on the @SupercarsChampionship channel. After that, there are two more rounds to conclude this year’s season, one on the Gold Coast from the 28th to the 29th of October, then the season finale in Adelaide from the 25th to the 26th of November. It is a fantastic racing championship, and I hope this piece encourages you to check it out, even if you just go to YouTube to watch some crash compilations. w

Reviews - 27

semester 2, 2023

Woroni’s Book Recommendations

Bram Stoker’s 1897 Dracula is made no less entertaining by the fact that you know most of the surprises before they happen. It’s Gothic horror and Victorian positivism at its best, with men of science, and an American cowboy, taking on the blood-curdling undead. Modern readers will be surprised at how many contemporary representations of vampires come almost directly from Stoker’s depiction. It provides, as well, a fascinating insight into Victorian concerns around sexuality and sensuality: the vampires are made evil by their lust and hunger in a prudish society.

Any university student suspicious of life after study in the big bad world will have all their concerns confirmed in David Graeber’s Bullshit Jobs (2018). The anthropologist has interviewed hundreds of people stuck in bullshit jobs, some blue collar, but most white collar. From these interviews he draws a compelling theory of the kinds of bullshit jobs that are out there, but also makes the case for a radical re-thinking of the working week. As the four day working week gains momentum, and our supposedly-entitled generation enters the workforce, this is a mustread.

My Brilliant Friend (2012) is the first novel in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series. Set in an impoverished neighbourhood at the outskirts of Naples in the 1950s, the novel chronicles the friendship between two girls, Elena and Lila, from the age of six to sixteen. It depicts an unsettlingly realistic and introspective representation of a friendship that is defined by its rivalry. As a piece of historical fiction, the Camorra serves as an ominous presence throughout the novel, portraying the violent undertones of Italian society in which the two girls must grow up.

Author - Our Editors and Sub-Editors Jodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle (1948) is set in a decrepit castle in Suffolk in the 1930s. The novel serves as the diary of 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain, an aspiring novelist who attempts to “capture” the people around her. From the very first paragraph where Cassandra writes from her spot in the kitchen sink, I was mesmerised. The novel is incredibly funny and features an eccentric cast of characters. It is full of magical and memorable moments as the Mortmain family attempt to lift themselves out of poverty.

Gomeroi academic Amy Thunig’s memoir, Tell Me Again (2022), traces memories of a childhood defined by its love and suffering. They write about growing up in a household troubled by incarceration and addiction, while experiences of homelessness, sexual assault and racism all accumulate to provide a somber representation of the resounding effects of colonialism. The memoir transcends its tragedy by juxtaposing the moments of intense trauma with memories of happiness. Thunig’s life is a story of forgiveness, love, perseverance, and exceptionalism.

Meg Mason’s Sorrow and Bliss (2021) takes place after the protagonist, Martha, separates from her husband. She looks back on her life and the mental illness that has overwhelmed and paralysed it. Over the years, Martha has convinced herself that she does not want children despite desperately wanting them, providing an incredibly astute exploration of our understandings of motherhood. For those of us who find it “harder to be alive than most people,” Sorrow and Bliss is an extremely honest, witty, and revealing novel about a woman’s journey in seeing herself for who she really is. In The Year of Magical Thinking (2005), Joan Didion writes about the year proceeding her husband’s sudden death as she grapples with understanding the tragedy that has befallen her. Her portrayal of the grief that arises from death is precise and rooted in its realism. The first-person reportage style for which Didion is so known for cuts at the heart of love and the suffering that must always inevitably arise: “Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.”

If, like me, you are sick of trying to escape the hellscape that is current times by consuming sci-fi fantasy, only to find that it is its own dearth of depression and existential dread, I would recommend giving Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam (2018) a read. It’s a beautiful, if concerningly long, comic that somehow makes me feel more seen and heard than any teen or young adult drama has, even though it’s set in a surreal galactic world where there are space whales. Whilst it comes nowhere near escaping the doom and gloom of most sci-fi, it does make these things seem passable and manageable. It can be read for free online, but getting a physical copy is truly worth it as Walden’s ability to make a face say a thousand words is unparalleled.

Vol. 73, Issue 6.5

28 - Satire

remaining friends with the ontologically evil aps friend Author - Claudia Hunt

kidnapping never looked so good. It’s slay. And the cost of living affects them too. Their rent is higher than last year even though their new sharehouse is smaller and further from campus, and it feels like groceries get more expensive every week. This is the only offer they’ve gotten after two months of job applications. They want a little treat every now and then. 3. It puts them on the DFAT track. The DKD is only the first step in your friend’s ten-year plan. It’ll get their foot in the door, and from there it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to that DFAT graduate program all the International Securities students are tearing each other apart over. Stealing those pets from loving homes might seem extreme at first, but consider the alternative: having to find any other job with an Asian Studies degree. 4. It’s good representation.

Lately, you’ve noticed something different about your friend. Something off. There’s a spring in their step. They’re dressed business casual, even though it’s 7pm on a Saturday. The lanyard at their hip swings hypnotically as they walk down Uni Ave, like a metronome, or the quivering hand of the Doomsday clock. You know these symptoms. We all do. They’ve gotten a job at the APS. Of course, you rush to congratulate them. They’ve joined the world of real jobs (APS employee, paralegal, Woroni writer), leaving you and your not-real job (hospo, high school tutor, Woroni writer) far behind. You ask where they work, and for some reason, your friend can’t quite meet your eyes. The DKD, they say. It’s a new department, you wouldn’t have heard of it. Curious, you press further. DKD? Is that like PMC? Sorta, your friend replies, though their gaze is still skittering around the room, checking all the exits. So, what does it stand for? They mumble something unintelligible.

What? Dog-Kidnapping Department. The what? The Dog-Kidnapping Department. And you…? Kidnap people’s dogs. Yeah. You’re shocked. Your friend takes the opportunity to make a dash for the stairs, with a hurried goodbye and an excuse about emails, leaving you to bear the weight of this horrifying knowledge. You like your friend. You want to stay friends with your friend. But you consider yourself a good person, even something of an activist – you did Veganuary this year – and supporting someone who works for the literal Dog-Kidnapping Department is optically terrible. How do you deal with this? 1. It’s actually a lot more nuanced than that. The DKD sounds bad on paper, but it’s actually part of Labor’s recent attempt to keep their climate change promises.

The CSIRO has developed a newer, greener form of renewable energy. More investor-friendly than solar, apparently less unsightly than wind, they’ve constructed a thousand large, hamster-wheel-esque turbines, which are currently being set up in the suspiciously large basement under Parliament House. The dogs then run in these hamster wheels, generating kinetic energy that will power homes across the nation. Are they taking dogs from their families? Yes. Did that one little girl cry when they took ‘Ruby’ – now Organic Engine 414 – away last month? Also yes. But if we want to be running on 82% renewable energy by 2030, we can’t afford to be Mx. Nice Guy. Of course, your friend’s family dog is safe. Those bourgeois poodle-crosses wouldn’t be any good in the turbines. 2. They’re getting the bag. Sure, your friend is working for a department that’s kind of evil, but they’re just getting the bag. Isn’t that kind of girlboss of them? They go to work in their fun little office outfits, roleplaying adulthood, a total corporate glamour dreamboat. Profiting off dog-

They’re one of the first queer people hired by the department. They’re also, they tell you proudly, the only one with a facial piercing, and it’s so cool nobody even minds. Sure, their boss introduced them to the team by saying “his pronouns are they/them”, but they’re trying! Wouldn’t you feel better knowing that your dog was stolen by an empowered queer person, paving the way for other queer people to get into dogkidnapping? 5. They don’t actually do anything anyway. If none of these other reasons have swayed your strong moral compass, then rest assured: your friend isn’t actually doing any dog-kidnapping. Nobody is. The DKD has stalled in its first month of operation, and the first dog-kidnapping orders are still working their way through the department’s bloated gut. Your friend spends their workdays wiggling their cursor, refreshing their inbox and begging their supervisor for work, who in turn begs their supervisor for work, who’s about to move to a better-paid job in the Treasury. Those dogs aren’t going anywhere. w

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