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Young Pursues the Blues
TIM BUCKTOOTH CASSANDRA WILKINSON
IN an ANU-wide email Vice Chancellor Ian Young addressed rumours among staff and students of his potential departure, announcing that he is leaving academia to pursue a career in music The Chancellery released a statement to Woroni to confirm the veracity of what was believed to be a prank. “Professor Young always held onto the belief that one day, he could be one of the jazz greats, like Louis or Duke. It was only a matter of time before he quit to pursue this goal. The Chancellery discovered this fact when we noted that he was billed as a headliner at the Refectory next Saturday night under the name Ian “Howlin’ Whiskers” Young. We wish him all the best in his endeavours as a jazz flautist.” Inside sources say that the Federal Government cuts to tertiary education worth $2.3 billion were the final straw for the Vice Chancellor, who refused to administer a university that could not provide a world-class education to its students. To ensure the University stays running during the interim period, the University Council voted to appoint a computer that draws knowledge
from Wikipedia and MOOCs. Woroni sat down with Professor Young, who gave us a preview of his EP, “I Gots that Howlin’ Whiskers Blues”: Don’t let them take your music. There is a siren song that’s sung All day to you, and in your dreams, and though old tried and true it seems this demon wants your futures hung Though you should know what of I speak; The TV spells E-C-O-N-O-M-Y; and all the heads say growth is free And all policy’s merely a tweak ‘Til less is more, and more is less, I digress, this prose confesses loss For I’ve been chewed and pulled like floss, Forced to kill the music to pass the test. Musicology Honours student, David Goebbels, reviewed the album, saying, “His heart bleeds, his music speaks of compromise, hardship and love, but I can’t help but feel that before leaping into freejazz flute solos, Professor Young should first master the basics.” “The ANU can now facilitate the education of
Howlin’ Whiskers by offering tutelage online via Skype or YouTube or whatever he suggested last year. For one-on-one mentoring, however, Professor Young might have to look to another university.” Despite the student body being well aware that it is not Howlin’ Whiskers who chooses how much money the education system is worth to the government, the negative sentiment towards him in the wake of the 2012 music school cuts has made the performance of his role as VC increasingly difficult. Yet even after the government’s announcement, the VC’s departure came as a shock to the entire ANU community. Perhaps this $2.3 billion cut is more than Gonski-oriented electioneering. Perhaps the fact that universities are regrettably being forced to accommodate and replicate businesses in structure is compromising this country’s ability to produce artists and critical thinkers. Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a shock that the man closest to the action would this week give up once and for all on reversing these trends.
BUILT men with large penises have the most sexually attractive bodies, new research from the ANU has found. In a new study that has brought the ANU international media attention, Professor Michael Jennions and Dr Brian Mautz put the male member under the microscope. The results were unambiguous: male penis size correlates with how sexually attractive women find his body. Penis size is possibly as important as height. “Penis size matters, no matter what they say,” Professor Jennions said. And the bigger the penis, the more women are attracted to it. The researchers found no end point beyond which females stop finding a bigger penis more attractive. The researchers recruited 105 women aged between 20 and 40, and asked them to rate the attractiveness of life-sized, 3D computer images of naked men. The women rated men “very quickly”, making their judgements in three second flat. The influence of penis size on attractiveness was more significant for taller men. “To put it bluntly, if you are short and pear-shaped a large penis is not going to increase your attractiveness,’’ Dr Mautz explained. The video on the ANU YouTube channel outlining the findings received 21,000-plus views – more than any other featured video posted by ANU this year.
Vintage Woroni Pullout
Bob Hawke spied for US gov’t – Wikileaks New Wikileaks cables suggest that former Prime Minister Bob Hawke spied on Gough Whitlam for the Americans. Whilst president of the ALP and head of the ACTU, Hawke gave insider information on Whitlam to the US Embassy in Canberra.
Bitcoin Fail The online digital currency known as Bitcoin collapsed in price last week. Bitcoin is perhaps the only global currency not backed by any government or central bank. The price of a single Bitcoin peaked at $266 on Wednesday then slumped to $54 on Friday.
North Korea, the US and China US Secretary of State John Kerry went to South Korean capital Seoul this week to discuss North Korea’s nuclear program. Kerry will also visit China; North Korea’s major ally. The US has increased its military presence in the region as tensions between North and South Korea have escalated. Some have criticised the US as overreacting to the “bluster” of North Korea’s young and inexperienced new leader.
Our Money’s Gonski LILLIAN WARD
Chilean students rally for free education A quarter of a million students demonstrated across Chile, demanding free and decent public education for all. In the nation’s capital, Santiago, some 150,000 joined the marches. Chile’s militarized national police attacked many demonstrators.
Global warming to starve millions, say experts Millions of people could face starvation as staple foods more than double in price by 2050, said food experts at a major conference. Climate change and extreme weather events threaten the undo farming methods, particularly in Africa and Asia. Food insecurity threatens to turn parts of Africa into a “permanent disaster area,” they said.
EDITORIAL BOARD Vincent Chiang Josh Dabelstein Farz Edraki Ben Latham Yasmin Masri Gus McCubbing AJ Neilson Cam Wilson
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THE Government will be cutting $2.3 billion of funding from universities over the next two years. These cuts supposedly allow for greater spending on school education recommended by the Gonski Report without impacting net government spending. The Minister for Tertiary Education Craig Emmerson announced the cuts on Saturday 13th April but would not detail how the extra funds would be allocated. This 2.3 billion dollar funding reduction comes after the government’s announcement capping tax deductions for students at $2000 that is estimated to save the government $520 million. 1.2 billion dollars of the cuts will come from requiring students who are on Centrelink and receive the Student Start-Up loan to repay this with their HECs when they begin working, abolishing the 10% discount students receive for paying their fees upfront will raise a further 230 million, and a 2% efficiency tax in 2014 and 1.25% in 2015 coming to 900 million. This leaves 1 billion dollars of cuts unaccounted for. Last month, Universities Australia called for greater funding for universities, highlighting that funding for Australian universities is much less than for their counterparts in other developed countries around the world. International educational is Australia’s 4th
largest export and largest service export. Already universities spend approximately 280 million dollars to comply with government regulation. Professor Glyn Davis, Chair of Universities Australia stated that “The cuts come on top of the $1 billion stripped out of the system less than six months ago through the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook process.” Before this measure Australia’s funding of universities already ranked 25th out of the 29 developed nations as a percentage of GDP. Australian universities are one of Australia’s largest industries, are huge employers and exporters, and are currently comparatively under funded and over regulated. The Coalition recognized this last month when they announced thatS there would be no substantial changes to federal university policy. As the ANU’s New Pro-Vice Chancellor for Student Experience Professor Richard Baker stated, “The leader of the opposition spoke to the Universities of Australia convergence last month in Canberra. He made it pretty clear that there wasn’t going to be much more money”. Students await in hope that this announcement from the Government does not lead to a free-forall c utting of university funding.
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Post-Graduates Ditch Paper Elections
CHRIS ANTOS THE ANU Postgraduate And Research Students’ Association (PARSA) passed constitutional amendments to allow online voting in future elections at their Ordinary General Meeting on April 12th. College representative Alessandro Antonello stated at the beginning of the meeting, “Today we are looking at passing some amendments that will give us more flexibility when conducting our voting.” There was a delayed start to the meeting, with people waiting for twenty post-graduate students to fulfill quorum (two students participated via Skype). The model will be based around the Apollo vote, whereby there will be seven separate ballots for the seven different colleges. It was noted that this medium has been audited by AEC. PARSA Vice-President, Imogen Mathew stated that, “I
really feel that this is the best system that’s available to us.” Postgraduate students are already familiar with the Apollo system, and it is free. The prospect of online voting was first raised at PARSA’s last Annual General Meeting. President Julie Melrose opened the discussion by saying “This is the fruit of that investigation.” The intention behind the change is to increase student participation, and it also lowers the possibility of corruption. With regards to the reforms Imogen stated “They are vague in a sense, and that is deliberate because it allows more flexibility.” Physical voting was not ruled out and continues to exist as a fallback option, “in the event that every computer in the world explodes,” added General Representative, Troy Cruickshank. ANU Student Media already facilitates online
voting for student elections and PARSA is now to follow. The question was raised as to whether ANUSA should move to online voting as well. PARSA has high hopes for the upcoming election. The executive team will still be elected in person at the AGM. However, all of the students in PARSA seemed excited for the changes, as they will give a greater opportunity for student candidates to say what they want to do if elected, through a short biography on the election page. Campaigning is projected to be more effective this year and Julie noted that postgraduates will now know their candidates better before the AGM.
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Poison Carrots and the Stick
s r tSOPHIE YATES lTHE ANU campus will be a temporary extermination zone over the next four weeks. - Between April 8 and May 6, the ANU’s Campus ,will be one of many sites within the Acton Pen-insula subject to the ACT government’s $150 000 -rabbit control program. t The extensive scheme is aimed at culling the wild rabbit populations spreading across the tertritory. Other controlled areas include CSIRO, the -Botanic Gardens and Black Mountain Nature Reserve. Carrots laced with Pindone have been strategically laid around campus to curb the proliferation of unsuspecting bunnies. The cull will be implemented over three controlled poison feeds. Senior Vertebrate Pest Officer with the ACT Parks and Conservation Department Chris Condon anticipates most of the rabbits will experience symptoms after the first and second feeds. Risks of secondary poisoning will be minimized by contracted pest control officers who clear carcasses at first light. Cages placed over the bait should other prevent wildlife from accidental poisoning. Pindone, an anticoagulant poison, has been se-
lected because is effects are particularly potent upon rabbits and pose less serious a risk to native animals (namely possums). Pindone also has an effective antidote, which may be administered to domestic animals should they accidentally consume the bait. Its effect on humans is minute- a wayward student would need to demolish six kilograms of poisoned carrot to experience its full effect. The feral bunnies have aggravated ecological concerns for some years. Within the ANU, their perpetual overgrazing presents opportunities for weed infestation and removes an important source of food and shelter for native wildlife. Condon indicates that, this also leads to soil erosion and subsequent contamination of waterways. ACT animal rights organisation, Animal Liberation, have called these killing practices into question. They highlight the cruelty inherent in Pindone poisoning which “causes extreme pain in the hours or days before death”. Indeed, symptoms are known to include excess salivation, vomiting, and progressive weakening which, within the ANU’s control areas, could extend suffering for up to six days.
ANU in Space
Animal Liberation indicate on their website that these practices would be illegal if carried out upon native wildlife. Moreover, they dispute the effectiveness of rabbit culling as a means of population control. The ACT Parks and Conservation Service aim only to “supress” numbers and Animal Liberation speculate “no-one for more than half a century has claimed that there is any hope of completely eradicating rabbits... by killing them”. Animals Australia state on their website that the terms “vermin”, “feral” and “pest” devalue the gregarious burrower’s existence, which has potentially become a vital element in its food chain. Both organisations instead endorse fertility control measures to impinge upon the rabbits’ energetic procreation. The culling of rabbits is not an unfamiliar practice within the ACT. In 2011 and 2012, rangers and contractors were employed in 1080 poisoning, fumigation and ripping of rabbit warrens within the Territory’s expansive National Parks. Any concerns or questions regarding the rabbit control program may be directed to Chris Condon via Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.
THE ANU is set to receive a large chunk of a $40 million grant from the Federal Government as part of the government’s investment in space-related research and education initiatives. This will go towards fourteen space research projects run by six different universities. The Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation and ACT Senator, Kate Lundy, unveiled the boost in funding last week at ANU’s Mt Stromlo Observatory. The ANU’s Acting Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research, Margaret Harding, said that the university had a “strong commitment” to the future of space research. Senator Lundy affirmed that the university had “niche expertise” because of its world-class testing facilities at Mt Stromlo. On display was the “plasma thruster”, developed by ANU researchers, to enable the use of many kinds of propellants in space, and an ANUCSIRO project studying the Earth’s gravity by using satellite information. It accompanied the launch of Australia’s first space policy, the Satellite Utilisation Policy, aimed at safeguarding and improving access to satellite technologies. Senator Lundy focused in her speech on the implications of satellite technology for Australia’s economic future. Australians currently access six hundred satellites for mapping, telecommunications and geolocation purposes. Satellite imagery has added $3.3 billion to GDP according to a 2010 report. Senator Lundy said the goal of the policy was to “assure on-going, cost-effective access to the satellite capabilities on which we rely”. She also announced the establishment of a space coordination office within the Department of Industry and Innovation. Australia is the only OECD nation that does not have a space agency and largely relies on the supply of information from Europe and the United States.
Woroni is updating our constitution*. Come to our Ordinary General Meeting to vote. 12:00pm 9th May 2013, ANUSA Student Space, Union Court.
* Amendment 1: Clarification of not-for-profit status 4 The Association is a not-for-profit organisation. The assets and income of the Association shall be applied solely in furtherance of its above-mentioned objects and no portion shall be distributed directly or indirectly to the members of the organization except as bona fide compensation for services rendered or expenses incurred on behalf of the Association. to: 4 The assets and income of the Association shall be applied solely in furtherance of its above-mentioned objects and no portion shall be distributed directly or indirectly to the members of the organization except as bona fide compensation for services rendered or expenses incurred on behalf of the Association. Amendment 2: Destination of remainder upon dissolution of the Association 26.3 If, upon the dissolution or winding up of the Association there appears after the satisfaction of all its debts and liabilities any property whatsoever, that property shall be transferred to another student body or association with similar objects to the Association. Any intellectual property will transferred to the ANU Students’ Association (ANUSA). to: 26.3 In the event of the Association being dissolved, the amount that remains after such dissolution and the satisfaction of all debts and liabilities shall be transferred to another organisation with similar purposes which is not carried on for the profit or gain of its individual members. Amendment 3: Clarification of Member Liabilities 5.6 Members liabilities The liability of a member to contribute towards the payment of the debts and liabilities of the association or the costs, charges and expenses of the winding up of the association is limited to the amount (if any) unpaid by the member in relation to membership of the association as required in sub-section 5.6. to: 5.6 Members Liabilities (Formerly section 17.3 Disclaimer)
No member of the Association will be personally liable to contribute towards the payment of the debts and liabilities of the Association or the costs, charges and any expenses of the dissolution or winding up of the Association and Subsequent removal of section 17.3 Amendments 4-7: Correction of Drafting Errors Amendment 4 12.3 Co-opted members enjoy indemnity from the Association for duties performed for the Association under section 26 to: 12.3 Co-opted members enjoy indemnity from the Association for duties performed for the Association under section 25. Amendment 5 5 Membership of the Association is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students of the University. There are two classes of membership: ordinary and honorary life. to: 5 Membership of the Association is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students of the University. There are three classes of membership: ordinary, associate and honorary life. Amendment 6 5.5 Cessation of membership An ordinary member ceases to be a member of the Association at such time if: (a) they cease to fulfil the conditions in sub-sections 5.1 and 5.2 respectively; or (b) their membership is revoked. An honorary life member ceases to be a member if her/his membership is revoked by a general meeting of the Association. to: 5.5 Cessation of membership An ordinary or associate member ceases to be a member of the Association at such time if: (a) they cease to fulfil the conditions in sub-sections 5.1 or 5.2 respectively; or (b) their membership is revoked.
An honorary life member ceases to be a member if her/his membership is revoked by a general meeting of the Association. Amendment 7 17.1 Members’ Benefit Subject to sub-section 18.2, no member of the Association shall benefit from any funds held by the Association except by way of bona fide remuneration for liabilities incurred on behalf of the Association. to: 17.1 Members’ Benefit No member of the Association shall benefit from any funds held by the Association except by way of bona fide remuneration for liabilities incurred on behalf of the Association. Amendment 8 Change Section 9 “the Association must publish a hard copy and online publication with the masthead Woroni - The Australian National University Newspaper - Since 1948.” to “the Association must publish a hard copy and online publication with the masthead Woroni - The Australian National University Newspaper - SInce 1950.” Amendment 9 Remove 7.3.1 (e) “two (2) Honrary Advisors in accordance with 7.10” Change 7.6 title “Election of the Board of Editors (other than Honorary Advisors)” to “Election of the Board of Editors” Remove 7.10 Amendment 10 Remove Section 5.2 “Associate membership” Amendment 11 Change 15.1 to read: 15.1 The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association must be convened by the Board within five (5) months of the end of the financial year, and must be held on an academic day. The financial year of the Association shall commence on the first day of December in each year, and end on the last day of November in the following year (in accordance with section 17.6.1 of this constitution)
En Masse Debating
DEBATERS from the ANU attended the Australian Intervarsity Debating Championships over the term one holidays, achieving resounding success, breaking two of its nine teams into the finals series. The Australian Intervarsity Debating Championships (otherwise known as “Easters) is one of the largest debating tournaments in the world, and is regularly attended by approximately four hundred debaters, including both novice debaters and former world champions. This year, the tournament was hosted on the Gold Coast by Griffith University, and was attended by universities from all across Australia. The ANU’s teams 1 and 2 placed 10th and 8th respectively in the tournament, reaching the OctoFinals before losing to other high-ranked teams in very close debates. Individual debating successes were achieved by Thomas Goldie, who ranked as fifth best speaker in the tournament, Richard Keys, who ranked as twenty-first best, and Jessy Wu, who ranked as the seventh best first year at the tournament. PhD student Lachlan Umbers also “broke” as an adjudicator to finals series, an honour he shared with debating world champion James Beavis and 2013 World Championships top 10 speakers Chris Bisset, Elle Jones and Madeline Schultz.
However, it was not only the thrill of success, but also the experience of debating which seemed to resound in many ANU Debaters. “Easters was a lot of fun, and a really good experience, particularly as a first year as it gave a really good intro into the world of uni debating,” said Grace Elkins, a first year in the ANU Easters contingent. “I was adjudicating, which is something I hadn’t done a lot of before, so it was really good to learn the skill of judging debates.” “I got to chair [debates] by the last round of the tournament which was pretty exciting.” Debates are held between two teams of three, and debaters have thirty minutes to prepare speeches for motions such as “That South Korea should pre-emptively strike North Korea” and “That transgender people should form a new movement separate to the gay and lesbian movement”. The Australian debating circuit is worldrenowned as one of the best debating circuits in the world, and Australian debaters regularly rank higher than their American Ivy League and Oxbridge counterparts. The ANU hosted Easters in the year 2012. The tournament will be hosted in 2013 by the current world debating champions, Monash University.
On Top of the WorldMUN
IN 2013, in a historic first, Harvard University collaborated with Monash University and RMIT University to bring the Harvard World Model United nations conference to Melbourne, successfully outbidding London, Madrid and Paris. WorldMUN was founded in 1991 by a group of Harvard University students, who wanted to create a different kind of Model UN experience. Since that time, it has grown to become the largest and most prestigious Model United Nations conference in the world. Every year, it is hosted by a different city around the world. 2, 100 delegates from over eighty different countries converged on the city from March 18-22. In another historic first, WorldMUN 2013 had a theme – the Millennium Development Goals. Conceived prior to the new millennium and implemented upon its arrival, the MDGs set targets to achieve by 2015 for global development, including the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, achievement of universal primary education and improvement of maternal health. Given the scale of WorldMUN, the topics discussed during the course of the conference were almost as diverse as those in the actual UN. Delegates could find themselves discussing the exploitation of migrant workers in the Special Political and Decolonization Committee, or debating mental health in regions of conflict in the World Health Organisation. One could find themselves sitting on the National Transitional Council of Libya or the Chinese Politburo.
The Australian National University was fortunate enough to send a delegation of twenty-five students to this conference, from first to fifth year, hailing from disciplines as different as Law, Economics, Science and English Literature. The ANU also had another special connection to the conference, with the Patron of WorldMUN 2013 being none other than The Honourable Gareth Evans AC QC. WorldMUN is considered the “Olympics of Model UN”, and so demands a level of skill that most ANU students had never experienced before. But, despite it being the first WorldMUN for ANU students, they rose admirably to the occasion. So much so that two ANU students secured Best Delegate awards for their committees: Ayeeda Akhand, representing Japan in the World Bank, and Akshath Kale, representing Mauritania in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Given the scale of WorldMUN, and competition from powerhouse nations like Venezuela, Belgium and the United States, who dominate WorldMUN every year, their achievements are all the more admirable. WorldMUN is an experience like no other, and the chance to meet people from every corner of the world is not one we get everyday. WorldMUN celebrates the differences we have, but more than that, reminds us that trying to solve the world’s most pressing and complex problems is something we all have in common.
UMSU Controversy CAM WILSON THE University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) passed a motion last Tuesday to celebrate the recent death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The motion was presented at the end of a Student Council meeting as an item of “other business” on the 9th of April “celebrates [Thatcher’s] death unreservedly” for her “horrible legacy … and neoliberal policies that destroyed the lives of millions.” It was passed by five votes, with three votes against and four abstentions. As part of the motion, the Student’s Council will also screen Ken Loach’s film Which Side Are You On?. President of UMSU, Kara Hadgraft, released an online statement in response, saying “discussion was robust and there were views put that represented the wide variety of options that have been put in world-wide media following Thatcher’s death.” Farrago, the University of Melbourne Student Union publication, reported that the motion was
met with “audible derision and laughter in the council room.” Allegedly, the abstentions occurred as some of the council members left the room in response to the motion. The Students’ Council consists of 18 student members, and its responsibilities, according to Section 41(i) of UMSU constitution, include “representing Students, and petitioning on behalf of Students, to the University and in the community.” According to Hadgraft, the council “exists to give voice to a broad range of student views on a broad range of topics brought before it.” Students have taken to UMSU’s Facebook page to almost unanimously criticize the motion. Aside from expressing distaste with the celebration of Margaret Thatcher’s death, most comments were provoked by students viewing this statement by their union as outside their mandate and a misuse of student resources. Kara Hadgraft has not responded to Woroni’s request for comment.
Apology Acceptable? ON THE HILL
BEFORE the mid-semester break, the Prime Minister delivered the National Apology for Forced Adoptions. It happened the same day as the non-spill, and the apology wasn’t the only substantive business of government that was overshadowed by that farcical display. The apology was moved in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and passed unanimously in both. The motion was also read out to an audience in the Great Hall an hour before. Among the MPs who voted for the motion were nine Coalition representatives. They were Sophie Mirabella, Don Randall, Alby Schultz, Dennis Jensen, Chris Pearce, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Senator Ian Macdonald and Senator Cory Bernardi. Let’s just take a look at some comments from some of these MPs: “Saying sorry is not going to solve anything it’s wallpaper.” Dennis Jensen “I do not feel any sense of guilt for what has happened during Australia’s brief history.” Cory Bernardi “I do not believe that I or other Australians can apologise for actions taken by former generations in different circumstances at a time of different attitudes, laws and Christian beliefs.” Ian Macdonald These quotes – of course – don’t refer to the recent apology, but to the 2008 Apology to the Stolen Generations, delivered by Kevin Rudd. These MPs all objected, in various ways, to the 2008 apology. Randall, Mirabella, Schultz and Jensen boycotted the event. Senator Fierravanti-Wells abstained, Senator Macdonald supported it but later claimed he could not apologise for a historical event for which he bears no personal responsibility, Bernardi
also supported the apology but later said he felt no guilt for what happened (and complained that he was, in fact, set upon by an Aboriginal gang when he was young) and Pearce – while attending the Apology – did some personal reading during the official proceedings and remained seated during the standing ovation. Former MP Wilson Tuckey also boycotted the apology, but was subsequently defeated at the 2010 election (probably safe to assume those two events are unrelated, for the Member for O’Connor in WA). Here we have two apologies and two instances where, over many years, children were removed from homes in deceptive, damaging and prejudiced ways. There are differences in the detail, but they are fundamentally very, very similar. Some choice excerpts from the official motions read like this: “We deplore the shameful practices that denied you, the mothers, your fundamental rights to love and care for your children… To each of you who were adopted or removed…denied the opportunity to grow up with your family and community of origin and to connect with your culture, we say sorry.” Julia Gillard, 21 March 2013 “We apologise for the laws and policies…that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss… We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their family, communities and country.” Kevin Rudd, 13 February 2008 Both apologies take a collective, national, governmental responsibility – implicitly or explicitly – for the events, both acknowledge the ongoing ramifications as well as the disproportionately large impact of an apology as a symbol for healing. Every problem that could be found with the 2008 apology could also be found in the 2013 one. If one questions the responsibility and impact of the Apology to the Stolen Generations, one can equally question the responsibility and impact of the National Apology for Forced Adoptions. Presumably, these MPs are no more responsible for the forced adoptions than they are for the Stolen Generations (and if they are, that’s probably something we should know about). The argument that somehow the most recent apology will have more of a positive effect also seems pretty hard to argue. So what difference did these MPs find? There is only one this writer can think of, but lest I outrage hacks everywhere by dropping the r-word, I’ll leave it to the readers to come to their own conclusions.
LIBERTARIANISM: It’s more than just Ron Paul. Dr Paul has done a lot for the liberty movement in the US, but libertarianism in Australia isn’t about the wholesale import of the American libertarian movement. Historically, Australia has never had a prevalent liberty movement, or even a significant political force that has prioritised freedom and small government for its own sake. It’s just not in our blood. Australia’s political history demonstrates that no single party has a monopoly on freedom or the lack thereof. The White Australia Policy was bipartisan and its dismantling in the late 1960s and 1970s was also a bipartisan project. The growth of the surveillance state and espionage services has also received bipartisan support, as did involvement in the war in Afghanistan. The modern Australian economy would be unrecognisable if it hadn’t been for the Hawke/Keating economic reforms, which also received bipartisan support. The Australian Libertarian Society Friedman Conference, which took place on the weekend of the 6th and 7th of April, was principally organised by the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance and the Australian Libertarian Society and intended to do what hadn’t yet really been done: bring people from across the libertarian tradition (classical liberals, monarchists and anarcho-capitalists alike) in order to grow the size and influence of the movement. Reflecting the lack of a single wellspring of freedom, speakers at the conference included Cassandra Wilkinson of the NSW Labor Party, NSW Liberal MLC Dr Peter Phelps, Liberal Democrat Clinton Mead of Campbelltown Council in NSW, researchers from the Institute of Public Affairs and the Centre for Independent Studies, Dr Charles Richardson of Crikey.com.au and the ANU’s very own philosophy lecturer Dr Jeremy Shearmur (who unwittingly put me on this path in 2010 by mentioning “Friedrich Hayek” in PHIL1004.) Jeremy charmed us all with a voice
to rival David Attenborough and a wonderfully feather-ruffling talk on exporting the elderly to the Philippines. The old symbol of the libertarian movement, since adopted by the paleoconservative Tea Party movement, of the coiled snake and the slogan “Don’t Tread on Me”, is emblematic of the establishment libertarian approach in the US. But that’s not what is happening here: it’s full of young people, for one. The new face of the liberty movement in Australia isn’t about the privileged defending their own rights at the expense of everybody else’s, but rather a desire to secure rights and liberty for all – “don’t tread on anyone”. The conference featured mainstream talks about the nanny state as well as more radical talks such as free banking and homeschooling, but all echoed the same principle – that liberty is the foundation of a socially just society, and state excess does and always has hurt the least well-off disproportionately whilst cementing the power of the elites. This is true for everything from the excise on cigarettes and alcohol to the complex regulatory requirements imposed on businesses, which large corporations can deal with easily enough whilst smaller would-be competitors are unable to fund such compliance and are locked out of the market. Freer trade and tariff reduction means that the less well-off can buy cheaper goods imported from overseas markets, produced in an environment of comparative advantage, which reduces their cost of living. The purpose of the liberty movement in Australia is to strengthen all individuals and society against the coercive power of government. It’s to reduce the role of government in all areas of people’s lives: more civil liberties, less taxation, and freer personal lifestyle choices. I think Australia could do with a little more liberty.
Jealousy Is Not Intimacy MARK FABIAN
Turnbull’s NBN a Policy or Tactic?
THE Coalition’s response to Labor’s NBN is a deliberately inferior product. The Luddites in the Coalition have not changed their ideologically cemented opposition to state-investment in a Broadband network that serves the entire country – rather, they have merely realised and capitalised on the issue’s political divisiveness. Anyone questioning why this inferior Broadband network is a PR blunder does not understand that the policies are not designed to be compared against one another. It does not matter that Labor’s NBN is faster, less maintenance demanding, and will reach more people. Don’t get me wrong, Labor’s NBN is a populist and expensive political tactic paid for with money that they do not have, but at least it will deliver a beneficial service to the Australian public. The Coalition’s is a cheap and nasty band-aid response to a public troubled by their unwillingness to invest in a future where international students no longer use Australian internet speeds as a measure of our backwardness. As a result, this policy is not one penned by a crack-team of policy advisors with the genuine objective of delivering a National Broadband Network that will serve the Australian people to the best of the government’s ability. It is rather a hastily cobbled together series of excuses for a piece of infrastructural development that the Coalition’s ideology would have them argue doesn’t fall within the scope of governmental responsibility. This is something they’ve been arguing for years. A decade ago the then communications minister Richard Alston sneered at the investment in an interview with Inside Business’s Alan Kohler: “…my scepticism has really been about whether there is any compelling national interest in the Government spending money on subsidising roll-outs to consumers.” They’ve continued this line of thinking for a decade since, with Tony Abbott stating time and time
again that an NBN is too expensive and not necessary. On ABC Tasmania on July 22, 2010, Chris Pyne, current Shadow Minister for Education, made the outrageous claim that existing wireless services across Australia’s capital cities were good enough as is, and the NBN would be overkill. Pyne justified himself by saying, “Complaints we used to receive five years ago about broadband have been replaced with no complaints because the wireless system is so much better in the city.” The Coalition has never understood the importance of a National Broadband Network. The above comments also point to a severe gap in comprehension of the need for Broadband services to be accessible not just by inner-city Mac-
returns present in servicing regional Australia. It’s simply an equity issue, those who do not live in cities should have comparable access to essential services to their city-dwelling counterparts. The major difference between the two parties’ Broadband Networks is that the current copper wiring system in place was designed for phones and not for our current and future internet needs. So, the real reason that the Coalition’s plan costs so much less and will be completed in 2019 as opposed to 2021 is that it plans to use this existing obsolete network. “Fiscal responsibility” trumps equity. It has never been within the Coalition’s best interests to deliver an NBN comparable with Labor’s for two reasons: firstly, the best way to kill a policy is to say “No, too expensive”. That was stage one of the Coalition’s response to Labor’s attempt at infrastructure development; banking on the odds of Labor’s inability to sell reasonably good policy is at an all time high. Stage two was to realise that Australians actually want better internet speeds and act in a way that follows with all prior character assassination of the current government: appear more fiscally responsible by saying that you are, then propose less investment in social progress while promising to deliver more. Coalition policy (a rare beast in these dark woods) relies on an inherent mistrust of governmental efficiency and a preference for third-party investment. The telling fact remains that the Coalition would not have introduced a Government initiative to build an NBN because it is not within their neobookers, but the entire continent. classical understanding of state-development. The significance of Labor’s NBN policy is twoThe Coalition should be clear with the Australfold: in an information society, it is a necessary ian people about whether this policy of theirs is condition that we possess the future-proof infra- a policy designed to benefit the Australian people structure to drive this economic revolution. Sec- as much as the original Labor NBN, or whether ondly, to roll out fibre-optic cabling to the entirety it is a political tactic designed to cloud the real of Australia is a task that private industry is un- reasons behind why their government will not willing to undertake because of the diminishing be investing in much needed state infrastructure.
This policy is not one penned by a crack-team of policy advisors with the genuine objective of delivering a National Broadband Network that will serve the Australian people to the best of the government’s ability.
I was deeply troubled by a recent episode of Offspring. In it, Nina, the heroine, is caught between her on-again off-again love/hate boyfriend and a new flame. After an altercation between the two chaps, Nina’s sister mentions to the new beau that the old beau is not completely over Nina. He replies that he doesn’t care so long as she is completely over him. I always find such sentiments toxic. Why insist on your partners being strictly oriented towards you? Such a requirement suggests deep insecurity and a disposition towards jealousy and possessiveness. Yet my impression is that this is the prevailing view in society - your partner should have absolutely no feelings for people they were once intimate with, nor should they even glance at other potential partners. There are many things wrong with this attitude, but let me start with what alarms me most: the notion that it is poor judgement to start a relationship with someone who harbours feelings for someone else. Most of us expect a “relationship” to contain deep feeling, strong intimacy and warm affection. Such things are powerful. How is it that we expect them to be so completely severed once a relationship comes apart? It seems to me that they could only be severed if they weren’t very deep to begin with. I think it normal for people to always retain feelings for former lovers. Instead, people want their lovers to actively hate their previous partners. But surely if someone is capable of such emotional flip-flopping they are a little bit “crazy”. Someone who can go from being very fond of someone to despising that person strikes me as emotionally wild and probably immature. The motivation behind the insistence on strict emotional fealty is the desire for a strong emotional connection. But I think people are confusing emotional selfishness with strong feeling. Someone who loves possessively is quite possibly still a child needing a mother’s unbridled love or an insecure neurotic who needs constant bolstering. A deep feeling person is typically sensitive and passionate. That is why they are attractive. In forcing them to control that sensitivity and passion you are ironically destroying exactly what you like about them. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being strict with a partner’s cheating behaviour, but their cheating thoughts are a different matter entirely.
// Margaret Thatcher // Margaret Thatcher // Margaret Thatcher //
Obituary of Margaret Thatcher
13 October 1925 – 8 April 2013
AT the age of eighty-seven, The Baroness Thatcher, arguably Britain’s greatest peacetime Prime Minister, passed away. According to her spokesman Tim Bell, she died of a stroke at the Ritz Hotel, having suffered from dementia for years and been in poor health for months. Her passing marks the end of a meteoric career that took her to the very pinnacle of power in British politics. Mrs. Thatcher was the first woman to become Prime Minister of Britain, leading her Conservative Party to three straight election wins and holding office for a period of eleven years – longer than any other British prime minister in the 20th century. Inheriting a country that was beset by inflation, budget deficits and industrial unrest, her strong economic medicine for an ailing Britain – reducing the role of the state and boosting the free market – was exactly the prescription the country needed. When rumblings started coming from her own Conservative Party colleagues about potential defeat at the ballot box, Thatcher was unmoved. “I am not a consensus politician,” she said. “I am a conviction politician”. Her policy agenda with its emphasis on individual responsibility and unleashing entrepreneurial creativity came to be branded as “Thatcherism”. Thatcher’s government introduced bills to cut taxes, curb union militancy, privatise state industries and allow council home tenants to buy their houses. Millions of people who had once had no or little stake in the economy now found themselves able to own their own homes, and buy shares in former state-owned enterprises. The “Big Bang” catapulted the City of London to its position as one of the world’s leading financial centres, a distinction that it retains to this day. By early 1982, Thatcher’s tenacity had paid off, and the economy began to respond to her changes, and her standing among the British electorate also shifted. But on April 2 in 1982, one of the biggest tests of her leadership occurred: the invasion of the Falklands Islands by Argentine troops. Located in the South Atlantic, the Falklands are a British territory, but the Argentines have had a long-standing sovereignty claim over the island,
claiming it had inherited them from Spain in 1800s and citing its proximity to South America. However, the United Kingdom, which had ruled the islands for 150 years, chose the course of decisive military action. For Thatcher, it didn’t matter that the territory lay almost 13, 000 kilometres away, and had only 1, 800 inhabitants. They were “of British tradition and stock”, and so, in the biggest UK naval operation since the Second World War, a task force was dispatched to reclaim the island. They were ultimately successful, recapturing the capital of Port Stanley on June 14. However, there had been a heavy price to pay: 255 British and 655 Argentine servicemen, as well as 3 Falkland Islanders, died in the conflict. Throughout the Falklands War, Thatcher wore black. Wanting to always be kept abreast of the latest developments, she stayed awake through the night, taking 20-minute catnaps in the day and catching up on sleep during the weekend. The plight of British soldiers fighting in the Falklands weighed heavily on her, and she ended up writing handwritten letters to the families of every fallen soldier. British success in the Falklands combined with a Labour Party in disarray ensured that the Conservatives were returned to power in a landslide victory for a second term. The following spring, the National Union of Mineworkers called for a nationwide strike. However, Thatcher would not give in. Her government had built up substantial stocks of coal at power stations in advance of the industrial action, and following brutal clashes between pickets and police, the strike eventually collapsed. In Northern Ireland, Mrs Thatcher faced down
IRA hunger strikers, and although she attempted to ease sectarian tensions by offering Dublin a role, peace efforts collapsed under the weight of Unionist opposition. Her clashes with the IRA escalated to a deadly and personal enmity, and she became the first British Prime Minister to be the subject of an IRA assassination attempt. A bomb ripped through the Grand Hotel in Brighton during the 1984 Conservative Party conference, killing 5 and injuring 30, with many of those injured maimed for life. Thatcher, of course, managed to survive. Her reaction however, was typically Thatcherite. She refused to beintimidated, defiantly addressing the conference on the same day: “This attack has failed. All attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail”. Thatcher would eventually push through the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985, in the face of furious opposition from Unionists, paving the way for a constructive role for the Dublin government in the peace process. Abroad, Margaret Thatcher was an ardent advocate for democracy and Britain as a great power on the world stage. Finding a kindred spirit in her conservative counterpart US President Ronald Reagan, they worked to strengthen the West’s nuclear defenses during the Cold War. She fiercely opposed the Soviet bloc, sympathising with dissident movements behind the Iron Curtain in places like Czechoslovakia and Poland. She would ultimately be given the sobriquet of the “Iron Lady” by the Soviet press, a title that has stuck. But she also knew when to temper the use of force with diplomatic tact. She recognised Mikhail Gorbachev as “a man we can do business with”, even before he was elevated to the helm of
Inheriting a country that was beset by inflation, budget deficits and industrial unrest, her strong economic medicine for an ailing Britain – reducing the role of the state and boosting the free market – was exactly the prescription the country needed.
Soviet leadership. Back home, with the Labour Party under Neil Kinnock still reeling from in-fighting, the Conservatives won an unprecedented third term at the 1987 general election. But the issue of closer ties with Europe eventually brought about her downfall. After a summit in Rome, she ripped into her European counterparts, refusing to countenance any increase in the power of the European Community and outraging many of her colleagues. Sir Geoffrey Howe, Thatcher’s Deputy Prime Minister and her longest-serving member of Cabinet, seized the moment to deliver a devastating resignation speech and invite challengers to her leadership. Vowing to fight on, Thatcher was eventually persuaded by close colleagues that she would lose a leadership contest. She used the next cabinet meeting to announce her resignation, reminiscing bitterly later: “It was treachery with a smile on its face”. John Major was elected as her successor and Thatcher returned to the backbenches. She finally stepped down as an MP in 1992, following a fourth consecutive victory by the Conservatives at the ballot box. Thatcher inherited an economically stagnating Britain, and surmounted the courage to push through the reforms that it so desperately needed, even if many weren’t able to swallow it. It paid off, with Britain regaining ground in the 1980s, and for the next two decades out-performing countries like America, Germany and Japan. Her foreign policy gave Britain back its prominent standing on the world stage. It was guided by principle, opposing Argentine aggression in the Falklands, Saddam Hussein’s invasion in Kuwait and Soviet oppression behind the Iron Curtain. But her principles were tempered by realism, as illustrated by her embracing of her Soviet counterpart Gorbachev. To people who lived during her time in power, she dominated the political landscape. Their children grew up learning in school how she redefined Britain. For unborn generations to come, Thatcher’s life and accomplishments will be relived in the books of history. RIP.
Should We Be as Silent as the Dead? DANIEL ROSE
MUCH has been made of the motion passed by the University of Melbourne Student Union to celebrate the death of Margaret Thatcher and screen the film, Which Side Are You On?. The assertion that to celebrate the passing of a nation’s leader is disgusting is a matter for debate, and there is something intuitively wrong in making the sweeping statement that we cannot speak ill of the dead. Such a statement ties up rhetoric in emotive and genteel notions of “fair play”, and obscures the facts of the matter. Depending on your personal story or your political views, arguments can be made for or against Thatcher’s legacy. It has also been suggested that those who criticise or celebrate the passing of Thatcher would feel differently if she were a relative of theirs. No doubt, many would feel differently if Thatcher was their mother, but the point is she isn’t. Having familial relations, a condition that we all share, is a fallacious retort. An extension of that logic suggests that everyone with a family (all of us) possesses a moral infallibility that renders them immune from criticism.
As an extreme example, I have yet to meet anyone who is willing to stand up for the memory of the great dictators of the 20th Century, such as Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin. Let’s take this as a starting point, because the fact that we are comfortable critiquing their legacy immediately refutes the argument that we ought not speak ill of the dead, by providing a counterexample to the maxim. The act of objective critique is nothing that people ought to be ashamed of, and it should be noted that depending on one’s politics or values, the metrics for objective evaluation of an individual will differ. For example, some might judge Thatcher on her economic credentials, her ideological footprint, her social values or her foreign policy. There will inevitably be different weightings on these evaluations, resulting in a diversity of opinion on the matter. When people seek to celebrate the death of Thatcher, they are expressing their critique of her legacy. There is no doubt that for good or bad, she had a significant impact not just on Britain, but
also on much of the Western world. While a challenge to this critique is welcome and desirable, conflating it with rampant moralism serves only to obscure the truth and silence opinion. It is not relevant that she was a mother, and it is not relevant that she is now dead. Her legacy prior to death stood on its own, and it should continue to do so regardless of her mortal circumstances. On the point of the University of Melbourne’s Student Union (UMSU) celebrating her death, to do so is a matter for the organisation itself. Whether or not this conflicts with the terms of the SSAF funding agreement is another matter entirely. Ultimately, they are elected representatives who can face censure for their actions by their constituency. This is the way in which their actions should be evaluated, not veiled in the cloak of nebulous moralism.
// Margaret Thatcher // Margaret Thatcher // Margaret Thatcher //
The Golden Lady
MARGARET Thatcher was no friend to the feminist movement, famously stating “The feminists hate me, don’t they? And I don’t blame them. For I hate feminism. It is poison.” Now that she’s no longer here to defend herself against fallacious claims, journalists have seized the opportunity to redefine the traditional antifeminist as a feminist hero. Tributes include: “the world’s finest feminist,”(The Australian) “a warrior in the sex war” (The Telegraph) and “the ultimate women’s libber” (The Daily Mail). Thatcher in fact denied the need for women’s liberation, “The battle for women’s rights has largely been won. The days when they were demanded and discussed in strident tones should be gone forever. I hate those strident tones we hear from some Women’s Libbers.” Despite this, feminists are now being told by the media they should admire Thatcher, a woman who is likely to be remembered as one of the most divisive leaders in history, purely because she was a woman. This rosy, reductive reflection on her leadership is insulting to women. It’s important to distinguish between a feminist leader, and a female leader. A feminist believes women are of equal value to men and deserving eof equal rights. Therefore, we expect a feminist -leader to promote these ideals. ‘Power-feminism’, ewhose advocates include Naomi Wolf, believe r,that women must assert themselves politically in -order to achieve their goals. d Thatcher defied great barriers to rise to power. -She came from a working class background and unsuccessfully ran for parliament three times besfore gaining a seat. She showed it was possible to ,shatter the glass ceiling. . As Britain’s first female prime minister, there’s eone tick for improving female representation in -parliament, she was a woman, in parliament. As sjournalist Irin Carmon said “It’s better to have rwomen in public life, even when we vehemently -disagree with them, than to have no women in kpublic life at all. Every single one counts toward the normalization of women in charge, however abhorrent their policies.” But, by the end of Thatcher’s time in parliament, the number of female MPs only increased from 25 to 42,this increase doesn’t suggest devia-
tion from the natural increase in representation at the time. Currently, Britain has 145 female MPs, merely 22.3% of parliament, placing Britain around 50th in the world for female political representation. However, this is unsurprising, considering Thatcher herself refused to support women in parliament. Guardian journalist Hadley Freeman commented ‘She was the one who got through and pulled the ladder up right after her…. In 11 years, Thatcher promoted one woman to her cabinet, preferring instead to elevate men whom Spitting Image… described as “vegetables.” Viewed in this light, Thatcher failed to meet the standards of a ‘power-feminist’ leader. Furthermore, having women in power does not necessarily equate to better outcomes for women. Under Thatcher’s government, the proportion of people living below the poverty line rose from 13% to 43%. Child poverty more than doubled. Despite showing early support for gay rights, Thatcher also failed to lead on this front. She supported Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, which prohibited schools from teaching “the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. It is important not to forget the arms deals and violent oppression symptomatic of Thatcher’s leadership. Her decision to sink the Belgrano, killing 323 Argentine soldiers, despite it being outside the Total Exclusion Zone was considered by many to be a war crime. Her contempt for equality was epitomised by her decision to oppose sanctions against apartheid South Africa. Indeed, Thatcher’s oppressive policies represented the antithesis of feminist ideals. In amongst the hagiography of Thatcher, let’s not also give her more feminist credit than is merited. Thatcher did help normalise female political leadership. But it’s important to recognise that Thatcher sought power for herself, with no broader societal goals in mind for women. Indeed, Thatcher denied the existence of societies altogether “There is no such thing as society…. there are individual men and women and…there are families and no government can do anything…it is our duty to look after ourselves.” Thatcher’s feminism was incidental, she merely happened to be a woman in power.
THE country that Margaret Thatcher inherited was not the country she left. With Britain referred to as the “sick man of Europe”, rife with industrial conflict and going through a period of severe postcolonial decline, Thatcher had her work cut out:. And boy did she make a difference. Whether she is someone you loved or despised, it is undeniable that she left her mark on Britain and the world. The leader of the global privatisation revolution, Thatcher fiercely championed the free-markets that liberals, liberations and conservatives alike revere today. When Thatcher took power in 1979, three years after the Labour Government had appealed to the IMF for a bailout, Britain experienced thiry-four years of nationalisation. The sale of nationalised industries by the Thatcher Government generated over £29 billion, allowing for increased spending in areas such as social security and health services. Thatcher lowered taxes across the board, with the top tax rate falling from 83 per cent to 25 per cent during her years in power. During her Prime Ministership, Thatcher saw personal wealth increase by 80 per cent; the amount of adults owning shares rose from 7 per cent to 25 per cent, and over one million families purchased their council homes, increasing the number of owner-occupiers from 55 per cent to 67 per cent and generating £18 billion for the nation’s economy. The economic path that this formidable Prime Minister chose was not an easy one. Throughout Thatcher’s term, unemployment peaked at 3.3 million in 1984, over double the amount that Thatcher inherited. Although the country fell into recession in the early 1980s, Thatcher’s policies started to effect change by 1987: unemployment fell, the economy stabilised, mortgage rates fell and inflation dropped from 18 per cent to 8 per cent. But overall, the results speak for themselves. Between 1979 and 1989, GDP increased over 23 per cent; social security spending was up 32 per cent (contrary to popular belief that Thatcher cut heavily in this area); health funding was up 32 per cent, all this in comparison to the fact that total government spending only rose 13 per cent.
Thatcher moved British politics to the right, where it has stayed. There has been no renationalisation of industries (with a few minor exceptions in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis) and Blair’s New Labour movement adopted the central beliefs of Thatcherism in order to reinvent itself. When she is asked about her greatest achievement Thatcher has been known to respond with “New Labour.” Thanks to Thatcher, the days of completely unrestrained union power and nationalisation are gone. It is evident that Thatcher was better at tearing down old, worn institutions that needed to be torn down rather than building new ones; and was better at dividing rather than uniting. But inheriting Britain in such a parlous state made this all necessary. At the beginning of her leadership the unions were far too powerful and while many disagree with how this was handled, it was certainly handled. She took the path of what she thought was right rather than what was easy when it came to privatisation. She demonstrated fantastic moral courage when it came to fighting for what she believed in. Gaining victories for what she truly stood for won her enormous respect both at home and abroad. Baroness Thatcher was a controversial and divisive figure in life and she continues to be in death. As a prominent public figure there will always be groups criticising her and her actions and there is nothing wrong with that, even in the wake of her passing. However, to wake up the morning after her death and see jubilation spread across social media that “the wicked witch is dead” makes you wonder if it’s only misogyny when the Left says it is. Many of those who criticise her conveniently forget the Thatcher who supported gay rights and legal abortion; who played a major role in ending the Cold War, liberating millions and, co-inventing the soft-serve ice cream which we all know and love. To quote a Facebook friend of mine: “It’s not all peaches and sunshine but if all you know about her is what you learned from Elvis Costello and Billy Bragg you may not have the full picture of the woman whose grave you’re dancing on.”
// Margaret Thatcher // Margaret Thatcher // Margaret Thatcher //
Thatcher’s Economic Legacy Marked:
Fail DAVID TUCKWELL
MARGARET Thatcher has been described as “Britain’s greatest post-war Prime Minister” who “rescued Britain from economic ruin”. “Thatcher’s triumph in reviving the British economy, and nation, is rightly celebrated” according to The Australian. “She didn’t just lead our country, she saved our country,” said Prime Minister David Cameron. The only problem with such accounts of Thatcher’s legacy is the facts. Contrary to much of the commentary, her economic record was rather poor. The average economic growth rate during her time in office was 2.3% – roughly the same as the previous decade and much lower than the two decades immediately following the war. As the former Mayor of London, Ken LivingREGAN LAURIE stone, correctly observes: “In the 31 years before SINCE Margaret Thatcher’s passing on the 8th scheme had the effect of dramatically increas- Thatcher came to office the economy grew by of April there has been increased criticism of ing the rate home ownership in Britain. Under about 150%; in the 31 years since, it’s grown by Thatcherism. However, there has been less ex- Thatcher Prime Ministership home ownership little more than 100%.” It is often said that Thatcher supported ‘free position of the good economic outcomes of her increased from under 57% of owner occupation markets’, with an economic vision grounded in Prime Ministership, for example, microeconomic to 67% owner occupation rates. This policy is posithe theories of Friedrich Hayek. But according to reform through successful privatisation and the tive as it has allowed individuals to build their the respected non-partisan think tank Institute for rebalancing of power between employers and own wealth through increasing house prices in Fiscal Studies, government spending increased employees to a more equal stance. Britain, thus breaking down economic class bareach year under Thatcher. The exact opposite of The hallmark of Thatcher’s Prime Ministership riers, increasing social mobility and providing a what “free market” policies are meant to do. is often agreed to be her successful implementa- source of funds for retirement. She did not support “free markets” abroad eition of public sector privatisation and the effect The second major achievement of Thatcher was ther. Her government was constantly embroiled this had on economic efficiencies throughout the that of rebalancing of powers of unions and emin scandals surrounding illegal subsidies to forBritish Economy. Her two most famous examples ployers in the workplace. In the 1970s the balance eign governments: the Turkish metro subsidies of this are the privatisation of British Telecom in of power between workers and businesses was and arms subsidies to the Malaysian regime, to 1984 and her ‘right to buy’ scheme which saw the skewed more towards the former then the later. name but two. And while she successfully lowprivatisation of much of the British Public Hous- Her strong stance against the Unions had the efered inflation, her dogmatic focus thereof genering system. fect of rebalancing this equation back to or closer The privatisation of British Telecom saw the sell- to the centre than what it otherwise was. This had ated more than 3 million unemployed citizens. To the extent “free market” principles were foling of Britain’s largest public telecommunication the effect of breaking the wage-price spiral that lowed, they were largely a failure. For example, provider to the private sector and the deregula- had become accustomed within the British ecoher deregulation policies in the manufacturing tion of the telecommunication industry from nomic system. This lead to a lowering of inflation sector ended Britain’s stay as an international 1984 to 1993. This had the short-term effect of pro- under her Prime Ministership, with rates falling manufacturing powerhouse. ducing a return for the government of 14 billion from 13.4% when she took office to 9.5% when Once upon a time, Britain had three of the pounds plus an added 30 billion pounds through she left office and with a minimum of 3.4% durworld’s leading industrial companies: ICI, a chemdividends over the nine year period of its privati- ing her tenure. The low levels of inflation under icals manufacturer, GEC, an electronics company sation. This return helped to reduce the govern- her tenure is largely credited with the restoration and Rolls Royce. ment’s net debt which fell under Thatcher to its of confidence within Britain at the time. Today, two of these three no longer exist, while lowest level in recent political memory. The SecTo be clear this is a very short defence of ThatchRolls Royce is a shadow of its former self. Under ond major effect of the privatisation was the effect er’s two most controversial aspects of her Prime Thatcher, Britain lost one fifth of its manufacturon the company itself. BT has seen increases in its Ministership and the positive effects they had on ing base in two years. As former French President labour productivity overtime and lowering of its Britain. Margaret Thatcher was the Prime MinNikolas Sarkozy said “The United Kingdom has prices in some areas through increased competi- ister that Britain needed at the time in order to no industry anymore”. The deindustrialization tion in its sector. revitalise and restore the British economy after disaster was partly cushioned by the discovery The “right to buy” scheme involved the selling decades of neglect by both sides of politics within of the North Sea oil, as Conservative MP Lord Ian of public housing to tenants at reduced price. This Britain.
Gilmour pointed in his review “Dancing With Dogma”. The North Sea oil increased government revenues enormously. The oil bonanza is what allowed Thatcher to close the deficit at the same time as cutting taxes. But the discovery of the North Sea oil was an enormous stroke of good fortune for which she cannot pretend to take credit. Another plank of her policy programme was the assault on organised labour, particularly the trade union movement. As with the deregulation of manufacturing, her culling of trade unions has had sad economic consequences. In their book Going South, economists Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson estimate that the weakening of trade unions has led to a 4% drop in the share of GDP claimed by wages. What is more, a 2012 IMF working paper found that the sharp rise in UK inequality since the early 1980s largely resulted from the loss of trade union bargaining power. And rising inequality - the paper reports – partly explains the UK’s record high trade deficit. Her campaigning against “corrupt trade union bosses” was largely propaganda. Yes, there were corrupt trade union leaders. But there were plenty more corrupt CEOs. Signally, her government dealt much more with the former than with the latter. Her slashing benefits and trimming the welfare state created skyrocketing child poverty. “One in three British babies born in poverty,” as “child poverty has increased as much as three-fold since Margaret Thatcher was elected,” the press reported at the time (Observer, 1997). Inequality also soared. IPPR, a left-leaning think tank, calculated that between 1970-2005 the bottom 90%’s share of national income dropped from 71–57%. They also found that 200 billion pounds a year of could be saved if inequality were to return to 1970 levels. Today, inequality is growing faster in the UK than any other developed country, according to the OECD. Scotland has been hit hardest; with the poorest 10% of Scots now having a life expectancy 14 years fewer than the top 10%. Her reforms were hugely socially divisive and resulted in more strikes and lost days of work than any time since. They also oversaw some of the largest riots in British history. As the musical Billy Elliot puts it: “The economic infrastructure / Must be swept away / To make way for call centres / And lower rates of pay.”
ANUSA term two meeting dates COLLEGE REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL Wednesday 24th April 2013, 6pm, ANUSA Boardroom & Wednesday 22nd May 2013, 6pm, ANUSA Boardroom AGENDAS //
Reports will be received from: * Executive Members (President, VP and Education Officer) * College Representatives Wednesday 22nd May 2013, 6pm, ANUSA
STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL Tuesday 30th April 2013, 6pm ANUSA Boardroom AGENDA //
Reports will be received from: * Executive Members * Department Officers * General Representatives Election of: * Disputes Committee * Probity Officer Tuesday 28th May 2013, 6pm ANUSA Boardroom
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Thursday 9th May, 12.30pm, ANU Bar AGENDA //
Reports: * President’s Report on the activities of the Association since the previous AGM * Treasurer’s Report on the financial position of the Association at the end of the previous financial year * Draft Budget * Annual Financial Statements * Bush Week Directors
Reports will be received from: * Executive Members * Department Officers * General Representatives
** All agenda items and questions should be directed to the General Secretary via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to be added to the ANUSA Meeting Mailing List please also email the General Secretary.
Poli-tick of Approval
ARETI METUAMATE A senior academic here at the ANU said to me last week that he felt it was sad that the student associations are not as “political” as when he was at university (presumably in the 60s/70s) and that he wishes they would be more vocal about matters on the national political agenda, such as Australia’s role in the war in Afghanistan, and the marriage equality debate. While I am sure many students have views on those matters, I disagreed strongly with him that it is the role of ANUSA and PARSA to spend time and resources campaigning on them. Both ANUSA and PARSA are elected to serve the student body at ANU and the best way to do that is by making gains that their members can see and actually benefit from. It is much harder to convince the student body that organising a protest against the war in Afghanistan has as much impact on them as organising (as is happening now by ANUSA) meetings to decide how to campaign against the government’s recent proposals to strip funding from the university sector in order to fund their school education reforms. Of course there are many different views on how best a student association can serve its members and some may argue that the overall impact of things such as the war in Afghanistan, may be bigger in the long term, but I still think that if you were to ask students at random in Union Court what they want their representatives to fight for, they are more likely to say “lower course fees”, or “more common study spaces” than anything related to Afghanistan. An example of a student association that re-
cently decided to speak out on a political matter currently in the media is the University of Melbourne’s student association, who officially commented on the passing of the former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. At a recent meeting of their student council, they passed a motion that their council recognizes the “horrific legacy of Margaret Thatcher” and “celebrates her death unreservedly”. Really? How do these people justify spending their time at student council meetings passing motions celebrating the death of a former British prime minister who was ousted over 20 years ago? What does that have to do with the group of students trying to find space for group study in an over-crowded library, or for the first year queer student who doesn’t feel safe coming out at uni because he’s not aware of the support services available to him? Both of these are matters a student association could make a real difference with. Not in celebrating Margaret Thatcher’s death. That’s not just tacky and distasteful; it’s a misguided waste of time. I commend the current student associations at ANU for focusing on achieving things for the students they are elected to represent, and I hope they get lots of support for the campaign that is being set up to fight the biggest university related budget cuts since 1996. That’s a relevant fight for students. Areti Metuamate is a former president of PARSA and vice president of the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA).
The Narrow, Yellow Brick Road The past two Woroni editions have included two conflicting arguments, which as a gay male on campus, have caused sparks in my mind. Natasha Seymour wrote an article revealing that equality is a two-way street and that ANU’s Queer Collective needs to start thinking about its straight allies. This was responded to eloquently by ANUSAs Queer Officer, Stuart Ferrie, who defended the Queer Collective’s right to autonomy and to act as a safe haven for those who identify in the Queer minority. As a gay male, you might consider it safe to predict that I would side with those others who identify as a minority. My view however, is very different. I am the first to admit that I am a ‘bad’ gay. I go to Mooseheads instead of Cube, I deliberately avoid Sydney on Mardi Gras weekend and perhaps most importantly, I consider myself a centre-right conservative. That’s right, I am not the sort of gay guy who parades around on Oxford Street carrying around a Tony Abbott voodoo doll and complaining that nobody understands me. Now I enjoy a great pair of brightly coloured pants, tie or T-shirt, many of my views would be considered conservative in the gay world and as a result I have never felt truly welcome. Now in my fourth year of University, I have only ever been to one meeting of the ANU Queer Collective, where they promptly decided to call a vote of no confidence in the then Queer Officer. I vowed I would never return - underlying hostility to newcomers and those who don’t fit into the Queer Collective’s narrow conception of what it is to be gay as well as well as the overwhelming political correctness were sure signs that this was not the place for me. The sad thing is, that the cliqueness, bitchiness and constant desire to be different pushes the ANU Queer Collective further away from the rest of the ANU Community and those like me who have very little interaction with the gay community. It is unfortunate that I am not the only gay person on campus with this opinion. Every gay person I know and am friends with has very little to do with ANU Queer Collective as none of them truly fit into that stereotypical world.
In my opinion, we are heading down a worrying path. In its secret environment, the ANU Queer Collective should be a place for all those who are coming to terms with their sexuality can go. It should adhere to its purpose as an inclusive environment aiding and assisting those who consider themselves in the minority. I don’t honestly believe it is doing this. If one is to consider the new, fresh-faced 18 year-olds, now in their seventh week on campus for example. Many of them have come immediately from school, an environment that promotes conformity, where it is considered bad to be different. I hardly envisage an 18 year-old boy, who attended an all-boys private school, perhaps lived in a boarding house, to turn to those within the Queer Collective, who spend day-upon-day protesting about the world that boy may come from. These are the people who do not fit inside of the stereotypical box of what it means to be gay. I believe they look at the Queer Collective and consider the consistent pushing of boundaries and the cliqueness as a barrier to entry. Of course this is unfortunate, it is important to push boundaries and the Queer Collective has an important role in recognising the inequalities that exist in our society and promoting change. However, I believe that the Queer Collective needs to become more accommodating to those who were raised more conservatively and the particular attitudes these young people may be facing in their familial or social context. If it does not, it risks devaluing the principles of equality and acceptance on which it stands. Natasha Seymour raised an interesting question about acceptance and equality. Of course Stuart Ferrie’s response of maintaining autonomy within the collective is completely valid and one I respect, but I also worry that instead of going down the Yellow Brick Road, ANU’s Queer Collective may be heading down an even narrower lane. I believe that the Queer Collective, perhaps needs to be a little less conservative themselves, be open to more change, if accepting “straight” people into the fold means the Queer Collective becomes more inclusive for Queer minorities then I honestly believe it is a channel worth investigating.
- CHARLIE CARROLL
This ad first ran in a 1974 edition of Woroni. Not that much has changed. Nominations open for ANUSM Board next week. Check out woroni.com.au for more information.
FEATURES // 14
Six Inches of Text : Let’s Talk Size
Woroni interviews ANU’s Professor of Penis and asks the hard questions DAVID TUCKWELL RECENTLY, Professor Michael Jennions conductThe finding that was most surprising was that ed breaking research concerning attractiveness the effect on attractiveness was as strong as that and its correlation with men’s penis sizes. Woroni for height. This was surprising because height is News Sub-Editor David Tuckwell interviews Pro- known to be such an important factor. fessor Jennions in an effort to find out more: The other surprise was that it did not reach a peak, but only started to plateau out. The international media coverage the ANU is reYou found that larger penises are almost alceiving as a result of yours and Dr Brian Mautz’s ways more attractive study is enormous. Did you anticipate you would than smaller ones. Do get media attention from Europe, North America you feel your findings etc.? should be cause for We knew it was a possibility because of the alarm amongst men topic. But there are also a lot of studies out there with smaller penises? on this sort of thing that don’t get this level of atI don’t think it will tention; it is always hit or miss. But it is not that stop anyone havsurprising. ing sex, if that’s what What motivated you to investigate the attrac- you’re asking. And tiveness of penis size? no, I don’t think this As biologists there is a lot of interest in genital should be a cause for evolution as its one of the body parts that changes alarm. rapidly and we have been doing similar work I think men should with other animals. respond to the study Whilst there are many anecdotes passed in the same way that around professing to answer questions on the women should reimportance of penis size, there was little experi- spond to studies that mental work done and we couldn’t see any stud- conclude men are more attracted to women with ies that were very convincing. larger breasts. Women have had to put up with People have said penis size is important based studies like this for a long time and its just giving on anecdotes but science is based on evidence. men the same treatment really. We wanted to look at the evidence. What do you make of penis enlargement surWhich of your findings most surprised you? gery?
I’m not a medical person so I don’t know. I would stress however that there are many other characteristics that effect your attractiveness and we’ve just focused on one thing. We haven’t looked at things like personality and sense of humour, which are going to have far more influence on overall attractiveness. I wouldn’t want to comment except to say that there are other characteristics that are a lot more important. Obsessing about penis size would be a mistake. You’d be better off going to the gym - and it is doable without surgery. Your study focused on what women found attractive. Do you think the results generalise to gay men? Some of my co-authors have speculated on this and suggested perhaps doing a follow up study. I can’t give you an answer because it would be along the lines of an anecdote. As a scientist I can only comment on what evidence there is. Is length or girth more important? The software we used mainly altered length,
Whilst there are many anecdotes passed around professing to answer questions on the importance of penis size, there was little experimental work done and we couldn’t see any studies that were very convincing.
with girth only increasing slightly. We mainly looked at the length. But I would add that there seems to be some evidence suggesting that girth promotes more sexual stimulation than length. That is my reading of what I’ve seen in the literature. Do you think being attracted to larger penises is a social or evolutionary trait? That’s a good question. Most studies of mate choice tend to find similar results when it comes to physical characteristics. We tend to get consistent results across different cultures. While the trend can vary it does not reverse. Your maximum test size was a penis that was 13 cm long whilst flaccid, which is pretty big. Yet you found that the most attractive penis size is beyond your test range. Biologically, what would be the use of such a large penis? It is hard to answer why there is so much variation in penis size. You’d think if there was strong selection based on this characteristic that everyone’s penis would tend to be of maximum size and not vary so much. But this is a general question in all of evolutionary biology and it is difficult to answer in any animal. One answer may be that penis size is not that important when it comes to reproductive success.
The Bush Blockade
Getting down and dirty to see the reaction against coal mining LAURA HOGAN RATHER than stay in Canberra for the widely anticipated Big Day Out Canberra Centenary Celebrations (cough), a few of us Environment Collective (EC) kids decided it was a great opportunity to trundle off to the forest for the March long weekend. Where did we head? To the bush blockade led by arguably Australia’s most-wanted young activist - Jono Moylan. Ring any bells? Read on. We headed to a nationally recognised biodiversity hotspot - host to the largest and most intact critically endangered Box-Gum Woodland remaining on the Australian continent, home to Feathertail Glider, Spotted-tail Quoll, Masked Owl, South-eastern Long-eared Bat and Koala. It just so happens to now also be home to two operating coal mines and is set to be decimated with the largest open-cut coal mine expansion project in NSW. Welcome to Leard State Forest. Jono and Muz have been organising a bush blockade for eight months here already as The Frontline Action on Coal, and their “home” is situated between Whitehaven’s Tarrawonga Coal mine, and Indemitshu’s Boggabri Coal mine (once the birds shut up for the night, the noise from the mines so close is eerie). We were at the Leard State Forest Listen Up – an arts and music festival set here among the forest to provide support, relief and outreach for the aims of the blockade. People have travelled from Sydney, Newcas-
tle, Armidale, Brisbane, Tamworth, Hunter Valley, Canberra, North coast NSW, and even Germany to support the blockade. The Leard State Forest is 80km NW of Tamworth within the Liverpool Plains. If anyone has ever stared into the raw abyss of an open-cut coal mine, you might appreciate the devastation you feel when faced with the realisation that this forest, 5,500 hectares of native vegetation, will be clear felled and cut open to resemble that. Except, this coal mine will be bigger than any of the images you have seen of the existing mines in the Hunter Valley - It will be the largest coal mine in NSW yet. This mine expansion will destroy the existing carbon sink and produce 16.9 million tonnes of greenhouse gases each year. That is equivalent to a 10% increase in current total greenhouse gas emissions of NSW annually. One of the craziest things about this whole project is that these mines are in State Forest, on pub-
If anyone has ever stared into the raw abyss of an open-cut coal mine, you might appreciate the devastation you feel when faced with the realisation that this forest, 5,500 hectares of native vegetation, will be clear felled and cut open to resemble that.
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lic land. Clear felling and open cut coal mining on public land for private gain in a State Forest. Seems like an outrageous combination, no? Not only that, but Leard Forest is surrounded by farmland, and the two coal mines already operating are significantly depressurising the surrounding water table, resulting in decreased stock feed and lack of water available for sinking bores/irrigation. There is also coal dust containing lead, arsenic, mercury, carcinogenic benzenes, radioactive uranium, and nitrous oxides that are floating over the food crops and inevitably absorbed by the livestock. These factors combined, it is not only “greenies” and activist ferals that are opposed to this development, but farmers too. Cliff is one such farmer, an older local who has been a key supporter of this blockade right from its inception - someone you would not be likely to typecast as your typical greenie (after looking in the pot to see veggie curry for dinner he said “I know that eating that stuff won’t certainly
kill you but…” and proceeded to fry up steaks he had brought with him). The resistance to these coal mines has been strong, and is ongoing. Diversity of actions is one strength of this campaign – with koala suits, tree sits, meetings with Parliamentarians, public forums, and outrageous media stunts that have successfully drawn the attention of mainstream media across Australia. They all give reason for investors to worry that their money might get easier and faster returns in other projects that wont upset us ordinary folk. The EC is following the pursuit of this Achilles heel of the ANU with success by asking “Why is the ANU investing in Fossil Fuels?” With unprecedented community resistance to coal and coal seam gas across Australia, and the Federal Government fast tracking approvals such as this, the largest coal mine expansion in NSW, the banner “Stop the coalonisation” that is strung between the trees here in the Leard State Forest is infuriatingly apt. You can check out action from the blockade on the camp blog: http://frontlineaction.wordpress.com/ and the ANU Environment Collective’s campaign Fossil Free ANU http://www.anuenviro.org (ANU EC meets every Tuesday 5pm at the Food Coop)
FEATURES // 16
High-Speed Rail Not on Track The HSR plan is an economic pipedream
ELENA TJANDRA $114 BILLION is roughly the sum of money the United States has given to Israel in military and economic aid over the years. $114 billion also covers the cost of the 2022 Qatar World Cup. In Australia, $114 billion is the mammoth cost of the proposed east-coast high-speed railway (HSR). Results from the government-commissioned report into HSR in Australia, suggest it will be at least fifteen years before building preparations begin. The 320km/h train is proposed to take between 40 and 45 years to complete. To put this in perspective, the Tokyo to Osaka bullet train in Japan was completed start to finish in nine years. In January, Spain also completed the last section of the HSR link connecting Barcelona to Figueres after ten years. This last section - enabling transit from Madrid to the French border - is also double the length of the rail proposed in Australia. In the time it takes to build an international HSR system, construction of Australia’s would not have even begun. There is no question HSR in Australia is viable. As well as overcoming the inefficiency and congestion of road and air transport, HSR connects people in rural areas to urban centres and helps with population growth, not to mention its economic and environmental benefits. So far, responses towards HSR have been positive. Comments on online news reports are dominated by posts recalling fond memories of international HSR experiences. Most people I have spoken to
welcome the much needed system. So if we agree HSR is good, why do we continue to delay construction? Despite Australia’s need to improve interstate transport, parliament is divided on the issue. In a recent press conference, Tony Abbott effectively rejected any possibility of funding public transport in response to urban rail and light rail systems in Brisbane, Melbourne and the Gold Coast, saying, “We have no history of funding urban rail and I think it is important that we stick to our knitting. And the Commonwealth’s knitting when it comes to funding infrastructure is roads.” Increasing road infrastructure, however, does not address the growing need for a quick, accessible, alternative transport system. The pressure must be taken off aviation. The Melbourne to Sydney air route is the fifth busiest in the world with Brisbane to Sydney also attracting over 4,079,000 passengers a year. A HSR system would rival this but unfortunately there will be no bipartisanship on the issue, with
the federal Coalition staunchly resisting public transport funding. Labor though, is not wholly committed to HSR either. Labor has stagnated on rail for three years. Inquiring into the feasibility of HSR was part of the deal Labor settled with the Greens to ensure support in 2010. Three years later we have a report that delays the building process further. Many reasons point to a government unwilling to commit. As Jacob Saulwick points out in the Sydney Morning Herald, HSR does not herald a mention in Labor’s discussion on a second Sydney airport. If Labor was serious about HSR, it would be discussed as a direct route to the existing Sydney airport as a possible alternative to an airport in Sydney’s west. Federal transport minister, Anthony Albanese, released the report with much fanfare but little action, delaying investment to, “Initiating a comprehensive program of public consultation and debate on the role HSR could play in Australia’s transport future.” Minister Albanese is careful to point out
As well as overcoming the inefficiency and congestion of road and air transport, HSR connects people in rural areas to urban centres and helps with population growth, not to mention its economic and environmental ben-
the costs involved in such a project, and regardless, by the time the consultation period elapses, Australia will likely have a new government that is not at all interested in investing in HSR. Shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey, confirmed this, indicating that the Coalition’s priorities lay in improving services such as education and healthcare to the cities. The trouble Labor is encountering with State and Territory cooperation with the NDIS and the Gonski School Reforms also points to difficulties in selling a highly costed project. Private investors have already been ruled out as an alternative source of funding with the report saying it would require an expected return of over 15% to attract a private market when the estimated rate of return is 1% at most. The already strained relationship would be pulled even further with the upfront $114 billion capital cost falling squarely on the Federal, State and Territory Governments. It would be a bit rich for Labor to say, “I know we haven’t always gotten along, but we need you to put aside funds and available land to service the railway.” A scheme of this size requires strong government leadership. Unfortunately Labor seems to be more focused on winning quick votes than providing public goods, while the Opposition is clearly not interested. We can only hope both sides of politics realise positive public response and bring construction forward.
, t w g g e
e e s t o e e y . e o e
o n n h e ** This pull out may be confronting for some readers. It contains nudity and explicit sexual and drug references. Woroni used to be a lot less conservative.
1800s – Chinese gold diggers create the publication Wo Rou Ni (meaning “I rub you”) to console themselves due to their mistreatment in Ballarat. Said publication is popular for some time, and is proliferated in the first China Towns, but nevertheless falls out of publication by the 1890s.
1930s – Canberra College finds Wo Rou Ni in the news archive of the national library, and decides it would be funny to name their own student newspaper after it. Wo Rou Ni becomes Woroni, and the first edition is published with 20 pages.
1940s – The Australian government pays Woroni editors to embed propaganda for the Australian Army within the publication, in an effort to recruit more students to become soldiers. Efforts fail, however, as the government soon realises that university students don’t yet exist in Canberra.
1960 – Woroni is taken over by Communist Alternative, partly due to their persuasive election campaign “Want Reds in your Beds?” that involved sleeping around with students for votes. Woroni changes its format from newspaper to pamphlet to yelling incoherently in Union Court. Woroni files for bankruptcy after its funds are distributed equally to campus societies, and Communist Alternative quits after the board contracts STIs.
1977 – Kevin Rudd is elected as Editor-in-Chief after being usurped as Burgmann President by Jillian Gilmore, following a vicious coup with Treasurer Dwayne Duck. Rudd changes the name of Woroni to Political Shitstorm to reflect its new focus on political matters. After initial polls show record high readership, approval ratings plummet following the frequent publishing of articles in Mandarin about “detailed programmatic specificity”. 1983 – Stephen Conroy is elected as ANUSA’s Communication Officer and immediately proposes a series of severe media laws that sees Woroni subject to harsh censorship. Conroy ___________________________________ circle jerk _________________________ Tim Bucktooth _____________________________ embezzle ma nizzle ____________________ Ryan O’Tooley ___________________ Cassandra Wilkinson ____________ ”not meeee!”. 1999-2000 – Woroni¬ relaunches itself as an online publication, months before the Y2K bug annihilates the website. The remainder of the budget suspiciously goes missing after the editorial board bank transfers $10,000 to Ifechi Kumalu, a troubled Nigerian prince. To make up the lost money, the editors turn to the growing business of Internet porn and release such features as “Woroni Rubs You”. 2012-2013 – The Mayan apocalypse doesn’t eventuate but a bunch of hacks are elected to the Woroni editorial board.
After looking at years of quality student journalism, we’ve decided to rest on the shoulders of giants and let their work speak for themselves. For those who claim this is editorial laziness, we vehemently disagree. We view it as a chance pay tribute to the sexism, racism, and just generally offensive attitudes that ANU students held not so long ago. So enjoy the homage, sit back, relax and let your eyes wonder over the wonderful content. Bare in mind, the authors now run our country, lead our companies, and in many of our cases brought us into the world. Bon appétit!
The Conservative Wet Dream AMY CONSTABLE THE conservative, free market, right-wing thinktank the Institute for Public Affairs (IPA) released their 75 policy recommendations for Tony Abbott when he becomes Prime Minister, which according to the IPA, is a welcome inevitability. So why the concerned title with a hint of sexual wordplay? The IPA policy recommendations are incredibly conservative and economically farright, with students and low-income earners receiving a smack to the face. #67 Means test tertiary student loans – If parental income tests by Centrelink when deeming a student’s accessibility to Youth Allowance and rental assistance is used as a baseline ‘means test’, then I would be eligible for a partial loan at best. As the product of two parents on an average, perhaps slightly lower than average combined income, they are in no position to pay for my university education, but would most likely be earning too much for me to receive full access to a tertiary loan. To pay my yearly fees would cost over 10% of my parent’s income. But is that even their responsibility? Is it fair to place this burden onto them until I turn 23? As a low income student constantly praising the benefits of 69 cent packets of pasta, I am certainly not in the position to fund my own way through university. Shouldn’t the HECS system represent an effective system of seeking to close the gap of inequity of access to education? Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winner for economics, ASEAN and my bank account certainly agree.
#39 Reintroduce Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) at universities – this is the real wet dream for conservatives. VSU constrains the ability of university unions and associations to effectively provide support services for students, campaign on issues and act as a strong representative of students to the university administration. The Students’ Servicers and Amenities Fee is seen as an extension of compulsory student unionism, and therefore it must be scrapped. #19 Abandon the paid parental leave scheme – This simply says that parents, and particularly mothers, can’t have it all. As usual, dictated to us by upper middle-class men in suits. #20 Means-test Medicare – Aligning with means testing tertiary education student loans, there goes my opportunity to access bulkbilling. Need to go to the doctor for tonsillitis? That’ll be one week’s rent, thanks. Need the pill? That’ll be a week’s rent and half a week’s food. Need any kind of surgery? That’ll be a year’s rent and probably the sale of your blonde hair to a wig company and possibly one of your kidneys, thank you and come again. #62 End all public subsidies to sport and the
arts – And you thought the cuts to the School of Music were bad... #53 Repeal the Fair Work Act and #54 Allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them – This is the royal flush for an extremely conservative government. I remember when I was a bright eyed, naive 15 year old who arrived to my first shift at a fashionable fast-food restaurant. Upon arrival, I was told that I had a pre-signed workplace ‘agreement’ with no opportunity to negotiate, no Saturday, Sunday or public holiday pay or penalty rates for working late evenings, my shifts could be cancelled with 24 hours notice and I could be required to come into work with 24 hours notice or I would be sacked. Sure, I am now 22 and would hope I would throw a similar ‘agreement’ back in my bosses face and say, ‘FUCK OFF. Solidarity forever’. But as a student who desperately needs as many shifts as I can, I’m not sure whether my need to make ends meet would win out over my desire to ensure I am employed in a workplace that respects my rights to be paid penalty rates for Saturday, Sunday, public holidays and late night shifts
So why the concerned title with a hint of sexual wordplay?
and does not have the legal right to demand that I work with 24 hours notice, otherwise face dismissal. Even worse for international students who may not be aware of the conventions surrounding workplace conditions, how is this in any way creating a situation of power balance in negotiations? I’ll hazard a guess and say the Abbott-LNP won’t place a clause in theYour Choices at Work Act 2013 stating that a Union Representative or Representative of the Ombudsman will be present during ‘negotiations’ to answer your questions surrounding the contract your boss is offering, which most likely exploits you and takes advantage of your need to meet basic living costs. But you say, why does this matter? Surely such a crazy right-wing think-tank wouldn’t have any influence in Australian politics. Think again. Tony Abbott, in his address to the IPA’s 70th Anniversary dinner said “So, ladies and gentlemen, that is a big “yes” to many of the 75 specific policies you urged upon me in that particular issue of the magazine”. I’ve only gone over six of the policy recommendations, but those concerned should consult the full list for more instances of outrageous right-wing babble. I would say read at your peril, but these recommendations and the transcript are essential reading if you are voting in the next election. Remember, one of the most important responsibilities of being a voter is to ensure that you are informed of the policies, influences and legislative probabilities of the major parties.
FEATURES // 26
Once-Loved Labor is Now Lost
How much difference is there really between Government and Opposition?
BEN LATHAM THE fourteenth of September may seem miles away, but already the question isn’t if Tony Abbott will actually win the upcoming federal election, but rather what he could possibly do to lose. Discounting an unveiling of WorkChoices 2.0 or a series of major media gaffes – so far ensured only by avoiding the media entirely – it seems increasingly unlikely. The 2013 federal election will see a conservative, xenophobic, reactionary government take office. But so what? It’s certainly not much different to what we’ve seen of a Labor government these past six years. In 2007 the Australian people voted resoundingly for reform, but what they got was drastically different. The elected government sought image over substance, announcing a litany of promising but fickle policies to stay afloat in the menagerie of polls and win each and every day of the 24-hour media cycle. Feeble and misguided politics have shaped the Labor government’s two terms in office. The Rudd then Gillard governments have attempted to ‘move forward’ by setting sail on a number of different rickety ships, only to weakly turn back at the first sign of storm clouds brewing ahead. They are a government that’s been marooned on a lonely island for six years without an awful lot to show for it. The Labor government has tried their hardest to contradict the age-old adage, “you can’t make everyone happy all of the time”, often at the cost of their reputation and core party values. The Emissions Trading Scheme formed the backbone of Labor’s 2007 election campaign but, in a country with the Climate Skeptics and a rampant vocal right, the introduction of a carbon tax was hardly going to be passed without a few scratches and bruises. While the reformative Labor governments of the Whitlam and Hawke-Keating years battled fiercely and uncompromisingly for its major reforms, the ETS was subject to the current regime’s disease of blindly following public opinion and bending over backwards to accommodate any and all opposition. The ALP’s persis-
tence with watering down legislation like the ETS to a flimsy middle ground has, surprise surprise, instead made everyone unhappy all of the time; if only they had listened. And, never mind the fact that pissing off the media is perhaps not the greatest idea during an election campaign, the proposed changes to the media laws are a prime example of the government’s trepid approach to reforming a nation crying out for change. Regardless of whether the controversial Public Interest Media Advocate was a good thing or a bad thing, it was a series of half-baked bills that appeared seemingly out of nowhere. The ludicrous two-week deadline given for the media bills to be thrust through parliament throttled any chance of public debate. Before the government could even begin to properly explain the reform, the media set the tone of discussion and made up the public’s mind for them. Like the mining tax before it, the government was bullied by big business, this time the newspapers, and the reforms were largely dropped. A government that can be bucked and swayed by the whims of big business? It’s got Liberal written all over it. A government that drops key reformative legislation at the drop of a hat? The government is in no way more pioneering or forward thinking than my right big toe. The Liberals might as well have been in power for the past six years anyway. Rather than standing tall and proud in the centre-left of Australia’s political landscape, Labor’s recent unabashed xenophobic rhetoric regarding 457 visas and ongoing inaction towards asylum seekers has pushed the party further towards the conservative right. Gillard announced
the government’s backflip on 457 visas during a speech to the embattled electorates of western Sydney, stating that she wanted “to stop foreign workers being put at the front of the queue with Australian workers at the back”. Blur your eyes a little and the redheaded racist proclaiming injustice on behalf of working Australians might well have been Pauline Hanson at a One Nation rally. Meanwhile, after Rudd vehemently closed down the refugee detention centre on Nauru and ended Howard’s Pacific Solution, the offshore detainment camp was proudly reopened for business by Gillard in 2012. A study conducted last year by Amnesty International deemed Nauru as “a human rights catastrophe with no end in sight…a toxic mix of uncertainty, unlawful detention and inhumane conditions.” The government’s asylum seeker policy is only one catchphrase away from being ‘Stop the Boats’. Following the highflying but wayward rhetoric of the Labor party, Australia may well and truly be frightfully locked into the brace position awaiting the crash of social values and the end of the world if the Mad Monk steps into the cockpit to assume control. But relax. The worst certainly might be yet to come but, over the last six years, the plane has already crashed and Australia must now look to sift through the rubble and rebuild. Like the recession of the 1990s, perhaps Tony Abbott is just the shitty leader that Australia had to have. Like the darkest hour preceding the dawn, a public beating and a loss at the voting booths might just be the wake up call the ALP so dearly needs. But in the meantime, for the left-wing voters of Australia everything is not lost. In 2010 the federal election asked Australia to choose the lesser
The 2013 federal election will see a conservative, xenophobic, reactionary government take office. But so what? It’s certainly not much different to what we’ve seen of a Labor government these past six years.
of two evils, but Australia said no, with a record 618,435 informal votes being cast. More importantly, however, was the ‘Greenslide’, as coined by former senator Bob Brown, with the Greens enjoying 11.8% of the vote and its first seat in the lower house and 13.1% and nine seats in the upper house. As the ALP conducted an ugly campaign towards the right, the voters of the disillusioned left ran into the welcoming arms of the Greens, responding to the government’s inaction towards climate change and its absence of key social reform regarding issues like asylum seekers and marriage equality. Both the ALP and Coalition took the dominance of two-party politics for granted, simply gearing negative campaigns on the basis of ‘don’t vote for the other guys’. Well, Australia didn’t vote for the other guys, but didn’t necessarily vote for the other member of the duopoly either, with independents and the Greens holding the balance of power in the first hung Australian parliament in seventy years. In fact, the Greens received the all-time highest number of votes for a third-party. In recent times, the Democrats received 11.3% in 1990, while One Nation captured 8.4% in 1998. These figures promptly fell in the following election, however, and the natural pecking order was restored. The 2013 federal election will see the ascension of a xenophobic, conservative Coalition to the top office but, again, so what? After the endless backflips and inability to reform by Kevin Rudd, then the ugly race of the ALP to the right by Julia Gillard, the Coalition might as well have been in power since 2007 anyway. Love them or hate them, the Australian Greens are the only solace left for left-wing voters, preventing a choice between conservatives proudly right-wing, and conservatives disguised as left-wing. Rather than switching off your television in distress as Australian electorates turn blue this September, just keep an eye on the Greens and hope that a thirdparty can finally break the strangle-hold of feeble, narrow-minded politics until a reformative and more courageous Labor party can resurface.
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Intimate Foreign Relations
Australia must play it cool in what may turn out to be a messy love triangle SPOTLIGHT ON CHINA
BRENDAN FORDE WITHOUT a doubt the Sino-Australian relationship is one of the most important for Australia. In economic considerations alone there is no more important trading partner. But the relationship with China and its geopolitical rise has led Australia to reconsider its place in the region. This has stimulated a rather interesting debate in Australia. Contributions to the debate in Australia have ranged from the thoughtful and innovative, such as that of Hugh White of the ANU, to the totally uninformed views and opinions of some commentators. The debate has essentially been reduced to a simple proposition; that in the shifts and seemingly inevitable struggles of the Asia-Pacific, Australia must side with either the United States or China. Of course such a proposition is a dangerous simplification of the reality that Australia faces, looking for security from America and prosperity from China. A nuanced, informed public de-
bate on directions for Australian foreign policy is of course desirable but this simplification of two choices misses an essential point: Australia may be in an awkward position between two great powers but such a position brings significant opportunities to bridge the gap between them. These opportunities may be hard to grasp, as the gap between China and the US seems to be growing every day. The deployment of US marines to Darwin and Australia participation in (with Chinaâ€™s exclusion from) the talks to develop the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bloc have seemingly placed Australia firmly with the US. The foreign policy of Julia Gillard has been explicitly built upon the assertion that Australia does not have to choose between either China or the US, that robust relations can be pursued with both powers. This position has not been without criticism but it is firmly grounded in the pragmatic interests and needs of Australia. Without careful work and effort such an arrangement would surely fail. So far this strategy has been successful. While supporting, to an extent, American posture Australia has taken other steps to reassure China. During a visit to Beijing in 2011, in a meeting with former
Premier Wen Jiabao, the Prime Minister rejected the notion that the US and its allies should challenge and contain China while calling for a deepening of relations. These efforts, among others, have served to secure good relations between Australia and China despite the continuing alliance with the US. This strategy has so far yielded success with the Sino-Australian relationship entering a particularly interesting stage. The recent visit of Prime Minister Julia Gillard to China has proved to be of great importance to the transformation of the relationship. After addressing the Boao Forum and meeting President Xi Jinping on the sidelines the Prime Minister travelled to Shanghai to announce that the Australian dollar would become only the third currency (along with the US dollar and Japanese Yen) within China that could be directly converted into Chinese Renminbi, making it easier and cheaper for Australians to do business in China. The Prime Minister was received in Beijing by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at a ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People. This included a nineteen gun salute. The pomp and circumstance of the welcome indicated the importance
The creation of this leadership dialogue could not have been easy and is surely one of the most significant achievements of Prime Minister Gillardâ€™s time in office. It is one of the most significant foreign policy achievements by an Australian government in recent times.
and significance of what the two leaders were about to announce. The Australian and Chinese governments have agreed to the formation of annual leadership talks bringing the Prime Minister of Australia and the Premier of China together. This arrangement which provides a forum for Australia for direct input into the highest levels of the Chinese leadership is unprecedented for Australia. The only other nations which enjoy such a high level dialogue with China are Germany and Russia, with similar meetings also occurring with the EU leadership. The talks will be complemented by annual sub-meetings between Foreign Ministers and a new economic dialogue between the Australian Treasurer and Trade Minister and the chairman of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission. The creation of this leadership dialogue could not have been easy and is surely one of the most significant achievements of Prime Minister Gillardâ€™s time in office. It is one of the most significant foreign policy achievements by an Australian government in recent times. This is in an essential addition to the broad policy arrangement of relations with China. The talks will also be able to find some ground to cover the gap between the US and China; a high powered dialogue will reduce the frictions and distance in bilateral relations placing Australia in a key position to bring its two biggest relationships together. The stakes of Sino-American competition are high. But by refusing to choose between the US and China and building trust with both sides Australia may able to grow into a role of a regional intermediary, helping to resolve crises. Surely this is the role of a responsible middle power.
LIFE & STYLE// 28 EVELYN LAZANAS I have a problem with my showerhead. Put simply, my shower is confused – it’s acting like a water feature when it was programmed to be a compliant cleansing device. Every time I turn it on, the water seems to jet just about everywhere except on me. My poor bathroom ceiling is constantly crying and the toilet appears to be flushing on itself rather than in the throat of its piped bowels. My shower is erratic and moody and it’s just a general nuisance, which I don’t need. The thing is, I really don’t have anyone to confide in about this bathroom catastrophe. Whenever I do, hoping for a little sympathy, I know that the person I’m addressing will undoubtedly lean over and with a strained smile say: “First World problems”. The concept of “First World problems” is seemingly the catchphrase of the day. It’s cropping up all over town like gutter-grazing pigeons. Plus it’s made all the more catchy when said with a rising inflection of cheerful dismay, qualified with an exclamation mark or two, “First World problems!!” However it’s the tone that really spells out the subtext though. For me to even mention my malfunctioning showerhead is to actively disre-
TARA SHENOY FACTIONALISM in food politics has resurfaced in contemporary dinner table discussion. Meat-eaters, with the MLA gleefully breathing down their necks, proudly turn sausages over the barbeque, beer in hand and Australian flag embedded into their upper arm. Pescatarians, on the other hand, guiltily swallow fish with furtive bites in dark corners and left-wing human rights advocates endorse the benefits of vegetarianism in making the average consumer more aware of the ethical origins of food. Health nuts find that vegetarianism encourages the planning of meals and creates a consistent mindfulness of what is being put in our bodies. Yet, even hardcore greenies are somewhat disconcerted by extremist fruitarians... Veganism is seen as an indulgence, denied to starving street hawkers in the third world. In the Western world, however, university students remain armchair philosophers. Twirling foamy moustaches over complicated cups of coffee, they contemplate abstract questions of economic downturn, lipstick feminism or Al Gore’s shock
The Woes of the First World
gard the plight of the several billion people in the world who dream not only of a shower, but of a sink: not only of a sink, but of any sort of vessel which holds potable water. Ok, yes, I concede – I see the ignorance of my ways, but some people like to really drill the point and add a further two exclamation marks – “First World problem!!!!” – as if I have gone and personally punctured the only water pipe to the driest village in western desert regions of Ethiopia. At the end of the day, I live in the First World. What other problems am I going to have, other than First World ones? Even if I contract a life-threatening illness or my best friend and I have a terminal falling out or my bra strap snaps all things that can happen in the First World – the drama will be magnified and morphed in ways specific to the world in which I am residing. So what to do about my rotten showerhead? Do I replace it altogether and adopt another? Maybe
I should give it a stern talking to? If that doesn’t work, do I resort to calling 1800 fix-my-showerhead and have someone come in? Decisions, decisions. Here’s your cue: First World problems!!!! So yes – unavoidably - I am a First Worlder. I don’t know what it’s like to live below the poverty line or to go without water. My material needs are always satisfied and it’s rare that I find myself desperate for food. But in saying that, in each life grey clouds still loom. We see loved ones pass prematurely both in this world and in every other. Marriages crumble, loneliness is strife, unhealthy addictions prevail, some people eat too much whilst others don’t eat enough. There are droughts and tsunamis and unprecedented earthquakes that shake us physically, emotionally, mentally. Suffering on whatever level – be it menial or profound affects all our worlds.
At the end of the day, I live in the First World. What other problems am I going to have other than First World ones?
At the end of the day, does it really matter what world you come from, as long as one maintains a global perspective? We all have problems. And after all, the problems of the First World are only problems because we don’t face more pressing problems common to the Third World. Regardless, we still share that familiar feeling of grief creeping up behind us; that sense of anxiety scratching at the recesses of our every thought. Ultimately we can reduce the problem in relation to how important ones problem is to the individual. On a global scale, my showerhead probably isn’t that big a deal (obviously); but to me, well frankly I’m miserable about it. Our problems affect us in different ways but above all, it comes down to their severity or the scale of impact they have on our enjoyment of life. I’m not saying “quick drop everything and help me fix my showerhead right this second”, but don’t give me any “First World problems” bullshit either. One day you might experience a temperamental showerhead and if you come back to me all hotheaded about it, I’m going to pull the equally, if not more infuriating phrase “I told you so”.
Food Dogma propaganda. Still, after a long night of drunken escapades, they guzzle Coca-Colas and munch heartily into heavily processed double Quarter Pounders, but no images of factory farms and Amazon rainforests plague their conscience. Frankly, for most of us, the more expensive free-range option in the supermarket aisle is a luxury for deeper pockets. Thus, in the modern food chain, militant vegetarians, card-carrying members of an elite group of ethical eating, are now the scum of polite dinner etiquette. To limit your palette is to commit sacrilege. The coming out process is like an episode of The Bold and the Beautiful. “Mum, dad, I’m a vegetarian,” is met with gasps, rolled eyes and occasionally, the hushed whisper, “I’d be hap-
pier if she said she was a lesbian.” Dizzying antics of PETA, Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior and the trial of grocery shopping for herbivores, all roll in split-screen flashes before a mother’s eye as she clutches her wallet. The dinner table goes quiet. The lovingly prepared roast chicken is an accusation. It is as if the Vegetarian had advocated the Bear Grylls approach of squeezing elephant dung for its water content as opposed to merely suggesting an alternative dietary life choice.
make the meat heavier; highly intelligent sows forced to suffer close confinement, enduring a perpetual cycle of suffering and sleep deprivation, continually pregnant. They choose to willfully ignore it. Calmly, they label it a phase and the conversation resumes. It is undeniable that there is a huge cultural dissonance between food consumption and animal welfare. To bridge the impasse, Jeremy Bentham informs us not to ask “Can they reason?” or “Can they talk?” but “Can they suffer?” Animals are simply not a part of humanity’s personal narrative, devoid of the capacity to provide consent or protect their own dignity. In this context, food factionalism is a product of the blame game. I hope to see a future where meat-eaters and vegetarians can sit across from She’d been talking each other and recognise that to be pro-animal about it for months. is not to be anti-human, that vegetarians are not Cramming 50,000 unnaturally deformed, anemic, an imposition and that food politics can be an waddling chickens into huge sheds for a short opportunity to celebrate the rich diversity in six-week life span; the Indonesian abattoirs that Australian culture. plunge hoses into the anus and mouth of cows to
In the modern food chain, militant vegetarians…are now the scum of polite dinner etiquette
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“Beauty” is Bad for Women. Discuss. STILETTOS AND A SOAP BOX
SAM BRADLEY Stilettos and a Soapbox is our new regular column discussing some issues which relate to the modern feminist and some which don’t. WE need to be beautiful. It’s unfortunate but irrefutable. If you’re beautiful life is supposedly smoother. You can talk your way out of speeding fines and get things for free: car services, coffee, alcohol, vegetables. You don’t need to wait in lines for clubs. People will generally like you before they even speak to you. You’re more employable. As a romantic partner, you’re more desirable. We learn, starting at a very young age that our value as human beings, to society at large, lies almost entirely in our appearances. But most of us aren’t beautiful. By that I mean we fail to fit a definition of beauty that only gets narrower as we get older. We don’t look like the pages of Vogue or Marie Claire because not even the models themselves do: at some point a person behind a computer intervened, slimming and smoothing. Because even the women paid to look perfect, are seemingly not perfect enough. So we all diet and sweat and pluck and plaster. We attempt to exist in a labyrinth that is determined to
render us invisible. We subsist. Who gets to decide what is beautiful? Is it the magazine editors, cosmetics companies, movie directors or fashion designers? Or is beauty timeless and ubiquitous, a concept innate to humanity itself? The reality is that it is a convoluted combination of all these things: beauty is both socially constructed and pre-determined. In some ways “beauty” is inherent to humanity. For example, babies not yet cognitively developed, not yet influenced by socially constructed beauty ideals, gaze at symmetrical faces for longer periods than they do asymmetric ones, and as such their behaviour can be perceived as organic. Certain traits have also been historically and universally perceived as denoting beauty - one is clear, smooth skin, another is facial symmetry. Certain morphological features that connote masculinity (square jaw) or femininity (high cheekbones) are also unanimously preferred. However, beauty is also a trend, one that evolves with both time and geography. Some extreme, culturally specific standards of beauty are: the wearing of lip plates by the Surma and Mursi women of Ethiopia; the neck elongation of the Karenu and Padaung women of Myanmar; and the now scarcely practised female foot-binding in China. Significantly, all of these standards are debilitating to the women who adhere to them. Lip plates are impractical and painful. Neck elongation can cause crippling spinal problems. Foot binding often resulted in serious, excruciating infection and could render a woman relatively immobile for the rest of her life. Indeed, for women, beauty isn’t ever practical. It is time
consuming, expensive and often painful. Another interesting example of a socialised beauty standard is skin colour. Pale skin is idealised in many Middle Eastern and Asiatic cultures, while in Western cultures such as Australia, Britain and the US many women go to extraordinary lengths to obtain darker skin. The skin-whitening and skin-tanning industries, rather ironically, are both worth billions. Both industries also use similar tactics to incite appearance anxiety in women and then capitalise on that body-shame by selling products to “fix” the flaw. Both tanning and whitening “solutions” can be extremely dangerous, and even deadly – whether it is through the burning of skin with hydroquinone to get a lighter complexion, or the burning of skin with UVA/UVB rays to get a darker complexion. What about body shape? The images of women’s bodies, depicting what is idealised and aspired to, have changed drastically over time. Historically, when everyday life was perhaps harder on our bodies, more curvaceous female figures signified health and thus were perceived as being beautiful. Think ancient depictions of Venus the Ancient Roman goddess of love and beauty, or the curves of the more recent siren Marilyn Monroe. Today’s models however maintain exceptionally slim frames to necessitate the specific designs of haute couture expectations. As these are the women featured in advertising campaigns and magazines there has been a shift in the contemporary beauty ideal in this direction. Weightgain advertisements from the 1930’s prove how quickly the body shape ascribed desirability by
“Beautiful” is a standard created to make women into good consumers
society can change. The issue here is that, however the ideal swings, it is still isolating to the majority of women. Do “beauty” standards suppress men as well? Of course they do. However, the fat-shaming front-page stories are about Kim Kardashian and not Brad Pitt. At only 66kgs radio host Jackie O was publicly dubbed “fat” by her coo-host Kyle Sandilands who himself sports a significant beer gut. 90% of people suffering from eating disorders are female. More than a third of women never leave their homes without makeup on – yet very few men even wear makeup. On the whole however, it is women’s bodies that are the battleground, not men’s. If beauty is a social construction, what does that mean for us? It means that every day when we shave our legs and apply mascara we are perpetuating not only these contemporary ideals but also the ubiquitous perception that a woman’s worth is synonymous with her appearance. Every day when we compliment one another, make derogative comments about someone else’s appearance and purchase fat-shaming tabloids we add steam and validity to the conspiracy. Every day we play a role in our own subjugation because “beauty” is absolute bullshit. “Beautiful” is a standard created to make women into good consumers; too busy wallowing in self-loathing to notice we have wasted all our money on gym memberships, skin lotions and makeup. Too preoccupied and insecure to realise we are, makeup on or not, still secondclass citizens (earning 85 cents to every dollar our male counterparts earn). “Beauty” undermines our value as intellectuals and professionals: it sees women in influential positions questioned on their weight and clothes choices rather than their ideas. “Beauty” is a curse, a means of pushing down women, and we, only we, can let it rest for good.
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Reality TV Finds its Voice
FIRST, a few key facts: 1. The juggernaut that is the reality TV sensation The Voice, has returned for a second season. 2. Cowboy judge Keith Urban has been replaced by hip-handling Ricky Martin who uses his Latin charm as a nuclear weapon to win over spellbound contestants. 3. Logie winner Joel Madden’s engaging rock star personality hasn’t faded even if it is the same rotten toothpick he’s chewing on from last season. 4. Seal is still taking things a little too seriously as if he’s engaging in open-heart surgery. 5. As for Delta, she’s still under the impression that she’s sitting on top of the world as she spins around in her big chair, pretending she’s Princess of the Nile. However, as far as the show’s development goes, there has definitely been a dynamic shift. I don’t watch The Voice religiously – it’s actually my dad who I’ve found watching post-performance clips on Youtube - but I’ve noticed that the show and it’s coaches have become more flexible with structure. With experience, the judges have become faster, more confident and more competitive. In turn, the show has refined the game, hitting the mark harder and sharpening its “TV moments” to achieve emotional accuracy. For example, on Tuesday 9th of April, 18-year-old Harrison Craig - who stutters when he speaks but soars when he sings - forced even the most cynical viewers to tears.
So far this season, as expected, the judges occupy centre stage with even more force. That may change, but for the moment, most of us are more interested in Seal’s nail varnish than any vocal prowess. Scorn at my tasteless TV interests if you will, but from a marketing perspective, and from the perspective of someone sans cable, you’d be surprised at how much reality TV has revitalised networks. It has successfully stimulated that
The Voice gives fresh, spontaneous content to viewers.
water-cooler buzz again and offered a different brand of television. Sometimes it can be unpredictable, but more than anything, it offers a change – rather than seeing scripted shows with stagnant characters - The Voice gives fresh, spontaneous content to viewers. Reality shows don’t just reach tens of millions of viewers but they also leave them feeling part of a communal experience. Sometimes they lay it on a bit thick, and yes the majority of finalists are usually either single
ALCOHOL is not as injurious to health as claimed. Remarks (dare I say rumours) planted against the alcohol industry by pro-prohibition groups, namely WHO (Water for Hydration Organization), are aimed at abolishing the drinking tradition (or life as we know it) via health scare shenanigans. That is why yours truly, Dr. Johnnie Walker, will attempt to distil, and thus separate, the facts from the lies in WHO’s allegations. Alcohol leads to hangovers. It is a much publicised misconception that the various “hangover” symptoms such as severe headaches, vomiting, and black outs, are due to excessive drinking the night before. A study titled “Calvinistic Backlash”, has found that the body releases hormone-suppressors, which have the unpleasant effects of punishing the body (and mind) by depleting the overflow of endorphins, “happy hormones”, produced while partying. Alcohol leads to premature wrinkles. This fable has been transformed into a modern day “the dog ate my homework” excuse. It has risen to prominence thanks to the apologies of mature-aged housewives who always fail to reveal their true biological age – “it was the alcohol; I’m actually 25”. Alcohol leads to addiction. It keeps me awake at night to know that WHO brainwashes ex-drunks into joining their cause. WHO deploys them anonymously in hush-hush destinations to falsely testify that an initial sip of alcohol leads to a lifelong addiction to the “drug”. If we honour that logic, then it is philosophically self-evident to blame the knife for the murder. . Alcohol leads to sexual problems. On the contrary, drinking has a liberating effect; it assists in breaking down people’s inhibitions, making the necessary transition from second to third base that much simpler. Alcohol, and
its tipsy effects lead to explosive sex; without this medium, intercourse would be an awkward affair. Alcohol leads to stomach problems. The negative effects of spicy Indian food should not be confused with the benefits of a well-documented alcohol-as-catalyst detoxification program. Alcohol, a medical-grade cleansing agent, seeps into the immune system and activates its ejaculatory responses, colloquially known as a “bowel movement”, purging the body of elemental toxins and unsought bacteria. As a matter of nutritional-fact, drinking ethanol
Alcohol, a medical-grade cleansing agent, seeps into the immune system and activates its ejaculatory responses ... is kind of like eating three handfuls of prunes. Alcohol leads to diabetes. Drop the candy bar. Do not blame your lack of self-restraint on the Holy Spirit – Bacardi played no part in your affliction. This sham is a shiftthe-blame ploy, played by WHO’s notorious cohort, the gluttonous CCH (Coca-Cola for Hydration) Organization, not to be confused with the spirited CJD (Coke and Jack Daniels) Organization, who are our ally. Alcohol leads to liver diseases. The worst-case scenario is that your skin
turns yellow. So what? Yellow, or glowing skin, is a trendy and attractive look. Many fresh-faced 2013-reality TV stars in Los Angeles will attest that (provided an endorsement deal is in order) yellow is the new orange. Alcohol leads to heart disease. Numerous clinical trials have unanimously concluded that drinking beverages spiked with alcohol reduces the risk of developing the accursed disease. However, WHO and its associates continue to persecute the alcoholic beverage industry by sowing untruths – they are such heartless bigots. Alcohol leads to brain problems. “Brain shrinkage” is the stupidest constructed fable against alcohol consumption ever – simply put, a no-brainer. Ethanol, a vegan-friendly, organic compound (C2H6O), isn’t mincing anybody’s head. Had WHO bothered to look at all the medical faculty’s stock of brains-in-jars, they would have found out that alcohol does not destroy – it preserves. Additionally, once the nervous system absorbs this elixir, it works to decrease the risks of strokes: God bless Biology! Alcohol leads to cancer. Please, anything you do these days leads to cancer; even bananas are classed as a radioactive fruit. So I shall spare you the arguments on this one and will simply deem cancer inevitable. I – Dr. Johnnie Walker – would like to reassure you once again, habitual and potential drinker, that such myths conjured up by WHO and its disciples are not true in the slightest. Still, I trust that swallowing such opposing views is no easy task (as lies are sweeter than truths, it is said) so to help ease the tension of a conflicted mind, a prescription for a shot or three seems to be in order, wouldn’t you agree? – “Hear, hear”, you say.
mums or guys who lost their dads at age 9. I acknowledge how pre-packaged the whole thing is and I’m very aware that no reality show can match the layers of well-constructed fiction seen in shows such as Breaking Bad and The OC. But on a sheer ratings level, The Voice has worked regenerated the Nine Network and put reality TV back on the pop-culture map after losing battles to cable TV for years. I’m not defending the indefensible – but I will defend The Voice. You can’t help but pay attention as the judges fiddle around - it’s entertainment in itself just watching their thrones rotate when they hit their buzzers. Ricky Martin’s buttery Puerto Rican accent also adds to the whole experience… What works best with The Voice is that the show is all about positivity. There are no montages of shitty singers being mocked by dickhead judges and the show doesn’t dwell excessively on contestants who have overcome great obstacles in order to realise their dreams…which is ironic because the winners will only ever be regarded as temporary pseudo-celebrities. Their promised prize of eternal glory is a delusion. They’ll release one album, it’ll experience some mild success and then the fans will move on. Luckily for the Nine Network, by that stage, the new season will be ready to roll. It’s the circle of TV-life. The Voice is bound to get tiring three or more times per week, but I definitely suggest you tune in and check out what’s going on – who knows, the show might hit your high notes.
Canberra Gig Guide MARTIN PEREZ
ON the 18th of April Melbourne’s Deep Heat (members of The Diamond Sea, Teen Archer and Boomgates) will be playing at the Magpies Blub in Civic (underneath Garema Place). Launching their new E.P. out on Poison City Records, Deep Heat have been impressing crowds all along the eastern seaboard with their distinctive take on Wipers-esque punk on this tour. Supporting on the night will be locals The Fighting League, Sex Noises as well as new kids on the block, Beach Slut. Rock up at 7pm to see all the bands, this will be a great show. On the evening of the 20th of April get your
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dancing shoes on because DJ Krush will be returning to Canberra to spin some vinyl at Transit Bar. Krush has been one of the biggest producers in the game for over 20 years. Going from being a yakuza underling in Tokyo to one of the world’s foremost turntabilists, DJ Krush’s life story is just as compelling as his music. Tickets are $30 (+booking fee) and doors are at 8pm. Canberran one-man-band Bacon Cakes (geddit?) will be playing the Phoeinx Bar on the 25th of April alongside Library Siesta and Paul Macadam. Using only a Vietnam War pilot’s helmet with an in-built mic, an electric guitar, a kick and a snare – Bacon Cakes belts out aggressive garage
rock jams, with plenty of covers from the great of the 60s and 70s. The show starts at 9 and as (almost) always with the Phoenix Bar, it’s free. Last Leaves (members of the Lucksmiths) will be playing a show at the White Eagle Polish Club in O’Connor with The Ellis Collective, No Stars and Glenroi Heights on the 26th of April – doors at 8pm. The 28th of April sees the return of the Groovin’ the Moo festival to the ovals of the University of Canberra. With a decent line-up this year that includes: The Bronx, Regurgitator, The Amity Affliction, Tegan and Sara, Tame Impala and Flume – tickets are $100.
As You Like It : Religion for the Modern Man UP IN THE AIR
NIC DILLON TODAY I fist-pumped Agnus Dei. Or rather, I fist-pumped a man in a lamb suit pretending to be the Lamb of God who must have been sweltering in the Florida sun. Yes, having paid my $40 I was partaking in the joys of the Holy Land Experience, a bizarre mix of theme park and Church. A beautiful land of fibre-glass re-creations of Biblical scenes, hymns piped from speakers hidden behind tropical shrubbery and 20-foot high tablets of the Ten Commandments, with stores everywhere selling stuffed Noah’s Arks and Florida pins. Whatever Anglican lessons I learnt at school, the dollar was the denomination de jour. As tour buses arrived throughout the day, disgorging tourist pilgrims wearing matching tee shirts proclaiming the greatness of both God’s Love and their local Church, I was a little shocked
that this seemed to be a genuine pilgrimage for them. Whilst waiting to take a photo of the Garden of Gethsemane behind two women wearing John 3:16, I heard one ask the other, “What is Gethsemane?” to which the other replied, “I think it’s the one after Eden. Or maybe it’s the one the Mormons found?” As much as I hope that the second woman was making an elaborate joke about how the Mormons are Christians what Judas was to Christ, I somehow doubt it. More jarring though, were the “shows” offered throughout the day. The shows were a mix of pantomime, the Wiggles, proselytisation and prayer. They involved extensive audience participation, lots of cheering and lots of Life Lessons for all. My ears perked when one of the presenters (all of whom were authentically dressed in internet-bought gypsy costumes) noted that she had not always pleased God. But my hopes of titillating or disturbing tales (see Genesis 19:32) were dashed when she asked the audience if she was right when she took a cookie from the jar when her mother had forbidden it. Rapturously, they all started chanting “No”. She said, they were right; eating a cookie is “not pleasing to God” and left it at that. As happy as I was that she didn’t then start spruicking “Dieting with Jesus”, I feel
that she neglected the whole “Honour thy Father and thy Mother” thing. I should not judge. No doubt that the pilgrims were far more directly involved in their faith than most people I’ve met in Australia. Indeed, it was clear that this was religion of the people, in a way that I have not seen back home and that is I suppose laudable. Nonetheless, in some ways, I suppose this is the ultimate emblem of the victory of the “Right” in America. Sure you can have the Separation of Church and State, but once you’ve winnowed down the State as far as possible, you conflate Church and Market. Religion has always fascinated me. I see it as a force for good and have always adored how it attempts to determine the ineffable wonder in our world despite our own limited comprehension. Yet it seemed that grasping the almighty God was far less the target than was grasp the almighty dollar. It seemed that what was key here was not the message or the betterment of man, but merely how best to evangelise, using all the gimmicks of society to our advantage. To use that other great source of English phases, it appeared that the entire place, in prostituting out the meanings of Christianity to the market, reduced it to a story, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.
It seemed that what was key here was not the message or the betterment of man, but merely how best to evangelise, using all the gimmicks of society to our advantage.
This is not to say that it was a joyous environment. It seems that everyone there genuinely loved it. Indeed, even with atheistic superiority got some sustenance in some of the more unnecessary signage around the place. My personal favourite being a sign underneath some wax sculptures which noted that the clothing worn by the sculptures was not indicative of the clothing that would actually have been worn during Jesus’ life. I devoutly hope that the sign was put there only for the youngest children and not in some fear that adults may not realise that Jesus was not in fact covered in tinsel when he ascended to Heaven. Although this feeling quickly dissipated when a group of tourists glowered at me for taking a selfie with a silly face in front of the life-sized Diorama of the Last Supper. As they started muttering about “the wrong sort of person” I wanted to respond, noting that the all-white, mostly blond collection of men behind me were probably far enough away from the Truth that it didn’t matter much. I turned the other cheek. After this, as I went to leave, slightly bewildered by the whole environment, I saw the authentic fake Wailing Wall. A sign invited the patrons to write down a prayer, which would then be taken to Jerusalem and the real Wailing Wall – two prayers for the price of one. Inspired by the evident dedication shown to Biblical truth, I could think of nothing better to write than this: “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves”. Amen.
LIFE & STYLE// 32
A Sex Bomb Just Went Off MILLY COOPER
One Night Stand WET WITH WORONI
TIM MCGRATH Wet with Woroni is our new regular sex column! Cruder than a teenage boy and more salacious than 120 Days of Sodom, it will shock, arouse and disgust you. WARNING: This article discusses sexually explicate material and may be distressing for some readers. THE one-night stand, held sporadically since losing my virginity in 2009, involves one female party from an indeterminate location hosting a free, over 16 party in my pants. This year’s sexcapade took place within the abrasively well-illuminated corridors of the ANU’s UniLodge. Invited over the to the Davey Lodge sector of the residential corporation to help celebrate a friend’s going away party, I ghosted an Oriental student through the building’s sliding doors with a sixer and few expectations. Most of the evening was spent diffidently recapping the summer holidays with the few acquaintances I had among the party-goers before The Go-Set’s hit single “Davey” was blasted from the stereo. Apparently something of an anthem for Davey Lodge residents, the rousing folk-punk tune had the effect of immediately compelling all to dance wildly atop the nearest furniture in sight. This was significant as, given I knew the only three lyrics anyone familiar with the song can repeat, “Davey”, “navy” and “the eighties”, I was thereupon embraced as seamlessly as when one gacked teenager at Clubhouse gushes to another, “I love your vibe man!” Now freed from the shackles of timidity, I committed to drinking myself into oblivion. Fastforward two hours, and as the party began to wind down, I found myself seated next to a nice looking girl heralding from the subcontinent. An icebreaker was made before she began to give
me an interesting breakdown on the difference between East Coast and West Coast hip-hop. With the host of the party now stumbling around naked, the event had become as lifeless as Dubbo no doubt is for 364 days of this year. I was left to wait for someone or something to beckon me into the next phase of the night. Having clearly piqued my interest, my new acquaintance seized this opportunity and invited me back to her room under the pretence of sharing a joint. Innocently following her, it was only upon her closing the door after me that I realised what this wily temptress had in mind. While she rolled a joint, I played some Sixto Rodgriguez and began a monologue in which I triumphantly claimed to have been given Cold Fact—which has had hipsters everywhere frothing following the success of the documentary Sugarman— when I was ten years old. Caring not for my pretentious ramblings, she finished rolling the joint and guided me into the safely aerated bathroom. Sufficiently stoned, she again took the initiative—something I find devilishly attractive in women—by leading me back to her bed. A refreshingly smooth progression of tonsil hockey and fondling followed before I eventually unearthed my cock and entered her. What was memorable about the actual sex itself was a distinct energy emanating from the girl. Nothing more than a Hack navigator of the vagina and its various alcoves, as I had the girl in raptures of pleasure, it felt like I was playing a video game on easy mode. Perhaps it related to the onset of the marijuana, perhaps an unfulfilling relationship had just passed by, I couldn’t know. Regardless, after shortly bringing the girl to two fast and loud climaxes, I proceeded to Flume all over her chest and pass out. Woken up the next morning with a cleaning apparatus to the face, my dark-skinned lover politely but firmly ushered me out of her room faster than I could say, “Lewis McKirdy is a fucking gimp”. I left knowing that not only would my anonymity spare from the inquiries of gossipers, but also that given my callous discharge, I would also be free from any sort of personal drama. The point of this erotic vignette is that a onenight stand infused with good music and reasonably stimulating discussion can in fact be a thoroughly wholesome experience. Both parties came and went feeling not only respected, but also immensely satisfied.
Regardless, after shortly bringing the girl to two fast and loud climaxes, I proceeded to Flume all over her chest and pass out.
We. Love. Sex!
HAVE you ever shared an intimate experience that touches you, stirs something within you, and makes you feel entirely aroused… with 900 other people in the room? Last week I was fortunate enough to have this very thing happen to me when I went to see Circa Wunderkammer at the Canberra Theatre. This exotic, erotic perhaps even neurotic 90 minute show was a bizarre but beautiful mix of burlesque, cabaret, contortionism, muscle upon muscle, and of course, circus. It began with an almost naked woman putting her clothes back on, and I can assure you that getting dressed has never been sexier. The show presented a variety of acts involving a man of strength managing to pick up almost the entire cast (six out of seven people), and then a much smaller woman proceeded to pick him and the rest of the troupe up - incredible. The show had elements of more traditional circus practises such as rope tricks, hula-hoops, great jumps, leaps, as well as acts that defied gravity. In spite of this, somehow everything the performers did stepped beyond the traditional, and became modern and sexy. On their official website Circa claim that:
“At Circa we create circus that moves the heart, mind and soul. We discover, cultivate and present works and experiences from the living heart of circus – vital, challenging and delightful. We believe circus is a rich artistic territory that can deeply touch audiences and participants. To achieve this, we progress with ceaseless inventiveness (in all aspects of our art and operations) guided by safe danger and fuelled by love and respect.” Following the show at a meet and greet, it became apparent that many audience members thought that this amount of raw and organic talent could only come from the more exotic parts of Europe such as Sweden or Russia and were greatly surprised (clearly not having read the program) to find that the cast were all-Australian. Not just that, but also that the troupe had been performing since 2006 and had toured 24 countries across five continents. Circa Wunderkammer was one of those rare and incredible shows that make you forget to clap because your jaw is on the floor, and you almost can’t move because your eyes are as big as the saucers the performers are balancing on the most unusual parts of their body. 10 out of 10.
Getting dressed has never been sexier
Ten Reasons to Date a Townie
WHENEVER one of my friends has a thing for a college kid we issue words of warning. Usually along the lines of “Don’t be surprised if he/she doesn’t text you/is flaky/doesn’t even show up. College kids don’t date townies.” I’m sure there are many exceptions to the rule, and it’s a pretty general assumption we make. However, it’s a theory based on one thing: if you’re a resident of one of the campus establishments then obviously it is more convenient for you to have sexy times with the lad or lady in the room next door than with some struggler who lives in Chisholm, Florey, Jerrabomberra or Palmerston. Do these places even exist? Does this person even exist? This premise swings both ways. Most townies really aren’t too interested in seeing a college kid. The residents of Daley Road in particular have pretty bad (probably unwarranted) reputations for partying hard and hooking up indiscriminately. Anyway, as a townie I feel the need to stick up for my compatriots. Here are all of the reasons you should date one. Disclaimer: I realise I am about to make some massive generalisations. Stop reading if that irks you. 1. Home cooked food. Herb gardens and fresh ingredients included, as are ovens for the production of baked goods. So, sick of college food? Well, come over. Whenever. 2. We have double beds. Obviously not all of us, however, judging by my friends, most of us do. We also have non-communal washing machines and clotheslines which basically translates to clean(ish) sheets.
3. We own cars. This means we can head off on skiing/surfing/camping trips on a whim. It also means we can generally do as and go wherever we please. With a car it rarely takes more than 20 minutes to go anywhere in Canberra. 4. We’re friends with other townies. That band playing at King O’s on Saturday night? Yeah, we went to school with them. Why is that bartender giving us cheap drinks? We play mixed netball together. The bouncer that let us skip the queue? We go to the same Yoga studio. 5. We know where to go. Be it cheap and tasty food, a nice picnic spot or a rope swing on a hot day. Or, if you break a bone and need to know which is the fastest and cheapest medical centre, we have you covered too. 6. Similarly, we know our way around so you can put down the iPhone. 7. We have pets. Do you miss your Border Collie? Well you’re welcome to borrow mine. She is currently running circles around my living room for no apparent or rational reason at all. 8. House parties. Yeah you guys get invited to the occasional housewarming when kids move out. However, literally all of our friends live in houses. Mooseheads got old when we were 17. This is where the real fun is. 9. We don’t use communal bathrooms and thus I presume have lower rates of foot fungus. Ok, actually ignore that point. It was gross and based on no evidence whatsoever. 10. We’re just generally awesome people. And I’m not biased at all. So yeah… Tempted? I hear Griffin Hall is always up for bar nights.
Delving into Phildel LISTEN // ALBUM The Disappearance of the Girl Phildel 2013 ALISSA MCCULLOCH
The Knife Goes Under LISTEN // ALBUM Shaking the Habitual The Knife 2013 ROBERT SELTH ANECDOTES are already proliferating about the genesis of Shaking the Habitual, the new album from the Swedish electronic duo of Olof Dreijer and Karin Dreijer Andersson – The Knife. Lyrics are inspired by Olof’s course in gender studies at Stockholm University; much of the music is based on jam sessions in which the band played with only a zither and a bedspring; the title comes from Foucault; and so on. If this is already sounding obtuse and bizarre, wait till you hear that the album came with a “press release” that took the form of a long, free-form poem called “Some Feelings in the Bellies of the Tankers Who Pass Us Making Sad Manic Bongs Like Drums”. And the record is almost a hundred minutes long. One thing is clear: the Knife are definitely not interested in making things easy. But then, that’s nothing new. They’ve always shied away from the spotlight, and they’ve always been serious, ambitious musicians who refuse to make concessions to listenability. Their previous opus was an avant-garde opera (substantially composed of buzzing and screeching noises) dramatising Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. It is worth stating now, before anyone feels too tempted to laugh at them, that The Knife are neither ironic nor pretentious. They are deadly serious about their subject matter, and they simply make whatever music they feel best expresses their preoccupations. A decade ago, this meant they produced thrilling techno like the poppy hit single “Heartbeats” or the cult classic album Silent Shout. Today, it means they produce long, impressionistic mood pieces (often without anything resembling a dance beat), interspersed with abrasive noise music. Fans may not feel that the duo’s muse has led them to good places, but you can’t accuse them of failing to follow it.
So this album is undeniably difficult and frequently inaccesible. It is, as the title indicates, an activist’s manifesto, not designed with the listener’s pleasure or satisfaction in mind, but with the intention of shocking people out of their comfort zones. While most of the album doesn’t exactly qualify as “protest music,” it is definitely preoccupied with addressing serious and controversial issues – gender foremost among them, but environmental damage also featuring quite extensively. As for the music itself, the results of the duo’s experimentation are decidedly scattershot. The glaring problem is that far too much of the album is spent on developing atmosphere – which is a polite way of pointing out that the entire nine minutes and forty-four seconds of “A Cherry on Top” is actually just a sequence of disconnected noises. Worst of all is the nineteen-minute drone of “Old Dreams Waiting to be Realised,” which, as one reviewer has aptly put it, “probably should not have been realised”. When so much of the album is bogged down in directionless, tuneless dirges, it becomes very hard to see any merit in anything else that it offers. On the other side of the scorecard, however, there are a handful of genuinely great moments on Shaking the Habitual – all of them in the faster-paced sections that hearken back to the Knife’s dance-oriented heyday. The most impressive track on the album is “Full of Fire,” a high-energy monster powered by massively distorted drums and searing, streaking synthesisers. The other upbeat tracks are not as consistently compelling, but they still hit some powerful high points, like the central section of “Raging Lung”. These songs sound significantly better on their own than when they’re engulfed by the exhausting stretches of the album around them. All the same, it’s a frustrating and disappointing record, and the strongest emotion it arouses is a desire to cleanse the pallette by listening to some of the duo’s older stuff. Even on the Darwinthemed opera, Tomorrow, in a Year, there was music crafted with a confident, finely-tuned instinct for melody and beauty. Shaking the Habitual is intermittently spectacular, but never melodic or beautiful. And it’s mostly just boring.
... the intention of shocking people out of their comfort zones.
AS countless people do, with countless other modern artists, I discovered Phildel on YouTube. In this instance, a song of hers was the backing music to a make-up tutorial. I didn’t care about make-up. I had ears only for her soulful, ethereal soundscapes: framed by piano and string, punctuated by bells and voice. It was unlike anything I’d ever heard. I bought her album, only recently released, the very next day. A little research revealed a stirring backstory: raised in a conservative religious household where music was forbidden, Phildel (yes, that is her real name) was forced to repress her zeal for music until she fled home at 17. She earned a living writing ditties for adverts and worked patiently to make her musical dreams a reality. Her debut release, The Disappearance of the Girl, is a haunting yet uplifting collection of piano-based melodies. Thematically, the album is laden with allegories and archetypes; “The Wolf” evokes an unhappy childhood, while the title track signifies the beginning of a new life. Lead single “Storm Song” is a highlight, with the rumbling orchestration forming a perfect counterpoint to Phildel’s soaring vocals. Her stunning voice is easily the standout feature of this album. It’s a delicate and consid-
ered sound, as if she’s still getting used to being allowed to sing again, and some songs are delivered perhaps more confidently than others. There’s not a lick of Auto-Tune here, and Phildel certainly doesn’t need it. Upon first listen the music may appear sparse, perhaps desolate, with little to no excess sound. It’s unusual for me to encounter such a carefullyorchestrated album. Every instrument here is arranged just so. Every sound has a place and every word has a meaning. Producer Ross Cullum adds a degree of lushness to Phildel’s majestic compositions and appropriately brings them up to speed for the modern listener. The line between commercial success and industry adoration is a fine one, but this is an album with the potential to achieve both. Various other critics have compared Phildel favourably with the likes of Kate Bush and Regina Spektor. But such likenesses do Phildel an injustice. Where Kate Bush prefers seclusion, Phildel relishes the chance to give her music the audience it deserves. Where Regina Spektor exudes quirk, Phildel is a picture of seriousness and calm. The Disappearance of the Girl is a tantalising glimpse into Phildel’s recently re-awakened musical psyche. She’s clearly had these songs brewing for a long time, and it’s wonderful to hear them at last. This is a wonderful album to play in the background while having a cup of tea or pondering the meaning of life (you know, typical studenty things). Perhaps it will re-awaken something in you too.
Every instrument here is arranged just so. Every sound has a place and every word has a meaning.
Riding the Gravy Train LISTEN // BAND Party Gravy ELLEN TREVANION PARTY Gravy is not, let’s be honest, the most descriptive name in the world. They are, however, a brilliant New Orleans-style brass band comprised of bassist Alec Coulson, trombonists Josh Hart and Patrick Langdon, Andrew Kimber and Tye Langford on saxophone, trumpeters Eddie Bernasconi and Ax Long, and an unconventional pair of drummers – Samuel McNair and Mark Sledgers. Playing at Hippo Bar one Wednesday night, they brought a good part of the audience to their feet to try their legs at swing dancing. Even those sitting down sung along to a boisterous rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In”. In true New Orleans style, vocals were provided by the entire band, which, perhaps surprisingly, was reasonably in tune. Equally entertaining was a funk remix of the ubiquitous “Thrift Shop” com-
plete with virtuoso trumpet and trombone solos. Their rendition of “Pumped Up Kicks” also had a lot of toes jiggling. Following up their gig at Hippo, the band played at A Bite To Eat on the following Sunday afternoon, bringing a more relaxed feel to a cafe which is, frankly, almost too hipster to be true. Playing two sets with a mix of originals and covers, they managed, once again, to get people to their feet and dancing on both the floor and the pavement outside. They also demonstrated why they have two drummers in a double percussion solo which, in fact, also demonstrated that it is unwise for a musician to go wandering off, beer in hand, in the midst of a song. In fairness though, they did make the entry together and finished off in fine form. Party Gravy are a demonstration of something that Canberra needs more of. We need more spaces for good live music and more people to play it, and we need a thriving jazz scene. They are also a credit to the School of Music jazz program and a reminder of just how valuable it is.
Thursday, Bloody Thursday
human event.” The play explores identity and the ways in which our seemingly lonely lives can be so interconnected. Director Chris Drummond last collaborated with Brink Productions to create Andrew Bovell’s When the Rain Stops Falling, and he brings many similar ideas to this show – particularly a skillful SHAUN WYKES SOUTH Australia’s Brink Productions create portrayal of the universality of the human expetheir shows through long-term collaborations rience. The action begins on the morning of the with artists from different disciplines and back- bombing as we witness, through a beautifully grounds. Their concept is that if you get a variety choreographed sequence of movement and light, of artists into a room without any preconceptions a group of seemingly unrelated individuals as they will create a truly collaborative and origi- they prepare for their ‘normal’ day ahead. The nal story. Their latest production, Thursday, was characters weave between each other in a shared inspired by the story of Gill Hicks, an Australian space, playing out their lives simultaneously in survivor of the 2005 London bombings, and the order to highlight all their differences and simiplaywright Bryony Lavery describes the play as a larities as they unknowingly hurtle towards the “theatrical response and offering to an enormous catastrophe that they will all face together. Kate
WATCH // PLAY Thursday Brink Productions 2013
Mulvany dominates the stage as the central character of Rose, an Australian living in London who is sick of her mundane life. Mulvany’s dynamic and engaging performance holds the play together, challenging the audience to connect with her essentially unlikeable character. The characters eventually converge on the same platform as they wait for the train to take them to their various destinations. The bombing itself is simply conveyed using movement, a minimal set, and clever lighting. It was nicely underplayed, undercoring the fact that the central purpose of the play is not to explore the specific event but rather the ways in which each character responds to it. The latter part of the play reveals how differently people react when faced with death, how tragedy can lead to reformation and the ‘resilience of the human spirit’. The final
JT is Back
LISTEN // ALBUM The 20/20 Experience Justin Timberlake 2013 ASHWIN CHANDEKAR AND so it was decreed, it’s cool to listen to R&B again. A string of moderate to highly acclaimed albums by artists such as The Weeknd, Frank Ocean and Miguel have brought the genre back to the forefront with unusual charms such as thematic depth, dark atmospheres and nostalgic production.. So where does Justin Timberlake’s ambitious 20/20 Experience fit within this context? Well, it’s certainly a spectacle. Optometry puns aside, Timberlake has clearly made a conscious effort to make the album more visionary (oh, woops). A need to break free from his boy-bander *NSYNC perception was shown in previous solo albums Justified and Futuresex/ LoveSounds, the latter especially proving to be an iconic genre-bending piece of work and my personal Year 6 jam. On 20/20, the trend continues, and these songs are remarkably elevated from the usual 4-chord pop songs, incorporating elements of neo-soul and 1960s pop orchestration. Musically, perhaps the thing that sticks out the
most about this album is the sheer abundance of hooks: little riffs that reel you in so well it’s almost like walking into a fishing store. Each song feels meticulously crafted, and the two Timbers - Land and Lake - have clearly worked hard to make sure that every song is slicker than an oil spill. Despite this, the album remarkably manages to rarely seem overproduced. Almost every harmonic flourish, be it a small trill or a hook centrepiece, is very tastefully inserted and adds a great deal to the songs. For instance, take the three-note fill performed by the strings after each cry of “I got that tunnel vision for you” in “Tunnel Vision,” or the gorgeous self-harmonisation in second single “Mirrors”. 20/20 is a very lengthy record, particularly for a pop album; clocking in at around 70 minutes, it may be troublesome to those that don’t have the time or patience to leg the auditory marathon. Most tracks exceed the six minute mark, and have elongated intros and outros. Most of the time the lengths are Justified: “Strawberry Bubblegum,” a highlight of the album, features a mellow outro
that twists the song in a completely different direction while still retaining musical motifs of the main portion. In contrast, “That Girl,” a Motowninspired jam, contains a contrived bit consisting of a Senor Chang sound-alike introducing the song as performed by “JT and the Tennessee Kids”. It isn’t necessary. The album is not without its missteps. The biggest instance is placing the two worst songs of the record at the start and back to back. “Pusher Lover Girl” struggles to maintain momentum, only exacerbated by its 8-minute running time. “Suit and Tie” is on the most part pleasing, featuring a colourful collection of Under-The-Sea-esque melodica. This is then marred by Jay-Z’s seriously piss-poor verse: his flow is horrendously lazy, and there’s a real feeling that he was included on the track just for more star appeal. You won’t find many good lyrics on here either. Most are banal, dwelling on clichés relating to love: woman as a drug, unattainable woman, woman as an alien, etc. “Let the Groove Get In” contains the lines “Are you comfortable right
The thing that sticks out the most about this album is the sheer abundance of hooks: little riffs that reel you in so well it’s almost like walking into a fishing store.
scene, the morning a year on from the bombing, mirrors the opening scene to highlight the change the event has rendered to all the lives it touched, and ultimately to suggest that such a destructive event has the potential to change people for the better. While the final moment is slightly heavyhanded, it doesn’t detract at all from the overall performance. The musical accompaniment, which was composed and played by Quentin Grant, is beautiful and heightens the emotional intensity in various scenes, but at some moments becomes so overwhelmingly loud that it is difficult to hear the dialogue. But these are small criticisms of a show that is beautiful in its staging and, though not earth-shattering, does provoke its audience to spend some thought on the nature of our shared existence.
there, right there? / Let the groove get in there, there, right there,” repeated 36 times. Better lyrics would have made for a much better album; though as things stand, they don’t ruin it. These gripes are all outweighed, however, by the sheer quality of the majority of the tracks. “Don’t Hold the Wall” has a Middle Eastern sounding theme that is stylistically similar to the Turkish instrumentation on previous hit “What Goes Around…” Closing track “Blue Ocean Floor” deserves a special mention for being perhaps the only lyrically interesting song here. It’s a beautiful song with a sublime reversed piano loop that perfectly synergises with imagery of being submerged within the sea. Kudos must go to Timbaland and Timberlake for creating such a compelling piece of music: the pop acumen of Timbaland makes for pristine production that drives the album and provides excellent cohesion, and JT’s voice is simply enthralling. The album has certainly fulfilled my expectations following his seven year musical hiatus. I wouldn’t rate it 20/20, but it certainly lives up to its name as an experience. With a sequel coming out in September, it will be seen whether JT will be preserved as a paragon of pop to parallel Prince or perceived as a pop pauper: but regardless, this album is excellent. You may not see eye to eye with me, but I know I don’t need to see an optometrist.
NIDA Graduates Take Flight
WATCH // PLAY An Idea Takes Flight The National Institude of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) 2013
Worth the Wait? WATCH // DOCUMENTARY Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea Jessie Taylor 2013 FARZ EDRAKI
“QUEUE-JUMPERS”. “Boatpeople”. “Illegals”. We have successfully reduced refugees to abstract aphorisms in Australia through crude political rhetoric. We’re constantly being told that “boat people” are un-Christian, criminal, and threatening. News media is dominated by these unidentified masses skipping the so-termed queue to harm our economy, our livelihood, and even – heaven forbid – our way of life. Who are the faces behind the 4,000 people who arrive in Australia every year, and what are their stories? , This is precisely the -question tackled by ;Jessie Taylor, creator and producer of the ydocumentary, Between .the Devil and the Deep nBlue Sea. e “There’s a dethuminisation of asy”lum seekers, and that ewas a huge motivation behind making this film,” -Taylor told Woroni. t “I do think that Australians are generous and -compassionate people, but we’re not good about -being generous to people en masse ... we need to -hear those individual stories for our humanity to dkick in.” e The documentary’s subjects are the asylum sseekers in detention facilities in Indonesia. There’s Mehdi, who travelled over two days -with 69 other passengers from Iran to Indonesia I(“Every time the boat rocked, water gushed in the o side”). - Then there’s Zainab, a nine-year-old refugee T fleeing Afghanistan’s Taliban, who recalls the l Taliban bombing her hometown’s school. - “Watching a nine-year-old girl talk about that e is pretty confronting, but that’s why we want n people to understand it … there are things that people experience that are just so far beyond our imagining,” Taylor comments.
The documentary highlights the sub-standard services at Indonesia’s detention centres, from inadequate medical facilities to lengthy waiting lists. One refugee, detained for over sixteen months, was still awaiting relocation – months after attaining refugee status from the UNHCR. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea took over two years to produce. “Getting inside detention centres, lugging camera equipment in Indonesia for a month, and trying to talk to refugees – those were the main challenges [in making the film],” said Taylor. The film’s crew screened the 52-minute documentary in Canberra in late March, as part of a nation-wide film screening tour. The tour was crowd-funded, and covered over thirty towns and cities across Australia. Aside from issues with funding, Taylor has also faced criticism from some politicians for her perceived idealism. Ross Cameron derided Between the Devil on The Drum as a “naïve” project that only appeals to “innercity urbanites”. “We’ve proved [these critics] wrong by selling out in even little venues across Australia,” Taylor triumphantly told the crowd at the Spiegel Tent, which hosted the Canberra screening. David Bates, the owner of the Spiegel Tent, contacted Taylor to screen the film in Canberra. “We heard about Jessie through a radio interview on ABC, and we thought this was an important story to tell,” said Bates. The film also reached Capital Hill; parliamentarians were invited to a private screening on March 18. That politicians are incapable of genuine compassion is a typical jibe – but it would be difficult not to feel empathy for Zainab, or Mehdi, or other refugees identified in the film as still missing at sea. Between the Devil should be recommended viewing not only for politicians, but for university students and policy-makers alike. To listen to the full interview with Jessie Taylor from The Morning After with Woroni on 2XXFM, see http://snd.sc/10S4RjY. The Morning After is on weekdays (except Thursdays) from 8.30am. Tune in to 98.3FM or stream online at http:// www.2xxfm.org.au/.
THE National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) is often touted as the foremost theatre school in the country, and one only needed to attend their Graduate Showcase at Gorman House on the first weekend in April to understand why. The Graduate Showcase was made up of three 40-minute productions directed by 2012 NIDA graduates, and also featured guest artists. The first production, Play House, was written by Martin Crimp and directed by Luke Rogers. It follows a young couple from the time they move in together—very much in love—through the pitfalls of life as cracks in the relationship develop and multiply. Their discordant relationship is accentuated by unknown time intervals between the play’s thirteen scenes, that carry the audience to different stages in the relationship. The intimacy of the theatre that Rogers constructs—a stage fenced in by audience members seated either side of a long apartment consisting only of a couch, a fridge, and a double bed—heightens the familiarity of the scenes. The two actors, Sam O’Sullivan and Kate Skinner, provide an emotionally and physically intense performance. As they struggle to deal with the realities of life colliding with the difficulties of love, their changing tone and body language fill in the gaps between the scenes, hinting at the changing emotional stages of the actors. Ultimately, this production was a great demonstration of how
set, lighting and sound can be used to compliment and intensify performances. After an atmospheric interval in the Gorman House courtyard came Derek Walker’s production of the musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change by Joe Dipietro and Jimmy Roberts. The musical explores dating, romance and love from the awkwardness of a first date, eager to impress, through to the ups and downs of marriage across the years. Walker has a clear eye for musical theatre (which hasn’t gone unnoticed, with Walker absent from the showcase and instead in Melbourne working on the musical King Kong). A simple set of four wardrobes (which doubled as screens for stylish illustrated backdrops) was complemented by a limited number of props that allowed for sharp transitions, maintaining the pace of this hilarious comedy. I loved it; it was perfect; it shouldn’t change. The final performance of the night was truly one of the finest pieces of theatre I have ever witnessed. Lucas Jervis (who also trained in Dance at VCA and the Australian Ballet School) directed Guy Edmonds in a one-man show of Roald Dahl’s The Witches. Edmonds, who made a name for himself starring over a number of years in Holding the Man, was captivating in every sense of the word. Jervis called on his background in dance and movement to skillfully choreograph Edmonds’ movements across the stage as he transitioned from one character to another. The audience laughed and occasionally squealed with delight, entranced by Edmonds’ performance. This was an example of what theatre can achieve that no other medium can replicate; it was entrancing, entertaining and fun. Absolutely superb.
The musical explores dating, romance and love from the awkwardness of a first date, eager to impress, through to the ups and downs of marriage across the years.
Who are the faces behind the 4,000 people who arrive in Australia every day, and what are their stories?
* There were no pictures of the play at a high enough resolution - so here is a nice picture of a bird.
If Only It Went Forever
Watch the Throne
PLAY // VIDEO GAME Bioshock Infinite 2013 PETER BRIGGS FIRST person shooters haven’t been terribly inspiring as of late. In a world of endless Call of Duty sequels and the never ending wait for Valve to release Half Life 3, it’s easy to just say, “you know what, I have better things to do with my life than sit glued to a computer for hours on end”. I’m happy to inform you that Bioshock Infinite will suck you right away from a world of wholesome outdoor activities and the company of other people. To put it simply, this game is an absolute masterpiece. The plot should be the envy of any Adam Sandler employing Hollywood hack. It’s the kind of story you wish had been made into a book or a movie instead, if only to satiate a craving for more information about the world of quantum physics and Christian fundamentalism that Bioshock Infinite hurls you into. Without giving the story away, there is no way I can express to you just how enthralling this story really is. This time around, Irrational and 2K have created a turn-of-the-century floating steampunk city, complete with all the early 20th-century trimmings: hidden slavery, Christian fundamentalism, the struggle of the working class, American Exceptionalism, clockwork mechanisms and blimps. The developers’ intention was that this be essentially a floating (armed) version of the 1893 Chicago World Fair. A city originally designed to impress the world has been taken over by a Prophet who has proclaimed that “The seed of the Prophet shall sit the throne, and burn the men and mountains below”. The city itself is simply stunning: although developed with the now-aging Unreal 3 engine, the environment and design are exceptional, character models look excellent, and facial animation has never been this precise. The environment is enormous, and your eye is constantly being caught by minute details. The gameplay remains true to the Bioshock series – you arm yourself with Vigors in the one hand (19th-century tonics and concoctions that through the magic of quantum physics provide the user with demigod-like powers), and a vast selection of weaponry in the other. The amount of horror and gore on display is in line with the atmosphere the developers are trying to create; it provides visceral and engrossing visuals, but not to the point of bad taste or excess. Admittedly the level design could be better: for a game as linear as Bioshock Infinite, there shouldn’t be as much back-tracking as there is, and the location of objectives is often highly ambiguous. The combat is as exciting as you want it to be. There are oodles of ways to maim your way through the diverse array of enemies; if you stick to the same gun and Vigor combinations through the game then the combat can get stale and dull, so you really ought to try every tool you can find. The zip-line movement system deserves a mention; it’s wildly fun and really livens the pace of the game as you careen about the city on rails dangling high above the earth. All things considered, Bioshock Infinite is definitely worth your time, the story is as gripping as they come, and the game is a visual delight. So clear your schedule and shut yourself away, turn off your phone, and prepare to not leave your seat for the next thirty hours.
MICHAEL QUINCEY O’NEILL Apollo is Woroni’s regular column in which our reviewers offer comment and opinion on cultural questions beyond our individual reviews. FANTASY fans can be divided into two camps: those who think George R.R. Martin is better than J.R.R. Tolkien and those who concede that he is just as good. Doubtless the Machiavellianmuddled plots of A Song of Ice and Fire have reinvigorated the genre, dispensing with the customary elves, goblins and an easy-to-spot tussle between the goodies and villains, in favour of nuanced characterisation and labyrinthine political intrigue. The once familiar disparagement that fantasy was somehow nerdy, childish and regressive could at last be put to rest as Martin gave the world its first truly adult fantasy series, splashing in a healthy dose of moral ambiguity and character deaths to keep the over-18s glued to the page. It also helped that the books are actually crack: while you could probably climb up the perilous walls of Storms’ End by stacking each current volume of the series atop one another, the bloodcurdling bays for more are still the constant stuff of Martin’s nightmares and email account. So thank god for the television show, the nicotine patch for every fan of the books as they await Wind of Winter, and the gateway drug for newcomers who would otherwise have wrinkled
their noses at the fantasy genre or decided that blinding themselves over thousands of pages wasn’t exactly their idea of fun (more fool them!). The show is typically cable-slick, with great production values, great directing and uncompromised violence and nudity. Directing for Game of Thrones must be like a second-best dream come true for directors (the best dream being actual movies of course), filming in locations from Iceland to Morocco, the camera bounding across distant kingdoms and foreign lands, zooming in with professional zeal to capture the internal conflict of the characters. But as seminal TV critic Clive James once said, “it’s the words that count,” and regardless of its cinematic sheen, or for that matter the constant titillation that could keep even the most fitful, hyperactive 13-year-old boy nailed to his chair, if the scripts were flat then the whole apparatus of the show would tumble to the ground. Fortunately with Martin’s books as your bible it’s a mug’s game, the showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss often directly transposing dialogue from the books and making sure that most of the best scenes make the translation onto the screen. Their own stuff, and the stuff of the other writers,
... the gateway drug for new-comers who would otherwise have wrinkled their noses at the fantasy genre. is generally good enough to fill in the gaps and even if the dialogue in Martin-penned episodes tower above the other writers’ efforts, there are usually one or two great lines in every episode (‘Blackberry Jam!’, ‘God bless Bessie and her tits!’ and practically everything else Mark Addy’s King Robert said during his brief stint on the Iron Throne).
However that’s not to say they’re completely successful when it comes to adapting the books; often they struggle with the characters’ motives, such as in the first episode of the new season when Tywin starts off calling his diminutive son, Tyrion, a whoremongering wastrel, before telling him not to expect praise for a job well done. Or they become so eager to rush events along that characters will often pop up in the middle of castles without so much as a grappling-hook sequence. And don’t even get me started on the Ros character … But I’m a fan of the books, so naturally I’m churlish when the show fails to be as good as the books at being the books; and the show is generally pretty good at that too. Surprisingly enough most of the characters burst onto the screen with more vigour then they ever did in the books. Bronwyn, Tywin, Osha and Ser Jorah Mormont are much more rounded and complex then their ideographic counterparts, and Peter Dinklage is magisterial as the troubled black sheep of the odious Lannister clan, even if, as my sister constantly objects, he is too good looking to play the part. Where the characters falter the troublemaker is usually among the twenty-something crowd, Emilia Clarke sparing us any acting as she makes one stentorian yelp after another. And Kit Harrington’s face is so dour and impassive you begin to suspect the cold gales of the North have frozen it in place. So what to expect from season 3? No doubt the showrunners will remain stolidly committed to George R.R. Martin’s overarching theme that Everything You Ever Loved Will Burn Around You, but viewers should also expect bigger dragons, more magic, more brooding, more character deaths and more of everything they’ve come to love about the show. At least now that the showrunners have decided to only cover half of Martin’s massy third volume, A Storm of Swords, we can hopefully spend less time shifting through all that fantastical trapping and finally get down to the heart of the story: the characters. Oh and fingers crossed that Vargo Hoat and his Bloody Mummers turn up somewhere down the line …
JACK BIRTWHISTLE MEGAN LANE
IB Therefore I Am
NOW in its 51st year and held across the 22-23 March, the event is the highlight of the ANU Interhall Sports competition. Managed over 24 hours, the event saw 224 competitors, more than 150 volunteers and hundreds of spectators representing all Halls and Colleges. Organisers spent six months liaising with landholders, national parks, state and local councils, the ANU, the Interhall Sports Organisation, ANU Sport and individual residences to create one of the most successful courses in recent history with more than 85% of teams making it to endpoint culminating in an undisputed win for BnG. This year’s committee faced a monumental task in bringing the event back from the brink of oblivion. Thankfully, the event suffered none of the last minute change of landholder consent problems that diminished IB in 2012. Noticeable changes included cutting Division 7 Indi, banning entry to private property and the introduction of live event tracking. This enabled friends and families to watch the race progress from around the world. We had parents from as far afield as Perth, Singapore and South Africa monitor the progress of teams throughout the night. Once 5am rolled around all teams were running and everything was okay, the Organising Committee were able to sit down and relax for the first time in almost 24 hours. Little sleep was had at race HQ mostly because it was really bloody cold and windy. By 6am the sun was up and the team was closely monitoring the movements of each division— some movements were stranger than others, with Burgmann six and Unilodge five employing some creative navigation techniques early on.
It wasn’t long before End Point at Corin Forest was teeming with life and the first division to make it home edging closer to the finish line. At 8:20am B&G seven made their way down the chute to the cheers of a raucous crowd. At this stage, aside from a few divisions, all teams had eventually found a somewhat sensible route that would safely bring them to end point. The race was heating up. By 10am teams were arriving every 15 to 20
Finishing first, second, first, first, fifth, fourth and first in divisions one to seven it was one of the most comprehensive all round performances in living memory. minutes and we didn’t have to wait long before our first Division one side appeared on the horizon. B&G Division one had set off from the drop point first and maintained a blistering pace for the entire race that no other team was able to match. They officially arrived at 10:42am, the tenth division overall to finish and the winners of the Bill Packard trophy. Griffin Division one were the next team to arrive having picked up their pace at a phenomenal rate over the second half of the course, passing a surprisingly amazing effort by an under-prepared but inspired Fenner Hall in the final straight to claim second. Fenner Hall Di-
// PHOTOS TONY LE
vision one rounded out the top three after stumbling over the finish line less than 20 minutes after Griffin following a mammoth effort, which included the absurdly brave move to put an untrained runner in the team at midnight on the eve of the event. Burgmann, Johns, UniLodge and finally Ursies finished fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively and while making it to end point, unfortunately Bruce Hall suffered a DQ for crossing private property. By 5pm all remaining teams had arrived at end point with only eight of the 56 teams withdrawing. However it was much earlier in the afternoon that it became evident the event belonged to B&G. Finishing first, second, first, first, fifth, fourth and first in divisions one to seven it was one of the most comprehensive all round performances in living memory. A big congratulation is also in order for Griffin Hall and Fenner Hall. Griffin Hall placed second overall, which is very impressive given their short involvement in the event and confirms the townies as regular participants going forward. Fenner Hall also showed a newfound resilience to finish all divisions and place third, the best result for the Hall in many years. Finally a huge round of applause for Ben Greenwood is desperately in order. Ben put in more effort than is conceivable to ensure the event went off without a hitch. He thought of everything, expertly managed his team and had the technical knowledge and experience with the course to allow him manage the event with unprecedented fluidity. 2013 was one of the best, well done to everyone involved, and lets gear up for an even better 2014.
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The King Turns Up the Heat
All Bets are Off
THERE has been a significant change in the television coverage of sports in the past few years. Gone are the days when you could sit down and watch a game of footy, with the only intrusion being Ray Warren. Now we are exposed to the likes of Tom Waterhouse and Betfair giving us up to date odds on the game we’re watching. Sport in my opinion has always been family orientated, whether it be the numerous fan and family days all clubs/teams host, to the incredible amount of merchandise targeted at children, but when live coverage, particularly in a family time slot has ads, live crosses and odds displayed regularly, I have an issue. Peter FitzSimons of Fairfax Media has taken it upon himself to question this latest development of coverage, something I believe more leading sports writers should write about. This is an actual issue which I see as having a detrimental effect on society, and has to be addressed. Tom Waterhouse claims he was “born to bet,” a slogan FitzSimons and others suggest is a “seductive and ubiquitous” way of encouraging young people, in particular, to gamble. And this is repeated not only during sports telecasts, but on prime time TV where there is no regulation on advertising for gambling. Please don’t read this wrong, I don’t have an issue with someone having a flutter on the result of a sports game. However when my senses are assaulted by advertising for gambling, it’s gone too far. In a society where its repeatedly stated there are people out there that need to be helped, this type of intrusion has to be halted. Watching the NRL this season, Tom Waterhouse has seemingly been accepted as a member of the Channel 9 Commentary Team, complete with Channel 9 microphone, and pre game, half time and postgame opinion crosses. Equally poor is how betting agencies are allowed to offer deals for money back if a certain situation occurs and you lose your bet. All this is doing is encouraging further gambling, something society doesn’t need. How is this allowed? Gambling has a terrible effect on Australian society, destroying relationships, families and lives. Whereas smoking and alcohol have stringent controls and even bans on their advertising, instead we have a respected actor spruiking a new company, constant interruption and engaging advertising designed to do one thing – take people’s money. So this is a call to our politicians, sports writers and the community as a whole. Stop this ridiculousness, stand up and make a point akin to Peter FitzSimons or I’m scared we will face a gambling epidemic as the most technologically bound and influenced generation yet, are inundated with advertising.
THE NBA playoffs are upon us and there is no doubt it is set to be one of the most exciting in many years. The Miami Heat are clear favourites to take the 2013 title. Arguably, due to the team’s recent record-breaking 27 game winning streak. Above all I would argue they have one player who as of late has shown he has the potential to be one of, if not the best basketball player ever. Throughout the winning streak Lebron James a.k.a “the King” has affirmed his spot on top of the basketball world. At 2.03m tall and 113kg, he boasts an unstoppable physical frame, possesses the quickness, agility and passing of a guard, whilst being able to rebound, jump and dunk as well as anyone in the league. One of Miami’s greatest wins in the streak came in their 24th, against James’ former team the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Heat fell behind 27 points with 7:44 to go in the third quarter, until James single-handedly took over the game. In the second half alone, he posted nineteen points, ten rebounds and seven assists, statistics which are not often seen by any player in an entire game, let alone a half. He lit up the highlight reel, shooting back-to-back-toback threes to put the game beyond doubt. Performances like this has seen Lebron deservedly become branded as ‘King James.’ Lebron was picked #1 in the 2003 NBA Draft as an 18 year old, high-school prodigy and was put on a $4 million contract. Currently, he has a base playing salary of over $17 million a year, equating to roughly $207,300 a game. However, since his controversial signing with the Miami Heat in 2011, he has taken a ‘pay-cut’ in order to win. He is still raking in the “greenbacks” though. He
has endorsements with Coca-Cola, Samsung and McDonalds, not to mention his $15 million a year contract with Nike and partial ownership of Liverpool F.C. Lebron is leading a global resurrection of the NBA back into popular culture. There is no doubt he is one of the worlds most recognizable athletes. Recently, Lebron became the first player in NBA history to post over 30 points and shoot 60 percent from the field in six consecutive games. Further, he became the youngest NBA player ever to reach 20,000 career points at 28. James will no doubt win the MVP in 2013. This will take his tally
Currently, he has a base playing salary of over $17 million a year, equating to roughly $207,300 a game. to four MVPs in his career, equal to that of Michael Jordan. Achievements like this ensures that his reputation as the world’s best basketball player will continue to grow. As remarkable as James has been all season, he still has many critics who argue that he receives an inordinate amount of credit for the success of a team that also includes All-Stars Dwayne Wade
and Chris Bosh. However, when likened to Michael Jordan, what were the Bulls without their other hall-of-famers like Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman? Jordan did not single handedly take the Bulls to a 72-10 win-loss record in 199596. Critics argue that Lebron James has only won one NBA championship in comparison to Jordan’s six. However, Jordan did not win his first championship until he was 28, unlike Lebron who won his first at 27. I am by no means suggesting Lebron can be considered a better player than Jordan. Rather, Lebron’s statistics at this stage in his career are at the very least competitive with the man they say is the best player ever to play the game. If Lebron and the Heat can claim a second title in as many years, his name will only continually be put in the same category as that of Jordan. It is hard to envision any teams beating James and the Heat in a best of 7-game series during the playoffs. Apart from their All-Stars, the Heat also have two talented point guards in Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole as well as two of the most respected veterans in the league, Ray Allen and Shane Battier. However, if any team is to beat the Heat, they will have to learn how to stop James first. If you get the chance, watch the phenomenon that is Lebron James and the Heat during these playoffs. At present, Lebron James is well and truly ‘the King’ of basketball and like Michael Jordan in his prime, is on his way to becoming the King of global sport. If the Heat wins this season and Lebron wins the Finals MVP, he will only be a step closer to claiming this label.
a T a B b m 8 c
a t o a a m h i
h “ a a S t B T s
SPORT// 39 ON THE BALL
Demon Days MURRAY ROBERTSON
Breaking in the Brumbies ZACH MACKEY I’M a Sydney boy. I grew up supporting the Waratahs, and going to games at what is now known as Allianz Stadium, but what I’ve always known as the Sydney Football Stadium. What I’d say was lacking, though, was a serious atmosphere at the rugby. Sydney is a city of many sports, and it is hard to find the passion and buzz obvious at other codes’ matches around the country, and the world. Sure there’d be the rise and swell as the Tahs launched an attacking raid, but there was never the edgy tension evident at a Manchester derby in England. Moving to Canberra in my first year I didn’t really embrace the Brumbies as a new home team. This year I turned a new leaf, beginning with attending the recent grudge match between the Brumbies and Waratahs. I had heard there have been attempts this year to really get a proper atmosphere going behind the Brumbies and after 80 minutes of rugby, I am calling it early as a success. The Brumbies are making a huge effort to create a great atmospshere. The Southern Bowl is taking on a decidedly student feel, with tickets only $10 for students. Brumbies General Manager George De Crespigny says the aim is to, “create an atmosphere that is attractive for students, makes it easy for them to attend, and so that they have a great time regardless of the game going on in front of them!” This has been based on Canberra being a city highlighted by its strong university presence. “The Brumbies want the students to “own” them as a team.” Through their major sponsorship, UC and the Brumbies have established the rUCkus Supporters Club. They are the backbone of the attempt to create the student atmosphere, and the Brumbies “would love to see ANU do the same.” There has been the offer that if ANU establishes a similar situation, the Brumbies will happily pro-
vide promotional material and collateral. I’d love to see this happen at ANU in the next year or so, because the Brumbies could never have too much support! Immediately I noticed a difference between that night and the regular games I attended in Sydney. Walking to Canberra Stadium there was a buzz in the air, a general sense of anticipation for the game. I was surprised by the amount of supporter’s gear on display. There seemed to be a family focussed, deep rooted support for the Brumbies. The fans were passionate but without malice. Wearing a Waratahs jersey I expected to be abused and hassled, but my experience was
One new addition to home games this year as a part of the attempt to recreate the famous atmosphere of the 2001 season when the Brumbies won the Super 12 Competition, has been Party Gravy in the South Bowl. quite to the contrary. That’s not to say nothing was said, but it was very light-hearted with smiles allround. When the Brumbies ran out in their centenary of Canberra jerseys, the crowd exploded. One new addition to home games this year as a part of the attempt to recreate the famous atmosphere of the 2001 season when the Brumbies won the Super 12 Competition, has been Party Gravy in the South Bowl. Party Gravy are a local brass
band with the self-professed aim to “get the party started.” Working with the UC rUCkus Crew on the atmosphere, band member Andrew Kimber says, “Our involvement is basically to watch the game and I guess you could say we provide musical commentary on what is happening on the field. We play songs like “I’m Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rocky)” or of course the Brumbies theme song to try to boost the moral of the players. We play other tunes to attempt to warm the crowd up and get them cheering, if you think along the lines of an organ player at American sport you’ll have the idea.” In terms of the crowd and team’s reaction to their involvement, Andrew has only heard positive reviews. “We have found the reaction from the crowd to be really good. At the Tahs game we played a couple of songs John Butler’s “Zebra”, RAGTM “Killing in the Name of” and the “Chicken Dance” all of which had the crowd joining in, or at least those in the south bowl … At the end of the game the Brumbies themselves thanked us and the UC rUCkus crew for their involvement in helping them in their win and we got tweets from several players including a song request from Clyde Rathbone, and a shout out from David Pocock and Stephen Moore.” The atmosphere that Party Gravy created, at least down in the South Bowl, was electric and made the rugby that much more enjoyable. Their musical commentary adds another dimension and the group is sure to become a regular staple of home games. The MCG has its Bay 13, Dunedin have the Highlanders’ Zoo, and hopefully soon the Brumbies will have the South Bowl.
THE Melbourne Demons are in a whole new world of trouble. The first round of the season is generally a period of excitement and ambition, with all teams keen to send a statement in their first match of a very long season. Teams that struggle for a strong start will invariably struggle for the whole season, with very few exceptions. Which brings us to the Demons, the foundation club of the AFL, arguably the oldest sporting establishment in Australia. They recruited well over the summer, bringing in mature players to bolster what appeared to be a blossoming young list. Premiership players Chris Dawes and Shannon Byrnes were brought in and feted over the pre-season for their superb leadership skills. Round One loomed with a real sense of optimism, especially considering a clash with fellow 2012 battler Port Adelaide. Yet something went wrong. Port Adelaide had quietly gone about recruiting unwanted players from other clubs, players with desire and hunger. They ripped the soft Melbourne in half. While a defeat is a defeat, it was the manner in which Melbourne were defeated that was cause for concern. They gave up, in round one of the season. The next week, after enduring days of tight media scrutiny on the future of both players and coaches, it was expected that a different Melbourne would step out. Essendon took full advantage of the hapless team and proceeded to monster them by 148 points. West Coast joined the party with a casual 94 point victory the next week. So what will happen? If they can’t beat the two expansion teams, then Melbourne face the real possibility of a winless season. Delving into the consequences of such a tragedy is very ugly. A lack of on-field success means crowds drop, which means less revenue for the club, which means that players want to leave. All of which paints a bleak picture for Melbourne. The AFL won’t let them fall off the map, they will be propped up for as long as necessary, but at what cost? This once mighty club is crippled. Are the AFL content to let the Demons float in their deep river of money, or will they let them cut their losses and slowly drown? A sad, but maybe necessary end for the club that has given up.
WORONI GETS LOCO WITH EDITION 5