We acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, who are the traditional owners of the land on which Woroni is written, edited and printed. We pay respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge that this land â€“ which we benefit from occupying â€“ was stolen, that sovereignty was never ceded and that no acknowledgement will ever bring it back.
woroni VOL. 70, issue 1, 2020
the voice of THE anu since 1950 VOL. 70, issue 1, 2020
WORONI TEAM CONTENT Lily Pang Rachel Chopping George Owens Ellie Flintoff Emily Fursa Bridget Tracey Elliot Merchant Isabel Richards Aditi Dubey Juliette Brown Tara Finlay ART Eliza Williams Alice Dunkley Emily Oâ€™neil Maddy Brown Sian Williams Bonnie Burns Abigail Border NEWS Charlotte Ward Elena Couper Ronan Skyring Isobel Lavers Genevieve Garner
WORDS TO: PHOEBE@WORONI.COM.AU ART TO: GEORGIE@WORONI.COM.AU
RADIO Rishi Dhakshinamoorthy Bernadette Callaghan Louis Festa Jacinta Chen Tom Stephens Nicholas Sandeman Sam Neave Elijah Lazarus Bec Donald-Wilson TV Matthew Donlan Christian Reeves Vy Tsan Scott Koh Lucy Skeldon Krishna Gogineni
CUB SPORT HOLY HOLY WAFIA
+ IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
ADRIAN EAGLE / GRAACE HAYLEY MARY / REMI 21 FEB 2020 | FELLOWS OVAL TICKETS AT ANUSA.COM.AU / FNP2020, MOSHTIX & YOURSANDOWLS.COM.AU
CONTENTS 4 NEWS 5 NUS Natcon 2019: A Wrap Up Grace Sixsmith 6 The Tuckwell Scholarship: Open to Many, Given to the Few Yakub Garrett, Nicholas Richardson, Elena Couper, and Isobel Lavers
8 70th ANNIVERSARY 9 Reflections From The Deputy Editor-in-Chief Josie Ganko 10 70 Covers For 70 Years 12 Reflections From Past Editors Various Authors 14 Woroni Timeline 16 A Career Born At Woroni Jack Waterford
18 ANU Students Celebrate AMaGA Internship Award Sheridan Burnett
41 The Social Psychology Of Tradition Zach Cunich
20 Feliz Navidad Lulu Alvarez-Mon
42 So You Still Want To Be A Journalist? Zoe Mitchell
22 How Many Calories Are In This? Anonymous
44 How Can We Dance While Our Beds Are Burning? Juliette Brown
24 Checking In On Yourself During The Bushfires Kimberly Slapp
46 Jojo Rabbit: Why We Must Not Forget Tara Finlay
25 What I See When I Close My Eyes Morgan Sheppard
47 Home Work by Julie Andrews: Review Phoebe Lupton
26 From Caption to Campaign Zoe Mitchell 28 Seven Lessons I Learnt From Woroni Julia Faragher 30 The End Of An Era Brandon Tan and Chloe Wong
32 ARTS 33 To Travel Ella McCarthy 34 The View From Outer Space David Gill 35 ANU Suffers Record Outbreak Of Summertime Sadness Rachel Chopping 36 Ode To My Notes App Rachel Chopping 37 Walking The Line Phoebe Lupton 38 Egomaniac Elvin Zhang 39 To Sit At Their Feet Kieran Knox
COVER ARTWORK: GEORGIE KAMVISSIS DIVIDER PAGE ARTWORK: ELIZA WILLIAMS
48 Cats (Or The Irony Of Memory In A Completely Immemorable Film): A Review Jaime Howell
50 DISCOVERY 51 New Year Revolution Aditi Dubey 52 A Story About Cricket and Climate Change Nick Blood 54 It Will Be Fire George Owens 56 All Tip And No Iceberg: Ceremonial Economics In Australia Elliott Merchant 58 How A Virtual View Of Earth Can Change Humanity Isabel Richards 60 The Science Behind The Prize Various Authors 62 Artworks by Izaak Bink
MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR IN CHIEF: CONTENT WARNING: NSW/Victoria Bushfires
We’re back and kicking in 2020, team. It’s been quite possibly the worst start to a year in my lifetime, but somehow we’re still here amongst the fires, smoke and hail. It seems pretty ironic, then, that the theme of our magazine in this issue is ‘Ceremonial’. It’s been hard to allow ourselves to enjoy the festive season while others in our country continue to lose everything, and the guilt of this alone can be quite crippling. We’ve seen horrible tragedy and loss in recent months, and it is important to recognise that. Nothing will diminish the sheer trauma that many Australians, including ANU students, have endured in recent times.
This is why we at Woroni have chosen to see our first edition of the decade as a celebration of the ANU community’s strength and resilience, as well as a mark of our 70 years representing the voice of the student body. In another 70 years, I’ll most likely be dead, but I’m pretty confident Woroni won’t be. Maybe it won’t be a magazine, maybe it’ll be some form of communique that is streamed directly into people’s minds, Black Mirror-style. Regardless of the format, Woroni will continue to kick on alongside the student body, and we will continue to be the mouthpiece for your opinions.
So without further ado, welcome to Issue 1. The first Woroni of the year and decade. Hope you all enjoy!
NUS NatCon 2019: A Wrap Up AUTHOR // GRACE SIXSMITH In early December the National Union of Students held its annual National Conference. In an event normally filled with drama, the 2019 conference was no exception. Conference began with an issue regarding the National Labor Students’ nomination forms, which spun the previous months of negotiations between the factions into chaos. This lead to a delay on conference floor, and the conference did not begin until the evening session at 7pm. The next day began in a similarly dramatic fashion, with Student Unity calling for a campus count, which led to an hour and a half of votes being counted. This resulted in the knowledge that Student Unity had over 50 per cent of conference floor, and would have final say over every vote for the rest of the conference. In terms of motions, there was a small amount that related to ANU and ANUSA. These motions followed SRC 6, which ended in the police being called to campus after a student refused to leave the meeting. EDU23 failed, but originally condemned ANUSA for calling the police to the meeting, however, this platform was removed. ANU student Zoe Ranganathan spoke for the motion, saying that calling the police to universities without consultation with different ethnic groups drives these groups away from engaging with student associations. EDU32 further condemned ANUSA, specifically ANUSA President Lachy Day, who was General Secretary at the time, for undermining freedom of speech, through the new standing order regulations that were proposed in an SGM. Bizarrely, the motion itself was not proposed by ANU students. Day was heckled during the debate, with ANU student Kim Stern yelling “you sycophant”. The motion passed, with Day voting for the motion, effectively condemning himself. Also notably, a motion was passed regarding Student Media Integrity. It called all student media publications to journalistic integrity standards “expected outside the newsroom of the Daily Mail”. It was moved by the two Labor factions, Student Unity and National Labor Students. This was to ensure that “fake news” about the NUS and key factional players wasn’t spread, with those speaking on the motion calling student media “a threat to democracy”. ANUSA Education Officer Skanda Panditharatne spoke against the motion, defending student media for presenting legitimate criticism for student associations. ANU also had a number of students elected to positions within the Union. Georgette Mouawad, from Student Unity, was elected as the ACT State Branch President, a position that has not been elected since 2017. Sophie Macdonald, the ANU Student Unity convenor, was elected to the NUS National Executive. Grace Sixsmith attended NatCon in 2018 and EdCon in 2019 sat with Student Unity on conference floor.
6 // NEWS
The Tuckwell Scholarship: Open to the many, given to the few AUTHOR // YAKUB GARRETT, NICHOLAS RICHARDSON, ELENA COUPER, AND ISOBEL LAVERS The Tuckwell Scholarship is a bursary awarded to students commencing undergraduate studies at the ANU with a “focus on giving back to Australia”. The scholarship is designed to attract students “from all around Australia,” although less than one per cent of successful candidates from 2014 to 2019 were from regional areas. Each year, 25 secondary students are chosen nationally for the scholarship. They receive $21,850 (2019 rate) annually, increasing with inflation, for up to five years of full-time study. For a student completing a five-year degree, this totals at $109,250. The funding is intended to “cover on-campus residential costs, books and general living expenses.” Successful applicants must have a predicted ATAR of 95 or over and have achieved high grades in both English and Mathematics (B- equivalent). The recipients must also exhibit the “attributes of a Tuckwell scholar,” which include such qualities as being “humble” and “emotionally intelligent.” They need to obtain various academic references, and then be successful at the in-person interview held in Canberra. Additionally, students are compelled to demonstrate how their family is connected to Australia. This includes identifying any contributions the applicants’ families “make, both within their local community or a wider area and how this strengthens their ties to Australia.” Students who successfully receive the scholarship must live in an ANU residence for at least the first year of their studies and must consistently meet the ANU expectations for academic progress relevant to their course. For students who attend schools that are classified as S101E or S101C under the Educational Access Scheme, an ATAR no lower than 90 may be acceptable. Academic bonus points may not be counted towards the required ATAR for the scholarship. Woroni collated data provided from each Tuckwell recipient from 2014 to 2019 and the schools which they attended on a number of factors. Firstly, we arranged and averaged these schools on their respective Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA). ICSEA is a scale of socio-educational advantage that is computed for each school. The ranking sets the average score at 1,000.
The average score of the Tuckwell Scholarship recipients’ schools was 1106, with the lowest being Casino High School at 865 and the highest being Sydney Grammar at 1296. Secondly, we ranked these schools on where they were located, using the metrics major cities, inner regional, outer regional, and remote. Notably, 71.26 per cent of students who received the scholarship came from schools located in the major cities, while just over nine per cent of recipients came from schools classified as outer regional or remote. Of the 175 recipients, only one came from a remote located school, Spinifex State College in central Queensland. Thirdly, Woroni arranged the recipients’ schools by the socio-economic distribution of the schools’ students. On average 51 per cent of the students that attended Tuckwell recipients’ schools came from the top quartile. Sydney Grammar topped the list with 98 per cent of students coming from the top income quartile in 2017. Conversely, only 27 per cent of these students came from the bottom two quartiles, with 24 schools not having a single student from the bottom quartile. Three schools didn’t have a student in the bottom two quartiles. Shockingly, on average, the scholarship recipients’ schools were comprised of only three per cent indigenous students, with 49 schools not having a single Indigenous student. Nine schools had over 10 per cent Indigenous enrolments, with Spinifex State College having the most at 36 per cent. Melbourne High School and Sydney Grammar had the most recipients of the award since 2014, with four apiece, and three schools; Perth Modern School, Merewether High School and Fort Street High School, had three recipients.
ARTWORK : GEORGIE KAMVISSIS // 7
AVERAGE OF INDEX OF COMMUNITY SOCIO-EDUCATIONAL ADVANTAGE (ICSEA) (GRADUATING YEAR)
GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION OF RECIPIENTS’ SCHOOLS
PERCENTAGE DISTRIBUTION OF TUCKWELLS RECIPIENTS’ SCHOOLS BY SOCIO-ECONOMIC QUARTILES
ARTWORK : BONNIE BURNS // 9
reflections from the deputy editor-in-chief AUTHOR // JOSIE GANKO Woroni was first published as the student newspaing forebearers chose rather well (even if my mum per of the Canberra University College in 1950, so in still can’t remember the name after three years of me 2020, we celebrate our 70th Anniversary. We think 70 working for the paper). years is a pretty big deal, so we’ve decided to cause a bit of a fuss; starting with various reflections in the While compiling the 70th anniversary reflections, I’ve pages of our first edition for 2020. When you considlooked back over hundreds of previous editions of er that the ANU was founded in 1946, 74 years ago, Woroni, and while lots has obviously changed, there it is clear that Woroni has been here since the very were many headlines that sound a lot like the issues beginning. There were very few years when the unithat are still on the students minds. Every couple of versity existed without us, and Woroni has grown to years there was discussion of disaffiliation with the be vital institution within the ANU. While I’m sure student union (now the NUS, previously the NUAUS), there have been times when the university adminishousing shortages has long been an issue at ANU, tration, or ANUSA or PARSA wished we didn’t exist, and a 1982 article titled ‘John XXIII upsets neighWoroni has steadfastly persevered through 70 years bours’ is hardly a foreign concept. of telling student stories. There is no doubt we have experienced challenges, and with those challenges While I am now entering my second and final sethere have been tough times for the paper. We have mester on the Woroni board, I am more determined had years where nothing or very little was published, than ever in my belief in what Woroni does. While I legal challenges, editorial scandals, undue influence, know students don’t have a say in the SSAF money the whole shebang. But this little student-run paper the university provides that funds us and other similar has never run out of steam, and continues to grow student organisations at the ANU (take that up with and change with the times. In my humble, but certhe government), the opportunities that Woroni protainly biased opinion, Woroni is having somewhat of duces return on that investment ten-fold. Whether it’s a renaissance this past decade. As the first and only your first published piece of writing, or an opportucompletely independent student media organisation nity to start a radio show with your friends, create art in Australia, we can not only offer a magazine filled that ends up on the front of a magazine, learn valuwith outstanding written and artistic contributions evable skills such as copy-editing and management of ery few weeks, but timely online news content, radio a team, or master the use of professional recording shows of every kind, and most recently, professional and filming equipment, these are opportunities that grade short videos and films. just wouldn’t be available through any other medium. The ANU doesn’t offer a journalism degree, and yet As seen from the excerpt below from the May 1952 thanks to Woroni has produced some of the finest edition of Woroni, the meaning of our masthead is journalists in the country (as can be seen in our Alum‘mouthpiece’. This description is telling of the time in ni reflections). And for those of us at the centre of which it was written, with no further specificity given Woroni, not only have we gained immeasurable skills than that it is an ‘Aboriginal word’. To this day, it is and experiences, but we have gained friendships not clear from which Indigenous language Woroni is and connections that will last well beyond university. derived. But either way, we are proud to have a refI can’t help but feel lucky that Woroni continues to erence to native language in our name, and being a exist after all these years, so that I could have the exmouthpiece for the students is what we are always periences I have had in the last three years. striving for. With this in mind, we feel that our edit-
23 May 1947 First edition published under the name Student Notes: Canberra University College Students Association.
14 February 1950 Paper officially titled Woroni. 14 June 1950 First edition under the masthead Woroni published.
16 March 1967 Woroni Cover’s Mao’s China and student views of the Vietnam war on it’s cover.
May 1962 Woroni covers the opening of Chifley library
1 April 1981 Woroni captures the zeitgeist as fears of nuclearisation spread across Australia as the Cold War heats up
20 July 1971 Woroni publishes ‘The Black and White Woroni’ covering Apartheid
TIMELINE August 2010 Woroni ceased printing and it’s website was removed after editor resignations protesting ANUSA interference. October 2010 ANU Student Media is formed, and formally incorporated.
2017 Woroni TV launches.
January 2011 Woroni returns to publication, declaring ‘Woroni is no longer listed as married’.
11 March 1985 - ANU students are faced with the re-introduction of university fees from the Hawke Government
1 November 1998 Woroni celebrates 50 years
2012 Woroni Radio launches. 6 March 1999 Woroni’s cover shows the Aboriginal Tent Embassy
26 April 1983 The cover of Woroni investigates war time rape
2019 The Woroni newspaper moves to a magazine format
12 // 70TH ANNIVERSARY | REFLECTIONS
reflections from past editors AUTHOR // VARIOUS
Andrew Podger Andrew worked at Woroni in 1970 when it was a sub-sect of ANUSA, and most editors were student politicians. He took on the role as a fill-in, and balanced the position with a full time job in the public service and part-time study at the ANU. Woroni was published weekly, and one of Andrew’s most memorable editions featured Princess Anne’s teeth. Upon graduating, Andrew began an incredible career in social policy, seeing him work for various departments of the public service. Andrew was appointed a departmental secretary by the Keating government in 1993, and ended his public service career as the Public Service Commissioner in 2004. Since then, Andrew has re-joined the ANU as a professor of public policy, and maintains an interest in media as a member of the Australian Press Council. “Editing Woroni was fun, as was participating in student politics. But such activities are more than fun - they teach you and those around you about issues of public interest and about ways to explore and debate them. For me, they also led to life-long friendships with a cohort of extraordinary men and women who have contributed in all sorts of ways both in Australia and internationally.”
Uma Patel Uma studied a dual degree of law and psychology at the ANU, and during her time she was an editor at Woroni and founded Woroni Radio. Uma was an editor at Woroni in 2011, the first year of an independent ANU Student Media, separate from ANUSA. She has gone on to work as a correspondent and bureau chief for Sky News New Zealand, a political reporter for the ABC, and she currently works as a strategic analyst for the Financial Times in London. “I think I’m the only Woroni editor who decided to go straight into TV, which probably means I’m the most dynamic ex-editor with the hottest face. That face has been fortunate enough to have a career filled with a ton of insane and illuminating adventures – I’ll always look at Woroni as the crucial first step along that beautiful unkempt path.”
Lisa Visentin Lisa was on the Woroni board of editors in 2012. After graduating from ANU in 2013, Lisa worked as an intern in the federal parliament house press gallery for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, before being hired by the Sydney Morning Herald as a cadet, where she now works as a NSW state political reporter. “When I look back on my five years at the ANU, the halcyon days were those spent in the Woroni office with my co-editors. There were late nights and long weekends proofing copies and polishing stories, but the whole shebang was sheer good fun. And, of course, few things were more satisfying than holding the latest edition of Woroni in your hands. I remember the thrill of seeing my first ever byline in her glorious pages. A thrill I’ve never quite stopped chasing since.”
Fergus Hunter Fergus was on the Woroni board in 2013 and 2014. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in political science and international relations, and soon after joined Fairfax Media. He is now based in the press gallery at Parliament House, reporting for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. “Getting involved in Woroni was one of the most rewarding things I did at ANU. It was extremely challenging at times, but I met some brilliant people, picked up a lot of skills and it really opened doors. My two failed attempts to get elected as an editor were also unforgettable lessons in humility. Got over the line on the third attempt, dignity damaged but intact.”
Will Glasgow Will studied a Bachelor of Philosophy at the ANU, majoring in English Literature and Political Science. Will was an editor at Woroni in 2007 and graduated in 2009. After graduating he reported for the Australian Financial Review, before becoming their ‘Rear Window’ columnist. In 2016, he moved to The Australian, where he wrote their ‘Margin Call’ column. Will has recently moved to Beijing to take up a new position, as The Australian’s China Correspondent. “A lot of great reporters in Australian studied journalism at UTS, RMIT or wherever, but I‘m a big fan of the ANU model. It gives you the time to broaden your mind. “I also think it’s more honest to the craft. A degree in journalism doesn’t seem quite right – it’s much too fun for that. Just join Woroni, read Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop and watch His Girl Friday. You’ll know if it’s for you.”
W 70 covers for 70 years
16 // 70TH ANNIVERSARY | REFLECTIONS
ARTWORK : BONNIE BURNS
a career born at Woroni AUTHOR // JACK WATERFORD I worked with several editors between 1970 and 1972, and was part of a triumvirate with Dave Wright and Bill Forster, who edited it during 1972. Woroni then was pre-occupied with protest, particularly in relation to Vietnam, conscription, apartheid including the Springbok tour of 1971 and Aboriginal rights, including the Aboriginal Embassy affair. Aboriginal Embassy leaders were frequently to be seen to campus, and marches to protect and defend the Embassy began from the ANU. But Woroni also covered ANU sport, issues of student and university government, student housing and general fun, as well as using a fair bit of material (and cartoons, such as Crumb and Cobb, the latter with close ANU connections) pirated from the American underground press. While working on Woroni, I picked up a job at The Canberra Times as a copyboy. On the morning I started work, the then editor told me, “That fool of a chief of staff hired you, not knowing who you were. But I know all about you (which wouldn’t have been hard, since I regularly featured in court reports of demonstrations). I am not going to sack you. But you should know that you will never ever get a chance to get a journalistic cadetship here – because you are publicly identified with political positions, and we need our journalists to be regarded as neutral.” That was a momentous moment for me. I was a law student (if a peripatetic one, more interested in student politics). I had never particularly wanted to be a journalist. But, as Groucho Marx remarked, who would want to be a member of a club which would
have people like yourself as members? I hung on, and, in December, when Whitlam was elected and the warrant for my arrest as a draft dodger was cancelled, I was given a cadetship. Over intervening years, I worked most reporting rounds, but particularly on politics, Aboriginal affairs, public administration and the law. I became deputy editor in 1987, editor in 1995, editor-in-chief in 2001 and, for more than a decade editor-at-large, a vague title meaning I had no administrative duties and a general licence to write about whatever took my fancy. I am more than four years retired now, but still write a column a week in that form. Journalists are sometimes told that their job is to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable. Years after leaving Woroni, I talked to an editorial collective whom I had accused of being too serious and humourless. A student publication – in print or online – had to have a cheeky personality and attack sacred cows, I said. But not my sacred cows. Attacking them was humdrum. One had to critically scrutinise, and if needs be mock and question ideas prevailing among the student generation. A satiric eye was essential. At this point I think I had most of the collective onside. But then I spoiled everything. “For example,” I said, “there should be the occasional racist or sexist joke in Woroni.” That, it seemed was going too far!
18 // CAMPUS | INTERVIEW
anu students celebrate amaga internship award AUTHOR // SHERIDAN BURNETT
Woroni congratulates ANU students Sophia Halloway and Georgia Reed, who have recently been awarded the inaugural Australian Museums and Galleries Association (AMaGA) Internship Prize. The prize was open to students who undertook internship programs in 2019 through ANU’s Centre for Art History and Art Theory and Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies. AMaGA is Australia’s national association and peak advocacy body representing our museums and galleries. Its members are linked by a shared dedication to the arts, movable cultural heritage, and the knowledge that Australian culture is a dynamic ecosystem that contributes to the social and economic wellbeing of the country. AMaGA ACT offers the internship prize to high performing students who are planning careers in the museums and galleries sector. The prize consists of a one-year membership to AMaGA and a gift voucher for The Curatoreum. Sophia and Georgia met with Sheridan Burnett of AMaGA ACT to discuss their experiences as interns and share their plans for the future. Sophia Halloway, Bachelor of Art History and Curatorship (Honours), interned at Canberra Contemporary Art Space (CCAS)
What did you study at university? I recently completed a Bachelor of Art History and Curatorship with Honours at the ANU. My particular research interests are contemporary art and material culture – I wrote my thesis on ephemeral media in contemporary practice.
Where did you intern and what was the best part of your internship? I spent the past year interning at Canberra Contemporary Art Space (CCAS). My previous experience in the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) sector was in larger collecting organisations, such as the National Gallery of Australia and Parliament House, so interning at CCAS was an opportunity to work very differently. The team is much smaller – only three people – and CCAS doesn’t have a permanent collection. This suited me well, however, since a small team means you do a bit of everything and there’s lots of opportunities to try something new. The best aspect of interning in a smaller organisation was the opportunity to become more involved in the community. Artists were constantly coming in and out of the office and the team attended plenty of exhibition openings at organisations across Canberra, where I was able to meet new people and discover new artists. The connections I made with people in the community were by far the most rewarding aspect.
ARTWORK : ABIGAIL BORDER // 19
Why did you decide to enter the GLAM sector? I’ve always been surrounded by artists and arts lovers in my family, and I took an interest in the arts from a young age. It was during my travels prior to uni, however, that I took the plunge. I was living in Paris at the time and travelling a lot. I spent a lot of time visiting museums and galleries (not only because they are plentiful, but because they’re free for young people in Europe – good for young travellers without much cash!). I decided I wanted to spend my days in places like these. My studies in art history only confirmed this idea – not only was I learning about the visual arts, but the broader social, historical, political and philosophical contexts in which they were created. It’s a great way to learn about the world and the people around us. What are your plans now you have finished university? I have a number of exciting projects planned for 2020! Day to day, I will continue my role in private giving at the National Gallery of Australia. In terms of freelance work, I will be a Critic-in-Residence for ANCA and Art Monthly Australasia, as well as curating two shows featuring Canberra artists. I will be CCAS Emerging Curator in 2020, with my exhibition Negative Space opening on 5 March 2020 at CCAS Manuka. A second show that I am curating as the recipient of CAPO’s EASS Curatorial Award will open mid-year at the School of Art & Design gallery. I also plan on making the most of my AMaGA membership and attending networking events and the like!
Georgia Reed, Master of Archaeological and Evolutionary Science /Master of Museum and Heritage Studies, interned at Endangered Heritage
What did you study at University? I graduated with a Bachelor of Archaeological Practice from ANU in 2018 and am currently undertaking a double master’s degree in Archaeological and Evolutionary Science and Museum and Heritage Studies.
Where did you intern and what was the best part of your internship? I was an intern at Endangered Heritage, which provides conservation services to collections, museums, galleries, archives and libraries. The best part of my internship was learning different methodologies to treat a wide range of materials from experts in their field with many years of specialised experience.
Why did you decide to enter the GLAM sector? I have always wanted to work in a field that interested me and exposed me to a variety of information and experiences. The GLAM sector encompasses such a wide range of material, which makes the sector appealing and exciting.
What are your plans when you finish university? Once I complete my degree, I would love to travel overseas and find full-time employment either overseas or in Australia.
20 // CAMPUS | MEMOIR
FELIZ NAVIDAD AUTHOR // Lulu Alvarez-Mon
I got dumped the day before Christmas Eve. There’s a blue Siamese fighting fish called Edwin shimmering around in a five litre glass jar to my right, and he keeps looking at me. Fuck off, Edwin. I have a void where my culture should be. It’s a hole roughly the size and shape of Edwin’s vessel, and it’s weighing emptily in my stomach. If you were Edwin and you swam down into my void you would see that its walls are lined with objects. There is a TV screen, American sitcoms flickering through it. There are thousands of books, their pages softly waving in the water. Blank pages and pencils and old laptops. Screens bared, open to various Tumblr pages from 2014. Tattered school books, plane tickets, luggage tags, metro cards, and stubs from before. Packets of mi goreng noodles, holographic posters of Hindu idols, incense, Buddha figurines, art history books in French, archaeology books in German, books on anthropology, books on linguistics, hiking boots, yoga mats. The tiny things that people I love have given me. A small ceramic dog from Japan. A rusted tin with a pink elephant on it. A lace ribbon. Heartshaped post-it notes scrawled with messages. A voice reverberates into the depths of the void from far beyond the surface: “Don’t wait for me,” it wobbles. “Being in ________ has made me think about how much my culture and my family mean to me.”
I knew what they were going to say before they said it, but the words still punched me right there in the empty place. I had known what was coming, because I had spent envy-filled hours imagining what it would feel like to be them. I imagined having a home and a culture and ‘getting in touch with your roots’. These hours led me to the conclusion that they would be unable to reconcile having both their culture and me. I was, unfortunately, by some stroke of intuition and paranoia, correct. How is it that someone else having something only makes you more aware of your not having it? I’ve never experienced it, but I imagine it so vividly that I can feel it. Going Home For Christmas. I imagine them surrounded by their family in a country that means something to them, where they were born and where their culture comes from, where the land feels like theirs and people look like them. To me the fact that any of those qualities intersect seems magnificent. I hear what is implied: “You are not part of my culture. You are not part of my family.” And of course, it’s true. And then I hear my stupid, panicking heart: “You have no culture. You have no family. Not like that.” I look around frantically for ways to prove that I do (to win this competition), but there’s nothing for me to grab hold of. My family does not have traditions. It is Christmas Day. My mother has the flu, so all socialising (not with family, only with friends) has been cancelled, and gifts were exchanged two weeks prior with an explicit agreement: “Would you like this as your Christmas present?” and a transaction. I had walked out of the shop wearing a new necklace. Mama watched me
ARTWORK : MADDY BROWN // 21
sew her a pair of trousers over a week. Papa is with his Australian girlfriend’s family in the country, hours away from here. We’re staying in a home that is not ours. Today is like any other day, except that today made me cry. I feel the void keenly. Mum wants to watch Netflix and lie on the couch, but every time I start to move, I imagine my ancestors slipping away from me. In my fit of melodrama, I feel immeasurable resentment and loneliness. My family abandoned our traditions and pushed away our identity because during segregation in California, it’s what we had to do. We said we were Italian, and we said we couldn’t speak Spanish. When someone asked where we were from, the response was: “Who’s asking?”. We told ourselves we had no Indigenous blood. We told ourselves we were white.
those who are only half-submerged (who do belong to the culture, but who have, as a means of adaptation, twisted themselves into hybrid forms).
On the floor, in the middle of the watery void, lies a haphazard stack of objects that I threw in it in the hope that they would fill it. They’re candy almonds, la virgen Maria, a tortilla press, a lace shawl to cover my hair, a multicoloured rosary, and a tapestry from Oaxaca. Nothing distinguishes them from the objects pressed into the walls except for their place in the pile.
A rule: it’s never a good idea to base things on other already diluted things.
Today I will throw another object onto the pile in the void. I will make some tortillas from scratch and make my mum watch a movie from Mexico with me. I will put on Chavela Vargas, and maybe some flamenco, and think about buying marigolds and poinsettias for my room. I will try to distinguish myself from educated atheistic whiteness as much as I can, because it’s Navidad. But I will speak to my mother in English. The words we pronounce in Spanish will sound inorganic. I will not recognise any landscapes from the movie, because my feet have never touched Mexico’s soil. I will not speak to family today because of the time difference, because we have nobody in Australia, and because when I do speak to them I get annoyed, because I’ve grown used to having nobody to answer to. Today I will celebrate no tradition.
This rule goes for romantically tragic French alcohol. When preparing a good glass of absinthe, the only accepted method is to begin undiluted and fir-tree green, and to trickle in ice water over a slowly melting sugar cube.
Edwin’s owner has Gone Home to Queensland the way the owner of the voice that broke up with me Went Home to ________. I’m sorry for telling you to fuck off, Edwin. Maybe we can just spend today enjoying swimming around our voids.
My parents were pushed out of their nests early, and they learned how to fly in an America that was liberal and smart. People of colour (because, of course, they still existed there) wore expensive hiking sandals, used the word ‘praxis’ regularly, and ordered delivery dinner. They had identities that had already been cultivated, picked apart and rebuilt into American shapes.
The rule goes for information. If reading a scandalous newspaper article, it is important to first find the original source and base one’s judgement on that instead. The rule goes for identity. One must not base the roots of one’s identity on a union of caricatured cultural misunderstandings (coming from those who do not belong to the culture) and vague advice from
22 // CAMPUS | MENTAL HEALTH
AUTHOR // ANONYMOUS
ARTWORK : EMILY ONEIL // 23
CONTENT WARNING: Disordered Eating, Trauma When I first moved out of home I was put in control of my diet for the first time. I was determined to eat healthily, and learnt how to cook my meals on YouTube and followed ‘fitness models’ on Instagram for inspiration. At first, I was doing well, until a traumatic event occurred at home. I was utterly beside myself and was looking for a way to cope. I was emotionally fragile and started to lose my appetite. I couldn’t stomach more than an apple and toast for a while. I started being curious about how many calories were in food. I liked the feeling of knowing exactly what I put in my body. I read food labels more religiously than my readings. I budgeted how much carrot to put in my salad more so than my weekly spending. I made myself a rule that I was not allowed to eat between the three meals. If I was peckish, I was allowed a cup of tea, or if I was really hungry, one (but only one!) teaspoon of peanut butter. I used food as a way to feel in control. Precisely because I couldn’t control the situation at home, I felt that obsessing over what I put in my body was a way to regain control in other aspects of my life. Counting calories was incredibly addictive. ‘How many calories is X’ was my most googled question for a while. It got to a point where I could look at a plate of food and estimate how many calories it would be. I would then eat accordingly, as I had restricted myself to eating no more than 1,100 calories a day. So if I had already had a total of 800 calories for breakfast and lunch, I was only allowed 300 calories for dinner. If I cooked pasta, that meant having 1/5 of a box of pasta with sauce. I made up in my mind that if I didn’t go to bed feeling hungry, I had overeaten that day. I would lie in bed trying to think of how I could restrict my breakfast the next morning. Maybe instead of breakfast, I’ll just have six strawberries. I ate like this for nearly a year, and became underweight. My boyfriend hugged me for the first time after we were separated for a month, and his first comment was, “I forget how small you are.” I would go over to his house for dinner, and his mum would say, “It’s good to see you eating.” I knew I was perhaps too thin, but ‘eating more’ wasn’t an option. Eating wasn’t just about sustenance anymore; it was about being in control. Eating more than what I considered to be an ‘okay’ amount meant that I was undisciplined. It made me feel weak. When I ate alone, I would always eat small salads. A typical ‘safe’ salad for me consisted of one handful of spinach, a third of a cucumber, five cherry tomatoes, one teaspoon of crumbed fetta, and five walnuts. I expected my body to run on that amount of food for half a day, every day, for months on end.
I tried to hide my disordered eating from friends and family by binging whenever I ate with them. I would inhale crackers and dip for an hour straight, unable to stop. Afterwards, I’d be disgusted at myself. I would do a quick calculation in my head of how many calories I’d just consumed, and desperately try to vomit it out so that I wouldn’t digest the calories. Unfortunately, I learnt that vomiting out food meant that 70 per cent of the calories would be absorbed anyway, so I decided that the mess wasn’t worth it and thought of other ways to compensate for my binge. Usually, that included some form of exercise to ‘offset’ the extra calories. One day, YouTube’s algorithm recommended Rebecca Leung’s video ‘Challenging 5 Anorexia Food Rules’. It seemed that after watching copious videos on ‘What I Eat in a Day’ and ‘Salad Recipes’, YouTube was catching on that I enjoyed videos about restricting calories. The video hit me hard. It made me realise that I too had senseless food rules that I had made up for myself. Although I never got diagnosed with an eating disorder, I was definitely exhibiting disordered eating patterns associated with orthorexia. Without Leung’s video, I could’ve so easily spiralled into something more serious. It took me a while to admit to myself that I needed to challenge my own food rules. My first challenge was to have a cup of tea with breakfast. A cup of tea used to be my mid-morning snack, because those extra three calories exceeded the breakfast calorie quota I’d imposed on myself. I then allowed myself to buy snacks (that weren’t just fresh fruit and almonds) at the supermarket. Later I started eating dessert after dinner even though I had exceeded my 1,100 calorie ‘limit’. I learnt that your daily calorie intake needs to fluctuate, and that it is okay to eat more one day and less the other. This seems so obvious now, but it was absurd to me back then. Today, I have regained some weight, and I no longer restrict my food intake. A combination of seeing a therapist to help with family trauma and actively challenging my made-up food rules every day has made me happier and stronger. I am still working on not overly portioning foods, and resisting the urge to constantly do a quick tot up of my daily calorie count. I accept that it takes time to rebuild a healthy, sustainable relationship with food. Nowadays I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full. It’s really not that deep.
24 // CAMPUS | COMMENT
ARTWORK : ALICE DUNKLEY
checking in on yourself during the bushfires AUTHOR // KIMBERLY SLAPP
CONTENT WARNING: NSW/Victoria Bushfires, Climate Change It has been impossible to escape this summer’s catastrophic bushfire season. Even while I write this, thousands of kilometres away from Australia, I can’t help but feel a debilitating sense of helplessness and despair. Of course, I am incredibly lucky – my family and friends are safe, my home has not been threatened, and I have not had to flee to the beach to escape the flames and smoke that have swallowed entire towns. I haven’t felt the heartache of communities who have lost their homes and their loved ones. I can’t understand the grief of Indigenous people, who have seen the lands which hold their memories, culture, and sacred places be mismanaged, and now incinerated. But as the bushfires continue to burn through the country, updates and images have taken a hold of social media, drawing every corner of the world closer to the devastation. This has no doubt brought much needed attention to Australia’s painfully regressive climate policy and the government’s lethargic response to the unfolding crisis. Donations have also poured in from around the world, with millions of dollars being raised for various organisations around the country. However, not all of the social media attention has been productive. Misinformation has spread as quickly as the bushfires, with false and exaggerated reports of widespread arson trending on Twitter and Facebook,undermining the link between this year’s unprecedented fire season and the drier, hotter conditions brought about by climate change. Social media platforms and even traditional forms of news media have been inundated by a continuous cycle of information and misinformation, and it has been hard for many to escape the seemingly endless pattern of doom and (literal, hazy) gloom. Perhaps I have been affected so profoundly by these fires – even though I am only watching from afar – because I know that this extreme fire season is only a symptom of a far more severe disease. Our planet, suffering from human-inflicted climate change, is only continuing to warm, and without meaningful
policy change towards climate action, the prognosis looks grim. The existential threat to Earth’s biodiversity and to our own species’ survival has given way to widespread climate anxiety, especially among younger generations who have the most to lose from the effects of climate change. It is hard to go about business as usual when, especially amplified by social media, news of melting glaciers, dying ecosystems, and extreme weather events surround us constantly. This fire season, consecutive maximum temperature records have been broken, and Canberra has been smothered by the world’s most hazardous air quality. The worsening state of our environment has become harder and harder to ignore. While our government continues to drag its feet, held hostage by fossil fuel lobbyists but upheld by the Murdoch media, staying hopeful about the future of our planet can be difficult. It can also take a toll on our mental health. For some, getting involved in campaigns and contributing money or time to these causes can be a way to meet like-minded people, redirect feelings of anger, anxiety and powerlessness, and affect real change. Social media has also proven to be an invaluable tool to help inform, connect, and mobilise people to take action. Images of devastated landscapes and viral videos of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s disastrous tour of affected towns have had an impact on Australians. Arguably, as a result of mounting public pressure, the government has made concessions on climate policy, with Morrison himself proposing to ‘evolve’ current commitments to reduce emissions. However, activism can be exhausting. In times like these, more than ever, it is important to check up on ourselves and those around us. Right now, the fires are still burning, and it is likely that they will continue for months to come. But with that comes a gathering of strength and a drive to push for change.
ARTWORK : MADDY BROWN // 25
what i see when i close my eyes AUTHOR // MORGAN SHEPPARD
CONTENT WARNING: NSW/Victoria Bushfires I close my eyes, and all I can see are violent flames, families huddled on beaches, the blackened ruins of homes, and injured wildlife in a now desolate landscape. I see our prime minister force an upset woman to shake his hand for a press photo before running away when the questions from angry survivors get too honest. It wasn’t even me. But it could’ve been.
Although the North Black Range fire remains largely under control, we have to be constantly vigilant for any fire that may start nearby. I’m aware of the toll this has taken on my mental health. But what makes it worse – what makes it a million times worse – is the lack of care and action from our government. Sometimes, it feels like everything I could do is for nothing – what difference does it make if our leaders don’t care? What is the point when this is going to keep getting worse as our world heats up?
The North Black Range fire ravaged Tallaganda National Park and surrounding towns, and threatened beautiful little Braidwood. It was too close – nine kilometres to be exact. Too close to our gorgeous property, my home. Too close to our animals that rely on us for food and water. Too close to my heart and my safety.
But then I feel the breath of a horse on my face, see the sweet doe-eyes of a kangaroo and her joey, and watch my niece overflowing with joy and life. Even if the now isn’t forever, it still matters. So many lives matter now. And it’s not too late. It’s not too late to try, to fight, to hope, and to live. For as long as we have today, perhaps we’ll have tomorrow. And to me, that is worth something.
That terrifying Thursday when conditions suddenly changed, we got the horses out. Clouded in smoke, it felt surreal. They were safe, and the fish too, thanks to a lovely friend. Bags packed, plans to take the dogs and chickens. Alpacas moved to the safest, clearest paddocks.
I close my eyes and I see violent flames, families huddled on beaches, the blackened ruins of homes, and injured wildlife in a now desolate landscape. I see our prime minister force an upset woman to shake his hand for a press photo before running away when the questions from angry survivors get too honest.
We got lucky. The winds changed and stayed blowing away from us for the two weeks that it took for the fire to be controlled. Two weeks of being on high alert, of worrying about friends in Braidwood, of the extra work of having the horses off property. A huge amount of energy was sapped from me.
But, I also see a line of firefighters standing bravely before the whipping flames, communities rallying together to provide food and supplies for those who’ve fled, individuals opening their homes to strangers, tireless volunteers hunting for the wildlife survivors, and hoards of young people gathering together to raise their voices. And maybe, maybe, this will get us through.
We got lucky, but this relief was always countered with the guilt that it meant others were not so lucky. The winds that were a salvation to us pushed the flames onto the properties and livelihoods of others. A guilt I know to be natural, but that remained insurmountable. Now, things for us are normal. Except, for as long as this drought and bushfire season continues, it can never be normal. Perhaps with the ever-worsening state of the climate, this stress and anguish will be the new normal. We are faced with the challenges of paddock management, feeding the animals, and praying our bore water supply doesn’t run out. I desperately hope this doesn’t become normal, but my fears are not unfounded.
26 // CAMPUS | COMMENT
FROM CAPTION TO CAMPAIGN AUTHOR // ZOE MITCHELL
CONTENT WARNING: NSW/Victoria Bushfires, Climate Change The response of the international community to the Australian bushfire crisis over the last week has signalled a collective call to action regarding climate change. But beyond that, what does this call represent? Over the last month, it has been near impossible to avoid reading headlines regarding Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s seemingly detached response to the Australian bushfire crisis. In Cobargo, his attempt to force reconciliation single-handedly rebranded the handshake from a gesture of solidarity to one of contrived tokenism. His bashful return from Hawaii led to his patronising transformation from being a respected world leader to becoming ‘Scotty from Marketing’, as remarked on by the Betoota Advocate and other news outlets. His PR campaign has been such a disaster that when giving a speech on Kangaroo Island, he needed to be informed by a local islander of the two Australian casualties lost in the horrific island blazes. So, acknowledging the Prime Minister as having become a vessel for the public to direct their anger and resentment is not without reason. Without even criticising the government’s relative silence regarding the plethora of complex issues curtailing Australian legislation of climate change, the Prime Minister has failed as a figurehead. In a time of national crisis, we do not have a proactive voice communicating to the public. This last-ditch effort has meant the public have seen through the cracks, where strained attempts to encourage solidarity haven’t pardoned the fact that it was three months too late. Or three years. Or thirty.
The conversation around the most recent catastrophic fires plaguing rural Victoria, as well as the South and North coasts of New South Wales, has been predominantly centred around public feelings of disillusionment and pent-up frustration with climate change inaction on a macro scale. It has come off the back of findings that Australia is comparably poor in its goals to reduce carbon emissions and to take measures to reduce its contributions to the continually warming globe. The G20 Brown to Green Report in 2019 demonstrated that Australia was not on track for the world’s aspiration to restrict global warming to a 1.5 degree Celsius temperature increase. In fact, Australia is currently not even predicted to deliver on its 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) target. Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are approximately three times the average of G20 countries per capita. In July 2019, Pacific Islander leaders expressed their disappointment towards the decision of Australia under Morrison’s leadership to count ‘carry over units’ from the Kyoto Protocol as indicative of their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This decision, delivered at the Nadi Bay Declaration, showed that Australia was clearly making the decision to desist from international cooperation to instead further the preservation of national industry growth. Of course, when observing the country’s self-preservation, one does not have to look further than its commitment to building the Carmichael coal mine in cooperation with the Indian Adani Group. This demonstrates that the nation is clearly moving not towards developing and diversifying access to renewable energy sources, but instead towards continuing to support the lucrative coal mining industry.
ARTWORK : MADDY BROWN // 27 This was supported in the government-released Australian Energy Update in September 2019, which reinforced that most of the growth in energy use between 2017 and 2018 occurred in the mining sector. Such growth had increased by nine per cent. It must be understood that the mining industry alone contributes to 13.5 per cent of Australia’s national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and has been a large contributor to the country’s economic success. Our country, rich in natural resources with its diverse landscapes, is lucrative for trade with other nations, after all. This is pivotal to understanding the country’s slow political progress when addressing legislation which develops environmentally sustainable reforms to industry growth and production. As those who work in the mining industry are pivotal to the country’s economic sustainability, they are simultaneously instrumental lobbyists with tremendous stakes to ensure issues of climate change are not regulated through legalistic paradigms. The recent bushfire crisis, publicised alongside apocalyptic imagery of red skies, the Sydney Opera House obscured by smoke, burned livelihoods and Canberra politicians walking the streets in face masks, has provided a vision of a world complacent to the irreversible impacts of our current climate catastrophe. These images should be etched in the nation’s conscience, a reality which demonstrates continual inaction on the signs of increasing temperatures and exacerbated scales of natural disasters. However, shaming the nation’s political leaders will not go far in achieving long-term change. The social media activism and collective action by individuals from various sectors of society in the past weeks has been admirable, and an optimistic representation of a better world to come. Frequent fashion and lifestyle brands have decided to donate varying percentages and numerical sums based off of online profits to charities that are fighting the fires. Celebrities and social media influencers have used this opportunity to not only sympathise and offer support to struggling communities, but to educate their followers on the importance of understanding climate change. Yet, this phenomenon, like many others which have come before it, risks falling into the grips of inaction, of short-term sympathy without long-term support. The ‘callout culture’ promoted on social media platforms now mirrors the media coverage of disasters and international news. It follows a pattern of being temporarily condemned before being squashed by a newer, more urgent headline. We as social media users are bombarded with the news of horrifying world events, and share our support by physically reposting and liking posts, perhaps linking a website to encourage donations or an online petition. Through engaging in this cycle, we allow politicians to continue working in a ‘business as usual’ manner. Whilst social media may be bombarded with hate, fear and disillusionment, the letterboxes of local members of parliament and parliamentary administrators remain empty. Through voicing our opinions on social media, we fail to ‘CC’ in the people respon-
sible for implementing real change. Instead, all that is left is a hope, without any expectations, that our messages will be heard and receive a response. Whilst acknowledging the waves of support publicised on social media, there still remains a large ignorance of Australians broadly towards political structures and mechanisms of legislative change. This bushfire crisis represents a microcosm of the need for more education surrounding the significance of the vote, and of education surrounding policy. Anger cannot be our only response if we have, broadly speaking, supported policies which have allowed for Morrison’s aura of nonchalance towards climate change. At present, the continued positivity in rhetoric surrounding the public as increasingly political and using social media as a tool for activism seems to be politically strategic. Whilst public platforms may be plastered with messages advocating for reduced carbon emissions, accountability for fossil fuel usage and the banning of plastic bags, action from the public seems to stop there. We desire change, but we’re not acting on it. The shaming of Morrison exemplifies this. Almost all Australians, and many international audiences, have seen the photos of him returning bashfully from his Hawaiian holiday. We have seen the memes made out of his PR nightmares that compare him to images of George W. Bush viewing the suffering of Hurricane Katrina communities in 2005 from the air, detached from immediacy. We have cried “Fuck Scomo,” and pledged to cease from recognising him as our nation’s leader. But these cries of repugnance are nothing more than words in a vacuum without political lobbying. This anger needs to be channelled into movements, removed from social media, and lifted into the letterboxes of our local MPs. Whilst we may not collectively support him in the present, Morrison was democratically voted in by us as the collective Australian public. We as a society voiced our support of him as the most suitable candidate for national leadership. But, he does not stand alone. We did not vote solely for him. We voted for his policies, those who stand behind him, and our local members who represent us directly. It is now when we must use our local MPs, those whom we entrusted with our voices, and rally them to amplify our cries. Sharing a post on social media does not end up in our local MP’s direct messages. We must recognise that the members of the political elite are not the only individuals who are responsible for fixing climate change. Whilst they regulate it, they must be encouraged by the voices of the many, on whose support they stand. Australia is a democracy, not a dictatorship. Let us speak using the correct political mechanisms, with which we are so lucky to have been bestowed. Let us not let our voices drown in the depths of social media in the archive of January 2020 on Facebook. Speak now before it’s too late.
ARTWORK : EMILY ONEIL // 29
AUTHOR // JULIA FARAGHER I was lucky enough to be involved with Woroni in many different roles during my five years at ANU. It’s phenomenal that Woroni has existed for 70 years, and that I got to be part of years 65 to 69. 1. Always collaborate Nothing happens at Woroni because of one person. Every single thing, whether as big as the 64-page magazine or as small as an infographic in a news article, is produced by multiple people. Sure, articles may have a byline stating that the piece was only written by one person. But in reality, there was a content sub-editor who edited it, an art sub-editor who drew the matching artwork, a print team who proofread it, a content editor who laid it out in InDesign, and a social media sub-editor who put it online. Woroni is a giant machine of collaboration, just like most other things in life. I think there’s still a stereotype that the artistic genius is someone who stays inside in a dark cave obsessing over their masterpiece. Woroni taught me that it’s the opposite of that. Behind every masterpiece is a team of people polishing the edges to make it shine. 2. Kill your darlings A classic creative principle, but one that needs to be constantly learnt and relearnt. Sometimes you need to let go of your favourite ideas. Maybe it’s a sentence that doesn’t match the rest of your article, or a special video effect that you’ve been working on for three hours yet it still doesn’t look quite right. Ideas may not be as good in reality as they are in your head. It’s important to know when to keep going and when to kill them. 3. Let go of perfect This is an ongoing lesson for me, but it was a big one while I was TV Editor. Getting a four-minute video to perfection was basically impossible. I would come into the office everyday and work on the same video for a whole week, while in reality I was changing very little about it. Eventually, I started working by the 80/20 rule: if I was 80 per cent happy with a video, it would look completely fine to the average viewer. There’d be no need to keep trimming clips by the millisecond, or change the font positioning for the fifth time. At the end of the day, Woroni is a place to learn. There are always going to be mistakes made, and it’s rare that a piece of content is ever ‘perfect’. Better to share it with the world than keep it locked away on the editing computer where no one else is ever going to see it.
4. Someone is always going to dislike what you do This is the lesson I got out of being Editor-in-Chief. Woroni interacts with a really wide audience, from its own sub-editors to the readership of the ANU student body. Given that there are so many people with an interest in what Woroni does, it’s basically statistically impossible to make decisions that are viewed by all as good decisions. I learnt to trust my instincts, to trust my board and the values we had agreed on. 5. Woroni is not intimidating There was a six semester gap between when I was on the Woroni staff as a video sub-editor to when I returned as TV Editor. Joining Woroni after such a long time away felt really intimidating, even though I had still been tinkering away in the background as a contributor. I hadn’t been on the TV staff in so long; Woroni TV didn’t even exist back in 2015. But everyone was friendly and welcoming, and it didn’t take long for me to realise that I had made a brilliant decision in joining the board. 6. Everyone is creative I wrote a piece for Woroni in 2017 called The Quiet Art where I argued that art is in everyone’s lives, whether they realise it or not. The same is true of creativity. I don’t think all the students who have written for Woroni over the years consider themselves to be ‘writers’, yet they came up with an idea, worked on their piece with a sub-editor, and got to see their names in print. And then there are the students who happened to be in the right place at the right time when Woroni TV was making a video and gave their opinion on O Week or Game of Thrones. Everyone has some creativity inside of them, and Woroni can help them realise it. 7. Woroni is in good hands As proven by its 70-year history as a student media organisation, Woroni will always be run by different people every semester, and always be in a constant state of change. But there will always be people at Woroni who care strongly about its values and do their best to make sure it’s available to as many students as possible. Actually, I never really had this worry. While I was sentimental about leaving Woroni in November last year, I was never concerned about what was going to happen after I left. I knew I was leaving the organisation in good hands. Julia Faragher was the Semester Two 2019 Editor-in-Chief of Woroni.
30 // CAMPUS | UNI LIFE
THE END OF AN ERA AUTHOR // BRANDON TAN AND CHLOE WONG “When I start university, I’m definitely gonna keep on top of everything! I’m gonna get good grades, meet new friends and just really enjoy the experience. It’s a brave new world and I can’t wait to see what life has in store for me!” – A (possibly overexaggerated) common saying by first years, including me, four years ago.
ARTWORK : BONNIE BURNS // 31 2016 feels like an eternity ago. I certainly had somewhat lofty expectations about what university would be like, especially in a brave new world. I definitely went through my fair share of resilience and coping before being able to navigate most of the ANU environment.
From living in rural Indonesia to travelling for official university business, I’ve had the time of my life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been the hardest time of my life thus far, but it has surely been incredibly rewarding. It will be stressful, and you might cry, but always know you will get by.
Back in my first year, I felt very lost, and leaned on different people whom I would look up to as mentors. In my last two years of my undergraduate degree, I often encountered people who were in the same position as the one I used to be in, and was more than happy to help them. Maybe one day you’ll do the same, because ‘people help the people’ .
I still remember 2016 me getting dropped off at Bruce Hall after 12 hours of international travel. I was scared, so incredibly scared. I wasn’t used to my room that I would eventually call home, eating at 5.30pm, or the time difference. I was so lucky that the friends I made on those first days are the ones who still hold my hand four years later. You will find your people, some earlier than others, but you will find them, don’t you worry. Sometimes, people grow out of each other, and that’s okay.
At the same time, I’m wondering if I made the most of my time at uni. One of my core philosophies was to give everything a go, and I think I managed to do a major part of that. The small things like joining a Bollywood dance team back in first year was a small step. The larger ones, such as going on exchange, giving ANUSA a go, and doing an internship for course credit have let me realise that there’s probably no further freedom to undertake opportunities like this in the near future. At the same time, I’ve been around ANU long enough to see key parts of history unfold: · I’ve witnessed three different generations of student hubs (Union Court, Pop-Up, and now Kambri), as well as visited three vastly different iterations of Bruce Hall. · I’ve seen the transition of Woroni’s printed material from biweekly newspaper into a quarterly student magazine, as well as the emergence of a second student media organisation. · The cancellation of the number 3 bus route on campus, and the various advocacy efforts that accompanied it. · A number of fun clubs like the Lettuce Society have popped up, but sadly were discontinued. That said, I’ve certainly wished to have done more, such as being involved in an senior resident (SR) capacity, moving accommodation to Daley Road, or being more involved with the College of Asia-Pacific (CAP) side of my degree. Has there been positive character development? Absolutely. I came here for an accounting degree, but the real treasure was the friends we made along the way. It’s not a golden ending, but it’s certainly a good one. I think I’ve made the most out of what I could have, and I’m not exiting undergraduate life the same person as who I came to ANU as. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I think that these four years have been a quintessential life experience for me. Baby steps, dear heart From dancing sober in the Buttery on my first day, to pole dancing, I wouldn’t change a thing for the world.
I’d like to think I’ve made the most of my university experience. It’s taught me a lot about myself, really. I think university has been a good platform for self-discovery – can’t say that it’s always been pleasant, but it’s part and parcel of the experience. Things change, people grow. Honestly, I’m not the person I thought I would be. I’ve grown far more than I thought I would, and I hope that 17-year-old me would’ve been proud. If there is anything I could tell baby me coming into university, it is: Don’t commit to something that you don’t like or doesn’t make you happy. My dear, you are worth so much more than that. Just because something is good, it doesn’t mean that it has to be good for you. Four years is a long time to do things that you don’t enjoy. Do things that scare you, that put you so far out of your comfort zone, but at your own pace. You are so much more capable than you think you are. Try aerial yoga or historical dancing, who knows, you might enjoy it. Seek help when you need it, there is no shame in it whatsoever. Don’t be so stubborn – if you need help, ask. If it’s medical, there is no shame in medication. If it’s academic, there’s no shame in wanting to improve. If you need an Education Access Plan, use it. It is to help you, not hinder you. Fall in love with yourself. Take care of yourself. There’s no shame in slowing down or taking a break. Don’t shrink to make others comfortable – find people who encourage you to keep growing. You are allowed to be yourself, and that’s a journey of self-acceptance I am still on. You are allowed to walk away from toxic relationships and people who hurt you. You do not owe anyone an explanation for taking care of yourself. You always come first. Last, but never least, you are loved and capable. Baby steps, dear heart. You’ll be okay.
ARTWORK : ALICE DUNKLEY // 33
TO TRAVEL AUTHOR // ELLA MCCARTHY The direct flight would have been quicker, but then you would have missed the scenery. Watching the alien landscapes roll by is a traveller’s paradise. When did we get so caught up in the efficiency of travel that we forgot to enjoy the luxury of the travelling itself? I’m seeing the most gorgeous sights, which I otherwise would have completely missed. Whilst no traveller has a full picture of any one destination, this journey sure is helping to fill in my photograph just a little bit more. A variety of accents babble in my sensory peripheral. I hear local dialects and see unfamiliar gestures: the complex languages of communication. This feels like an adventure in and of itself. Yes, I stick out like a sore thumb, but I was always going to. Anyway, it feels nice that my curious stares are returned. I feel oddly known, but I think I’m okay with that. An orange light turns on in the ceiling of the carriage. Across the transport a lady picks her dog up off of the floor, probably to keep its paws from getting too hot. A bit unnecessary considering the safety standards of these things, but touching nevertheless. The orange light flashes off, then on again quickly. A melodic chime sweeps through the carriage. I direct my gaze back to the window, soaking in the sunshine for just a moment longer before my view dims. The blackout curtains come down. A precautionary mechanism for the travellers among me whose eyes could not withstand a direct look at a solar flare.
Considering a majority of the passengers at least appear to be human, the mechanism is largely appreciated by my fellow travellers. A polite round of applause breaks out as the curtains are pulled up to reveal the Solar System pretty much identical to how it looked a minute ago. Although the now-scrutinising eyes are eager to test this theory, everyone seems magnetically drawn to the windows, all of our breathing a little rugged. We’re on edge. Looking, waiting, trying to see if anything is wrong. What could have possibly occurred for the moment when we weren’t looking? Is that star new? No, not that one, over to starboard side a little more. Yes, that one, is that new? I never noticed it before. A few minutes pass, and most passengers feel at ease. If something major has changed, they would have spotted it by now. We all settle back into our seats, keeping our attention lazily attuned to the window. Just in case. I feel some of my eyes start to droop. I know that I’ll drift off soon. Perhaps when I wake, we’ll be just about to land. I’ve always wanted to see Earth.
THE VIEW FROM OUTER SPACE AUTHOR // DAVID GILL
ARTWORK : EMILY ONEIL // 35
ANU SUFFERS RECORD OUTBREAKS OF SUMMERTIME SADNESS AUTHOR // RACHEL CHOPPING A record number of outbreaks of Summertime Sadness have swept the ANU community these past few weeks, with numbers expected to rise. First diagnosed in 2012 with the release of Lana Del Rey’s hit single, the disease has since spread globally at an alarming rate. Extremely contagious and especially lethal during mercury retrogrades, side-effects include general melancholia, dread of O-Week, personal isolation, and increased weakness to the debilitating Jan-Feb heat. “Look I love the holidays,” one diagnosed victim states, “but there’s something about doing nothing for three months while all your friends go to Europe that really messes you up. At least during the term I had my weekly panic attacks to keep things interesting. Now I just sleep until noon, watch an entire season of The Good Place and then go back to bed.”
The disease is thought to have mutated from the strain ‘Summertime Examstress’, an infection even more lethal than its counterpart, in which the incoming summer heat is exacerbated by incompetent tutors, ANUSecure Wifi failures, and a widespread feeling that you are one multiple-choice question away from a breakdown. “I hate this,’ another victim reported tearfully. “I’m dropping out. Fuck BIOL1004 and fuck uni.”* Summertime Sadness is known to linger until the week before Semester One begins, usually cured by the rush to enrol in tutorials, panic over elective allowances, and serotonin boosts from purchasing new stationary. Recommended remedies include: making time to see your friends, staying hydrated, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and listening to Del Rey’s optimistic 2017 album Lust for Life, in which the lyrics ‘our lust for life/keeps us alive’ have been known to counteract the lethal effects of verses like ‘you and I/we were born to die.’ More to come. *This reporter is pleased to announce this victim passed her course with a D average.
36 // CREATIVE | SATIRE
ARTWORK : ABIGAIL BORDER
ODE TO MY NOTES APP AUTHOR // RACHEL CHOPPING
To others the chaos
Might seem like a waste
But my notes app is there
In times of great haste
74 D Wattle password: 123456!
To do –
Census date: March 31
Transfer Money to
Call it cluttered, confused,
Disorganised, dumb 4
But this postmodern mess reminds me Toga Party
I need to call
I list podcasts and books Movies and shows That I have to write down Cos my memory blows
The Witcher Teacher’s Pet? Look up Michelle Obama bio Nintendo switch sales??
Groceries and grades Parties and passes The lowest mark needed To pass my bio classes
ARTWORK : ALICE DUNKLEY // 37
WALKING THE LINE AUTHOR // PHOEBE LUPTON Walking the line,
make myself implode,
I feel like a ghost
let wolves eat me
without my loved one
until thereâ€™s nothing left.
Can I go on
I push you away,
singing this song of
beg you to come back,
hot and cold,
but you know that
night and day,
I am a lost cause.
wet and dry?
Nothing is happening,
Is there any way to stop
and everything is happening.
the demons that are my enemies?
The line on which I walk
Or, will I always live
without the release that I crave?
the sea and the desert, the chaos and the stillness, the violence and the emptiness, all the things I am. The fog in my head makes me want to run, escape from my cell, go out into the wild, although I know it will only bring trouble. So, I try to escape in a different way,
38 // CREATIVE | POETRY
ARTWORK : ABIGAIL BORDER
EGOMANIAC AUTHOR // ELVIN ZHANG
There is too much pride in my heart For me to end it all. If I perished there would be laughter, Ecstasy from those I despise, Whose misfortunes I relish in my dreams And which I savour more Than they would my own adversity
Never would I tell them How wrong they were, For now I sparkle with grandeur. And I am sweet Unlike the taste of the bitterness They would so surely exude, Which I have awaited all my life And would greet with elation. At last, I can feast on my life.
Sometimes I wonder If you too could see The wrath, the hellfire, The knives and coffins, Would you also say, With horror and certainty: There is too much hate in my heart For me to lead a life That one might want to live?
ARTWORK : SIAN WILLIAMS // 39
TO SIT AT THEIR FEET AUTHOR // KIERAN KNOX
This world is cruel it steals our breath This world is fury it burns our homes This world is hateful it drowns our words This world is bruised beaten broken by uncaring men who see pliant flesh sweet, pale to plant their heated flags. do you know this? hark Unsnap thy muzzle let Loose thy teeth Howl at greed they would let us burn our children living as kindling do you see this? hark Release thy feet March thy kin have them Topple they would let us choke until our breath is sold have you felt this? hark leave thy anger Freed Label these men true as Fools destroy such arrogance for men above our world.
ARTWORK : ABIGAIL BORDER // 41
THE SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY OF TRADITION AUTHOR // ZACH CUNICH It’s impossible to know the future. So, how should we prepare for it? You’ve likely confronted this problem before when you’ve asked questions like, “is climate change more urgent than artificial intelligence research?”, “is it worth learning to code?”, or “what on earth should I do after I graduate with an arts degree?”. You’re not alone. Humans have always faced this problem in one form or another, and so long as our environment keeps changing, we always will. Luckily for us, our big-brained ancestors improvised a solution to future uncertainty. Simple on the face of it, it turned out to be so revolutionary that it helped humans to conquer the planet. It’s called tradition. It’s how we transmit tips and tricks to members of our society who don’t yet exist. It’s the mechanism of cultural evolution. In the beginning, tradition would have been little more than ‘LifeSkills1001’: how to make tools, how to hunt, how to cook. Adaptive behaviours could be discovered and passed on to offspring in a single generation, making biological evolution look as efficient as monkeys at a keyboard. The accumulation of cultural skills over time allowed humankind to proliferate. But tribes with burgeoning populations struggled to stay cohesive. Then suddenly, about 70,000 years ago, culture itself evolved. Humans discovered that they could think in abstractions and communicate with symbols. People could make, share, and subscribe to mythologies about who they were, why they were, and how they should be. Culture exploded. This was the birth of tradition as we know it. Fast forward a few dozen millennia, and we have the First Agricultural Revolution (the original one, not the one we learnt about in Year 8 History). Humans settling down and living out their lives in close contact with each other meant that social cohesion was tested once again. Civilisation needs people to be civil, to, you know, not kill and pillage each other all the time. When culture became the sacred lifeblood of the masses, people became wary of both the real and anticipated consequences of their transgressions. Where before we shaped our culture, more and more our culture began to shape us. Tradition became a moral domain. The moral aura of tradition stays with us today, and it makes discussions messy. Everyone respects some traditions; they form part of our moral identity.
But traditions contradict each other and have to compete for the finite space in our collective consciousness. And we’re quick to get defensive when we sense that our identity is under fire. Understanding social psychology can add nuance to the discussions we have about tradition. As psychologist Jonathan Haidt has found, humans use at least five ‘Moral Foundations’ for moral reasoning: care, fairness, loyalty, authority, and sanctity. These moral foundations guide our behaviours, shape our worldviews, and inform our discourse. Importantly, receptivity to each moral foundation varies from person to person. Generally speaking, progressives are especially captivated by care and fairness, while conservatives are approximately equally sensitive to each foundation. Most ANU students care about the traditions of minorities because they reject the unfairness of arbitrary discrimination. They see righting injustice as comparatively more important than expressing loyalty to an in-group and respecting its traditions. This stance comes so naturally to those with a care and fairness-based morality that it can be affronting when someone disagrees with it. Right then, it’s natural to want to accuse that someone of callousness or a lack of comprehension. But that someone is likely neither callous nor idiotic. They probably disagree because they see the world through a different moral matrix. They see the same issues, but evolution has given them different solutions. Society is, after all, a fragile thing. In times of uncertainty, it’s fair enough to want to prioritise the well-being and symbolic unity of the in-group. This might help explain why you and your Uncle Bob don’t see eye to eye on whether it should be ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’. When we flounder in moral discussions, it’s often because we’ve forgotten to calibrate our messages with the listener’s moral preferences. If you really want to get your point across to Uncle Bob, you should try speaking his moral language – perhaps tell him that ‘Happy Holidays’ reflects the traditional Christmas spirit of charity and the right of people to celebrate as they see fit. Just as we encourage empathetic communication with people of different backgrounds and lived experiences, so should we strive for a deeper understanding of people whose moral foundations differ from ours. By articulating what’s important to us and striving to understand other moral points of view, we can have more productive discussions about tradition.
42 // CULTURE | MEDIA
SO YOU STILL WANT TO BE A JOURNALIST? AUTHOR // ZOE MITCHELL
“So, do you know what you want to do in your career?” It’s the inevitable question that comes right after the awkward “How is Year 12?” or “How is uni?” Usually, it precedes the high-pitched, “ahh, interesting,” which attempts to conceal an overt scepticism. Or, “So what are you going to do with that?” This question is probably one of my least favourites in the awkward ice breaker repertoire, which seems to be continually directed at every teenager or twenty-something. For me, it has always been a question after which I have had to sell myself, and to which I have numerous rebuttals. Because, what have I answered? For as long as I can remember, I have said that I want to be a fashion journalist.
Like every aspirational fashion journalist I know, I have wanted to be the editor-in-chief of Vogue. So, you can imagine the logistical nightmare for the ‘Gen X’ conversationalists with whom I have had the pleasure of interacting, as I have watched them squirm and relay, “Is that realistic?” And for me, turning 20 this year, those three soul-crushing words are starting to echo on my personal conscience. Trust me, my rebuttal bank is seamless at this point: “How are you going to get there?” Well, I have read every ‘How to get into fashion journalism’ article you can find on Google. I have watched Alexa Chung’s The Future of Fashion series numerous times.
ARTWORK : EMILY ONEIL // 43 My writing this article is part of my game plan, to write for as many publications as possible before leaving uni. My friends are probably tired at this point of hearing me talk about these illustrious ‘internships’ that I intend to secure with notable magazines and newspapers.
call it out. We are a smarter audience, more active listeners. With the growth of the media landscape comes a growth of information, and we are vigilant fact-checkers. There is no space for ‘fake news’, which most likely characterised the majority of news that existed in the 1950s.
But, beyond the glowing guarantees of success posted by every ‘How-To’ guide on Google, YouTube and Facebook, my career trajectory is still as ambiguous as ever. And, it seems, it comes with the territory.
With the growth of blogs and social media influencers, traditional office spaces once designed for large publications are being transformed. As of now, the office space for writers is more often their living room couch. Freelance writing has exploded, where the job of the writer is no longer simply to write, but to edit, photograph, and design. The ‘slashie’, or ‘triple-threat’ as applied to the entertainment industry, has expanded into journalism.
As Woroni celebrates its 70th anniversary, it seems pertinent to reflect on journalism then and now. Drawing on my fashion knowledge, it seems most obvious to me to start by referencing the Women of Vogue exhibition, which arrived at the National Portrait Gallery late last year. Last year Vogue Australia celebrated its 60th anniversary. Reflecting on their archives, I was enthralled by the covers of the 1960s, which seemed to have a form of naivety and nostalgia, and a sense of magic which leads you to smile and sigh. This sigh is significant. It represents the recognition of a clear gap between the covers of ‘old’ and the new, which we now see. Journalism now seems beset by cynicism and a sense of competition that has accompanied the rapid acceleration of change. Looking at the models on the covers of Vogue in the 1960s, there is a sense of slowness, stillness even. A lack of awareness to the broader cultural zeitgeist existing around the aura of fashion. However, looking at any newspaper or magazine today, this slowness has been transformed. There is a haste that accompanies feature spreads, as though journalists are aware that as their work is being written, it is inherently dated already. For me, reviewing the media landscape, of which Woroni is a part, means investigating the changing relationship between writers and readers. Nowadays, the distinction between the writer and their audience is blurred. No longer is there a single page devoted to the ‘Letter to the Editor’ section. Rather, people take to social media to voice their support or condemnation, and it cannot be as easily filtered. When Woroni was first published in 1950, women were still incarcerated in a ‘cult of domesticity’. Because of my gender, I still couldn’t attend university. We had just emerged from one of the most destructive global conflicts the world had ever seen. And that coverage was still censored, words were blacked out, stories of victims lost in the abyss. By the 1960s, the television war in Vietnam exposed people to a world outside their bubble of security on Australian shores. Journalists were given a new responsibility to seek the truth, to go to the source of chaos, not to work around it. In contemporary times, there is no space for glamour. There is no voyeuristic approach to covering human suffering. We are bombarded by it every day. And with this honesty comes an obligation to the public, who are increasingly able to spot the black sheep and
Amidst this cacophony of voices and competing obligations that characterise the industry of journalism, there is the pressing question: “Is journalism dead?” And it is a genuine concern. But, like how the 1950s did not look the same as the 1960s, let alone the 2020s, change is not necessarily something to be feared. The journalistic landscape of today, whilst not offering as much job security in the traditional sense, is freer, louder, and responsible for the continual destruction of traditional conventions. Throughout the feminist movements, we have reported. Throughout war crimes and ideological conflicts, we have reported. We have broken stories exposing the corruption of the banking industry. We have uncovered the censorship of news by media moguls intended to dissuade public sympathies on certain controversial issues. Whilst no longer desk-bound, there will always be a responsibility to write. To be honest. To have integrity. So, whilst my rebuttals to the questions of the validity and usefulness of a career in journalism are prepped and ready, I am not naïve. I know that the media landscape is vastly changing. Whilst there is a depressing undercurrent to the discussion of the future of journalism, which speaks of bite-size news and ‘one-minute read’ feature articles, I believe there remains an optimism. There will always be platforms available to allow individuals to have a voice. There will always be news which needs to be reported. Woroni has prevailed despite this cultural change to journalism. It is a case study in the continued merit and value of authentic voices. It fuels the passion of youths like myself, who are determined to write stories and perpetuate the legacy of thoughtful conversation. My response to the question of “So what are you going to do?” elicits a degree of concern, but at the same time it excites me. Perhaps the position ‘The editor-in-chief of Vogue’ will have a new name by the time I am old enough to compete for it. But despite its transformation, my aspirations for a journalistic future will prevail. Having a voice is as old as democracy itself. And so, as long as the constitutional right prevails, journalism will always ensure my voice, and all our voices, are heard.
44 // CULTURE | ARTS
ARTWORK : ALICE DUNKLEY // 45
AUTHOR // JULIETTE BROWN
CONTENT WARNING: NSW/Victoria Bushfires Warm bodies swayed against the warm Byron breeze, the Valley Stage Music Festival was an ocean of colour against a tie-dyed sky. The relaxed, breathy tunes of Tash Sultana morphed, in an intoxicated haze, into the anticipatory builds and drops of Pnau, as excitement built for 2020. The countdown at Falls Festival was as revelrous as ever. Peking Duk’s set electrified the decade, with a sensory overload of sound and light. It was almost possible to forget that for most of the NSW coast, the New Year was heralded by an eerie silence and a sombre orange sky, as Australians were fighting to defend their homes and get their families to safety, in arguably the most prolonged and widespread fire season in Australia’s modern history. But maybe that’s the point. Psychedelic festivals have always been associated with escapism, dating back to the first Woodstock Music Festival in 1969. The festival bloomed against a backdrop of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement as an opportunity for hippies to connect through music and ‘make love, not war’. Similarly, we could have seen an intensified mood of escapism in this year’s summer festivals. However, I don’t think we did. Looking back, at least at Byron Bay Falls, the mood felt more sobered than mellow. People were still having fun with their friends and enjoying the music, but in a way that felt more measured and less hedonistic. Everyone had booked, ready to rejoice in a new decade of new possibilities, never imagining the tragedy that would befall their communities. This left them unsure of whether it was right to celebrate, and perhaps, without enough time to conceptualise an appropriate response to the festival experience, within the unique niche of protest culture that festival culture historically inhabits.
Is it right to celebrate amid national disaster? Opinions seem to differ, at least amongst our country’s civic leaders. Sydney controversially decided to go ahead with its iconic New Year’s firework display in the name of continuing tradition, according to Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore. By contrast, Canberra decided to cancel its fireworks display, instead donating to bushfire relief programs. And let’s not forget Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s notorious Hawaiian escape, which will likely be remembered as the crowning symbol of his poor leadership during this crisis. Yet, these celebratory displays were public and costly. What about the normal Australian? Should they feel guilty for merrily ringing in the New Year? Commemoration can be seen as a celebration of life or mourning of death. Perhaps, some may have seen the new year as an opportunity to toast our brave firefighters and the temerity of the Australian spirit, with newfound gratitude for the ones they love. It will be interesting to see what Australia Day looks like this year, as Australians reflect upon all that we have lost, including over one billion animals, two thousand houses and ten million acres of bushland. Arguably, the very rituals we commonly practice in celebrating our nation on January 26 – underpinned by recklessness, unnecessary consumerism, and the trashing of natural resources – shamefully epitomise the role Australians have played in the destruction of our country’s ecosystem. The luck of the ‘Lucky Country’ can only go so far.
46 // CULTURE | REVIEW
ARTWORK : ABIGAIL BORDER
JOJO RABBIT: WHY MUST WE NOT FORGET AUTHOR // TARA FINLAY
CONTENT WARNING: Antisemitism, War A ten-year-old boy in Nazi Germany, his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler, and a Jewish girl hiding in the walls of his house presents an extraordinarily poignant, yet humorous, story in Jojo Rabbit. The film succeeds in walking a delicate line between comedy and drama. It is at times entertaining and satirical, and at other times carries a buoyant message of the brutal effects of war, especially on children. The film is based on the historical novel Caging Skies by Christine Leunen. She writes of a Nazi boy who, upon discovering a Jewish girl in his attic, begins to question his blind nationalism. The movie is set near the end of World War II, where Germany is facing massive defeats. Roman Griffin Davis plays Jojo Betzler, a young boy focused on becoming the very best Nazi he can be. Guiding him is his best friend, mentor, and confidante: an imaginary Adolf Hitler. Jojo, nicknamed ‘Jojo Rabbit’ for his refusal to kill a rabbit when ordered to by his Hitler Youth commander, is depicted as a frightened and innocent little boy desperate to be part of a club. When he discovers that his mother is hiding a young Jewish girl, Elsa, in his house, he begins to question his entire worldview. Jojo finds himself warming towards Elsa, her caustic charm and humour forcing him to change his fanatical view of Nazism. As his relationship with Elsa grows, his relationship with ‘Imaginary Hitler’ worsens. The initial endearing wit of Hitler morphs into the monster we all know. Director Taika Waititi has chosen a talented cast, with Critics’ Choice Award Winner Roman Griffin Davis, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, and Stephen Merchant. However, especially notable are all the child actors in the film, who movingly portray the devastating effects of war from the point of view of a child.
Waititi has divided critics of this film for using humour to satirise the Nazi regime. He is known for testing his audience’s humour in his other movies such as Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Thor: Ragnarok. Comedy has been used to poke holes in Hitler’s ideology since Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. However, Nazi comedies walk a fine line. At their best, they can allow the audience to reflect on the horror of the time. But at their worst, they allow viewers to detach themselves from the past. Waititi, however, demonstrates his exceptional skills in creating a balance between comedy and gravity. The audience is left laughing at the absurdity of the Nazi Regime, while at the same time confronted with the atrocities of war. The final message of the film is simply how stupid war is! While this film may not have been intended to align with the looming shadow of the possibility of World War III, it has certainly chosen an important time to be released. With the tensions between Iran and the United States boiling dangerously close to the point of war, we need now more than ever to be reminded that war should be something to avoid at all costs. If the atrocities of war begin to fall away from society’s collective memory, then we are in real danger of repeating past mistakes. This film, while enjoyable, reminds us that the lessons of past wars should never be forgotten.
ARTWORK : ALICE DUNKLEY // 47
HOME WORK BY JULIE ANDREWS: REVIEW AUTHOR // PHOEBE LUPTON
CONTENT WARNING: Mental Health, Addiction When I was five years old, my mum introduced me to the world of musical movies. She started with a Disney film that had me hooked from the word ‘go’. The film was Mary Poppins. There were many things about the film that enthralled me: the unbelievably catchy songs, the sense of hope and fantasy, the animated penguins in the ‘Jolly Holiday’ scene... But what cemented Mary Poppins as one of my most beloved films was Julie Andrews’ performance as the titular character. Her poise, regal presence, and soaring soprano vocals all combined to create an image of a goddess-like figure. She was someone who made you nearly fall backwards as soon as you saw her. Andrews soon became what you might call my first ‘celebrity crush’. Throughout my life, I have tended to deify Andrews, and I know that I’m not the only one. This was until I read her second autobiography Home Work, co-written with her eldest daughter Emma Walton Hamilton. Home Work recounts Andrews’ film career in great detail. It encompasses an array of entertaining and enlightening stories of her days on set with other film stars at the time, such as Dick van Dyke, Christopher Plummer and Richard Harris. It highlights Andrews’ extraordinary résumé, which I was very much expecting to see when I began reading. What I did not expect to discover, however, were the adversities she experienced in her personal life. She gives the reader a warm, generous insight into the end of her first marriage to costume designer Tony Walton, as well as the beginning of her second marriage to deceased filmmaker Blake Edwards. She opens wide the window to her family life and the struggles she faced with being a working mother. Perhaps, most importantly, she takes us on her journey through attending therapy sessions with a psychoanalyst, which only assists in normalising mental health struggles that many of us experience. Andrews is clearly a privileged and talented woman, who has been blessed with a career that most performers only dream of having. But, as Home Work shows, this does not make her immune to the inherent precarity of life. The book does not recount Andrews’ early life in great detail – this was the primary subject of her first autobiography Home. What we do learn, however, is that as a child she had to live through the alcoholism of both her mother and her step-father, which resulted in a tumultuous marriage. Andrews’ mother continued to struggle with her physical and mental health, which became a source of deep anxiety for Andrews later in life.
In the middle of her Hollywood career, she had the added stress of watching her younger brother become addicted to drugs, something which left her feeling frustrated and helpless. Then there is her family life, which, while clearly a great joy in her life, was punctuated by the anguish of sharing Emma with her ex-husband, and by the anxiety of relocating her family considering her demands in the United States. Moreover, despite her extreme success and popularity as an actor, she was constantly plagued by ‘imposter syndrome’ throughout her career. The beauty of reading Home Work is that in doing so, your mental construction of Andrews as a ‘perfect’ otherworldly being begins to break down. Despite the many positive, life-affirming experiences you may have, these are always countered with times of sadness and stress. Andrews is no stranger to life’s ups and downs, and it is evident from her writing that she wants people to know it. She treats her readers with empathy and courage – at times, it’s almost like you are having a conversation with her. To me, this is the perfect way to tell your story. No one lives a perfect life. Not even Mary Poppins.
48 // CULTURE | REVIEW
ARTWORK : MADDY BROWN // 49
cats (Or the irony of memory in A completely immemorable film): a review AUTHOR // JAIME HOWELL Cats, the film no-one asked for, starring a host of A-list actors as a disturbing cross-breed of 10-fingered, wedding ring-wearing felines, truly needs no further publicity. Between Jason Derulo’s claims that the production team had to CGI his generous Jason Dejewels out, director Tom Hooper’s 36-hour all-nighter to get the final product finished with one day to spare and the subsequent reissuing of the film to cinemas as a rushed gambit to correct unfinished graphics, this film has had more airtime than its titular cats who can apparently fly… or levitate? I thought, perhaps, that in amongst all of the chaotic press surrounding Cats, the reviews following the premiere could have been too harsh on Tom Hooper and his take on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s inimitably (yes, INIMITABLY) successful stage musical. Armed with the power of positive thought and a review that had suggested this film was to become an instant cult classic because of how fantastically awful it was, à la Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, I ventured to the cinema for my go at Hooper’s magnum opus (sorry, The King’s Speech). Of course, the first thing that comes to mind watching this film is the gloriously distressing cat-human hybrid CGI job on which the post production team settled. This subject has been talked to death, and used in review after review as a key reason for the work’s ultimate box office flop; rightly so. This is all before we get to the tapping cockroaches and singing mice (also with human faces), so it really does paint a rather upsetting image. Putting all of this aside, I found several further reasons for Cats’ abysmal ratings (2.8 on IMDb, hello), the primary one being that there was no reason whatsoever for this musical to be made into a movie. This sounds incredibly harsh, and perhaps it is. I should preface this argument by saying that, whilst I know well the story of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s feline spectacular, I have not seen Cats onstage. Knowing the plot of the original musical, however, and seeing it adapted into the medium of film, I believe that there is absolutely nothing this transposition does to elevate or positively change the source material, in any way. All this to say, Cats would be one of the last musicals I would ever choose to adapt into a film – not at all for lack of quality, but because movies require a decent amount of world-building for their audience to fully compre-
hend and connect with the storyline. Cats is set in a very specific place, during a very specific and short time period, and is incredibly character-focused. This is suited to the medium of stage, but does not align with traditional film paradigms. Quite honestly, it feels like the only reason this movie was made was because studios finally had the technology to do so, and even this aspect failed them. Not to pile on (although I think perhaps that ship sailed well before the opening number), but I also found that at no point was I ever fully invested in any character throughout the film. I couldn’t even get behind Jennifer Hudson’s character, the woeful and excommunicated Grizabella, as her stunning voice battled constantly to soar through the rivers of snot and tears the makeup department continued to pour down her face. The physical comedy of the film, brought about (on paper at least) mainly by James Corden and Rebel Wilson, was in no way a reprieve, instead bringing yet another source of intense discomfort. And let’s not even talk about what they did to our lord and saviour Sir Ian McKellan. The final layer of icing on this shitcream cake would have to be, however, the sly attempt by Universal Studios to withdraw this absolute gem from the upcoming Academy Awards’ ‘For Your Consideration’ page. Surely this has got to be the $100 million equivalent of writing your legal theory essay drunk at 2am the morning before it’s due and trying to withdraw it from Turnitin five hours later when you’ve come back down to earth and realised it’s ten pages about body positivity instead of legal positivism. We truly must stan whoever was brazen enough to submit it in the first place (maybe the same group of people who were holding Ian McKellan hostage at the time of filming). Cats is not the kind of film that is so bad it’s good, and nor will it, in my opinion, ever reach the status of a cult classic. Credit where it’s due, though, because this musical was always going to be an absolute shitfight to make, and Tom Hooper did his darndest best. Besides, pulling a 36-hour all-nighter to finish a huge piece of assessment? I relate to that on a spiritual level.
ARTWORK : SIAN WILLIAMS // 51
NEW YEAR REVOLUTION AUTHOR // ADITI DUBEY
The beginning of a new year is usually a time of great celebration. New Year’s Eve parties are held all around the globe as people end one year and ring in the next with fireworks, music, alcohol, and a general air of celebration and joy. However, this year, the atmosphere was a little different in some parts of the world. With major protests in Hong Kong and India, many people began their New Year on the streets, instead of at parties. Hong Kong, which has seen large-scale, relentless protests since June 2019, saw another massive rally on New Year’s Day 2020. Tens of thousands of people gathered in various parts of the city, marching through the streets and shouting pro-democracy and anti-China slogans. The rally began peacefully, but later descended into violence. The police used teargas and water cannons. By the end of the night, they had detained 400 people, an exceptionally large number of arrests in a single day. The Civil Human Rights Front, the organisers of the protest, condemned the police’s actions and released a statement saying: “Hong Kongers shall not back down and peace shall not resume with the ongoing police brutality.” While it is difficult to be certain about the future of the movement, the large numbers at the protest indicate that perhaps Hong Kongers won’t really back down this year either. India, too, began the New Year with large protests. The country has seen almost daily protests since December, when the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act was passed. The protestors, a large number
of whom are students, have been rallying against a combination of government policies, police brutality towards students, and government clampdowns on dissent. While the ruling party has made constant efforts to stop the movement, supporters have consistently pushed forward, and the New Year protests show that they have no intention of stopping any time soon. There were protests in several major cities on the night of 31 December 2019, as well as during the day on January 1 2020 . New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and Hyderabad all saw New Year protests where people gathered to shout slogans, recite poetry, and speak out against the government. News of protests at the beginning of the year might be scary or depressing for a lot of people. 2019 saw great political turmoil in many parts of the world. Fresh protests in the New Year might signal that nothing is changing, and that 2020 will be just as bleak. But to me, these protests are a sign that things are changing. 2019 might have been a year full of trouble, but it was also a year where young people all across the world stood up to face the trouble head on. From Latin America to Asia, young people have been leading the fight against government injustice, and have consistently been standing up for the values they hold important. The world had a lot of problems in the 2010s, and it will continue to have problems in the 2020s. But all might not be lost. The new decade dawned to the cries of azadi (freedom) in India and ‘liberation’ in Hong Kong. I take this as a sign of hope.
52 // DISCOVERY | POLITICS
Public Interest of ‘Post orientalist arts of the Strait of Gibraltar’
A STORY ABOUT CRICKET AND CLIMATE CHANGE AUTHOR // NICK BLOOD
A few years ago, a number of Australian academics wanted to focus their expertise in media and communications studies on the issue of climate change and sports media. In an article for The Conversation, they stated their goal was “to try to move beyond needlessly partisan political debate by investigating the capacity of professional sport – arguably the most popular form of media on the planet – to communicate environmental issues and awareness.” They were encouraged by many high-profile examples elsewhere such as the Olympics, and the simple fact that Australia is a sporting nation. Understandably, they saw great potential in using the huge platform that is our sports media as a way to help Australia in the face of serious ecological challenges. It’s a simple idea, tapping into what’s popular to promote a message, but doing so can be highly effective. As such, it might not surprise you to learn that when these academics applied for government support through the Australian Research Council (ARC) grant process, their project was approved. Titled ‘Greening Media Sport: The Communication of Environmental Issues and Sustainability in Professional Sport’, their project was given $259,720 to cover the costs of research staff, and a green light to proceed.
For most researchers, winning an ARC grant is a big deal. For one, the process is gruelling and highly competitive, so it represents an achievement in its own right. Winning a grant also reflects well on a university, and by extension, its employees, so it can be a career booster too. As many academics will attest, however, it is often things beyond the prestige that matter most. Financial support is the lifeblood of research, and often the only way to pursue topics of interest and importance. With this project, the necessity and urgency of their work is difficult to understate. Unfortunately, though, not everyone saw it that way. Having gone through the arduous approval process, won a grant, and now being on the cusp of beginning some sorely needed work, these academics eventually discovered that their project had been personally rejected by then Education Minister Simon Birmingham. It was among ten others that he had disapproved. Notably, these rejections were all focused on just one of the eight panels he oversaw: Humanities and Creative Arts. If new criteria were being attached to funding these projects, it was not communicated to applicants. Indeed, the entire process was opaque, and it took almost a year for applicants to even realise that they’d ultimately been rejected – a year many people spent wasting efforts on a doomed project.
ARTWORK : SIAN WILLIAMS // 53
In their public quest for answers from the Education Minister, it’s clear to see that these researchers care more about helping with climate change than they do about this project’s cancellation acting as speed bumps in their personal career trajectories. It’s equally clear to see that they are deeply concerned about the lack of transparency in this process. Birmingham’s decisions were made according to some unknown criteria, and his successor, Dan Tehan, declared that future projects would need to pass some kind of ‘national interest’ test. This is standard right-wing theatre, folks: needlessly invoke nationalism, while simultaneously fanning the flames of culture war between ‘everyday’ Aussies on the ground and the detached intellectual elites up in their ivory towers. You can see it permeating Tehan’s idea about ‘national interest’ and the way he spoke about the rejections: “The value of specific projects may be obvious to the academics who recommend which projects should receive funding but it is not always obvious to a non-academic.” In other words, Tehan doesn’t think that these projects pass the ‘pub test’. It’s not really about the national interest though; it’s about ivory tower elites not ‘getting it’. Usually, in these narratives, the worst offenders are the same ones who were targeted here: academics in the arts and humanities. Despite its irrelevance, they’re invoking nationalism because that particular posture plays well with their political base, especially when they’re trying to play ‘ordinary Aussies’ against academics. In reality, ARC applicant rates have sunk to historic lows of around 10 per cent. The process is becoming increasingly competitive. It’s difficult to see how a grant makes it through without somehow serving the national interest already. Looking at our sports media article, it seems to tick many boxes: national interest, industry partnerships, and sport. Yet, here’s Simon Birmingham on Twitter defending his decisions: “I‘m pretty sure most Australian taxpayers preferred their funding to be used for research other than spending $223,000 on projects like ‘Post orientalist arts of the Strait of Gibraltar’.”
Again, the narrative that they’re trying to push here, as with Tehan, is that the research canned was esoteric academic bullshit that most people wouldn’t value, and they, as ordinary Aussies, can see past all of that. But of course, he reached for one of the more esoteric projects of the 11 that he canned. He cherry-picked, in other words. Remember, too, that this intervention was only in the arts and humanities discipline, the same area often attacked by right-wing critics as being out of touch with reality. Birmingham’s tweet with its selectively used data is a clumsily crafted lie, but to many casual or fleeting observers it is one that is convincing enough on the surface and that plays easily into well-established and well-accepted ‘us versus them’ narratives. Imagine trying to write the same tweet, except this time it’s about having the odd climate change advertisement run between overs of a cricket game. It’s not a ridiculous concept, nor is it hard to understand. Worst of all, if it were done in the right way, it might even be accepted by their political base! Likely for these reasons, Birmingham never referred to this project, and it may be some time now before we ever see anything like it. To me, that’s a great tragedy, and a missed opportunity of potentially gigantic proportions. Despite things like this happening all the time, it’s hard for us to notice these missed opportunities. By their very nature they are invisible. We can’t see the things that never happened. They only exist in hypotheticals now. But one key motivation in writing this was to lament what could have been.
54 // DISCOVERY | ENVIRONMENT
it will be fire AUTHOR // GEORGE OWENS CONTENT WARNING: NSW/Victoria Bushfires “It will be fire” – the unceasing echo of David Harsent’s 2014 poetry collection, Fire Songs. Harsent’s apocalyptic images of environmental catastrophe and damnation seem, read today in one of the worst bushfire seasons ever seen in Australia, apposite and freakishly prescient. The collection of poems is bound in flames, metaphorically and literally. Contained within are four eponymous ‘Fire’ poems around which all else is structured. Fire’s power to cause ruin – to human life, to love and truth, to the earth and our environment, and to human reason – is one of many leitmotifs that run through the work: “it burns. Whole libraries on an updraught. Cascade of wings. / Substructure meltdown. What the night-sky brings. / Ashfall. Stars failing, fading. Unbreathable crosswinds. / Torrent of wildfire”. The poems, with their images of destruction and environmental catastrophe, call up images of the bushfires that have caused wide-spread devastation over the southeast of Australia and been ever-present on news and social media platforms since September last year. 2019 was Australia’s hottest year on record, 1.52 degrees Celsius above the long-term average recorded by the Bureau of Meteorology. This eclipsed the previous record of 1.33 degrees Celsius above average set in 2013. In fact, every year since 2000 has been above average, with the five hottest years on record all falling since: 2017, 2018, 2005, 2013 and now 2019. The conclusion is obvious: Australia is getting hotter.
This has come hand-in-hand with harsher bushfire seasons. This 2019 to 2020 season so far has brought the destruction of 10.7 million hectares of land, over 5900 buildings and killed 29 people. Towns along the coast of NSW, in Victoria and in southern parts of Queensland have been devastated by bushfire damage to property, land, livelihood and life. The human cost of these fires is immeasurable. The fires are of an apocalyptic nature mirrored in Fire Songs. In ‘Fire: End-Scenes and Outtakes’, Harsent’s image of a town bears resemblance to towns currently devastated by fires: “the crackle and flare / of phosphorous, mother and child taken up as one, / the horizon ablaze, just as the fires / rolled in on the settlements”. A similar image is created in ‘Fire: A Party at the World’s End’: “the trek / to the sea under thin white skies, the firestorms at their backs, / their burdens, their weeping cries, the way the line / would lean as if for emphasis into a driven pall / of dust and dreck”. This bears resemblance to people in Cobargo and Mallacoota (and Batemans Bay, Jervis Bay, Bermagui, Mogo, Nowra, Moruya…) seeking refuge from the bushfires on beaches and the coast.
ARTWORK : SIAN WILLIAMS // 55
The smoke currently enveloping NSW, Victoria and now even New Zealand also has a parallel in the collection. In the poem Icefield, “there was a time… when the skyline was set / clean as a scar on glass… now the horizon’s a smudge; now there’s a terrible weight / in the air and a stain cut hard and deep”. Icefield, coincidentally, was commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature Australia, an agency now fundraising for the bushfire emergency. Smoke emanates through the work, folding, shrouding, covering, choking, of a nature with which we are all now familiar. Also contained within the collection is a ternary poem ‘Tinnitus’, split between three sections of the work. Here, Harsent manifests the human propensity for lies within a central metaphor: “a single note drawn out / beyond imagining, / pitched for a dog or a rat / by a man with a single string / on a broken violin…. too sharp and shrill to be anything but lies”. This false and urgent shriek changes to the clamour of violence in the second section: “rough music in the lane, / the love-child lapped in blood / and safe at her breast, the pain / echoed in wood on wood, / steel on steel, as they come”. Finally we only hear the rattle of approaching chains: “now chains on gravel. Make of it what you will. ‘’ The trajectory is from lies to violence to judgement. Truth is absent and lies are everywhere in the collection. In ‘Fire: Love Songs and Descants’, the written word is thrown on the pyre: “so leap these on, letters, cuttings, poems, diaries, notebooks… everything said wrong, everything said in haste”. Old writing, old lies, is described as “all that’s left of counterfeit and fear”. Perhaps this is a response to our current state, replete with echo chambers, agenda-heavy media, ‘fake news’ and information overflow. Even in the current bushfire crisis we have seen some of it, in the ‘disinformation campaign’ carried out by fake social media accounts pushing arson as the cause for the fires, undermining the connection between bushfires and climate change. ‘The Fool at Court’ is a poem of a single couplet – there is, after all, no substance to a fool – that could truly be applied to some modern-day politicians: “he wears seven colours in his coat and lies / with the Queen at night, and lies and lies and lies.” With these parallels, Fire Songs seems to prophesy. Written in 2014, it is, in this respect, similar to many environmental studies conducted through this century and the last of the dangers of accelerated climate change. Many studies warned of an increased risk of bushfires due to rising temperatures, the increasing length and severity of droughts, changing rainfall patterns and other climate change-related phenomena. For example, the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Co-Operative Research Centre has been modelling the increased occurrence and severity of fires – which they suggest is highly likely tied to increasing temperatures in Australia – since 2003, the year it was founded by the Australian Federal Government.
Similarly, the 2018 combined report of the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO showed a one degree Celsius increase in Australia’s climate since 1910, an 11 per cent decline in rainfall in southeast Australia since the late 1990s, and long-term increase in extreme fire weather across large parts of Australia. Many studies appeared to predict the 2019 to 2020 bushfire season catastrophe, such as the 2008 Garnaut Climate Change Review, which stated: “recent projections of fire weather suggest that fire seasons will start earlier, end slightly later, and generally be more intense. This effect increases over time, but should be directly observable by 2020”. Similarly, a report from the Climate Institute of Australia predicted the number of days with a ‘very-high’ fire danger, by the Fire Danger Index, to increase by up to 30 per cent in NSW and Victoria by 2020. We have been given the information necessary to put in place protection mechanisms, safeguards and adaptation strategies. The failure to do so before this catastrophe has resulted in the widespread shock and anger at political institutions over Australia. That our governments have ignored such warnings is justifiable cause for anger. Further cause for anger is the lamentable lack of effective climate change policy; in the recent 2020 Climate Change Performance Index, Australia was ranked worst out of all 57 participating countries, with “the dismissal of recent IPCC reports, the government not attending the UN Climate Action Summit in September, and the withdrawal from funding the Green Climate Fund”, as well as the failure to propose renewable energy or emission reduction targets, resulting in the lowest possible overall score, 0.0 out of 100. We are not acting on climate change. Bushfires are a catastrophic and manifest danger that have resulted directly from increased temperatures. The devastation caused to lives, homes, livelihoods and land are only direct consequences. We are also facing decreased food security and increased cost, displacement and bushfire refugees (adding to the millions upon millions of people already displaced in the context of disasters and climate change worldwide), damage to our water treatment and supply infrastructure, and a serious water shortage – country towns in NSW and Queensland are approaching Day Zero for water, and it’s only mid-January. There are also many other dangers of climate change: longer and worse droughts, rising sea-levels, the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, of rainforests. Fire Songs again prophesies: “it will come to fire, so they say, despite the roar and roll / as continents calve from icefields, as rainforests fall, / as the sea first takes the lowland then takes the rest, / fire nonetheless, fire on the skim of the sea, fire at the core”.
56 // DISCOVERY | BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS
AUTHOR // ELLIOTT MERCHANT What is something ceremonial? Shiny objects like orbs, crowns and sceptres? Or grand and powerful characters such as the Governor-General, the Pope or the Queen? They are highly revered, and beautiful to look at. However, too close a step can offer a glimpse beyond the façade and reveal the idleness beneath the surface. The power of ceremony is that it can distort the true meaning of things with fancy rhetoric and hyperbole. The Imperial Crown of the United Kingdom, while beautiful and famous, is still an object. The Pope, while admired and worshipped, is still human. Ceremony is also present in our politics and economics. Over the past 40 years, countless governments and oppositions have coated simple phenomena and concepts in spin and hyperbole to distort their meanings for personal benefit. They have created ceremonial economics in order to sell political narratives to voters for political gain. Today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s surplus is the best example of ceremonial economics. If, as the Liberal government has promised since they were elected in 2013, there is a return to surplus this year, it will not mean what the government wants us to believe it means. Morrison will spin it as a return to the predictable and prosperous fiscal discipline of the ‘Howard years’, and as an indication of a healthy and rot-free economy. It will be presented as a sign of economic and political success that belies its actual significance and implications. A budget surplus now has a conferred ceremonial power which alters its true meaning. The creation of ceremonial economics has had alarming effects on our politics and public discourse. As the state of the economy and fiscal management are key concerns of Australian voters, real political outcomes are decided on the basis of distorted meanings and ceremony, while meaningful substance is neglected. Since Morrison came to power in 2018, he and his treasurer have emphasised the government’s determination to return the federal budget to surplus in the 2020 to 2021 financial year. In the 2019 federal budget, the centrepiece of Josh Frydenberg’s speech was restoring ‘fiscal discipline’, announcing that Australia’s gross national debt had steadily decreased, and that there would be a $11 billion surplus in the coming year.
Federal budgets, while officially a statement to the public about the state of the national accounts, are always political. The return to surplus was qualified with the assertion that ‘only one side of politics can do this’, with a casual reference to former Prime Minister John Howard and former Treasurer Peter Costello’s paying off Labor’s ‘debt’. Neither in the speech, nor in the election material that followed, was there any exploration of what paying off Labor’s debt would mean for voters. Instead, the Coalition used the misleading ‘surplus’ to convince voters that it had saved the Australian economy. And it worked. They won the ‘unwinnable’ election, and proved that in elections, economic management is always supreme. Despite this victory, and the surplus we will no doubt see within in the next three years, the Australian economy continues to sputter, one painful limp at a time. In October of last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted that the economy had grown just 1.7 per cent in 2019, and would only grow by 2.3 per cent in 2020. his was before the catastrophic bushfires that have devastated much of NSW and Victoria. This makes 2019 the worst year for the Australian economy since the Global Financial Crisis 11 years ago. Given that a healthy growth rate is considered to be between two per cent and four per cent, there is considerable cause for concern. The government has reassured people that despite ‘economic headwinds’ the ‘fundamentals’ of the economy are strong. What these fundamentals are, if wages are stagnant, trade tensions are rising, and interest rates are dangerously low, is unclear. A budget surplus in the near future will not solve these problems. At a time when the Governor of the Reserve Bank has pleaded with the government to spend to stimulate the economy and prevent recession, a manufactured surplus might be the last thing we need. In fact, it will be window dressing, the much anticipated delivery of a political promise made in 2013. The Coalition will use it as evidence of their prudent economic management and remind the electorate of how long it took to clean up ‘Labor’s mess’. This is despite the threats that Australia faces and the deep structural imbalance of our economy. The $11 billion question is why, at a time of great economic uncertainty, is this surplus, the result of inaction and political points-scoring, so celebrated? Why isn’t it seen for what it is? Why is it all tip and no iceberg?
ARTWORK : SIAN WILLIAMS // 57 The answer is, ceremony. For decades both sides of politics have painted one another as incompetent economic managers, and pronounced themselves as the only party that can be trusted with the economy. This has led to 40 years of spin and ritual. Simple economic phenomena have been dressed up so much that their significance has become distorted and their meaning malleable, if not broken altogether. Through endless attacks, rhetoric, and tricks, a lack of fiscal discipline has become deadly in Australian politics. Politicians have conferred a type of nominal power on economics, resulting in its purely ceremonial meaning. In 1975, former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and his government, the first Labor administration in over 20 years, was removed from office in a crushing electoral defeat after just three years. Despite their sweeping social reforms, the Whitlam government was plagued by chaos and economic mismanagement. The Coalition argued that Labor had failed to control inflation, led the country into an oil crisis, and induced a recession. This, compounded with the many scandals of the Whitlam administration, was enough to remove Labor from office. The failures of the Whitlam government became the foundation of a narrative that economic mismanagement is always linked to internal chaos and instability. In 1983, the newly-elected Hawke government turned the tables on the Coalition by publicly revealing that the deficit left by former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was $3 billion larger than what was stated during the campaign. This deficit of $9.6 billion (around $31 billion in today’s dollars) meant that the incoming government would have to cut most of its spending plans for its first term. The blame was used to paint the outgoing government as fiscally incompetent, unbalanced, and untrustworthy. This cycle was repeated in 1996 when John Howard inherited a $14 billion deficit (roughly $24 billion in today’s dollars), which was significantly larger than expected. Howard also came into office with the national debt approaching 20% of GDP, the highest level since Whitlam. In both these cases, highly unpopular governments were swept from power in dramatic fashion. Fraser in 1983 and former Prime Minister Paul Keating in 1996 were both vehemently disliked, and avoided answering questions about the deficit and the net debt accumulated during their time in office. In both cases, fiscal mismanagement was linked to untrustworthy, unpopular, and chaotic administrations. Conversely, Howard was able to marry economic prosperity, rising wages, and low inflation to surplus after surplus. After the 1997 to 1998 budget, all but one of Peter Costello’s next nine budgets were in surplus. Howard and Costello won four successive terms and governed for over 11 years. In the minds of the electorate, stability and general wellbeing went hand-in-hand with a balanced budget.
A crucial element of Labor’s successful campaign in 2007 was painting themselves as ‘economic conservatives’ who would not spend big as Whitlam and Keating did, but would follow Howard’s prudent fiscal management. However, Labor was forced to erase Australia’s budget surplus, and spend to avoid a potential recession brought on by the Global Financial Crisis. Despite the fact that Rudd’s policies likely prevented a recession, the opposition used this to convince the public that Labor could not manage the economy. This was not helped by the instability that plagued Labor from 2010 onwards: a minority government, a midnight coup, and spill after spill followed by deficit after deficit. Once again, economic mismanagement followed chaos and instability. Whitlam proved that governments live and die on their management of the economy. Hawke tied together unpopularity, failure, and untrustworthiness with a massive budget deficit. Howard married political stability and economic prosperity with unbroken rivers of gold flowing from the treasury. As the Rudd/Gillard government ate itself alive, the public again saw headline after headline about a rotten budget and a sky-rocketing national debt. Gradually, the meanings of economic terms were been eroded, and all that remained was their raw political value. Because a surplus must be good and a deficit must be bad, their significance is lost. Instead, the budget is smothered in ceremony as complex economics are reduced to ritual talking points on breakfast television programs Sunrise and Today. Both sides of politics have used the state of the federal budget to attack each other and promote themselves, to the point where a surplus has become the jewel in the crown of competent economic management. Like a crown, when removed from ceremony, it becomes irrelevant. The problem is that the state of the budget is so much more than just a shiny object. The finer, but more important, implications of budgets and economic phenomena are so often lost in political noise. As the last four decades have made the national accounts purely ceremonial, the government is chasing a budget surplus to try and once again marry a balanced budget with prudent economic management. However, a political, at-all-costs surplus is the last thing the Australian economy needs. All signs point to a global slowdown and stagnant growth in the very near future. A recession is more than possible. Interest rates are at historic lows, and monetary policy has run out of room. If the government continues to chase a surplus it will be unable to stimulate the economy, resulting in a recession for the first time in 25 years, rising unemployment, falling revenues, and years of recovery. It would be a surplus that Australia could not afford.
ARTWORK : MADDY BROWN // 59
HOW A VIRTUAL VIEW OF EARTH CAN CHANGE HUMANITY AUTHOR // ISABEL RICHARDS “You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’” – Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut, on seeing Earth from space. When Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit Earth in 1961, he was more impacted by the overwhelming beauty of the planet than the magnificent universe outside. As hundreds of astronauts follow Gagarin’s lead into space and told their stories, a pattern emerged. The overview effect is a state of mental clarity reported by generations of astronauts while viewing Earth from outer space for the first time. Seeing our fragile blue globe ‘hanging in the void’ creates a sense of interconnectedness that makes many space travellers feel compelled to protect Earth and fight against inequality when they return. Astronauts describe the experience as sudden, but life changing. The phenomenon can entirely reshape how one sees environmental, social and political issues. Experiencing the overview effect gives astronauts a cosmic perspective that others – particularly world leaders – lack. Due to the nature of modern politics and the pressure of public opinion, politicians fail to think beyond their terms, and prioritise cheap, shortterm solutions over long-term human progress. Of course, sending everyone to space to transform their views is impractical, at least until space tourism becomes affordable and effective. But there is an accessible and exciting alternative on its way. Now, in hopes of waking people up to the bigger picture, scientists are attempting to recreate the intense visual and emotional experience using virtual reality (VR). Recent innovations in software development, screen technology, and headset design make it possible to simulate the overview effect.
There is compelling evidence from Stanford University suggesting that VR experiences can produce positive changes in behaviour and increase empathy towards fellow humans – even from short recordings in low resolution headsets. Many have already had a taste of the overview effect while playing mainstream VR games. In a recent trial conducted by the University of Missouri, psychologists are recruiting 100 people to try the VR headset at a spa. Volunteers will climb into a dark, salt-laden flotation tank to mimic the zero gravity sensation of being in orbit. The VR headset will play a high definition, 360 degree immersive video set in space. Though not everyone is expected to experience the overview effect, the experiment will reveal what happens when people’s senses are fooled into believing that they are observing Earth from outer space. Cognitive scientists report that storytelling is crucial to designing a VR experience that generates the same feelings as the overview effect. Flawless movements and a smooth narrative arc, with the overview effect as the climax, are required. This also enhances presence, which is vital to eliciting emotional responses. Further, recent studies on altruism conducted by the American Psychological Association and Guangzhou University suggest that people are more likely to make ethical decisions, be generous, and promote prosocial behaviour after experiencing awe. Researchers believe that the overview effect works in a similar way, and hope that the effect can be used to address the environmental concerns that Earth is currently facing. More could be done about the climate crisis, for example, if a global consciousness could be created, a cognitive shift breaking down political and social barriers and promoting care for the environment. Collectively sharing this new VR experience could have profound effects. If the upcoming experiment is successful, it has the potential to unite people in a time of great division and increase action on multi-generational problems. This gives VR and the overview effect incredible power, and may well spur collective solutions to several global challenges currently facing us.
60 // DISCOVERY | SCIENCE
THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE PRIZE AUTHOR // SOPHIE BURGESS, SAI CAMPBELL, LAM TRAN, HARRY CARR Each year in October, students, researchers and STEM professionals tune in for the awarding of one of the highest honours in the science community: the Nobel Prize. In the categories of physiology or medicine, chemistry and physics, scientists are presented with these awards in recognition for their exemplary contributions to their respective fields of science. This year, nine accomplished scientists were awarded Nobel Prizes and joined the ranks of extraordinary past Nobel Laureates such as Marie Curie, Alexander Fleming and Albert Einstein. So, who were these scientists and what did they discover? Find out below from ANU’s own next generation of scientists and engineers! Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Many organisms require oxygen to create energy in a process called aerobic respiration. Although we have been familiar with the importance of oxygen for a long time, our understanding of how individual cells adapt to changes in the availability of oxygen has been limited. In 2019, the Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza for their ground-breaking discovery on ‘how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability’. The result of their research has opened new doors on promising and exciting new ways to treat a variety of diseases, such as anaemia and cancer. Kaelin, Ratcliffe and Semenza’s combined work led to the identification of key regulatory protein structures and genes, which demonstrate an oxygen sensing mechanism on a molecular basis. Semenza examined the gene responsible for the production of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO), which mediates the production of red blood cells. He discovered that vicinal segments of DNA were involved in regulating the response to changes in oxygen levels. Ratcliffe’s group also studied this gene and both teams found this mechanism to be present in essentially all tissues, such as muscle and fat. Semenza discovered a key oxygen-dependant protein called the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) that controlled this response. Kaelin, a cancer researcher studying von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL) which involves a dramatic increase in the risk of cancer, discovered that the VHL gene was linked to an overproduction of oxygen-regulated proteins. This gene was then found to physically interact with HIF in a process that regulates our oxygen-sensing mechanism.
As a consequence of their research, our understanding of how oxygen levels influence integral physiological processes has greatly expanded. Oxygen-sensing is fundamental to the finetuning of metabolism in muscles, the immune system, foetal growth and the development of new blood cells. More importantly, a failure to detect levels of oxygen is related to a number of diseases, such as cancer. Cancerous cells can take advantage of the systems that are controlled by oxygen to trick the body into growing blood vessels to supply a growing tumour. Because of Kaelin, Ratcliffe and Semenza’s research, intense effort is directed towards the development of drugs that will interfere with oxygen-sensing mechanisms to treat these diseases. Sai Campbell, Bachelor of Philosophy (Biochemistry) Nobel Prize in Physics The Nobel Prize in Physics this year is dedicated to astrophysics: a very interesting field that is perhaps almost as overused in science fiction as quantum mechanics is! The 2019 prize was recently announced on October 8 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, with the winners being James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz. James Peebles was awarded half of the price for ‘theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology’, with Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz each sharing a quarter for ‘the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar type star’. Peebles In the 1960s, physical cosmology was considered a ‘dead end’ and had very little interest from the community, but Peebles remained committed. His dedication did not fail him: he made significant contributions to the Big Bang Theory, most notably the prediction of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR). When looking at the sky with a radio telescope, a white noise at around a 15 megahertz frequency can be constantly heard. Interestingly enough, this frequency does not change at all no matter the direction you point your telescope, as it is homogeneous and isotropic. This is because of CMBR: the weak but engulfing energy that fills our universe. This radiation is thought to be the relic of the Big Bang, and an attribute to the expanding universe.
ARTWORK : EMILY ONEIL // 61 Imagine this: in the beginning, a small, primal universe would have been filled with hot, intense opaque energy ‘soup’. As it expanded, this soup would cool down as it was spread over more space. At some point, it would cool down enough so that atoms, the building blocks of the universe, could form. As these atoms were formed, they would leave space for light particles to travel freely instead of bouncing off smaller particles, like protons and electrons, as they did previously. As the universe kept expanding and cooling down, wavelength of these light particles, known as photons, would get longer as they lose energy until they would get to microwave wavelengths. The existence of this visible radiation that fills the universe massively supports the Big Bang model, helping to detail the origin of our universe. Peebles was a part of the team led by Robert Dicke, who predicted that since the early universe was filled with energy, there should be some residue of this energy that still exists today. Following this prediction and then subsequent discovery, Peebles went on to focus on understanding the structure and the growth of an early universe that can be extracted from CMBR. His research played a large role in shaping physical cosmology as the field we know it today. Mayor & Queloz The second half of the Nobel Prize focused on exoplanets. A binary system, where two large masses spin around each other, can be discovered through the analysis of radial velocity, which is the rate of change of distance between an object and an observing point. In Mayor and Queloz’s research, the observing point was our dear planet Earth and the objects were stars. When viewing different stars, they noticed that some were wobbling towards, and then away from, Earth in a periodic pattern. This indicated that there must have been a body of mass near these stars, and that these two objects were spinning around each other to create a wobbling effect. Through refining the measuring equipment, they could measure smaller radial velocity which allowed them to observe smaller wobbles and, consequently, smaller masses around these stars. In 1995, the pair noticed a mass wobbling around the star 51 Pegasi. After analysing the tiny radial velocity, they could conclude that this was a planet roughly the same size as Jupiter, orbiting 51 Pegasi . This was the second time a planet was found to be orbiting a main sequence star, the most common type of star, with the first being our own sun. This discovery pushed an intensive search for more exoplanets research, and awarded them half of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics. Especially following these Nobel Prize recognitions, no one can deny that astrophysics is pretty cool! Lam Tran, Bachelor of Advanced Science (Physics)
Nobel Prize in Chemistry It is rare that a Nobel Prize is awarded for something that almost everyone has touched or held in their own hands! This Nobel Prize discovery underpins the world’s digital devices, electric cars and provides energy storage for renewable power… The 2019 Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded to the scientists who developed the lithium ion cell battery. Three researchers, material and mechanical engineering professor John Bannister Goodenough, and chemists Michael Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino, collaborated on the chemistry and design of the battery to bring it to Nobel Prize glory. They were driven by the 1970s oil crisis and the need to store renewable energy. Modern lithium batteries are scalable: small for phones and big for electric cars. They work by allowing charged lithium atoms, known as lithium ions, to naturally flow from one battery material to the other, which creates an electric current used by a device. There is a finite number of these atoms in the battery and when they have all flown out of the old material the battery needs recharging. When charged, the lithium ions are forced flow back to the original material, ready to flow down when unplugged and make more electricity. That’s what happens every time you charge and un-charge your phone battery. It’s like rolling a ball up a hill (charging), and then letting it roll back down again (discharging). In the development of lithium batteries, Whittingham discovered the energy-rich material called titanium disulphide, which had the ability to store lithium at the atomic level. This battery was effective and could store ten times the energy as lead acid, which was a common battery composition. Unfortunately, this design would explode after extended use. In 1980, Goodenough swapped titanium disulphide for another material: cobalt oxide. With this change, batteries were now creating a battery voltage of up to four volts – roughly the voltage of a modern AA battery. Finally, Yoshino’s contribution was replacing the metallic lithium in the battery with the material petroleum coke layered with lithium ions. This development was the one which made the battery much safer. This form was commercialised and first sold as a rechargeable battery by Sony in 1991. We now see these batteries everywhere, and in the present world we would struggle without them. The development of lithium ion batteries is certainly a deserving and practical Nobel Prize. Harry Carr, Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Material Systems, Biomedical Systems)
ARTWORKS : IZAAK BINK // 63
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woroni VOL. 70, issue 1, 2020
the voice of THE anu since 1950 VOL. 70, issue 1, 2020