Vol 23 No 21

21 October 2013

'Stick happens', by Chris Johnston. Tim Ferguson rides his wheelchair and wields his walking stick like a weapon as he chases a frightened mugger


Hyphenated migrant's homeland homage

31 October 2013 | Bernard Appassamy

Mountainous Mauritian landscapeLeaving Mauritius for Australia changed everything and nothing. While I am now liberated from a suffocating horizon, I only need to step outside to sense the presence of a different horizon, one that sits instead as a formidable continent behind me. My understanding of home has also evolved. As a hyphenated migrant, my home does not have a main entry, but a few side doors.


Big and little crooks of politics

31 October 2013 | John Warhurst

Eddie Obeid's face on a bad appleUnethical misconduct by public figures, proven and alleged, is in the public eye almost daily. No one is above suspicion, including Prime Minister Tony Abbott and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Is it a case of a few bad apples or are there systemic problems? There are levels of seriousness in these cases and it is helpful to disaggregate them to keep a sense of perspective.


Would-be nun's Holocaust history

30 October 2013 | Tim Kroenert

Agata Trzebuchowska in costume as young nun Ida peers out through a car windowOn the eve of taking her vows as a nun, 18-year-old novice Ida learns that she is Jewish. This sets her on a journey of self-discovery as she seeks to, literally, uncover the bones of her past, which has its roots in the Holocaust. It is timely to reflect on these matters in the wake of last weekend's anti-semitic violence in Bondi. It is better to grasp the bones of truth than walk in pious ignorance past the mass graves of history.


The insubstantial Bishop of Bling

30 October 2013 | Andrew Hamilton

Golden bishop chess pieceSpringtime draws attention to the sweet harmonies and scratchy discord between style and substance. Ducks escort their young across green lawns, and peck at anything that dares approach them. Young things in suits or summer dresses sit sozzled in Cup Day mud. Meanwhile in the Catholic Church, Limburg Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst was suspended from office for his profligate spending during a time of austerity.


Hockey's space cadet schemes

29 October 2013 | Ray Cassin

Astronaut with Joe Hockey's faceThere is a bizarre and remorseless logic to some of Joe Hockey's proposals, such as the absorption of Centrelink by Australia Post and making Medibank Private responsible for delivering the services of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. ACTU president Ged Kearney described the Centrelink proposal as 'moving into space-cadet territory'. She's right: the space cadets are flying the ship now.


The truth according to Tony

29 October 2013 | Fiona Katauskas

In Fiona Katauskas' cartoon 'The truth according to Tony', a woman asks Tony Abbott if he really thinks climate change is crap; he replies 'Depends entirely on who I'm talking to'

View this week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.


Sticking it to disability

29 October 2013 | Tim Ferguson

'Stick happens', by Chris Johnston. Tim Ferguson rides his wheelchair and wields his walking stick like a weapon as he chases a frightened muggerThe first symbol of my 'outing' as a person with multiple sclerosis was a walking stick. I cringed as I bought one but I soon realised that a walking stick is good for more than balance and strength. One night I was stopped on the street by an angry drunk man. 'You're too young to need a walking stick,' he shouted. 'Are you an idiot?' I replied, 'You're picking a fight in a dark laneway with a tall man who wields a large stick. Who's the idiot?'

Near the far-sighted eyeball of God

28 October 2013 | Carolyn Masel

Eye with a planet for its pupilA French philosopher went up the Tower to spurn the matchless view. In principle. New York City sparkled at his feet. How to convince them of their value down there: the spontaneity of life on the street — its chaos, brio, democratic lack of vista ... While up here, perilously near the far-sighted eyeball of God (that insatiable, designing orb), you could forget it all, and just hang like a planet, while the lights went out ...


ACT makes a dog's breakfast of marriage equality

28 October 2013 | Frank Brennan

Rainbow coloured banner bearing the slogan 'Equal love'Marriage equality advocates are pursuing the issue at a state level in the hope of pressuring the Commonwealth. In the process they risk blowing apart the national coherence of marriage laws put in place in 1961. The marriage equality question is best resolved by the Australian Parliament exercising a conscience vote. Marriage is too precious a social institution to be put in the mix of a dog's breakfast.

Ja'mie's disability

27 October 2013 | Michael Mullins

Ja'mie KingTV viewers are alarmed that they can so easily identify with Ja'mie King, Chris Lilley's studiously unlikeable comic creation in ABC1's Ja'mie: Private School Girl. In a previous incarnation, Ja'mie was sponsoring underprivileged Third World children about whom she knew little and cared less. People like Ja'mie have a pathological disability to feel the needs of others.


Bikie laws sicken civil liberties

27 October 2013 | Binoy Kampmark

Customised motorcycle with flame designPolitical commentator Malcolm Farr, a bike enthusiast, noted that many bikies are indeed 'frauds', 'thugs' and 'grubs'. The medicine on offer in Queensland and other states, however, is bound to kill that frail patient known as civil liberties. What is being touted is a police state response, rather than a measured, legal program. And broad brush strokes in legal responses tend to be disastrous.

Confessions of a fat, exploitative tourist

24 October 2013 | Ellena Savage

Suitcase with stickers sitting under a palm treeOne person told me the story of going out to a gallery in a rural area and seeing the same man harvesting rice with a buffalo that they'd seen a few months earlier. When they asked the gallery owner if it was harvest time again, he was told that the man was not actually harvesting rice, he was just employed to look like he was. A spectacle for the tourists. Which I'm pretty sure is the most alienated labour possible.


Human stories of criminal monsters

24 October 2013 | Joe Caddy

Man in prison leans on bars looking despondentFor 11 years I worked as a chaplain in a maximum security prison. I would meet inmates who were accused of serious crimes that had shocked the community. In coming to know those who stood accused I came to see that they too had a story. More often than not it included enormous deprivation and sadness. They had relationships that they cherished, and I never met anyone who in their heart did not want their circumstances to be better.


Making a mess of civil rights history

23 October 2013 | Tim Kroenert

Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker in The ButlerThe idea of viewing the American civil rights movement through the eyes of an African-American butler, ensconced for decades at the White House in the service of eight different presidents, is tantalising. How disappointing then that The Butler is such a sloppy, soppy mess. And with all due respect to Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey is a big part of the problem.


Scott Morrison and the power of negative branding

23 October 2013 | Andrew Hamilton

The word 'brand' applies by a branding ironSuppose the media, shocked by the cavalier approach to politicians who claim allowances for travel and other perks, unanimously decided henceforth always to refer to our parliamentary representatives not as Members and Ministers, but as Rorters and Archrorters. The stigma that such branding would attach to political life would be reflected in a diminishment of the high level of trust in which they are currently held by the Australian public.


Scott Morrison's defining moments

1 Comment
22 October 2013 | Fiona Katauskas

Fiona Katauskas' cartoon 'Scott Morrison's Defining Moments' features Scott Morrison at the bottom of a hill, the peak of which is marked as 'Moral Ground'; he is proudly digging away at the base and declaring, '... AND i call a spade a spade ...'

View this week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.


Bushfires demand response-ability

22 October 2013 | Bronwyn Lay

FlamesHuman land practices and increasing temperatures alter the earth, and are influenced by politics, law, philosophy and economics. In Lisbon, Western philosophy sought to sever God from nature; now we pretend that the fusion of humans and nature doesn't exist. The term natural disaster shouldn't be trusted. It is superstitious to think humans and nature aren't locked in a reciprocal relationship with political and ethical responsibility.


Mandate mantra is mumbo jumbo

22 October 2013 | Ray Cassin

The letters of the words 'Carbon tax' tumble out of a chimney stack along with smoke and ash in the shape of dollar signsWhile the Abbott Government brays about a mandate to end the carbon price, it is also shrugging off what, by its own theory, it has been 'mandated' to do in respect to the budget deficit and the imperative to 'stop the boats'. The notion that a mandate to govern confers the right to implement all the policies in an election platform is inherently implausible, and all politicians know that it is.


A lost civilisation of toast crumbs

1 Comment
21 October 2013 | Various

Curls of cigarette smoke Cigarette smoke curls in the air like the Buddha's eyelashes. Dishes collect in the sink like a shipwreck. Black ants trail like a gang from changhi. Sunshine like butter in honey ... A thought grows like ivy, scratches the skin.


Protection visa sequel worse than the original

21 October 2013 | Kerry Murphy

Mock movie advertisement features a sinking paper boat and the title TPV II: Temporary protection just got a whole lot harsherThe new TPV is harsher than the version introduced by the Howard Government, mainly because it has no pathway to a permanent visa — once granted, it is likely that the best you will ever get in Australia is a TPV. The TPV is a punishment, not a deterrent; a cruel visa that reflects the cruelty of the politicians introducing it.

Chopper Read and other people like us

20 October 2013 | Michael Mullins

Chopper ReadMost people will not miss Mark 'Chopper' Read, because of his reckless attitude to human life and law and order. Yet his ability to remain master of his own destiny makes him in that sense a positive role model for today's prisoners. Other poor people and asylum seekers who are able to rise above their circumstances can contribute positively to public wellbeing.

Australian connections to drowned asylum seekers

20 October 2013 | Marg Hutton

Lonely person on a beach in winter timeIn 2001 Prime Minister Howard tried to distance Australia from the SIEVX tragedy, in which 353 asylum seekers drowned, by repeatedly referring to the sinking as having occurred in 'Indonesian waters'. If there was any doubt then that SIEVX was an Australian tragedy, in 2013 there is none. There are now young kids growing up in Australia, who were born here and speak with Australian accents, who had brothers and sisters who drowned on SIEVX.