Vol 26 No 23

20 November 2016

Women in work. Cartoon by Chris Johnston



Learning self-respect in newborn baby hell

30 November 2016 | Suvi Mahonen

Crying babyFrom the moment my newborn daughter woke me, my day became a litany of bodily requirements. Pee, drink, change nappy, feed, burp, feed, drink, soothe, pump breasts, change nappy, feed, burp, feed, soothe, eat, drink, soothe. As for healthy living? Forget it. I sucked on spoonfuls of peanut butter and ate family-sized blocks of chocolate. And if I was lucky enough to snatch a yoga stretch in between bouts of colic, it was to the tinkling melodies of her play gym rather than Sanskrit mantras.


Tackling porn and alcohol key to family violence responses

29 November 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Man threatening womanOne of the weaknesses in our society is its lack of effective regulations governing the marketing and availability of alcohol. A second is the ready availability of pornography, as many young men learn how to behave towards women from sadistic and explicit pornography. In the case of the lack of restrictions on the availability of both, churches concerned to respond to domestic violence will need to meet the libertarian objections to regulating profitable business and individual behaviour.


Our first female High Court chief justice is first class

29 November 2016 | Moira Rayner

Susan KiefelSo the High Court finally has its first woman chief justice. Mainstream media have seized upon this as a remarkable achievement for the legal profession and as 'a fair go' for the empowered woman of 2016. Kiefel's attainment of her highest goal should be recognised as no such lesser win. It is right and proper recognition of the suitability of a solidly trained and experienced lawyer, and the product of this individual human being's commitment to the law and its customs, protocols and conventions.


Queering the airwaves for TV diversity

28 November 2016 | Adolfo Aranjuez

Josh Thomas in Please Like MeA recent Screen Australia report determined only 5 per cent of characters in Australian TV dramas could be identified as LGBTQI; less than half the proportion of real-world queer individuals in Australia. Media products are inherently normative, legitimising identities and lived realities through visibility. This is important, given the continuing debates surrounding marriage equality and the pervasiveness of homophobia, the result of which was seen in the suicide of 13-year-old Tyrone Unsworth.


The writing on the wall

28 November 2016 | Fiona Katauskas

Graffiti artist writes Muslims Out on a wall. The next day someone has changed it to Take Muslims Out To Lunch. Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas

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


Public health solutions to managing HIV

28 November 2016 | Kate Galloway

World AIDS Day promo imageEarlier this year, a Queensland man was found not guilty of intentionally infecting his former girlfriend with HIV. The case was sent back to the District Court to determine a sentence for the lesser charge of grievous bodily harm. At the time of the decision, the not-guilty finding was both welcomed by advocates who see criminal prosecution as reflecting the stigma of the condition, and criticised by others who consider the criminal law an appropriate sanction for harm caused.


History comes to strife in Stratford-upon-Avon

28 November 2016 | Patrick McCabe

Stratford-upon-AvonSomeone I read in high school, so probably Shakespeare, once said 'The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.' Well, whoever it was clearly hadn't been to Stratford-upon-Avon (so maybe not Shakespeare then). Here, you truly can visit the past, without a passport. As one peruses the shops, houses, supermarkets and ATMs, one cannot help but speculate as to the links between Shakespeare's works and what must have been the commonplaces of his everyday life.


Revisiting river country

27 November 2016 | Rory Harris

Murray River EchucaEchuca is a string of hand held families in the sun, their floppy hats nodding over ice-creams smeared ear to ear. In Bendigo we sit on the bed eating treats from along the road. The Age is our tablecloth. The ghosts of parents past, promenade the High Street, they holidayed closer to home and always travelled with a deck of cards and a bottle in the suitcase ... Hills wrap Castlemaine, the trains have stopped running, the fruit and veg is biodynamic and the sky is scattered wool ...


Question your motives when appropriating minority voices

24 November 2016 | Neve Mahoney

Maxine Beneba ClarkeIn a utopian world, free of racism and bigotry, there would be no problem with writers having complete artistic freedom. It becomes a problem when, for example, a white author takes the experiences of a Ugandan woman and writes a novel that becomes an acclaimed bestseller, while writers of colour struggle to get published and have their own stories told. This is white privilege at its finest. Morally, should the privileged be able to profit from the experiences and oppression of another culture?


All the way to Mass is Mass

23 November 2016 | Brian Doyle

Ash groveAll the way to Mass is Mass, says my wife. I know what she means. Walking along the wooded shore of the lake, through the halls of ash and maple trees, past the cedars and firs ... past the blackberry bushes and the burbling kindergarten and the redolent bakery and the cheerful bank tellers who wave ... is such a walk not a celebration of miracle, a witnessing of grace, a reminder that the quotidian is deeply holy in every detail did we only attend closely enough to see His mark?


Marcos burial dents Duterte

23 November 2016 | Fatima Measham

Heroes' Cemetery, PhilippinesTechnicalities seldom withstand moral grievance. So it is with Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte's justification for allowing the remains of a reviled dictator to be buried at Libingan ng mga Bayani - the Heroes' Cemetery. Young Filipinos, observing recent political disorder, had begun wondering whether Marcos was really that bad. But the disgusted response of millenials and others to the sneaky burial suggests that the pushback against historical revisionism is paying off.


Forestalling disgrace amid a welfare nightmare

22 November 2016 | Tim Kroenert

The welfare system Daniel experiences is a bureaucratic nightmare, populated by condescending Health Care Professionals, shadowy and calculating Decision Makers, managers who loom over their clients like stern parents, and caseworkers who stifle any human compassion for their desperate supplicants. He is grilled by a welfare officer about every aspect of his health except the only relevant one, his heart. Later, he runs afoul of the agency's 'online by default' processes. Daniel has never used a computer in his life.


Larger fears fuel cardinals' divorce beef

22 November 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Cardinal Carlo CaffarraFour cardinals wrote to the Pope demanding yes or no answers as to whether his reflection Amoris Laetitia was faithful to Catholic tradition in its treatment of the reception by divorced Catholics of communion. On not receiving a reply they published their letter, and one followed it up with murmurs about impeachment. The incident prompts reflection on the propriety of cardinals questioning a pope in this way and the reasons why discussion of communion for the divorced should raise such passion.


Mainstream mindset fails remote Aboriginal students

21 November 2016 | Dennis McIntosh

Aurukun schoolI wondered why my daughter was able to get an education with a brain injury and I couldn't get one with a normal brain? So I decided to copy what we had done with her. In short, I started reading again and started patterning sentences. Do I care about Direct Instruction, or Noel Pearson and the Cape York Academy? No. I care about seeing children find the joy in learning and embracing with courage and confidence the opportunities an education can provide.


For Pete's sake

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21 November 2016 | Fiona Katauskas

Bloody handed Peter Dutton kicks over a statue memorialising Malcolm Fraser as a humanitarian. Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas

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


A perfect stranger's perfect gift

21 November 2016 | Maureen O'Brien

Hand picking up a flowerRecently I went with a group of friends to see the musical Dusty. Afterwards, walking with one of my friends, I spoke about how special it had turned out for me seeing this musical on the day after my 54th wedding anniversary. Dusty Springfield's songs were ones my husband and I would have known well at the time. Just as I was reflecting on how some events have more significance than what appears on the surface, a young man on my right turned to me and handed me a large red flower.

Spring: Thirty short poems

20 November 2016 | Carol O'Connor

Number 30Counting angels dancing on a pinhead? How about, making count the stranger who stands right in front of me ... Love lies hidden. Quick! Look under the moss, hear the stone sing ... Mother Earth is groaning ... Dislocation. Disconnection. Displacement. Only you, only you, only you can take us home.


We are links in the chain of asylum seeker cruelty

17 November 2016 | Rod Grant

Cartoon by Chris JohnstonHaving a sense of something as right or wrong, good or bad, is the essence of humanity. We get it from home, from education, religion, friends, the media. It's the sniff test or the pub test or the gut feeling or the Bible or Quran or Torah. We all have it. And just as people have a sense of right and wrong, we also have a very good humbug detector, and it's clanging loudly when politicians unctuously claim all their 'stop the boats' strategies are driven by desire to prevent drownings at sea.