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Lot's Wife Edition 3 2017

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Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong><br />

edition three


SHOULD I HELP?<br />

Everyone is a bystander at some point. Being a bystander is simply<br />

witnessing inappropriate or harmful behaviour. In these sitautions,<br />

it's easy to ignore it, or assume that someone else will help. But<br />

most of the time everyone else will be thinking the same thing.<br />

Even if you're not sure how to help, a lot of the time, trying to do<br />

something is better than doing nothing.<br />

MONASH<br />

SAFER COMMUNITY UNIT<br />

T: +61 3 9905 1599<br />

E: safercommunity@monash.edu<br />

monash.edu<br />

If you witness harmful or inappropriate behaviour, consider:<br />

'Is it safe for me to step in myself or should I call security?<br />

Remember, it's important to do the right thing, but your safety is paramount.<br />

'What kind of negative behaviour am I seeing?' Is it discriminatory?<br />

re they yelling abuse? Is someone being physically violent? Different<br />

situations require different intervention.<br />

<br />

'What can I do?' Should you calmly confront the person and explain why it's wrong?<br />

Should you comfort the person being affected? Should you call someone else in to help?<br />

'Can I support anyone else who is helping?' If someone has already stepped in,<br />

what can you do to back them up?<br />

ic<br />

For information, advice and support in a safe environment, please contact the Monash University Safer Community Unit on 9905 1599 or<br />

just dial 51599 from a Monash phone. The Safer Community Unit website also lists resources and links to external agencies<br />

http://www.monash.edu/safer-community


contents<br />

02/<br />

the team<br />

04/<br />

msa calendar<br />

06/<br />

office bearer reports<br />

08/<br />

wot’s news?<br />

jessie lu, joanne fong, cara dowe & victoria<br />

saunders<br />

10/<br />

health & safety: interview with sam<br />

hatfield<br />

jayden crozier & selena repanis<br />

11/<br />

trigger warnings: paramount or<br />

pandering?<br />

joanne fong & jesse thomas<br />

12/<br />

the most efficient way to learn a<br />

new language, proficiently<br />

georgia cox & isabella toppi<br />

14/<br />

all gender bathrooms: what they<br />

mean and why they matter<br />

d.s.a & kim tran<br />

16/<br />

the sweet life, the real life<br />

devika pandit & audrey chmielewski<br />

18/<br />

music in the shadow of genocide<br />

emina besirevic & nicole sizer<br />

19/<br />

nostalgia for tradition<br />

john henry<br />

20/<br />

what’s the deal with firefighters?<br />

nick bugeja<br />

21/<br />

australia’s obsession with military<br />

spending<br />

jack young & elsie dusting<br />

22/<br />

minor parties in australian politics<br />

jessica lehmann & leitu bonnici<br />

23/<br />

what ever happened to the state of<br />

journalism?<br />

nick jarrett & kim tran<br />

24/<br />

when the bank of mum & dad runs<br />

dry<br />

benjamin caddaye & lin abdul rahman<br />

25/<br />

beyond her beauty<br />

dolly png & rachelle lee<br />

26/<br />

the power of the protest<br />

chris di pasquale & angharad neal-williams<br />

28/<br />

australia indonesia business forum<br />

<strong>2017</strong><br />

andre nathaniel & patrick johannes kaihatu<br />

30/<br />

the political battlefield:<br />

sloganeering and policy proposals<br />

alex niehof & john henry<br />

32/<br />

the dutch general election <strong>2017</strong><br />

nick novicki & angharad neal-williams<br />

34/<br />

what’s the matter with dark matter?<br />

austin luke & jesse thomas<br />

35/<br />

human centred design: a socially<br />

responsible approach to engineering<br />

consulting<br />

cameron inglis<br />

36/<br />

test your inner science nerd<br />

austin luke<br />

37/<br />

dramathematicians: historic figures<br />

in the mathematical sciences<br />

rachael welling & julia thouas<br />

38/<br />

science news<br />

science & engineering sub-editor team<br />

40/<br />

self and sound: the music of phillip<br />

wilcher<br />

samuel bugeja & jessica macgregor<br />

42/<br />

before where, perhaps what?<br />

nicole willis & sian davies<br />

44/<br />

in conversation with client liaison<br />

raymond field<br />

46/<br />

conflicted histories: a reflection on<br />

brook andrew’s ‘the right to offend<br />

is sacred’<br />

linh thuy nguyen<br />

48/<br />

coffee: the rise of modernity<br />

john henry & joanne fong<br />

49/<br />

jim & julie<br />

shona louis & maria chamakala<br />

50/<br />

relative size<br />

lauren castle & caitlin brown<br />

52/<br />

sunset<br />

jaimee bennetts & leitu bonnici<br />

53/<br />

the sea<br />

nathan nguyen & julia chetwood<br />

54/<br />

dissent: msa women’s department<br />

constance wilde & baby with a nail gun<br />

56/<br />

wot’s life?<br />

agony aunt<br />

57/<br />

feature artist<br />

kerrie o’james


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

the team<br />

Editors<br />

Emina Besirevic<br />

Nick Bugeja<br />

Sophia McNamara<br />

Rob Staunton<br />

Design<br />

Hana Crowl<br />

Student Affairs<br />

Caitlin McIvor<br />

Dylan Marshall<br />

Sophie Ng<br />

Devika Pandit<br />

Politics & Society<br />

Mollie Ashworth<br />

Benjamin Caddaye<br />

Jessica Lehmann<br />

Lachlan Liesfield<br />

Arts & Culture<br />

Tim Davies<br />

Nick Jarrett<br />

Clarissa Kwee<br />

Linh Nguyen<br />

Creative & Comedy<br />

Manon Boutin Charles<br />

John Henry<br />

Georgina Lee<br />

Shona Louis<br />

Elizabeth Yu<br />

Campus Reporters<br />

Cara Dowe<br />

Joanne Fong<br />

Jessie Lu<br />

Victoria Saunders<br />

Science & Engineering<br />

Tracy Chen<br />

Shreeya Luthra<br />

Isaac Reichman<br />

Rachael Welling<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> is entirely run, written, illustrated, edited and designed by students.<br />

If you would like to get involved, we are always looking for new contributors!<br />

Say hi anytime:<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> Office<br />

1st Floor, Campus Centre,<br />

Turn right at the MSA desk<br />

Or email us at msa-lotswife@monash.edu<br />

Advertising enquires:<br />

msa-lotswife@monash.edu<br />

Cover Art by Caitlin Brown<br />

Caitlin Brown is a Monash Fine Art student who enjoys dabbling in many<br />

different disciplines. She takes inspiration from both the world around her, and<br />

her inner self. She’s currently taking time off to work in the MSA, but no doubt<br />

about it nothing can keep her away from her art. You can follow what she’s up to<br />

on instagram @dankest_1.<br />

Section Art by Sam Allen<br />

Sam Allen is a second year Monash University student studying a Bachelor of<br />

Communication Design. She is an aspiring graphic designer, interested in print<br />

media and publication design. She also enjoys experimenting with textiles and<br />

all things tactile, often trying to incorperate these elements in her printed work.<br />

Fashion design fascinates her, especially designs that utilise alternative and<br />

unique materials. She would love to study something to do with fashion after her<br />

degree. Her very new and still developing design account is: samallen_design.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> <strong>Edition</strong> Three<br />

May <strong>2017</strong><br />

Published by Mary Giblin at Printgraphics, Mount Waverley, Victoria.<br />

As you read this magazine you are on Aboriginal land. Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> recognises the<br />

Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nations as the historical and<br />

rightful owners and custodians of the lands which this magazine was produced on.<br />

This land was stolen and sovereignty was never ceded.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> condemns and will not publish any material that is objectionable<br />

or discriminatory of any nature. The views expressed herein are those of the<br />

attributed writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the<br />

Monash Student Association. All writing and artwork remains the property of the<br />

producers and must not be reproduced without their consent.<br />

© Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> Magazine<br />

Level 1, Campus Centre<br />

Monash University<br />

Clayton, Victoria 3800<br />

Design by Hana Crowl<br />

Hana is currently undertaking her final year of a BA in Communication Design.<br />

She has always been interested in the creative industry, experimenting with many<br />

fields before discovering her passion for graphic design, particularly enjoying the<br />

physical, tactile nature of publication and print. You can find her work online at<br />

hanacrowl.com or on instagram; @hana.crowl.


Hello to all Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> readers. We hope everyone has had a good semester so far, and we thank<br />

you for picking up the magazine. The amount of feedback and involvement we have had from<br />

Monash students has been great.<br />

We want to use this editorial to speak to the importance of empathy and consideration for others.<br />

We live in times that are marred with imperfections – harmful wars, high instances of domestic<br />

violence, social isolation and ravaging economic inequality. Although there are goods that we all<br />

experience, many of the obvious ills in our society and the world are preventable (or at least our<br />

sense of idealism tells us that). Homelessness in such a rich country as ours is but one example of<br />

eliminable problems.<br />

While we are mere university students, we shouldn’t underestimate our powers to effect change.<br />

Every day presents us with an opportunity to make a mark; to smile at a bus driver, to ensure our<br />

environment is pristinely clean, to even have a conversation with someone who appears dejected.<br />

It is the small things that we do that cultivate a harmonious society.<br />

Once our university days end, our capacity to mould society will grow. Many of us will become<br />

leaders of our respective fields – teachers, doctors, nurses, lawyers – and will wield a great deal<br />

of power to reconfigure what is often a cold, calculated and cagey social order. Recognising and<br />

using that power is of the utmost importance. Our generation can reverse the trend towards<br />

hatred, isolation and unashamed self-interest.<br />

Our turn to create a world that we want to live in starts now – and we think that can be achieved<br />

by the values of empathy, kindness and magnanimity.<br />

As cinema mastermind Tommy Wiseau said in The Room: “If a lot of people love each other, the<br />

world would be a better place to live.” We hope you all like <strong>Edition</strong> Three.<br />

Pages 54/55 feature Dissent, the MSA Women’s Department’s publication, organised by the<br />

Women’s Officers, Shreeya Luthra and Nikola Gužys-McAuliffe. In previous years, Dissent has been<br />

published independently by the Women’s Department, but this year, Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> is teaming up<br />

with Dissent to reach out to a wider audience. The double spread in this <strong>Edition</strong> is brought to you<br />

in anticipation of <strong>Edition</strong> 5, the Feminist <strong>Edition</strong>. <strong>Edition</strong> 5 will feature a large amount of Dissent<br />

content, creating a space for women to express themselves, while showcasing the talent of female<br />

writers and artists at Monash.<br />

photography by daniel ffrench-mullen<br />

2-3


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

MSA Calendar<br />

WHATS HAPPENING AROUND<br />

CLAYTON CAMPUS<br />

MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY<br />

01 02<br />

MSA WELFARE<br />

DEPARTMENT<br />

Mondays at 7.30pm<br />

in Wholefoods<br />

-Free Food!<br />

MUISS FREE<br />

BREAKFAST<br />

MUISS Lounge<br />

9am-11am<br />

YOGA<br />

Location TBA<br />

1-2pm<br />

03 04 05<br />

THE MSA<br />

BREAKFAST CLUB<br />

Airport Lounge<br />

8.30am<br />

HUMP DAY<br />

Airport Lounge<br />

12-2pm<br />

Week nine<br />

08 09<br />

MSA WELFARE<br />

DEPARTMENT<br />

Mondays at 7.30pm<br />

in Wholefoods<br />

-Free Food!<br />

MUISS FREE<br />

BREAKFAST<br />

MUISS Lounge<br />

9am-11am<br />

YOGA<br />

Location TBA<br />

1-2pm<br />

10<br />

THE MSA<br />

BREAKFAST CLUB<br />

Airport Lounge<br />

8.30am<br />

HUMP DAY<br />

Airport Lounge<br />

12-2pm<br />

11<br />

12<br />

Week ten<br />

15<br />

MSA WELFARE<br />

DEPARTMENT<br />

Mondays at 7.30pm<br />

in Wholefoods<br />

-Free Food!<br />

16<br />

MUISS FREE<br />

BREAKFAST<br />

MUISS Lounge<br />

9am-11am<br />

YOGA<br />

Location TBA<br />

1-2pm<br />

17<br />

THE MSA<br />

BREAKFAST CLUB<br />

Airport Lounge<br />

8.30am<br />

HUMP DAY<br />

Airport Lounge<br />

12-2pm<br />

18 19<br />

Week eleven<br />

22 23 24<br />

MSA WELFARE<br />

DEPARTMENT<br />

Mondays at 7.30pm<br />

in Wholefoods<br />

-Free Food!<br />

MUISS FREE<br />

BREAKFAST<br />

MUISS Lounge<br />

9am-11am<br />

YOGA<br />

Location TBA<br />

1-2pm<br />

THE MSA<br />

BREAKFAST CLUB<br />

Airport Lounge<br />

8.30am<br />

HUMP DAY<br />

Airport Lounge<br />

12-2pm<br />

25 26<br />

Week twelve<br />

design by sam allen


student affairs<br />

student affairs<br />

4-5


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

OBR<br />

Office Bearer Reports<br />

PRESIDENT<br />

MATILDA GREY<br />

Dear Readers, you’ve made it to week 9; congratulations!<br />

I hope you’ve been having a whale of a semester 1. Since<br />

you last picked up a LW publication, we’ve launched a<br />

couple of new campaigns. The women’s department<br />

is working hard to change the culture around sexual<br />

assault on campus by raising awareness, rolling<br />

out improved education and prevention programs<br />

and ensuring sufficient resources are provided to<br />

victims. Look out for their snazzy new publication<br />

and the events we’ll be running that will focus on this<br />

extremely important issue! We have also released a petition<br />

around parking problems at Monash. We desperately need your help to make<br />

changes to the current system, so PLEASE sign the petition and include YOUR<br />

experiences with parking at Monash, it can be found on our website or on<br />

the MSA Facebook page. A few weeks ago we launched a survey requesting<br />

feedback from students around the events, projects and campaigns that MSA<br />

departments run. To help direct the focus of the Office Bearers this year, please<br />

participate in the survey which can also be found online. You can enter the<br />

draw to win 1 of 50 MSA vouchers worth $10 each! We’ve also been working<br />

on establishing a Centrelink branch on campus, getting a free legal service up<br />

and running, and working with the Monash University International Student<br />

Society around an international student campaign. I wish y’all the best of luck<br />

in your exams, and hope you have a stellar winter break. Catch you in semester 2!<br />

SECRETARY<br />

JESSICA STONE<br />

I hope everyone enjoyed their well deserved mid-sem break<br />

and managed to finish all those assignments. Lot’s of<br />

exciting stuff has happened since LW <strong>Edition</strong> 2. I saved<br />

a student’s life, poor Dan almost had an asthma attack...<br />

if it wasn’t for the efficiency of Facebook messenger and<br />

the pharmacist on campus it would not have ended<br />

well. Would also recommend having lunch in the MSA<br />

Space, very spacious and great vibes. I wrote some more<br />

minutes (the most exciting thing ever). I also read Lot’s<br />

<strong>Wife</strong> and learned that monash is going BACK to Blackboard,<br />

since when did we want to be like Melbourne Uni??? Semester 1<br />

is nearing its end but before you get too excited about heading into that winter<br />

unit or flying off to a tropical paradise to escape the cold, Stress Less Week is<br />

coming up in Week 12, so look forward to puppies, petting zoos and putting<br />

aside all those exams woes and indulging in some self care.<br />

TREASURER<br />

CAITLIN BROWN<br />

Golly gosh this semester has flown past! I can’t work out<br />

where all the time has gone. I hope you’ve all been<br />

enjoying each department’s week and making use of all<br />

the lovely meals MSA gives you – for FREE, such as<br />

free food Mondays, Tuesday BBQ, Wednesday Brekky<br />

and BBQ’s! The MSA is grateful to all the support we<br />

get from students, and all our services are here to give<br />

back, so make sure that around when assignment and<br />

exam stress is weighing you down and make use of all<br />

these lovely free goodies! We’ve been busy building for the<br />

post budget rally to fight back against liberal attacks against<br />

women, student welfare, and students. Also, we’re planning a super chill Stress<br />

Less week to hopefully ease some of the pressures of study! I hope to see you at<br />

these events, you pass all your exams and win the lottery to pay off your student<br />

debt and run away to a nice warm island far away from cold dreary old Clayton!<br />

EDUCATION (PUBLIC AFFAIRS)<br />

COREY ROSEVEAR & JULIET STEEL<br />

Oh my golly gosh how are we already in Week 9?! We hope<br />

that all your assessments have been going well and that<br />

you’re also managing to have fun! This week is Radical<br />

Education Week, where events and workshops will be<br />

run by students on radical ideas and concepts. We will<br />

be running a forum on Free Education where, amongst<br />

other things, we will look at Australian history, free<br />

tertiary education around the world, and have some<br />

brilliant discussions. The Budget is also out this week,<br />

so look out for events and rallies surrounding it as we’re<br />

expecting further cuts to higher education. Our Activate<br />

Monash Leadership Program has so far been a great success, with speakers<br />

coming in to talk to our group about campaigning and effective strategies, as<br />

well as to help facilitate group activities.<br />

EDUCATION (ACADEMIC AFFAIRS)<br />

HARINI KASTHURIARACHCHI & RAPHAEL TELL<br />

Hi everyone! Where has the time gone?! This semester<br />

is absolutely flying by but that hasn’t stopped Ed-Ac<br />

from working towards ensuring that your education<br />

is equitable and accessible. Since we last spoke, we<br />

have been quite busy working towards making the<br />

APC process a more fair process for students where<br />

all procedure is followed, which we have realised does<br />

not always occur. We have met with various university<br />

administrators to determine what is the best course of<br />

action to take and we are hoping to become more involved<br />

in the training process of academics who sit on the panel!<br />

Moreover, we are currently working towards creating some multimedia<br />

resources which will be distributed to students to raise awareness.<br />

Excitingly we have also conducted our first Academic Affairs Committee!<br />

We have a strong committee of highly enthusiastic students and we have<br />

identified a lot of problems that exist within faculties and we are hoping to<br />

work with ADEs and our student representatives to alleviate some of these<br />

problems. Moreover, Ed Ac has also contacted the library administration to<br />

discuss whether it is possible to have popular text books stocked in a higher<br />

quantity in the libraries to make them more accessible for students. If there are<br />

particular units or textbooks where the compulsory texts are unavailable at<br />

the library please contact us (harini.kasthuriarachchi@monash.edu or raphael.<br />

tell@monash.edu) and we can get in touch with the library administration on<br />

your behalf to see if this can be resolved!<br />

WELFARE<br />

NICHOLAS VIRGO & PATRICK STEPHENSON<br />

Hello all! To new students this year, we hope Semester 1 has<br />

been all you ever dreamed of and more. To all other students,<br />

R.I.P us. Semester 1 has been going swimmingly for the<br />

Welfare Department (quite literally during the campus<br />

floods – never forget). Thus far we’ve been busy cooking<br />

up a storm every Monday night for our regular Free Food<br />

Monday events, which have been a success insofar as we<br />

haven’t poisoned anyone... yet... as far as we’re aware.<br />

We’ve also been working hard to promote the National<br />

Day of Action, a student protest that occurred in cities all<br />

around the country on March 22nd. The rally in Melbourne was<br />

a success, with students from across the state coming together to fight back<br />

against proposed changes to welfare payments, cuts to penalty rates and the<br />

ongoing train wreck that is the Centrelink automated debt-recovery system,<br />

among other things. Looking ahead to the rest of the semester we plan to<br />

continue to fundraise for the expansion of Asylum Seeker Scholarships offered<br />

by the university, collaborate with other MSA departments on an awareness<br />

campaign around student mental health, and try with all our might to fix the<br />

bloody campus Wi-Fi. Fare well amigos!


ACTIVITIES<br />

SEAN GLASS & SARAH HARRIS<br />

Activities are here to relieve the stress of week 9! We have<br />

been welcoming live music every week on campus so we<br />

invite you to come on down on a Wednesday at 1pm<br />

for some music and a snag. Our committee members<br />

have been working hard every week to bring even<br />

more sausages to you guys than ever before! We are<br />

debuting our brand-new karaoke night this semester<br />

so grab some mates and practise in the mirror with a<br />

hair brush. From all of us at Activities, hope you enjoyed<br />

your Easter break and caught up on your studies.<br />

INDIGENOUS<br />

JAYDEN CROZIER & BRYDA NICHOLS<br />

Hey all! It has been an exciting past few weeks for the<br />

Indigenous department at Monash. Feels like we’ve<br />

been in the hot seat! With the National Close the Gap<br />

Day having passed during March, it has given us an<br />

opportunity to reflect on the fact that there is still a<br />

lot work that needs to be done. We are currently in<br />

the process of coordinating with external Indigenous<br />

organisations here in Victoria to assist in the promotion<br />

of programs and campaigns surrounding Aboriginal and<br />

Torres Strait Islander health and education. Additionally,<br />

the Indigenous department will be campaigning heavily<br />

for the introduction of justice targets to the Closing the Gap Strategy. It is<br />

important that the issue of justice and incarceration is addressed in order for<br />

all other areas to improve. After all, it is more likely that an Indigenous youth is<br />

incarcerated rather than studying at a TAFE or University. We look forward to<br />

mounting this campaign and adding our voice to this important conversation.<br />

WOMEN’S<br />

SHREEYA LUTHRA & NIKOLA GUZYTE<br />

The Women’s Department’s projects and events are well<br />

underway at this point in the year. After having a<br />

stellar women’s week with plenty of workshops, guest<br />

speakers, food and friends we’re now heading into the<br />

second half of semester. Students have reached out<br />

to us about various campaigns and initiatives they’d<br />

like to see, so negotiation with the university as well<br />

as preparation on our side has been the main focus.<br />

Our collectives have well and truly kicked off with the<br />

Women of Colour Collective (WOCC) party at Wholefoods<br />

and Q2 (queer and questioning women) dumplings in week<br />

6; these collectives meet weekly so if you’re interested come down to the<br />

women’s room and check out times! Contact the women’s department at msawomens@monash.edu<br />

for any questions!<br />

DISABILITIES & CARERS<br />

NAWAMA GREEN & MELANIE LOUDOVARIS<br />

Firstly, the D&C department wants to thank all those<br />

involved in our department week. A big thank you<br />

to those that gave us ideas, the students that ran<br />

workshops, and a certain office-bearer who helped<br />

immensely with events. We will be taking the<br />

discussions had in this week into our future<br />

campaigns and events. We are working on a guide to<br />

accessibility for MSA events and campaigns. We are<br />

excited to continue working with other departments<br />

on events and campaigns including work around queer<br />

mental health, carer awareness and much more!<br />

ENVIRONMENTAL & SOCIAL JUSTICE<br />

TESS DIMOS & JASMINE DUFF<br />

We have had a great couple of weeks of resistance. We joined<br />

students from across Australia in marching to ‘Make Education<br />

Free Again.’ The government spends $10 billion on subsidising<br />

the mining industry but students pay thousands each year in<br />

fees, Centrelink payments are increasingly difficult to access<br />

and now our penalty rates are being taken away. So we’ve<br />

been a part of the National campaign fighting for a free<br />

education! We have taken part in blocking the deportation<br />

of asylum seeker Saeed*, who the government is attempting<br />

to send back to danger in Iraq. We help check cars and try to<br />

stop him being taken to the airport. Australia’s refugee policies are<br />

some of the worst in the world, we all need to be part of the resistance. We have<br />

also organised forums on mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex,<br />

and on climate change and capitalism, for students to discuss and debate these<br />

key issues. If you want to get involved send us an email at msa.enviro@monash.<br />

edu. *not his real name<br />

QUEER<br />

ANDREA DUVAL & DENISE ATZINGER<br />

We’re looking to a strong start to the year, Trivia Night was<br />

super fun. Our contingent to the Melbourne Queer Film<br />

Festival to watch Women Who Kill (hilarious film, would<br />

recommend) had fun. Karaoke night had to be postponed<br />

due to the heavy rain in Week 4, but like rainbows, we<br />

aren’t deterred when everything is awful.We will prepare<br />

to get more active in campaigns and advocacy as well.<br />

Our goals are to keep you entertained, informed and well<br />

fed (we advocate low sodium diets). Also, Sir John’s Bar<br />

has finally completed it’s All Gender Bathroom! Come visit<br />

your QOs, we are stressed and there’s only so much time we can<br />

spend with each other. We have a pet fish in our office. Also we cleaned the<br />

office recently, so there’s space on the couch.<br />

PEOPLE OF COLOUR<br />

JASMINE NGUYEN & KAPIL BHARGAVA<br />

The People of Colour Department has had an exciting start<br />

to the year. It has been heart-warming seeing the People<br />

of Colour Collective grow with our weekly PoCnics and<br />

frequent catch-ups. Week 5 saw the very first People<br />

of Colour week. The week kicked off with a catch up<br />

in the bar along with a few rounds of bingo (chocolate<br />

prizes included). On Tuesday, we held a midnight<br />

screening of ‘The Sapphires’ on the big screen, enjoying<br />

great company and great pizza. On Wednesday, we had<br />

the pleasure of hearing from the People of Colour Leader’s<br />

Panel featuring Tim Lo Surdo from Democracy in Colour, Lisa<br />

Do from the Dual Identity Leadership Program, Haania Amir Waheed who<br />

is an exchange student and slam poet, and Jayden Crozier who is the MSA<br />

Indigenous Officer. The stimulating discussion covered many topics such as<br />

the difficulties people of colour face as well as a discussion on the incredible<br />

skills PoC offer and the strength we possess together. On Thursday, we learnt<br />

about the importance of intersectionality from five amazing activists: Amy<br />

Bartholomeusz, Denise Atzinger, Sarah Xia, Shreeya Luthra and Nawama<br />

Green. We heard how women of colour and queer students of colour, while<br />

being silenced by much of society, have also been empowered to help those<br />

around them speak up against the social injustices and racially fuelled hatred<br />

in our communities. The week ended with a PoCnic, smiles and a stronger and<br />

ever-growing PoC Community at Monash.<br />

student affairs 6-7


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

Wot’s News?<br />

Jessie Lu, Joanne Fong, Cara Dowe & Victoria Saunders<br />

Body of Former Monash Student Found<br />

Near Campus<br />

A man has been found dead, near a stairwell in<br />

the garden of the Rusden House apartments located<br />

adjacent from Monash Clayton campus. The body<br />

was discovered partially under a bush, near the rear<br />

car park entrance at 9:20am on Friday the 14th of<br />

April. Police say that the body may have been there<br />

for hours. At the time of writing, the case is being<br />

treated as a homicide as they believe a weapon was<br />

used. The victim, said to be of Asian appearance and<br />

aged in his late 20s to early 30s, has been identified as<br />

a friendly accountant who enjoyed playing basketball<br />

and keeping fit. It is understood that the man’s parents<br />

are flying from China to Melbourne to attempt to<br />

find answers to his death. His heartbroken family<br />

have asked not to disclose the victim’s name until his<br />

relatives residing overseas have been notified. A postmortem<br />

had been carried out on the day following<br />

the finding. The homicide squad was seen dusting<br />

for fingerprints, searching drains for the weapon and<br />

seeking any information from locals. Footage from the<br />

apartment complex’s CCTV cameras may find useful<br />

in the investigation. The murderer is assumed to be<br />

at large. Rusden House is primarily used as student<br />

accommodation. Police and the victim’s family are<br />

appealing to anyone with any information of the<br />

incident or who may have been in the vicinity, the<br />

night before the discovery. Crime Stoppers can be<br />

reached anonymously on 1800 333 000 or at www.<br />

crimestoppers.com.au<br />

Postgraduate Students Call for<br />

Transport Concessions<br />

Students are calling on the Victorian Government<br />

to offer concession public transport to all full-time<br />

domestic and international postgraduate students<br />

through the #FaresFairPTV campaign. Currently,<br />

Victoria is the only state where all postgraduate<br />

students are ineligible for student concession tickets<br />

when using public transport. The campaign has been<br />

organised by a coalition of five student associations,<br />

including the Monash Postgraduate Association<br />

(MPA) and are currently undertaking postcard and<br />

email writing actions to inform MPs of the importance<br />

of postgraduate student concessions. The Fare Fair<br />

PTV campaign can be followed through their website<br />

or social media channels and students can support the<br />

current initiatives at the clayton MPA office.<br />

Confusion Over Changes to Exam<br />

Cancellations<br />

In the lead up to Semester 1 exams, Examination<br />

Services have sent out an university wide email<br />

notifying students of a change to Exam Policy,<br />

which now bars students from applying to cancel an<br />

exam if they attend it. From a direct interpretation<br />

of this email, if a student starts to sit an exam but<br />

is adversely affected by exceptional circumstances<br />

or illness, students are advised to attempt to finish<br />

their exam. This is because, according to the email, in<br />

“most circumstances” they will no longer be eligible<br />

for special consideration. Previously, students were<br />

able to apply to cancel their exam if they were unfit<br />

to complete their exam due to illness or other serious<br />

cause, provided that they informed an exam invigilator<br />

they were unable to complete the exam and intended<br />

to apply for a deferred exam at least 30 minutes before<br />

the scheduled end. If the cancellation request was not<br />

granted, the result of that examination would then be<br />

final.<br />

In current eligibility criteria for special<br />

consideration, published on the Monash website<br />

and Special Consideration Deferred final assessment<br />

application form (March, <strong>2017</strong>), students who are<br />

“unfit to attend or complete an end-of-semester<br />

examination” due to acute illness or exceptional cause<br />

may apply for deferred final assessment. Examples of<br />

accepted causes of acute illness include severe asthma<br />

or severe anxiety or depression.<br />

The official Monash University procedure,<br />

Assessment in Coursework Units: Adjustments to<br />

Assessment Procedures, effective 20th March <strong>2017</strong>,<br />

states in section 2.3 that students may be granted<br />

special consideration and deferred assessment if<br />

they are affected by a short-term or acute illness<br />

or exceptional circumstance, even if it is in an<br />

examination. Section 2.48 states that “students who<br />

attend and attempt part of the exam are not eligible<br />

for a deferred examination” and also includes the<br />

ineligibility for deferred final assessment for students<br />

who complete their final examination. Section<br />

2.48 goes on to state that “the Dean of the unit<br />

teaching faculty may approve a deferred exam due<br />

to exceptional circumstances”, rendering the original<br />

exam results void. This directly contradicts the<br />

previous sentence. These discrepancies in policy that<br />

have been ambiguously communicated, may leave<br />

students confused and misinformed.<br />

This change may be in response to perceived abuse<br />

of this mechanism by students ill-prepared for the<br />

exam, only realising their lack of preparation after<br />

starting the exam. Special consideration applications,<br />

however, are required to be “genuine and made in good<br />

faith” as well as have “genuine, well-attested evidence”,<br />

which would seem to deter unentitled students from<br />

seeking this avenue.<br />

The MSA Education (Academic Affairs) department<br />

has responded to the change with great concern. They<br />

have pointed out that the new ‘Assessment Procedures’<br />

were not in line with the recommendations made<br />

by the Learning and Teaching Committee that were<br />

agreed to in a meeting of the University’s Academic<br />

Board. They provide provisions for students who were<br />

affected by exceptional circumstances or acute illness<br />

during an exam to receive special consideration or to<br />

sit a deferred exam. They also outlined the conflicting<br />

positions in the ‘Assessment Procedures’, specifically<br />

in regards to the aforementioned sections 2.3, 2.24<br />

and 2.48, reassuring students that they are seeking<br />

clarification on policy inconsistencies and advocating<br />

for students who may be unfairly disadvantaged.<br />

Wholefoods Gets Eftpos<br />

Monash Wholefoods has finally introduced Eftpos<br />

machines on its 40th anniversary, enabling students<br />

not carrying cash to purchase from there. Wholefoods<br />

has been in operation since 1977 as a student-run, notfor-profit<br />

vegetarian restaurant that operates from<br />

a base of volunteers. The Wholefoods Collective is<br />

the decision making body using “consensus driven<br />

decision making procedures” that allowed Eftpos<br />

machines to be installed. The Wholefoods Collective<br />

explained the reasoning behind the decision, which<br />

was driven by financial factors, since the restaurant<br />

faced adverse market conditions in the last year, with<br />

many new food outlets opening and their renowned<br />

balcony stairs removed as part of the Northern Plaza<br />

renovations. It was also driven by the fact Wholefoods<br />

is a division of the MSA, which uses the Commonwealth<br />

Bank (Commbank) for day-to-day banking. As such,<br />

they have to use the same bank. Wholefoods Collective<br />

are opposed to banking with Commbank, to giving<br />

them 2% of each Eftpos transaction due to their “wellestablished<br />

track record in funding fossil fuels, and in<br />

land grabs that perpetuate human rights violations”.<br />

In Australia, the Commonwealth Bank is currently the<br />

2nd largest funder of fossil fuels at $20.5billion behind<br />

ANZ at $23.4billion. Banks with no current record of<br />

funding fossil fuels include Bendigo Bank, Delphi<br />

Bank, IMB, ME Bank and the Bank of Queensland.<br />

This year, however, with a new Investment policy, the<br />

MSA has divested $5 million from Commbank into<br />

a managed fund partaking in ethical investments.<br />

In order for Wholefoods to stay “financially viable”<br />

in an increasingly cashless society, and due to the<br />

MSA’s divestments, Wholefoods has introduced<br />

Eftpos since“the logic of convenience sometimes has<br />

to win over the logic of resistance”. Wholefoods still<br />

encourages people to pay cash and are pushing for an<br />

ethical bank to open on campus in the future to fully<br />

divest from funding fossil fuels. Fossil Free Monash is<br />

an organisation aimed at campaigning the university<br />

to divest their investments from fossil free companies.<br />

Wholefoods has been involved in their campaigns.<br />

Petition to ‘Fix Parking’<br />

Monash Student Association has launched a<br />

petition regarding the parking situation at Monash. It<br />

calls for carpooling fees to be abolished, cheaper fines,<br />

expansion of free parking closer to Clayton campus,<br />

and “more affordable parking permits and daily<br />

tickets”. The MSA argues that permit and ticket prices<br />

continue to rise while students struggle financially,<br />

labelling parking costs at Monash as “ridiculous”,<br />

whilst parking spots for those even with a permit<br />

are highly competitive. They also propose that the<br />

carpooling fee inhibits its intended effect: to reduce<br />

carbon emissions by reducing the number that drive<br />

alone and that the current infringement system has<br />

not only very expensive fines but also unfair processes,<br />

highlighting the rigid appeal process. The cost of the<br />

yearly Blue permit, selling out very early, rose from<br />

$400 to $405 this year.<br />

New Software for Online Tests<br />

A new custom internet browser that ensures<br />

students do not cheat, is being trialled for faculties<br />

introducing closed book online assessments. The<br />

Respondus Lockdown Browser disallows students<br />

from accessing any other materials, programs or<br />

functions on their computer whilst completing certain<br />

assessments. The assessments are only accessible via<br />

Moodle by way of this full-screened software. There<br />

is also a webcam feature, the Respondus Monitor,<br />

which records the student for the entire length of the<br />

assessment. This feature requires that students do not<br />

leave their device for the entirety of the assessment,<br />

including for any bathroom breaks, and even to not<br />

write any notes on scrap paper as that may be deemed<br />

‘suspicious’. Whether this is used or not will depend<br />

on the discretion of each examining faculty, however<br />

in this trial period, it is currently being employed for<br />

assessments. Installation of this software requires<br />

a computer with certain requirements, including a<br />

webcam and microphone for the monitoring software.<br />

Regardless, students will be catered for with an on<br />

campus facility, in case they are unable to use the<br />

software on their own computers.<br />

According to Monash eSolutions, the primary<br />

purpose of the Respondus Lockdown browser is to<br />

“increase the integrity of the conditions” in which<br />

online examinations and quizzes take place, especially<br />

in light of their increased prevalence and onlineonly<br />

courses. By using this software, Monash is<br />

attempting to stamp out academic dishonesty and<br />

collusion with an “alternative to a ‘traditional’ inperson<br />

invigilated exam”. In introducing this software


to students, Monash has emphasised the “ethical<br />

academic community” in which students belong to,<br />

“that is committed to upholding high standards of<br />

honesty, fairness and academic integrity”, which is<br />

fundamental for the “online learning and assessment<br />

environment”. Monash is also quick to point out that<br />

over 300 universities worldwide and 16 domestic<br />

tertiary education institutes employ the same<br />

software, including the University of Melbourne and<br />

the University of Sydney. Along with indications<br />

from the lack of large capacity lecture theatres in<br />

the new Teaching and Learning and Biomedical<br />

Sciences Buildings, this software that enables for even<br />

greater proliferation of online assessments shows the<br />

radically changing way that Monash envisions their<br />

delivery of teaching. This software was recently used<br />

for the first time for students studying Medicine, in<br />

the Year 1 and 2 mid-semester tests. This was partly<br />

due to lack of available space on campus for the inperson<br />

assessments as well as future proposed changes<br />

to the structure of assessment for the course. It was<br />

implemented successfully to varying degrees; some<br />

students had no problems whatsoever, whilst others<br />

experienced timer errors causing the software to shut<br />

down, internet connection problems, or issues with<br />

being unable to use the bathroom in the assessment<br />

period. Most issues faced by students could be resolved<br />

by the Medicine E-Learning or Respondus support<br />

teams, however some students will be forced to resit a<br />

revised test. The primary benefit from the new format<br />

has been that students have been able to receive<br />

almost immediate feedback from Moodle itself, being<br />

able to review the questions and their answers in their<br />

entirety. So far, the online assessments will not be<br />

extended to end of semester examinations and it has<br />

been suggested the Respondus Monitor may not be<br />

used in the future to allow for bathroom breaks.<br />

Berwick Campus Closure Forces<br />

Students to Move<br />

The cessation of teaching at Monash’s Berwick<br />

campus, scheduled for the end of <strong>2017</strong>, has compelled<br />

many students to transfer to either Clayton or<br />

Peninsula campus to complete their Monash degree.<br />

Final year Education students and those studying<br />

the Bachelor of Business Administration are the only<br />

students able to finish their degree at Berwick. The<br />

closure has been attributed to low enrolment rates<br />

for the limited range of courses offered at Berwick.<br />

Despite efforts to grow and develop the campus<br />

over the past 20 years, only 1,600 students studied<br />

there in 2016. After a partnership with Victoria<br />

University to take over the campus fell through,<br />

Federation University Australia came forward to take<br />

responsibility for the campus, planning to deliver 15<br />

courses across 4 faculties. Monash sees the transition<br />

as a positive move for the local community, as<br />

Federation University is offering a greater range of<br />

courses, more suitable for the area. Monash is instead<br />

focusing its growth on other campuses, promising a<br />

new campus MasterPlan for the Peninsula campus.<br />

While this is a sustainable decision in the long run,<br />

for students currently studying at Berwick, or those<br />

who have only recently received and accepted an<br />

offer to study there, this is extremely frustrating.<br />

Students who had transport and housing situations<br />

arranged in order to study there will now be forced<br />

to uproot and base their lives around a completely<br />

different campus. Hopefully, with the transition this<br />

year, Berwick students will be able to adapt to this<br />

sudden change with minimal impact to their study. In<br />

certain circumstances, students may be able to receive<br />

special consideration through a hardship claim for the<br />

transfer of their home campus.<br />

MSA Feedback Survey<br />

Monash Student Association (MSA) has launched<br />

a feedback survey, in order for Monash students to<br />

directly voice their concerns. Responses will be used by<br />

the elected Office-Bearers to inform their actions and<br />

shape their projects, services, events, campaigns and<br />

support they provide throughout the year. Students<br />

must be logged in to their my.monash account to fill<br />

out the Google Form that is available through MSA<br />

channels, such as their website and Facebook page.<br />

Respondents will be entered in a draw to win 1 of 50<br />

$10 MSA vouchers available for use of MSA services.<br />

In addition to the elected positions, other MSA<br />

departments include Sir John’s Bar, Student Advocacy<br />

and Support, the John Medley Library and Host<br />

Scheme and Volunteering.<br />

Concerning Satisfaction Rates at Group<br />

of Eight Universities<br />

Data just released from the Federal Department of<br />

Education shows that students at private universities<br />

have rated the quality of their experience at university<br />

the highest of all Australian universities. The<br />

Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT)<br />

from Student Experience Survey (SES) indicate<br />

that students from 6 of the Group of Eight (Go8)<br />

universities are less satisfied with their education<br />

than the national average with 80% of students rating<br />

the quality of their entire educational experience as<br />

positive. Bond University and the University of Notre<br />

Dame had the highest approval ratings, slightly above<br />

90%. Edith Cowan University was the most highly<br />

rated public institution with the satisfaction rate of<br />

85.7%. Students from the University of Queensland<br />

and Monash University were the only ones from Go8<br />

to be more satisfied than the average, with Monash<br />

scoring just above at 80.4%. Students at the University<br />

of Technology, Sydney (UTS) have the lowest<br />

satisfaction score at 72%, with a drop in the rating<br />

consistent with a change last year from semesters to<br />

trimesters and lectures to interactive tutorials. Other<br />

universities, including Monash, are expected to adapt<br />

their learning and teaching approaches similarly in<br />

a largely transformative time for many teaching and<br />

learning departments at universities, moving away<br />

from a predominantly lecture based teaching method.<br />

Penalty Rates Cut<br />

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has handed<br />

down its 4 yearly review of modern awards after<br />

29 days of hearings and over 5,900 submissions,<br />

resulting in proposed penalty rate cuts in hospitality,<br />

restaurant, fast food, retail and pharmacy industries.<br />

This will affect workers that are not under an<br />

Enterprise Bargaining Agreement. Sunday rates have<br />

been cut across the board by 25-50%, bar for casuals<br />

in the hospitality industry or level 2-3 employees<br />

in fast food. Public holiday loading rates have also<br />

been reduced for workers across the 5 industries by<br />

25% except for casual restaurant workers. The public<br />

holiday penalty cuts will come into effect on 1 July <strong>2017</strong><br />

with Sunday rate cuts to be implemented at a yet-tobe-determined<br />

date after transitional arrangements,<br />

likely within a year. Early/late night loadings will also<br />

be altered for Restaurant and Fast Food employees,<br />

reducing the time frame in which they are applicable.<br />

FWC recognised that the employees affected were<br />

relatively low paid and that their living standards<br />

would be reduced, however justified their decision<br />

as the primary purpose of penalty rates were to<br />

compensate for the disutility of the days or times<br />

affected. The Liberal government has been accused<br />

of appointing a series of conservative members to<br />

the FWC. The decision has been highly criticised by<br />

unions, think-tanks, the Labor party and the former<br />

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor, Bernie Fraser,<br />

arguing almost 1 million workers would receive huge<br />

pay cuts, unfairly affecting the most disadvantaged<br />

employees, increasing inequality and accelerating the<br />

“mass casualization of the Australian workforce”.<br />

Campus Report<br />

Stalking StalkerSpace<br />

We all know and love Monash StalkerSpace, the<br />

place that provides Monash students with all the<br />

memes and banter they could ever need. The page is<br />

a way for students at Monash to feel connected and<br />

part of a community. However, many students are<br />

upset with a recent increase in negative posts and<br />

comments on StalkerSpace. There have now been<br />

numerous reports submitted to Facebook of offensive<br />

and aggravating behaviour occurring on StalkerSpace.<br />

This includes trolling - the act of posting inflammatory<br />

material online, in order to provoke or insult others.<br />

A small number of individuals and groups have<br />

unfortunately used this online space to spread<br />

disrespectful messages to many. It comes as the trend<br />

of trolling and cyberbullying increases everywhere,<br />

particularly in educational environments. The rise has<br />

been linked to the anonymity that the internet can<br />

provide. The safety of sitting behind a screen, rather<br />

than being face to face, means that it is a lot easier<br />

to insult someone,. On StalkerSpace, the issue may be<br />

exacerbated at times from those who are not student<br />

but rather there to join in on the ‘trolling’. There have<br />

been consequences for people expressing extreme<br />

views on public forums on the past; a recent example<br />

is Kurt Tucker, who expressed on a Facebook post that<br />

he would have joined the Nazi Party in Germany in the<br />

1930s. Tucker is a prominent member of the Young<br />

Liberal National Party (LNP) in Queensland, and after<br />

media outlets reported his comments, he has now<br />

resigned from all party positions after a statement of<br />

apology.<br />

So what can we do to save our beloved space from<br />

this troubling minority? While there are options, none<br />

of them are guaranteed. When Deakin University<br />

had a similar problem several years ago on ‘Deakin<br />

University StalkerSpace’ (DUSS), it led to the switch<br />

to their current, private group. Those who wish to join<br />

must submit a valid Deakin email address, which is<br />

then approved by the administrators. This restricts<br />

those who join just to promote offensive behaviour.<br />

Otherwise, another option is to report an offending<br />

post to the administrators, which is a fast way to have<br />

something you find insulting removed. However, this<br />

is a method that is often not considered or is done too<br />

late for it to have any impact, especially as the admins<br />

of the group cannot constantly moderate every post.<br />

Some students or now ex-students that have been<br />

a part of the group for many years have expressed<br />

ambivalence at the transformation of StalkerSpace<br />

into an increasingly negative space, arguing that the<br />

group goes through cycles.<br />

Sexual Assault and Inappropriate<br />

Conduct on the Rise<br />

Apparently nowhere is safe now for uni students,<br />

and young women, no matter if it’s on the train or<br />

bus on the way home from class, or staying back<br />

at uni studying in the library, minding your own<br />

business. Recently there have been reports of at least<br />

two sexual assaults in two separate incidents by the<br />

same unknown man. The first incident occurred last<br />

November. As the 21-year-old victim was travelling<br />

by train, the perpetrator got on at Carnegie Station<br />

and sat next to her before sexually assaulting her.<br />

The same man is believed to have sexually assaulted<br />

another victim, a teenage girl this February on public<br />

transport. In other news, it has been alleged that a<br />

middle-aged Asian man exposed himself on the lower<br />

level of the Hargrave Andrew Library. Both alleged<br />

offenders have not yet been apprehended.<br />

Students Shave For a Cure<br />

The Monash Residential Committee’s first event of<br />

the year,The Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest<br />

Shave, took place on March 20th out on the College<br />

Green. The aim of the cause is to raise awareness for<br />

Leukaemia, of which 35 people are diagnosed every<br />

day. Participants volunteered to have their hair dyed,<br />

cut or shaved or their bodies waxed. Approximately 80<br />

spectators enjoyed some quality music and a free BBQ<br />

whilst watching the participants. The total amount<br />

raised was an incredible $6,153.65, an increase on last<br />

year’s figure, which will go towards to support blood<br />

cancer research.<br />

student affairs 8-9


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

health & safety:<br />

interview with<br />

sam hatfield<br />

article by jayden crozier<br />

artwork by selena repanis<br />

Sam is a Safe at Work organiser at the Victorian Trades Hall. His role<br />

is an important one: to ensure that work conditions in Victoria are safe<br />

and tenable for workers in a variety of industries. In an industrial climate<br />

where occupational health and safety (OH&S) is shunned for the sake<br />

of ‘efficiency’ and profit, Sam and his team are vital in the community.<br />

After all, everyone deserves to have a safe workplace.<br />

What is OH&S?<br />

Rather than answer this with a technical definition, in simple terms,<br />

OH&S is the ability to go home from work to your family and your<br />

friends in the same condition that you left. People often get bogged<br />

down talking about the technicalities and policy of OH&S. But at the<br />

end of the day, going home healthy to your loved ones is what it all boils<br />

down to.<br />

It’s the core of what unions are ‘about’.<br />

Why did you take an OH&S position at Trades Hall?<br />

Every right we have under law in regards to safety at work has been<br />

fought for and won by the union movement. I was a union delegate<br />

and Health & Safety Representative in my previous job. We had to<br />

fight with management and negotiate to get every safety protection<br />

we had. The position at Trades Hall was a step out of my comfort<br />

zone, but still allowed us to campaign for change at high levels within<br />

WorkSafe, the union movement, and the Government. We help to create<br />

safer workplaces by building the capacity and confidence of Health and<br />

Safety Representatives, and also by helping to assist injured workers and<br />

migrant communities. Trades Hall is the place to be for creating real<br />

change at the moment and I’m super lucky to be a small part of a such<br />

diverse & active team.<br />

What are the most important rules that govern OH&S (The Hierarchy)?<br />

1. Your boss must provide a workplace that is safe and without risks<br />

to health. As a worker, you have some responsibilities too, such as<br />

following reasonable instructions and not recklessly endangering others.<br />

But at the end of the day, your employer has the ultimate duty to keep<br />

you safe at work. The hierarchy of controls is a great one to remember.<br />

Your employer must identify and control risks first by:<br />

‘Eliminating the risk at the source’, e.g by not undertaking that task. If<br />

this is not possible, then your employer must try to reduce risk by:<br />

Substituting, e.g. erecting a barrier or scaffolding to stop falls from<br />

heights. If this is still not possible then your employer must then look<br />

at:<br />

Engineering Controls, e.g. asking whether machinery can reduce risks,<br />

such as a scissor lift for work at heights or a trolley for manual handling<br />

tasks. If it is still not possible to reduce risk then:<br />

‘Administrative Controls’ can be used, e.g. using a sign or procedure. Your<br />

employer can reduce risk further by issuing PPE.<br />

‘PPE’ such as Hi Vis vests are the least effective way of controlling risk<br />

at work. Sure, you should wear it if your employer requires you to do so,<br />

but that is not the only thing your employer should be doing to keep you<br />

safe. They must look at reducing risk in all of the other ways mentioned<br />

(Eliminate, Substitute, Engineering Controls, Administrative Controls)<br />

before they even look at giving you a safety vest!<br />

2. Your employer has a duty to provide appropriate training and<br />

supervision to do each task. The “just have a go and let me know if<br />

you have any problems” attitude just doesn’t cut it. There are horrific<br />

cases of serious injuries and fatalities when this attitude is adopted.<br />

Massive penalties for employers apply where appropriate training and<br />

supervision have not been provided.<br />

3. You have the right to be represented. If you don’t have elected Health<br />

and Safety representatives in your workplace, you should talk to your<br />

colleagues about it. Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) have<br />

legal powers that allow them to raise issues and fight for health and<br />

safety on the job. These include the power to write an enforceable<br />

notice asking your employer to remedy an OHS issue or otherwise<br />

WorkSafe will get involved. They also have the power to “Cease Work”<br />

if there is a serious, imminent, or immediate threat to Health and Safety.<br />

Contact your union or Trades Hall today if you need help with the<br />

process of electing HSRs.<br />

4. You have the right to compensation if you are injured. So many<br />

people don’t report injuries. Even though it may feel minor at the time,<br />

injuries may turn into something more serious, leaving you unable to<br />

work for a period of time (e.g. back injury). It’s very important to report<br />

injuries. You can also lodge a workers injury claim for compensation.<br />

Speak to your union, as they can help you with this process.<br />

5. Finally, always ask questions if you’re unsure about something. If<br />

you’ve been asked to do something that you think is unsafe: stop work<br />

and ask someone for help. You have the right to refuse unsafe work.<br />

‘Stand Up, Speak Out, Come Home.’<br />

How does OH&S relate specifically to young people?<br />

Young people are much more likely to be injured at work. In the past<br />

year, there have been a number of fatalities involving young people.<br />

A 21-year-old French backpacker fell 13 floors to her death on a Perth<br />

construction site. Worse yet, her employer sent her family a letter in<br />

response that blamed the young woman for the accident. A 17-year-old<br />

also fell to his death whilst installing a glass ceiling on the new H&M<br />

retail building in Perth. Accidents happen in all industries, and not just<br />

construction. What we have found is that statistically, young people are<br />

overrepresented in injuries of all kinds. The important message that I<br />

would give to all young people specifically is that you have the right to<br />

be properly trained, inducted, and supervised. Always ask a question if<br />

you’re unsure. There is strength in numbers, and joining your union and<br />

being active about knowing and asserting your rights is the best way to<br />

stay safe at work.<br />

What keeps you motivated to deal with OH&S issues and continue to educate<br />

others about OH&S?<br />

I used to work on the docks as a wharfie, one of the most dangerous<br />

industries around. Unfortunately I saw too many serious accidents that<br />

left people badly hurt, missing limbs, or worse, killed. No one should<br />

ever die at work. Period. A mate of mine, Tony ‘Hollywood’ Attard, was<br />

killed at Toll Shipping in 2014. He was run over and squashed by a trailer.<br />

I’ll never forget the look on the faces of his wife and kids or how bravely<br />

they spoke at his funeral. That should never happen to anyone. They still<br />

deserve to have their father and husband at home with them. They were<br />

robbed. Thinking about them is what keeps me going. OH&S can be a<br />

dry subject at times but it is so important to keep working at it and get<br />

it right.


trigger warnings:<br />

paramount or<br />

pandering?<br />

article by joanne fong<br />

In a time where the tension between the politically<br />

correct progressives and conservatives is at a high, one<br />

issue that may not immediately come to mind is trigger<br />

warnings. So, what even are trigger warnings? Are they just<br />

a meme, an overused joke of how sensitive and wrapped<br />

up in cotton wool our society has become? Or are these<br />

warnings legitimate tools that are essential for allowing<br />

those who have experienced trauma to avoid further<br />

distress?<br />

Monash has become the first university in Australia<br />

to implement a “trigger warnings” policy.<br />

This involves a “pilot program” of 15 of Monash’s course<br />

outlines to contain warnings of potentially emotionally<br />

distressing content. The topics of this content range from<br />

the discussion of sexual assault, violence, domestic abuse,<br />

child abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, suicide; the list goes<br />

on. Although this program is seen by many as progressive,<br />

to others this initiative is seen as unnecessary and even<br />

harmful. Trigger warnings are nothing new or innovative,<br />

originating on Internet forums and communities, used<br />

mostly to warn people who have experienced trauma of<br />

some kind, about potentially harmful content. These<br />

warnings give people the choice whether to engage or not<br />

with material that could be distressing.<br />

A mere warning to help those who struggle or have<br />

experienced trauma feel safe doesn’t sound completely<br />

irrational and outrageous, right? Well apparently it<br />

does, according to many giving backlash against this<br />

motion. Those against this implementation, have the<br />

sentiment that “life is potentially inevitably, [and] regularly<br />

emotionally distressing,” as stated by Newcastle University<br />

Associate Professor, Marguerite Johnson. To her and many<br />

others in opposition to the movement, having warnings<br />

before traumatic materials means that universities and<br />

educators are simply not preparing students for the real<br />

world. There are no trigger warnings in “real everyday life”<br />

and if students can’t cope with these issues cropping up in<br />

course material, it will just make it worse for them when<br />

they come into contact with these issues spontaneously<br />

through unfiltered experiences in life outside the classroom.<br />

Additionally, there are fears of censorship and the loss<br />

of freedom of speech due to “triggering” controversial<br />

materials being hidden away from students. Some believe<br />

that having the option of opting out of these topics<br />

will discourage freedom of inquiry and expression and<br />

discussion about controversial topics.<br />

These reasons seem well meaning, however, if trigger<br />

warnings did have the potential to destroy, censor and<br />

hide all intellectual and educational nuance as we know<br />

it, why has a similar warning system been widely accepted<br />

and non-controversial for decades? We have "warnings"<br />

before TV shows and movies in the form of advisory ratings,<br />

from G to PG all the way to R 18+. Advisory warnings are<br />

important in making sure media that contains potentially<br />

inappropriate topics (sexual themes, nudity, profanity,<br />

violence etc.) does not get consumed by those too young<br />

or who would otherwise prefer not to. These warnings are<br />

an accepted part of our culture, so why is it so hard and<br />

even offensive to accept similar warnings before classes or<br />

readings, a brief “advisory” rating, that is not too different<br />

from an MA 15+ rating stating “coarse language, parental<br />

guidance recommended.”<br />

At the end of the day, whether you agree with trigger<br />

warnings or not, you have to stop and think; do they<br />

really affect you? Just a sentence or two at the start of a<br />

reading for your unit or a few words of warning from a<br />

lecturer before they dive into a class. Trigger warnings do<br />

not equate to censorship or selective teaching, to stem<br />

the flow of information and education to youths, and stop<br />

the promotion of discussion and debate. Rather, their sole<br />

purpose is merely to serve as a polite “hey you might not<br />

want to read/hear this if…” or “look away/prepare yourself<br />

for this topic”, a simple quick heads-up. Trigger warnings<br />

are not censorship, to pander or coddle easily offended<br />

millennials, but to allow individuals to have a choice in<br />

the material they engage with, to decide the best course of<br />

action for their own personal mental or emotional health,<br />

not yours.<br />

student affairs<br />

10-11


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

the most efficient way to<br />

learn a new language,<br />

proficiently<br />

article by georgia cox<br />

artwork by isabella toppi<br />

If one more 22 year-old tells me it’s too late<br />

to start learning a language, I’m going to<br />

smack them. My grandma started learning<br />

Spanish at the ripe old age of 64. Granted, she<br />

doesn’t have work or Instagram to consume<br />

her time, but I have met so many young people<br />

who yearn to learn another language, yet<br />

whinge for lack of time. I say, if you have time<br />

to watch Netflix, read the newspaper and do<br />

your grocery shopping, you have time to learn<br />

a language. Here’s why…<br />

A turning point for me in this endless<br />

procrastination battle was the realisation<br />

that, although you can set temporal goals for<br />

making improvements, there really is no end<br />

point for learning a language. You can’t say,<br />

“I’ll take Russian lessons for three years and<br />

then I’ll be fluent”. It’s not that black and white.<br />

Esperanto maybe, but that’s a whole different<br />

ball game. The reality is you will never speak<br />

as well as a native, but the trick is to learn<br />

efficiently so as to incorporate it into your<br />

everyday life.<br />

First off, immersion is key. Don’t waste your<br />

time lingering around the language for five<br />

years and wonder why all you can say is “una<br />

cerveza por fis”. Sure, being able to order a beer<br />

in Mexico is useful, but what’s the point when<br />

you can’t communicate beyond that? I know<br />

a guy who, hoping to compliment a girl in a<br />

club on her makeup – which is bizarre and a<br />

mistake in itself – accidentally told her, “me<br />

gusta tu mantequilla”, which means, I like your<br />

butter.<br />

Rather, you have to jump right into the<br />

language, surrounding yourself with it in as<br />

many ways as possible. It’s not enough to say<br />

you’ll read ten pages of a foreign book a day,<br />

or watch the nightly news on France24. You<br />

need to integrate the language into your banal<br />

quotidian activities.<br />

So here are a few tricks I’ve picked up:<br />

Lists: for example, don’t write “carrots, milk,<br />

eggs” on your shopping list. Write “Karotten,<br />

Milch, Eier” or whatever it may be. Do the<br />

same with to-do lists and reminders.<br />

Movies: here is that excuse you have all been<br />

itching for, to watch Netflix without the<br />

associated guilt. Watch movies and shows in<br />

your second language. Better yet, watch movies<br />

you have already seen, without the subtitles<br />

(although I would not recommend watching 8<br />

Mile in German, Rabbit just isn’t the same).<br />

Music: discovering songs you love in your<br />

second language is so effective because you<br />

listen to them repetitively, which is the best<br />

tactic for instilling words and phrases into<br />

your long-term memory (Don’t tell anyone<br />

but reggaeton is the real reason I picked up<br />

Spanish.) Again, Swiss-German rap hasn’t yet<br />

proven so sexy though.<br />

Reading and watching the News: you’ll learn<br />

so much if you follow a story you already<br />

know the general gist of. We all know Trump<br />

wants to build a wall - read about it online in<br />

your new language, as you already know the<br />

context. Judging people in other languages<br />

adds an extra spice to your life you never even<br />

knew you were missing.<br />

Cooking: find recipes online in your new<br />

language, and follow them. The repetition will<br />

help you learn vocabulary, which will help you<br />

write your foreign shopping list. Never forget<br />

the word butter again, not even in the club.<br />

Find a foreign lover: self-explanatory. Get rid of<br />

them as soon as they can speak English better<br />

than you can speak your chosen language.<br />

Secondly, finding a balance between active<br />

and passive learning is crucial. So often I meet<br />

people with a decent knowledge of another<br />

language but are fearful to actually speak. They<br />

know all the grammar rules, extensive vocab,<br />

and are fine listening in on a conversation, but<br />

when it comes to actually communicating,<br />

they get stuck. This reflects that they have<br />

only learnt passively, and haven’t been given or<br />

embraced the opportunity to actively use the<br />

language.<br />

Being able to communicate effectively,<br />

whether written or verbal, is a two-way street.<br />

You’ll be so much more efficient if you practice<br />

active and passive learning equally. Don’t<br />

expect to become fluent just by sitting on your<br />

arse playing Duolingo. Go out of your way to<br />

get in touch with a native speaker, and speak<br />

to them! The chances are you’ll be able to help<br />

them with their English in return. Exchange<br />

Trump articles in your respective languages,<br />

bond over your festering hatred.<br />

Third, old habits die hard. Don’t set yourself<br />

up for setbacks down the road; make an effort<br />

to master correct pronunciations from the<br />

beginning. The best way to pick up proper<br />

pronunciation is by listening carefully and<br />

mimicking, in the same way we learn our<br />

mother tongue as kids. It’s also important<br />

to actively correct yourself aloud when you<br />

recognise that you’ve made a mistake, so as to<br />

imprint the sounds in your memory.<br />

To a native speaker, it doesn’t matter how<br />

broad and sophisticated your vocabulary is if<br />

your pronunciation is rubbish. Nobody will<br />

take you seriously if you can’t pronounce<br />

paella. The same goes for accents. Somebody<br />

once asked me if I thought written accents<br />

were important. I asked him, “¿tienes 22 años<br />

o tienes 22 anos?” One means, ‘are you 22 years<br />

old?’ while the other means ‘do you have 22<br />

anuses?’.<br />

Speak with as many people as possible, as<br />

much as possible. Repeat conversations,<br />

however trivial they may be. Repetition is key.<br />

Tell every one of your classmates about your<br />

difficulty finding a park. Offer to be the one to<br />

order the beers at Oktoberfest - no matter how<br />

sloppy you get you’ll always be the master at<br />

demanding “mehr Bier bitte!”<br />

Moreover, let those you speak with know<br />

you’re not going to be offended when they<br />

correct your mistakes. Most people hold back<br />

from correcting foreign speakers’ mistakes<br />

because they still understand what we want to<br />

say. This is all well and good until you realise<br />

you’ve just told a 9-year old, “tu vas te coucher<br />

bien ce soir” (you’ll f**k well tonight) instead<br />

of you’ll sleep well tonight; or asked them “bist<br />

du kalt?” (literally translated as are you cold?<br />

but interpreted in German as are you dead?).<br />

Lastly, don’t hit a plateau. Once you’re at a<br />

stage where you still make mistakes but can<br />

effectively communicate in day-to-day life,<br />

you’re at a pivotal point. Upon realising we<br />

can get our point across without too much<br />

hassle, most people become lazy, losing the<br />

motivation to improve. If it’s become too<br />

comfortable, you’re doing something wrong.<br />

So speak more, read more, watch more Netflix.<br />

Learn how to say merry-go-round; multifaceted;<br />

occultism. Go to a foreign country and<br />

get lost within the culture, and convince your<br />

grandma that there’s never been a better time.


student affairs 12-13


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

all gender bathrooms:<br />

what they mean and<br />

why they matter<br />

article by d.s.a<br />

artwork by kim tran<br />

Hey. Hi there. I’m a trans person, and I go to uni with you.<br />

We’ve probably been to the same classes together, walked<br />

past each other in the campus centre, tried to navigate the<br />

ever-changing maze of construction together. Turns out<br />

we have a lot in common. We study (ha), go to Sir John’s<br />

(procrastinate) and do try to decide exactly which of the<br />

myriad of meal opportunities to grace with our presence<br />

(procrastinate!) together.<br />

You see, while we do a whole bunch of things<br />

together, my every day is very different from yours.<br />

When I wake up in the morning, I have to decide how<br />

many double takes I can manage throughout the day,<br />

whether I’m ready to #bemyself or if I’m going to take a<br />

time out and ‘fit in’. Not many of my TIGD (Trans, Intersex<br />

and Gender Diverse) peers have that choice. Some of us<br />

are hypervisible, and some of us are perceived as utterly<br />

invisible – which does not make us any less TIGD than our<br />

peers. Crash course: TIGD includes anyone who is gender<br />

diverse, transitioning, non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer,<br />

occupies space in a myriad of different genders that exist<br />

in different cultures all over the world or is overall just<br />

not cisgender. ‘Cis’ = people who identify with the gender<br />

assigned to them as a tiny shrieking infant by the doctor<br />

that helped birth them. (Turns out that the soul-crushing<br />

cuss word that Piers Morgan – cultural icon and treasure of<br />

a generation – fears the most is actually just a really benign<br />

descriptor).<br />

I’m trying to figure out whether or not I should change<br />

my name, and whether it is worth the hassle, the strange<br />

looks, the confused asides and sometimes even the outright<br />

hostility. I usually go through my day trying to consider<br />

whether it is worth correcting people when they misgender<br />

me (Are they going to be cool? Weird? Angry?) and deciding<br />

whether it is worth arguing with those who know my<br />

pronouns but choose to ignore them anyway. I prepare<br />

my bottled smiles for the friends who do know but slip up<br />

sometimes (it’s ok) and how to fish them back out of the<br />

dark hole of self-flagellation they fall into when they do<br />

misgender me.<br />

I’m used to being talked about like a hypothetical, mythical,<br />

far away unheard of concept rather than a real being of<br />

flesh and bones that walks amongst you every day, sits with<br />

you in tutorials, swears under their breath with you when<br />

Boost is full to bursting. And when you’re used to being<br />

talked about, talked over, or talked to as if you don’t really,<br />

truly exist, it takes a toll. I’m trying to find the right balance<br />

between earnest and endearing without coming across as<br />

bitter and flippant.<br />

So, as I have covered in my charming monologue above,<br />

living as a trans or gender diverse (in any way) person in<br />

our society is not easy. There are, however, ways to make<br />

the hardships a little less painful, at least until society<br />

actually finally manages to understand and accept us. One<br />

of these is the whole reason I am writing this article on<br />

Gender Neutral Bathrooms.<br />

I was a part of a long line of students who worked really<br />

hard with the Ally Network and so many others to make<br />

this a reality. Particularly, the hard work put in by both<br />

Diversity and Inclusion and Buildings and Property was<br />

paramount in seeing these works through. Nevertheless,<br />

this took up the majority of my headspace last year. So<br />

yes, while you were going about your day I was probably<br />

thinking about toilets – and while this may seem like<br />

carefully crafted glib aside, it’s the only way I know how<br />

to introduce something I am forced to think about more<br />

often than I should. In truth, I start my day the same way a<br />

family with small children starts a road trip (Has everyone<br />

gone to the bathroom? Yes? Go again, just to make sure!).<br />

This is because I try my damndest not to have to go into a<br />

gendered bathroom during the day, for many reasons I’ll go<br />

into.<br />

You may have noticed that there are a couple of genderneutral<br />

bathrooms dotted across campus now, the most<br />

significant one being in Sir John’s (I’m choosing to maturely<br />

ignore all the potential toilet humor in that one). With all<br />

this change going on, I’m here to explain what exactly is<br />

happening and most importantly, why these bathrooms are<br />

needed so much.<br />

As the name may hint at, all-gender bathrooms are<br />

bathrooms that people of any gender can use - and this<br />

finally includes any gender identity that isn’t covered by the<br />

binary definitions of just (cis) male and/or (cis) female. The<br />

moment this gender binary is the only framework we use,<br />

not only do we exclude a whole bunch of people who just<br />

don’t fall into that category (a very bitter me) but there is<br />

suddenly an expectation of how those who use the female<br />

bathrooms present as well as those who use the male<br />

bathrooms. We suddenly push a whole lot of presumptions<br />

on people who just want to use the bathroom!<br />

Now, to properly highlight how much these bathrooms<br />

are needed, let me paint you a picture that so many noncisgendered<br />

folks go through every day:<br />

When gender-neutral bathrooms aren’t available, going to<br />

the bathroom to simply pee (or poop. Both. Like a champ.)<br />

is an activity fraught with second-guessing, emotion and<br />

anxiety. Every time I choose one of two doors, I feel like I<br />

>>


suddenly need to either choose to hide my transness and<br />

do what is ‘expected’ from someone who looks like me or<br />

whether I should put myself in a position that will be either<br />

highly uncomfortable or even dangerous.<br />

Trans students often have to endure a whole range of<br />

reactions when entering gendered bathrooms. Results may<br />

vary from the person who attempts to politely stare us<br />

out of the room as they wash their hands, to the friends<br />

trying their least to hide their laughter from us. Let’s not<br />

forget the helpful pal who tries to redirect us to the ‘correct’<br />

bathroom and let’s really not forget the ones who use direct,<br />

outright hostility, anger, threats and violence to remove<br />

us from where they think we don’t belong. That’s a lot of<br />

payout for simply wanting to use the bathroom. In fact,<br />

TIGD people are more likely to experience disproportional<br />

vilification and violence in a bathroom. And even if it<br />

doesn’t happen that one time or even that day at all, the<br />

threat is always there. I can never approach gendered<br />

bathrooms with ease or without worrying if today is<br />

another day that entering a door is seen as an act of<br />

aggression from me.<br />

There is also the problem that walking through one of<br />

those doors is suddenly a public statement. I can see the<br />

‘female’/’male’ sign. So can you. And everyone else around<br />

you. As such, the moment I take one of those doors, I am<br />

either lying to myself and others about my gender for their<br />

comfort (in turn, affecting mine) or outing myself when<br />

I wouldn’t be perceived as belonging to the gender of the<br />

bathroom I’ve dared to breach. So even if everyone in the<br />

bathroom is lovely and I don’t have to worry about their<br />

reactions (or I have the bathroom entirely to myself and can<br />

poot as freely and loudly as I want to) I am still coerced into<br />

publicly declaring something about myself. Now, if we also<br />

think about how there are many wonderful people out there<br />

who don’t identify -anywhere- along the gender binary<br />

(Also me. Turns out gender is complex!), suddenly they have<br />

the choice between a lie, and another lie. Non-binary peeps<br />

*don’t* have a bathroom if there are only two gendered<br />

ones. Can you imagine not having a bathroom?<br />

‘discourse’ is transmisogynistic – it affects trans women<br />

disproportionately and is antagonistic in a way that is so<br />

specific to a group of people that already undergoes an<br />

inordinate amount of both symbolic and actual violence in<br />

society both historically and in the present.<br />

However. None of this means that these should be seen as<br />

the ‘other’ bathrooms. Anyone who is cis, please do still use<br />

these bathrooms. In fact, we go right back to how using<br />

certain bathrooms is outing if these bathrooms are only<br />

ever used by gender diverse people. Let’s not do that. These<br />

are not suddenly the bathrooms that people who aren’t cis<br />

have to use. Part of the reason we worked so hard for these<br />

bathrooms is to normalize this concept and have more<br />

gender-neutral bathrooms around the place. We want these<br />

to be normal bathrooms. Speaking of normal – we still fully<br />

promote people being able to go to the bathrooms they<br />

should have access to. For example, trans women should<br />

be able to use the women’s bathrooms without fear. And<br />

anyone who tries to say differently is entirely full of shit.<br />

Note: This article is written from only one perspective with<br />

input from many people. Not all of our experiences are the<br />

same, and not all experiences can be covered with the depth<br />

they deserve in a short article.<br />

We are a diverse, wonderful group of people who deserve<br />

respect and safety in the same way you do, and these all<br />

gender bathrooms go a way to achieving that.<br />

The MSA Queer Department runs an autonomous TIGD Caucus -<br />

if you would like to be added, get information on how to navigate<br />

Monash as a TIGD student, or simply meet others and share your<br />

experiences please get in touch with us on our Facebook page at<br />

facebook.com/MSAQu/ and for more information regarding<br />

LGBTIQ matters at Monash refer to monash.edu/lgbtiq.<br />

This article could not have been written without the valuable input<br />

of Theodore Murray, Justin Jones Li, the Queer Affairs Committee,<br />

TIGD Caucus, the Ally Network and so many more amazing Queer<br />

Peers.<br />

Now, the only way to help us out and avoid this whole<br />

shitstorm (heh) is to give us bathrooms we can use safely.<br />

Having all gender bathrooms at Monash is not only an issue<br />

of inclusion, but also one of safety and wellbeing for gender<br />

nonconforming students. With the current discourse<br />

on bathrooms reaching a terrifying, trans-antagonistic<br />

crescendo, it makes a huge difference to actually have the<br />

choice to go somewhere where I won’t have to experience<br />

any of the above consequences for being a human. While<br />

I am writing all this from my perspective, I would be<br />

remiss not to acknowledge that the majority of this<br />

student affairs 14-15


edition three two<br />

lot’s wife<br />

the sweet life,<br />

the real life<br />

article by devika pandit<br />

artwork by audrey chmielewski<br />

University is one of the most important stages of an individual’s<br />

life with ‘student life’ regarded as the most memorable part of Uni<br />

memories. Similar to Melbourne coffee culture, student life is a distinct<br />

culture that Monash University translates as: ‘Joining clubs, making<br />

new friends, getting involved with opportunities on campus and in<br />

general, cherishing shared experiences’. Over tacos and tequila at Sir<br />

John’s Bar, I discovered that Uni and the student experience keeps<br />

improving with each successive year. Better, in terms of adjusting to the<br />

grind of Uni life, starting and submitting assignments on the same day<br />

(possible, but not advisable), achieving HDs without a single textbook,<br />

laughing at innocent jaffys, knowing the cheapest everything on and<br />

around campus… the list is endless. As students, we tend to graciously or<br />

sometimes grudgingly accept all that is served on our plate during these<br />

4 or so years. However, I wish to address several niggling problems that<br />

lurk beneath the facade of a vibrant campus experience. Let us remove<br />

the rose-tinted glasses for a while and explore the academic and nonacademic<br />

issues that we experience, but rarely ever discuss (Stalkerspace<br />

memes do not count as discussion).<br />

Studying at Uni is equivalent to a full-time workload. Lecture recordings<br />

are a lifesaver, especially for those who work/cannot make it to class, but<br />

even then, the stress of managing assignments is enough to unnerve<br />

a fifth year student. Sleep schedules are often the most abused among<br />

students because as Aster explains, “one can get so much work done in<br />

those hours” instead of wasting time. The casual attitude towards one’s<br />

body and its needs frightens me, because we are not as invincible as we<br />

believe. A study at Washington State University discovered that 55%<br />

of young adults aged 18-29 wake up feeling tired and craving more rest.<br />

Along with sleepiness, decreased concentration and subsequently lower<br />

grades, sleep deprivation is also linked to increased alcohol and drug use.<br />

Fuelling the sleepy and stressed student culture is the need to work<br />

to survive through exorbitantly priced degrees. Third year Arts/Law<br />

student Tash considers this a challenge, “weighing up between doing<br />

lots of hours at a job to live comfortably or sacrificing paid work to<br />

give myself more time to focus on Uni”. A friend working part-time at<br />

an administrative job shares that there is always too much pressure to<br />

compromise, either by means of a rushed assignment or taking a day off<br />

to study for an exam. We speak lightly of stress, but it suffocates us for a<br />

whole semester.<br />

Other contributing factors include a fickle Eduroam, Moodle tantrums,<br />

pricey textbooks and parking permits that chew away at our thin<br />

wallets. Denise adds that there is a huge gap between lecture and<br />

tutorial questions, and having to teach oneself 50% of the unit is not<br />

exactly an enjoyable experience. Red Dinosaur considers dealing with<br />

inter-culturally incompetent staff as a struggle. Skipping lectures, feeling<br />

demotivated and discriminated against are just some of the problems<br />

that arise when teaching staff fail to engage in an approachable and<br />

patient manner with their students.<br />

Lack of motivation is another common but often overlooked issue. It<br />

could occur for a variety of reasons: disliking a course or feeling lost, not<br />

feeling adequately challenged, being distracted or facing what I refer to<br />

as a ‘Students’ Block’. This is emotionally draining and numbing, because<br />

wanting to give up on study amidst the heavy workload is a dangerous<br />

phase. A possible solution is seeking professional assistance if need be,<br />

but most students choose not to. ‘I don’t think it would make much<br />

of a difference’ is a common misconception. Suffering in silence never<br />

helps but when the problem itself is not addressed the way it should be,<br />

silence is inevitable. As students, easy service accessibility is a primary<br />

concern, which is why Monash University’s move to cut counseling<br />

services in 2016 faced much flak from the student community. It is<br />

hypocritical: extensive promotion of mental health awareness and<br />

mindfulness on campus and ‘R U OK?’ Day, all while slashing mental<br />

health services students need, but are hesitant to actively seek.<br />

Stressing over one’s ability to find meaningful employment<br />

post graduation is almost a rite of passage for final year<br />

students.<br />

I asked many students what they thought about their career prospects<br />

and an answer worth mentioning is – “It takes a lot of time to prepare<br />

oneself for a decent job these days”. I wonder if Uni really prepares us<br />

for the real world; are we just faces waving the same white paper in an<br />

overcrowded job market? A growing proportion of students share the<br />

realization that Uni is a dreary cycle of ‘eat-study-sleep-repeat’. Not<br />

much is happening on the work front. Sure, we have Career Connect,<br />

Career Expo, Career Gateway… yet, ‘career ready’ is not a term in our<br />

dictionary. As such, there is a need for more faculty-based networking<br />

events and I propose these should not be left only for the final year.<br />

Introducing new students to possible options and the right people will<br />

certainly go a long way in boosting their confidence, given that we live<br />

in an age of ‘whom you know is more important than what you know’.<br />

More surprising is that even with Monash Student Association (MSA)<br />

Host Scheme Camps, faculty led peer-mentoring programs and other<br />

social events, many students are still not aware of their options. In a<br />

Moodle poll conducted last year, several students said they had not<br />

heard of Summerfest. This is discouraging given the heavy advertising<br />

and promotion that Monash undertook to publicize the weeklong event.<br />

Perhaps Monash could benefit from introducing a platform listing all<br />

kinds of events happening on campus, which would allow students to<br />

be informed about their choices. Seeing the events on offer, it is possible<br />

that students will be more likely to attend events which they know are<br />

popular among their peers, simply explained through the FOMO (Fear of<br />

Missing Out) effect.<br />

Much is desired and much can be done. University doesn’t have to be<br />

difficult. Student life is to be savored and it is small but significant<br />

changes to university administration and policy that can help us make<br />

the most of our time here. I can only reiterate what both our motto<br />

and Sir John Monash have already established: We are always learning,<br />

and it is our responsibility as students and as staff, to enrich and equip<br />

ourselves to ensure we offer our best to one another.<br />

*Names of students have been changed.


politics/society<br />

politics/society<br />

16-17


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

music in the shadow<br />

of genocide<br />

article by emina besirevic<br />

artwork by nicole sizer<br />

Dressed in formal black tails and a white shirt, the<br />

musician took his place. Taking a deep breath, he looked<br />

around himself, the light peaking in from the looming walls<br />

catching his watery eye. He took a bow and sat on the stool<br />

with his cello between his legs and let the soft melody of<br />

Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor fill the air.<br />

However, this renowned musician did not play in a concert<br />

hall. Nor did he look out at a captivated audience, a sight<br />

once so familiar. Vedran Smajlović sat in the ruins of<br />

Bosnia’s National library in Sarajevo where 22 people had<br />

died the day before. Against the challenge of sniper bullets<br />

whirling around him, he played in the heart of sorrow.<br />

Smajlović was the principal cellist of the Sarajevo Opera<br />

and also played in the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, the<br />

Symphony Orchestra and the National Theatre of Sarajevo.<br />

However, in early 1992 following the breakup of the former<br />

Yugoslavia, life changed for everyone in the Balkans. The<br />

ethnic cleansing perpetrated by Serbian Nationalists<br />

entailed intimidation, forced expulsion and the killing of<br />

the Bosnian Muslim civilization. Houses and apartments<br />

across Bosnia were systematically ransacked or burnt down<br />

with civilians being rounded up into camps, beaten or<br />

killed in the process. The capital city of Bosnia, Sarajevo,<br />

was held under siege for 44 months, the longest siege in<br />

the history of modern warfare. The Serb forces situated<br />

themselves in the surrounding hills of Sarajevo, creating an<br />

inescapable ring and inflicting suffering on civilians to force<br />

the Bosnian authorities to succumb to Serb demands. The<br />

European city that had escaped two World Wars with only<br />

minor damage became more murderous by the day.<br />

On May 27 1992, a mortar shell fell and killed 22 people<br />

who had queued up at one of the few remaining bakeries.<br />

Smajlović, who lived close to the bakery and assisted the<br />

wounded, was appalled by the disarray of body parts and<br />

rubble. Neither a politician nor a soldier, the sense of<br />

powerlessness that blanketed the city began to exhaust the<br />

musician.<br />

in graveyards, at funerals and at other sites where shells had<br />

taken the lives of Sarajevo’s citizens. Sniper fire persisted<br />

and mortars persistently rained down, but Smajlović<br />

continued to play and the people continued to gather and<br />

listen. In the daily ordeal of finding food and water amid<br />

enduring shelling, Smajlović’s music became a symbol for<br />

both hope and peace. His performances, whilst varying in<br />

shattered locations, remained constant throughout the<br />

siege.<br />

Sarajevo became a skeleton of the thriving, accomplished<br />

city that it was. It became an unrecognizable wasteland of<br />

blasted mosques, museums, churches, hospitals, libraries<br />

and sports stadiums, punctured by rockets and fractured<br />

in animosity. The unprecedented callousness of the war<br />

challenged the expectations of everyday life. Indeed,<br />

events and preoccupations of civilian existence, which<br />

appeared so compelling under ordinary circumstances,<br />

begin to appear trivial when compared to the death and<br />

destruction that war brought. This abrupt loss of meaning<br />

was perilous. Yet, it was those like Smajlović who reached<br />

for an anchor amid the chaos, however small, that were<br />

able to carry themselves back to the stable, reasoned life<br />

that they led before. It is this hope that is created, however<br />

faint and hesitant, that reminds people of a treasured past<br />

and encourages faith in a future. If nothing else, it is a<br />

subtle way in which the citizens of Sarajevo reclaimed their<br />

humanity in a city which attempted to steal it away from<br />

them.<br />

Smajlović once proclaimed, ‘You ask me am I crazy for<br />

playing the cello? Why do you not ask if they are crazy for<br />

shelling Sarajevo?’<br />

If it is crazy to bring hope into a city engulfed in distress,<br />

to create a sense of harmony when division systematically<br />

fissures reality, and to encapsulate the suffering of people<br />

with a delicacy that words could not exude… then perhaps<br />

crazy is what Sarajevo needed.<br />

However, determined to reclaim the humanity in a city<br />

ravaged by brutality, Smajlović turned to his cello. For the<br />

next 22 days, his elegy echoed amidst the destruction,<br />

striking chords in the hearts of those listening that went<br />

beyond what language could. He played not only for each<br />

person killed, but for each person who had lost someone,<br />

or perhaps lost a bit of themselves in the banal terror. He<br />

continued even after commemorating these victims to play


nostalgia for<br />

tradition<br />

article and artwork by john henry<br />

Invoking a tradition can also obfuscate the fact that<br />

other systems of thought can independently come to<br />

similar conclusions. It credits too much towards a specific<br />

creed, and too little to the power of others to come up<br />

with their own thoughts in different circumstances. For<br />

example, it’s reasonable to suggest that Christianity was<br />

not radically innovative in many of its moral tenets;<br />

celebrating the ‘Judeo-Christian tradition’ can disguise this<br />

fact. The ancient world that preceded and coexisted with<br />

the Christian tradition was a remarkably fertile epoch of<br />

different opinions, and like today, the public and written<br />

discourses did not consist of a simple monolithic consensus.<br />

We can therefore find Stoic sentiments that resemble<br />

Christian ones, despite the lack of historical connection<br />

between the two creeds.<br />

Conservatives are fond of invoking the ‘Judeo-Christian<br />

tradition’ as the source of Australia’s liberal democratic<br />

principles, but it’s important to bear in mind that this<br />

can be somewhat misleading. Although it may not be<br />

intentional all the time, this appeal to tradition tends to<br />

credit Christianity and Judaism too much by implying great<br />

originality and downplaying the secular sources of modern<br />

values, particularly from antiquity and the Enlightenment.<br />

It’s important to bear in mind that ideas are common<br />

property, and that we don’t need to constantly refer to a<br />

certain historical tradition, religion, or philosophical creed<br />

for normative guidance in public discourse. We can choose<br />

and ignore what we like from a diversity of sources. We<br />

don’t need to slavishly imitate a certain tradition, as every<br />

idealised historical period contains its own idiosyncrasies<br />

and defects that bear little relation to contemporary<br />

needs. I remember a recent episode of Q&A where a<br />

panellist suggested that we should uphold the principles<br />

of Athenian democracy in public discussions. I question<br />

whether this nostalgia is helpful or constructive. Stripped<br />

of its romanticism, there are many unappealing facets of<br />

Athenian democracy: its exclusivity to adult freemen, its<br />

propensity for attracting demagogues, and its key role in<br />

the death of Socrates. It would be far clearer to simply<br />

advocate more generic ideals like ‘rationality’ or ‘free<br />

public discourse’, rather than obscuring discussions with a<br />

selective nostalgia. Using historical examples can be fun,<br />

and it can possess great illustrative value, but it can also<br />

unnecessarily complicate a discussion as much as it can<br />

clarify.<br />

The impressive divergence of ideas in antiquity is well<br />

expressed in the classicist Runar Thorsteinssen’s book,<br />

Roman Christianity and Roman Stoicism: A Comparative Study<br />

of Ancient Morality. Delving into classical texts from the first<br />

and second centuries. Thorsteinssen’s findings suggest that<br />

a minority of pagan philosophers were already grappling<br />

with some of the ideas typically imputed to the Christian<br />

tradition only. The later Stoics specifically make some<br />

striking anticipations. For them, humans were equal by<br />

nature, as they all played a part in the spiritual principle<br />

that structured the natural world. Philosophers such as<br />

Epictetus (50-125 A.D.) prescribed universal philanthropy,<br />

even towards those that have caused injury to you. Stoics<br />

like Musonius Rufus (25-100 A.D.) criticised the idea of<br />

vengeful payback in favour of forgiveness; he also advocated<br />

virtue as entailing ‘love, goodness, justice and benevolence,<br />

and concern for the welfare of one’s neighbour’.<br />

These strictly pagan perspectives sound pretty familiar,<br />

despite the fact that they were arrived at independently<br />

from the Judeo-Christian tradition. Although there were<br />

enormous differences between the two creeds – compared<br />

to Christianity, Stoicism was more optimistic about human<br />

nature and pessimistic about life after death – there<br />

still remain some eerie resemblances. Of course, I’m not<br />

suggesting that we should become followers of the Stoic<br />

tradition. That would be absurd, and it would require some<br />

incredibly selective reading, as the philosophies of Stoicism<br />

can frequently appear sour, puritanical, self-righteous, and<br />

unreasonably demanding. We have the luxury of choosing<br />

and rejecting what principles are best for our society, and<br />

we can therefore pick and choose what we like without<br />

idealising one tradition or another.<br />

politics/society 18-19


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

what’s the deal with<br />

firefighters?<br />

article by nick bugeja<br />

There is no doubt that you would have heard about the<br />

current dispute between the United Firefighters Union<br />

(UFU) and the Country Fire Authority (CFA). It seems<br />

unlikely, though, that you have been given a true account<br />

of the dispute, as the media and public discourse has been<br />

marred by misinformation, distortion and an aversion to<br />

simple fact.<br />

Prevalent have been the claims of an unsubstantiated,<br />

‘ghoulish’ union takeover of the CFA, as well as the<br />

unfounded mischaracterisations of a ‘war’ on volunteer<br />

firefighters. The main peddlers of these anti-union<br />

sentiments have been the Liberal party and the Murdochowned<br />

press. In June of 2016 alone, The Herald Sun<br />

published more than 70 articles that, in no uncertain terms,<br />

condemned the UFU. Somewhat shockingly, however,<br />

inaccurate reporting of this dispute has not been confined<br />

to the Murdoch papers.<br />

The whole dispute arose from attempts to renegotiate an<br />

EBA (Enterprise Bargaining Agreement) for CFA career<br />

firefighters. Rather than secure the same terms on which<br />

past EBA’s had been established, the UFU rightfully sought<br />

to demand more of the CFA management. A crucial aspect<br />

of the UFU’s negotiations was the demand to make it<br />

official policy for seven firefighters – career or volunteer<br />

– to be dispatched to a fire. In the current firefighting<br />

climate, it is common for four or even three firefighters to<br />

attend a fire. This is a woefully inadequate number that<br />

imperils the individual safety of the firefighters, as well<br />

as posing a danger to rural communities at large – as low<br />

firefighter numbers at a fire will decrease the likelihood of<br />

containment or extinguishment.<br />

The UFU’s stance is supported by the advice of firefighting<br />

experts – seven firefighters is widely held to be the<br />

minimum number in order for fires to be properly dealt<br />

with. It is indubitably within the interests of UFU members<br />

and the wider community for the CFA to mandate this<br />

policy requirement. Nevertheless, right-wing commentators<br />

such as Andrew Bolt are deploring the union for their<br />

proactivity, attempting to divide career and volunteer<br />

firefighters by spreading mistruths about the union’s<br />

proposal. The main misnomer disseminated is that seven<br />

career firefighters must be at a fire before a volunteer can be<br />

dispatched. This is a patent lie, because there are many CFA<br />

stations with only volunteer firefighters.<br />

Similarly, part of the alleged ‘union takeover’ is the fact<br />

that the UFU is pushing for quicker response rates in rural<br />

areas. Currently, firefighters are able to respond significantly<br />

quicker to call-outs in metropolitan and some suburban<br />

spaces compared to rural and country areas. From an<br />

economic standpoint, this reality does not make a whole<br />

lot of sense. Victorians from all across the state pay similar<br />

amounts for the fire service levy, yet those in more urban<br />

areas receive a better service. In some cases, residents in<br />

CFA territory actually pay more. For example, a resident<br />

in CFA territory pays approximately $181.80 per annum<br />

on property with a capital improved value of $600,000. A<br />

resident in MFB territory with the same capital improved<br />

value pays about $140.40 per annum for a more efficient,<br />

effective service.<br />

In general, it seems pretty uncontroversial to say that<br />

acting to increase the speed of firefighter response time is a<br />

good thing – it will mean that fires can be more effectively<br />

contained and extinguished. Lives and homes will be saved<br />

as a consequence.<br />

Those who are unreservedly ‘anti-UFU’ in their sentiments<br />

do not only display an absence of critical thought, but also<br />

an embarrassing moral indifference. A constant criticism<br />

made of the UFU and career firefighters is their ‘underappreciation’<br />

of the work of volunteer firefighters. Make<br />

no mistake: the UFU and career firefighters recognise the<br />

importance of volunteer firefighters in rural areas. They put<br />

their lives on the line for their community in the same way<br />

that career firefighters do.<br />

In a purely logical world, it would be the Liberals and<br />

conservatives who would be seen as unsupportive of<br />

>>


volunteer firefighters. They see no problem, and in fact<br />

encourage, the exploitation and overwork of volunteers,<br />

who have other jobs and personal matters to which to<br />

attend. It appears that the Liberal Party and right-wing<br />

commentators hope for the day when the sole responsibility<br />

to extinguish bushfires is imposed on volunteers. This is<br />

hardly fair.<br />

Not only is this ultimately detrimental to volunteer<br />

firefighters, but also to the community at large. Intrinsically,<br />

volunteers are not able to respond in the same capacity and<br />

with the same consistency as career firefighters, who are<br />

stationed at their CFA station in anticipation of a fire or<br />

emergency situation. By no means are the UFU advocating<br />

divisions between career and volunteer firefighters, but<br />

rather a harmonious and well-balanced allocation of career<br />

and volunteer firefighters in CFA areas to combat the everincreasing<br />

dangers of fires, bushfires and emergencies.<br />

It seems a pertinent question to ask: why is the right-wing<br />

so ardently against the UFU and career firefighters?<br />

An obvious answer to that is because conservatives<br />

blindly despise unions. The UFU to them represents a<br />

counter-productive and ‘thuggish’ body trying to deny CFA<br />

management their holy right to exercise autocratic power<br />

over its workers. Indeed, any piece published by the Herald<br />

Sun on the UFU seems to descend into ad hominem and<br />

unedifying character assassination – compelling us to<br />

resent the UFU on the sole basis of it being a union.<br />

What the whole media circus surrounding the UFU<br />

exposes is the worst of conservative ideology: its myopia,<br />

its obstinacy, and its tendency to encourage ill-feeling and<br />

loathing. Rather than adopting a balanced, nuanced view<br />

of the dispute, conservatives have lambasted the UFU for<br />

putting its members and the community first.<br />

Another reason for conservative castigation of the UFU<br />

and its members is because of their power as activists. In<br />

the 2014 state election, career firefighters ran a successful<br />

campaign to throw the Napthine Liberal government out<br />

of office. This was in response to unremitting attempts<br />

by the Napthine government to cut fire services and cut<br />

the number of firefighting jobs available. The campaign<br />

was entitled ‘Put the Liberals Last’, as firefighters across<br />

the state actively doorknocked, made calls and distributed<br />

flyers to make the community aware of the dangerous<br />

consequences of not respecting our state’s firefighters. The<br />

hard work and societal standing of Victorian firefighters<br />

meant that there was an overwhelming swing away from<br />

the Liberal party. Expectedly, this prompted a kneejerk<br />

response from the Liberal party and conservative<br />

commentators, characterised by lie-laden attempts to<br />

delegitimise the UFU and career firefighters.<br />

The inaccuracy with which the UFU and CFA dispute<br />

has been reported is genuinely saddening. It represents a<br />

new low for the Liberal party and conservatives at large.<br />

Firefighters are altruistic and great people who contribute<br />

so much to our community – not only fighting fires, but<br />

responding to tragic emergency situations such as car<br />

wrecks and drug overdoses. It is about time that we start to<br />

laud firefighters and their representatives as heroes in our<br />

community.<br />

australia’s obsession with<br />

military spending<br />

article by jack young<br />

artwork by elsie dusting<br />

Defence spending in Australia is soaring, but all the while, foreign<br />

aid is being slashed. Is this good for the security of Australia and the<br />

region? Does the military even effectively achieve its stated goals?<br />

The 2016 Defence White Paper outlines an additional $29.9 billion in<br />

funding for defence from 2016 to 2025-2026, with the defence budget<br />

reaching $42.4 billion by 2020-2021 (2% of projected GDP). The main<br />

goals of the Australian military in the coming years are predominantly<br />

focused on the protection of Australia's borders from people, weapon<br />

and drug smuggling by crime syndicates as well as preventing fishing<br />

in Australian fisheries. The paper also discusses at length the military<br />

modernisation expected in our region – although that modernisation<br />

is not expected to be directed at Australia. The increase in funding will<br />

mostly be used to fund new manned and unmanned aircraft as well<br />

as better marine vessels. The paper ties the stability and prosperity of<br />

Australia’s neighbors, in particular Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste,<br />

Indonesia and Pacific Island countries in the South Pacific with our<br />

own prosperity. The real question is whether the measures taken by the<br />

military will result in stability and prosperity in our region. I think they<br />

won’t.<br />

$42 billion per year is a lot of funding. Is stopping neighboring countries<br />

from fishing going to make them more stable and prosperous? Will<br />

stopping their refugees from coming here make them more stable and<br />

prosperous? The reality is that defense is almost always used for short<br />

term economic gain and ironically, for attack. Finding examples where<br />

this is not the case in history is difficult.<br />

Increasing funding in one area of government naturally requires cuts in<br />

others. In the 2015-16 budget Australia's foreign aid was cut by $1 billion<br />

(around 20%). In the 2016-17 budget foreign aid spending fell another<br />

$224 million. The lack of spending in respect of foreign aid by first world<br />

nations is sad and disappointing. Especially when you compare it to the<br />

enormous, reckless amounts spent on military apparatuses.<br />

It is my understanding that what promotes stability and prosperity<br />

are things like access to health care, food, water, education, shelter,<br />

electricity and employment. It seems that the Defence White Paper is<br />

good for one thing – identifying threats. However its solutions are poor<br />

at best. If Australia, or any first world nation for that matter actually<br />

fixed the problems in the developing world, there would be far fewer<br />

threats to defend against. The UN estimates that for an extra $1.7 billion<br />

in funding for increasing immunization coverage against influenza,<br />

pneumonia and other preventable diseases, around 1 million children’s<br />

lives could be saved. The cost of military spending is more than<br />

economic. It costs lives.<br />

The countries which Australia used to give foreign aid to will suffer<br />

greatly and needlessly as a result of increased military spending.<br />

The developing nations will suffer needlessly as a result of the first<br />

world’s seeming inability to help anyone but themselves. The domestic<br />

population needs to demand that our government do its part to end<br />

unnecessary and horrific global suffering. These issues are complicated<br />

and difficult to solve, but that does not mean we shouldn’t try.<br />

politics/society 20-21


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

minor parties in<br />

australian politics<br />

article by jessica lehmann<br />

artwork by leitu bonnici<br />

Disillusioned youth and disengagement with politics is<br />

nothing new in the Australian political scene. Political<br />

power and consequently huge aspects of our lives are<br />

dictated by either the Liberal and Labor parties. Thus, the<br />

feeling of representation of your own unique views can<br />

often fall short across all the policies in only two parties.<br />

The trend to support minor political parties, for example<br />

the well-known ‘One Nation’ and the ‘Greens’, has led to a<br />

shift in the balance of power in the Senate. However, there<br />

are many other minor parties that can be seen to push an<br />

agenda more closely aligned with your own.<br />

Firstly, let's break down how exactly the government is<br />

formed and how your vote informs its structure. Australian<br />

political power, and our votes, are reflected in two houses.<br />

The House of Representatives is where the government<br />

is formed. The Senate acts as the ‘house of review’ and<br />

has the power to approve or reject decisions made in the<br />

House of Representatives. If one political party holds<br />

majority of power in both houses they can fast track any<br />

legislation they like. Therefore, as the people in the Senate<br />

keep everything in check, a diverse and balanced Senate is<br />

essential for a strong democracy.<br />

There are 57 political parties in Australia, yet the Labor<br />

and Liberal parties deluge much of the Australian media.<br />

Thankfully, there exist many varied parties pushing forward<br />

and offering other ideals that can help espouse your views<br />

and opinions to shape the Australia you want. By voting in<br />

minor parties this opposes the “two-party system” which<br />

exists, and is strongly perpetuated by the mainstream<br />

media, in Australia.<br />

Here three minor Australian political parties will be<br />

explored in detail to widen your perception of politics.<br />

As Plato once said: “One of the penalties for refusing to<br />

participate in politics is that you end up being governed by<br />

your inferiors.”<br />

Recently the technology driven political party ‘Flux’ has<br />

been formed. Flux operates through an app and you are the<br />

operator behind the politician. The user is given a vote on<br />

every bill put before Federal Parliament and can use that<br />

vote either;<br />

1. immediately on the issue at hand;<br />

2. by giving it to a trusted third party to cast on your behalf;<br />

or<br />

3. by saving it for an issue you care more passionately about<br />

later.<br />

Flux representatives completely give up their autonomy<br />

and vote per the people utilising the app. This is a marked<br />

change from politicians back-flipping on campaign ideals, a<br />

la Malcolm Turnbull on same sex marriage, or running for<br />

election to boost their own career. There are flaws in this<br />

system with the potential for people to flood the app who<br />

are aligned strongly with certain preferences. However, it<br />

is a strong step in ensuring politicians are accountable to<br />

the individuals who voted them into power it allows the<br />

everyday Australian to gain control and have a voice in the<br />

political arena.<br />

The Art Party is the only art focused political party in the<br />

world and does not identify as either left or right wing,<br />

but rather aims for a culturally creative and diverse society.<br />

What distinguishes the Art party from other political<br />

parties is this specific emphasis on one area of reform – the<br />

arts. Having members of political parties in the Senate<br />

from minor parties, such as the Arts party, who focus on<br />

one particular area, enables issues that are varied to be<br />

acknowledged. Other issues that do not directly relate<br />

would then be considered in relation to the ethos of the<br />

party. For example, if a bill on housing affordability reform<br />

were brought forward, the Art Party would hypothetically<br />

analyse it in relation to the community and culture of the<br />

arts and then vote. This would lead to a senate which is<br />

balanced and representative of varied public voices.<br />

Another minor party representing a key area that the<br />

government traditionally struggles with is the Science<br />

Party. Focused on technological advancements and the<br />

growth of a positive and thriving future for all Australians,<br />

the Science Party advocates for public healthcare and<br />

policies based on intelligent evidence-based research.<br />

A major point of difference of the Science party is their<br />

support for a secular government to ensure justice and<br />

liberty of beliefs.<br />

After the Senate reforms of 2016, we could envision future<br />

Senates comprised of minor parties. It is easier than ever<br />

before for the minor parties to represent smaller factions<br />

of the community, leading to a diversity of political voices<br />

having their say on the way our country is governed. The<br />

future of Australian politics could be in your hands if you<br />

consider varied parties rather than the big two of the Labor<br />

and Liberal parties. Your voice could finally be represented<br />

on issues important to you.


what ever happened to<br />

the state of journalism?<br />

article by nick jarrett<br />

artwork by kim tran<br />

Thanks to social media, we live in an age that is<br />

simultaneously the best and worst environment for<br />

journalism and reporting that there has ever been. We<br />

have access to countless sources of news that spring up<br />

instantly after global phenomenon, political debate and<br />

sporting achievements. All it takes is a few swipes of a<br />

finger and you can have a general knowledge about any<br />

known topic in existence. We are better informed than ever<br />

and yet we are also exposed to vindictive, biased journalism<br />

masquerading as truth. That isn’t even to mention the ‘fake<br />

news’ which is slowly saturating our Facebook feeds and<br />

has even infiltrated such administrations as the White<br />

House.<br />

Journalism today is not typically based on objectivity, but<br />

rather is designed to catch and hold our attention and<br />

therefore sell its publication to us. In the same way little<br />

rewards hook us to games, or small cliffhangers keep us<br />

attached to our TV screens, journalism is twisting headlines<br />

to the flashy and scandalous in an attempt to draw us (and<br />

our clicks) into a story we would otherwise ignore. Look<br />

no further then to recent U.S. election cycle to identify the<br />

media’s thirst for such drama. Donald Trump and Bernie<br />

Sanders both had their campaigns globally advertised, as<br />

media companies such as Fox News, CNN and BBC (just<br />

to name a select few), bit onto controversial information<br />

they knew would cause a stir and attempt to outdo other<br />

reporting stations. Every time Trump spoke he was belittled<br />

and laughed at by left-wing and central media factions<br />

as a racist and a fascist. When Bernie took to the podium,<br />

he was deemed a communist by right-wing and centrist<br />

parties, fueling the memory of terror that communism<br />

instilled in the twentieth century. However accurate these<br />

assessments may have been, these journalists collected<br />

every bit of drama they could find and often blew it into<br />

erroneous conjecture. Sanders’ planned health care reforms<br />

were not ‘revolutionary’ and Trump’s move to tax foreign<br />

imports weren’t always racially motivated, but that doesn’t<br />

matter because there is a story to sell and outrage as<br />

currency.<br />

public over her performance, Collins obtained an angle he<br />

thought would entice readers and ignored an objective<br />

journalistic approach. It is a sad reality that journalism<br />

has become corrupted to the extent where the traditional<br />

method of reporting fact has been lost in favour of being<br />

able to sell drama and debate, but only look at the effect of<br />

social media and one can understand why.<br />

You no longer need to work at leading media outlets to<br />

broadcast news. All too often, we are told about various<br />

world events from any random bystander who happened<br />

to be there. So where does that leave the journalist? They<br />

can’t be the first to report the story (someone else has<br />

done that) so they need to find a new angle and many are<br />

unscrupulous in how they manufacture it.<br />

Now I enjoy news as much as any other, and I am almost<br />

solely reliant on social media and the internet for supplying<br />

world events and the occasional Married at First Sight<br />

update, but increasingly I am becoming more cynical over<br />

this system of contemporary journalism and reporting.<br />

After all, there are only so many times I can stomach<br />

walking into a full-blooded family dinner table debate<br />

armed to the hilt with what turns out to be misguided<br />

information and the spread of fake news.<br />

The system of journalism that we have is<br />

corrupted and flawed. But, given the nature of our<br />

technological era, maybe that is just the reality we<br />

have to accept.<br />

So desperate is the state of modern-day journalism to<br />

sell a story, journalists don’t always attempt to hide their<br />

motives in finding new angles. In February 2016, following a<br />

performance by Beyoncé at the Superbowl Halftime Show<br />

– journalist Alex Collins from the BBC asked on Twitter for<br />

someone ‘who [could] say that it was inappropriate that her<br />

performance was political.’ For the record, the ‘controversial<br />

performance’ of Beyoncé was of Formation which alluded<br />

to the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality.<br />

Collins, instead of asking for an array of opinions from the<br />

politics/society 22-23


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

when the bank of<br />

mum & dad runs dry<br />

article by benjamin caddaye<br />

artwork by lin abdul rahman<br />

I love Melbourne. It’s a pretty special place. Dubbed as<br />

Australia’s cultural capital, it doesn’t disappoint in its vast<br />

offerings. Don’t just take my word on that: the international<br />

community feels the same with Melbourne being the most<br />

liveable city for six years running. I can’t think of anywhere<br />

else I’d rather call home, and I’m assuming a lot of you feel<br />

the same way. However, despite my love of the city, I am<br />

seriously worried about my future ability to do so.<br />

Let’s get things straight; we as university students and<br />

future graduates are in a far better position than a lot of<br />

other young Melburnians. In spite of this, I am genuinely<br />

concerned that I’ll never be able to own a home; instead I<br />

will be forced into a lifestyle at the perpetual mercy of a<br />

duplicitous landlord.<br />

The statistics are pretty frightening. In 1980, the median<br />

house price in Melbourne was a pittance at $40,800. Today<br />

that figure stands in excess of $700,000. Even after taking<br />

into account inflation over the past three decades, that is<br />

still an absurd increase. To afford even an average home<br />

in Melbourne’s leafy inner suburbs, you’d need to have an<br />

income in excess of six figures. On top of that, it would also<br />

require a massive saving effort to come up with a deposit<br />

large enough to avoid mortgage lenders insurance, and to<br />

cover the associated stamp duty fees.<br />

The picture is pretty bleak.<br />

So the question I ask myself is, what the hell is the<br />

government doing to address this systemic issue?<br />

The Andrews Government<br />

To the credit of the current State government, they’ve<br />

actually done something about it. The recent package<br />

of changes included no stamp-duty on properties under<br />

$600,000, a saving of up to $32,000, and a doubling of the<br />

first-home owners grant for regional purchases. There is<br />

also a trial program whereby the government supplies<br />

25% of the full purchase price, essentially footing the cost<br />

of a deposit. The government then retains a 25% interest<br />

in the property that they recoup when it is sold. This<br />

goes to the heart of the issue, because coming up with a<br />

large deposit for a property is often the biggest barrier to<br />

homeownership.<br />

Despite the strides made, there are still structural issues<br />

that aren’t addressed by these policies. If the government<br />

were to roll out the input equity policy, they would be<br />

massively at the mercy of any future housing market<br />

collapse, and it could potentially put taxpayer dollars in a<br />

precarious position.<br />

The Opposition<br />

Leader of the Opposition Matthew Guy has also put his<br />

mind to the issue, coming up with a sensational, agile<br />

and very innovative Nine-Point Plan for addressing the<br />

crisis. His ideas mainly revolve around helping out those<br />

‘charitable’ development companies by reducing barriers to<br />

development to increase supply. He’s also noted the need<br />

for jobs to be located outside the CBD and for better public<br />

transport links.<br />

While (as much as it pains me to admit it), he is on<br />

the money when it comes to spreading employment<br />

opportunities and public transport access, Guy’s actions<br />

tell a very different story. The vicious opposition to the<br />

Andrews governments public transport investment shows<br />

that his party isn’t interested in investing for the future. He<br />

should be criticised for focusing primarily on development<br />

rather than access, as it is clear from the number of foreign<br />

buyers in Melbourne that there is supply, just that it’s going<br />

to investors rather than young buyers.<br />

The Federal Government<br />

This is more than a state issue, as is made clear by the fact<br />

that housing unaffordability in Sydney is rivalled only by<br />

Hong Kong. This would lead one to suppose that the Federal<br />

Government would also make concerted efforts alongside<br />

the States to address the issue. Well, to see the reality of<br />

this, let’s look at a couple of Ministerial statements.<br />

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. (Now just prepare<br />

yourself for the sheer idiocy of our nation’s leader.) He<br />

suggested that young people should tap into the ‘bank<br />

of mum and dad’ and get them to shell out to help their<br />

kids enter the market. Now unlike some politicians or<br />

demagogues, where a small loan of a million dollars is but<br />

a phone call away, the clear majority of young Australians<br />

simply cannot rely on their parents to fork out $120,000 plus<br />

for a deposit. Let’s not overlook the fact that Malc was able<br />

to buy his first home in inner Sydney’s Newtown WHILE a<br />

student for the equivalent of $82,000, and then sell it three<br />

years later for FOUR times as much.<br />

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has suggested that<br />

if you don’t like house prices in big cities, you should move<br />

to Charleville. Now without passing comment on what I’m<br />

sure is a charming rural town, the idea that young people<br />

should make such a life-altering move, (in this case, a cruisy<br />

742 km from Brisbane), is nothing but ignorant.<br />

Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, (and the man<br />

responsible for addressing housing affordability), Michael<br />

Sukkar suggested that the first step to getting into the<br />

housing market was to get a ‘highly paid job’. That’s a<br />

ripper idea, thanks Minister. I’ll just go down to my local<br />

supermarket and get a job, getting paid a good base wage<br />

>>


and penalty rates…. Oh wait the government just stood by<br />

as penalty rates were cut and the minimum wage is at an<br />

almost un-liveable level. How can this be an acceptable<br />

view to hold? Highly paid jobs don’t exactly grow on trees,<br />

and they are increasingly more difficult to acquire with<br />

unemployment at almost 6 percent.<br />

But enough of exposing the hypocrisy of the current<br />

Federal Government. What we need are leaders who are up<br />

to making the hard, unpopular choices. As the Senate Select<br />

Committee into Housing Affordability notes, there are ‘tax<br />

system incentives which have encouraged investment in<br />

second and third properties’. Negative gearing needs to be<br />

severely limited, and foreign investment in residential real<br />

estate needs to be put under far greater control. That’s an<br />

unpopular position, and I’ll admit that.<br />

However, it is clear that the trajectory of the market<br />

is upwards, and it has a real potential to create a<br />

stratified class system in Australia.<br />

Young people will be forced into a lifetime of expensive<br />

renting, with the older generations leeching their capital<br />

and preventing them from saving. With prices remaining<br />

so high, getting that first property would be all but a pipe<br />

dream.<br />

beyond her beauty<br />

article by dolly png<br />

artwork by rachelle lee<br />

With a crisp British accent, an aura of confident intelligence and a<br />

much-envied physique, Emma Watson is a darling of the big screen.<br />

Her role as the witty, courageous Hermione in the Harry Potter franchise<br />

has made her a household name, and she knows it. However, what<br />

makes her stand out from her Hollywood counterparts is how she has<br />

harnessed her celebrity power to influence and effect change beyond the<br />

movie theatre.<br />

Beyond earning a comfortable living or honing her artistic talents,<br />

Watson’s heart is for a cause greater than herself: gender equality. At just<br />

twenty-five, she is the appointed UN Women Goodwill ambassador, and<br />

her speech at the launch of the HeForShe campaign in 2014 provokes one<br />

to pause and reconsider the word “feminism”.<br />

“Gender equality is your issue too,” she confidently states, as a direct<br />

address to the men in the audience. For “how can we effect change in the<br />

world, when only half of it is invited, or feel welcome to participate in<br />

the conversation”? To be feminist is not to be men-hating. It is as much<br />

about giving men the freedom to speak about their feelings, and for<br />

fathers to be recognised in the household, as it is about female political<br />

representation and closing the pay gap between the sexes.<br />

To further this cause, Watson has also started a Goodreads book club,<br />

Our Shared Shelf. This open online channel encourages active and<br />

dynamic public engagement on feminism and related issues. Titles so far<br />

have included Maya Angelou’s Mom & Me & Mom and this month’s read:<br />

Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman<br />

Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Watson has certainly put much effort<br />

into keeping the conversation going. Take for example the one-hundred<br />

handwritten notes in hard copy books, hand-delivered, stashed away<br />

in corners of the London subway last year. One certainly wonders how<br />

many lucky commuters would actually heed the note’s advice to pass the<br />

book on after reading.<br />

With so much to her name, it easy to forget that Watson is also just<br />

another young adult, trying to find her way in the world. She is human<br />

too, just as vulnerable to the slings and arrows of hurtful comments.<br />

She admitted being particularly hurt by comments made by those she<br />

thought were her feminist peers over the recent Vanity Fair photoshoot.<br />

Is the act of baring one’s breasts for fashion modelling encouraging<br />

female sexualisation and objectification, or is it a daring celebration of a<br />

woman’s body? There are certainly no quick and easy answers, but surely<br />

we can cut our beloved “Harry Potter girl” some slack? It can’t be easy to<br />

juggle her personal and private lives—attending university (at Brown,<br />

no less), cherishing time with family and friends, while working (acting,<br />

modelling, activism), and managing her public image (most of us don’t<br />

have to worry about personal photos being leaked, or whether what we<br />

say affects the whole feminism movement). Being overly obsessed with<br />

the female body and beauty is a distraction from the real concerns she<br />

voices.<br />

With her compassion, sincerity and charisma, Emma Watson<br />

has come to represent issues far greater than herself.<br />

We would do well to look beyond the trivialities of magazine covers and<br />

listen to what she has to say, because it is something that matters to<br />

every one of us.<br />

politics/society<br />

24-25


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

the power of<br />

the protest<br />

article by chris di pasquale<br />

artwork by angharad neal-williams<br />

The weekend of protests against President Donald Trump’s<br />

inauguration were the largest mobilisation in the history of the<br />

United States. Four million people turned out across the United States<br />

and globally, the five million people that turned out in over 60 cities<br />

from Berlin to Manila, from London to here in Melbourne – where we<br />

had about 6,000 show up to the State Library against Trump – were<br />

only surpassed in number by the anti-Iraq War protests of February<br />

2003, which brought out 15 million people. Since then, there have been<br />

protests to push back anti-choice bigots at Planned Parenthood clinics,<br />

airport occupations against Trump’s Muslim travel ban, marches outside<br />

the historic Stonewall Inn where Gay Liberation was born. This wave of<br />

protest against a newly elected president is unprecedented.<br />

Yet in my research for this article, I couldn’t help but notice a smaller<br />

but by no means insignificant protest that took place in the little city<br />

of Norwich in Norfolk County, England. At one point, Norwich was<br />

the second-largest city in England; however, that point was sometime<br />

during the eleventh century. These days, Norwich has a population of<br />

about 213,000, making it a quiet city favoured by Londoners wanting a<br />

weekend away from the big smoke.<br />

“Huge crowds gather in Norwich”, screamed the headline of the Eastern<br />

Daily Press to describe the February 1 Norwich protest against Trump’s<br />

Muslim travel ban, a now-defunct executive order that aimed to restrict<br />

the right of entry into the U.S. to the nationals of seven Muslim-majority<br />

countries. In all, about a thousand Norvicians showed up to the protest.<br />

Not much by our standards but considering the city has a population<br />

the size of Hobart, it would have been like 21,000 people showing up to<br />

our Melbourne anti-Trump protest.<br />

“Not my president” has become one of the well-known slogans of the<br />

anti-Trump movement, but that is literally the case for the thousand<br />

or so Norvicians who protested Donald Trump. But as Lottie Clare, one<br />

of the student organisers of the protest says: “It’s easy for us to criticise<br />

Trump in the UK and be focussing on the racism that’s happening in the<br />

States but it’s also happening here. The solidarity with people in the US<br />

really does matter and it’s about rejecting these ideas.”<br />

Protesting Trump can seem fruitless: he’s already been elected and<br />

besides, here in Australia, what he does doesn’t affect us and even if we<br />

wanted to stop it, we couldn’t. But the activists in sleepy Norwich saw<br />

the point in protesting Trump. So did the millions of others across the<br />

world who came out and continue to come out against Trump’s agenda.<br />

Protest is effective not only when it achieves an immediate outcome<br />

– as in the case of the airport protests that led to the repeal of Trump’s<br />

Muslim ban – but even when it doesn’t. The ordinary functioning of<br />

society begins to melt away in a mass protest, as participants are united<br />

by a set of demands or a common goal. A protest has the potential to<br />

expose the role of the police, the profoundly undemocratic nature of<br />

society, the collective power of those assembled: the point of protesting<br />

is not to appeal to the democratic nature of the powers that be but to<br />

change the ideas of those who take part, allowing them to imagine that<br />

another world is possible.<br />

For the late John Berger, a Marxist art critic, novelist and activist, to<br />

those who protest, the demonstration becomes a “metaphor for their<br />

total collective strength”. He wrote in his essay ‘The Nature of Mass<br />

Demonstrations’:<br />

“The demonstrators interrupt the regular life of the streets they march<br />

through or of the open spaces they fill. They cut off these areas, and,<br />

not yet having the power to occupy them permanently, they transform<br />

them into a temporary stage on which they dramatise the power they<br />

still lack… By demonstrating, they manifest a greater freedom and<br />

independence – a greater creativity, even although the product is only<br />

symbolic – than they can ever achieve individually or collectively when<br />

pursuing their regular lives. In their regular pursuits they only modify<br />

circumstances; by demonstrating they symbolically oppose their very<br />

existence to circumstances.”<br />

The idea that protest changes consciousness is important in<br />

understanding how a seemingly spontaneous movement against the<br />

newly elected Trump could have taken shape. Just as the seeds of<br />

Trump’s ascent can be found in the failure of the Obama years to live up<br />

to its promises of “change we can believe in”, so too can the origins of<br />

today’s anti-Trump movement be found in the protest movements that<br />

took place under Obama: Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter and the<br />

Bernie Sanders campaign for the Democratic Party nomination.<br />

Occupy Wall Street was a short-lived but militant occupation of<br />

Zuccotti Park near Wall Street in Manhattan, as a delayed response<br />

to the failures of government to respond adequately to the global<br />

financial crisis of 2008-9. This was a crisis that plunged millions into<br />

homelessness, unemployment and misery and yet the Wall Street<br />

bankers who caused the crisis on the whole got off scot-free. Black Lives<br />

Matter came to the world’s attention in 2014, after 18-year-old black<br />

man Mike Brown was gunned down by police in Ferguson, Missouri and<br />

that neighbourhood erupted in protest and riot against a racist state<br />

that continues to incarcerate and murder African Americans with total<br />

impunity. And Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont who until 2015<br />

was unknown to the world, overnight became a 74-year-old rockstar with<br />

his campaign to become the Democratic nominee for U.S. president on<br />

a platform of free college tuition, single-payer healthcare, an end to U.S.<br />

imperial wars and to institute a $15 minimum wage.<br />

None of these movements achieved their stated aims: Wall Street<br />

still makes decisions with impunity, African Americans continue to<br />

be killed by racist cops and Bernie Sanders is evidently not president.<br />

But all of these movements got scores of young people involved with<br />

activism, many for the first time. These movements raised the political<br />

consciousness of those people, challenging hegemonic ideas of what<br />

American society actually looks like, what the role of the American state<br />

is, the possibilities for running society outside the neoliberal orthodoxy.<br />

Without Occupy, Black Lives Matter or the Bernie Sanders campaign,<br />

we might not have seen the airport occupations, the anti-inauguration<br />

protests or the Women’s Marches.<br />

>>


But of course, people don’t go to protests to have their consciousness<br />

raised. We go because we want to win. We go because want to see a less<br />

racist, less barbarous, more humane society. In order to achieve that, we<br />

need to move beyond just protest. The election of Trump, the march of<br />

the far-right across Europe, the election of Pauline Hanson to the Senate<br />

in Australia, as well as the general rightward shift of mainstream politics<br />

show us that the right is organised. This means that left-wing people<br />

need to get together to impose on society our vision of what society<br />

should look like: free public transport, free education and healthcare,<br />

an end to wars for resources and profit, and end to multinationals<br />

exploiting the earth while our planet burns. This means that our side<br />

needs to get organised.<br />

As Berger wrote, that moment can be pivotal in changing that person’s<br />

worldview, for demonstrations are “protests of innocence”:<br />

“There is an innocence to be defended and an innocence which<br />

must finally be lost: an innocence which derives from justice, and an<br />

innocence which is the consequence of a lack of experience.”<br />

Attending a single protest, for all the layers of new activists getting<br />

involved in the movement against Trump today, can be the first step in<br />

losing that innocence.<br />

Chris di Pasquale is a member of the Monash Socialists and the LGBTI Officer<br />

for the National Union of Students.<br />

politics/society 26-27


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

australia indonesia<br />

business forum <strong>2017</strong><br />

article by andre nathaniel & patrick johannes kaihatu<br />

This semester, the Indonesian Students<br />

Association (ISA) of Monash will conduct<br />

one of their largest annual events, namely;<br />

the “Australia Indonesia Business Forum<br />

<strong>2017</strong>” (AIBF <strong>2017</strong>). The main event of AIBF<br />

<strong>2017</strong> will be held on the 6th of May <strong>2017</strong> at 271<br />

Collins St, Melbourne (Monash City Campus),<br />

with this year’s theme being:<br />

‘Opportunity’: “Foregoing creative and inspiring<br />

future leaders that seize to explore, expand and<br />

embrace opportunities”<br />

AIBF <strong>2017</strong> is held to encourage students to<br />

expand their knowledge and understanding<br />

beyond the course materials provided in<br />

the university. Additionally, AIBF <strong>2017</strong> also<br />

offers opportunities for students to discuss<br />

and interact with the guest speakers, which<br />

can provide an environment to build vast<br />

networking prospects.<br />

In general, the scope of activities in AIBF <strong>2017</strong><br />

can be grouped into 2 main segments, which<br />

are the Pre-events and Main Event:<br />

1. Pre-events: OPINDO (28 March <strong>2017</strong>)<br />

2. Debate Competition (6 April <strong>2017</strong>)<br />

3. Main Event: 6 May <strong>2017</strong><br />

OPINDO (Open Discussion for Indonesia) was<br />

held on Tuesday, 28 March <strong>2017</strong> at Monash<br />

University’s Clayton Campus, with the theme<br />

“OPPORTUNITY: IF YOU CAN'T FIND IT,<br />

CREATE IT”. The speakers invited for this<br />

event are Fiyona Alidjurnawan (Founder of<br />

PocketChange) and Darwin Wirawan (Founder<br />

of Williv Architecture). The 2 speakers shared<br />

their life experiences, as well as some insights<br />

on starting up their own firms from scratch.<br />

Fiyona remarked that her startup originated<br />

from a university assignment, whilst Darwin<br />

provided insight into the challenges he had<br />

faced upon his first arrival into Australia. After<br />

the guest speakers delivered their experiences,<br />

the event transitioned into an open Q&A<br />

session where participants discuss specific<br />

topics of their interest. This year’s OPINDO<br />

was a success, with participants filling the<br />

lecture theatre to full capacity.<br />

While previous AIBF pre-events held a<br />

Business Plan Competition, this year the<br />

committee pursued a different format. This<br />

is in the form of the Debate Competition,<br />

which was held on 6th April <strong>2017</strong> at Monash<br />

University’s Caulfield Campus. Four teams<br />

participated in this competition, with each<br />

team consisting of three members. These<br />

four teams represented Monash Uni + RMIT,<br />

RMIT University, Melbourne University and<br />

ISA of Victoria. This debate was held in the<br />

Asian Parliamentary System format, which is<br />

typically used for electoral debate in Asia. The<br />

competition also utilized a knockout system,<br />

where the winners of the qualification round<br />

faced each other on the final. The 3 guest<br />

judges were Ms. Made Utari Rimayanti, Ms.<br />

Dewi Ratih Naim, and Ms. Tina Lahur. There<br />

were three motions for this competition, with<br />

the first being ‘One’s level of education is<br />

effective in determining work opportunities’.<br />

The second motion was ‘Technological<br />

developments negatively affect the job market’.<br />

The final motion was an open motion, ‘This<br />

house would kill men’. The winners for this<br />

competition were the Monash Uni + RMIT<br />

team, which received a reward of $400 in cash.<br />

Main Event<br />

AIBF <strong>2017</strong> is held with the aim of providing a<br />

forum and platform to shape future leaders<br />

so that they can maximize their potential.<br />

Thus, AIBF <strong>2017</strong> will be held on the 6th of May<br />

<strong>2017</strong> at 271 Collins St (Monash City Campus),<br />

and will bring in speakers with expertise in<br />

their fields from Indonesia and Australia. The<br />

Indonesian Students Association of Monash<br />

University hopes that by the end of AIBF <strong>2017</strong>,<br />

participating students would be able to find<br />

ample opportunity in career and business, as<br />

well as the ability to develop aspirations that<br />

can have a positive impact on Indonesia.<br />

The main event of AIBF <strong>2017</strong> will be divided<br />

into two segments: class seminar and<br />

networking night.<br />

The class seminar sessions will include several<br />

smaller classroom sessions that are focused on<br />

specific topics where participants can choose<br />

based on their interests. This will culminate<br />

into the final session, where the smaller<br />

workshops will be combined into one large<br />

seminar class. The main objective of these<br />

class seminars is to facilitate the participants’<br />

opportunity to learn as much as possible from<br />

the guest speakers who will be sharing their<br />

experiences.<br />

ISA of Monash University believes that the<br />

class seminar format will be effective in<br />

meeting the individual needs and interests of<br />

the participants. We believe that through this<br />

seminar, the participants will be inspired to<br />

create new ideas & innovations to be leaders in<br />

the future.<br />

The Networking night segment will be held<br />

directly after the class seminar sessions.<br />

Participants are encouraged to interact and<br />

engage in direct discussion with the speakers.<br />

Furthermore, Dinner and refreshments will<br />

also be provided for all participants during this<br />

segment.<br />

This year, AIBF <strong>2017</strong> will bring esteemed guest<br />

speakers such as Sofyan Djalil (Ministry of<br />

Land Affairs and Spatial Planning & Former<br />

Ministry of Finance), Tom Quinn (CEO<br />

of Future Business Council), Adam Stone<br />

(Founder & CEO of Speedlancer), Shishir<br />

Pandit (Chair & Director of Global Consulting<br />

Group), Christy Tania (Executive Head Pastry<br />

Chef at The Langham Melbourne), and many<br />

more. AIBF <strong>2017</strong> is aimed to give participants<br />

ample opportunity in other fields beyond<br />

business. Generally, AIBF <strong>2017</strong> will provide<br />

positive outcomes in terms of creating<br />

opportunity and courage in accordance to the<br />

theme of this year’s event. Furthermore, we<br />

also hope that every opinion and argument<br />

that will be brought forth, can be applied to<br />

real world situations for each participant.


politics/society 28-29


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

the political battlefield:<br />

sloganeering and<br />

policy proposals<br />

article by alex niehof<br />

artwork by john henry<br />

One of the clearest signs of political success and skill is<br />

the ability to argue and persuade; convince others that<br />

your plan is the best; that it will do the most good, or the<br />

least harm. Our evaluations of politicians manifest through<br />

our vote at the ballot box, and slogans play a significant<br />

part in forming our political views.<br />

The 2013 federal election will always be remembered for<br />

the many slogans that were regularly thrown around. “Stop<br />

the boats”, “stop the waste,” “repay the debt,” “lifters and<br />

leaners” and “scrap the tax” are all phrases imprinted in<br />

everyone’s mind. More recently we had “jobs and growth”<br />

from the Liberal-National Coalition and “save medicare”<br />

from the Australian Labor Party. A lot of these slogans<br />

were wildly successful – the Coalition won the 2013 with<br />

a massive majority and held on to form government in<br />

2016. Conversely, the ALP managed to almost return to<br />

government via the success of their slogans.<br />

But are the slogans truly persuasive, or is it just one policy<br />

idea being accepted by a larger portion of the public than<br />

the other? The answer to this can be seen in the change in<br />

perception and popularity of a government post-election,<br />

once the sloganeering and campaigning ends. To this end,<br />

we’ve often seen a dramatic fall in support; the Coalition<br />

poll numbers plummeted after both the 2013 and 2016<br />

federal elections. This trend is also evident in the recent US<br />

election – Trump’s popularity has nosedived since he came<br />

into office. In each case the decline in popularity coincides<br />

with the public’s realisation of what a party intends to do<br />

in office.<br />

Elections are won on the way an argument<br />

is presented, as opposed to the argument<br />

itself. In other words, spin works. But are<br />

some arguments, some ideologies, easier to<br />

argue than others?<br />

The higher prevalence and nature of slogans amongst<br />

conservative parties provides some insight. Not only are<br />

they much more prevalent amongst the right wing – in<br />

recent history there have only been two memorable ALP<br />

slogans, “Kevin07” and “Save Medicare” as opposed to<br />

countless LNP slogans – but they’re also more policy<br />

driven. In the recent US election Republican nominees used<br />

countless slogans such as “drain the swap,” “make America<br />

great again” and “build the wall,” most of which declared<br />

policy proposals. This is in stark contrast to Clinton’s<br />

“I’m with her,” which, like the Kevin07 slogan, was simply<br />

personality based. A question we must ask is: why does one<br />

political ideology have such different slogans to the other,<br />

and is one inherently better than the other?<br />

The answer lies in the variation of the complexities of<br />

political stances, arguments and beliefs. Consider the two<br />

major parties and their policies on asylum seekers. The<br />

Coalition’s argument is a simple “no boats”. There aren’t any<br />

exceptions, any limitations or any variations. When this<br />

policy is presented to the public, the Coalition only repeats<br />

the same words: “stop the boats.” Although, we are never<br />

given an explanation as to how this can be achieved beyond<br />

turning back the boats...<br />

They simply believe in preventing anyone who comes to<br />

Australia by boat from settling in Australia. Simple policy,<br />

even simpler slogan. Then there’s Labor’s policy. It’s a<br />

rather elaborate plan,including increasing funding to the<br />

UNHCR, increasing the humanitarian intake, speeding up<br />

processing of refugees, and abolishing temporary protection<br />

visas, amongst other measures. Try putting that one in one<br />

sentence, let alone a three-word slogan. The ALP could<br />

simply say they’re for a more humanitarian approach to<br />

refugees, but that doesn’t tell anyone much about what<br />

they will do. Nor does it inspire much of an emotional<br />

response.<br />

>>


The recent shift in mainstream right-wing parties to<br />

a much more extreme stance, away from centre-right<br />

ideology, has been widely discussed in both Australian and<br />

American politics. And this shift in stance has resulted in a<br />

shift in the method of argument and persuasion. But why<br />

has this been so successful?<br />

A lot of it comes down to emotions. People are emotional<br />

creatures, as we’re so often told. And emotion is most<br />

acutely felt regarding personal events and matters. It’s why<br />

people care infinitely more about a family member dying<br />

than a massacre overseas, despite the latter being a much<br />

larger tragedy.<br />

The same principle applies with politics. The ‘stop the boats’<br />

argument played on the fear of refugees and the supposed<br />

links to terrorism and an attack on the Australian ‘way<br />

of life’. This fear was the same thing that resulted in the<br />

tolerance, and sometimes celebration, of Trump’s ban on<br />

Muslims and border wall policy, despite the complete lack<br />

of evidence that it would preserve security and the integrity<br />

of American culture.<br />

The most effective and simple way to present the arguments<br />

of truly centrist parties is for them to be headed by leaders<br />

that are great orators. They must have a strong ability to<br />

explain complex, nuanced ideas in a simple way that ensures<br />

that their benefits are easily understood and accepted. In the<br />

past, we had Keating from the left of centre and Fraser from<br />

the right of centre. Both took truly centrist stances, and both<br />

were popular. It has been done and it can be done again. And<br />

it’s incredibly important that these sorts of leaders return.<br />

Centrist politics is important for any nation. Extreme views<br />

are often formed without a basis in fact, are emotional<br />

and are detached from reality – often just like the leaders<br />

of parties who propose them. These views are reactionary,<br />

populist and inherently short term. All that’s needed is a<br />

leader who can express rational ideas to the public. Maybe by<br />

then we’ll finally see the death of the slogans like ‘jobs and<br />

growth’.<br />

Centrist arguments are much more nuanced and subtle.<br />

The aforementioned ALP refugee policy appeals to logic<br />

and reason; to putting emotions aside and considering a<br />

balanced policy proposals.<br />

This trend is evident in many other policy areas. The<br />

Coalition in 2016 campaigned by accusing Labor’s housing<br />

affordability policy of increasing taxes and taking money<br />

away from ‘mum and dad’ investors. The possibility of a<br />

party taking money from you naturally evokes a negative<br />

emotional response.<br />

This is in contrast to the ALP’s housing affordability policy.<br />

Their policy removes negative gearing for new investors of<br />

existing housing which will theoretically decrease demand<br />

for existing housing, thus slowing the rate of growth and<br />

improving affordability. Much more complex, much more<br />

logical and fact based, and much, much less emotional.<br />

Whilst campaigning for the 2016 election I heard countless<br />

voters express their fear that they’d lose their ability to<br />

invest. Clearly the emotional attack works.<br />

The absolutist arguments of non-centrist parties and their<br />

associated ease of persuasion exists in left wing parties as<br />

well. The Greens have made significant ground in recent<br />

years in the cosmopolitan capital city centres through<br />

their progressive absolutist stances. The proposal to abolish<br />

detention centres, as well as an immediate move to 100%<br />

renewable energy won a lot of votes for the party in recent<br />

state and federal elections. Again, emotional, ideological<br />

stances trump rational centrist arguments.<br />

So what can be done to improve the attractiveness and<br />

effectiveness of the centrist argument? Can anything be<br />

done? One obvious solution is to stick to what works,<br />

to go on the emotional argument. This is what the ALP<br />

did in 2016 with their ‘save medicare’ campaign. Simple.<br />

Emotional. Effective. However, this type of argument is<br />

only useful in opposition, once you’re in power people<br />

want solutions and fixes. Look what happened to the<br />

Coalition in 2014 when they couldn’t pull off the impossible<br />

combination of cutting taxes, not cutting spending and<br />

cutting debt.<br />

Another solution is to simply wait for the extremist parties<br />

to implode. Think One Nation’s self-destruction 20 years<br />

ago, and even right now. But this strategy isn’t guaranteed<br />

to be successful and it also takes time.<br />

politics/society 30-31


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

the dutch general<br />

election of <strong>2017</strong><br />

article by nick novicki<br />

artwork by angharad neal-williams<br />

On 15 March <strong>2017</strong> general elections were<br />

held in The Netherlands to elect the 150<br />

members of the House of Representatives.<br />

These elections have been interesting in many<br />

ways. The turnout was around 82%, which is<br />

the highest turnout since 1986, and a record<br />

number of 28 parties have participated. Also,<br />

the now outgoing government has served<br />

a full term, which has not occurred since<br />

2002. Furthermore, many people feared that,<br />

after the unexpected results of the Brexit<br />

referendum and the US presidential elections,<br />

The Netherlands would follow in the wake of<br />

the widespread right-wing populism in Europe.<br />

For a long time, the right-wing populist, anti-<br />

Islam Party for Freedom (PVV) was leading in<br />

the pre-election polls.<br />

Election results<br />

However, PVV did not win the elections. Its<br />

huge lead in the pre-election polls gradually<br />

crumbled and eventually, the conservativeliberal<br />

People’s Party for Freedom and<br />

Democracy (VVD) won the elections with 33<br />

seats. VVD has held the most seats since the<br />

general elections of 2010. PVV holds the second<br />

most seats (20), followed by the centre-right<br />

Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the<br />

social-liberal, progressive centrists Democrats<br />

66 (D66), both with 19 seats; the Socialist<br />

Party (SP) and the green liberal, centre-left<br />

progressive GreenLeft (GroenLinks) with 14<br />

seats. GreenLeft has achieved its largest victory<br />

in history.<br />

Then comes the Labour Party (PvdA), which<br />

suffered its biggest defeat in history. They<br />

ended up with not more than 9 seats, which<br />

is 29 seats less than in 2012. A popular reason<br />

for this defeat is that PvdA were punished for<br />

the outgoing government’s severe austerity<br />

policy, which it was a part of. The policy,<br />

characterised by huge cuts to health care,<br />

public service, the arts and culture sector,<br />

defence and immigration policy, was a result<br />

of the protracted economic recession in The<br />

Netherlands. It has been viewed by left-wing<br />

voters as counter to working-class values.<br />

After the elections, The Netherlands was<br />

flooded with euphoric coverage by Western<br />

media. Right-wing populism had supposedly<br />

been defeated in The Netherlands. However,<br />

the media was wrong. Right-wing populism<br />

has not been defeated at all. In fact, it is one<br />

of the winners of these elections. Compared to<br />

the previous elections, PVV has gained 5 seats.<br />

Although they most likely will not become<br />

part of the coalition government, it still is the<br />

second largest party. Furthermore, PVV could<br />

become the largest opposition party. In other<br />

words, they could significantly influence the<br />

political decision-making process.<br />

Formation of the government<br />

VVD’s victory means that they have the right<br />

to form a new government. The formation<br />

is usually a complex and time-consuming<br />

process. During the elections, VVD showed<br />

interest in collaborating with CDA and D66.<br />

After all, these parties share a common vision<br />

on important matters like economic affairs.<br />

Also, CDA and D66 have often voted in favour<br />

of VVD’s severe austerity measures during<br />

the previous government’s term. Furthermore,<br />

the three parties would need only one more<br />

party in order to obtain an absolute majority<br />

in both House of Representatives and Senate.<br />

Particularly in this respect, the formation is<br />

rather interesting.<br />

In my view, there are two parties most likely to<br />

join a coalition with the three aforementioned<br />

parties. The first is GreenLeft. Although not<br />

all three parties are equally content with the<br />

possibility of GreenLeft as a coalition partner,<br />

there are ongoing negotiations with them<br />

right now. D66 would be more than happy to<br />

have GreenLeft joining the coalition, because<br />

they support progressive policy in the area of<br />

sustainable energy, climate change and the<br />

EU. VVD and CDA however, would not be so<br />

pleased to collaborate with them, because of<br />

the significant differences on major issues like<br />

climate change.<br />

The second party, one I have not mentioned<br />

yet, is the Christian democratic, socialconservative<br />

Christian Union. They would be<br />

warmly welcomed by VVD and CDA, because<br />

it would benefit their pursuit of centre-right<br />

policy. To D66 however, it would be an eyesore.<br />

D66’s progressive view on issues like drug<br />

policy, prostitution, gay marriage, abortion<br />

and euthanasia is diametrically opposed to<br />

Christian Union’s conservative view on those<br />

issues. Furthermore, Christian Union does not<br />

have enough seats to put pressure on VVD and<br />

CDA in order to support D66.<br />

Ultimately, it seems likely that Christian Union<br />

will become part of the coalition government.<br />

After all, they would benefit VVD and CDA<br />

more than GreenLeft would. However, in my<br />

opinion VVD finds itself in quite a dilemma.<br />

Although VVD and GreenLeft have many<br />

major differences that need to be bridged<br />

in order to form a government, it could be<br />

beneficial for VVD to accept GreenLeft.<br />

First of all, VVD would satisfy both D66<br />

and the many young voters that want to<br />

see things change. Furthermore, if VVD<br />

can make compromises with GreenLeft on<br />

a few major issues like climate change and<br />

sustainable energy, they can still implement a<br />

predominantly centre-right policy and satisfy<br />

their own constituency as well. This might<br />

reduce the risk of an unstable government and<br />

the risk of losing votes next elections.<br />

On the other hand, VVD leader Mark Rutte<br />

will have to deal with CDA and an influential<br />

conservative constituency within his own<br />

party. Both will not tolerate a coalition in<br />

which the influence of the centre-right parties<br />

could be impaired. Both GreenLeft and D66<br />

may hamper VVD’s and CDA’s intended centreright<br />

policy.<br />

VVD, CDA and D66 will likely form the next<br />

government. They are expected to be joined<br />

by either GreenLeft or Christian Union. At the<br />

present day, there are ongoing negotiations<br />

with GreenLeft, but it is far from certain<br />

whether those negotiations will result in a<br />

coalition agreement. The promptness of the<br />

formation depends largely on VVD’s readiness<br />

to make the decision. Will they accept<br />

Christian Union, so that they can implement<br />

a centre-right policy? Or will they face the<br />

challenge by accepting GreenLeft, which might<br />

impair the pursuit of a centre-right policy, but<br />

also benefit the government’s stability and<br />

VVD’s position in light of the next elections?<br />

As long as VVD does not make that choice, we<br />

will be kept in suspense.


science/engineering<br />

science/engineering<br />

32-33


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

what’s the matter<br />

with dark matter?<br />

article by austin luke<br />

artwork by jesse thomas<br />

Hang on, didn’t we read this article last time?<br />

No, last edition we learnt about the latest<br />

on anti-matter. Today, we’ll be exploring the<br />

intricacies of dark matter.<br />

To comprehend the concept of dark matter,<br />

one must first understand what matter is.<br />

Matter is anything that occupies space and<br />

has mass. Generally, to us, matter is made up of<br />

atoms. So what about dark matter then?<br />

In the early 1930s, Fitz Zwicky, an astronomer<br />

from the California Institute of Technology,<br />

discovered the gravitational effects of dark<br />

matter while studying the movement of<br />

galaxies in the Coma Cluster, a cluster of about<br />

1000 galaxies. Using Newton’s law of universal<br />

gravitation (a law that states that an object<br />

with greater mass will have greater gravity)<br />

and the virial theorem (an equation that<br />

relates the velocity of orbiting objects to the<br />

amount of gravitational force acting on them),<br />

Zwicky was able to calculate the total mass<br />

of the Coma Cluster by measuring galactic<br />

velocities.<br />

Zwicky also calculated the mass of visible<br />

matter in the Coma Cluster by measuring the<br />

amount of light emitted by the stars in its<br />

galaxies. He found that the mass derived from<br />

visible matter was significantly less than the<br />

previously calculated total mass. Considering<br />

the fact that gravity bends light, he further<br />

observed that light would ‘bend’ in places<br />

where there was no visible matter (hence no<br />

gravity) to ‘bend’ the light in the first place.<br />

These observations led Zwicky to coin the term<br />

‘dark matter’ to describe the missing (invisible)<br />

matter.<br />

Later measurements of individual galaxies<br />

also showed that there just wasn’t enough<br />

‘visible mass (stuff)’ in galaxies to produce<br />

the gravitational force required to hold them<br />

together. This again pointed to the existence of<br />

dark matter.<br />

Currently, the best evidence of dark matter<br />

comes from the measurement of cosmic<br />

microwave background. This is the radiation<br />

left over from the time of recombination in<br />

the Big Bang Theory, when the first hydrogen<br />

atoms started forming from electrons and<br />

protons. Simulations of the Big Bang and<br />

galaxy formation showed that without the<br />

extra mass of dark matter, galaxies and their<br />

constituents would have drift apart due to<br />

the lack of gravity (which we have learnt is<br />

proportional to mass).<br />

So what is dark matter composed of?<br />

The truth is, we don’t know. But the principle<br />

of supersymmetry (SUSY for short) might be<br />

able to help.<br />

To start, supersymmetry is a conjectured<br />

symmetry of space and time that relates two<br />

basic classes of particles which were previously<br />

thought to be unrelated. These particles are<br />

fermions (particles that make-up matter such<br />

as electrons and quarks) and bosons (particles<br />

that carry force such as photons and gluons).<br />

For a long time, fermions and bosons were<br />

considered to be two separate entities, each<br />

described by separate equations, the Fermi-<br />

Dirac statistics and Bose-Einstein statistics<br />

respectively. As such, we could only explain<br />

the relationship between particles of the<br />

same class, electrons and quarks, and photons<br />

and gluons, but not electrons and photons or<br />

quarks and gluons.<br />

But what if we had a single equation that<br />

could describe the behaviour of both fermions<br />

and bosons? And what if there was a single<br />

equation that could relate their individual<br />

behaviours? What then?<br />

There are two classes of particles: fermions<br />

and bosons. Within the fermions there are<br />

electrons (sub-atomic particles with a negative<br />

charge), and quarks (sub-atomic particles with<br />

a fractional charge and act as the building<br />

blocks for protons and neutrons). Within<br />

the bosons there are photons (particles that<br />

represent a quantum (portion) of light) and<br />

gluons (massless sub-atomic particle believed<br />

to bind quarks together).<br />

The black arrows describe the relationship<br />

between the constituents of each class<br />

(fermions and bosons) only. The addition of<br />

red arrows (supersymmetry) creates a new<br />

relationship that links electrons with photons<br />

and quarks with gluons, creating a relationship<br />

that binds matter to force.<br />

It was proven mathematically in the 1960s that<br />

supersymmetry was the only symmetry that<br />

could be added to the existing symmetries<br />

of Einstein’s theory without resulting in<br />

equations that may be inconsistent with our<br />

current world.<br />

So when supersymmetry is implemented<br />

into current equations a whole range of new<br />

particles will be predicted – particles which<br />

cannot be seen normally and will either be very<br />

heavy (hence degrade rapidly) or interact with<br />

matter abnormally. However, new particles like<br />

axions will have to materialise in the Large<br />

Hadron Collider (LHC) first. Once they do, we’ll<br />

be able to see if dark matter is composed of any<br />

of these unseen particles.<br />

Are fireworks going off in your head yet? How<br />

about one more dose?<br />

During the early 2000s scientists discovered<br />

that the expansion of the universe was neither<br />

constant nor decelerating but accelerating.<br />

Adam Reiss along with Saul Perlmutter and<br />

Brian P Schimdt were awarded the 2011 Nobel<br />

Prize in Physics for providing evidence of the<br />

accelerating expansion of the universe. This<br />

advancement was priceless to other scientists<br />

studying the outer reaches of space.<br />

Since the expansion of the universe is<br />

accelerating, scientists logically came to two<br />

possible conclusions: either gravity behaves<br />

differently in outer space or some kind of<br />

unknown energy is propelling this acceleration.<br />

Most scientists found the latter to be more<br />

plausible. They called this energy ‘dark energy’.<br />

According to NASA, 68% of the entire<br />

universe is dark energy, 27% is dark matter<br />

and everything we perceive as normal matter,<br />

including everything observed by our scientific<br />

instruments, accounts for a measly 5%.<br />

So for the record: we more or less know what<br />

matter is, and once supersymmetry is put to<br />

use we can understand dark matter. That only<br />

leaves us in the dark for the other 68% of the<br />

universe occupied by dark energy.


human centred design: a<br />

socially responsible approach<br />

to engineering consulting<br />

article by cameron inglis<br />

As I got off my plane and hit the dusty streets of Bangalore, I can’t<br />

say that I knew what to expect from the weeks ahead. The bumpy taxi<br />

ride to my hotel however, through a city alive with bustling streets full<br />

of cows and other honking traffic, gave me a brisk introduction to the<br />

Indian lifestyle.<br />

I found myself in India earlier this year, after travelling to attend a<br />

2-week long Humanitarian Design Summit run by Engineers Without<br />

Borders (EWB) Australia. By nightfall I was at the city’s busiest train<br />

station, where for the first time I could meet the other students<br />

attending the Summit with me. There were more than 40 of us, from<br />

universities all across Australia, trickling into the station wide-eyed and<br />

bleary from the many hours spent in transit. Together we then endured<br />

a rickety 12-hour train ride, sleeping on bunk beds through the night<br />

until we reached our destination in the town of Hubballi, Karnataka.<br />

This was where our Design Summit officially began.<br />

We spent the first couple of days exploring the town and adjusting<br />

to the local cuisine (and its effects on our digestive systems). Whilst<br />

Hubballi is considered one of the ‘smaller’ cities in India, it is home to<br />

nearly one million people – roughly a quarter of Melbourne’s population<br />

in an area one-tenth its size. Here EWB introduced us to the principles<br />

of Human-Centred Design and Appropriate Technology.<br />

Typically, when engineers are faced with a design task, they are<br />

hardwired to use an old, conventional approach – to look for what<br />

problems exist, and then to see what needs fixing. In contrast, the<br />

Human-Centred model encourages engineers to focus instead on the<br />

strengths of a community first, to allow existing opportunities for<br />

development to be identified and further built upon through their<br />

designs. Additionally, Appropriate Technology aims to use locally<br />

sourced materials to create practical, low-cost design solutions for<br />

communities.<br />

To practise using these methods, we were sent out in groups around<br />

Hubballi to discover how local people went about their daily lives, and<br />

use that information to create simple designs which catered to their<br />

lifestyles. While this sounded easy, we soon found it was far more<br />

difficult than we’d imagined. Some locals told us there was no need for a<br />

design, or that they preferred to use other methods to achieve the same<br />

function, promptly dismissing many of our ideas. It became clear to us<br />

that one day of merely observing their community was not enough – we<br />

would need to consult with locals further if we wanted to present them<br />

with good designs.<br />

Modern approaches like the Human-Centred model can help to counter<br />

some of the issues that emerge from traditional design methods, where<br />

well-intentioned programs can end up doing more harm than good to a<br />

community. Negative effects can often arise within the “voluntourism”<br />

industry where programs often attract volunteers looking to undertake<br />

meaningful work whilst travelling abroad. Despite their goodwill, such<br />

programs can inadvertently take jobs away from locals as volunteers end<br />

up doing the same work for free.<br />

photograph by cameron inglis<br />

There is also the risk that a program identifies an issue – such as the<br />

fact that a village has no water supply – and invests in building a topnotch<br />

water pump before packing up and leaving. Yet later, when the<br />

pump inevitably needs maintenance, there may be no locals with the<br />

specialised knowledge or tools to fix the technology. Or, locals might<br />

discover that their pump drains water out of a local river, which causes<br />

villages downstream to have problems watering their crops. These<br />

are the types of problems which can result from a failure to properly<br />

consult with communities and consider the long-term consequences of<br />

a project.<br />

In the next phase of the Summit, our group moved on to our homestay<br />

in the small quaint village of Nivaje, with a population of only around<br />

1,000 people. We were welcomed into the village with open arms and<br />

swiftly became immersed in the locals’ way of life; working the fields<br />

by day; eating meals cross-legged on the ground, and sleeping on hard<br />

concrete floors by night.<br />

The more time we spent amongst the locals, the more we were<br />

astonished by how tight-knit and resourceful their community was<br />

– they even had biogas chambers throughout the village. These large<br />

concrete chambers were being installed next to villagers’ houses, to<br />

allow locals to cook with the methane gas produced by cow manure as a<br />

cleaner, a more sustainable alternative to using conventional wood-fired<br />

stoves. The villagers were almost entirely self-sufficient too, growing all<br />

of the food and materials they needed to sustain themselves on their<br />

own land, and throughout our stay, we were shown how they practised<br />

rice farming and made their living – knowledge we could use to further<br />

improve our design concepts.<br />

As the Human-Centred model encourages volunteers to empathise with<br />

locals first, and gain a proper understanding of how their community<br />

operates before designing anything, we aimed to avoid many of the<br />

problems associated with ‘voluntourism’. We used the model to focus<br />

our time on asking the locals questions, including what aspects of each<br />

design they liked, what they felt could be improved, and whether they<br />

would use it in their day-to-day lives.<br />

After five incredible days in Nivaje our time ended with an emotional<br />

farewell ceremony, and we moved on to the larger town of Sawantwadi<br />

where we spent the last phase of the Summit finalising our prototypes.<br />

After presenting them back to our community leaders on the final day,<br />

we were pleased to find that they were mostly surprised and thrilled by<br />

our ideas.<br />

Through the Design Summit, I learned an awful lot about rural<br />

Indian communities and their way of life. I was provided with great<br />

insights into the different approaches that exist towards community<br />

development, and how collaborative design has the real potential to<br />

benefit engineering and many other professions alike.<br />

The locals’ kindness and hospitality towards visitors like myself<br />

allowed me to experience the vibrancy of Indian culture firsthand, and<br />

I certainly believe that the Design Summits run by EWB continue to<br />

provide students with a fantastic opportunity to learn and make great<br />

contributions toward disadvantaged communities across India, Nepal<br />

and Cambodia.<br />

photograph by lisa cheeseman<br />

science/engineering<br />

34-35


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

Test Your Inner<br />

Science Nerd<br />

Test Your Inner Science Nerd<br />

crossword by austin luke<br />

For solutions with more than one word, ignore spaces<br />

1<br />

2 3<br />

4 5<br />

6<br />

7 8 9<br />

10 11<br />

12<br />

13 14<br />

15<br />

16 17 18<br />

20<br />

19<br />

21<br />

Created with TheTeachersCorner.net Crossword Puzzle Generator<br />

*for solutions with more than one word, ignore spaces<br />

Across<br />

1. Force per unit area<br />

2. Scientific terminology for a first-year student<br />

4. Auroras in the southern hemisphere are known as Aurora _____<br />

5. The protein found in horns, shells, feathers and beaks<br />

6. Geological feature formed between divergent oceanic boundaries<br />

8. What part of the brain controls body temperature, hunger, thirst<br />

and sleep<br />

10. What is the tenth digit of pi (starting from the first digit after<br />

the decimal point)<br />

11. Most stomach ulcers are caused by a(n) _____<br />

15. There are 14 possible _____ crystal lattice structures in threedimensional<br />

space<br />

17. Plants ‘breathe’ through tiny openings in the leaves called _____<br />

19. The first (non-human) animal to orbit the Earth<br />

Down<br />

3. A representation of 'Electroactive Shape Memory Polymers' in<br />

Batman Begins (2005) was in the form of a(n) _____ cloth cape<br />

7. What fast food did the nuclear physicist order for lunch?<br />

9. The symbol for the gas constant 8.31J/mol/K is _____<br />

12. If you feel desire for your mother and jealousy and anger toward<br />

your father<br />

you have a(n) _____ complex<br />

13. The father of genetics is Gregor ______<br />

14 . The proton counterpart in anti-matter<br />

16. A permanent deformation due to stress is also known as _____<br />

deformation<br />

18. Scientist, engineer and father to Icarus in Greek mythology<br />

20. The most common element in the Earth’s continental crust<br />

21. The most slippery substance in the world which is used to make<br />

non-stick pans<br />

1. stress, 2. jaffy, 3. memory, 4. australis, 5. keratin, 6. midoceanridges, 7. fissionchips, 8. hypothalamus, 9. r, 10. five, 11. bacterium,<br />

12. oedipal, 13. mendel, 14. antiproton, 15. bravais, 16. plastic, 17. stomata, 18. daedalus, 19. dog, 20. silicon, 21. teflon.


dramathematicians:<br />

historic figures in the<br />

mathematical sciences<br />

article by rachael welling<br />

artwork by julia thouas<br />

Mathematicians have been handed the short end of the stick in<br />

history. Isaac Newton battled mental illness his entire life, Galileo<br />

Galilei was persecuted by the Church and spent his final days under<br />

house arrest, and Albert Einstein, who by all accounts led a perfectly<br />

pleasant life, is primarily remembered as a physicist. But through the<br />

years there have been more than a couple bad-ass m’fuckers in the<br />

mathematical sciences, reminding us all that scribbling away at proofs,<br />

and hemming and hawing in front of a blackboard can make for a very<br />

dramatic – and inspirational pursuit.<br />

Having too much fun: Tycho Brahe (1546 - 1601)<br />

Brahe was a Danish nobleman and scientist so well connected that<br />

he was, at one point, best mates with or related to every single person<br />

in the entire government of Denmark. A larger than life figure, his<br />

eccentricities didn’t stop there. As a precocious youth, 19 year old Brahe<br />

replaced his nose with a brass prosthetic after losing it in a duel over<br />

the validity of a mathematical formula. He also owned a pet elk, Brahe’s<br />

frequent stand-in at social engagements, who later died after drunkenly<br />

falling down the stairs. Not unlike his elk, at 55, Brahe himself died of<br />

a burst bladder from partying so hard he refused to leave the banquet<br />

table to relieve himself. While Brahe was an astronomer at heart, his<br />

dedication to consistent and accurate measurements and observations<br />

helped pave the way for the Scientific Revolution of the 17th Century.<br />

Predicting the future: Ada Lovelace (1815 - 1852)<br />

Patron of the arts, a countess and a... programmer? From humble<br />

beginnings teaching mathematics as a very 19th century attempt to<br />

ward against her father’s ‘amoral tendencies’, Ada Lovelace is now<br />

credited with the basis for modern computers. In 1842, she was invited<br />

to translate a paper on computational engines from Italian to English.<br />

She upstaged the paper all-together with the appendices she wrote to<br />

clarify its convoluted mathematics. The algorithm in these appendices is<br />

now considered the first example of a computer program. Where other<br />

mathematicians saw no application for computers, Lovelace recognised<br />

that computation engines could go beyond number crunching, and<br />

be extended into programs that could write music, design patterns<br />

and transfer information. Ada Lovelace saw what no one else in the<br />

mathematical establishment of the time could see, and preempted the<br />

rise of modern computers almost 150 years in advance.<br />

Making herself known: Katherine Johnson (1918 - present)<br />

Perhaps the only name you may recognise, Katherine Johnson is an<br />

African-American mathematician and astrophysicist known for her<br />

invaluable contributions to NASA. Beginning in the 1950s, Johnson was<br />

initially hired as a ‘computer’ in a pool of woman labelled ‘Coloured<br />

Computers’. Johnston then worked her way up through NASA’s flight<br />

engineering department to become one of the most respected and<br />

reliable mathematicians at the agency. At a time when women, and<br />

especially black women, were barred from key planning meetings and<br />

left uncredited on reports, Johnson broke both of these barriers. She<br />

was unrelenting in her assertion that she belonged and was more than<br />

capable of the work. During her career, her calculations were not only<br />

responsible for determining the flight trajectories of key NASA missions,<br />

the first full Earth orbit and the Apollo 11 Moon landing, but they also<br />

ensured the safe return of the crew in the Apollo 13 crisis. Awarded the<br />

Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, and now recognised in major<br />

film Hidden Figures, Katherine Johnson rose out of relative obscurity<br />

to become one of the most well-known mathematicians in the United<br />

States.<br />

Going to war with Mathematics: Alex Grothendieck (1928 - 2014)<br />

Starting his Dramathematician career young, a 12-year-old Alexander<br />

Grothendieck broke out of the Nazi internment camp, where he<br />

and his family were being held, with the express purpose of “killing<br />

Hitler”. After a tumultuous youth spent sheltered in the French<br />

countryside, Grothendieck suddenly grew to prominence among<br />

French mathematicians for his unmatched ability to revolutionise<br />

new mathematical concepts. An activist at heart, Grothendieck held<br />

an uncompromising anti-war stance which would inform his years to<br />

come. He refused a position at Harvard University because he would not<br />

pledge his allegiance to the United States Government; he gave seminars<br />

in the forests surrounding Hanoi to protest the Vietnam War, while the<br />

city was being bombed; and in 1970, he left the French mathematical<br />

school which was founded almost entirely for his work, when he<br />

discovered that it was funded in part by the military. While he died in<br />

relative obscurity in south-west France, Grothendieck’s passion for both<br />

his profession and his politics have led him to be remembered as one of<br />

the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century.<br />

Living for nothing else: Paul Erdős (1913 - 1996)<br />

Taking the phrase “suffering for your art” to the extreme, Hungarian<br />

mathematician Paul Erdős was so dedicated to mathematics that he<br />

eschewed Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs all-together and never bothered<br />

with friendships, marriage or a permanent place of residence. Yep, Erdős<br />

lived most of his life homeless, effectively couch-surfing from one<br />

prominent mathematician’s house to another, and penniless, donating<br />

the majority of his earnings not spent on travel to charity. However,<br />

Erdős’ love for mathematics bordered on single-minded obsession.<br />

He was known to frequently abandon conversations about nonmathematical<br />

subjects, and would apparently fall asleep at parties where<br />

mathematics was not the topic of conversation. But despite (or perhaps<br />

because of) this self-imposed vagabond lifestyle, Erdős published<br />

1,500 mathematical papers during his lifetime. As a testament to his<br />

dedication, this figure has yet to be surpassed.<br />

science/engineering 36-37


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

Science News<br />

Science/Engineering Sub-Editor Team<br />

The end of aging in mammals may be<br />

imminent<br />

A paper published in the peer reviewed<br />

journal Cell may hold some answers to the<br />

questions of aging and whether it is possible<br />

to halt the aging process. Cellular senescence<br />

is the process by which cells within an<br />

organism age and decrease in function.<br />

The study explored ways of returning<br />

homeostasis to a mouse by preventing the<br />

ability of certain cells to age and forcing the<br />

body to produce new, healthy cells. They<br />

found that several qualities, such as fitness,<br />

fur and renal function were restored to<br />

healthy levels.<br />

Therapeutic possibilities of this new<br />

technology may be possible in the future and<br />

may have the potential to restore homeostasis<br />

in human tissue.<br />

Source: Cell<br />

Need a new heart? Try spinach!<br />

IN an upcoming paper to be published in<br />

the research journal Biomaterials, researchers<br />

detail how they were able to take plant tissue<br />

and use it to grow animal tissue.<br />

The challenge of manufacturing complex<br />

human tissue has always been at the<br />

forefront of bioengineering – in the paper,<br />

scientists detail how, through exploiting the<br />

similarities between plant vascularity and<br />

animal vascularity, they were able to use<br />

the already-existing scaffolding of the plant<br />

tissue to build animal tissue.<br />

The potential applications of this research<br />

are far and wide within tissue engineering and<br />

could provide cheaper, more environmental<br />

technology for tissue regeneration.<br />

Source: Biomaterials<br />

MIT Advances Super-Solid<br />

Technology<br />

A new state of matter known as a super solid<br />

has been created in an incredible display of<br />

current physics. The experiment, performed<br />

by researchers at the world renowned MIT,<br />

used lasers to force the well-understood Bose-<br />

Einstein condensate into this new state.<br />

This super-solid state holds features of<br />

both a superfluid and a rigid structure – like<br />

a solid. The superfluid characteristic of zeroviscosity<br />

(no self-stickiness) combined with<br />

the properties of a solid, could be the key<br />

to a more sophisticated understanding of<br />

superconductivity and other forms of energy<br />

transport.<br />

Source: MIT<br />

Ebola be gone!<br />

THERE may finally be an end to orallycommunicated<br />

Ebola for chimps with a new<br />

vaccine, as discussed in a biological paper<br />

published in Nature.<br />

The Ebola virus outbreak of 2014 saw<br />

widespread fear and panic of the deadly<br />

pathogen, but has since subsided and it has<br />

been contained. The general public, however,<br />

may not be aware that over one third of the<br />

world’s gorillas and chimpanzees fell victim<br />

to the virus.<br />

A new vaccine that would be administered<br />

orally may prevent future wildlife fatalities<br />

due to the disease, scientists say.<br />

Source: Nature<br />

The smell of rain may be more<br />

malevolent than you thought<br />

THE familiar scent of petrichor could be<br />

due to airborne bacteria and bio-aerosols, as<br />

explored in a new study published by Nature.<br />

This study also explores the possibility that<br />

this spreading of bacteria via rain could be<br />

the previously unknown mechanism behind<br />

microbe transfer to the atmosphere.<br />

The mechanism is thought to follow from<br />

small bubbles present in the rain causing<br />

the organisms to disperse upon rain impact.<br />

This study and the experimental methods<br />

developed during it will better enhance<br />

future study of bacterial transfer through soil<br />

systems.<br />

Source: Nature<br />

Find out your blood type in 2 minutes<br />

or your money back!<br />

PREVIOUSLY, it has been a difficult process<br />

to perform a quick and timely analysis of a<br />

patient’s blood type. With a newly developed<br />

assay, by the Third Military Medical<br />

University in China, doctors will be able to<br />

tell the blood type of a sample when needed<br />

in an emergency.<br />

By functioning based on the presence<br />

of specific red-blood cell antigens, the test<br />

is able to delineate between A, B and the<br />

antigen-lacking O. The test also identifies the<br />

presence of Rhesus factor (type positive or<br />

type negative).<br />

The previous difficulty of identifying<br />

blood type has caused a dependency on the<br />

universal giver, O. But with this new test and<br />

its 99.9 percent accuracy, patients can receive<br />

their specific blood type.<br />

Source: Science Translational Medicine<br />

artwork by maria volobueva


arts/culture<br />

arts/culture 38-39


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

self and sound:<br />

the music of<br />

phillip wilcher<br />

article by samuel bugeja<br />

artwork by jessica macgregor<br />

Phillip Wilcher is one of Australia’s most industrious composers. His<br />

music, which includes over 100 works for solo piano, 60 songs, string<br />

quartets and solo pieces for flute, oboe and other instruments, draws on<br />

an eclectic range of cultures, images and emotions. It has the ability not<br />

only to transport the listener to places as diverse as, in pianist Jeanell<br />

Carrigan’s words: “a café in Paris or the top of mountain in Java,” but also,<br />

Wilcher hopes, to transcend such temporalities and “speak directly to<br />

one’s condition.” Amongst the variety, however, is a sense of unity – “the<br />

journey of a life seeking to know itself,” as Wilcher puts it.<br />

Musically, Wilcher’s influences are similarly expansive and the impact<br />

of classical composers, particularly J.S. Bach, Chopin and Tchaikovsky, is<br />

apparent. Even though Wilcher’s work is notable for its exploration of<br />

the East, through his utilisation of Japanese scales in ‘Haiga’, ‘Arabic in<br />

The Walls of Ukhaydir’, and ‘Egyptian in Ushabti’, there is never a sense<br />

of Wilcher compromising his own musical language. Imposing such<br />

strict rules on a composition from the outset might be construed as<br />

limiting, such as the Kumoi scale of the ‘Kumoi Prelude’ comprising only<br />

five tones. But Wilcher embraces this – “know your limitations and you<br />

can fly anywhere.”<br />

One senses that he is employing these musical tools to facilitate his final<br />

aim – to know himself – which solidifies Wilcher as a true individualist.<br />

“Everything felt second nature,” he said of the exercise. He also<br />

questions any notion of conformity to trends or labels – to do so “denies<br />

composers their truer sense of self by way of sound.” Consequently, there<br />

is an aspect of Wilcher’s music that is free flowing and self-evident.<br />

Wilcher’s journey began at just 14, when he became the youngest<br />

published composer in Australia. The piano composition, fittingly<br />

titled ‘Daybreak’, was printed by J. Albert & Son in 1973. Wilcher went<br />

on to study with the then-editor of the company, Franz Holford. He<br />

describes this meeting as one of the most important of his career, as<br />

it precipitated a professional association that would span seven years.<br />

What advice would Wilcher give to his younger self, or to any fledgling<br />

artists? “To seek their own truth.” This pursuit is clearly weaved into<br />

much of Wilcher’s works – the textures are highly refined, almost barely<br />

perceptible, as ‘The Likeness of Wind’, or weightless, as ‘A Storm of<br />

Petals’. Such economy says much of Wilcher and his individuality, which<br />

is marked by an absorption with music’s core elements. “But for melody,<br />

where would music be?” he asks.<br />

Curiously, another predominant feature of Wilcher’s oeuvre is his use of<br />

silence. In Wilcher’s music, as much can be conveyed in the absence of<br />

sound as in sound. The prolonged span of silence in his piece Cobwebs<br />

is more meditative and musing than, for instance, in Arabia, where the<br />

silence is agitated and restless. “I am a composer who prefers silence<br />

over sound.” says Wilcher. As much is evident – his music is unified by<br />

its transparency, forming a window into Wilcher, the man.<br />

His piano solo, ‘Continual Dew’, clocking in at just a minute and thirty<br />

seconds, is a fine representation of his skill in shaping sound and<br />

capacity to hone his craft. This leaves behind a clarity to his message,<br />

where the listener can linger over every note. It is music in its purest<br />

form, where nothing needs to be disguised and each individual work<br />

houses a fully realised, complete world. Wilcher said of ‘Continual Dew’,<br />

“If a composer can say in a little under a page what Beethoven or Mahler<br />

said in an entire symphony, who is to say who has written the largescale<br />

work?” That is not to say, however, that Wilcher’s music is confined<br />

to form or structure in any way. More sprawling works include layered<br />

piano suites, with such evocative titles as The Sphinx and the Sycamore<br />

or The Seven Etchings of Eos and two exciting Rhapsody Sonatas, which<br />

were distinguished in the Australian Music Teacher Magazine as an<br />

example of “Lisztian grandeur reborn.”<br />

So , with such an immersive and encompassing body of work behind<br />

him, what is the magic that Wilcher finds in music? The act of creation<br />

itself – when the music unfolds itself to him. “Electric” is how he<br />

describes that flash. “You are so alive. In that moment, genius happens<br />

to you.” What about the relationship between composer and performer?<br />

Wilcher cites the example of ‘Café Bijou’. Initially, Wilcher was<br />

unconvinced, but on hearing pianist Jeanell Carrigan’s realisation of it, he<br />

was captivated. “I love that performers can give of themselves to a work<br />

in such a way to make it their own; that they can even reveal something<br />

of myself to me I had not previously known; a measure that proves as<br />

much part of them as it is of me; that we are of each other.”<br />

The process of composition is also revealing to Wilcher. “Much of the<br />

music I have written seems to have come about through trying to write<br />

something else.” he acknowledges. The original idea is a springboard,<br />

which followed by a period of development and refinement, “way<br />

leading on to way,” as Wilcher suggests. What is the greatest challenge<br />

Wilcher finds in this process? “Finishing.” he responds. “Once I've<br />

started a piece and I am immersed in it, my senses are so heightened<br />

I do not want to let go of it. Even though I know I could well finish a<br />

piece within an hour, I will hold off on doing so for several weeks just<br />

to live ‘in the moment’ of it.” This is characteristic of Wilcher – stillness<br />

pervades his music, the feeling of being “in the moment” describes<br />

this very well. Here is another point that singles out Wilcher as a<br />

unique force and distinguishes his work from the ‘goal directed’ music<br />

of the past. Wilcher’s music is spacious, vast as well as insular; it is a<br />

celebration of the present, of the oneness of being – in this sense it<br />

possesses a universal truth.<br />

In recent times, Wilcher has turned his attention towards the written<br />

word. Has this change been jarring? Not so, says Wilcher: “Music and<br />

words are inextricably linked. Where once I turned to music to compose<br />

who I was becoming, I now turn to words to write of who I am. I treat<br />

words as I do music. They have a rhythm and a texture. Composers write;<br />

writers compose.” No publication bridges this gap more instinctively<br />

than The Poetry of the Preludes, in which Wilcher interprets the preludes<br />

of Frédéric Chopin through poetry. Other works include Divinity: A<br />

dialogue between the self and music at the source and a unique autobiography,<br />

Thinking Allowed, framed in terms of a “life in conversation with itself”.<br />

Wilcher’s words are as his music, thoughtful but never contrived,<br />

sensitive but never overwrought, introspective but never narrow.<br />

>>


There is one difference Wilcher recognises, though: “It is<br />

quieter composing words than it is writing music.”<br />

What does Wilcher hope listeners can glean from his<br />

work? “More than anything, I hope my ‘body’ of work – for<br />

better or worse – conveys my humanity; that my belief<br />

in Love, being the first act of creation means we are here<br />

to create through Love, is evident.” he replies. Whether<br />

Wilcher is composing a series of concert études for pianist<br />

Simon Tedeschi, or a work for oboe and string orchestra<br />

honouring Mozart’s death, his core belief sets his music<br />

apart from simply being considered part of the repertoire.<br />

His deeply personal journey constitutes, in itself, a vital gift<br />

to the world of music. Wilcher’s response to this concept is<br />

perhaps the most accurate representation of him: “There is<br />

no one more surprised than I that my music has received<br />

the reception it has; that performers have been so willing<br />

to put their name to my work and afford it some further<br />

credibility; the credibility of their belief in it. Needless to<br />

say, I am honoured and humbled by the attention my music<br />

has been given. But then, what has anyone's art taught<br />

them if not about humility, where to create is to enter an<br />

arena larger than self ? When "in the moment", one is also<br />

at the mercy of moment. That is humbling.”<br />

A full catalogue of Phillip Wilcher’s work can be obtained from<br />

the Australian Music Centre’s website and can be found in print or<br />

sound recording through Wirripang .<br />

arts/culture 40-41


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

before where,<br />

perhaps what?<br />

article by nicole willis<br />

artwork by sian davies<br />

An inglorious search<br />

for the lost art of<br />

poetry disintegrates<br />

into more questions<br />

than answers.<br />

In my favourite bookstore I was recently recommended<br />

two novels by Ben Lerner, a fairly young yet acclaimed<br />

novelist, and, to my surprise, poet. Both the protagonists<br />

of his novels were also poets; young men positively gaunt<br />

with the prospect that they had, somehow, managed to<br />

become poets and writers despite being positive they had<br />

no idea what that entailed. The novels contained short yet<br />

powerful nuggets of poetry intermingling with prose. It<br />

was my first interaction with poetry outside of the Beat<br />

Generation which, from memory, never felt as though it<br />

held any contemporary relevance. The poems conjured a<br />

new world which still felt inherently truthful.<br />

These novels set me to wonder, where did<br />

poetry go?<br />

It turns out that the only thing more cliché than writing<br />

a terrible poem is to write about the declining state<br />

of “modern poetry”. In my research I blundered almost<br />

immediately into a 1991 essay by Dana Gioia, ‘Can Poetry<br />

Matter?’ that mourns the loss of poetry relevant to the<br />

general public. This article led me to more writing on the<br />

subject; ‘Is Verse a Dying Technique?” by Edmund Wilson,<br />

published in 1934, and ‘Who Killed Poetry?’ by Joseph<br />

Epstein in 1988.<br />

Plato argued in favour of banning poets from the Ancient<br />

Athens on the grounds that poets possessed no knowledge<br />

of truth. In 2013 Harper’s Magazine published Mark<br />

Edmundson's critique, ‘Poetry Slam Or, The decline of<br />

American verse,’ where he accused modern American poets<br />

of being “too hermetic even to overhear with anything like<br />

comprehension”.<br />

So, what have poets done, or not done, to encourage such<br />

a wholesale attack the length and breadth of society? I<br />

actually happen, fortuitously, to be good friends with a man<br />

known for scribbling down the occasional poem. I invited<br />

Lewis, my friend, English teacher and part time poet, over<br />

to chat.<br />

How, I asked, was our generation doing with the whole<br />

poetry shtick? In summary, he replied, we weren’t. “Our<br />

generation generally doesn’t really interact with poetry<br />

at all, unless you consider things like hip hop or the one<br />

Shakespeare play they read in high school.”<br />

But, I countered, this may not be entirely our own fault. It<br />

may be, as our generation is overly fond of pointing out,<br />

the fault of those that came before us. Maybe the previous<br />

generation just wrote terrible poetry?<br />

>>


“Look, maybe poetry is crap and maybe poetry has nothing<br />

to offer. Maybe a lot of people are well within their rights<br />

to disregard it, but I don’t think it’s fair to make that<br />

assumption, because the majority of people these days are<br />

not initiated into how to do poetry.”<br />

Perhaps one of the reasons that it is so easy to dismiss<br />

poetry is that it is hard. It is not something that comes<br />

naturally, as does reading a story, or listening to a song. It<br />

takes time, and studiousness, to reach any level of proper<br />

understanding. I had not gripped just how difficult poetry<br />

was, I think, until my poet friend said to me:<br />

It is hard to define, to read, and most of all, immensely<br />

difficult to write. “To write great poems takes a lifetime,<br />

you either need to be possessed by something that may<br />

be defined as genius or you need to develop that craft for<br />

years and years and years” he ventured. “Just because you<br />

can speak English and understand other people speaking<br />

English doesn’t mean you can understand poetry, doesn’t<br />

mean you can write poetry.”<br />

Creative writing is currently being axed from the VCE<br />

curriculum, so it doesn’t look like things are going to<br />

improve in terms of giving poetry a wider audience in the<br />

future. But could poetry be made relevant again? Could the<br />

current protest movements springing up around the world<br />

have a use for this art form that has been used to challenge<br />

political ideas for the last century?<br />

“You look at poets like Milton, or Gill Scott Herron, these<br />

artists were all very relevant in their time… they were also<br />

very politically motivated people and that relevance that<br />

their art had to the world at large would have impacted<br />

upon their success. Whether or not that could really be<br />

achieved in this day and age is tricky, because …. you need<br />

something new, and something that might be considered<br />

abstract. It would be tricky for poets to become relevant<br />

today in such a way, because in order to say something loud<br />

and proud you would have to forgo the abstract quality<br />

that the academy currently demands… It has gone to the<br />

abstract, it has gone to the esoteric.”<br />

But is it not more important to write poems that will mean<br />

something to someone, that are capable of translating<br />

human emotions and desires, rather than merely pursuing<br />

academic approval?<br />

“As a poet, I have never made any apologies that my poems<br />

are about things,” he laughs. “And they’re not often terrible<br />

subtle… But I do feel that because of that, I do cop criticism<br />

from the academy.”<br />

It all reminds me so much of wandering around a modern<br />

art exhibition, slightly befuddled, wondering when exactly<br />

the undoubtedly profound meaning of art was going to<br />

reveal itself to me? Was it all worth it? And for that matter<br />

was it even really art?<br />

Ben Lerner, the poet responsible for my piquing my interest<br />

in this whole mess, wrote an article for The Guardian where<br />

he suggested a possible answer;<br />

When we worry about the marginality of poetry, we are<br />

worrying also about the marginality of creativity in lives –<br />

ordered, as they are, by economic forces.<br />

So perhaps when we worry about poetry, we are worrying<br />

about creativity and art as a whole. In an era of conservative<br />

governments slashing liberal arts funding, insidious<br />

marketing schemes made to look like genuine creativity, a<br />

world in which everybody seems to be shouting and few<br />

seem to be listening, why should we not be worried about<br />

the state of real, genuine, human creativity?<br />

somewhere. It’s not really visible.”<br />

And does this make you fear that poetry will disappear? I<br />

asked. “I don’t think it’s going to, it’s just going to become<br />

a weird little minority interest. Which is strange because if<br />

you go back in time, it was the only game in town. Poetry<br />

was the only medium for anything.”<br />

So why are people always so worried about the state of<br />

poetry? “People like to worry about things… Poetry isn’t<br />

popular, it’s as simple as that. To make poetry popular again,<br />

it’s about making people want it. And how do you do that?”<br />

The discussion shifted to the problem with the abstract<br />

demands of the poetry elite (“it’s sterile, and bound for<br />

nowhere…”). When I mentioned my poet friend’s statement<br />

about receiving criticism for his poems being about genuine<br />

things, Groves laughed and responded;<br />

“It’s utterly insane. The whole history of human poetry…<br />

it’s about stuff. It’s a weird little cul-de-sac we’ve gotten<br />

ourselves into. There’s nowhere to go from here, like<br />

paintings in five shades of black.”<br />

“Were you here for our previous Vice Chancellor? Vile little<br />

man. Well he must have friends in publishing because<br />

Melbourne University published some things of his called<br />

‘poems’, and these were absurd. It had no content, no form,<br />

they were kind of brain farts like tweets from Donald<br />

Trump.”<br />

I came away from the interview feeling slightly better about<br />

the chances of poetry (and unable to get the imagery of a<br />

Trump brain fart out of my head). Peter had such a happy<br />

and joyous view of language and poetry that it was difficult<br />

not to feel a glimmer of hope;<br />

Language is such an intimate possession… Children love to<br />

play with language. Some people grow up and they kind of<br />

lose that, but most people don’t. Poetry is about the play<br />

principle. Poetry as an art is about playing with language.<br />

There are deep persistent roots there that poetry appeals<br />

to…Poetry as a political force is incredibly powerful, and<br />

maybe that is how it will plug into consciousness. Maybe<br />

Trump could be good for poetry.<br />

So in the end, I don’t know. I still don’t know where poetry<br />

is, or even what exactly it is. Even in its own little corner,<br />

I think poetry will prove to be resilient – at least I hope it<br />

will be. My own thoughts are apparently of little comfort<br />

here, so I found some from a much wiser soul for you<br />

instead;<br />

“Thoughts” (from Pooh Bear’s House) - A.A.Milne.<br />

I lay on my chest<br />

And I thought it best<br />

To pretend I was having a evening rest;<br />

I lay on my tum<br />

And I tried to hum<br />

But nothing particular seemed to come<br />

My face was flat<br />

On the floor, and that<br />

Is all very well for an acrobat;<br />

But it doesn't seem fair<br />

To a Friendly Bear<br />

To stiffen him out with a backet-chair.<br />

And sort of squoze<br />

Which grows and grows<br />

Is not too nice for his poor old nose,<br />

And sort of squch<br />

Is much too much<br />

For his neck and his mouth and his<br />

ears and such.<br />

To help resolve my unending questions, I went and<br />

bothered Dr. Peter Groves, a senior lecturer in poetry and<br />

literature at Monash. When I asked if he knew where<br />

poetry had gone, he responded: “It is happening in a corner<br />

arts/culture 42-43


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

in conversation with<br />

client liaison<br />

article by raymond field<br />

Known for their patriotic fervour, irresistibly moveable<br />

tunes and piss-taking sensibilities, Client Liaison is a<br />

group that will need little introduction to a student<br />

readership. For a band that is so inseparably glued to<br />

their visual style, it feels particularly inelegant to conduct<br />

an interview over the phone. Monte Morgan, the group’s<br />

vocalist, is the sole voice on the other end of the line. It’s<br />

also telling of Client Liaison’s humility that they’d agree<br />

to an interview with a student publication at this stage of<br />

their career (Morgan also tells me he believes this to be the<br />

only interview the group has granted to the egregiously<br />

overlooked world of student media).<br />

In line with the group’s temperament and their fans’ wildest<br />

dreams, I ask: will they be filming the video for ‘Canberra<br />

Won’t Be Calling Tonight’ aboard the Prime Minister’s<br />

private Boeing? “That’d be pretty special,” Morgan responds.<br />

“We’ve got a bit of a plan for Canberra up our sleeve. We<br />

haven’t filmed it yet but we always had a concept for<br />

the clip before the song – we wanted to actually vacate<br />

Canberra’s capital and hand it back to the Indigenous<br />

owners of the land.” It’s a reminder that, for all their<br />

glamour and gloss, Client Liaison move in more thoughtful<br />

territory than a quick reading of their iconography might<br />

suggest. Theirs is a patriotism that is joyful and optimistic,<br />

yet infused with introspection. In their breakthrough<br />

track (and its accompanying video), ‘End of the Earth’,<br />

they offered up a smorgasbord of Australiana; but the<br />

group managed to avoid the tedious sight of thoughtless<br />

patriotism with their self-awareness. They asked, “This<br />

dodgy disaster of a culture/ Is it what we stand for?’<br />

‘Canberra Won’t Be Calling Tonight’, the opening track of<br />

Diplomatic Immunity, is wonderfully outlandish, even by<br />

the standards of Client Liaison. The track’s most eccentric<br />

feature – an interlude of Kim Carr questioning Scott<br />

Morrison over the secrecy of Operation Sovereign Borders,<br />

in which Morrison responds with the defence of Public<br />

Interest – throws a singularly delicious bone to fanatics of<br />

the synthesiser, disco and Australian politics. Including the<br />

Senate Proceedings was, Morgan says, “adding to the drama<br />

of the idea of having diplomatic immunity.” Morgan also<br />

reveals that Harvey Miller has the distinction of meeting<br />

Kim Il-Carr: “His daughter is our friend so there’s a bit of a<br />

connection there.”<br />

Client Liaison have previously discussed the influence<br />

of various 80s plutocrats such as Kerry Packer and Alan<br />

Bond on their audio-visual project. I put it to Morgan that,<br />

while corporate excess and vice may have defined the<br />

social climate of that era, the current Australian ruling<br />

class contains its own equivalent symbols of commercial<br />

gluttony – Gina Rinehart is the example I give. Why then,<br />

the focus on a bygone era? He tells me that the group didn’t<br />

set out to specifically ground their music in a particular<br />

era. Addressing contemporary greed, he reveals that they’ve<br />

written a song about Rinehart entitled ‘Minehart’. Morgan’s<br />

insistent that the group’s objects of inspiration flow across<br />

time: “We celebrate these Steve Cairns or Steven Bradbury<br />

or, you know, Alan Bond, Kerry Packer, but they’re all<br />

Australian icons to us. I guess people often associate us<br />

with the 80s because of our song and identity but that’s<br />

just the sound that we like. But there’s also an element of<br />

looking back to your childhood and appropriating things<br />

that are in fashion or sound; things sound fresh when<br />

they’re given a nice gestation period.”<br />

If Client Liaison were an upstarting act in 2035, I ask, what<br />

cultural artefacts would they be championing? “It would<br />

be a motif or something,” Morgan says. He analogises their<br />

resuscitation of bygone trends to the world of fashion:<br />

“Something can really stand out and seems really fresh<br />

and then it becomes stale because everyone wears it, so<br />

you know you want to keep moving through new ground<br />

and often you do it by looking at things that have been<br />

forgotten. What happened to cargo pants, you know?<br />

We’ll probably be bringing the cargo pant back, something<br />

like that.” “Hopefully with that we don’t have too many<br />

dreadlocks and cargo pants,” one of the (hitherto silent)<br />

editors of this magazine responds. “You never know,”<br />

responds Morgan. “Right now I’m getting into the Byron<br />

Bay sound kind of Ben Harper vibe. Like, ‘what happened to<br />

that? That was my childhood; that was fun.’”<br />

The cohesiveness of Diplomatic Immunity, and the length<br />

of time that went into its creation, are what Morgan<br />

regards as the album’s greatest sources of pride. He notes<br />

his distinct fondness for the second half of ‘Off White<br />

Limousine’, which intensely spirals into otherworldly realms<br />

of funk (“makes me dance; makes me cry”). However, it’s –<br />

inevitably – the group’s duet with Tina Arena, ‘A Foreign<br />

Affair’, which generates the most discussion. Morgan<br />

explains that the track wasn’t initially conceived as a<br />

duet – let alone with Tina Arena as his partner, despite<br />

the shout out to her 90s hit ‘Sorrento Moon (I Remember)’.<br />

Arena’s participation was just a matter of surprise and good<br />

fortune: “It was just a wish we put into the air. Our manager<br />

caught wind of it and she got her manager and she liked<br />

the song; and she [Tina Arena] came in, and smashed it out<br />

in one day.”<br />

Maybe more so than any other feeling, the visuals and<br />

music of Client Liaison evoke an acute sense of nostalgia,<br />

and their tributes to a period that saw a renewal in our<br />

sense of national identity inspire an optimistic innocence.<br />

Beyond the group’s absurd flirtations with plutocracy<br />

>>


though, lies a grimmer reality – after all, many identify<br />

the financial and moral excess characteristic of the 1980s<br />

as the starting point for the void of economic misery into<br />

which so much of the Western world seems to be staring<br />

for the foreseeable future. Morgan agrees that there’s a sort<br />

of ironic obscenity to their popularity in light of this – but<br />

for him, of course, toying with the past is about something<br />

much more innocuous: “When I grew up the idea of office<br />

culture was so uncool that we’re trying to make the idea<br />

of the corporate travelling man fit. But you know, there’s<br />

elements as well that we also like to ground it with –<br />

something like Big Kev.”<br />

Morgan believes Client Liaison’s music is an outlet for<br />

escapism: “It’s really about fun; it’s about dancing and<br />

about a good time and letting go, and expressing yourself,<br />

being wild. We hope not to alienate anyone and hopefully<br />

people can see that there’s layered elements to what we’re<br />

doing – we’re not just celebrating riches like a lot of hip<br />

hop does, like, ‘I’m rich, look at me’, kind of vibe.” On excess,<br />

he continues: “It’s Trump era now, it might seem wrong –<br />

‘oh no you’re celebrating excess’ – but I think escapism in<br />

whatever form is highly potent you know.” The gruesome<br />

spectacle of Trump’s bragging about sexual assault shed<br />

a dark light on sexual misconduct in the masculinised<br />

world of high finance (not that the inexorably awful<br />

consequences of masculinised power weren’t already<br />

obvious to anyone with half an eye open), and I’m unable to<br />

resist pressing him on this point. Corporate male imagery<br />

has featured prominently in Client Liaison’s work, and I<br />

ask whether this imagery has lost some of its fun now<br />

that the most powerful man in the world is – as I put it<br />

– a corporate pussy grabber. “We don’t celebrate Trump,”<br />

Morgan responds.<br />

A brash demeanour and sunny dance music might be the<br />

first things evoked by Client Liaison’s name. However,<br />

moments of Diplomatic Immunity see the group take a<br />

more low-key approach to things. ‘Home’ evokes the wistful<br />

sounds of the Pet Shop Boys – a likeness I’m not the first<br />

to observe – and I ask if, in the future, they’d be willing to<br />

venture into less balmy territory? “Like a down to earth,<br />

homely vibe?” Morgan asks, and I answer positively. “Yeah,<br />

everything’s open,” Morgan tells me. He recalls that, when<br />

Client Liaison started out, comparisons were immediately<br />

drawn with the Pet Shop Boys, whose music Morgan<br />

wasn’t familiar with. He notes his recent conversion to the<br />

gloomy British duo: “They sort of seem like a reflection of<br />

us. Two guys in a kind of art school context; I’d like to call it<br />

art-school-electro which I can relate to”. That Morgan sees<br />

a similarity between the two groups is logical, yet curious.<br />

While both share an obvious penchant for extravagance,<br />

the Pet Shop Boys’ sombre subversions of masculinity<br />

are a far cry from the lad-friendly antics of Client Liaison<br />

(although maybe I’ve overstated the difference: Client<br />

Liaison recently performed at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian<br />

Mardi Gras Party, thereby ploughing into the Pet Shop Boy’s<br />

core demographic).<br />

To finish things off, I ask about the group’s evolving success.<br />

They started playing gigs in warehouses and their new tour<br />

is their largest and most theatrically ambitious – how does<br />

this, I ask, change their relationship with the audience? “A<br />

lot of it is dependent on the venue size and stage,” Morgan<br />

tells me. “This upcoming tour is a lot of theatres so we<br />

want, you know, a packed house but we still want a sense of<br />

intimacy. Different audiences bring different vibes as well.<br />

But we always try and outdo ourselves: take the theatrics<br />

to the next level; take the interaction between the band,<br />

the visuals and everything. But we like the idea of coming<br />

maybe next year or the year after do an intimate cog show,<br />

doing it like 5 or 6 tiny shows in every city because there’s<br />

always something special about that.” While Client Liaison’s<br />

growing success means there’s less opportunities for an<br />

intimate relationship with the audience, Morgan tells me<br />

there’s still occasions when the group is able to recapture<br />

a more personal feeling with their fans. “We still get that<br />

[feeling] when we go overseas or when we play country<br />

towns so we still have a varied style of performance.”<br />

Diplomatic Immunity is their latest album.<br />

arts/culture 44-45


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

conflicted histories: a<br />

reflection on brook andrew’s<br />

‘the right to offend is sacred’<br />

article & photography by linh thuy nguyen<br />

Artist: Brook Andrew<br />

Curator: Judith Ryan<br />

The Ian Potter Centre,<br />

NGV Australia, Federation<br />

Square<br />

Level 3<br />

3 March — 4 June <strong>2017</strong><br />

Free Entry<br />

“I dedicate this exhibition to those who wish to see clearly the histories and legacies of the<br />

often unseen. To the wealth of hidden memories, treasures, bodies and systems that sty in<br />

dark places, away from the light of so-called ‘light-giving’ civilisations.”<br />

Brook Andrew<br />

“Indigenous art has not yet fully escaped from the ethnographer’s classifying microscope<br />

and been allowed to speak to us on its own terms, to exert its power through metaphor as an<br />

undiluted expression of a particular culture… visual art is a universal language that is open to<br />

all peoples to use and appreciate. The European construct is anthropology, a discipline and a<br />

methodology masquerading as a science, which evolved in tandem with social Darwinism as a<br />

means of studying and classifying colonised peoples and pigeonholing them into hierarchies.”<br />

Judith Ryan, ‘The Raw and the Cooked: The Aesthetic Principle in Aboriginal Art’<br />

SOVEREIGNTY<br />

My first encounter with Brook Andrew’s art was when I saw the recent<br />

Sovereignty exhibition at ACCA. His work is striking, visually and<br />

physically imposing – audacious, defiant, challenging. In the middle of<br />

the gallery space a giant globe hung above my head, striped like the back<br />

of a zebra. Every few moments the globe’s colour would change – pink,<br />

blue, green, white, purple – like a warm pulse emitting through the<br />

room, casting a faint glow in the gallery space.<br />

I found out later that this black and white patterning is a motif that<br />

reoccurs in Andrew’s art; it’s inspired from the carvings of Wirandjuri<br />

culture. This is one way tradition is refashioned in contemporary<br />

expressions.<br />

KILL PRIMITIVISM<br />

The Right to Offend is Sacred is a solo-exhibition that surveys Brook<br />

Andrew’s art practice over his 25-year long career. Above the entrance to<br />

NGV’s exhibition one is confronted with the text, in pink neon.<br />

The ‘primitive’ was, and continues to be, a colonial fantasy. European<br />

imperialism was imbued with a dual fascination and terror toward the<br />

savage, primitive ‘Other’; the alien, uncivilised races of barbaric lands.<br />

Across the globe, the colonised has been subjected to the dehumanising<br />

logic of classification – European methods of collecting, categorising<br />

and displaying – as a specimen to be studied.<br />

The first room in Andrew’s exhibition is dark; the walls painted black,<br />

the glow from a single line of neon that runs across the room the only<br />

source of light. The gallery contains what can only be described as<br />

layers of historical artefacts. A glass cabinet sits in the middle of the<br />

room; it displays books, newspaper clippings, maps, photographs. ‘THE<br />

PRIMITIVE MIND BOUGHT CLOSER TO OUR UNDERSTANDING’ is<br />

the title of one such historic work; it sits next to newspaper clippings<br />

and photographs of the atomic bomb testing conducted in remote<br />

communities in Australia during the 1950s’.<br />

REASSEMBLING THE ARCHIVE; REASSEMBLING HISTORY<br />

A central theme in Brook Andrew’s practice is the interrogation of<br />

historical archives, of challenging and subverting the hegemonic lens of<br />

Western anthropology. Andrew views this exhibition at NGV Australia<br />

as a large scale ‘museum intervention,’ an opportunity to excavate and<br />

explore ‘hidden or alternative narratives.’ Through the reappropriation of<br />

historical and ethnographic artefacts, Andrew engages with questions<br />

of representation in institutions and spaces such as the museum gallery,<br />

unseating the conventional ways in which Indigenous culture has<br />

been presented. He deconstructs and scrutinizes dominant Western<br />

narratives, placing Australia at the centre of a global inquiry into the<br />

structure and legacy of colonialism.<br />

“It’s an assembly of the archive…I wanted to bind complex histories<br />

together. It’s an assembly of histories.”<br />

Brook Andrew<br />

Andrew deploys, layers, and destabilizes the archive through his<br />

subversive montaging of images, histories, and methodologies. His<br />

art defies simplistic categorization, often interweaving different<br />

materials, processes, and images into one work. Andrew pushes the<br />

boundary of his medium, juxtaposing photography and video with<br />

text and collage, painting and print, sculpture and installation. This<br />

dynamic intermingling of different mediums often results in art that is<br />

unexpected and disobedient.<br />

(RETURNING) THE COLONIAL GAZE<br />

A series of ethnographic portraits sit on easels lined up in the middle of<br />

the second gallery; the faces of First Nations Peoples from around the<br />

world stare out at you, the visitor.<br />

The figures in the portraits are returning the gaze; they seem to be<br />

looking at you, looking at them. One is made hyper-aware of this<br />

act of looking – of being implicated within the colonial gaze itself. In<br />

this way, Andrew is inviting us to reconsider our own structures of<br />

understanding, our own practices of observation and interpretation. The<br />

exhibition forces us to examine our own position in relation to colonial<br />

history.<br />

PASTS/PRESENTS/FUTURES<br />

In his art practice, Brook Andrew examines how the legacy of historical<br />

trauma is manifested in the present, reframing historical narratives and<br />

interrogating our collective cultural inheritance.<br />

Andrew invites us to consider alternative ways of inhabiting and<br />

interpreting the world; of viewing the past, the present, the future.<br />

He merges and layers archives, images, and references in a non-linear<br />

fashion, weaving and suggesting alternative narratives than the<br />

dominant one we receive. The teleological ordering of knowledge,<br />

of history, and of peoples into distinct categorizations is a European<br />

colonial construct; Andrew challenges and subverts this mode of<br />

presenting the past. The Right To Offend Is Sacred demands engagement;<br />

it’s an exhibition that needs to be felt, experienced, and seen, in all it’s<br />

multisensory glory.


creative/comedy<br />

creative/comedy<br />

46-47


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

coffee: the rise of<br />

modernity<br />

article by john henry<br />

artwork by joanne fong<br />

‘Just as Darwin discovered the law of<br />

development or organic nature, so Marx<br />

discovered the law of development of human<br />

history: the simple fact, hitherto concealed<br />

by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind<br />

must first of all eat, drink, have shelter<br />

and clothing, before it can pursue politics,<br />

science, art, religion, etc. …’<br />

– Frederich Engels, 1883<br />

So begins Dmitri Gallo’s spirited and<br />

sometimes controversial history. Adopting<br />

the dusty Marxist thesis that ideas and social<br />

forces in history are ultimately at the mercy<br />

of economic and technological developments,<br />

Gallo suggests that the centre of world<br />

history is actually your morning brew. With<br />

characteristic energy (no doubt from indulging<br />

in his subject matter), Gallo puts forward the<br />

radical thesis that, “for the past three centuries,<br />

coffee has had the power to make and unmake<br />

the modern world as we know it.”<br />

Gallo’s story begins in 16th century Europe. I<br />

was somewhat disappointed that Gallo barely<br />

touches upon the coffee bean’s mythical<br />

origins, and its popularity in the Middle East –<br />

he neglects some good stories – but I suppose<br />

the book was already long enough at some 600<br />

pages.<br />

According to Gallo, it was the Venetian<br />

merchants that brought coffee from Turkey to<br />

the Continent. Originally a luxury commodity,<br />

it soon became more widely available across<br />

Europe, from 16th century England and the<br />

Netherlands’ roaring maritime trade, and the<br />

caffeinated military spoils from Turkey enjoyed<br />

by 17th century Austria.<br />

Wherever he looks in the past few centuries,<br />

Gallo sees coffee everywhere. Before the<br />

onset of the 18th century, Europe was already<br />

overcome by the coffee-infused ‘public sphere’,<br />

from the Parisian café, the Austrian Kaffeehaus<br />

and the ubiquitous London coffeehouses.<br />

These public haunts allowed the middle<br />

classes to remain informed of daily affairs<br />

through spirited discussion, and as a result<br />

coffeehouses became a refuge for dangerous<br />

ideas to percolate. Political radicals would<br />

assemble and conspire together, and it was no<br />

surprise that Charles II had earlier attempted<br />

to shut down all the London coffeehouses in<br />

1675. Gallo suggests that drinking alcohol and<br />

public discussions don’t mix well; coffeehouses<br />

provided people with greater energy to discuss<br />

new ideas at length, and with a newfound<br />

clarity. “I can only speak from experience,”<br />

says Gallo, “but when I drink cheap wine with<br />

my friends, I’m not up for discussions about<br />

restructuring the economy by the seventh<br />

glass… well, not a decent discussion, anyway.”<br />

Coffee allowed a portion of the London public<br />

to distance themselves from the ‘gin craze’<br />

raging at the time, says Gallo, and talk soberly<br />

about modern affairs.<br />

Gallo quite rightly points out that the<br />

spread of coffee didn’t just influence the<br />

anonymous social scene across Europe. It also<br />

had an enormous impact on the intellectual<br />

figureheads of the 18th century Enlightenment,<br />

from the urbane coffeehouse discussions<br />

of Jonathan Swift and Daniel Defoe, to the<br />

pathological coffee addiction of Voltaire. Much<br />

is made of the fact that Bach composed a<br />

libretto on coffee addiction, titled Be Still, Stop<br />

Chattering (yes, really). Gallo makes a strict<br />

connection between Voltaire’s penchant for<br />

caffeine and his enormous output of writing:<br />

“…The man’s writings could fill 200 volumes.<br />

You don’t achieve that by drinking water.”<br />

Immanuel Kant, another coffee enthusiast in<br />

his time, receives the same treatment: “…It is<br />

manifestly impossible to stay awake unaided<br />

and read The Critique of Pure Reason. Imagine<br />

writing the thing.”<br />

Two-thirds into the book, and all these<br />

historical tidbits are finally cobbled together<br />

for Gallo’s grand thesis: “the development of<br />

the modern world would be inconceivable<br />

without the aid of caffeine. No coffee, no<br />

modernity.” Without coffee, intellectual chatter<br />

at coffeehouses and salons would have been<br />

cut short or entirely non-existent; without the<br />

widespread consumption of coffee, European<br />

bourgeois capitalism would have enjoyed<br />

less prosperity and power to undermine the<br />

older landed nobility; without coffee, the 18th<br />

century canonical writers would have written a<br />

quarter of their works; without coffee, seditious<br />

ideas that triggered the French and American<br />

revolutions would have perished at birth. “No<br />

revolution,” says Gallo, “means no Romantic<br />

reaction. Without coffee, we would have no<br />

Napoleon, and no conservative movement<br />

to inveigh against the destruction of the<br />

Bastille in France. Without coffee, our political<br />

landscape today would be unrecognisable. No<br />

socialism, no conservatism. No coffee.”<br />

By this point in the book, Gallo’s contention<br />

that he develops becomes extremely<br />

overwhelming. To my disbelief, he suggests<br />

in a footnote that he wants to start a new<br />

research program based on ‘Caffeinated<br />

Historical Materialism’. Exhausted, I flip over<br />

a few pages. Now coffee has become one of<br />

the most popular commodities by the 19th<br />

century, as the mid-19th century moralist<br />

campaigners prescribe tea and coffee over<br />

alcoholic beverages for the masses. Later<br />

still, coffeehouses begin to allow women’s<br />

admittance later in that century – he credits it<br />

as the dominant social force that puts women’s<br />

emancipation into motion.<br />

I had to put the book down for a while, but<br />

it had already incurably distorted my view of<br />

the world. Every morning, all over the world,<br />

there are millions servings of coffee that are<br />

consumed; would everything be different if<br />

that wasn’t the case? I am seized by a fresh<br />

paranoia as I try not to look at the regiments of<br />

coffee jars in the supermarket aisles. I pointedly<br />

avoid the cafés that plague and determine the<br />

intricate workings of Melbourne life.<br />

I pick up the book one last time. Gallo<br />

promised in the introduction that he would<br />

explore coffee’s role in contemporary world<br />

history – what, then, does he say?<br />

“It is clear that coffee has become the<br />

scaffolding that supports late capitalism.<br />

Without daily stimulation, entire workforces<br />

predicated on long, irregular and nightly<br />

hours would collapse. The workers, in their<br />

fatigue, would no longer sustain the hulking<br />

and swollen carcass of our technological age.<br />

We would have a revolution, but a slumberous<br />

one, where there is not a dictatorship of the<br />

proletariat, but a worldwide slumber. Industrial<br />

modernity would perish a quiet death.”<br />

I do not recommend this book.<br />

Published by Sidgewick University Press, Coffee: The<br />

Rise of Modernity is available at major booksellers<br />

at $39.99 in paperback (ISBN 0740700251).


jim & julie<br />

article by shona louis<br />

artwork by maria chamakala<br />

Staring, catatonic at the screen; before him, young men<br />

jumped and ran, crowds cheered their heroes on, and in<br />

his mind, he almost forgot that he existed on this brown,<br />

sagging couch. A shrill and electronic interruption of the<br />

phone jolted his spine straight and his heart all but stopped<br />

for that moment, before commencing its stuttering pace.<br />

And so the phone carried on and on. He gripped the side of<br />

the couch and the cushions below him firmly as he rose and<br />

began his way to the phone. He was almost halfway when<br />

the click of the answering machine preluded a smooth<br />

voice: “Hello, this is Julie calling from Media Reach Surveys.<br />

I was just calling to collect Jim’s survey results –”<br />

Jim grabbed hold of the phone and raised it to the side of<br />

his head, calling out, “I’m here! I’m here! Hello.”<br />

In the midst of her automatic answering machine spiel,<br />

Julie heard Jim. She started, unprepared for actual human<br />

interaction, “Oh! Hello, Jim. I’m Julie from Media Reach<br />

Surveys. How are you?”<br />

“Very well, thank you, just watching the telly, the Bombers<br />

are playing! And yourself?”<br />

She could hear the dust in his voice as it quavered and<br />

cracked after days of silence. Their eagerness to talk always<br />

made her uncomfortable. Most people, nowadays, slammed<br />

phones down on cold callers, giving a curt goodbye at most.<br />

She was guilty of this herself. And yet, these people that<br />

she called, these generous, waning people, were always so<br />

pleased to hear from her. “I’m pleased to hear that,” – her<br />

expression had plateaued two hours ago at a dull glare, but<br />

through the phone she sounded sweet – “Is this a good time<br />

to collect your survey results?”<br />

“Oh yes! I filled it out just as it arrived in the mail; I’ve been<br />

keeping it next to the phone since then.”<br />

Julie heard the rustle of papers and she knew that he would<br />

take a while to get to the page starting the survey itself.<br />

They always did; their dry and papery fingers fumbled and<br />

couldn’t turn the pages.<br />

“Hang on a minute, would’ya love? I just need to find my<br />

specs,” before his eyes, the numbers swam and drifted<br />

upstream.<br />

Jim hurried off to the bedroom to locate his glasses, his<br />

slippers scuffing the wooden floorboards. He settled back by<br />

the phone, heart racing, he gasped, “Are you ready?”<br />

Julie’s cheery reply spread a smile thick across his face:<br />

“Ready when you are!”<br />

“Steady! Go! 3 – 3 – 7 – 1 – 2…4 – 3 – 7 – 6 – 1 – I’m not<br />

going too fast for you?”<br />

“Not at all,” Julie sighed away from the mouthpiece.<br />

They almost never were. She kept her eyes fixed on the<br />

paper; the satisfaction of filling in each blank square was<br />

wearing thin. Each number corresponded to the rating of<br />

a show or a personality. She never knew which shows they<br />

liked or hated, because she never bothered to check; but<br />

she did know that box 72 got a 7, so he must have liked it,<br />

whatever or whomever it pertained to.<br />

And so for eleven minutes and twenty-three seconds it<br />

went on – Jim droning on from one end, and at the other,<br />

Julie hastily filling in blanks. Until, all at once, Jim, in the<br />

middle of a four, inhaled sharply and toppled over. The<br />

phone hit the ground and Julie, on the other end, jerked<br />

away from the noise and whilst the thud wasn’t distinctly<br />

human, what had happened was unmistakable. “Jim? ... Jim,<br />

are you there?”<br />

Through the line came the tinny voice of the footy<br />

commentator. Julie hesitated before calling out again. After<br />

a minute she lowered the phone and hung up. She looked<br />

down at the half finished survey and clutching the sides<br />

of the desk, pushed away from it, the wheels on her chair<br />

spinning into the carpet. Her tongue was rough against the<br />

roof of her mouth. Picking up the empty mug beside the<br />

phone, Julie left the room.<br />

She wandered through the narrow corridor. Glossy photo<br />

portraits of men in suits hung around and her shoulder<br />

twinged with the sensation of being watched. Their stares<br />

dropped away as the corridor opened up into a wide room.<br />

There was a white kitchenette off to the side, sticky dishes<br />

tottering in the sink, a bench and a coffee machine in the<br />

centre, and a corner of vending machines. The broadcasting<br />

station was always empty at the time of night that she<br />

worked. Julie poured herself a mug of hot water and dunked<br />

a tea bag into the steam a few times. As she turned back<br />

towards the corridor, a disgruntled South-East Asian<br />

lady came around the corner dragging a cart of cleaning<br />

equipment. The two exchanged fleeting smiles as they<br />

passed, the cleaner all but smearing her face with war paint<br />

as she approached the sink.<br />

Back at her desk, Julie dialled Jim’s number, she was greeted<br />

with a hollow beep, his phone was off the hook. On her<br />

left lay a stack of surveys yet to filled, on her right, the<br />

few that she’d already completed, and in the centre, Jim’s<br />

half-filled sheet. She could not move forward with the<br />

others with this one incomplete, however; she now had<br />

no way of completing it. She picked up her phone for the<br />

final time that night and dialled three numbers. Glancing<br />

down at the sheet, she relayed Jim’s address and details to<br />

the emergency services before packing up her things and<br />

heading out into the night.<br />

creative/comedy 48-49


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

relative size<br />

article by lauren castle<br />

artwork by caitlin brown<br />

Life has a tendency to demand decease in its wake; there is<br />

nothing without cost.<br />

Relative size. Emi remembers learning the term in art class<br />

back when she was in high school. She remembers the<br />

scraggly hair of her teacher, and the weird mismatched<br />

hippy clothing she used to wear. Everyone said the art<br />

teacher was crazy. If you have ever had the misfortune<br />

to attend an art class on a ‘theory day’, you will be well<br />

acquainted with the disappointment you feel when will<br />

not be dipping crusty paint-brushes into ‘just good enough’<br />

paint, smearing it onto large sheets of blank paper, being<br />

quiet with intense concentration, and listening to trashy<br />

pop songs on the crackly radio, which was eternally covered<br />

in dried-up Clag (for some unknown reason). These were<br />

the kinds of lessons she liked. These lessons were fun,<br />

they let her imagination run wild, enveloping her angsty,<br />

adolescent mind in a sensation that felt like peace. For two<br />

hours, each week, Emi could pretend that she was no longer<br />

a painfully ordinary sixteen-year-old, full of self-hatred and<br />

petty worries. In art class, students were transformed into<br />

tranquil, ageless beings. They were nothing but harmonious<br />

brains and dexterous fingers, and it was the best time,<br />

space, universe in the world. Well, she cannot speak for the<br />

other students really. At least, that’s how Emi felt.<br />

Theory classes, on the other hand, were a pain for everyone<br />

concerned. To this day, Emi has never met anyone who has<br />

expressed anything but complete disdain for the practise<br />

of art theory. “Have you got your books?” Our crazy art<br />

teacher would whisper, a vacant stare lingering passively<br />

on her wrinkled face. Sometimes she spoke so loudly that<br />

it was borderline aggressive. Other times her voice was too<br />

quiet, and Emi could barely hear her at all. This was one of<br />

those days. There was usually one smart-arse who would<br />

raise their hand. This was always followed by a domino<br />

of eye-rolls. Emi swears every art theory class she took at<br />

school was the same. Elements and principles - every time.<br />

It wasn’t particularly difficult; the art teacher would draw<br />

examples of all the art principles on the whiteboard, and<br />

the mass of half-hearted students would have to copy them<br />

down into their workbooks. Usually the back of an exercise<br />

book designated for some other subject, like English or<br />

Maths. There was no point having one specifically for art,<br />

considering the lack of written work required.<br />

‘Cropping’ was always accompanied by a drawing of an eye<br />

with the rest of the face left out. ‘Contrast’ was always two<br />

circles - one black, and one white. They were easy enough -<br />

it was just that nobody cared about this sort of stuff. Pupils<br />

were happy to meddle aimlessly with random stuff found<br />

while rummaging in the messy art cupboard, making their<br />

own discoveries and getting ink and glue all over their<br />

eager hands. ‘Juxtaposition’ was the theory term that was<br />

intriguing - the one Emi found just a little bit difficult to<br />

get her head around. The teacher always drew a wine glass<br />

next to what Emi assumed was a bottle of wine. No one<br />

got it. “I don’t get it” they would mumble as they copied<br />

the illustration, still annoyed that it was theory and not<br />

‘prac’. “Relative size” the art teacher would whisper back as<br />

she stared into space, batty as ever. Everyone said she had<br />

overdosed on Zoloft once, and that’s why she was so offbeat.<br />

“They define each other”, is what she said after a pause that<br />

was too long to indicate continuity, but her students were<br />

so used to her eccentricities of speech that they accepted<br />

this additional utterance without much thought.<br />

…<br />

Emi does not notice the ants, the microscopic organisms<br />

she destroys as she prances upon the smooth, white-grey<br />

footpath. She is the greater force; the bottle to the glass.<br />

Other people move around her on the pavement, and<br />

everyone subconsciously takes part in the subtle - but<br />

critical dance that must be performed in the presence of<br />

society. It is dependent on visibility, self-awareness, and<br />

on all of the participants knowing exactly where to stand,<br />

when to duck, and when to sway to one side. Everyone<br />

has their own special role; if you’re a child, you cling to a<br />

guardian so that their mobility is slowed. If you are small,<br />

but no longer a child, you weave in and out of the crowd,<br />

a master of stealth and adaptability. The entitled move<br />

ahead without thought, the disadvantaged make way for<br />

others. The more important a person feels they are, the less<br />

often they will assume the role of the chameleon. The less<br />

likely they are to mould themselves around others. The<br />

dance is dependent on the awareness we all have of relative<br />

size. Bottles of rich red wine plummet down the whitegrey<br />

footpath. Tacky plastic shot cups lurk at the edges.<br />

Everyone’s eyes are drawn to the tall sparkling champagne<br />

flutes, lithe and elegant, slight but noticeable.<br />

…<br />

The journey is short; her destination is close-by.<br />

The art gallery is the most majestic building Emi has ever<br />

laid her eyes on. The great, looming building diminishes her<br />

meagre body to a tiny cluster of biological matter.<br />

Emi often feels like there is so much art in the world that<br />

maybe it makes up for all the bad stuff. She likes being<br />

surrounded by things that humans have made - stuff that<br />

doesn’t really have a practical function, but that means<br />

something to people. It’s nice to think that not everything<br />

has to happen for the sake of progress.<br />

>>


When Emi enters her office, there is a large sculpture<br />

of - well, she isn’t quite sure to be honest. It looks like a<br />

massive bee - or a beetle perhaps. The sculpture is at least<br />

three metres tall, and must be as wide as her dinner table at<br />

home. It’s made of silver wire and coloured wool. Emi thinks<br />

it is a truly hideous creation, but gets to work assessing<br />

the work for curation. A child gawks at her through the<br />

state-of-the-art windows, that pose as walls but fail<br />

miserably. The downside of working at the gallery is the<br />

general preference for aesthetic over comfort and privacy.<br />

The child’s eyes flicker to Emi, and then to the giant bug,<br />

and back again. Emi, not one to be distracted at work, offers<br />

a grimace and resumes her assessment. She thinks that if<br />

the school-group tour guides weren’t so fixed on lecturing<br />

children on the theory of art (which no-one, absolutely<br />

no-one cares about - especially not little kids), then perhaps<br />

fewer students would ‘go missing’.<br />

…<br />

We are giants, but we are also mice.<br />

Never are we more minuscule, more insignificant and<br />

minute than when our bodies and minds unwillingly<br />

surrender to the terror of greater forces.<br />

As she arrives at the station after work, Emi is informed<br />

of an accident with the trains. Someone was hurt, and she<br />

cannot help but hear the noises - the sharp, loud cracking<br />

cacophony that must have sounded; the voice of a human<br />

creation claiming one of Emi’s own as its prey. She thinks<br />

of the giant sculpture, and the small child, her dinner table<br />

back at home, the art gallery and her own humble body. She<br />

thinks of the train, and the person it hit.<br />

And she thinks of the wine glass, and the bottle which is<br />

probably full of wine.<br />

And Emi is faced with her fundamental insignificance,<br />

demonstrated, symbolised, emphasised, by relative size.<br />

creative/comedy 50-51


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

sunset<br />

words by jaimee bennetts<br />

artwork by leitu bonnici<br />

As the boy sprinted through the trees, his body jolted<br />

with each heavy footstep as it hit the ground. He felt his<br />

heart pounding as if it were a drum and the blood rushing<br />

through his face like a heat wave. Although the piercing<br />

cold wind was beginning to cut his numb face, the boy did<br />

not care. He ran until he could not take a single breath more<br />

and collapsed under a canopy of trees. The leaves below him<br />

crunched under his weight, and his eyes fell shut as if a bid<br />

to soften the blow. When he opened them, he saw the clear<br />

blue sky peering through the branches high above him; with<br />

beaming rays of light bouncing mosaic patterns over the<br />

canopy. As he took time to simply be, he noticed a vibrant<br />

parrot sailing from branch to branch. How he longed to see<br />

what it could see! As he breathed in and out, he smelt the<br />

sweet sap of the tall sycamore trees towering over him.<br />

Amidst the silence, the boys’ serenity was abruptly<br />

disturbed by the sound of distant screams of laughter. After<br />

a moment of silence, he heard more laughter, just as robust<br />

as before. Curious, the boy rose from his bed of leaves and<br />

followed the sound. Although he was not typically socially<br />

inclined, the boy forgot all insecurities, emphatically drawn<br />

to the source of the disturbance. As he got closer to the<br />

sound, he noticed how joyous and carefree it seemed and<br />

his compulsion to reach it grew. And as it grew, his pace<br />

quickened. Before he knew it, the boy was once again<br />

soaring through the trees. He felt the familiar rush of blood<br />

coursing through his veins and his heart pounding heavier<br />

than ever before.<br />

The boy suddenly burst into a clearing in the trees and<br />

found himself surrounded by a group of three children he<br />

had never seen before. They stood frozen for a split second,<br />

startled by the sudden appearance of the boy, before one<br />

girl stepped towards him and offered her hand as if to say<br />

“welcome”. The boy looked at her, bewildered, for he had<br />

never experienced this companionship before. In a cloud,<br />

he felt an overwhelming calmness and trust he had never<br />

known and followed her without resistance.<br />

She gripped his hand tightly as she ran, so briskly that<br />

he struggled to keep up. The other children ran alongside<br />

them, all it seemed with the same destination in mind. The<br />

boy was running in the middle of the pack; in the middle of<br />

an act of unity. He was no longer on the outside looking in<br />

through the window. Someone had let him in.<br />

They kept running for what seemed like days to the boy, but<br />

he did not wish to tire. He watched his surroundings whip<br />

past him. The trees all blurred into a collage of greens and<br />

browns with the light mosaics dotting the surface. The air<br />

had become thin at the speed they were travelling, so when<br />

the pack finally slowed, the boy was relieved. They stopped<br />

and caught their breath in a comfortable silence. As the<br />

boy looked up, he saw they were standing below the most<br />

magnificent trees he had ever spied. They stood so tall and<br />

strong that he believed they never ended and their thick,<br />

sturdy branches reached so far outward they seemed to<br />

go on forever. More than anything, to the boy they looked<br />

inviting.<br />

When the boy looked back towards the earth, he saw<br />

that the other children had each chosen a tree and were<br />

beginning to climb. The girl turned and spotted him staring<br />

and waved him to her tree. Again, he obeyed. He felt an<br />

overwhelming desire for the tree, and the girl allowed him<br />

to feel comfortable in his need. And so, he climbed. And as<br />

he climbed, he noticed the vibrant parrot again as it soared<br />

past his nose and watched it disappear high above him. He<br />

felt his heart pounding as it did when he ran, and felt the<br />

blood rushing through his veins with such gusto he felt as<br />

if it launched him from branch to branch. He turned and<br />

watched the others climb their trees with the same air of<br />

liberation he felt. Their laughter rang in his ears and he felt<br />

the wind on his face more and more as he climbed higher<br />

and higher; until the entire sun shone on his face.<br />

The light was bright and warm on his skin. He squinted<br />

through the sun and looked around him to find each of<br />

the other children at the top of their trees alongside him,<br />

squealing with excitement as their skin glowed in golden<br />

sunlight. When he met the girl's eyes, she beckoned him.<br />

And as if they were connected, the boy knew what she<br />

wanted to do. But she did not look fearful, and the boy<br />

noticed that he too was not fearful. With a smile, the girl<br />

turned around; and in a blink, she had disappeared from his<br />

sight. He did not hear a noise, but rather a most beautiful<br />

silence.<br />

The boy looked up into the warm sun. He stayed for a while,<br />

and watched it slowly begin to set. Although he knew it<br />

happened each day, he felt as if today it was setting just for<br />

him. As it slowly melted into the earth, it surrounded the<br />

boy with deep oranges and pinks that extended as far as<br />

his eye could see. As he looked out, he felt free. He was at<br />

peace, yet had never felt more alive. He bathed in the still<br />

serenity that surrounded him and smiled. Throwing his<br />

arms back with careless force, the boy relished in the sun,<br />

and he flew.<br />

But the next day, unlike every other, the sun did not rise.


the sea<br />

words by nathan nguyen<br />

artwork by julia chetwood<br />

I thought long and hard before deciding to move the fifth<br />

pawn from the left two spaces forward.<br />

Then I waited as the wind of the sea blew at my long<br />

golden hair, whispering a soft apology into my ear.<br />

…<br />

I died some days ago with tears in my eyes – salty, bitter<br />

tears that threatened to overflow. Before I died though,<br />

my life was a utopian dream where animals from all walks<br />

of life lived together, each animal with its young by its<br />

side. But in my utopian dream, nothing was done to save<br />

those animals when my tears overflowed. So I cried even<br />

more when I saw the tides engulf the lionesses and her<br />

cubs, submerge the owls and her owlets and drown the<br />

turtledoves and her squabs. I cried even harder, and my<br />

tears, which came in tsunami waves, swept away the lambs<br />

grazing in the green pastures. The lambs were white like<br />

the room I died in some days ago after my visit to the<br />

sea. Everything was white in that room where there was<br />

only myself on the bed, and the saltiness of the sea that<br />

clung firmly to my hair and hugged my skin. White and<br />

empty... blank and empty. Empty like the pastures where the<br />

animals used to live; white like the lambs, nowhere to be<br />

seen. When my tears overflowed and drowned the animals,<br />

no one saved them because everyone was busy with their<br />

own lives.<br />

I moved the bishop on the King’s right side, three spaces<br />

diagonally left. Then, I touched the ring that Adrian had<br />

given me and noticed that the ring’s golden plating had<br />

chipped and faded into a dirty yellow that was beyond<br />

repair.<br />

…<br />

For my naivety of believing in the possibility of a golden life<br />

with Adrian, I was cursed with a continuous sourness in my<br />

mouth – a taste one could only attain through countless<br />

days of drinking lemon juice. But the lemon juice I had<br />

choked down was full of pulp and seeds, and although the<br />

seeds were hard to swallow at the beginning, I swallowed<br />

them nonetheless. When I was young, my mother had<br />

warned me not to swallow the pips and seeds of fruits,<br />

since it would grow inside me and kill me. And that she<br />

would be very, very sad if that ever happened. But I always<br />

wished that the seeds would grow inside me, sprouting<br />

little shoots that grew into sturdy trees. I always hoped the<br />

lemon seeds I swallowed would grow into lemon trees and<br />

bear fruit, because the one Adrian planted in our backyard<br />

didn’t. I think it was because the soil wasn't fertile enough.<br />

High salinity, the Gardener had said, as though the garden<br />

had been watered with salt. Then, on days when I wanted<br />

lemonade, there were no lemons and God didn’t give me<br />

any either. God never gives you lemons. I don’t understand<br />

why people always say he does.<br />

My fingers flittered near the Queen, hovering inches above<br />

her crown as I contemplated my next move. Then I helped<br />

her glide two spaces diagonally right before I looked up at<br />

the horizon.<br />

...<br />

The sun was setting, igniting the sky with a demonic<br />

spritz of yellow with tinges of red and orange. The delicate<br />

voice of the sea called out to me, caressing my ears with<br />

the softness of its breath. But I couldn’t give in. After the<br />

incident some days ago, I had vowed never to return. I loved<br />

the sea with all my heart but it hurt me and I promised<br />

myself that no matter how much it apologized I would<br />

never forgive it for what it did… to me, to Adrian and to<br />

our golden life. It had stolen from me something that<br />

could never be replaced, and it left behind a cavity. And<br />

when the man in the white coat told me, I died in Adrian’s<br />

arms in that empty, white room. But now, I was back at the<br />

sea again. However, I didn't give in, nor did I forgive it, so<br />

instead, it continued apologizing by singing me a soothing<br />

melody of “…ta vie est blanche, ta vie est blanche, ta vie est<br />

blanche…” to which I nodded melancholically to the rhythm<br />

and agreed whole-heartedly.<br />

I shifted the Queen again, this time, four spaces forward<br />

and knocked out the pawn.<br />

…<br />

“Checkmate”, I whispered as I looked up at the horizon with<br />

a wry smile creeping on my face. The wind whipped my face<br />

and my smile quickly vanished. My eyes widened as I saw<br />

a little boy standing there between the horizon and myself,<br />

eclipsing me of the warm view of the setting sun. We stared<br />

blankly at each other for a while as if we were exhibits for<br />

each other’s speculation.<br />

“You can’t play chess with no pieces”, he scoffed, and<br />

immediately began to run back to his mother who was<br />

disappearing into the distance. I glanced down at the empty<br />

tabletop of the picnic table where my hands were neatly<br />

placed. Then, I looked up in the direction of the little boy.<br />

I saw him catch up to his mother and when he reached for<br />

her hand to hold, an insatiable feeling swept over me. God,<br />

I hate kids, I thought as a tear slid down my cheek before I<br />

could even stop it.<br />

creative/comedy 52-53


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

dissent<br />

Dissent, first published 1993, is brought to you by the<br />

Women's Department. These pages are dedicated to<br />

giving voice to the women of Monash. Dissent aims<br />

to raise women up by giving them a stage to voice<br />

their reality, experiences, opinions, frustrations,<br />

wants and needs. We Dissent by speaking out when<br />

the world expects us to remain quiet. We Dissent by<br />

standing up for ourselves despite getting knocked<br />

down. We Dissent by talking back, asking questions,<br />

giving answers, telling stories, drawing pictures,<br />

writing poems, broadening horizons, singing songs,<br />

making art, climbing mountains, signing petitions,<br />

filming videos, laughing loudly, changing the world<br />

and in a million other ways every single day. We<br />

invite you to join us by reading, sharing, writing,<br />

designing and submitting your own work to msawomens@monash.edu


fear<br />

words by constance wilde<br />

artwork by baby with a nail gun<br />

Content warning: rape, rape culture, sexual assault, victim blaming, acquaintance rape, friend-zone, torture.<br />

I am afraid of boys. Attracted to, but afraid of men.<br />

Terrified that if I’m too polite to this stranger,<br />

He will turn my words against me,<br />

And tell me that of course he raped me.<br />

I gave permission with my sweet nothings and attention.<br />

I was asking for it.<br />

So he gave it to me.<br />

These are the thoughts that cross my mind when I meet<br />

men:<br />

My smile is a bullet in your gun with my name on it.<br />

You’re either a rapist or you aren’t,<br />

But I can’t tell the difference as you pass me in the supermarket.<br />

Is your laugh genuine or something sinister?<br />

How do I know there isn’t a monster lurking beneath your<br />

patterned jumper?<br />

Because rapists aren’t just monsters,<br />

Lurking in dark alleyways;<br />

They are ordinary people and so are you.<br />

Please don’t hurt me just because I was nice,<br />

I could be rude,<br />

But of course, but that’s a catch 22.<br />

Making you angry would just be handing you another excuse.<br />

The responsibility is inescapable.<br />

It’s there in the morning when I dress,<br />

Telling me that my skirt is far too short;<br />

Could I show my body any less?<br />

It’s with me when I lock my car,<br />

And when I’m walking home.<br />

Clearing my throat in case I need to scream.<br />

Or dialling the number of a friend into my phone.<br />

I’m not wondering what if?<br />

I’m waiting.<br />

I set my sights on men I know would never look at me,<br />

To protect myself from actually being seen.<br />

I am queen of an empire filled with women,<br />

I keep boys at arms-length as if it is part of my religion.<br />

Somehow fearing rapists means I’m afraid of all men,<br />

They make it difficult to tell them apart,<br />

When they jump to each other’s defence.<br />

Yet I am desperate… to fall in love.<br />

To have my own piece of magic that will hold me in his arms,<br />

And say he loves me.<br />

But how do I know I’ve found the right one?<br />

He is sweet, but is he safe? What will happen when we’re<br />

alone?<br />

What if he waits for doors to close?<br />

Or for me to let him take me home?<br />

Is there something in his smile?<br />

Some way I could know?<br />

It is lonely on this throne I have created.<br />

How am I supposed to fall in love if I can’t even make<br />

friends?<br />

I call my mates up for coffee without thinking,<br />

But I won’t call them if they’re men.<br />

In case my invitation is all the consent they need.<br />

I am sorry, but not sure that I should be,<br />

When people still have the nerve to say:<br />

“You invited him over. What did you think was going to<br />

happen?”<br />

I pinpoint cameras in the parking lot,<br />

But hyper-vigilance doesn’t help.<br />

I am not the only woman,<br />

That is living in this hell.<br />

I must look desirable, but not irresistible.<br />

Show enough skin to get your attention,<br />

But not arouse your inner demon.<br />

I must make you want to date me,<br />

Without making you want to<br />

rape<br />

me.<br />

I tell my friends,<br />

And they agree with me.<br />

This fear of men is all I ever see.<br />

Rose-tinted glasses, except they’re tinted red.<br />

Screaming “DANGER: that man’s appetite needs to be fed”<br />

I feel consumable, overpower-able, and weak.<br />

What if my body is the answer to whatever it is you seek?<br />

Of course nice guys exist but are they the men that I know?<br />

I am powerless to stop this but I’m still holding onto hope.<br />

I’m not afraid of commitment, but I am afraid of dating.<br />

It seems ridiculous, but I spend night after night waiting.<br />

In my mind, it’s not a question of what if but when.<br />

And when I meet someone else it just starts all over again.<br />

A boy in class told me being in the friend-zone counts as<br />

torture;<br />

Told me the pain was unimaginably overwhelming,<br />

As if it was on par with electrocution and waterboarding.<br />

When I asked if he was joking,<br />

He exploded in my face as if my question was a detonation.<br />

Every boy I pass daily could be a rapist or a harmless<br />

stranger,<br />

But he’s the one complaining.<br />

creative/comedy 54-55


edition three<br />

lot’s wife<br />

wot’s life?<br />

with agony aunt<br />

Q.<br />

A.<br />

I just started uni this year and I still haven’t made any friends. I was too shy to join<br />

any clubs in O-Week and it seems that when I go to class, everyone just leaves and we<br />

don’t talk again until the next class. What am I doing wrong? How am I meant to make<br />

friends if I don’t already know people from high school?<br />

Stop whining about it and go out there and interact! Add everyone you meet on facebook,<br />

snapchat and instagram. Don’t forget to send them a LinkedIn request! Then proceed to<br />

spam the heck out of them, if you have a dog send snaps of your fluffy friend as this is sure<br />

to pique their interests even if you’re boring. Alternatively, pretend that you left your lights<br />

on in your car and post about it on StalkerSpace and force whoever comes to help you to be<br />

your friend. Even if it’s Alan the nice RACV man. The undeniably best way to make friends<br />

though is to find common ground by bitching about your lecturer.<br />

It’s only week 9 of uni but I’m already feeling really burned out and overwhelmed. I try<br />

and squeeze as much as I can into each day, but at the end of the day I still go to bed<br />

feeling guilty that I haven’t done enough. Any tips to snap out of this low mood, Agony<br />

Aunt?<br />

Drop whatever you’re doing and transfer to Arts and enjoy the easiest HD’s of your life.<br />

However, if you really have your heart set on your current course go back to the start of this<br />

answer and read it again. Okay but if you really are struggling then perhaps write a list to<br />

help you organise your study and prioritise your time to make sure that you are finishing<br />

the required work and not wasting time on frivolous things.<br />

I really like a guy, and he’s one of my close friends. The only issue is that he has<br />

a girlfriend, but I know that she doesn’t treat him well and they have a terrible<br />

relationship. I don’t know what to do - I want to tell him to break up with her because<br />

she’s not good to him, but I also think my hidden feelings might reveal themselves if I<br />

do. Or I could simply play the waiting game, but i feel like it could be years and I know<br />

he’d be happier with me. I just wish he knew how I felt, but I can’t tell him without<br />

sounding crazy. What do I do, Agony Aunt?<br />

Send him an anonymous letter providing reasons of why he should break up with her and<br />

then send a couple of nudes on snapchat and I’m sure he’ll get the idea. It’s important that<br />

you don’t become a rebound so invest yourself in as much of his life as possible e.g. leave a<br />

toothbrush at his house, surprise him with dinner with his parents and ask him to buy you<br />

tampons. Before you know it, he’ll be down on one knee and you’ll be asking yourself if you<br />

even wanted this. Alternatively, if you want to take it slow just declare your feelings for him<br />

and see what he does. Maybe he breaks up with his girlfriend and dates you or maybe he<br />

calls you a weirdo and lives happily ever after with his girlfriend, whatever happens, you’re<br />

better off knowing so that you can continue with your life.


artwork by kerrie o’james<br />

creative/comedy<br />

56-57

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