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Australian Culture
The good oil on the Aussie way of life, and how it's changing out of sight!
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Why Anzac?

Why Anzac? | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

It’s an important question, and one that our adopted Kiwi Sam Neill strives to answer in his new doco.  This write-up on it by Ben Neutze takes seven paragraphs to get to Neill’s film.  And it doesn’t really articulate just what a fine job he does in just 90 minutes of covering the ugly realities of the Gallipoli campaign and how the ANZACs’ struggles have coloured our collective psyche over the subsequent 100 years.  But it gives an interesting answer of its own:

 

“[Immortalising our disastrous Gallipoli campaign] allowed Australia to shift its focus from its ugly colonial past.”  If you’re after a one line answer to this complex question then look no further.

 

As for so many, Gallipoli and the World Wars involved very personal stories for Neill’s family.  More on this here: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/why-anzac-with-sam-neill-the-actor-remembers-his-fallen-family-20150414-1mk11p.html

 

‘Why Anzac with Sam Neill’ is available on iView for another 10 days – highly recommended.  http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/why-anzac-with-sam-neill/DO1308H001S00

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Carly McLaren's curator insight, April 25, 5:54 AM

Anzac day, Australia's defining moment? Sam Neil discusses one of Australia's most important military campaigns. 

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The redneck putdown

The redneck putdown | Australian Culture | Scoop.it
In the Top End, ‘bogan’ doesn’t have much sting to it. After all, a Territorian is hardly a Territorian without a healthy dose of the ocker about them! And being searingly direct, a beer lover and a bit rough around the edges are all part of being ‘Territory tough’. So the putdown of choice is ‘redneck’.

(This is a bit of a shame. In a country-continent that loves coming up with new language and playing around with existing words – chardie, a blue, galah – using an unmodified American English word with a strong Southern twang is a rare lapse.)

This Crikey blog post uses the redneck putdown, and I think a little unfairly. It looks at comments left on an NT News article. The major newspaper for the Territory, it nevertheless seldom takes itself that seriously and prides itself on a generous dose of the aforementioned traits. For its Federal Election issue on September 7th it went with the cover above and the line “We moustache you a hairy serious question...” Which makes a lot more sense if you imagine the guy saying it blind drunk!

The article referenced is about a laudable but poorly communicated plan to use funds obtained through land rights to raise healthier Aboriginal kids in Kakadu with greater opportunities. Bob Gosford sees racist tones in many of the comments. Well, other projects with similar aspirations have left communities burnt. And cynicism is strong in the Top End. Are these rednecks who are choosing their words to get past the moderators, or pragmatists with legitimate misgivings? It’s hard to say.

As for Bob’s question – why Territorians can be mean-spirited and ignorant – the NT is not an easy place to call home. The spinifex hangs on in isolated clumps where it can, surviving by being frugal and having a tough exterior. And so do the people. The xenophobes of Sydney’s inner West have no such excuse.
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Taking on Big Coal

Taking on Big Coal | Australian Culture | Scoop.it
The great Aussie tradition of the fair go is immediately out the window as soon as the mining juggernaut heads your way, backed by a state government greedy for royalties.

In the case of the small township of Bulga in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley, the prospects for halting that juggernaut seemed truly remote. The mining giant was Rio Tinto – arguably in second place for title of the world’s biggest and most ruthless miner – the government was NSW – with an appalling record for abandoning local and environmental interests in favour of a quick buck – and up for grabs was coal valued in the billions.

One man took a stand. John Krey (pictured) rallied community support, and an epic David and Goliath legal battle ensued. This multimedia piece by Bernard Lagan and colleagues at The Global Mail recounts it all. In six parts, it looks at how an entire community can be traumatised – a phenomenon newly identified as ‘solastalgia’, how ‘iron-clad’ legal protection agreements from soulless multinationals can be torn up arbitrarily as soon as a commodity price picks up, and how it’s worth fighting for what really matters – the wellbeing of ourselves and the environment.
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More sexes please, we’re Aussie

More sexes please, we’re Aussie | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Australia’s pollies may be dragging their feet on marriage equality, but on form-filling options, at least, we are now a world leader.  Official forms will now widen the narrow, birth-determined male and female genders to also include ‘indeterminate’, ‘intersex’ and ‘unspecified’.

 

This follows the 2011 inclusion of intersex on our passports, see http://www.scoop.it/t/ausculture/p/603591339/third-gender-option-on-australian-passports.

 

Sadly, the sex question still doesn’t include a ‘yes please’ option.

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An insult to free speech

An insult to free speech | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

When Dan Nolan wanted to put together a Paul Keating insult generator app for the iPhone he had to contend with a new law preventing use of the federal parliamentary record for satirical purposes.  He was advised he needed to make do with Keatingesque imitations, so you get “You imbecilic caucus of political harlots” instead of “He’s like a shiver waiting for a spine”.  It didn’t stop his 99 cent insult generator becoming Australia’s top paid app in the Store.  But it’s a law that goes against our long tradition of ‘keeping the bastards honest’.  And an insult to free speech.

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Condoning police brutality

Condoning police brutality | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

This sequence, from last night’s A Current Affair, shows a Queensland police officer pushing a drunk young woman sideways so hard that she doesn’t have a chance to put her arm out to cushion her fall. It was an appalling act, which could have resulted in death.

 

The main reason men die after a single, sudden punch – the so called king-hit – is that the back of their head hits the pavement with great force. The same risk applies here. But it gets worse...

 

The report says no disciplinary action is to be taken against the officer concerned, despite this damning video evidence from a concerned witness. Worse yet, this is supposedly something officers are TRAINED TO DO – a manoeuvre called an ‘open-handed tactic’.

 

What this actually is is routine police brutality from a State police force which frequently performs far more disturbing acts of violence than the moderately rowdy revellers it is supposed to be protecting.

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Alan Jones’ Gold Ernie

Alan Jones’ Gold Ernie | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

We can only speculate how PROUD Alan Jones must be as the recipient of the top gong at The Ernie Awards 2012.  The annual event has been recognising high profile male sexism in Australia since 1993.  (Perhaps reporter Margot Saville should receive a Germaine – if there was such an award – for this piece of female sexism: “My general rule is anyone who doesn’t have a vagina isn’t allowed to comment on them; doctors excepted.”)

 

Margot’s Crikey piece may seem a bit tl;dr, but it does explain, for instance, the genesis of #destroythejoint – the Jones quote that won him the Ernie – as well as the tone of the event: ‘getting pissed and making fun of men’.

 

It’s been an eventful week for Jones.  As well as becoming Australia’s most hated man for his vile comments on 2GB, which he part-owns and which has dropped in value by $3m, he’s been found – again – to have incited hatred against Muslims ahead of the Cronulla riots, December 2005 (see link below).  Alan Jones: a National Treasure!

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-02/tribunal-rules-alan-jones-incited-hatred/4292052

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Bogans R Us?

Bogans R Us? | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

The Oxford English Dictionary now includes a definition for 'bogan': "...an unfashionable, uncouth, or unsophisticated person, especially regarded as being of low social status". Bogan is a fascinating word because everyone knows what it means, everyone agrees there are a lot of bogans and everyone considers themselves to be non-bogan. Which doesn't quite add up.

 

Here, Paul Daley accosts our expansive middle classes, asking whether sore looser Rudd actually had a point when he described Gillard's current home as Bogan-ville.

 

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Loreto Obias's curator insight, March 17, 2013 6:51 PM

Even though Australia is a Multicultural society this article talks about how the term 'bogan' is now in the English dictionary in a rasict matter portraying a negative meaning of a white person. This influences eveyrones view on the culture of an Australian person.

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#respill in pictures

#respill in pictures | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

This 10-photo sequence of today’s events at Parliament House is from The Global Mail, a heavyweight – but not heavy – addition to the media landscape in Australia. It is not-for-profit, ad-free and edited by Monica Attard. It also looks amazing in widescreen, blowing away the competition of clunky, vertical scrolling news sites. Its tagline is ‘Our audience is our only agenda’. Welcome to the future.

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Big Copyright & SOPA vs Wikipedia & sense

Big Copyright & SOPA vs Wikipedia & sense | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Wikipedia’s 24 hour blackout has got the US Congress switchboards lighting up, and SOPA and PIPA are on the back foot. But the music and movie industries, backed by Murdoch and the US State Department, are far from done with their draconian strategy. They continue to adopt self-defeating pre-internet thinking while those, like Apple, who embrace cyberspace clean up.

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Gruen Planet outrates Celebrity Apprentice

Gruen Planet outrates Celebrity Apprentice | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Gruen Planet has done a great job this series showing us how commerce and politics constantly and deviously manipulate us. It’s also been hugely entertaining, and often more fresh and laugh-out-loud hilarious than The Hamster Wheel. So it’s great to see that being rewarded in ratings.

 

Wednesday’s final outrated Nine’s Celebrity Apprentice to win the timeslot, with a stonking 1,175,000 viewers.

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News Ltd journo endures tribal circumcision

News Ltd journo endures tribal circumcision | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

No, sadly it wasn’t Andrew Bolt. A reporter trying to get a scoop on Free West Papua movement members slipping into PNG from Indonesia was told a critical interview would be dependent on submitting to circumcision by bamboo sticks. Simon Eroro got the exclusive, plus News’ Scoop of the Year award – small consolation for such pain and the ongoing hit on his sex life.

 

The News Limited judges heralded Eroro’s piece, talking about the subsequent “major [PNG] operation to tighten the borders and close down the OPM refugee camps”. Which is a tidily black & white assessment, given how Indonesia’s claim to West Papua is hotly disputed and widely considered a hostile occupation.

 

Eroro’s PNG Post-Courier article, at under 350 words (see link below), is less than Bolt might expend describing what he’d just learnt from his cab driver on the dangers of multiculturalism. Personally, if I’d just had my manhood desecrated I’d want my own Oprah-style TV network at the very least!

 

http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20100817/news03.htm

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Occupy Melbourne: Doyle vs Reality

Occupy Melbourne: Doyle vs Reality | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

A common tactic of those trying to play down protests such as the Occupy movement is to paint those who take part as crackpot extremists. A simple but highly effective counter to this being used by Occupy Melbourne is this Tumblr account featuring supporters holding up hand-written messages about themselves and why this is important to them. Their messages are addressed to Robert Doyle, the Liberal lord mayor of Melbourne.

 

The genesis was probably this site: http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/

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Australia Day ambivalence

Australia Day ambivalence | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

STRAYA DAY!  The day to kick back and celebrate what a great bloody country this is!  Only it’s not quite as simple as that.

 

The 26th of January marks the day in 1788 the First Fleet made anchor near present day Sydney, claiming ‘New Holland’ in the name of the British Empire.  And given that the locals had called this land home for tens of thousands of years, the charged term ‘Invasion Day’ is actually a lot more accurate.  (Australia’s Federation was on 1st January 1901.)

 

So millions of First Fleet descendents and blow-ins flock to the beaches to celebrate with tinnies and Aussie flags while tens of thousands of progressives take to social media to try and rain on their parade!

 

This article has some good tips for being right on this Australia Day.  The argument for moving the date is a good one.  But it’s OK to celebrate the best of our country.  And we have difficult days ahead on several fronts – climate change, terrorism, economics...  I think we *need* Australia Day.  And we need it to be a celebration.

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The spooks of Alice Springs

The spooks of Alice Springs | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Visiting Alice Springs you’re struck by what a hive of activity this remote town is, despite not seeming that touristy and lacking heavy industry or anything much in the way of commodities processing or agriculture.  The answer to this little riddle is a giant secret – if not a well kept one.

 

Just 20km south-west of the town is Pine Gap, the US-run base said to control their network of spy satellites.  One of the many ironies facing Peter Garrett (inset) is that Midnight Oil protested against the base in the song ‘Power and the Passion’ and he now finds himself in government supporting it.  Pine Gap directly employs around one in twenty-five residents, and taking into account ancillary and support services it’s not too much of a stretch to come to this News.com.au article’s conclusion that ‘it basically runs the Alice Springs economy’.

 

Spooky.

 

 

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Monorail swan song

Monorail swan song | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Tomorrow, a boldly futuristic transport system begun by an aspirational Sydney twenty-five years ago is relegated to the pages of history.  In ‘An Ode To A Troubled City Icon’, Luke Hopewell relives the magic and reveals where it all went wrong.

 

“It has been raining in Sydney all week: a city weeps quietly for its fallen icon in a sad ode to progress played out in a pitter-patter orchestra on the carriage roof.”

 

It was the capitalistic model that killed the monorail – not the conceptual one.  After a buyback last year, the NSW State Government could have torn that up and delivered free transport, giving the same good vibes and tourist boost Melbourne gets with the City Circle Tram.  Sydney residents will have plenty of time to be sore that it didn’t... all of the future.

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Jemma Tanner's curator insight, October 28, 2013 9:29 AM

As this is an event that has taken place in history, I feel as though it's appropriate to use as an example in the classroom of how our society is always developing and improving. When I went to Sydney, I never used the monorail simply because it was inconvenient and expensive. Talking about experiences with your students can help to put into perspective reasons why things happen - such as the monorail being taken down.

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Sandwichgate: Exclusive interview

Sandwichgate: Exclusive interview | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Still shaken by its ordeal, the vegemite sandwich chucked by a school kid in the general direction of our PM gives an exclusive interview to Crikey staffer First Dog.  In a six panel sequence (click through for the rest) the lunch snack – perhaps hoping for a guest spot on The Bolt Report – opines for all it’s worth.

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Roo blue over Newstart

Roo blue over Newstart | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

It’s not easy being a bettong on unemployment benefit in Australia (or a human, for that matter).  This is one part of a six-panel drawing by Crikey’s First Dog on the Moon – click through for the full sequence.

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PM’s sexism speech goes viral

PM’s sexism speech goes viral | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Like Caitlin Welsh, I reckon the media has totally missed the Zeitgeist on the diatribe Julia Gillard unleashed on Tony Abbott.  Abbott, the man whose Alan Jones -like world view is so poorly hidden.  Abbott, the man who somehow remains PM-in-waiting, despite the litany of self-made political disasters that have befallen him.  Abbott, whose judgement was so poor that he stood across from Gillard and used the phrase ‘died of shame’ even while the Jones fallout continued.

 

Welsh’s Vine article nails it.  The Abbott outrage is not a party political one; it is the product of 1950s views that a progressive 21st Century nation should not be normalising in its political leadership.  Gillard’s eruption was brilliant, and its cultural significance has been recognised all over the world.  But not here.

 

Abbott as potential PM?  Only in Australia.

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Things Bogans Like

Things Bogans Like | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Here’s a site with much to say about (and against) bogans: thingsboganslike.com.  Like Daley, it has Middle Australia in its sights.  “The bogan ... is comfortably ensconced in its cocoon of normalcy. The bogan has its quarter-acre, its IKEA furniture, its large car and its porn collection, all designed to allow it to exist in such a way that it never interacts with those it finds unlike itself.”  Ausculture, being ‘In search of Australia 2.0’, is a little wary of some of the vociferous contempt found amongst its descriptions of the 251 Things so far added; them-and-us thinking is rarely helpful when it comes to moving a whole country forward.  (What makes Kath & Kim so special is its fondness for the subject, and the notion that perhaps there’s a little bogan in all of us.)  Nevertheless, TBL is entertaining and thought-provoking.  Here’s what it has to say about #74, Border Security:

 

“Settled in its interest free lounge suite, the bogan is able to vicariously enjoy the act of keeping Australia safe from people it steadfastly refuses to understand. Its endorphins gush on each and every occasion that such a person is not able to move about in the manner that it hopes to. At the completion of the show, the bogan is reassured that it has done its part to defend the nation that it has done so very little to create.”

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What's Rupert's game in Scotland?

What's Rupert's game in Scotland? | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

With his paper’s infamous 2007 election day noose frontpage conveniently forgotten, Murdoch and centre-left SNP leader Alex Salmond are now allies, united in their desire for a Britain that is not united.

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The secret a-gender against Gillard

The secret a-gender against Gillard | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

No one wants a bar of Latham, so why is similarly maniacal Rudd so far ahead of Gillard in the polls for preferred PM?  Could it be backward Aussies don't reckon our first female Prime Minister is man enough for the job?

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WTF? AusPost evokes Christmas Island

WTF? AusPost evokes Christmas Island | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

You have got to be kidding me, Australia Post. Less than a year after Australia’s deadliest shipwreck since 1890, they put out a book of stamps headed ‘Christmas Island Christmas’?

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Posturing China and its road to nowhere

Posturing China and its road to nowhere | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

2000 years on from its famous Great Wall, China is building something else that can be easily seen from space – this time possibly with more offensive intentions.

 

The 2 kilometre stretch of Gobi desert pictured left appears to mimic a city’s road grid. Another image shows a grid pattern nearly 30 km across. Security experts surmise that these and other sites (see article’s linked gallery) are targets for missile testing.

 

And just when the arms race folly of the 60s and 70s was looking like something humankind had outgrown.

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Petitioning for marriage equality

Petitioning for marriage equality | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Same-sex couples still cannot marry in Australia, even in a civil union. The majority of Australians now support marriage equality, so it seems Gillard is wasting a golden opportunity to get us ‘moving forward’. After all, realistically, it’ll probably be several terms before we see another Labor federal government.

 

The right-wing Australian Christian Lobby is currently petitioning churchgoers for a continuation of marriage inequality. The ACL lobbies both major sides of government hard in order to distort the clear message of the national polling. So GetUp, a refreshingly progressive and non-partisan campaigning group, has set up a petition of its own.

 

Click the link to sign it – and trump the ACL – it’ll be 10 seconds well spent!

 

http://www.getup.org.au/marriagematters

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