Dear Minister for the Arts, George Brandis

Type
Article
Category
Culture

It is deeply disturbing for any Minister to attempt to directly control the kinds of culture produced in a democracy that values freedom of expression. We want to continue the Australian tradition of arts funding being independent of any political influence. The Minister himself has previously argued that art will always provoke debate, ‘that’s why we have an arms-length and peer-reviewed structure for the allocation for the funding’. What he now proposes is precisely the opposite.

no-art
race-image
Type
Article
Category
Culture

Getting trashed

The bush setting, for many festivals, is meant to be a celebration of human interaction with nature, so waste management and environmentally conscious operations are very important, both to the local area and to the attendees.

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Type
Reflection
Category
Politics

Those lost in the Mediterranean Sea

The language itself is a blanket, or a white sheet thrown over those bodies. It suffocates any debate or talk of alternatives. What does it even mean to distinguish between economic refugees and the regular kind, when those who flee poverty are driven to attempt such a dangerous crossing? ‘No one would put their children in boats unless the sea is safer than land,’ as the phrase attributed to Somali-British writer Warshan Shire goes.

FURY ROAD
Type
Reflection
Category
Culture
Sexism

Furious and Furiosa

In Mad Max: Fury Road, normative masculinity is not just broken, it is literally diseased. Survival for women in this film in many ways relies on their ability to find a way forward beyond often contradictory tribal manifestation of the kind of bat-shit crazy masculinity that can only be deemed ‘unreal’ if you are privileged enough to see no problem with the current gender political status quo.

cottier-image
Type
Article
Category
Culture
Writing

An accountant of dreams

Literary contests are sliding more and more towards charging fees that exclude many people, and exploit many who can ill afford the entry fee. I am lucky, in that if I really wanted to enter something, my partner could provide the means. But I would not enter a competition that cost $33 because it is simply too much of the household’s money for me to spend with a clear conscience.

Melbourne
Type
Article
Category
Economics
Politics

Fair's fair

The media’s response to the 2015 budget is as predictable as it is planned. The government told us we were going to get a fairer budget, the media informed us we were going to get a fairer Budget, and so inevitably we got a fairer budget, the narrative having been written well before the event.

wood-image
Type
Article
Category
Culture
Politics
Writing

Re-structuring radically

For poetry that means taking seriously ideas like artists-in-residence and re-thinking the English department as a site of potential. Moreover, it means thinking through some of the ideological unconsciousness that exists in the English department as it is configured in Australia.

fabiani-image
Type
Article
Category
Culture
Sexism

Mad Men and mad men

Mad Men reflects, or channels, this mainstream moral ambivalence. There is something immature about refusing to share your toys – or privileges. True adulthood involves accepting that we cannot confine our concerns to the self (and our closest associates). We need to look out for the Other(s). All thinking people agree that whether it is along income, racial or gender lines, the disparity should be closed if a mature society is to exist..

St Louis refugees
Type
Polemic
Category
Racism

The last time they turned back the boats

Some 8000 Rohingya asylum seekers and Bangladeshi migrants are currently stranded, lacking food, water and sanitation – and the governments of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are pushing their boats back into the ocean, knowing they have nowhere to go.