An audio history of Gough Whitlam


It’s Time

At least he asked permission, unlike some prime ministers.

Gough – The Whitlams

I’ve got a song about a man called Gough.

From Little Things Big Things Grow – Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly

The Native Title decision was due to the amazingness of Vincent Lingiari and the Wave Hill mob. But after decades of racism and genocide by the Australian Government, as evidenced by its disgusting behaviour, it was significant that Gough Whitlam, then Prime Minister, exchanged a handful of sand with Vincent Lingiari.

It’s Time from Keating

Not sung by Gough, but a demonstration of how Gough influenced those Labor prime ministers who followed him, and symbolic of his legacy. Under his government Australia gained Legal Aid, free university education, no-fault divorce and universal health care. His government abolished the death penalty for federal crimes, and conscription. He established the National Employment and Training Scheme, the Family Law Act, the Aboriginal Land Fund Commission, and Environment.


The beginning is the end, also from Keating, feat. the ghost of Gough 

(thanks to DanniP for the reminder)

Please add your other reminders in the comments.

The NSW Parliament welcomes the Sydney Opera House seal; recommends a criminal lawyer, proving the NSW parliament doesn’t understand how migration works


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Yesterday, Tuesday 14 October, the NSW Parliament took time out from being massively corrupt to welcome the Sydney Harbour Seal to Sydney Harbour.  And also to recommend a criminal lawyer in case it, too, is massively corrupt.



THE Hon. Dr PETER PHELPS [10.47 p.m.]: On behalf of the New South Wales Parliament I welcome welcome the Sydney Opera House seal to Sydney Harbour and look forward to its continued presence over many years to come. Should it ever need a criminal lawyer I strongly recommend Andrew Tiedt.

Question-That this House do now adjourn-put and resolved in the affirmative.

Motion agreed to.

The House adjourned at 10.47 p.m. until 11.00 a.m. on Wednesday 15 October 2014]

nz fur seal

A three year old New Zealand fur seal has been hanging out on the steps of the Sydney Opera House for a few weeks. When it first arrived the New South Welsh police were called (because Sydney, I guess), but it was officially welcomed by the New South Wales Parliament yesterday and also recommended to a criminal lawyer.

This is clearly a misleading recommendation as, if anything, the seal will require a migration agent. However given the current state of Australia’s immigration climate, the recommendation of a criminal lawyer may not be completely remiss.

Further complicating matters, and in long-standing tradition, Australia has already claimed the New Zealand seal for itself, naming it the Sydney Opera House Seal despite it clearly being a Kiwi. We expect the seal will be lounging around and claiming the dole shortly.

linkspam of the night

Hilarious article about media bias and journalism over at Junkee: The Australian’s Media Editor Goes To Uni “Undercover”; Is Outraged That Media Degrees Are Teaching Media Students About The Media

Disclaimer: No Award is a ridiculously leftist website. In case you hadn’t noticed.  Also, Liz did, like, six months of a Bachelor of Journalism before she realised she hated talking to people.  That was back when NewsCorp was more or less respectable, and it still provided 95% of examples of terrible media bias.

Stephanie adores Leigh Sales, and she interviews Annabel Crabb re: the Wife Drought and allows me to love her even more (and Annabel is also good). Annabel Crabb explores the Wife Drought.

Stephanie super loves art, and she especially loves south east asian art, and being mean to European art, so this article at The Toast, Literally All of Europe Can Suck It, about the new discoveries in Indonesia, fills her with glee and delight. (Here is an article in Nat Geo if you didn’t know about it yet)

Frozen, Legend of Korra, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and the Narrative Right to Trauma

Trauma in modern American media is a tricky thing. On one hand, the backstories of nearly everyone, heroes and villains alike are full of it. On the other, trauma is heavily shamed, and leaves characters open to accusations of weakness, or of being whiny. This means that while we want characters who go through traumatic experiences, we are extremely uncomfortable with expressions of trauma. Also, we are much more comfortable with some expressions of trauma than with others. Only certain kinds of traumatic expression are allowed, and like so much about culture, who and what a character is determines what kind of traumatic expression we as a society will allow them to have. Straight white men are given the most freedom to be traumatized, and stereotypically masculine trauma is the most widely viewed as legitimate within fandom in my experience.

Don’t Look Up: a Guide to not Being Completely Gullible and Making an Idiot of Yourself by Reblogging False Information on Tumblr

One of Liz’s pet peeves is the way Tumblr culture encourages rumour, misinformation and outright falsehood.  It’s partially a problem with the platform’s limitations in general, but it’s more complex.

Anyway, this post gives some useful, practical tips on finding sources and confirming facts, and generally applying critical thinking.  (One of the advantages in growing up in a super right wing household, as Liz did, is that her parents taught her how to critique the left, and then she discovered the same skills could be applied to anything.)

In amazingness, British backpacker Daniela Liverani had leech up her nose for weeks.

This weekend unexpectedly split Australia as we saw the great potato CAKE debate of 2014. Important Australian stuff. Stephanie stopped off on her way home for a potato cake.  PS TEAM POTATO CAKE.

Talking about chronic illness, as a reader and as a writer.

On Chinese Horror: Part 1 at Snow Pavilion

No Award around the place: Steph forgot to mention, but a couple of weeks ago she put up her long essay on feminist monsters of Asia! It’s 8500 words originally published by The Lifted Brow, now available for download. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance: Feminist Ghosts and Monstrous Women of Asia. The monstrous women of Asia, feminism, and colonialism.

book review: chinese whispers



In Chinese Whispers, Ben Chu “examines the myths that have come to dominate our view of the world’s most populous nation, forcing us to question everything we thought we knew about it. The result is a penetrating, surprising and provocative insight into China today.” It’s provocative and surprising because it’s so poorly referenced and researched, with significant weighting given to personal anecdata, a significant lack of actual referencing, and an over reliance on stereotypes whilst promising to debunk them.

The task Chu assigns himself is not insignificant; nor is it a wrong task to undertake. There are stereotypes of Chinese people, and they can wear a person down. But the way he goes about it is just as lacking in scientific rigour as the stereotypes he promises to debunk, and in the end the book changes nothing and offers no real insights into anything other than more prejudice and stereotypes.

In ‘Whisper Five: The Chinese Live to Work,’ Chu examines the stereotype of the Chinese work ethic, the myth that Chinese people are industrious, more hard working than westerners, willing to pull 20 hour days because of an innate desire to do so. In this chapter he describes the perceived docility of Chinese men working on railways in the USA, the tales of missionaries in the 1800s of peasants out in the fields from dawn till dusk, and Orwell’s 1984, in which the inhabitants of Eastasia can’t be conquered because of their industriousness and fecundity. Chu also looks at domestic and Chinese cultural elements of this stereotype, such as the chengyu 吃苦耐劳, to eat bitterness and endure labour, and how Mao played on this traditional stereotype in implementing workers villages.

He attempts to debunk this stereotype by highlighting how Mao’s model villages were secretly manufactured; and goes on with further evidence of the youth of today, how the 八零后, those born since the 80s, are lazy little emperors, thereby defeating the myth of Chinese innate industriousness. Chu also mentions an interview in which a Chinese labourer in Italy remains, though he has earned sufficient to go home, because he wants to pay for his son’s education, raising the question: why is one of the myths debunked in this book not the Chinese love of money?

This is the point at which I elected not to finish the book. After five whispers (of seven), frustration at the roundabout construction of the chapters and the lack of referencing and consistency (

And it remains today. We hear complaints that Chinese labour teams sent to Africa by their government to work on infrastructure construction projects…do not patronise local shops, but instead shut themselves off in their fortress-like compounds until their work is done and they can return to China.

Do we? I don’t know, because he doesn’t provide any evidence!), and the clear way the book was written for a white audience with an us versus them dynamic (“Why do we assume China’s culture is immutable?” and the vague implication of racism against white people), I finished the chapter (to see if he took the lazy young people analogy anywhere), and gently closed out of the book.

As a Chinese person, this book does nothing for me. In the context of Australia in the Asian Century, and the constant ebb and flow of Australia working within a Chinese business context, this book does nothing for us. As a non-Chinese person looking to learn more about Chinese traditions and, I suppose, Chinese ways of thinking, this book does nothing for you. Do not read this book. I don’t know what I’m going to do with this terrible copy.


Further notes:

  • Whisper Three, on politics, is called “The Chinese don’t want freedom”, a loaded title.
  • “‘Who has more power, businessmen or politicians?’ I once asked my aunt. ‘Politicians, by far,’ was her unambiguous reply” – offered in chapter 3 with no further discussion, as if this is evidence and not an autobiographical note.
  • Whisper Four, on education, is called “China has the world’s finest education system.”
  • “The episode attracted a million hits on the day it was released,” offered (again, with no references), as evidence of the popularity of satire against the government. In a population of 1.37 billion people, can this truly be called evidence?
  • “One constantly hears that representative democracy would lead to violent chaos.” Oh, does one? One wouldn’t know, because Chu doesn’t deign to offer references!
  • “Indeed, the fact that the forms of constitutional government were kept on, even when they were empty, represented a tacit acknowledgement of their legitimacy, just as hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.” What does this even mean?
  • There is so much more, just ask me, I’ve got pages and pages of notes of my disappointment and dislike.

Workplace etiquette for baby boomers

Every now and then there are rumblings about how young folk in the workplace don’t know how to behave, and need the wisdom of baby boomers to survive professionally.

It’s a cliche, of course, but Team No Award, plus our fellow millennials Ash, Zoe and Weaves (the latter two being Fatberg Inc) had our own thoughts on the matter.  Here are our tips for baby boomers — all, alas, taken from real life.

  • no one cares that you’ve accrued enough superannuation to retire
  • 50 Shades of Grey is not the kind of material you should be passing around the office
  • put your damn phone on silent
  • you don’t need to make a remark every time someone has Asian food for lunch
  • vegans: they exist … and they might be sitting at the desk next to you
  • renters: they exist … and they might be sitting at the desk next to you
  • gay people: they exist … and they might be sitting at the desk next to you
  • Asians: they … oh, come on, how did you miss that?
  • the appropriate term is “transgender”.
  • no one cares about your investment properties
  • but have you considered multitasking?
  • keep your hands to yourself
  • an Excel spreadsheet is not a good place to put your 10,000 word verbose descriptions of things.
  • playing opera loudly is just as annoying as playing any other kind of music loudly. Even if you’re the boss.
  • turn your goddamn mobile phone down or off, Jesus Christ.  Your phone doesn’t need the typing sound. Truly, it doesn’t.
  • nobody has sympathy for your difficulty in pressing buttons on the printer. nobody.
  • “No, I’m not looking at buying real estate any time soon, thanks” is not an invitation to lecturing on the merits of owning real estate.
  • - qualifications in medicine, law, or literally any other thing do not make a young person able to fix your phone/computer/television based on your description over the phone.
  • your helplessness in the face of clear instructions regarding something technological is not cute and in fact is not even acceptable workplace behaviour
  • it is appropriate to attempt to gauge interest in such subjects as the state of your rosebushes and then modify the amount of time you spend talking about them according to your audience.
  • nobody cares about the state of your colon.
  • stop asking people if they’re planning to get pregnant
  • or married
  • especially if the people you’re speaking to might be anything other than heterosexual
  • try not to use the phrase ‘Not Like Us’ unless you’re prepared to see some eyebrows rise
  • the appropriate response to the attempted suicide of a colleague’s teenaged son is almost anything other than “Kids just don’t seem to have sticking power these days, do they?”
  • stop touching me
  • the printers are not in fact conspiring against you personally.  (Being printers, they conspire against all humans.)
  • having time to binge watch TV on the weekend isn’t a sign of a lack of commitment
  • having interests outside of work, period, is not a sign of a lack of committment
    dedicating 60+ hours a week doesn’t actually make you the most amazing person ever
  • no one is impressed that you eat two meals a day at your desk
  • in fact no one is impressed by your denial of joy, happiness, or excitement, period.
  • yes, you got me.  I totally made up those food intolerances for attention.  Yup.
  • yes.  I am racist against white people…
  • …and sexist against men.  Those are totally things.
  • stop touching me
  • no, I will not share the story behind my tattoo
  • yes, we really do want to be remunerated for our work.  Shocking, I know.
  • that check-out chick you were whinging about probably has a law degree
  • yes, I am motivated by money.  That HECS debt’s not gonna pay itself off, you know.
  • take a tip from the digitally literate: don’t use your work email, which everyone can see, to communicate with recruiters.
  • when sending co-workers porn, keep in mind that your work emails will be reviewed when your company either sues someone or is sued by someone
  • 17:27 is a terrible time to call a secretary in to revise a letter
  • “Can you just…” at 17.27 pm is FUN FOR NOBODY
  • people who don’t have kids or spouses are not inherently less deserving when it comes to picking holiday dates or going home on time
  • the average price of a house now is about fifty years of our life, so it’s great that you paid your mortgage off by working a second job in the 60s, but that shit doesn’t fly any more
  • groceries for a week = half my rent. please ask me again why I don’t own my own house
  • yes, I’m 30 and not married, just like I was last week and the week before, but PLEASE stop trying to set me up with your son, I’m actually quite happy the way I am

Suffice to say, we’ve all been in the workforce for a long time, and have maybe accumulated a tiny bit of resentment.  Just, you know, a bit.

I’ll be good to you, linkspam

A few hours after Stephanie’s linkspam went up on Monday, I was emailing her with more things to post.  So!

Remember that time we shared some lessons from Australian ’90s music?  Vass linked us in her own linkspam, and then she linked this:

The Complete Girlfriend Story: Nothing is Impossible

In which Paul Keating’s pro-Asian policies merge with manufactured pop to create … a really depressing series of failures.

During one of Girlfriends early interviews, a cynical musical journalist asked the girls outright what made them any different from New Kids On The Block. Loau answered “we’ve got tits”, at which point the girls management went into damage control. Loau was gently at first, then much more firmly, reminded of Girlfriends rules. According to Loau, she was reminded not to say tits, bum or any words that indicated Loau knew what sex was, and she was to live in a world of perpetual joy and innocence. It was a reminder to all the girls that Girlfriends image was not to deviate from the squeaky clean, that they were to act as if they didn’t even know what a boyfriend was.

Also from Vass:

The 3 Types of Australian Accents

I actually disagree with this post, mostly because it argues that Julia Gillard has a “general” accent.  If this was true, she wouldn’t have received so much classist abuse for it.  (Note to self: find time to write the massive post about Doctor Who‘s Tegan Jovanka and Julia Gillard and the silencing of women who sound working class.)

But also, I disagree with the premise that Australia doesn’t have regional variations.  There is absolutely a Queensland accent, and even an Ipswich accent.  Not to mention the famously posh stereotypical accents of Adelaide and also Melbourne’s suburbs like Brighton.

And there are also variations for people with non-English speaking backgrounds.  I once worked with a woman who could tell whether a speaker’s family was Greek or Macedonian based on their inflections.

Decolonisation and Dinosaurs — or, the woman who stopped the theft of Mongolia’s fossils.

The Secrets of Star Wars: it’s very important that you know about Star Wars’ almost Australian canon:

After a dinner of “thanta sauce” and “bum-bum extract,” Luke embarks on a long-winded, jargon-filled explanation to his younger brothers about the Force of Others. Originally discovered by a holy man called the Skywalker, the Force is divided into the good half, “Ashla,” and the “paraforce,” called the Bogan. To prevent people with “less strength” from discovering the Bogan, the Skywalker only taught it to his children, who passed it on to theirs.

Passed it on via an old Monaro, we can only assume.

How the Shinkansen bullet train made Tokyo into the monster it is today.

In more Melbunny transport news: Melbourne Bike Cabs; the failure of myki fines; and some stuff about the East West Link (please note that No Award’s official position on the East West Link is yeah nah mate). And also the sad truth about Melbourne’s transport future (spoilers: there won’t be any rail link to Tulla).

More for infrastructure nerds: photographs from the construction of Melbourne’s City Loop.  The official opening in 1981 featured pretty girls in T-shirts and bikini bottoms, because if there’s one thing that needs to be sexy, it’s a rail network.

Are Muslim Women Right To Be Afraid Of Australian Schoolchildren?  First Dog on the Moon is No Award’s favourite cartoonist, although we’re mildly concerned that Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin violates Stephanie’s copyright on her life (eg this old cartoon about the east west link).  But the Dog nails it, as usual.

Normally No Award and MamaMia prefer to politely ignore each other — which is to say that we pointedly ignore MM and they are unaware of our existence — but they ran Jo Qualmann’s piece on being asexual, and we think that’s pretty great.  It’s good to see marginalised voices in the mainstream!  Also, Jo is good friends with Liz’s brother, and we are more than happy to bask in her success.

Do you obsess over the BoM’s reports? As cyclists, No Award does, and so it’s important to understand the changes to how weather will be reported. (It’s not hard)

Also (you can tell Stephanie is currently reading the news sites), evidence (in case you needed it) that Australia’s Commissioner for Human Rights is a dingbat:

Mr Wilson said he does not support banning burkas, but questioned why some women wear it.

“I do find people walking around with full-length or burkas or hijabs or… I always get the different ones confused… confronting, because it is not something that we are used to seeing in Australia,” he told 612 ABC Brisbane.

“I always wonder and question whether people do it voluntarily.”

He said people were “well within their rights” to wear burkas, but “it doesn’t mean I don’t find it confronting”.

Liz notes: by all means, let’s concern troll about the hijab and its variations, while closing down women’s shelters.  That link is from a few months back; I signed a current petition relating to a St Kilda shelter on the weekend, but have managed to forget the link.

(Liz also notes: I am not Muslim, but my stepmother is.  She chooses not to wear a hijab for feminist reasons.  Her sisters choose to wear it … also for feminist reasons. It’s complicated, and we at No Award aren’t interested in playing at being white saviours.)

Finally!  Interesting women of history!  The Empress Dowager Ci’an!

Now, Liz is an educated and historically literate woman, and she grew up in a family with a very strong interest in Asian history.  Yet it was only last week that she discovered that, for twenty years in the nineteenth century, China was ruled by two dowager empresses — Cixi and Ci’an.  It’s the little-known Bitches Get Shit Done Era.

…but seriously, I had never heard of Ci’an until I started reading Jung Chang’s biography of the Empress Dowager Cixi.  Which is great, by the way — not just because it’s interesting, but because Chang is a big old Cixi fangirl, and at least once a chapter she starts ranting about traditional historians erasing Cixi or minimising her achievements, or perpetuating myths about how she and Ci’an hated each other, when in fact they were BFFs.

I paraphrase.  Slightly.

As a general rule I’m wary of revisionist histories (especially when a lot of the primary sources are in a language I can’t read), but Chang’s work here feels solid.  She’s very much writing for a general (and western) audience, but her facts seem reliable.  I expect we’ll hear from Stephanie if she’s made any egregious errors.

Anyway, Cixi is brilliant and clever and vastly under-appreciated by history.  I have some quibbles with the way Chang writes for people who are entirely ignorant of Chinese culture, and substitutes western concepts for actual translations — like “Praetorian Guard” for what I presume are the imperial guards — but I expect Stephanie will be able to speak at more length on that topic when she eventually reads it.  She’s currently, um, “enjoying” some amazingly racist travel writing, so you should send some good thoughts her way, and also vegan cupcakes.  She needs them.

linkspam is the fatberg of the night


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Hey have some feels about the lack of representation of brown people in a movie about EGYPT. ABOUT BROWN PEOPLE. I mean, I adore Geoffrey Rush as much as the next Australian in her early 30s, but never in my entire life did I imagine him as Ra the Sun God. If Geoffrey Rush can be Ra, why can’t I? All lead actors in The Gods of Egypt will be white by Ruby Hamad (an awesome writer)

Lian Low has written part 1 of 3 about the Inaugural Asia Pacific Writers Forum at this year’s Melbourne Writer’s Festival! Stay tuned to Peril for life, but also for further parts!

List of complaints against Beyond Blue campaign dismissed by ASB.

Hey there is some shit going down with the way that Muslim Australians are currently being terrorised, targeted and treated, and it is not cool.

On Numan Haider at SBS (I’m not typing out that headline and you can’t make me)

Three fans ‘humiliated’ by police treatment at Roosters-Cowboys match

A quick recap of all the times Australia treated Muslims like complete garbage (last) week at Junkee.

On the security stuff: Journalists and whistle blowers will go to jail under new national security laws; #heyasio (the only thing that got me through Friday).

Important info on FATBERGS: How bad are they; an Oxford ‘out of control’ fatberg (in April) was threatening homes. HOMES. More recently, Richmond (in Twickenham) was named a fatberg HOTSPOT. We can only aspire to that sort of ecological horror, I suppose. Good thing we have a Great Barrier Reef to ruin.

Liz wants to link us to ‘Is Agents of Shield really an interracial family show?’ Liz is appropriately embarrassed about watching Agents of Shield, but in her heart Melinda May hangs out with Lin Beifong and they trade stories about being reluctant mentors to young women, so that’s okay.

At Kill Your Darlings: Oversharing is caring: the rise of the twenty-something memoir.

SURPRISE: The AFL has a racism, sexism, and homophobia problem.

Busted flush: corruption in Queensland at Overland.

No Award loves infrastructure: The weird afterlife of the world’s subterranean ‘ghost stations’

The Australian Women’s Writers Challenge has a series at the moment, focusing on women writers with a disability. Check it out!

Also on disability, Liz on her tumblr points out a case of disability policing by those who are not really in a position to do so.

The emotion involved in caring for a parent with Younger Onset Dementia at the Dementia Research Foundation.

THINGS TO ATTEND (Melbs only; please submit links to No Award for anything else that might be of interest/relevance) (neither of these are things we have been asked to promote, Steph is just interested in them):

Key of Sea at The Wheeler Centre (free; this Wednesday at 6:15) (Steph will definitely be at this)

Join us for an emotional night of storytelling and song. The Key of Sea produces creative projects – albums and journals – that celebrate Australia’s cultural diversity. The albums pair established artists with musicians escaping war, hardship or persecution.

In this intimate evening, we’ll hear from Danny Katz, Oslo Davis, Alice Pung, Zakia Baig, Awaz and Murtaza, as they share their work. All proceeds of album and journal sales on the night will go to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

The Privacy Workshop ($65/$45; 17 October)

The Privacy Workshop is a world class symposium on digital privacy, rights, and access. A range of respected speakers and thought leaders will gather in Melbourne, Australia, for a day of exceptional discourse through lectures, workshops and panel discussions.

a family situation of dementia



September is Dementia Awareness Month, and I was in the office when I started crying.

We don’t really talk any more because there’s not a lot she has to say. If she does talk to me, it’s usually to ask, “Can you help me? Is today Friday or Wednesday?”

The saddest part has been losing the person you go to when your world falls apart. No matter how old they get, a lot of girls think, “Mum will know how to fix that.”


I was a daddy’s girl, growing up. I tagged along with my dad to train shows and plane shows; we walked on ahead of my mum and my sister on family bushwalks and stomped on ant nests together; we’d look at books of airplane schematics and exchange thick spy novels and murder mysteries.

A few years ago, my father started to change. He was a little slower; a little angrier. He made wildly out of character accusations (but not completely out of character. Just enough). He stopped answering questions.

When I was seven, his parents died. They both had degenerative mental illnesses when they went and, oh, how I was ready for this day. I have been ready since I was seven.


When daddy got the diagnosis, I was told (not by my dad) not to talk about it. Nobody needs to know. But now that it’s a part of our daily lives I’ve overruled that request more times than I can say, so many times that I don’t even try to hide it any more. When people ask ‘how was your trip to Perth?’ or ‘how are your parents?’, I tell the truth. “Dad has Alzheimer’s,” I say, if they don’t already know. “And we’re getting by.”

I talk about the ups and the downs. I talk about his slowness and his distance. I talk about the toll it’s taking on my mother, his primary caregiver; on my sister, for whom he now plays up, like a child. I talk about how he needs to be told what to do, sometimes, but how I don’t want to take away his autonomy and I don’t know how to balance that. I talk about how my family is struggling and I’m 3000 kilometres away, but I worked hard for this life and I’m not sure I’m willing to give it up.

I talk about how I’m Chinese and Chinese daughters don’t put their fathers in homes; how can I be a good Chinese daughter if I even think about it? But my dad’s not Chinese, so does that mean I can?


Instead of moving back to Perth, right now the compromise is flying there once every 4-6 weeks. I rearrange my work week and I go straight from the office to Tullamarine and from there into four days of family time, giving my mum some breathing space and my sister some room. And I sit beside my father, asking questions and paying attention, letting him be ‘naughty’ but not too far, not far enough to hurt himself. Which he sometimes does. Late on Monday, I fly back to Melbourne, tumble into bed in time for a 7am wake up and back to work.

I thought I’d been open about it, talking about it despite the anguish burning inside, the shame nibbling at the edges. But still my friends ask how my visit home was, genuinely expecting to find it was a fun holiday in the sun and sand. Still other friends ask me to spend time with them in Perth, as if I’m there with moments to spare. So I’m obviously not talking enough.


I was walking through Flinders Street Station on Friday, and saw a bunch of people handing out things. They’re things for September, their blue declaring that it’s Dementia Awareness Month. By Friday, I’d been back from my most recent visit to Perth by three and a half days, and I was exhausted because I hadn’t had a weekend for a while. And there they were, raising awareness about dementia.

My dad has Alzheimer’s. And when I started telling people that he has it, there’s always someone who has been touched by it, too. The woman I call Nan (not my actual Nan). My friend Nic. People at work, who understand when I suddenly disappear to take a half hour call from a family member.

Maybe I’ll get it, too. Maybe I won’t. But if we talk about it, maybe we’ll all be a little better prepared.


What’s really important to me is that we get to treat my dad (and others, of course, with dementia) in a way that respects them, in a way that still allows them autonomy and decision-making. Sometimes I catch myself talking to him as if he doesn’t understand, and it’s not that; he’s just changing, and I can accommodate that.

People with dementia often feel isolated, because they don’t get visited so much – a person with dementia can be confronting, and scary for a host of reasons. But that’s why I want to talk about it. I’m always trying to get people to visit my dad when I can’t be there, and being with my dad all the time is wearying on my mum and my sister.

Alzheimer’s Australia has a bunch of dementia-friendly resources for creating a dementia-friendly Australia.

I’m super into dementia enabling environments (the subtle changes I plan to make on my next visit to the family home are not major but they will, I hope, help).


For example, she says a recent survey showed over 50 percent of Australians think a person with dementia can’t have a meaningful conversation.

“We really need to challenge that, so we would encourage more understanding about the function of the brain, that the messages are just not getting through with dementia,” Mary says.

“So we would try and encourage people to understand some of those behaviours, to take it quietly, to slow things down, and people will understand, to just give people time to respond.”

David and Lennyce both encourage carers and people who have recently been diagnosed with dementia to access all available services, educate themselves and attend support groups.


It’s hard going, but I have hope.

[a photo of me and my dad is going to go here later. but it turns out i don't have any electronically, and isn't that an interesting thing]

Letters to NA, the Prime Ministerial Edition


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Dear No Award,

The Governor-General is avoiding me and I just caught Malcolm Fraser measuring the curtain rods in the Lodge.  Is this a sign from the universe that I should totally go ahead and borrow money from those totally-not-shady Middle Eastern dudes?

Yours, Gough


Dear No Award,

I really love swimming, but my staff think I go too often. Do they really care about my health, or are they just being ninnies?

Yours, H.H.


Dear No-Award,

The PM won’t return my calls and is pretending that we didn’t pinky-swear about the PMship in Kirribilli that one time. How do I make him step aside?

Yours faithfully,



Dear No Award,

I have a plan for fighting the Depression, which is an excellent plan, and much better than the Melbourne Plan, which is silly because it comes from Melbourne not Sydney.  In the event that the Governor of NSW sacks me, would you recommend getting the NSW Police to fight the army?

Sincerely, Jack Lang, The Big Fella


Dear No-Award,

The PM won’t return my calls and is pretending that we didn’t pinky-swear about the PMship in Kirribilli that one time. How do I make him step aside?

Yours faithfully,



No Award 亲爱的,如果我被解雇,几年可以败坏而且我的替补员还有我的政党,因此摧毁,好不好?K07

[Dear No Award,

In the event that I'm fired, is it reasonable to spend the next few years undermining my replacement and my party, leaving it in a shambles?



Dear NA,

Are you there, God? It’s me, Tony.


Dear No Award,

There’s no possibility that history will judge my government’s policy of limiting immigration to white people, is there?

Yours faithfully,

Edmund Barton


Dear No-Award,

My opposition to the Japanese racial equality proposal at the Paris peace conference after WWI won’t have any lasting repercussions for Australia, will it? I’m pretty confident about this one, ngl.


Billy “That Pestiferous Varmint” Hughes


Dear No Award,

Look, I just think that Hitler guy isn’t so bad.  Sure, he invaded Poland, but who needs Poland?  Nazism has its good points, though it’s all a bit too foreign and weird.  Do you think I should keep urging England to keep on appeasing Germany?

Hugs and kisses,


PS, I’ve been thinking about using nuclear weapons to dredge harbours. That couldn’t have any side effects, could it? Best.


Dear No Award,

Some dickhead keeps lighting lanterns on hills in Bathurst. Is there anything I can do to stop the bastard?


Ben Chifley


Dear No Award,

I really want to become Australia’s most effective yet least popular PriPrime Minister Julia Gillard and Governor General Quentin Bryce toast the Centenary of Canberra. Photo: Andrew Meares  stolen from the SMH webpageme Minister yet. Should I start by being a woman or calling the Opposition Leader a misogynist in parliament?

All the best, Julia


Dear No Award,

It looks like there’s going to be a war, and I’m feeling a bit neglected by HH. Thinking about hooking our great nation to that charming Roosevelt inspite of the objections of a whole lot of losers. I’m also going to introduce unpopular but socially and racially progressive politics during a time of upheaval. This can’t end badly, can it?

Best Regards,

John Curtin


Bonus Premiers:

Dear NA,

Someone seems to be coming along in the middle of the night and smashing up all the heritage buildings in Brisbane.  Unfortunately, the noise attracts protesters.  How many cracked skulls will shut that nonsense down?



Dear No Award,

I’m worried my legacy won’t uphold itself after I’ve gone. I’d really like to build something in my image, that really speaks to me. I love my mancave back in my house, so what about giving the state a really gigantic shed?

Love lots, Jeff.


Dear NA,

I can’t recall.



And here’s the thing that started it all:


Royal Commission resumes

Former PM Gillard has returned to the witness box, where she’s facing questions over renovations she made on her home in 1993 – allegedly funded by money from the union slush fund.

Gillard has just told the commission that she went to Queensland for a holiday, and that while she was away, her then-boyfriend Bruce Wilson “commenced with a group of friends demolishing the bathroom”.

Gillard had apparently been talking about renovating the bathroom for months. “BruceWilson obviously thought I should get on with it and created circumstances where I had to get on with it,” she said.

“By the time I came back the bathroom had been demolished so I had no option but to get the rest of the renovations done.”

To which NA respectfully replies: dump that bastard, and you too can become PM of Australia.

This post was constructed with assistance from noted Fatberg Zoe (again. She’s pretty gold).

the fatberg of melbourne


, , ,

In early September, Fatberg Fever gripped Melbourne, after the announcement of a Fatberg discovered by Yarra Valley Water in February.

Fatbergs are a serious problem, and one about which Stephanie, as an environmental professional, is qualified to speak.

SOME FACTS ABOUT FATBERGS and your drain system:

  • A fatberg is caused when fat, grease and oils smush together and block pipes. It’s kind of like fat in your arteries, but it’s the arteries of your city!
  • The problem is compounded by increased waste generation in urban centre.
  • Improper waste disposal is a sin! (And also a crime)
  • Things that you can’t put down the toilet or the sink: wet wipes; tissues; pads and tampons; condoms; oil; nappies WHY WOULD YOU EVEN WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, plastics, paint.
  • Things that you shouldn’t put down the sink: food scraps.
  • Fatbergs could possibly be a source of biofuels, but do not try to create one in order to find out.
  • The biggest fatberg ever found was under London, the size of a 747.

Stormwater drains go straight into the sea/river/ocean/bay. There are not consistently filter systems. Drains are different, but not that much different, as demonstrated by Fatberg.

My favourite quote ever is this one, from David Snadden of Yarra Valley Water:

“We all know where number ones and number twos should go, but there is no such thing as a number three, so please do not put anything else down the drain.”


If you want to see some pictures, check them out here – I won’t gross out NA readers by subjecting you without warning.

Our love of Fatbergs is so strong, music happened:



“Fatberging across the universe, on the starship Fatberg, under captain weaves!”

In conjunction with some friends and a need to avoid work, here is an ode to the Fatberg, written by noted Fatberg Zoe:

In sleep it blurbs to me
In dreams it came
That berg which calls to me and blurbed my name
And do I dream again for now I find
The fatberg of the city is there
Inside the drain

Blurble once again with me
Our strange duet
My power over you grows stronger yet
And though you turn from me to glance behind
The fatberg of the city is there
Inside the drain.

Those who have seen your fat
Draw back in fear
I am the fat you wear
It’s me they hear…

Your/My foodscraps and my/your fat in one combined
The fatberg of the city is there/here
Inside my/your drain

It’s there, the fatberg of the city!
Beware, the fatberg of the city!
It’s there, the fatberg of the city!
Beware the fatberg of the city!

In all your fantasies, you always knew
that blob and blurbleness
Were both in you
And in this drainage pipe
where fat is blind
the fatberg of the city is there
inside the drain

it’s there, the fatberg of the city

squiiiiiiidge, my fatberg of sewerage
squiiiiiidge, my fatberg
squiiiiiiidge for me

squiiiiiidge, my fatberg!
squiiiiiiidge for me!

Good day, No Award. Please watch what you throw down the sink, toilet, and stormwater drains. Your city thanks you. 


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