IF a person’s sole source of income is the taxpayer, the person, as a condition of benefit, must have contraception. No contraception, no benefit.
This is not an affront to single mothers or absent fathers, or struggling parents. Such a measure will undoubtedly affect strugglers, it undoubtedly will affect Aboriginal and Islander people in great proportions, but the idea that someone can have the taxpayer, as of right, fund the choice to have a child is repugnant.
Are you laughing? I’m laughing. In horror. This opinion piece is repugnant (thanks, pal) and also amazing, in that it accurately pinpoints who will be targeted but uses that classic argument, ‘I’m not racist’ or ‘I’ve got a brown friend who says it’s okay.’
Eugenics is never okay. Saying people who are poor can’t procreate is eugenics. Saying this policy will impact ATSI people and they won’t be able to procreate is eugenics. That it can list things that might contribute to terrible domestic situations and say the answer is contraception, rather than government services, counselling, and support; that’s eugenics. Woooo good SOSE lesson, everyone.
Ignore those quotation marks, as if maybe it wasn’t a racist portrayal but Ch7 sure has lost the legal battle. Because it sure was a racist portrayal.
Raffaele claimed that the Suruwaha believe that children born with birth defects or born to a single mother “are evil spirits and should be killed in the most gruesome way possible”.
“They take these poor little innocent babes out into the jungle to be eaten alive by the wild beasts or jaguars or they bury them alive, this is one of the worst human rights violations in the world,” he said.
In his federal court judgement Justice Buchanan backed Acma’s original report when he said he found the statements made by Noonan and Raffaele “would be likely to provoke or perpetuate intense dislike and serious contempt of and for the Suruwaha tribe and its members on account of their practices and beliefs”.
Here at No Award we talk a lot about representation and culture, and that’s not just because we like media (we love media). It’s because representation matters, as Buchanan J has handily summed up here. Attitudes are influenced by representation, especially when we’re talking about representation of a minority. It’s irresponsible and basically a hate crime to act any other way.
I’m not really much of a Banjo Paterson fan — he comes across as a sort of discount store Rudyard Kipling, and I’ve never really liked his poetry either. But when you skim through his work it jumps out that Waltzing Matilda is a really, really odd poem. And the idea I can’t get out of my head is that it’s not really about a minor skirmish between white pastoralists at all: it’s about this country’s founding conflict between black and white.
Roll around in Australia’s racist history, my friends. Understand it. Remember it. Know that it’s still here with us, infecting us every day.
Relatedly, you should be following #blackfullafacts, even if you’re not Australian, definitely if you’re not Indigenous Australian. Some of it’s fun knowledge, some of it’s terrible knowledge, all of it’s important knowledge of Indigenous Australians.
Welcome to a four day weekend (for some) and some public holiday pay (for others) and Christmas (for also some), Bilbies and Quokkas and visitors from across the seas! Stephanie is in Perth, and Liz is in Melbourne, and from 3500 kilometres apart we bring you this Christmas Public Holiday No Award Specialganza, before lunch and then the traditional nap.
A No Award pet hate: dumping things at Op Shops. Remember that if you wouldn’t give it to a friend, you shouldn’t give it to an op shop, because it costs millions of dollars for those oppies to dispose of your shit.
Australia’s transplanted Christmas will never stop being surreal, which just keeps showing how little it belongs. Steph isn’t sure how she feels about the chat about childhood being a time of magic and how adults cram all the magic in to childhood before we lose it, which is frankly bull because Chinese adults believe in magic their whole lives, have you met her, but she likes the rest of it. (Related, Christine Anu has released an album of Christmas songs with no mention of snow, Island Christmas, which Steph desperately wants to listen to, because it seems relevant to interests of colonisation and what is australian and identity and etc)
Well, you know, it is very important to do the right thing by families and households,” Mr Abbott replied. “As many of us know, women are particularly focused on the household budget and the repeal of the carbon tax means a $550 a year benefit for the average family.
North Korea is not funny. It is hard to imagine a comparable comedy emerging about quirky Islamic State slavers or amusing and “complicated” genocidaires in the Central African Republic. The suffering in question is happening now, as I write.
The day will soon come when North Koreans are finally free, and liberated concentration camp survivors will have to learn that the world was more interested in the oddities of the oppressors than the torment of the oppressed.
Stella Young, disability activist, writer, comedian and all around heroine, sadly passed away recently. No Award admired her fiercely, but didn’t know her. But we’re fairly sure she would have had something to say about the plan to yarnbomb a wheelchair ramp in her honour.
Just so we’re clear, a layer of wool is not going to make a wheelchair ramp accessible. More like the opposite. Yarn bombing is terrible anyway, but covering an accessibility device is just … Liz doesn’t even have words.
(And it’s not just ramps! When Liz is tired and in pain and grumpy, the last thing she wants is to find that all the seats are covered in mouldy, wet wool. Looking at you, Moreland City Council.)
The event was scheduled for Saturday, and the Facebook page seems to have vanished, so maybe it didn’t go ahead. Let’s hope not, anyway.
Nice Doesn’t Pay the Bills – as occasional contributors to The Toast, we at No Award were dismayed to learn last week that their contracts are a bit dodgy. (How did we not know that before? Shut up, we’re Australians working in a US market.) Natalie Luhrs points out the implications of the problems, and the assumption that just because Mallory Ortberg and her team are really cool people, that means The Toast will always be a really cool market.
The lady vanishes – did someone say reprints of a once-popular, now obscure Melbourne author whose proto-feminist murder mysteries are back in print? This is from a few months ago, but Liz only just discovered Murder in the Telephone Exchange yesterday. Why yes, she is now nagging her library to get all of June Wright’s books.
Christian Leaders Strip-Searched Over Political Prayer Vigil. Liz has been watching Love Makes A Way, a multi-religious (but mostly Christian) movement that protests against our asylum seeker policy by praying in politicians’ electoral offices and getting arrested a lot. (As a general rule, Liz does not approve of prayer as public performance, but this is one of those times where an exception is made.)
This week, the protesters were not only arrested, but strip searched, denied access to legal advice, and had their Bibles confiscated. The strip search and denial of legal rights happens a lot in Australia, and I don’t want to seem like I’m particularly up in arms because it’s happening to middle class white people, but it was … surprising and unexpected. And confiscating the Bibles is another degree of bizarre all together.
Anyway, Liz supports Love Makes A Way, and also hopes that this has a side effect of drawing attention to problems with treatment of prisoners in general. (Also, Liz has been known to say snarky things about Pentecostals, prosperity gospels and hypocrisy, and would do well to remember that a couple of Pentecostal leaders were arrested this week.)
Stella Young passed away on the weekend. She was loud and honest and an amazing advocate for people with disabilities, especially young ones. She told some incredibly graphic sex jokes. Here is a list of great things and articles both about her and by her.
A Spinster’s Holiday Gift Guide: What To Buy For The Woman Who Loves Solitude (Liz draws the line at The Secret History of the Mongol Queens, which is interesting, and also the only pop history on the subject in the English language, but is also not very good. Sorry.) (Steph says, don’t be sorry. It’s a terrible book that I would have thrown across the train but I was in a carriage of the Beijing subway at the time on my way to work, so that seemed like a bad idea)
This was meant to be a joke but somehow it became genuine. An actual guide! Go forth and find therapists, Azns of Australia. Medicare will pay for it, so at least your parents won’t worry about the expense.
Your therapist will be white. This is okay. They can still be of use to you.
When they say ‘magical thinking’, what they mean is, that thing where your mum tells you not to say a thing out loud, because the spirit of that thing will come for you. Do not believe the therapist when they say you have to stop not saying it (but you can say it in your head. That’s okay. Name that thing) (But don’t say it out loud, come on, you don’t want the spirit of that thing to find you).
Therapists almost always practice in old houses. They are probably haunted, but white ghosts can’t hurt you. Do not be afraid. The ghost will take the therapist and any other clients well before they get to you.
They won’t force you to make eye contact. That’s totally a myth. If they do, find a new therapist.
You are not the only Asian Australian with a therapist. I promise. There’s me, at least.
The things that make you specifically your ethnicity are not the problem. You don’t have to become more Australian (“Australian”) to deal with your very real problems.
Your parents will say: are you telling this person our private family issues? (Yes) But they’re private family issues. (Yes) Are you sick? (Your answer may vary) Does anyone you know see you? (Doesn’t matter) What do you mean, your friends know you go to therapy? (My friends know I go to therapy) Do they know there’s something wrong? (They’re my friends, Ma, Ba!)
You may be struck with how some treatments seem like cultural appropriation, particularly around mindfulness and meditation. Yep.
Your therapist might suggest more independence from your family. Feel free to think about the concepts suggested, but remember that you’re Azn and your therapist is not necessarily culturally appropriate.
You will have to explain the following things: family context; family structure; extended family structure; your interdependence on your family; what being Asian means.
Specifically on mindfulness: you will probably learn how to do this. I find mindfulness helpful. But I sit less with my emotions, because identifying individual emotions is hard, and more with paying attention to my surroundings.
On emotions: I have been known to literally start conversations with ‘I need to tell you a thing and I need you not to react.’ This is probably more Chinese hyphen specific, but that’s because emotions are hard and I’ve definitely grown up not expected to share them. My therapist thinks this is because I’m hiding from my emotions, but in my context you can receive comfort without sharing specifics. Other East Asians may find a familiarity in this.
UGH EMOTIONS. WHY.
You might need meds. You might not. Either is fine.
There’s a post going around Tumblr at the moment, about how hard it is to buy for people who don’t have obsessions. AND IT’S TRUE. It was a good day for Liz when her mother got sucked into Game of Thrones — the DVDs should keep us going for a few Christmases yet.
Well, No Award is here to help. What follows is a list of things we already own and think are great, or that we’d appreciate finding under a tree and think others would too, and maybe even a few things we couldn’t care less about, but seem like they might be hypothetically appealing to others. All prices are in Australian dollars.
We aren’t into dividing gifts by gender (sorry, Tony Abbott OH WAIT NO WE’RE NOT), but the alcohol probably isn’t appropriate for all ages, so we’re dividing the diverse and complex human race into two categories:
Tiny People Who Are Still Developing Cognitive and Motor Skills
Blahaj. “Soft toy, shark” says the IKEA website. And yes, that’s true, but Blahaj is SO MUCH MORE. It’s the ideal gift for a child small enough to be HILARIOUSLY ADORABLE while walking around with a stuffed shark of approximately equal size, but it also makes the perfect housewarming gift for … well, anyone. Get one. Get six. $24.99 at IKEA. (Steph notes: Blahaj’s predecessor, Klapparhaj, was only 19.99 and I am OUTRAGED at this inflation. Also note that my house contains both Blahaj and Klapparhaj)
Also, IKEA has a pretty great range of toys in general, including soft dolls that aren’t white. Or golliwogs.
If you’d rather something more geographically appropriate, you may also buy a shark from your local capital city aquarium (please note: No Award doesn’t necessarily endorse aquariums, but we do patronise their shops).
Crystal Growing Kit. No lie, Liz would have murdered for this when she was small. $16.95 at Australian Geographic. (Australian Geographic is full of cool and interesting science-related gifts, and although some have pink packaging, it doesn’t seem to be strongly gendered.)
Larger People Who Have The Motor Skills Down But Are Still, You Know, Growing And Learning Every Day, But More Importantly, Can Legally Be Given Alcohol
Bonus points if the alcohol is cephalopod themed.
Stephanie is a big believer in hot toddies; Liz is a big believer in cephalopods. So we both rate Kraken Rum pretty highly. Also, it’s actually good, if you’re into dark spiced rum. Which we are. Please enjoy your cephalopod-themed alcohol responsibly. About $50 per 700mL bottle.
Now, Liz has a confession to make. Remember how she managed to blog about every single terrible episode of Secrets & Lies? Well, she followed that with the clever and charming Gods of Wheat Street, but it was so good, she had too many feels to encapsulate them into a post.
And that’s terrible, because Gods not only represents a rare Australian foray into the magical realism genre, but it does so with a majority Indigenous cast. The blurb:
Odin Freeburn, head of the family, is being pulled in all directions as he tries to keep his family together. Odin has one brother in jail, another brother is in love with the daughter of the family enemy and his wife has run away to the city leaving him to raise their two daughters.
To complicate matters, his employer has just died, his sister-in-law is in love with him and the spirit of his mother Eden has come back on a mission to protect the important destiny of the Freeburn family line.
And, really, that’s about it, but what more do you need? Family drama, a ghost, some criminal shenanigans. It’s well-written and funny, and also heartbreaking, and also Electra is one of my favourite female characters ever. Also Shari Sebbens wears this amazing dress with an avocado pattern. I can’t tell you how much I want an avocado dress. Currently on sale for $19.99 at the ABC Shop!
Liz and her mum both recommend Janet King, another recent ABC drama ($24.98 at JB Hi-Fi). It’s a thriller/mystery about a Crown Prosecutor who comes back from maternity leave and plunges straight into a conspiracy that reaches the very top of NSW politics. (And it’s NSW politics — frankly anything seems plausible.) Some material may be triggery for people who have issues around sexual abuse, child abuse and the judicial system.
Pretty much anything from the First Shop on the Moonwould make an amazing gift. The ideal gift for the civil disobedience penguin in your life. But enough about Stephanie.
For the well-dressed cyclist in your life, Captain Robbo’s Adventure Pants ($90) or anything from Tread & Pedals. Adventure Pants are handprinted by Captain Robbo, super comfortable, and stress tested by Stephanie when she was doored by a car on Hampden Road to definitely help save your knees. Comes in cephalopod patterns. Tread & Pedals are based in Melbourne and are upcycled bicycle parts jewellery and clocks and things. Awesome cufflinks from chains, bracelets made of spokes (Steph owns three of the latter and loves them).
Did you just laugh mirthlessly at the idea of being able to afford two new release books in Australia? Liz wishes to point out that Kobo does gift vouchers. (Liz personally prefers Kobo devices over other ereaders as they will support DRM-free ebooks in a range of formats, unlike certain other readers, Kindle.)
(Amazon also do gift cards. Sometimes you have to compromise your principles in order to get that ebook you were chasing for less than $30.)
A gift that transcends borders (as well as time and space) is Australian audio SF drama/comedy Night Terrors, a sort of Australian remix of Doctor Who, but with more female characters, puns, and a Harold Holt joke in the second episode that made Liz hit pause and frantically text Stephanie.
Back in the book department, Liz and Steph both enjoyed/are enjoying Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie($19.99 at Readings), despite the fact that even a book about a culture without gender manages to have an entitled male-bodied douchebag stealing oxygen. If you don’t have anything nice to say about Seivarden, come and sit by us. But also buy it for the intellectual space opera fan in your life.
Gifts For People You Don’t Really Want To Give Gifts To
Maybe you drew the tedious sister-in-law in the family Kris Kringle. (Disclaimer: Liz’s sister-in-law is great.) Maybe you’ve pulled your boss in the office Secret Santa. Maybe you’re just a troll. Here’s some suggestions!
– Remember, in year seven, we converted tea towels into plastic bag holders? That. Remember to wash the tea towel first! (Or not.)
No Award takes no responsibility for any family or office feuds that may arise out of these gifts. Do not give bacon-flavoured vodka to vegans. In very few workplaces is it acceptable or appropriate to give a sex toy to a colleague.
Here at No Award, we embrace and promote conscious consumption (and Steph is always willing to talk about it because that’s her job and she loves it). In The Bottom Line: Patagonia, North Face, and the Myth of Green Consumerism, you can have a read about winter sporting wear Patagonia’s business practice of minimising consumer purchasing as part of an overall strategy to make our society less disposable. BASICALLY THE BEST. It might not work as a strategy right now, but it’s pretty great.
It is worth noting at this point that Macdonald, who is both Australia’s longest-standing current Senator and a fully-grown man, is perfectly happy to stand in a chamber of Parliament and loudly advertise that he is literally sponsored by a corporation.
New Atheism, Old Empire – examining the way New Atheism just coincidentally overlaps with fascism and imperialism. Warning for violent language in the quotes.
Tansy Rayner Roberts asks, Does Sex Make Science Fiction Soft? A look at SF’s traditional wariness of romance, the division between “soft” and “hard” SF, sexism and intersectionality, and there’s also a reading list which might even inspire Liz to try once again to read romance.
On many levels Hating Alison Ashley is a farce of character. Erica Yurken is rude, self-centred and intoxicatingly megalomaniacal. Her delusions of grandeur are completely at odds with her life at Barringa East Primary School – a school of such disrepute that Erica laments its sole mention in the local newspaper, which occurred when a classroom burned down prompting the headline ‘Arson Suspected at Barringa East Primary’. In Erica’s Barringa East we see shades of Porpoise Spit, the depression-inducing town from the classic Australian film Muriel’s Wedding.
(a) I can’t believe Hating Alison Ashley is 30 years old; (b) that means it was already eight years old when I first read it, yet it felt totally fresh to my childhood eyes; (c) let’s pretend the movie — which transplanted the story to a high school and featured my nemesis Delta Goodrem in the title role — never happened; (d) I didn’t know that Robin Klein has suffered a stroke and can no longer speak or write — that’s very sad; (e) with details like Erica’s mother being a proud welfare cheat, I wonder how modern kids perceive this book?
lovingly inspired by the beautiful delights at the toast, and cos the fame went to our heads following OZTEN, stephanie and hayley are proud to bring you a series: ratbags and figjams of australia. in this first instalment, we bring you the epic battle between literary giants banjo paterson and henry lawson.
australia: hey banjo we need a new poem to reflect burgeoning Australian values
bpattz: here i wrote a thing about horse thieves
that’s not really what we meant
what’s more Australian than horse thieves
bpattz: I KNOW
henry lawson: fuck you, banjo
fuck you and your romanticised pastoral poetry landscapes
i’m gonna write about union strikes you unaustralian sheepsballs
bpattz: hey lawson
who’s published by his mother and is poor as shit
bpattz: oh that’s right you’re deaf, bugger i’m going to have to telegram this
henry lawson: what kind of a nickname is ‘banjo’ anyway
if he was a real literary giant he would have gone with an instrument of class and grace
bpattz: hey hey what’s the postie left for me today
who the fuck is ‘euphonium lawson’?
bpattz: what why is lawson australia’s greatest short story writer what the fuck have you guys never even read clancy?
the bulletin: congratulations on the critical success of the drover’s wife, henry
lawson: thank you. i’m glad the public has embraced a realistic vision of rural australia even if it is super depressing
bpattz: hey hey who just made a squillion pre-federation dollars writing a bunch of jaunty songs about how ace bush australia is?
lawson: oh god
bpattz: have you city boys even ever seen a billabong?
bpattz: okay okay i’ve got it i know what i can write about next
bpattz: wait now that i’m a war correspondent and a captain i’m gonna write about war and HORSES
HORSES ON BOATS
lawson: so turns out having bad publishing deals means you end up an alcoholic and serving gaol terms for being unable to pay child maintenance
bpattz: hey hey lawson you know what you should do?
sing one of your songs
you mean there’s none?
shame *whistles waltzing matilda*
lawson: dies, 1922, aged 55
bpattz: who’s a jolly fucking jumbuck now
australia: to honour henry lawson, one of our finest writers, let us put him on the $10 note
australia: …actually now that we have plastic money let’s put banjo on the $10
ghost bpattz: ahaha, go hang on a hoist