The Tampa children 12 years on – refugees in Australia

The Tampa children 12 years on - refugees in Australia

These are the Tampa children and their families Australia rejected 12 years ago.

These are the kind of refugees we keep rejecting now, with the government we elected (not me, but perhaps some of you?!)

It’s not only a shame but also a huge missed opportunity for Australia.

Enjoy the article, the video and the photos. It’s unexpected for me to use a Herald Sun link here, but there you go, sometimes, on the rare occasion, it manages to depict human realities quite well.

‘Done with Sydney’ event culture’ – Overland

'Done with Sydney' event culture' - Overland

A well written critical look at Sydney’s ‘event culture’ and the corporatisation of our experience. Some very good points about social inequality in Sydney!

“The story of James Packer’s VIP- only casino on one of the world’s most beautiful pieces of land at Barangaroo is surely the story of this city and its approach to urban equality. As the rest of the city is faced with impending lock-downs, mandatory sentences and the inability to buy a drink from a bottle shop after 10pm, the transnational elites gambling at Barangaroo casino are to be exempted. The proposition of the NSW Police determining my fate on a night out is a far scarier prospect than the statistically decreasing prospect of any ‘king hit’. As Adam Brereton wrote in the Guardian recently: ‘the way we drink (and take drugs) is, and will always be, about how much freedom we have to assemble.’ Or as HG Nelson once asked: ‘where are the sniffer dogs on the ARIA red carpet?’

So amongst the moral panic, explicit violence and constant service failures, there is a human bravery in catching public transport to Centennial Park from Hurstville, Cabramatta, Parramatta or Cronulla on a Sunday night for Tropfest. And what were the brave confronted with when they arrived? In the first instance they were bombarded with the loud assertion from a man in a hat that this WAS ‘the greatest and biggest short film festival in the world!!!!’ (Cannes, etc. anyone?) They were intoned to cheer at nothing so that TV sound crews could create the illusion of atmosphere. After spending too much money for a drink, they settled onto their picnic rugs only to have to endure eight short ‘films’ from Qantas extolling their virtues as our national airline and the ‘uniqueness’ of our land. The audience were then commanded to ‘tweet!’, to ‘hashtag!’ to ‘experience!’, as long as whatever they did fit the orchestrated imagining of ‘fun’ and ‘frivolity’. (My friend’s tweet that Qantas should have commissioned short films to follow the lives of the thousand workers just laid off never made it into the discussion). They were then forced to witness a piece of postcolonial military propaganda, a film that reduced the Afghani people (evacuated of all agency or history) to a reminder of our own good luck to be at Tropfest.”

The working poor of Academia

The working poor of Academia

Recently an American woman in her 80s died suddenly. She had no health benefits, no superannuation, no money. She wasn’t homeless or even without education or a profession. In fact, she was an adjunct professor at a university.

This story demonstrates the insidious tendency of universities employing academics under conditions that perhaps only non-educated fast food workers and the homeless endure. This maybe an American story but Australis is heading in the same direction with more than half of undergraduate teaching carried out by poorly paid postgrads, casuals of all sorts, part-timers and those on non-tenure track positions.

They are the dirty little secret of contemporary higher education. While universities tell students that getting educated is a ticket to a better life, those who are doing the teaching are sometimes destitute or frustrated to the max because recourse and change are impossible and they have wasted decades of their lives acquiring an education and a doctorate that leads to no decent professional life, sometimes not even a humane one.

“The dirty little secret is that higher education is staffed with an insufficiently resourced, egregiously exploited, contingent “new faculty majority.” In addition to the 49.3% of faculty in part-time positions (70% in community colleges), another 19% are full-time, nontenure-track. (These numbers do not include graduate assistants or postdocs.)

Adjunct professors, like many hard-working Americans, are the working poor. They are one step away from “We don’t need your services anymore” or one medical emergency away from being destitute, like Vojtko.”

Rhodes: Adjunct profs the new working poor

This is not the sign of a decent, rich, self-respecting or civil society.