Bright futures: collaborative research opportunities through the Monash Arts Faculty

Advance your organisation’s goals and contribute towards your future success by joining with us to advance research excellence in the humanities and social sciences. Recent Australian Research Council (ARC) funding success at the Monash Arts Faculty demonstrates the excellence in collaborative research opportunities supported by our University. 

Research success by the Monash Arts Faculty

The Monash University Arts Faculty is pleased to announce a large number of successful and outstanding Australian Research Council (ARC) funding applications in 2013. As a result of these achievements, Monash Arts researchers have exciting plans to conduct research that will have a major social, cultural, economic and political impact.

ARC funding awarded within Monash Arts includes 10 successful ARC Discovery Projects, 1 Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA), 1 Future Fellowship and 2 Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRAs). Further, with the Monash Arts Faculty as the Administering Organisation (AO), there were an additional 7 grants that were accrued in the recent ARC results.

Up by nearly 20% in it’s overall ARC success rate since the 2011-12 funding round, Monash Arts is now firmly established as a hub of research excellence in the social sciences and humanities.

Research priorities with impact at Monash

Monash Arts is firmly represented within the University’s newly established four research priority areas which aim to bring together academic excellence through cross-disciplinary research collaboration. These areas link Monash to the Australian Government’s Strategic Research Priorities.

Recent Discovery Project ARC wins under each of the four priority areas below demonstrate the success of cross-discipline collaboration at Monash in advancing research excellence. These projects are due to commence in 2014.

Liveable Places and Sustainable Environments engages our researchers in the investigation of issues surround the global challenges of climate change and creating sustainable environments and more liveable cities and communities for future generations.

  • Extratropical Cyclones and their Associated Precipitation:  Understanding, Model Evaluation, and Future ProjectionsDr Jennifer Catto

Understanding Cultures promotes understandings of past, present and future cultural and social forces, and considers new and evolving forms of global citizenship. 

Resilient and Inclusive Societies research promotes resilient and inclusive communities at home and abroad to achieve greater social, mental and physical well being for the community.

Peace Security and Borders research works to advance our understanding of the sources of conflict, violence and harm at local, regional and international levels. 

  • Preventing Mass Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Conflict and Non-Conflict Countries, Prof Jacqui True
  • The Exploitation of unlawful migrant labour : crime, labour and regulationDr Marie Segrave (DECRA)

  • Rethinking the Victim: Gendered Violence in Australian Women’s WritingA/Prof Anne R Brewster (UNSW)

Join in the Monash Arts Faculty collaborative research success

Interested in partnering with us to extend the impact of what we do? 

We are seeking collaborative opportunities from industry, government and community groups who are mutually interested in supporting and contributing to the advancement of research excellence. We understand and support collaboration with stakeholders to strengthen and benefit research impact.  

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Operation Fortitude: it’s not just clumsy wording that should worry us

Leanne Weber

The news that the newly formed Australian Border Force (ABF) was partnering Victoria Police and other agencies to mount a special operation in Melbourne’s CBD sparked an immediate storm of protest on Friday. Protesters equated the prospect of officers checking the immigration status of “any individual we cross paths with” to the tactics of a police state.

The public outcry forced the cancellation of the operation and sent Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Prime Minister Tony Abbott ducking for cover.

What seems to have prompted less debate is the “clarification” issued the same day. This press release openly acknowledged that not dissimilar multi-agency operations were mounted routinely in Victoria and elsewhere.

How do immigration compliance operations work?

Many Australians would be surprised to know that both police and immigration officers possess wide powers under Section 188 of the Migration Act. Officers can “require a person whom the officer knows or reasonably suspects is a non-citizen” to present either a personal identifier or evidence of being lawfully present. If, as a result, the officer suspects that the person is an unlawful non-citizen, Section 189 requires them to take that person into custody.

Several years ago I conducted research into the methods by which unlawful non-citizens were detected in NSW. Immigration compliance officers told me they would act on specific notifications about suspected non-citizens. These persons were identified through the (subtly named) Dob-In Line, or via inter-agency data-matching exercises.

The officers would also raid particular workplaces that were identified as “high risk” through more generalised forms of intelligence analysis. In addition, they would occasionally participate in joint operations in which police or other regulatory agencies would take the lead with compliance checks relating to taxi licences, drivers’ licences or other professional accreditation.

Any individuals identified in these processes who were thought to be non-citizens were referred to immigration officers. In this way, immigration enforcement has “piggy-backed” on the powers of other agencies to initiate such encounters.

Police can also instigate checks themselves via the Immigration Status Service (ISS). The ISS database was established following the scandals surrounding the deportation of Vivian Solon and the detention of Cornelia Rau and other overseas-born Australian citizens.

These events revealed that immigration authorities were acting on “referrals” from police with remarkably little scrutiny. Rather than scaling back their enforcement efforts (although deportations and removals did dip for several years following the inquiries into these enforcement “mistakes”), the main response was to invest in improved information technology, including the ISS. This meant an individual’s legal status could be more reliably determined before initiating enforcement action.

Who can be checked and when?

Police I spoke with reported a wide range of contexts in which immigration checks might be conducted. These could occur as part of criminal investigations or during vehicle or pedestrian stops, which they claimed would always be initially for a police-related purpose.

In the case of street stops, markers such as language, possession of foreign documents, outward appearance and seeming to be “out of place” were the reasons stated for making opportunistic immigration checks.

The data provided to me on the first 20 months of the ISS’ operation revealed NSW Police was by far the biggest user of the system. Victoria Police came a distant second.

Just over one in ten immigration status checks made via the system confirmed the individual to be unlawfully present. So, nearly 90% of checks were made on lawfully present individuals, including citizens.

This amount of “collateral damage” from immigration checks highlights another example of curious wording from the now-notorious ABF press release. It stated that Operation Fortitude was designed to promote “a secure and cohesive society”.

Many of the police checks reported above were possibly conducted without the knowledge of the person concerned. But where individuals are explicitly referred to immigration authorities, or where non-citizens are aware their immigration status may be checked – in an increasing range of circumstances which includes attempting to access employment, education, medical care and other essential services – there is enormous potential for negative impacts on feelings of secure belonging.

Community workers interviewed in my NSW study gave examples of individuals and families who were confused about their legal status and therefore fearful of approaching authorities for assistance.

What made Operation Fortitude different?

What made the bungled Operation Fortitude stand out from these more surreptitious border enforcement efforts was the audacity with which the ABF announced it. Normally, press releases are issued after, rather than before, joint operations or compliance raids. Often these releases have the apparent purpose of reporting how many unlawful non-citizens were detected.

Friday’s announcement was also notable for the curious claim that this operation was a “first” – seemingly a cause of excitement and celebration for the fledgling ABF, but a routine occurrence for more seasoned immigration compliance officers – and for its apparent breadth.

The operation was aimed at “people travelling to, from and around the CBD”, rather than the foreign-born restaurant workers, taxi drivers and fruit pickers whose targeting by immigration authorities is regularly presented as TV infotainment on the aptly named Border Force.

Coupled with the sweeping legal powers described above, when a government deliberately creates a uniformed branch from what was previously an administrative agency, gives it an aggressive name and appoints a former police officer to lead it, it is hardly surprising if its members consider they have the green light to present a threatening image to the public.

The issuing of a press release before the operation – although ridiculed in the media as effectively giving the game away – is consistent with the misguided deterrent-based thinking that dominates offshore border control. Strategies of general deterrence rely on “talking up” the threat of detection, not necessarily to those who might be detected in a particular operation, but to all others who fall into the targeted risk category.

How this can be presented as a recipe for social cohesion is another question that both state police and the ABF need to answer.The Conversation

Associate Professor Leanne Weber is ARC Future Fellow in Internal Border Policing at Monash University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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What does the ‘Border Farce’ tell us about the future of crisis politics in Australia?

David Holmes

The convulsive reaction to Friday’s failed security operation by the Australian Border Force (ABF) in Melbourne was almost as farcical as the event itself.

Operation Fortitude had been announced in a press release to raise the visibility of the newly formed ABF by positioning them:

… at various locations around the CBD speaking with individuals we cross paths with.

The event was to culminate in a “launch” that would show the ABF was capable of working with Victoria Police, Metro Trains, Yarra Trams, the Sheriff’s Office and the Taxi Services Commission. But such a show of fortitude had to be called off by Victoria Police when it drew instant condemnation on social media and from the streets. It made the agencies involved look like keystone cops. The operation was dubbed the “border farce”.

What took everyone by surprise – especially the ABF – was the social media storm it drew.

The announcement was copied to Twitter. Twitter reacted in kind, with a spike across news and activist hashtags. More significant was the appearance of a flashmob to protest the operation. This is possibly the first time a flashmob has been spawned directly by a press release from the state itself. The protest led television news bulletins around the country, with vox pops of people venting their revulsion in the Melbourne CBD.

But the most interesting reaction came in the form of political analysis of the event, associating it with “fascism”, Nazism, Stalinism, totalitarianism, a police state or something “Orwellian”.

The target of these comments is the ABF itself. Since its establishment was first foreshadowed, it has been denounced by the left and right as a dangerous threat to civil liberties. Chris Berg from the IPA, writing on The Drum, and Tony Kevin, former Ambassador to Cambodia and Poland writing in Eureka Street, have both pointed to the civic hazards of such a paramilitary force.

Kevin was one of the first to compare the ABF to Nazi Germany of the 1930s in Eureka Street. He claimed that it is:

… taking Australia into very dangerous waters, by setting up a powerful new paramilitary force with its own ideology, training and rank structure, answerable only to an immigration minister, and apparently with no legal or constitutional checks and balances outside itself.

There is a disturbing precedent here. Hitler, irritated by the constraints imposed under German civil law and by the Werhmacht’s own old-fashioned military codes and conventions of honourable conduct, saw the value of a new security service answerable only to him as leader: the Schutzstaffel (literally Protection Squadron or Defence Corps, more familiarly known as the SS).

Then came the revelation that the Abbott government splurged almost A$10 million on the paramilitary-style black and gold uniforms – intimidating to some and not that good at attracting tourists.

But with the bungled action of last Friday, such connections were flooding the news feeds across social and mainstream media. Within 24 hours, a Nazi satire of Operation Fortitude set in Hitler’s bunker was posted on YouTube. What was clear here was that the Abbott government had crossed a line that was unthinkable. The civic freedoms that our repressive state apparatus is supposed to protect were being violated.

So then came the tasks of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Prime Minister Tony Abbott to deny the operation was auspiced by their offices. Dutton claimed to have received the press release but not actually read it, Abbott denied he knew anything of the operation. But when ABC’s Insiders played the tape of the denial (which can be seen four minutes in), the program noted that Abbott shook his head and appeared to say no without opening his mouth.

Whether the idea was another lamentable brain snap from Abbott or Peta Credlin, or one of the 37 strategic communications staff (paid A$4.7 million per annum) assigned to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), is not known.

But the reaction to it, which is loud and clear, has been to build on an incipient perception of the Abbott government as, if not totalitarian, at least having totalitarian tendencies. Former independent MP Tony Windsor labelled the ABF debacle as a deliberate attempt to create fear and division in the community.

But the fascism tag now being used by critics of the government is out of place and out of time in the way that it references the great Orwellian catastrophes of 20th-century modernity, most commonly that of Nazi Germany. The latter comparison began with an article in the Tasmanian Times last year:

Is the Abbott Government fascist?

The article, reacting directly to the infamous 2014 budget, overreaches completely. It is true that Abbott has centralised power to the PMO as Kevin Rudd did before him. But the government does not control the media, nor corporate Australia.

Rather, the reverse is true – in the case of either the Coalition or Labor being in government. Both governments have acted as client-state protectorates of these interests. Labor is the party of manufacturing capital; the Coalition is the party of mining capital.

Perhaps Abbott’s slogan obsession is annoying to many, but it has become standard fare for soundbite politics all over the world. Suggesting that Abbott is taking Goebbels’ advice that for propaganda to be successful – “it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over“ – is a stretch, as is the comparison with 1930s Germany in general.

The conditions for Nazism were based on the impending collapse of capitalism in Germany in the 1930s and cannot be compared to the affluent comfort of 21st-century Australia by any measure. As a leading scholar of the emergence of Nazism, Michael Billig, observes, fascism is but one of the possible resolutions to a crisis of capitalism.

Billig argued that, as a defender of German industrialism, Hitler was looking for a solution to the impending collapse of German capitalism. In extremis, Hitler adopted a form of the social principle as a distorted solution to the deepening crisis of capitalism. Thus, national socialism was created.

There are three distinct differences here. First, Australian capitalism is not currently in any kind of crisis, and is the only nation to have rode out the global financial crisis.

Second, Abbott is no friend of industrial labour. He has dismantled manufacturing in Australia in favour of creating a mining protectorate that employs very few people and is subsidised by the population to the tune of $1700 per person.

Third, whereas Hitler forestalled the collapse of German capitalism by adopting a murderously exclusive form of social principle, the Abbott government has attempted to invent a crisis – in partnership with News Corp – only to abandon any kind of social principle by turning on the population with its first budget.

While the historical conditions for fascism do not exist in Australia, the damage being done to our adolescent social democracy may lead to such conditions. The creation of a police state combined with cycles of emergency related to climate change is all that is needed to provide the state with the legitimacy to remove freedoms from citizens.

At present, neoliberal governments around the world are creating such conditions by focusing on Islamic State. As writers and activists Naomi Klein and Tariq Ali – both speaking that the Melbourne Writers Festival on the weekend – observed, capitalism increasingly needs to legitimate itself by creating and addressing crises.

It is a matter of time before the power of nightmares that terrorism is able to serve will switch to fear of climate impacts and their attendant social problems, such as scarce resources and climate refugees.

Military organisations know this. Their research is not so much about conflict between nations, but how to control populations in times of climate emergencies.

Australia has had a taste of the licence the state has in times of extreme weather emergencies. The forced evacuations of people from their homes in the State Mine fire in NSW in October 2013 was a direct deprivation of people’s liberty to stay and defend their homes. In times of emergency, statutory authorities can behave in paramilitary ways that are usually reserved for the conditions of war.

However, some have gone further and argued that even taking the hardline action needed to mitigate climate change will require the deprivation of civil liberties. Having failed to change the behaviour of the largest emitters – corporations – the state could shift blame for pending climate crisis to individuals, to control and penalise citizens for exceeding personal carbon footprints, for example.

But right now, in relation to the Abbott government, this is certainly one form of control we will never ever see.The Conversation

David Holmes is Senior Lecturer, Communications and Media Studies at Monash University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Why it’s time to legalise doping in athletics

Julian Savulescu

Despite the glitz and glory of Usain Bolt’s comeback victories and Jessica Ennis-Hill’s heptathlon triumph at the World Championships, 2015 is shaping up as quite the annus horribilis for athletics.

Recent revelations about doping in past athletics competitions have cast a long shadow over the competition. Doping experts Michael Ashenden and Robin Parisotto have evaluated leaked IAAF blood value data, and declared that around of third of medals were won by athletes with suspicious values world championships and Olympics between 2001 and 2012. A confidential survey of athletes, which the IAAF, athletics’ governing body, reportedly tried to silence (an allegation which the IAAF has publicly denied) found that athletes self-reported at around the same level. New tests on 2005 and 2007 samples found positive tests for 28 athletes who had previously passed controls.

This comes on top of allegations around Mo Farah’s training coach being involved in doping, though Farah himself is not accused of any wrongdoing and has said that he would definitely leave his coach if these allegations are ever proved. Doping is tipped to be the key issue for newly elected Sebastian Coe’s term as president of the IAAF.

Zero sum game

It is clear that zero-tolerance towards drugs isn’t working. It is not stopping people from cheating. It is not providing assurances to the public that good performances are clean. Even the data we have now is likely to underestimate the problem. “Non suspicious” blood data does not prove that no doping technique has been used, only that it did not exceed a certain range, or vary beyond a certain degree.

The career and livelihood of an athlete depends on winning. There are enormous rewards for winners and not much out there for anyone else. And set against that pressure in favour of doping, there is very little chance of getting caught (one estimate is 2% of tested athletes). Psychologists have shown that the lower the risk of being caught, the greater the number of cheats. The greater the number of perceived cheats, the more likely people are to join them.

Unless the likelihood of getting caught is radically increased, or the benefit in cheating is radically reduced, there seems to be little chance of a serious reduction in doping.

We could increase the testing to a level where the odds of getting caught are higher. It would help, but would not catch everyone. For example, homogenous blood transfusions and other common methods of doping are undetectable at present. Blood passports have been thought to both limit the extent of doping, and to make it easier to dope – by providing a set of limits to work to. Mark Daly, an investigative journalist, describes how he “passed” the biological passport system while using EPO.

Alternatively, we could reduce the rewards, perhaps returning to a genuine amateur model. But that would reduce the spectacle. It’s also wishful thinking.

In the absence of either of these measures, the system is unfair, and risks ruining the spectacle of sport. Knowing that athletes may be doping, but being unable to identify whom, an excellent performance has now become grounds for suspicion, to the extent of that cyclist Chris Froome and his team suffered physical violence at the Tour de France, purely on the basis of their success.

Those athletes who are clean face a significantly doped field, and a climate of denial. They face a perverse dilemma: they must choose to either live with the disadvantage and accept the probable financial losses as a result, or to join the cheaters. If they do that, they face the risk of complete ruin as a scapegoat if they are caught. US runner Justin Gatlin, for example, has complained that previous doping bans have led to biased and unfair coverage of his performances.

It is not as though sport is somehow bereft of human struggle or magnificence. The only thing that is bad about sport today is that some athletes are getting a small advantage that others aren’t, and people are regularly getting tossed out or brought under a cloud by rules that are unfit for purpose.

Safe doping

Unless and until our ability to test for drugs is radically enhanced, we should allow what I call physiological doping. That is, setting safe limits for physiological values such as testosterone levels, and hematocrit – a measure of the number of red blood cells in a person’s blood. Testing then focuses not on how those levels were achieved, but on whether they are safe. Absent harm, artificially raising hematocrit through an altitude tent is not morally better than the same effect with EPO.

We might decide certain drugs or methods are too unsafe to use, or in themselves damage the spirit of the sport, that is, that they significantly reduce the human contribution to outcome or performance. In that case, we would need to test for those drugs as we do now – for their presence, rather than their effect. But we would be able to focus our resources more narrowly and I believe more effectively. Foreign drugs or “natural” doping methods taken to extremes are apparently easier to detect than variations within the normal range of, for example, growth hormone, testosterone and haematocrit.

This focuses on reducing harm: increasing athlete safety, providing an enforceable set of rules and therefore a more level playing field.

It would be safer for athletes, since doping could be openly monitored by accredited doctors instead of self-administered, and the safe parameters would be measured.

It should be more enforceable because we have good measures for hematocrit levels, testosterone levels and other key parameters.

It would also be fairer. This is counter-intuitive to many. A common objection is that if doping is allowed, the teams with the most money will have the greatest advantage. But that disadvantage already exists. A hypoxic air tent, used to legally increase hematocrit levels, costs thousands of dollars. Other athletes train at altitude: another expensive method of increasing hematocrit levels. Increasing hematocrit to the same level via EPO is likely to be cheaper and more accessible to many athletes than these methods – and it would have the same effect if kept to the same physiological limit.

Others argue that this system would be unfair to the naturally gifted athlete: the athlete who, for example is an outlier in his hematocrit, such as Finnish cross country skier Eero Mäntyranta, who competed in four Winter Olympics (1960–1972) winning seven medals at three of them. He had a genetic mutation causing him to have over 50% more red blood cells than his competitors. Sport for many is a test as much of an athlete’s natural talent as it is of their training and dedication.

Yet there is no fairness in the distribution of genetic advantage – why should these inequalities be preserved? Even if you do want to preserve this, interactions with the environment already render it difficult to sustain. Why is one method of manipulating one’s natural profile fairer than another?

Sport is perhaps inevitably built around a set of fairly arbitrary rules. But when those rules are harming people and facilitating injustice, they should be changed.The Conversation

Julian Savulescu is Uehiro Professor of Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford and Louis Matheson Distinguished Visiting Professor at Monash University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Virginia TV shootings: murder as a media event

Andy Ruddock

The macabre live murders of Alison Parker and Adam Ward in Virginia are a chilling watershed. Whatever the shooter’s motivations, the idea that journalists are targets for infamy seekers is now an idea in our culture.

Reports that the alleged shooter, Vester Flanagan, praised other rampage murderers connect this new outrage to an all-too-familiar theme. Here’s another example of gun crime as a media event. Murder as a script that murderers can easily act out for the world.

At first blush, we might wonder what such screened outrages do to evil, alienated and vulnerable people. Fair enough. But what about journalists and their profession?

That Parker and Ward’s colleagues were forced to instantaneously cover the slaughter of their own friends was a cruel exemplar of a more mundane truth: in the digital age, news is a live performance. WDBJ7 TV anchors were mercilessly obliged to balance trauma and professionalism; staying calm while grieving friends, and perhaps wondering why local news had become mediatised terror.

Unfortunately, there are many reasons to think that this unimaginable situation reflects global realities in news production.

Beyond the shock of the ghastly crime, the talk among journalists is about the upping of an ethical ante in a profession already facing unprecedented pressures. Sky News UK discussed the ethics and pragmatics of dealing with the footage of the crime. Different organisations have said “cut” in different places. The Daily Star, for example, showed images that Sky eschewed.

Since these images were already circulating social media, the question “whither ethics?”, in a Twitter age, has been raised.

Today, there’s a terrible feeling that gates have been left open and horses have bolted over fields. If someone wants to create panic with a gun and a smartphone, they can. If journalists want to protect the public from disturbing images, they can’t. This is precisely why professional journalism is every bit as important as it has ever been.

So let’s appreciate that profession. Parker’s death poignantly illustrates one of the most significant findings of comparative journalism research – that journalism is a dangerous job, and those dangers often have a gender dimension.

Following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, job opportunities for local journalists abounded, largely because the role was too dangerous for those who had other options. Between 2003 and 2009, 139 journalists were killed in the Iraqi conflict, of whom 117 were Iraqis.

Things were especially grim for women: attracted to journalism by high pay and high unemployment, they were threatened by the “double dip” risks of being Iraqi and female.

Naturally there’s a world of difference between reporting on Fallujah and telling a local news story about tourism. Except, in both cases, the stories are told by people who have to negotiate a complex maze of technical skills and professional attributes in competitive markets where, in the end, the difference between good and bad depends on the skill of the person on the spot.

Seen this way, the dilemma the WDBJ7 news team faced was a savagely amplified version of the “problem” that journalists always face in stories that matter. Common sense dictates objectivity as the bottom line of good journalism. But evidence contrarily identifies subjectivity as the cornerstone of reporting excellence. A study of Pulitzer Prize-winning writers revealed the ability to infuse stories with personality and emotion as a common trait.

We want our news to come from people who care about things, and know how to show it.

In a way, these “live” murders aren’t an aberration, in terms of the news processes. Forty years ago, media academics were keen to discover how journalism worked behind the scenes. Today, it happens on our screens; news teams struggle to edit and make sense of events as they happen, and stay cool as social media users break whatever story they want to break. Threats to journalistic integrity are legion.

Which is why good journalists matter so much. When you let us all tell our own stories, we screw things up. Critics say we live in a “post-truth” culture. Stories matter more than truth, and technology ensures that everybody’s got one. And can tell it. Everything gets reduced to screen images, so when we see the image of a murderer captured on a fallen camera, we think about The Blair Witch Project, not the death of a person.

Inevitably the days that follow will be filled with stories about copycat fears and gun culture. In this, let’s not forget the effects on journalists and the difficulties they face in protecting a job that isn’t just another kind of storytelling.The Conversation

Andy Ruddock is Senior Lecturer, School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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New article from Border Crossing Observatory researcher Antje Missbach

The Border Crossing Observatory and Monash School of Social Sciences‘ Antje Missbach recently published an article in SOJOURN (Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia) on why and how people become involved in asylum seeker smuggling. 

What does the evidence say?

Two case studies of convicted Afghan people smugglers detail the specific tasks and responsibilities of people smugglers in Indonesia. Academic research has so far overlooked the fluctuant nature of smuggling networks, the distribution of roles distribution and the varying involvement of their members and auxiliaries. Attention to these dimensions of people smuggling contributes to a more nuanced understanding of the operation of these networks in the Indonesian setting. This understanding suggests that entering criminal business networks such as people-smuggling networks is the last option left for failed asylum seekers stuck in Indonesia. More significantly, it makes clear that Australian and Indonesian asylum policies and border politics have, unintentionally, contributed to the evolution of transnational people-smuggling networks.

What does it mean?

Leaving people in prolonged situations of transit without legal options to integrate into the society, work, get a proper education or move on to another safe third country, makes them more prone to become exploited as handymen by criminals and/or to make a criminal career in these networks.

How was the research done?

During fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in Indonesia between 2010 and 2013, the author conducted interviews with the two convicted people smugglers and other informants—including asylum seekers and refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Somalia and other countries, as well as Indonesian police, immigration officers and members of the judiciary. Open-source reports and legal documents collected from Indonesian courts for reconstructing the backgrounds of the two convicted people smugglers discussed here, were also made use of.

Read the full article here.

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MFJ’s Deb Anderson to chat with Nobel Prize winner at MWF

Monash University’s journalism lecturer Dr Deb Anderson will engage in conversation with Laureate Professor Peter Doherty at the Melbourne Writers Festival on Saturday, August 29 at 2.30pm.

Scientific knowledge used to be power. Professor Doherty argues that the powerful now try to deny scientists’ knowledge, particularly on climate change.

The Nobel Prize winner explores how science works and asks what non-scientist citizens can do to reclaim both power and knowledge. In conversation with Dr Deb Anderson at ACMI Cinema 1 at Federation Square on August 29 at 2.30pm.

Discover more Superstars of Science sessions

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Australian planes are set to wing it over the Syrian cauldron

Ben Rich

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has confirmed a US request that Australia increase its commitment to Operation Inherent Resolve against Islamic State (IS) in the Middle East. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) would begin offensive activities in Syrian airspace.

Should Australia do so? Will it?

A geopolitical given

Under the reported terms of the request, Australian forces would expand offensive operations from Iraq into Syria – a theatre that has been almost exclusively dominated by US and Arab nations.

Given the pressure from the US, it is likely that Australia will readily commit to the expanded role. Due to its close relationship with the US since the second world war, Australia has rarely shirked from military requests from its great power benefactor. Comments on Wednesday from Vice-Admiral David Johnston, Australia’s commander of joint operations in the Middle East, suggested that the Abbott government already considered the decision as a given.

Despite the escalation, however, Johnston went on to indicate that Australian operations would be far from a “game changer” to the wider effort. The increased Australian presence adds international legitimacy to operation and is a nod towards the spirit of the ANZUS alliance. But, it is unlikely a few extra Super Hornets over Raqqah will shift much of the operational burden from the shoulders of the US Air Force, the true heavy lifter in the campaign.

Greater Australian air commitment to the campaign is a low-risk venture, militarily speaking. IS has shown no capacity to respond to strikes conducted by coalition warplanes, despite capturing an array of heavy surface-to-air missiles. Although it is possible a malfunction could lead to a disastrous outcome, similar to that of the brutal murder of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, such a scenario is unlikely.

Domestically, the benefits and negatives of a further expansion of the Australian war effort are more complex. Although a 2014 poll found that a majority of respondents were in favour of intervention against IS, recent data suggests around half now disapprove of further Australian involvement in the Middle East.

Yet, recent polls conducted by the Lowy institute and the Pew Research Centre found that the majority of Australians rank IS as their number one threat.

Stranger bedfellows?

Perhaps the most peculiar dynamic that might emerge from this is the closer alignment between the Assad government in Syria and Canberra. While the operation against IS has ostensibly been undertaken in support of the “moderate” rebels in the Syrian opposition, recent reports by analysis group Stratfor indicate that Russia may be on track to arranging a power-sharing agreement between some of these same groups and the Assad regime.

This may not be entirely fantasy. Some Syrian rebel groups are coming to view foreign jihadists as a greater threat than Assad’s Ba’athist regime.

If such rumours lead to a material agreement, then Australia and the wider Western coalition may ultimately be forced to support a new hybrid government that includes considerable portions of a regime they have long been calling on to abdicate.

A long road ahead

Although the US Department of Defence has claimed a modest number of targets destroyed since the start of airstrikes against IS a year ago, IS continues to be a dominant player in the region. Its global appeal remains high.

An increase in Australian firepower, while symbolic, will not greatly affect this fundamental reality of the Levantine battlespace.

As recent actions by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen have demonstrated, the effectiveness of airpower is contingent on the user’s ability to follow up with co-ordinated ground forces that can seize occupied areas. The Gulf Arab coalition has responded to this by putting their own boots on the ground alongside local forces.

But, this is not behaviour the US or its allies are willing to replicate against IS. At the same time, most of the indigenous forces facing the jihadist group, save the Kurds, have been unable to effectively press home the advantages granted to them by coalition air support.

Further, as I wrote nearly a year ago, the foundational issues surrounding IS cannot be addressed with a mentality of “peace through superior firepower”. Decapitation and signature strikes don’t stop insurgencies specifically because they fail to target the real culprit: the bad governance that led to them in the first place.The Conversation

Ben Rich is Unit Coordinator at the University of New England and a PhD Candidate at Monash University’s School of Social Sciences

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Monash panel discusses Antigone at the Malthouse Theatre

As part of Monash’s becoming a major sponsor of The Malthouse Theatre this year, Monash academics have taken part in a series of panel discussions on a number of subjects relating to Malthouse shows. Previous panel discussions took on body image and pop culture as part of the Nothing to Lose show. The final Monash Panel Discussion uses Antigone as a starting point to debate the collective versus the individual.

Antigone is at once the most ‘heroic’ and the most troubling of the Greek tragic heroines. For some, a political prisoner, for others a self-centered solipsist; for some, a freedom fighter, for others, a terrorist. No other figure in the Classical canon has caused such controversy or been so contentious as Antigone. This panel asks “Why?” Why should a fictional young woman’s defiant act have caused philosophers such a headache, caused dictators such concern, and prompted her reinvention in so many diferent forms, in so many different contexts. Creon or Antigone: whose side are you on?

Join us in this in-depth discussion of Adena Jacobs’ contemporary take on Sophocles’ Antigone

Event Details

Time/Date: Sun 23rd August, 2:00 pm

Location: Tower Theatre, Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank

Bookings: Book tickets on the Malthouse Theatre website

Panel Guests

Professor Andrew Benjamin

Andrew Benjamin is Professor of Comparative Literature in the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies at Monash University. He is a renowned scholar on philosophy and aesthetics and author many publications, including  Place, Commonality and Judgment: Continental Philosophy and the Ancient Greeks.

Adena Jacobs

Adena Jacobs is the director of ‘Antigone’, Resident Director at Belvoir Theatre, and Artistic Director of Fraught Outfit. Directing credits include ‘Personna’, ‘Elektra’, ‘Oedipus’, ‘Hedda Gabler’, and, for this year’s Melbourne International Festival, a production of ‘Bacchae’.

Jane Montgomery Griffiths

Jane Montgomery Griffiths has adapted and is appearing in ‘Antigone’. She has been Leventis Fellow in Greek Drama at Cambridge, Artistic Director of the Cambridge Greek Play, and convenor of the Classical Studies Program at Monash. As well as acting and writing, Jane is also Director of the Centre for Theatre and Performance at Monash University.

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Antigone now: Greek tragedy is the debate we have to have

Christine Lambrianidis

When you hear the words Greek tragedy, you might think of white masks, or even the ongoing economic crisis – ancient drama and modern depravity in its most enticing form. These first impressions may seem simple, but within them lays a theatrical form that refuses to die.

Maybe we have never truly progressed beyond this classical period; maybe we just have no other way to express ourselves; but regardless of reasoning and the plethora of scholarship that exists, Greek tragedy remains the most modern form of drama. It is unafraid to question everything we value.

There has been a surge of modern translations, adaptations and everything in-between of Greek plays in both Australia and the UK. This is indicative of our times, where we are beginning to question the ethics of democracy, something Greek tragedy was born to do.

This week, those in Melbourne will have a chance to see another modern interpretation of Greek tragedy, when the Malthouse Theatre stages Sophocles’ Antigone (442BC), adapted by Jane Montgomery Griffiths and directed by Adena Jacobs. Unlike most adapters and performers of classical drama, Griffiths is a Classical Studies scholar who is fluent in Ancient Greek.

That allows her to translate and adapt the nuances of Greek verse into a convincing modern Australian context, with the intellectual rigour of an academic as well as the vigour of a performer. In Griffiths’ 2015 version, the lines between translation and adaptation are blurred. She uncovers the blanket of silence that covers the voices of the dead and dying in Australian society, bravely deconstructing the doublethink surrounding recent asylum seeker and terrorism policies.

This is reminiscent of Aeschylus’ The Persians (472BC), through which Athenian audiences were asked thousands of years ago to sympathise with characters that were responsible for the death of their friends and family members. Could any theatre maker in Australia dare do this? Portray a terrorist sympathetically? We struggle to portray ourselves on stage, let alone our so-called enemies.

Lucky then we have Greek tragedy, the mask we can still put on to face the identity crisis existing within our own culture.

Greek tragedy, like all things Greek, has been migrating around the world since its conception in 5th century Athens. Back then it was a religious festival, known as the City Dionysia, and it was a civic responsibility for Athenian citizens (male and white) to attend the theatre where they saw competing adaptations of well-known myths.

The playwrights were usually financially backed by politicians whose primal aim was to indoctrinate citizens into the ideology of democracy that celebrated debate.

Sophocles’ Antigone puts these two loyalties (religion and state) against one another and questions whether the political realm can control personal faiths. In Griffiths’ adaptation, the political figure is no longer the authoritarian Creon, Anouilh and Brecht adapted post-WW2, but a Julie Bishop-like Leader whose supreme convictions are executed with the type of order and precision Australian citizens would admire.

She has both style and grace and she is even unafraid to do dirty man’s work – the perfect female politician in all its beauty and gore. On the other hand, there’s Antigone, not the glorified freedom fighter, but the self-indulgent idealist who is just too young and naïve to realise that the state knows best.

Who wins? State or religion? Creon or Antigone? Old or young? In Greek tragedy there is never a winner, just a set of competing answers, striving to prove their worth.

For that reason, Greek tragedy remains the perfect vehicle for philosophers, from Hegel to Butler, as it can be appropriated to suit any episteme, from dialectics to gender performativity. What other dramatic form has been appropriated and re-appropriated into many art forms for thousands of years?

Greek tragedy can fit into any time and place and yet it still seems to evolve and change, reflecting our public concerns in the most private ways.

This is how Plato defined all art forms: a reflection of life known as mimesis. This new adaptation of Antigone bravely reflects not the self, but the abject other, epitomised by the corpses that dominate and resonate on the stage. Plato exiled poetry from his ideal republic and now Griffiths takes the violence out of the backstage and makes us smell it.

This is what Aristotelian catharsis is all about: purging out our inner fears and pities. Freud used Greek tragedy to illustrate unconscious desire; Lacan also used it to portray desire in its purist form, then Zizek revealed how it can be politically dangerous.

The “danger” in this production, however, is not actually the blood or vomit, but the mundanely apathetic manner the business of death and ruling are portrayed.

This truly is an illustration of what the political philosopher Hannah Arendt termed the banality of evil. The Leader is not an inhumane monster, just a woman who is very good at her job. The Leader is not a murdering psychopath, just a bureaucrat doing her duty. It is the political system itself that remains elusive and God-like, controlling everything, but never appearing precisely anywhere, not unlike the form of Greek tragedy.

It presents you with a seemingly neat binary, only to rip it apart and destroy it with ongoing critical questioning, all the while you are wondering, what was that?

Earlier this year, The Guardian reported that the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, justified taking any measure to save the Euro:

Because Greece is the country of Sophocles, who taught us with his Antigone that there are moments in which the supreme law is justice.

Sophocles also taught us to question supreme law as well as justice. Greek tragedy is a debate, not a recession that we have to have.

Antigone is at the Malthouse, Melbourne, from August 21 to September 13. Details here.The Conversation

Christine Lambrianidis is a playwright and a PhD candidate in Theatre and Performance at Monash University.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Footy and the Media: the Off-Field Game

New News Wheeler Centre eventDo sports stars give up a right to privacy with their success? Do journalists have a right to ask them about their personal lives?

One week after the media spectacle that is the AFL Grand Final, join our panellists as they discuss where the line between personal and public lives should be drawn.

The panel’s speakers at this New News event include Monash senior lecturer Bill Birnbauer,  Monash sports lecturer Dr Tom Heenan, the AFL head of content Matthew Pinkney, barrister Natalie Hickey, ABC investigative reporter Louise Milligan and AFL commentator and Hawthorn premiership player Terry Wallace.

New News at The Wheeler Centre

New News by the Centre for Advancing Journalism is a three-day series looking at the present and future of journalism – and an exploration of the most up-to-the-moment developments in how journalism and the media can create and support engaged citizenship.

You’ll also hear from prominent bloggers, freelancers and media entrepreneurs.

Panellists this year will represent mastheads both new and established – including the Age, Herald SunSaturday Paper, Crikey and Junkee. They’ll be joined by leading journalism researchers from Monash University, Swinburne University of Technology and the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne.

Event Details:

Time/Date: Saturday 10 October 2015, 12.30pm-1.30pm

Location: The Wheeler Centre, 176 Lt Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Tickets: Tickers available via The Wheeler Centre website

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MWF brings launch of On Happiness to Melbourne

On Happiness book CoverHappiness appears to be a simple emotion, individual and pleasurable, yet the problems associated with happiness in politics, economics and philosophy suggest that it is perhaps more complex and paradoxical than it first appears. On Happiness explores these themes and more through commentary on the modern obsession with this often-times, elusive feeling.

The Melbourne launch of On Happiness will be part of the program for the Melbourne Writers Festival this month. The launch will bring together contributors, including Monash’s Dr Tony Moore and Dr Ranjana Srivastavais, along with Alice Pung, for a panel discussion on twenty-first century meaning of happiness.

Event Details

Time/Date: Wednesday 26th August, 5:30 pm

Location: Melbourne Writers Festival Club, ACMI, Federation Square

Find out more on the Melbourne Writers Festival website. 


Tony Moore is a Senior Lecturer in Communications and Media Studies at Monash University, where he was Director of the National Centre for Australian Studies 2010–13. His research areas include Australian history, media, popular culture, artistic bohemia and politics in the scholarly publications and in the press, radio and television. His books include Dancing With Empty Pockets: Australia’s Bohemians Since 1860 (2012) and Death or Liberty: Rebels and Radicals Transported to Australia, 1788–1868 (2010)

Dr Moore wrote an article for The Conversation as part of a series on happiness, to coincide with the release of the book. Read the article on The Conversation website.

Ranjana Srivastava is an oncologist and a Fulbright scholar in the Australian public health system who writes on health-related matters. Her books include So It’s Cancer, Now What? (2014), Dying for a Chat: The Communication Breakdown Between Doctors and Patients (2012), the winner of the Human Rights Literature Prize, and Tell Me the Truth: Conversations with my Patients about Life and Death (2010), shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Prize. Her columns appear regularly in the Guardian and Fairfax Media and she has appeared widely on television and radio.

Alice Pung is the author of Laurinda (2014), her debut novel. She is the bestselling author of memoirs Unpolished Gem (2006) (winner of the Australian Book Industry Newcomer of the Year Award) and Her Father’s Daughter (2011), as well as the editor of the anthology Growing up Asian in Australia (2008).

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Forget the polls, News Corp is not happy with Abbott … again

by David Holmes

Many commentators on climate change articles in this publication have abandoned hope that effective action on climate change will happen under an Abbott government. The only solution for those concerned about Australia’s unacceptable carbon footprint is to “kick this mob out”, as the Daily Telegraph famously beseeched voters to do to Labor at the last federal poll.

Were this to happen, Labor would need to turn its own climate policies around, and do much better than it did in the Rudd-Gillard years. The possibility of a different Senate mix and a rise in the green vote are other important contingencies that could break or worsen the mediocrity of the two-party monopoly over representative – but not deliberative – democracy in Australia.

But for now, what is clear is that the Abbott government is in a great deal of trouble. The first sign of this is when News Corp’s newsletter to the Australian political elite, The Australian, starts to editorialise against the government.

It has only happened thrice to the Abbott government previously – in July , November and December last year, and last Tuesday.

Last July, the national broadsheet rebuked Abbott for not “communing with his people”, and to lead rather than behaving “as if he were opposition leader”.

In the aftermath of the shocking first budget, I observed at the time that The Australian’s complaint seemed to be that:

Tony, we are happy to help you out, get you elected, manufacture a majority view around carbon and whatever else, but hey, you are making it difficult for us by turning on the electorate.

Last November, Abbott’s communication problem was pinpointed again:

Limply, the Prime Minister is losing the battle to define core issues and to explain to voters what he is doing and why. At stake is his political credibility, no less. Mr Abbott risks becoming a “oncer” if he allows his opponents to constantly control the agenda.

But in the same editorial, The Australian also pressures Abbott, and his chief of staff Peta Credlin, to be harder on economic reform, requiring an even greater effort to communicate such a position. The December editorial further condemned the centralisation of power within the Prime Minister’s Office.

Last Tuesday, The Australian asked whether Abbott is capable of learning from his mistakes. The answer will decide whether he will survive one term in office. Referring to Abbott’s near political death in February, “little has changed”, lamented the editorial:

The common thread is lousy judgment, a poor sense of political priorities, inept messaging via the media, and a tin ear for the concerns and reactions of the electorate.

While The Australian is urging the Abbott government to keep up an IPA-style agenda, Abbott himself does not seem to be able to cope with having centralised power to his own office. He is falling out with News Corp for not being hardline enough on economic reform, fallen out with his own ministry for branch stacking partyroom meetings by bringing in National Party votes, and the polls are slipping away from him by the week.

Many political analysts are seeing Abbott as being “out of time” and a spent force. He has so alienated the electorate on such a vast front of issues, and now his fellow ministers over his trickery on same-sex marriage. And all this comes amid the reboot of “good government”.

The Dyson Heydon affair has virtually neutralised the credibility of the royal commission into trade unions, whose terms of reference were to look at the labour movement, not the Labor Party.

It is no small irony that the man in whose honour Heydon was to speak at a Liberal Party function, Sir Garfield Barwick, was the legal oracle who advised then-governor-general John Kerr how to dismiss the Whitlam government.

Barwick’s hero-worship status among Liberals came from his role in the dismissal. To be lining up to pay his respects while attacking the credibility of the Labor leader looks like another 1975 in the making – except this time it is about dismissing the Labor leader’s prospects at the next election.

But one thing going for the 1975 dismissal was that at least it did not cost taxpayers A$60-80 million – unlike the current royal commission.

The Coalition’s internal focus groups must be telling it that it is going to get hit hard by female voters next election, so Abbott is now trying to espouse the virtues of increasing female representation in his party. But as the minister for women, he can’t even get this right. It was announced the day after this pledge that the frontrunning Liberal nominee for the Canning byelection is a hyper-macho SAS soldier, Andrew Hastie, who appeared on the SBS program The Search For Warriors.

Abbott appeared to be endorsing the Hastie decision by way of a convoluted logic that:

It’s up to every pre-selection panel to choose the best candidate, regardless of gender … if even the Australian army can become less blokey, then so must we.

While it may not help with improving the women’s vote, Hastie’s nomination will aid Abbott’s only constant front-page winner: national security. Hastie has vowed to use his military experience to help:

… defeat the security threats we face as a nation.

On the same day as Abbott’s endorsement, it was revealed that cabinet’s National Security Committee has asked for a list of anything related to national security to be provided weekly, for announcement on a day-to-day basis. A taste of this is the reckless use of a Liberal backbencher, Dan Tehan, to declare that Australia urgently needs to gets its fighter jets into Syria.

As Laura Tingle opined in the Australian Financial Review on Friday:

Bombing Syria. Messing with the constitution to get a political outcome on same sex-marriage. These are now the playthings of a prime minister so desperate, so out of control that he is overseeing the complete surrender of proper governance to day-to-day tactics.

In her op-ed piece “Tony Abbott: determined to lead the Whitlam government of our time?”, Tingle revisits the comparison the IPA would like to make between Abbott and Gough Whitlam, with both governments being driven by a recklessness to change the institutions that make up our social contract as quickly and zealously as possible, without consultation.

In Whitlam’s case, our half-formed social democracy had its greatest single period of growth – some would say at the expense of economic gain. Abbott’s agenda has always been to sacrifice Australia’s now-rich and diverse social contract to class-distorted economic benchmarks that will never even be realised in what is looking like his only term in office.The Conversation

David Holmes is Senior Lecturer, Communications and Media Studies in the School of Media, Film and Journalism

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Miguel Syjuco: The evolving questions of the writing life

We’re absolutely nuts to choose a literary life. Fraught with ups and downs, it’s one where practice gives way to process, and hopefully to publishing. But in order for us to survive, practically and spiritually, all of that must evolve into one thing: a sense of purpose. How to write well is the iceberg’s tip that sinks many ships; but understanding why we write is what will sustain us as we circumnavigate the strange planet that is our life.

Award-winning author Miguel Syjuco discusses candidly his 15 years in the writing world, and why he wants to give up every day but doesn’t.

This seminar is hosted by the Monash Literary and Cultural Research Network and Monash Asia Institute.

Date/Time: Wed 19 Aug / 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Location: Elizabeth Burchill Room, Menzies Building, E561, Monash Clayton Campus

Miguel Syjuco is from the Philippines and the author of the novel Ilustrado (Vintage Australia, 2010), which won the Man Asian Literary Prize and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He writes about topics unsuitable for the polite dinner table: politics, religion, sex and human folly. His forthcoming second novel, I Was the President’s Mistress!!, trains its crosshairs on the powerful and corrupt in his home country. His essay ‘Beating dickheads’ about the role of the writer in a corrupt political environment is published in Griffith Review.

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Australian music exports under the microscope

Image: 'Gotye' by Brennan Schnell. Creative Commons CC BY-NC 2.0 (
Image: ‘Gotye at the Corona Theatre in Montreal’ by Brennan Schnell. Creative Commons CC BY-NC 2.0 (

Monash University’s Associate Professor Shane Homan will work with Professors Richard Vella and Stephen Chen at Newcastle University to examine the economic and cultural value of Australian music exports.

The four-year ARC Linkage grant will allow the project team to examine the effectiveness of Australia’s primary export scheme, Sounds Australia, compared with similar schemes in Canada, Scandinavia and Europe.

The team will look at strategies for improving the audibility and visibility of Australian music in globalised networks of digital production and consumption.

“Australia is currently experiencing its most successful music export success in its popular music history,” Associate Professor Homan said, who teaches media and cultural studies.

“Acts as diverse as Tame Impala, Sia, Gotye and Courtney Barnett have found willing concert and broadcasting audiences in key international markets. So it’s a good time to properly investigate the role of the state in promotional discourses and strategies.”

Associate Professor Homan said: “We will look at the flows of cultural and economic capital, and the increasingly sophisticated ways in which nations showcase particular genres and artists.”

“Apart from economic modelling of the costs and benefits of investment, we will also adopt particular artists as case studies and follow them through the export scheme process,” he said.

“At a macro level, it’s a good opportunity to compare different strategies and types of cultural nationalism associated with other countries.”

The research team includes the Executive Producer of Sounds Australia, Millie Millgate, with financial and in-kind support from the Australia Council and Australia’s primary copyright body, APRA, the Australasian Performing Right Association.

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Monash Journalism’s Alana Mitchelson at the Indy newspaper

Alana Mitchelson.

Pulliam Journalism Fellow and Monash journalism graduate Alana Mitchelson has enjoyed success at the Indy Star newspaper in the United States, producing many lead news stories.

Alana won a fellowship to work in the Indy Star newsroom, based in Indianapolis, for three months.

“Reflecting on my experiences in America thus far, an overseas reporting trip has been truly eye-opening and is definitely one of the greatest decisions I have ever made,” Alana said.

Read Alana’s work here

“The experience has been invaluable and I have met so many talented people who I know I will remain in contact with for many years to come.

“It has given me a different perspective of the industry and I feel that it has enabled me to solidify in my mind the kind of journalism I wish to pursue in the future.”


Alana said there was a strong focus on analytics in the American newsroom.

“All of the top stories performing the best online at any given time are displayed on large television screens situated at various points across the newsroom,” Alana said.

“So everyone is always very conscious of which articles are doing well and those that aren’t.”

Alana has covered the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where the famous Indy 500 race takes place. She has also enjoyed various journalistic challenges and has scored a number of front-page stories.

“Being new to the city and the United States, the work has been both challenging and exciting,” Alana said.

“Editors have asked me to try my hand at reporting on local American politics and to write about their unfamiliar educational system which includes charter schools.

“In terms of the writing style, I have noticed some slight differences. First-person features are more commonly used by reporters and I think this goes hand in hand with their emphasis on also building audiences for individual reporters – something which seems to be more of a focus for broadcast journalist personalities in Australia.”

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World first at Monash: Chair in Cultural Linguistics appointed to Farzad Sharifian

Professor Farzad Sharifian has recently been appointed as the Chair in Cultural Linguistics at Monash, the first appointment of its kind in the world, establishing Monash’s position as the leading institution in this newly developed field of research.

Professor Farzad Sharifian holds the Chair of Cultural Linguistics within the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics.
Professor Farzad Sharifian holds the Chair of Cultural Linguistics within the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics.

Cultural Linguistics explores the relationship between language and cultural conceptualisations. This field has important implications for intercultural and cross-cultural communication, an area of commitment and priority for Monash University.

Professor Rae Frances, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, said that she was proud to have the Chair in Cultural Linguistics in her Faculty:

“It is very fitting recognition of Professor Sharifian’s impressive and innovative research, drawing together as it does cutting edge concepts from diverse and complementary disciplines to produce new perspectives on the intersection between culture, cognition and language, with wide-ranging implications.”

It is also fitting that the world’s first Chair in Cultural Linguistics is an Australian appointment, since it was Professor Sharifian’s research into inter-cultural communication between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians that led to the establishment of this new field. Professor Sharifian explains that “the data from this Australian research contributes significantly to the development of the cultural linguistics field.”

Recognized worldwide as a leading authority in the field of Cultural Linguistics, Professor Sharifian has developed a theoretical and an analytical framework of cultural cognition, cultural conceptualisations, and language, and these frameworks have so far been successfully applied to the areas of intercultural communication, cross-cultural pragmatics, teaching English as an International Language, World Englishes, and political discourse analysis.

The international publisher Springer has just launched a book series with the title of Cultural Linguistics, with Professor Sharifian as its Series Editor. Professor Sharifian is also the founding Editor-in-Chief of the recently launched the International Journal of Language and Culture (John Benjamins).

The First International Conference of Cultural Linguistics will be held at Monash Prato Centre in July 2016, with Professor Sharifian as a keynote speaker. Monash University has also launched a new scholarship entitled The Farzad Sharifian PhD Scholarship in the field of Cultural Linguistics.

Professor Sharifian is currently the President of Applied Linguistics Association of Australia, a Director of the International Association for World Englishes, and a Fellow of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany.

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Bohemian Melbourne honoured at Museum Awards

Bohemian Melbourne exhibition entrance. Photo: Patrick Rodriguez
Bohemian Melbourne exhibition entrance. Photo: Patrick Rodriguez

The Bohemian Melbourne exhibition, held during the 2014-2015 summer season at the State Library Victoria, recently received a Highly Commended honour at the Museum Australia (Victoria) AwardsThe 2015 Victorian Museum Awards were held on Thursday 6 August in the Clemenger auditorium at the National Gallery of Victoria to celebrate the achievements of the museum and gallery sector. 

The exhibition relied on the help of Monash’s Dr Tony Moore as a specialist adviser. Dr Moore’s book Dancing with Empty Pockets: Australia’s Bohemians Since 1860 helped inspire the exhibioin itself. Bohemian Melbourne showcased Melbourne’s many subversive artists, poets, performers and musicians, including Marcus Clarke, the Lindsays, Barry Humphries, Vali Myers and Nick Cave. 

The exhibition showcased paintings, photographs, costumes and film, as well as a range of public events including panel talks, a cabaret performance, a film festival called ‘Screening Bohemia’ and a series of Bohemian Melbourne walking tours.

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Monash Philosophy on ABC Radio: What is it to dream?

Dreams—we all have them, even if we do forget them. But what are they exactly?

Aristotle gave it some thought. And they certainly became serious business for Rene Descartes who, for a while, lost his epistemic equilibrium over the very idea. Understandable, as dreaming brings up a bunch of deeply philosophical matters that remain largely unresolved—from the nature of consciousness to personal identity and selfhood. Can you really dream that you are someone else?

Listen to Monash Philosophy’s Jennifer Windt discussing dreams on The Philosoper’s Zone, ABC Radio National.

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Australia’s climate politics on a high wire

David Holmes

While the politicisation of climate change has transformed climate reporting into something of a circus, the Coalition’s announcement of a 26% emissions reduction target on 2005 levels for Australia by 2030 has surely placed its climate policy on a dangerous high wire.

The high wire is not that the target has been set too high. It is that trying to balance this “defeatist” target is going to lead to the collapse of Direct Action, and will impair the ability of the Coalition-News Corp publicity machine to defend fossil fuels.

Already, Prime Minister Tony Abbott is resorting to increasingly desperate and absurd arguments, such as his comments on the ABC’s AM on Wednesday morning about exporting coal to India and China:

The great thing about the Australian coal industry is that it’s actually helping countries like China to reduce their emissions intensity, if not their overall emissions, because our coal is better quality coal than the Chinese and Indian coal.

Never mind that the floor price for coal is set to continue diving worldwide. Here is an unfathomable argument that Australia’s increasingly worthless coal is better than everyone else’s unworthy coal, and is helping fight climate change.

With coal, as with its new target announcement, the Coalition’s honesty about its climate policy in the past will be unveiled. The ruse of a long and sustained campaign of impression management is about to be exposed by the high wire act.

In the context of every anti-renewable, pro-coal and denialist utterance from Coalition ministers over the past two years, the revised targets are a complete stunt that have little to do with decarbonisation.

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday, Peter Hartcher argued that the Coalition doesn’t make any of its:

… big decisions based on science, economics, markets, or any value other than politics. So let’s set aside the pretence that this is really about climate change.

The Coalition is continuing to play out a strategy that has worked for them in the past. This is to mount a defence against any charge that it is doing nothing about climate change, and then turn attention away from itself, by attacking Labor and the Greens as having scary policies that will hurt the economy, jobs and electricity prices.

This is why the Abbott government was sure to mention that while 26% is guaranteed, it might think about 28% if it is not going to hurt the economy. Never mind that the only target 26% meets is to keep Australia at the bottom of the league of nations that can actually afford to do something about climate, while having a per capita carbon footprint four times the world average.

The Australian revealed that while Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Environment Minister Greg Hunt lobbied for a more ambitious target of 30% at the cabinet meeting prior to the announcement, it was Abbott who pushed for the lower target.

So while this all-too-risky high wire act is wanting to draw attention to “the economy”, it does so only as a means of attacking policies that actually do address decarbonisation.

Abbott is banking on a number of things here: that a “toxic carbon tax” scare campaign can be recycled for the next election, and that News Corp will do the heavy lifting for him by continuing to heavily editorialise against Labor.

And, right on cue, the day before the government announced its 2030 emissions target, the Daily Telegraph produced another of its signature attacks on Labor’s climate policy. Its front page prepared the way for a “responsible”-looking policy from the Coalition, citing rising power bills, job losses and a collapsing economy.

The News Corp tabloids are capable of ferociously nationalising their editorial stance toward a Labor emissions trading scheme and caricaturing it as a toxic carbon tax at a moment’s notice. But, such a stunt is looking rather worn-out. What both Abbott and the Daily Telegraph have ignored is that the electorate has noticed that power bills have spiked substantially under Direct Action, and that carbon emissions have dramatically increased.

Curiously, however, while two of The Australian’s columnists professed their love for coal and the Adani mine in the Galilee Basin, reporters David Crowe and Sid Maher ran an article that floated the inadequacy of the announced targets.

The Climate Council’s Tim Flannery, so often pilloried by The Australian, had the story lead with the quote:

Over the next few days, there will be a lot of spin to try and confuse Australians into thinking that we are doing more than we actually are. But no amount of smoke and mirrors will cover up the fact that an emissions reduction target of 40 per cent on 2000 levels by 2030 is the bare minimum and this target is far below that.

Crowe and Maher then go on to quote independent senator Nick Xenophon and Shadow Environment Minister Mark Butler’s dismissal of the target, before going on to conclude:

The Australian target would be below Canada’s ambition of 30% by 2030 and would not keep up with the US target of 26-28% by 2025 or the EU promise of a 40% cut from 1990 levels by 2030.

However, more significant is that the government is ignoring advice from its own Climate Change Authority, which as consistently recommended cuts of between 40 and 60% by 2030. With the Climate Change Authority providing a benchmark target, in a rational world you would think this would create a bidding war between the parties for the highest targets – especially given the level of public anxiety over global warming.

Climate change is set to be the main battleground of the next election campaign. Labor has declared it so. And newspaper polls, think-tank polls and even the major parties’ own internal polling show climate change to be front and centre of voter concern.

What is needed is a budget approach to framing policy that the Climate Change Authority itself uses. Globally, carbon emissions should not exceed 1700 billion tonnes between 2000 and 2050 if we are to give ourselves a reasonable chance of staying below two degrees warming. Australia’s share of this, adjusted for relativities with poorer nations and per capita carbon footprint, is calculated by the Climate Change Authority to be approximately ten billion tonnes of C02 between now and 2050.

However, unless the major parties listen to the Climate Change Authority’s advice, what risks getting lost is the comparability of effective action. By being pre-occupied with abstract targets rather than carbon budgets, parties will continue to compare their policies to other nations, and other timeframes, which end up becoming meaningless – for climate policymakers, economists and the public at large.The Conversation

David Holmes is Senior Lecturer, Communications and Media Studies at Monash University’s School of Media, Film and Journalism.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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World first at Monash: Chair in Cultural Linguistics appointed to Farzad Sharifian

Professor Farzad Sharifian has recently been appointed as the Chair in Cultural Linguistics at Monash, the first appointment of its kind in the world, establishing Monash’s position as the leading institution in this newly developed field of research.

Professor Farzad Sharifian holds the Chair of Cultural Linguistics within the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics.
Professor Farzad Sharifian holds the Chair of Cultural Linguistics within the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics.

Cultural Linguistics explores the relationship between language and cultural conceptualisations. This field has important implications for intercultural and cross-cultural communication, an area of commitment and priority for Monash University.

Professor Rae Frances, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, said that she was proud to have the Chair in Cultural Linguistics in her Faculty:

“It is very fitting recognition of Professor Sharifian’s impressive and innovative research, drawing together as it does cutting edge concepts from diverse and complementary disciplines to produce new perspectives on the intersection between culture, cognition and language, with wide-ranging implications.”

It is also fitting that the world’s first Chair in Cultural Linguistics is an Australian appointment, since it was Professor Sharifian’s research into inter-cultural communication between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians that led to the establishment of this new field. Professor Sharifian explains that “the data from this Australian research contributes significantly to the development of the cultural linguistics field.”

Recognized worldwide as a leading authority in the field of Cultural Linguistics, Professor Sharifian has developed a theoretical and an analytical framework of cultural cognition, cultural conceptualisations, and language, and these frameworks have so far been successfully applied to the areas of intercultural communication, cross-cultural pragmatics, teaching English as an International Language, World Englishes, and political discourse analysis.

The international publisher Springer has just launched a book series with the title of Cultural Linguistics, with Professor Sharifian as its Series Editor. Professor Sharifian is also the founding Editor-in-Chief of the recently launched the International Journal of Language and Culture (John Benjamins).

The First International Conference of Cultural Linguistics will be held at Monash Prato Centre in July 2016, with Professor Sharifian as a keynote speaker. Monash University has also launched a new scholarship entitled The Farzad Sharifian PhD Scholarship in the field of Cultural Linguistics.

Professor Sharifian is currently the President of Applied Linguistics Association of Australia, a Director of the International Association for World Englishes, and a Fellow of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany.

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From iPhone to iFilm: the queer experience of Tangerine

by Whitney Monaghan

Tangerine, a film by US director Sean Baker currently screening at Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), is a remarkable piece of cinema for a number of reasons.

It’s queer in both content and approach: not only does it feature queer actors (the film has garnered much critical acclaim for its use of trans actors in trans roles), it’s also queer in its irreverent approach to style, form and storytelling. Filmed on an iPhone 5S, Tangerine presents an alternative to the dominant Hollywood or even Indiewood model of filmmaking.

The film’s central protagonist is Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez ), a trans sex worker fresh out of jail, who finds out that her boyfriend/pimp has been cheating on her with a cisgender woman. Seething with rage, she seeks revenge.

Sin-Dee pounds the pavement throughout the film, looking for her boyfriend and his lover. Meanwhile, her best friend Alexandra (Mya Taylor) tags along, using every conversation as an opportunity to advertise a gig for that evening.

As the women approach fellow sex workers, pimps and friends in the streets of Hollywood, Baker’s camera swoops in on them. At once intimate and distanced, these camera movements mirror the intensity of movement that underpins the film: a violent and volatile walking tour of the city, Los Angeles, in which no one walks.

In between, we cut to segments featuring Rasmik (an Armenian taxi driver with a hidden desire for trans women) and his family. Just over midway through the film, his mother-in-law condemns Los Angeles for its superficiality. Searching for the truth behind Rasmik’s erratic behaviour, she describes LA as “a beautifully wrapped lie”.

Baker juxtaposes (and ultimately joins) the two narrative threads, and in doing so cultivates a unique rhythm: the fast pace of the street is contrasted with the slow pace of the vehicle. This reminds us, as Alexandra proclaims early on in the film, that: “Out here it is all about our hustle. And that’s it.”


Discussion of the film has focused on digital utopianism, or the idea that the digital era has democratised culture and that greater access means increased choices and content, as well as greater potential for community and participation. As Mark Duplass, one of Tangerine’s executive producers, said at South by Southwest (SXSW) earlier this year:

There’s no excuse for not making short films on the weekends with your friends, shot on your iPhone.

That said, describing Tangerine purely as an “iPhone film” seems false. To describe it in this way is to suggest that Baker picked up his phone one day and decided to get creative; it’s to say that Tangerine is in the same league as the low-grade videos and Vines that we watch on our phones when we’re bored.

But Tangerine wasn’t made to be viewed on a small handheld device. It was made to be viewed in a darkened auditorium, on a screen that towers over its audiences as they sit still, captivated by its imagery.

To make the film appear at home on this big screen, Baker cultivated its aesthetic. In addition to the iPhone 5S, he also used a prototype anamorphic lens which allowed it to be shot in a cinematic aspect ratio (2.35:1 to be precise), a US$7.99 video camera app for high-definition filming, a Steadicam rig to steady the images and allow smooth camera movements, and an array of sound recording equipment.

Baker also enhanced the images during post-production where he amped up the colours and applied a digital grain to provide a richer visual texture.

Evoked through all of this is not the feeling of authenticity that I expected to come from an iPhone film, but rather an aesthetic that complements the premise of LA’s inhabitants leading lives of beautiful lies. The iPhone camera is incredibly mobile and captures light in a sublime and unique manner.

The resulting film has a palpable kinetic energy that is accompanied by a hallucinatory, indeed tangerine, glow. Set in what seems like an eternal dusk, Tangerine is breathtaking in its beauty and garishness. It is both a camp fever dream of Hollywood’s seedy underbelly and a sincere rumination on friendship and love.

Tangerine screens on August 14 as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Whitney Monaghan is a Teaching Associate in Film and Screen Studies at Monash University, part of the School of Media, Film and Journalism.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Film screening: The Maelstrom, part of Translating Pain conference

This week, Monash is hosting the Translating Pain Conference, which will explore how pain, a universal human experience, often eludes description, definition and translation. As part of of the program, Monash is hosting a screening of The Maelstrom : A Family Chronicle – Film Screening.

Following the screening of The Maelstrom: A Family Chronicle (Peter Forgacs, 1997), join Professor Ernst van Alphen and Dr. Noah Shenker for a discussion on how that film reassembles home movies recorded by the Peerebooms, a Dutch Jewish family who intimately chronicled their lives before and during World War II, all the way up to their last night together before being deported to Auschwitz.

Event details:

Time/Date: 7:30 – 9:00 pm, Monday 17th August

Location: G1.04 Building G, MADA, Monash Caulfield Campus

Admission: Free

Prior booking essential as seating is strictly limited.

To reserve a seat for this event, please email with MAELSTROM BOOKINGS in email subject line.

Ernst van Alphen is Professor of Literary Studies at Leiden University, The Netherlands.. His publications in English include Staging the Archive: Art and Photography in Times of New Media (Reaktion Books 2014), Art in Mind: How Contemporary Images Shape Thought (University of Chicago Press 2005), Armando: Shaping Memory (NAi Publishers 2000) Caught By History: Holocaust Effects In Contemporary Art, Literature, and Theory (Stanford U.P 1997) and Francis Bacon and The Loss of Self (Harvard U.P 1995). He will be visiting Monash as a keynote speaker at Translating Pain: An International Forum on Language, Text and Suffering.

Translating Pain Conference:

This event is part of the Translating Pain conference held at Monash University  10-12 August. The conference is co-hosted by the Mobility, Translation and Identity Network, the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation and the Research Program in Global History.


Out of Israel: Ausraelis re-invent the diasporic identity

by Ran Porat, School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies (SoPHIS)

Approximately 15,000 Israelis live in Australia, mostly in Melbourne and Sydney. Almost all of them are Jews and they constitute around 12% of the 120,000-strong Australian Jewish community. Yet several factors and recent developments give “Ausraelis” (Australian-resident Israelis) an importance that outweighs their numbers.

The first factor is demography, as reflected in Australian census data. Since the turn of the century, immigration from Israel to Australia has skyrocketed, leading to a 20% jump in the number of Ausraelis every five years. This trend escalated recently, with a possible 30% growth since 2011.

Immigration to Australia from Israel has accelerated in recent years.  Department of Immigration
Image: Immigration to Australia from Israel has accelerated in recent years. Department of Immigration

Israelis are by far the fastest-growing non-Australian-born group in the Australian Jewish community in recent years.

These Ausraelis make a range of positive contributions to the demographic profile of Australian Jews. Many are young families with children, who invigorate an ageing population. Recent Israeli emigrants are skilled and educated, and can integrate relatively swiftly as middle-class Australians.

From a Jewish community perspective, Ausraelis could be regarded as a healthy cadre for a new generation of active members. However, as a rule, Israelis remain estranged from organised Jewish Australia.

One reason for this is life in Israel, where the state provides all educational, social and religious services for the Jewish majority. Israelis abroad rarely go to or join synagogues, which are centres of social activity for diaspora Jews.

Most Israeli emigrants are secular. They associate synagogues with religion and its institutions and political parties. Both are unpopular in light of Israel’s long history of secular-religious tensions.

The lack of a community mentality is just the tip of the iceberg. Living in a diaspora setting determines the boundaries and content of the conversation between Ausraelis and Australian Jewry. The latter can be conceptualised as the Aussie subsidiary of a historic worldwide religious diaspora. The former is evolving a budding Ausraeli diasporic identity, part of the wider national Israeli diaspora.

This new identity is constructed around a triangle of affiliations: Israeli (homeland nationalism), Australian (new home society) and Jewish (religious). Each is internally debated: by individuals themselves and/or vis-à-vis the relevant sector of Israeli residents in Australia, other Australian Jews and the wider Australian society.

The state of Israel participates in, and even moderates, discussion between its national and historic diasporas across the globe. These days, Jerusalem is officially reaching out to and embracing its former residents. This is possible because current Israeli emigrants display features of confident transnational migrants, with a growing cross-border political awareness of issues facing the homeland.

Institutionalisation is the latest trend of the Israeli diaspora. Newly formed local organisations of Israelis abroad, including AIA (the Association of Israelis in Australia, co-founded by the author), are on the verge of creating a global Israeli diaspora roof body.

Reversing the Zionist narrative

Tapping into the inner voices of the Australian Israeli community reveals another interesting finding. Inside closed online social platforms, within their own Hebrew-only forums, websites and print media, Ausraelis are engaged in a dynamic redefinition of their identity in the diaspora setting. Specifically, among recent Israeli newcomers to Australia is a dominant group with a distinct self-perception, the “Ausraeli approach”.

This is based on a certain demarcation of Israel’s past and on a negative prognosis for its future. The Ausraeli approach challenges the original Zionist nation-building narrative, which stigmatised past emigrants as Yordim (descending) – a derogatory label. In 1976, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin described Yordim as “the fallen among the weaklings”.

Yerida (the act of emigration) revolved around guilt, shame and temporariness as embodied in cultivation of the “myth of return”, constantly contemplating resettling in Israel. The Ausraeli approach sees immigration to Australia as Aliyah (ascendance) – a term exclusively used for incoming Jews to Israel (Olim, ascenders). Aliyah further implies an improved personal status and a higher moral and normative character as a result of the homecoming.

The Ausraeli approach is a reversal of this. The classic Zionist discourse sees settling in Israel as the only path towards redemption for diaspora Jews and the only way to escape a deterministic fate in the “Mortified Exile” (Golah Dvuyaih). This idea of “negation of exile” was embodied by early Zionism’s adoption of “the wandering Jew” anti-Semitic myth.

The Christian fable of “the wandering Jew” holds that Jews are to always wander the earth. The Zionist version suggested that the Israeli – a new and reinvented national Jew – was supposed to lay his wandering forefather to rest.

On the other hand, the Ausraeli approach repositions leaving Israel as an escape to the diaspora from a deterministic fate of never-ending troublesome life in Israel with its ongoing security and social tensions (“the myth of no return”). It suggests that “the wandering Jew” did not find spiritual relief following Jewish national resurrection in Israel. Therefore, his journey continues.

What can be learnt from the Ausraeli approach? That Zionist success in manufacturing new Jews – the Israelis – was so great that Israeli emigrants feel detached from their forefathers, diaspora Jews. The emigrants themselves are evolving into a new segment of Israeli society, as Israeli diasporants.

Now it is high time to examine the identity of children of Ausraelis. As one vocal Ausraeli said in an internal online forum: “What is the relevance of an Israeli tradition for a child who is about to turn into an Australian?” I wonder.The Conversation

Ran Porat is Lecturer in Israel Studies and Middle Eastern History at Monash University, at the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies. 

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Public Event: ‘Analyst or Warrior? The Changing Face of Political Commentary in Australia’

We frequently hear that politics in Australia has descended into an unprecedented partisan ‘crisis’. Is it the case and, if so, how much of this partisanship is being fuelled by, indeed mirrored in, the corrosive polarisation of rival elements of the media? Join us for this important discussion as a stellar panel analyses the evolving political and media landscape in Australia.


Hon John Brumby, Premier of Victoria (2007 – 2010) and Vice Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne and Monash University.

Katharine Murphy is deputy political editor of the Guardian Australia. An award winning journalist and pioneer of digital journalism, she is a regular panelist on the ABC’s Insidersprogram and The Drum. Katharine is adjunct associate professor of journalism at the University of Canberra.

Shaun Carney is one of Australia’s most respected and experienced political columnists. He is also Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University. A columnist with the Herald Sun before that he was for many years associate editor and national political columnist with the Age. Shaun is writing a memoir about his 37 years in newspaper journalism and the changes wrought by digital technology.

Jonathan Green is presenter of Sunday Extra on Radio National. A long-time print journalist on Australia’s major daily newspapers, Jonathan was editor for three years of Crikey before becoming foundation editor of ABC on-line The Drum. He is the author of The Year My Politics Broke (Melbourne University Publishing, 2013).

Light Refreshments Provided

Event Details:

Date/Time: Thu 27 Aug / 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Location: Village Roadshow Theatrette, State Library Victoria

This is a free event but please RSVP to Swati Parashar swati.parashar@monash.ed  or RSVP to the Facebook event.

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Winter Fest kicks off this week

This week, Monash University’s Winter Fest is bringing music, movies, comedy and snow to Clayton campus, for students and the community to enjoy. 

Kicking off on Monday night, festival-goers were treated to a blues concert featuring Monash alumni Movement 8, as well as The Black Sorrows and Clare Bowditch. 

Movement 9 in the magnificent spiegeltent at Monash University! #winterfest

A photo posted by Monash School of Music (@monash_school_of_music) on

The rest of the week holds just as much excitement. Tuesday features a snow party, Wednesday offers a double movie screening (Frozen for a kid-friendly crowd and a later screening of Fargo). Thursday will feature a Comedy Night with Tommy Little and Nazeem Hussain as co-headliners. 

Monash Arts’ home, the Menzies Building, will also play backdrop to a light show, on rom 6 – 10:30 pm every night – The projections were created by artist Kit Webster. 

For more information, tickets and other details, visit the WinterFest website