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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Students named finalists in the Young Walkleys

Two Monash student journalists are finalists in the Walkley Young Journalist of the Year Awards and the Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship.

Jack Paynter has been named a finalist in the Young Walkley's Student of the Year award.
Jack Paynter has been named a finalist in the Young Walkley’s Student of the Year award.

Jack Paynter’s story Cricket willow tree project drives investors bats was published in The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.

It told the story of a group that offered investments in willow trees to make cricket bats, and continued to demand fees from investors despite no sales over 16 years.

His story earned him a place among the top three in the student award section of the Walkley Young Journalist of the Year.

Nicola McCaskill has produced a highly original and award-winning photo essay about a day in the life of a Melbourne sex worker.

Nicola McCaskill
Nicola McCaskill

Nicola is a finalist for the Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship, which is a paid internship working with some of Australia’s best TV news and current affairs journalists.

Monash journalism alumna and Leader journalist Therese Allaoui was named a finalist in the Community/Regional Journalism award for the Young Walkleys. Therese, an award-winning journalist, was recognised for work published in the Mordialloc Chelsea Leader and Port Philip Leader, including Deadly drugs on sale, Players left in the dark, and Taste of prosperity.

The winner of each category will qualify for the Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year and will undertake work experience with CNN, Twitter and Huffington Post in the United States.

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Monash Theatre and Performance Centre receives $1 million donation for Artists in Residence Program

Dr Jeanne Pratt AC
Dr Jeanne Pratt AC

Melbourne philanthropist Dr Jeanne Pratt AC has donated $1,000,000 to Monash University’s Centre for Theatre and Performance, significantly boosting student opportunities in musical theatre.

Announced at a Monash University graduation ceremony on Thursday 26 May, when the University awarded her an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree, the donation establishes the Jeanne Pratt Musical Theatre Artists in Residence Program. The program will enable drama and music students to work with, and learn from, leading musical theatre practitioners.

In partnership with Dr Pratt, The Production Company and The Pratt Foundation, this program builds on the University’s strong track record in performing arts and will focus on training students in creating uniquely Australian musical theatre.

Through the program, artists in residence will mentor students in their craft and foster increased collaboration within the industry.

In association with the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, the Monash University Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA) and the Centre for Theatre and Performance, the program will include an annual professionally produced musical theatre production. The production will give students the opportunity to work with leading specialists from across all areas of musical theatre and gain a greater understanding of what makes a musical experience so special for an audience.

Dr Pratt said she was delighted to support the development of the University’s musical theatre students: “I’m extremely pleased the program will give these students an opportunity to fully develop their skills and prepare for a career in the musical theatre industry. I look forward to seeing their progress and attending Australian musical theatre performances here at Monash.”

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AO thanked Dr Pratt for her generous patronage of the performing arts at Monash: “I look forward to the program becoming a cornerstone of the student experience at Monash and an important influence on the future of musical theatre in Australia.”

Monash’s musical theatre study program offers students an integrated combination of theory and practice. It equips students with the fundamental skills to enter the industry and takes a universal approach to training writers, composers, librettists, directors, music directors and choreographers of musical theatre.

Background information:

  • The Pratt family is one of Monash University’s most generous benefactors and following this latest gift of $1million the Pratt Foundation has now donated over $9 million to the University across a variety of faculties and departments.
  • Dr Pratt is Chairperson and founder of The Production Company (established in March 1998), a not-for-profit theatrical company which performs Broadway musicals and is now in its 18th season. The Company specialises in promoting and showcasing emerging theatre talent in the Melbourne and Australian theatre industry.
  • The Pratt family has a long association with Monash University with some of Dr Pratt’s children and grandchildren attending Monash.

Music, Theatre and Performance at Monash


Australian drama comes to Clayton

Boy out of the Country
Boy out of the Country

A powerful Australian play about urban sprawl and social change will be performed at Monash University’s Drama Theatre, Clayton campus this week.

The play, Boy out of the Country is touring metropolitan and regional Victoria with the support of Arts Victoria.

Written and directed by Monash University lecturer, Dr Felix Nobis, Boy out of the Country reveals how family relationships can be split apart when long held rural properties fall victim to urban sprawl.

“It is a fast paced play that is distinctly Australian in its language and humour,” Dr Nobis said.

Three performances of the critically acclaimed play will be held at the University’s Drama Theatre on 2, 3 and 4 June.

The performances are being staged by the University’s Centre for Theatre and Performance in association with Monash Academy of Performing Arts.

Boy out of the Country is on the 2016 VCE theatre studies list and was recently published by Currency Press.

Ticket prices are $22 for adults, $10 for Monash students, $16 for pensioners/seniors/concession card holders and children. Group discounts are available. Please call the box office on 990 51111 or book online.

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Master of Journalism: Double Masters with Warwick information session

Bachelor of Journalism (Double Masters with University of Warwick)
Information Session

Thursday 2nd June 6.30-8.00pm

Register here


Good political slogans and this year’s, meh, yawn, failings

Howard Manns, Monash University, (Co-written with Kate Burridge)

One of this piece’s authors (Howard Manns), a migrant, obviously struggles with English and literacy issues. He thanks his lucky stars that pollies speak to him in simple, three-word slogans. But what makes for a good slogan?

Good political slogans have a slathering of ideology, a dash of linguistics and lashings of repetition. With this in mind, let’s take a trip through the goodies and baddies of slogans.

A slathering of ideology

The word slogan derives from the Scottish Gaelic compound of sluagh ‘army, host’ and ghairm ‘shout, cry’. The sluagh-ghairm served as a battle cry for Scottish Highland people, and usually involved shouting the hosting clan’s name or the location (hence the sluagh ‘host’ link).

Battle cries in politics tend to be catchy, pithy and frame a clear narrative for the electorate. The best slogans are social parasites, sucking up fear and uncertainty, and defecating false hope, change and progress. Good slogans say to the electorate, yes we can.

In fact, Barack Obama made all of these words his slogans in 2008. More so, the latter slogan, yes we can, tapped into deeper cultural links with the Spanish sí se puede, which was a rallying cry for the Latin American labour movement in the 1970s.

Our pollies adapt a similar strategy of tapping the cultural wellspring every time they spout off a mate, battler or fair go. The ALP briefly appropriated the national anthem in 1975 with its slogan Advance Australia Fair.

Good political slogans also tap into the personal and emotive and create villains and heroes. For instance, with axe the tax and stop the boats, we have short, emotive slogans that present us with villains in the form of people wishing to tax us or take our jobs but also mad monks willing to save us.

Yet, heroes and villains are often left unsaid and these slogans serve as dog whistles in the modern era. To these ends, we’ve come some way since UK politician Peter Griffiths in 1964 ran on the dreadful platform If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour.

A dash of linguistics

But what makes for a good slogan in terms of language?

Well, the repetition of the same or similar sounds is a good strategy (recall Obama’s victory speech and how “partisanship and pettiness poisoned our politics”). Moreover, the sounds one chooses can send subtle messages.

Some sounds just seem particularly appropriate to certain meanings. As Bob Cohen from the firm Lexicon once asked: Clorox versus Chanel — which is going to be the hard-working laundry detergent and which the new fragrance? Stopped sounds like p, t, k, b convey a sense of toughness (it’s not for nothing they dominate our swearwords). Of course, this means the slogans stop the boats and axe the tax are p-, t-, k-fully tough.

Vowel selection is also relevant here and a tough slogan would best avoid vowels like that in feet, which convey a sense of ‘smallness’, ‘beauty’ and ‘tenderness’ (you won’t find that vowel sound in any good swearword). Is this why Tony Abbott’s battle between the goodies and the baddies fell so short?

Aussies like posties and sparkies because this final -ies suffix adds a bit of intimacy and charm to a word. Yet, such suffixing is known as hypocorism, deriving from a Greek word meaning ‘to use child talk’, and this isn’t the best kind of talk to be doing when you’re shirtfronting.

Short and pithy is also important for slogans, and in linguistic terms, this means erring on the side of short (for the most part) Anglo-Saxon rather than long and Greco-Latinate words. This is why axe the tax and stop the boats make for better slogans than those that use words like Reconciliation, Recovery & Reconstruction (ALP, 1983), and, even worse, Incentivation (Liberals, 1987), which also lacks the magic three (an old rhetorical strategy and a staple slogan structure).

Lastly, it’s a political truism at this point that it’s not what you say but what people hear that matters. This means designing a slogan specific enough to define your era but vague enough that people can attach their own meanings.

This underlies Australia’s most successful slogan It’s time (ALP, 1972), which on the one hand flags the need for party change after 23 years of Liberal governance, but hints at a range of things the electorate might think it’s time for (e.g. new economics, new healthcare, new underwear).

To these ends, It’s time was more successful than the Liberal’s slogan, 23 years earlier, the more specific It’s time for a change (1949).

Lashings of repetition

Speaking of repetition, this year’s slogans are as Australian as apple pie and baseball.

The Coalition’s tiresome jobs and growth, while linguistically pithy and ideologically parasitic, is more a conservative mantra than a novel slogan. In the early noughties, George W. Bush used jobs and growth, brace yourself for some déjà vu, to promote tax cuts.

It’s easy to pick on the Coalition, who perhaps decided to play it safe after the continuity and change misfire, but the ALP is also guilty of political thievery and/or playing it safe in 2016.

The ALP is using a slogan that echoes Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, which promoted Putting People First. Twenty-four years later, Bill Shorten promises We’ll Put People First. We might read the shift from gerund (e.g. putting) to simple verb (e.g. put) as agility and innovation or as a reaction to Julia Gillard’s (2010) failed gerund Moving Forward.

Historical repetition of slogans, while on the one hand cringe-worthy, on the other is quite normal in electioneering. For instance, Abraham Lincoln famously invoked the proverb Don’t change horses midstream for his election (1864) in the waning days of the Civil War. Franklin Delano Roosevelt re-invoked it in the waning days of WWII (1944) and Bob Hawke used it against John Howard (1987).

Back to 2016, the ALP’s secondary slogan, 100 Positive Policies, hints at an issue political parties often grapple with: how to package what they offer. A second slogan of Clinton’s 1992 campaign was a New Covenant. It didn’t fly.

U.S. Republicans arguably nailed the right wording for its package with its 1994 Contract with America. The slogan’s architect, Frank Luntz, points out covenants are too religious and platforms too political. Plans don’t sound sufficiently binding and promises were made to be broken.

To these ends, 100 Positive Policies sounds like the subject line of a soul-sucking email from a human resources department. So, all and all, it’s looking like 2016’s slogans will go the way of the ALP’s 1961 slogan, which was (brace yourself for some déjà vu), Labor puts people first, both repetitive and forgettable.The Conversation

Howard Manns is a Lecturer in Linguistics at Monash University

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

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Seeing borders from the perspectives of criminology and visual arts

Associate Professor Leanne Weber joined visual artists and curators to discuss contemporary borders at a public seminar held at the Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA).

The event was associated with a stunning exhibition on Borders, Barriers, Walls, curated by Francis Parker. In the words of MUMA director Charlotte Day, the exhibition “explores physical and psychic barriers, between and inside nation states, metaphorical and literal – the walls that keep people in or keep others out, that defend or protect or exclude”.

The highly engaged audience was drawn largely from the visual arts, but there was no difficulty in finding a common language with which to discuss the meaning and nature of borders across disciplines. A/P Weber presented a ‘retrospective’ of the work of the Border Crossing Observatory with an emphasis on the theorisation of borders from a critical criminological perspective. Themes that resonated particularly well with the audience, and with the many provocative works displayed in the exhibition, included the myth of globalisation producing a borderless world; the idea of performative, de-territorialised borders; the operation of hidden power through virtual borders; and the human costs and implications of border control.

With the importance of ‘impact’ looming large for academics in all disciplines, there appears to be real promise for collaborations between social scientists and creative artists to communicate research outcomes in powerful, diverse and accessible ways. Such an approach aligns with a stated objective at MUMA to explore ‘the role that artists can play in engaging critically with the most urgent social, political and cultural issues’.

Borders, Barriers, Walls is open to the public until July 2.  Displayed image is by Tony Schwensen.

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BOb at the launch of the OSCE Gender Equality Platform for Border Security and Management

OSCE pres pic
BOb’s Rebecca Powell presents at OSCE Gender Equality Platform Launch, Helsinki.

Rebecca Powell,  Managing-Director of Monash’s Border Crossing Observatory, attended and presented at the Launch Meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Gender Equality Platform for Border Security and Management in Helsinki, Finland last week.

The launch was held at the Finnish Customs School, bringing together representatives from across the OSCE region to discuss women’s leadership and empowerment in border security and management.

Rebecca presented considerations from Australia and South East Asia in regards to the experiences of irregular migrant women traveling from the Middle East, through the SE Asia region and onwards to Australia and other destination countries. Whilst the research she presented on has a different regional focus to that of Europe, as a region of transit for onward migration, including for migrants traveling from the Middle East, the evidence from this BOb research can be applied to the European context in responding to the current migrant crisis.

In her presentation to European and international border security and policing experts and personnel, Rebecca drew from empirical research conducted by the Border Crossing Observatory including from Professor Sharon Pickering’s ‘Border Policing: Gender, Human Rights and Security’ Future Fellowship project and findings from the recently released ‘Information consumption and decision making of irregular migrants in Indonesia’ ANU-DIBP collaborative research project . By presenting evidence from these projects, Rebecca aimed to provide an understanding of particular irregular migration experiences for women, which can then help to inform law enforcement and humanitarian responses to their arrival at destination countries.

The OSCE Gender Equality Platform for Border Security and Management will support the implementation of the following results:

  • Launch the OSCE wide platform in support of gender equality in border security and management;
  • Develop an on-line training on gender mainstreaming in border security and management;
  • Country visits of high level “good will ambassadors” to conduct high level meetings on gender mainstreaming with the leadership of the national border security and management services.

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Why has climate change disappeared from the Australian election radar?

David Holmes, Monash University

Two weeks into a protracted election campaign, it is looking ever-more likely that climate change is to be placed way down the order of business – at least for the major parties.

The contest over climate change that characterised the previous three elections seems to have disappeared off the political radar despite the issue being more urgent than ever. Since the Paris climate summit, global average temperatures continue to break month-on-month records.

Just a few weeks after the summit, the North Pole was briefly not even able to reach freezing point – in the middle of winter. And just this month, Cape Grim surpassed a 400 ppm baseline minimum.

Then there is the truly frightening climate spiral developed by Ed Hawkins from the University of Reading. It shows what an El Niño amplified global temperature has climbed to. The spiral assumes a tight-knit but ever-expanding ball until April 2015, when the spiral line starts to separate dramatically from the ball. This year it careers dangerously close to the 1.5℃ threshold.

Climate spiral. Ed Hawkins
Climate spiral. Ed Hawkins

The diminishing political and media spiral on climate

While global temperatures may be spiralling out of control, the opposite appears to be happening with the climate issue attention cycle in Australia.

Apparently, climate is less important than jobs and growth – or, in Labor’s case, health and schools.

A big part of this change in political climates is undoubtedly the Paris summit itself. The political triumphalism of the summit belies the scientific pessimism of so many climate scientists and activists.

Kevin Anderson from Manchester University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research even declared the summit to be “worse that Copenhagen”, in that it is based on out-of-date science, does not include aviation and shipping, and includes negative emissions in its scenarios for achieving abatement.

On the other hand, after the collapse of talks at Copenhagen, some activists see no choice but to climb aboard with the Paris agreement, insofar as it at least signifies a mainstream seachange in action – even if the actual measures are inadequate. The INDCs that came out of the conference still put the world on a path to 3.5℃.

Yet so many politicians from around the globe have sought to convince their constituents that the climate problem is all but solved. The Coalition is banking on such a sell to the Australian electorate as it gambles with a climate attention minimisation strategy. Much of this sell has been left to the “best minister in the world” Greg Hunt, both before and after the Paris summit.

Hunt has already claimed success on meeting the 2020 target, and with strategies to meet the 2030 target.

Little of the Government’s progress in meeting the 2020 target is due to reducing emissions. Rather it has been the reduction in land-clearing, consumer-driven domestic solar, and the decline in manufacturing that have been decisive in meeting the 2020 targets.

The Guardian’s Lenore Taylor has pointed out that while the Coalition is bringing back the “carbon tax” scare campaign of 2013, its own scheme would have to draw on the “safeguard mechanism” component of Direct Action – which is itself a disguised ETS – to have any chance of meeting the targets.

Short of leaning on this mechanism, the only other option the Coalition has is to increase the taxpayer-funded emissions reduction fund to a level that would make a mockery of any claims to budget responsibility.

Add to this the fact that recent academic research on Direct Action has reaffirmed its status as a form of corporate welfare that is allocated to projects that would have happened anyway. And all this is in an Australia that has increased its already high emissions 3% since 2000.

Shifting voter attitudes on climate

But have Hunt’s strategies worked on the Australian electorate? Not according to a recent ReachTEL poll of 2,400 respondents on May 9, which revealed that 56% believed the government needed to do more to tackle global warming.

64% said they would be more likely to vote for a party that has a plan to source 100% of Australia’s electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar and hydro in the next 20 years.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull seems to have switched off his personal barometer on climate as an issue that is too politically fraught. In 2010, he said:

We know that the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic … We as a human species have a deep and abiding obligation to this planet and to the generations that will come after us.

But since then, Turnbull appears to have sacrificed his convictions to the climate-illiterate backbench of his party.

Labor has not done much better. While it has more ambitious 2030 abatement targets than the Coalition, it has been particularly silent in reminding voters of its climate policy alternative.

Labor and the Greens

Both major parties have opted to entrench their duopoly by not going after big targets on any of the issues that are usually recycled at election time.

Instead, much airtime has been spent in the opening weeks of the campaign attacking the Greens. Liberal ministers take every opportunity to pillory any alliance between the Greens and Labor. Last week, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told Fairfax Media:

We see them very much on a unity ticket. In our judgement, Labor and the Greens are now on an anti-business, anti-jobs, and anti-growth unity ticket.

In the same week, Turnbull labelled Labor’s proposal to double the intake of refugees as a “gesture to the Greens” on the back of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s attack on the Greens’ asylum-seeker policy.

But, curiously, Labor and the Greens are at war themselves, or at least they are desperately giving the appearance they are. According to Michael Cooney from the Labor thinktank the Chifley Research Centre and Ben Oquist from the Australia Institute, Labor and the Greens have attacked each other because nearly every inner-city seat the Greens have a chance of winning for the first time are Labor-held.

The Greens are also distancing themselves from Labor because they want to capture the anti-politics vote. This is best achieved by showing yourself to be radically different from the major parties.

Labor, on the other hand, is almost forced into attacking the Greens because of the long-run stigma that News Corp papers have attached to any such alliance. During the first days of the election campaign, the Daily Telegraph and The Australian were jumping in with stories that no major party would ever form government with the Greens.

In contrast to the 2013 election campaign, the Tele even had a pro-Labor story “Save Our Albo” over the Greens’ challenge to Anthony Albanese’s inner-city seat of Grayndler.

But nothing much has changed. Back in the 2010 federal election, the The Australian declared the pride with which it had smashed any alliance between the Greens and Labor, and that the Greens:

… should be destroyed at the ballot box.

In October the same year Rupert Murdoch referred to the “bloody Greens” as a party that would ruin Australia’s economic prosperity.

What is clear to the Coalition, Murdoch, and big business in Australia is that Labor and the Greens must be permanently isolated from each other in a sustained ideological crusade. Failing to achieve this would spell nothing short of game over for the Coalition.

The entire crusade, which is based on castigating the Greens as a loony left party that would bring down the Labor Party, requires so much journalistic theatre, compared to what could more easily be done with the Liberal-National Party marriage of convenience. One is a party of agrarian socialists, and the other a party serving mining capital and finance capital. But News Corp has been particularly disciplined at ignoring any of the tensions that these parties have had over the years.

Were Labor to form an alliance with the Greens it could take great leadership on climate. But there are a great many forces arraigned against them achieving a left-progressive coalition.

Whether the Labor Party has the courage to come out and challenge the Coalition to a contest over climate remains to be seen.

The Greens, for their part, are making many more inroads into this election than the last. They certainly have the strongest climate policy, with a renewable energy target of 90% by 2030. The ReachTEL poll referred to earlier shows the Greens have four times the primary vote than the National Party.

The Greens know that for under 30 voters they are already matching the primary vote of the major parties, and that a core platform of strong action against global warming is a big part of this support. Whether the major parties can ignore this support that springs from climate will be one of the biggest gambles of this election.The Conversation

David Holmes is a Senior Lecturer in Communications and Media Studies at Monash University.

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

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NCAS historian launches new book on the Vietnam War

Monash Historian, Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen, celebrated the launch of her book, South Vietnamese Soldiers: Memories of the Vietnam War and After, on May 9th 2016.

IMG_8650 copy
Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen with Ms Thanh-Kham Tran-Dang, Ms Kim Vu, and Mrs Cam Nguyen from the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association Inc.

“South Vietnamese soldiers are the forgotten soldiers of the Vietnam War,” notes Monash University historian Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen. “My book breaks new ground by exploring their untold histories.”

The launch of her new book South Vietnamese Soldiers: Memories of the Vietnam War and After (Praeger, 2016) was celebrated at a major community outreach event at the Multicultural Hub Drill Hall in Melbourne on 9 May 2016.

The 130 attendees included members of the Vietnamese community, Vietnamese and Australian Vietnam veterans, scholars, politicians and members of the general public. The launch was sponsored by the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association Inc. (AVWA), a partner organization for Associate Professor Nguyen’s two ARC fellowships (2005-15). The National Centre for Australian Studies also provided a subsidy for the event.

IMG_8689 copy
The launch of Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen’s new book was celebrated at the Multicultural Hub Drill Hall in Melbourne on 9 May 2016.

The book was launched by Peter Edwards, Official Historian of Australia’s Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948-75 with an opening address by Alistair Thomson, Professor of History at Monash.

South-Vietnamese-Soldiers-Book-COverSpeakers included Members of Parliament from both sides of politics who have supported the Vietnamese community in Victoria: the Hon. Luke Donnellan, Minister for Roads, Road Safety and Ports and State Member for Narre Warren North, and the Hon. Murray Thompson, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Sandringham.

South Vietnamese Soldiers is the outcome of Associate Professor Nguyen’s four-year ARC Future Fellowship project on “Forgotten Histories: Vietnamese Veterans in Australia” (2011-15). Two generations and all branches of the armed forces are represented in the book: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Rangers, Marines, Airborne Division, Regional and Popular Forces, and the Women’s Armed Forces Corps.

Oral history interviews were conducted in English and Vietnamese, with some French terms used by older veterans. The oldest veteran featured was born in 1917 and first saw service in North Africa during the Second World War. He was present at the launch.

Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen with Mr Vu Hoai Duc, one of the veterans who is featured in her book, and his grandson.
Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen with Mr Vu Hoai Duc, one of the veterans who is featured in her book, and his grandson.

Associate Professor Nguyen’s project resulted in the creation and establishment of a key new oral history collection at the National Library of Australia. “The accounts of South Vietnamese veterans are a part of Vietnam’s history that can now be preserved for a time when Vietnam can finally acknowledge them,” she says.

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Music’s Professor Margaret Kartomi receives international ethnomusicology award

Professor Margaret Kartomi
Professor Margaret Kartomi

Monash academic and ethnomusicologist, Professor Margaret Kartomi, recently won the Koizumi Fumio Prize, an international award for achievements in ethnomusicology. This week, Professor Kartomi will travel to Japan to receive the award at the University of Fine Arts in in Tokyo (26 May 2016).

The prize committee said the prize was awarded to Professor Kartomi “in recognition of her contribution to clarifying the diversity of Southeast Asian music cultures from historical, music-stylistic and organological viewpoints.”

Professor Kartomi is the world authority on the music of the enormous, culturally diverse island of Sumatra. Her most recent book, Musical Journeys in Sumatra (2012), gives a panoramic overview and synthesis of her long-term field research throughout Sumatra between 1971 and the present.

From the early 1970s she pioneered the teaching and research of Asian music in Australia and established the Music Archive of Monash University (MAMU). She helped build Monash’s Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music into a world-famous centre for ethnomusicology.

With near-native ability in Indonesian language she has been equally active as an academic leader in the discipline of ethnomusicology and Asian studies, taking a leading role in the establishment of the Monash Asia Institute in the early 1990s.  

She has educated and mentored several generations of researchers, with many of those mentees now making an impact in their respective fields. Indeed she has made an indelible mark on the discipline of ethnomusicology.

Her extremely broad research interests extend to the musical cultures of Indonesia as a whole, Australian Aboriginal children’s songs, Jewish migrant and refugee music, and youth orchestras in Australia.  Her research also reflects a strong social engagement with those cultures.

“It is gratifying to receive this honour in recognition of a lifetime of ethnomusicological research. I like to think the award is being presented not only to me but in honour of my colleagues and students – present and past – at Monash University who have made it a world centre of ethnomusicological teaching and research, “ said Professor Kartomi.

Professor Kartomi has received numerous honors and accolades from Australian, Indonesian and international bodies.  Especially noteworthy is the 2011 award by Lampung Province in Sumatra of a title equivalent to ‘Queen’ in recognition of her research on Lampung music.  She has recently been awarded a further major grant to lead an international research project on the traditional and popular music culture of Lampung Province.

As part of her visit to Japan  to receive the Koizumi Fumio Prize, Professor Kartomi will also visit the universities of Osaka and Kyoto, where she will be lecturing and working with fellow scholars in her research fields.

“I am greatly looking forward to renewing my friendships and collaborations with fine Japanese ethnomusicologists and anthropologists,” said Professor Kartomi of her forthcoming visit.

Professor Kartomi will also undertake research on the musical instruments and mask collections in the Osaka Ethnological Museum [Minpaku], and attend performances of noh theatre, naiwa-bushi story-singing, contemporary koto music, and rare kagura dances traditionally performed at shinto shrines.  

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Top minds meet through Monash Asia Institute Research Day

Around 30 participants, including 10 researchers from diverse disciplines such as Science, Education, Business and Economics, Sociology, Tourism and Arts, exchanged their research interests and discussed how to develop collaborative projects.
Around 30 participants, including 10 researchers from diverse disciplines such as Science, Education, Business and Economics, Sociology, Tourism and Arts, exchanged their research interests and discussed how to develop collaborative projects.

Earlier this month, Monash Asia Institute (MAI) undertook an innovative research initiative, organising a Research Day attended by faculties from across the University.

The Research Day aimed to facilitate inter-disciplinary work on environment, sustainability and social change in Asia, and identify collaborative research opportunities such as application for internal funding schemes and Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Projects.

Around 30 participants, including 10 researchers from diverse disciplines such as Science, Education, Business and Economics, Sociology, Tourism and Arts, exchanged their research interests and discussed how to develop collaborative projects.

Science’s Professor Tina Overton provided her expertise in developing cross-disciplinary studies and funding opportunities.

“(It was) a fascinating seminar bringing together colleagues from very diverse backgrounds to discuss sustainability and how it might play out in Asia,” Professor Overton said.

“The participants did very well to pull together discussion and come away with a concrete proposal to take forward.”

Facilitators of the seminar, Education’s Dr Sylvia Christine Almeida and Science’s Dr Mahbub Sarkar explained the importance of the collaboration.

“Monash University has been at the forefront of leading environment and sustainability through its approaches and educational thrusts. However, few opportunities exist for developing cross-disciplinary and cross-faculty collaborative work in this field,” they reported.

“We much appreciate that the Monash Asia Institute took the initiative to organise this brainstorming seminar where academics could discuss and identify research projects to address sustainability issues in Asian contexts. We hope to keep the conversations and collaborations going.”

Director of MAI Professor Koichi Iwabuchi said the Research Day addressed a growing need for cross-disciplinary approaches to problem-solving.

“It is becoming more important for academics to develop inter-disciplinary and trans-Asian collaborative projects that aims to make an actual impact on significant issues that the world confronts such as environment, human mobility and cultural diversity,” Professor Iwabuchi said.

“While such collaboration would take some time to develop, MAI aspires to establish a collaborative research platform. We encourage everyone to contact us with ideas for organising similar seminars.”

Visit the Monash Asia Institute website for more information.


New report on legal responses to intimate partner homicide

out-of-character-300x214Dr Debbie Kirkwood and Dr Danielle Tyson, both research fellows in Criminology in the School of Social Sciences at Monash, have recently co-authored a discussion paper (with Associate Professor Bronwyn Naylor and Mandy McKenzie) ‘Out of Character? Legal responses to intimate partner homicides by men in Victoria 2005-2014’ for the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria.

The paper explores legal responses to men who have killed in the context of sexual intimacy in the previous decade and continues to monitor women who kill intimate partners.

This research has important synergies with the review of the Common Risk Assessment and Management Framework (CRAF) for family violence that is currently being undertaken by other School of Social Sciences researchers.

In particular chapter six of the discussion paper focuses on family violence risk factors in intimate partner homicides committed by men. The report also makes recommendation for revision to the CRAF and the context in which it is used.

Copies of the report are available here.

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Monash in Focus: Kate Brabon, Vogel’s Award winner

Monash in Focus recently featured Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award winner Kate Brabon. Kate is a PhD candidate at Monash, in the Creative Writing program. Her novel, The Memory Artist, is now published by Allen and Unwin. 

Read our full interview with Kate on The Memory Artist, her studies and her plans for the future. 

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The linguistic dirt on that dirty little word tax

By Kate Burridge and Howard Manns

The word tax (and words derived from it like taxable, taxpayer etc) loomed large in Scott Morrison’s budget speech – 79 mentions in fact. Tax figured less prominently in Labor’s reply (27 mentions) – but, mind you, Malcolm tells us this is because Labor is hiding its tax plan.

Such is tax, the dirty little word that it is. For some pollies, tax is the Lord Voldemort of the election cycle, he-who-must-not-be-named. For others, tax serves as a rallying cry worthy of Braveheart, but so lacking in definition, we electoral mortals are left saying: “please explain?”

So, let’s take tax to task and get down to brass tacks on tax.

Tax or task and the company it keeps

As a verb, to tax has been in the language a long time, first appearing in the 13th century. Its noun form is the same word as task – simply a different pronunciation (think of aks and ask). Task is the original form (just like aks has the pedigree – something many find a little hard to bear).

The meanings of task and tax eventually diverged and the words parted company. They still share a sense of “obligation”, of course, but the link is now pretty remote.

Interestingly, in this year’s budget speech they did make a few joint appearances in the form of the “new operational taskforce within the Australian Taxation Office”. A new figurative meaning appeared in the 1600s and both the verb and noun tax took on the sense of “burden, strain” (and the budget’s repeated “tax burden on Australians” perhaps struck some as a bit of linguistic overkill).

Of course, as British linguist J. R. Firth once famously put it, “you shall know a word by the company it keeps”. The meaning of tax does derive in part from its constant companions, and in both the budget speech and the reply these were overwhelmingly agreeable companions like cuts, relief, concessions, discounts, incentives, (lower) rate, tax-free, offset, deductions, breaks, subsidies and plan (“to support jobs”).

Yet, behind closed doors, tax has a sordid relationship with many of these companions. For George W. Bush, tax relief was a sneaky way of framing tax cuts for corporations and the rich (but we should note Bush certainly didn’t invent this term!). Linguist George Lakoff writes:

For there to be [tax] relief, there must be an affliction, an afflicted party, and a reliever who removes the affliction and therefore a hero.

Notably, the Coalition used tax cuts and tax relief interchangeably in its speech. However, Labor, in its reply, used tax cuts in relation to business but tax relief for everyday Australians.

Political consultants carefully construct such pairings to influence how we think about issues. US political strategist Frank Luntz recast the estate tax on deceased millionaires as the death tax, and by virtue of co-locating the two surest things in life, hit a six (or in the case of the Americans, a home run) for the American Right.

This year’s Australian mob has been less successful in political pairings as the debate around negative gearing shows. It’s been playing political ping pong for some time now, and hanging out with different chums depending on the party – is it a positive plan to help housing affordability or a housing tax on Mum and Dad investors?

The latter pairing has largely been called out as a weasley furphy, speaking of which …

Totally not a tax, we swear

As in the case of other dirty words, the taboo area of tax has spawned an array of weasely euphemistic expressions over the years.

Some of you might recall the British government’s use of the expression community charge for the local tax introduced into England and Wales in 1990. Community provides that caring halo for many expressions and crops up in a few officially sanctioned euphemisms like community care, community treatment centre, community home, to name just a few.

In fact the expression community charge didn’t catch on in the UK, and its synonym poll tax won out, though it was eventually replaced too. Poll tax has a pretty nasty ring to it now, but it’s a tad more pleasing than the earlier capitation tax. Both refer quite plainly to payment per head, but neither does much to make the tax any more appealing.

Foreign expressions are always good for a bit of gloss. French has given us levy (from the verb meaning “to raise”). It’s an oldie, with us since the 1400s, and has lost a bit of its sheen, but you have to admit it still has a more cheerful ring to it than tax.

And anyone looking to put a classy spin on taxation could perhaps think of applying a bit of French dressing in the form of some of those other, older tax words from French, like gabelle and octroi.

In the US voluntary contribution enjoyed a short career – it’s such as obvious example of out-and-out doublespeak it’s hard to believe anyone was taken in by it. For most, voluntary means something like “acting by choice”. Not in this context. For voluntary here read “forced”.

It seems that US President Richard Nixon was the first to “misremember” the meaning of voluntary, when in 1971 he imposed his voluntary wage and price controls (illustrating another effective camouflage – conceal the unwelcome under a cover of words, and the more the better).

And with that, we sign off as your resident Pundit McNuggets (a term dating to the 1996 US elections and meaning, “pundits who provide light or superficial coverage of an issue”). In the coming weeks, we’ll take on sloganeering, Aussie idioms, and the dole.

Kate Burridge is a Professor of Linguistics and Howard Manns is a Lecturer in Linguistics at Monash University.

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

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Monash journalism students report on federal election for UniPollWatch and The Guardian

Monash University’s journalism students are part of Australia’s largest newsroom, reporting on the 2016 federal election campaign through the UniPollWatch project, a groundbreaking national student project.

The project, which includes several hundred students from 28 universities, aims to cover every lower house seat across Australia with electorate and candidate profiles and reporting on key policy issues.

It will also feature key Senate candidates and ‘explainer’ articles to make politics accessible to readers and first-time voters.

In partnership with The Guardian Australia, student work on UniPollWatch has the potential to reach a diverse and wide audience through digital and social media platforms.

Johan Lidberg
Dr Johan Lidberg

Monash UniPollWatch campus editor and Victorian co-editor, Dr Johan Lidberg, said the project was a “win-win”.

“Our journalism students get to learn in the real world, build their publishing portfolio and make an important contribution to the diversity of election coverage during this long campaign,” Dr Lidberg said.

Monash’s digital journalism coordinator Julie Tullberg and mojo editor Corinna Hente are guiding students as they write electorate and candidate profiles.

The Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia (JERAA) is proud to publish the UniPollWatch project.

The first UniPollWatch project was conducted in Victoria for the state election of 2014.

Journalism educators saw that the success of that project could be extended nationally to provide coverage of the 2016 federal election.

UniPollWatch editor-in-chief Andrew Dodd said the project was a world first which originally started with four universities covering the 2014 Victorian election.

“It worked so well we’re now replicating it on a larger scale with JERAA as the publisher,” said Associate Professor Dodd, who is Swinburne University’s journalism program director.

“It is now the biggest university student journalism project ever undertaken in Australia.

“Throughout the election campaign it will offer insights into relevant people and issues through the eyes of journalism students, many of whom will be voting for the first time in this election.”

Associate Professor Dodd said UniPollWatch would provide in-depth coverage of every electorate, most candidates and key election policies.

“It’s clear and accessible online platform provides at-a-glance information,” he said.

“We understand the constraints for political journalists in covering the whole nation, so UniPollWatch offers a mosaic of local stories, which will add to overall coverage, while giving journalism students around the nation a chance to actively report on the election.”

JERAA president Matthew Ricketson said UniPollWatch was a great initiative for journalism students around the country.

“This is where journalism education is heading in the 21st century,” Professor Ricketson said.

“Journalism schools and their students can play an important role in providing comprehensive coverage of newsworthy events and issues in a way that no other media organisation in the country has resources to undertake.”

Student reporter work will also be featured in the Monash journalism news and current affairs site ‘mojo’ (

For further information contact:
Dr Johan Lidberg
Phone: 0404949250

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Indigenous reconciliation is hard, it re-opens wounds to heal them

Paul Muldoon, Monash University

Australia is being held back by its unresolved relationship with its Indigenous population. Drawing on attempts at reconciliation overseas, this series of articles explores different ways of resolving this unfinished business. We begin today by looking at the significance of reconciliation.

A lot has been invested in the idea of reconciliation, but rarely do we stop to reflect on what the term actually means. Reconciliation implies a process that leads to the end of an estrangement; the restoration of the “right relationship” between two people or two groups.

It involves division giving way to friendship and harmony. Yet the term “reconciliation” suggest no particular rules as to how this takes place. Tellingly, it is silent on questions of justice, such as who gives up what to allow reconciliation to occur.

Reconciliation may involve the pursuit of truth or justice, but neither is a prerequisite. Indeed, in some cases, concerns around truth or justice get in the way.

In settler-colonial societies, such as Australia, the pursuit of reconciliation inevitably draws fresh – or renewed – attention to unresolved injustices of the colonial past. By formally addressing the legacy of colonial violence, governments hope to heal the wounds of dispossession and reunite indigenous and non-indigenous peoples within the nation.

Bids to “come to terms with the past” may include a range of measures, such as:

  • raising public awareness of various kinds of injustices and humiliations indigenous people have suffered;

  • making symbolic acts of redress, such as political apologies, which provide public recognition of injustices and a commitment not to repeat them;

  • restoring land and cultural objects;

  • revaluating indigenous culture and its importance to the life of the nation; and

  • attempting to resolve ongoing legacies of colonisation through policy interventions that address indigenous socioeconomic disadvantage.

The purpose of all such measures is to place relations between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples on a different, more just footing. In the absence of reconciliation, indigenous grievances would have little chance of being addressed, let alone resolved, and the colonial state would be unable to overcome the stain of illegitimacy.

A fine balance

While the pursuit of reconciliation will, by its very nature, press settler colonial states towards a difficult confrontation with their own past, it is, in essence, a nation-building project. Reconciliation’s end goal is always unity – the consolidation of the nation-state as an undivided whole: one land, one people.

But in the case of settler societies, such processes have tended to unleash political dynamics that are either difficult to contain within the framework of reconciliation (such as claims for indigenous sovereignty), or that throw the very possibility of reconciliation into question (such as accusations of genocide).

Reconciliation tends to falter in the face of claims for land rights and sovereignty for the simple reason that their favourable resolution guarantees indigenous people will, in one form or another, remain separate from, rather than integrated into, the nation-state.

Similarly, accusations of genocide threaten nation-building by raising the possibility that injustices of the past are so egregious they make reconciliation impossible.

 One of the first questions to emerge in every site of settler-colonial reconciliation concerns history: what is it we need to reconcile about? andy solo/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

One of the first questions to emerge in every site of settler-colonial reconciliation concerns history: what is it we need to reconcile about? andy solo/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

The viability of reconciliation processes in settler-colonial states can, then, depend on how the conflict between indigenous and non-indigenous people is understood.

Does enmity stem from historical practices of discrimination, in which the rights of indigenous people were denied on arbitrary racial grounds? Or does it come from a historical program of extermination, in which the lives (or, at the very least, cultures) of indigenous people were intentionally placed in jeopardy?

In the former case, no more may be required than the belated recognition of indigenous people as full citizens entitled to equal rights and life opportunities. In the latter, nothing short of a radical restructuring of how the two groups stand in relation to one another is needed.

The pitfalls of transformation

One of the first questions to emerge in every site of settler-colonial reconciliation thus concerns history: what is it we need to reconcile about? How ought we understand the history of our relationship until now?

The tendency for reconciliation processes to get drawn into the very conflict they were designed to resolve is one of great ironies of the politics of conflict transformation. Whatever it may have initially promised, reconciliation has become a site of political contestation in which competing viewpoints, including what reconciliation itself actually means, vie for dominance.

In societies such as Australia, the longer it remains the favoured trope for thinking about the future of indigenous/non-indigenous relations, the more apparent it becomes that the settler-colonial state is divided in ways that both necessitate reconciliation and undercut the chances of achieving it.

This isn’t to say there are no moments when the cause of reconciliation looks to have been decidedly advanced. Apologies for past injustices issued to indigenous people in Canada, Australia, the United States and New Zealand in the last few decades provide arresting examples of precisely such progress.

But the fact that such moments are invariably followed by claims of “unfinished business” is a salutary reminder of the potential for the past to be perpetually re-contested and to throw up ever-new sources of grievance.

For the time being at least, the state of reconciliation – or the reconciled state – seems destined to remain an incomplete project; the always deferred “not yet” of the receding post-colonial horizon.

This is the first article in our series on efforts towards indigenous reconciliation in settler countries around the world. From tomorrow, look out for snapshots of how far various countries have come.The Conversation

Paul Muldoon is Senior Lecturer in Political Theory and Global Politics at Monash University.

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

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Experience and Di Natale position the Greens as a formidable election force

Narelle Miragliotta, Monash University

Late last year, federal Greens leader Richard Di Natale expressed his enthusiasm at the prospect of serving in a federal Labor-Green coalition government. This suggestion has, however, been firmly rejected in recent days by Labor leader Bill Shorten.

But is Shorten unwise to rule out forming a coalition government with the Greens so early in the campaign?

There are four reasons why the Greens are shaping up to be a formidable force both during the campaign and once the outcome is eventually declared.

Political ingenues no more

The Greens are now well and truly part of the political furniture, with a presence at all levels in Australia politics for more than 30 years.

The party has 11 federal MPs, as well as an additional 23 MPs in most Australian parliaments, except Queensland and the Northern Territory.

This brings the Greens certain structural and institutional advantages going into this federal campaign.

  • First, legislative office gives the party access to state-funded resources that are useful during an election campaign.

  • Second, it imbues the party with a measure of institutional legitimacy and standing in public debate.

  • Third, the Greens can point to a growing track record of influencing legislative outcomes, and experience in negotiating with governments.

Importantly, the Greens’ longevity has rendered them a more familiar and less threatening presence. This may make it difficult for their opponents to sustain claims that the party is inexperienced or unpredictable.

Friends with benefits

The Greens have been courting new friends among segments of the union movement – something many commentators once believed to be impossible.

These union allies are of practical and symbolic importance for the Greens.

In financial terms, union donations to the Greens totalled almost A$600,000 in 2013-14. While these amounts are modest compared to union donations to the ALP, they are of critical importance to an otherwise cash-strapped party.

In symbolic terms, union donations can be read as a sign of the party’s growing political acceptance by more traditional social democrats. While complex reasons underpin the decision on the part of unions to donate to the Greens, it nonetheless hints to an emerging rapprochement between the old and new left.

The Shorten factor

Labor has been struggling to rebuild its primary vote. While its difficulties in this regard are structural and sociological, they are also aggravated by Shorten’s unpopularity.

Shorten is not tracking favourably in opinion polls, even if Labor’s two-party-preferred vote is promising.

According to Essential polling, Shorten’s disapproval rating continues to rise, from 27% in 2013 to 47% in March 2016. Over this same period of time, the proportion of voters who approve of Shorten has sunk from 31% to 27%. Meanwhile, the proportion of voters who are “undecided” or “don’t know” about Shorten has declined from 43% to 26%.

The problem for Labor is that studies suggest that public perception of the party leader is important to the outcome of an election.

A decline in Labor’s primary vote often translates into Green electoral gains. It is for this reason that the Greens are quietly optimistic about their prospects in some Labor-held inner-metropolitan seats. The Greens are targeting the Victorian electorates of Melbourne Ports, Batman and Wills. Similarly, the Western Australian seat of Fremantle and the seats of Grayndler and Sydney in New South Wales are also not entirely out of reach.

The Greens’ chances in these seats will be strengthened if the Liberals in Victoria and NSW proceed with plans to negotiate a “loose preference” arrangement with them.

While party stalwarts such as John Howard have warned against this, others, such as Victorian Liberal Party president Michael Kroger, are supportive. Any residual opposition within the Liberals might be assuaged by a Newspoll survey that revealed 47% of Coalition voters are “comfortable” with the Liberals directing preferences to the Greens.

The Di Natale factor

The fourth factor that should help the Greens is the ascension of Richard – I am not an “ideologue” – Di Natale to the leadership.

Di Natale casts a very different shadow from that of his predecessors. His political journey was different from that of former leaders Bob Brown and Christine Milne.

Di Natale appears to have been politicised by social justice issues rather than strictly environmental concerns. He also much more closely resembles an important segment of the Greens base in his style, manner, beliefs and approach. Like many Green voters, he is a well-educated, white-collar professional drawn from the caring/welfare sectors.

Di Natale has sought to re-position the Greens as a mainstream progressive party. This is reflected in his policies, which remain true to the party’s core beliefs while widening the net to draw in other constituencies.

The Greens remain staunchly opposed to offshore processing, and continue to advocate for pricing carbon pollution and legalising same-sex marriage. At the same time, policies such as the “Buffett rule”, which seek to limit the amount of deductions high-income earners can claim, are likely to offend only those who earn more than $185,000 a year.

Similarly, last year’s plan to seek the removal of negative gearing was grandfathered so as to not alienate voters with existing investment properties.

Di Natale’s open appeals to policy moderation may just be enough to motivate those voters who have toyed with voting Green to finally do so.

How might this play out for the Greens?

While the Greens are not contenders for government in their own right, they are important players coming into this election.

At best, they may be needed by Labor to form government. At worst, they should continue to hold the balance of power in the Senate.The Conversation

Narelle Miragliotta is a Senior Lecturer in Australian Politics at Monash University.

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

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Monash Gender Peace and Security secures Linkage Grant

In a success for Monash Arts research, the Gender, Peace and Security Initiative has recently secured a major ARC Linkage Grant.

imageThe three year project, “Towards Inclusive Peace: Monitoring Gender Provisions of Peace Agreements”, will investigate how peace agreements can advance women’s rights and participation after post-conflict and political transitions.

The project team, led by Professor Jacqui True, includes Dr Nicole George; Dr Katrina Lee-Koo; Dr Sara Davies; Dr Barbara King; and Ms Sally Moyle. The industry partner on this grant is the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Women’s participation in peace processes increases the likelihood of a successful peace agreement, but does it consolidate peace and lead to greater participation by women in the governance of the country? This project examines the relationship between women’s presence in the processes of peacemaking, the inclusion of women’s rights and gender provisions in peace agreements, and the outcomes for women’s participation in post-conflict governance of countries with successful peace agreements. Post-conflict and political transitions are major opportunities to advance women’s rights and participation: this project investigates how those opportunities can be harnessed and supported in implementation of peace agreements.

Important new findings will be generated on the impact of gender provisions of peace agreements on women’s participation in key areas of high relevance for Australian national interests in promoting global stability and peace.

It will offer strategic value at three levels by:

  • Providing an open-access global analysis of the relationship between peace processes and gender equality in conflict-affected societies.
  • Offering the opportunity through in-depth case studies to support and engage consular delivery of assistance in aid programs in fragile states.>
  • Developing evidence-based research that will inform targeted aid delivery that supports women’s voice, agency and leadership.

The project is part of the Gender, Peace and Security initiative, a key focus area for Monash Arts.

Follow the Monash Gender, Peace and Security Research Initiative on Facebook to get up to date information about their work. 

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From donkey votes to dog whistles, our election language has a long and political history

Kate Burridge, Monash University and Howard Manns, Monash University

We now know that July 2 will be the day when our politicians, in the words of Alfred Deakin, get dragged from the tart-shop screaming.

We’ll do our part to fill in the lengthy election coverage by looking at language and polly-talk. We’ll cast a close eye on how politicians use language to connect with voters, how language impacts our view of candidates, and, perhaps the most fun of all, the polly-waffles and linguistic stuff-ups along the way. More so, we’ll put political language in its historical and often slippery and weasely contexts.

The best place to start this coverage is the words that form the backdrop to the election. The origins of these stretch from Ancient Rome to the modern United States. But not to be outdone, Australia’s got its own series of words, and has made a few contributions to global political processes, too.

The dazzling togas and open fields of Ancient Rome

The 16th and 17th centuries saw hundreds of classical coinages flood into English. Many related to political aspects of life and were linked historically in different ways to gravitas.

Yet one recurring theme you’ll see in political words is a deterioration in their meanings. Links between foul play and politics have cast many of these words into the vast semantic abyss – if they didn’t already start their linguistic life there.

Candidate is a relative of candid “frank”. Both go back to Latin candidus, “pure white, glistening”. In Ancient Rome those standing for election wore dazzling white togas. White (especially sheeny white) was the symbol of purity and light, freedom from evil intent and later freedom from bias.

Candid is something we’d love our pollies to be, but bear in mind too that the Latin source also gave us candida the yeast-like parasitic fungus.

Campaign goes back to Latin campania, “open field”, but the form that came into English (via French) comes from Italian campagna. The word took on a military specialisation – armies fought better in fine weather, and so when summer approached they emerged into the open countryside (or campagna) to do battle. This meaning of “military operation” gave rise to the political sense in the 1800s.

Interestingly, the word campaign is historically the same word as champagne (as a great filcher of vocabulary, English often swiped the same item more than once). So as you progress through this excruciatingly long campaign, know that you are linguistically justified in seeking solace in occasional glasses of bubbles.

Our final word of Latin pedigree is the little word vote. It derives from vōtum, a form of a Latin verb meaning “to solemnly promise”, and appeared in the English during 16th century with the meaning “grave undertaking” (a sense preserved in vow).

Out of this meaning developed a “wish, desire” sense, which then gave rise to the current election sense – the idea being that someone can signify their wishes by casting a ballot. Like so many words to do with politics, vote eventually took a cynical turn for the worse. In The Devil’s Dictionary (1911), Ambrose Bierce defines it as:

The instrument and symbol of a freeman’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

The salamanders and swashbucklers of US politics

American English has given us plenty of political curiosities. Gerrymander, used to describe the “dishonest manipulation of constituency boundaries”, shows the name of the 19th-century (corrupt) American politician, Elbridge Gerry (governor of Massachusetts) blended with salamander.

Another rather lovely word that’s been making recent appearances on the Australian political scene is filibuster, “a parliamentary procedure where prolonged speaking delays or even thwarts a vote on a proposed piece of legislation”.The inspiration for the blend was the map showing the boundary changes introduced by Gerry – it resembled a salamander in shape.

The word is a linguistic bitser. Historically it’s the same word as freebooter (someone who scores free booty) – both words go back to Dutch vrijbuiter. French adopted the word as flibustier and then passed it onto Spanish as filibustero.

English (“the vacuum cleaner of language”) appears to have sucked up the word in all its different forms but the same meaning – both freebooter and flibooter appeared in the 16th century (“l’s” and “r’s” are notoriously unstable and swap places all the time – grammar and glamour is another doublet with the same origin); the French form flibustier arrived in 18th century and the Spanish form filibuster in the 19th century.

The current political sense first appeared in the US by the 1880s, in part aided by 19th-century military campaigns in Latin America, which were led by “unauthorised” US soldiers known as filibusters. This political sense has well and truly pushed out the earlier sense of “piratical adventurer”.

Pork barrelling also acquired its political meanings in the US, but is now commonly used in Australia for those occasions where marginal seats are said to receive more funding than safe seats. Barrels of salted pork were once treasured larder items and good indicators of a household’s wellbeing, so it’s no surprise that pork barrel came to mean a supply of money.

In the 1800s it then extended to refer to any form of public spending to the community – it’s then that pork barrel politics, at least under this label, fell from grace.

The donkeys and dixers of Australian politics

Finally we leave you with three political D-words that Australia has gifted to the rest world.

There is the donkey vote, where voters allocate preferences in the order in which candidates’ names appear on the ballot paper, giving the top-listed candidate an advantage. In the past, when ballots listed candidates in alphabetical order, the first letter of a person’s surname could impact whether they were selected as a party’s candidate.

Dog-whistle politics is a targeted political campaign message containing some kind of coded significance that will reach only sympathetic voters (just like the special high-pitched whistle used to train dogs is inaudible to humans).

The modern practice itself is rooted in American conservative politics. For instance, Richard Nixon used the phrase “law and order” as a code for a tougher stance on race and anti-war protesters. Yet, the term dog-whistling is often linked to the Australian “master of the dark political arts”, Lynton Crosby, who has led conservative campaigns in Australia, Britain and, most recently, Canada.

Finally, the Dorothy Dix(er) has been used in Australian politics since the 1940s to refer to a rehearsed question asked of a government minister by a backbencher to score political points. Curiously, the expression isn’t known in the US, even though Dorothy Dix was the pseudonym for the American writer, E.M. Gilmer, who apparently made up questions for her agony column.

We can compare this with kangaroo ticket, a political expression not known in Australia but used by Americans to describe a situation where the vice-presidential candidate has more appeal than the presidential candidate. Kangaroos have more weight in their bottom halves, and they also propel themselves using their back legs.

Sorting the roosters from the feather dusters

As our pollies hit the hustings, you might be interested to know that husting is the oldest political term in English. Originally, hus-thing (from 11th-century Norse) referred to a council comprising members of the king’s immediate household.

It was literally was a “house-thing”. The development to the current-day meaning of “election proceedings” involves a series of shifts too spectacular to go into here.

Perhaps another day – it’s going to be a long few months and we have to maintain the rage.The Conversation

Kate Burridge is a Professor of Linguistics and Howard Manns is a Lecturer in Linguistics at Monash University.

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

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Graduate Study Expo 2016

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A ‘new’ approach to communicating – oh, and jobs and growth – to be found in Budget 2016

Kate Burridge, Monash University and Howard Manns, Monash University

On budget night, Scott Morrison and the Coalition whipped out their little sack for the nation. “Budget”, you see, derives from the Old French bougette “little leather sack”.

Let’s review the language of these little sacks, and see how this year’s budget language measures up against past trends.

A boring but subtle political frame

How a budget is framed is critically important to how the budget is received. More than a few commentators have noted that this is a boring but political budget. Fairfax political editor Michael Gordon wrote the budget had:

… all the wow factor of a lukewarm bath – and that’s its strength.

In linguistic terms, there appears to be a stark contrast between this budget speech and general trends over the past 20 years. We examined few of these trends by using a text analysis tool known as the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC).

A striking development over the past 20 years has been a marked increase in pronoun use in budget speeches. Pronouns include words such as “I”, “you”, “we” and “someone”. This suggests budgets have been becoming increasingly personal and less subtly political.

In the 1996 budget, pronouns accounted for approximately one in 20 words used in budget speeches. By 2015, pronoun use had jumped to one in 10 words. Peter Costello’s use of first-person plural forms (for example, “we”, “us”, “our”) accounted for 1% of his 1996 speech. By the 2015 speech, these pronouns accounted for 3.9% of the word count for Joe Hockey.

In this budget, there was a slight drop in the use of pronouns as well as a shift in the way in which words like “we”, “they” and “you” were used. For instance, use of the first-person plural forms mentioned above dropped from Hockey’s 3.9% of the total to 2.7% of Morrison’s total.

The pronoun “you” appeared rarely in budget speeches at all until Wayne Swan’s 2013 effort. In this speech, Swan used “you” as an impersonal device rather than a pronoun with a specific person in mind (for example, “you do not get to choose”).

Such impersonal uses of “you” accounted for most of its uses of the past 20 years. However, Hockey bucked this trend in the 2014 speech when he began to use “you” to address the Australian people.

On Tuesday night, Morrison also used “you” to address segments of the Australian population – investors and those receiving modest tax breaks – but he used “you” fewer times than either Swan or Hockey had.

Keep It Simple, (not) Stupid

Another trend bucked by Tuesday night’s budget relates to the complexity of the language style used. The past 20 years have witnessed budget speeches of decreasing language complexity.

LIWC measures complexity with reference to sentence length and words with six letters or more. The latter tend to be of Greco-Latinate origins and linked to scientific or more complex topics.

In the 1996 budget speech, 30% of the words consisted of six letters or more. In the 2015 speech, this percentage had dropped to 24.1%. From 1996 to 2015, sentence length had dropped from 21 words per sentence to 18.1 words per sentence. Sentences in the 2016 budget were by far the longest in past 20 years (24.8 words per sentence) and the six-letter word count at its highest since Swan’s 2013 budget.

It is worth noting that text analyses such as these can be crude measures of complexity. More so, they aren’t measuring the intelligence of the speaker but rather the degree to which the text is accessible to an audience relative to their educational attainment.

So, for instance, if we’re to use these text analyses tools exclusively to judge a speaker’s intelligence, then George W. Bush was a more intelligent speaker than Barack Obama in the US State of the Union addresses.

Jobs and growth, in-‘new’-vation and, by the way, jobs and growth

Shifting the discussion to specific words, there’s no question the Coalition was keen for us to pick up a few key words. In this case, we’re talking about Morrison’s somewhat laboured repetition of jobs and growth (13 times to be exact).

The word jobs appears 37 times in this year’s speech, making it the second-most-common noun after tax, which appears 71 times.

Yet, the key theme of this year’s budget was “novelty” – and a series of words associated with “newness”. New is the most common adjective in this speech, appearing 30 times. New economy appears six times as a phrase, and we see this linked to a range of concepts but, perhaps mostly saliently, innovation.

The word innovation can set off alarm bells when used by conservatives. For example, George W. Bush wielded innovation as a tool to argue for corporate tax cuts. After all, a heavily taxed corporation can’t be expected to innovate, could it?

So, is the government using innovation the way we’d like them to? Well, the answer to that question relates to how you’d expect or want it to be used. The word innovate derives from the Latin innovatus, the past participle of innovāre, “to renew” or “alter”.

Subtly relevant to this year’s speech, the element nov in innovation and its Latin predecessors is closely related to the modern English word new. Some of the earliest uses of innovation related to changes to language, by philosophers and with reference to the state of mankind. Yet innovation became tightly linked to technology and commerce during the industrial revolution.

In more recent years, there has been a rise in innovation economics and this underlies the current vision set out in the government’s budget speech and its National Innovation and Science Agenda.

We ran a corpus search (Antconc) on the information sheets of the latter and found that collective references to “business/commerce” in this policy outstretch those to “universities” at a rate of 4.5 to 1.

There are frequent references to entrepreneurs but there are no references to language, culture or anything that might be construed as humanities-related in this policy. And, by the way, the bias in entrepreneur towards the new is only recent.

The vibes of luke-hot budgets

Each year when the government whips out its budget sack, the media and opposition are quick to attach labels to it (“horror budget”, “magic pudding” and so on).

This year’s budget, in the words of ABC radio presenter Fran Kelly, has a different “vibe”.

There’s a lot of vague newness about – oh, and have we mentioned jobs and growth?The Conversation

Kate Burridge is a Professor of Linguistics and Howard Manns is a Lecturer in Linguistics at Monash University.

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

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More federal funding for national security than for women’s security

Crim-thumbnailToday the Age published an opinion piece by the Gender and Family Violence team about the imbalance in federal funding directed at  national security compared to family violence.

The article, by Kate-Fitz-GibbonJude McCulloch and JaneMaree Maher, makes the  point that the risks of a woman being killed in her family in  Australia are significantly higher than the risk for any Australian of being killed in a terrorist attack yet the latter receives far more  resources in the federal budget.

Read the article, ‘Little in budget to counter family violence’, on The Age website. 

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Federal budget fails Australian women and children by neglecting family violence

As Dr Kate Fitzgibbon explains in her latest piece in The Conversation, the 2016 Federal Budget is further confirmation that the Commonwealth Government is more concerned with threats abroad and public violence than the scourge of family violence permeating every corner of the Australian community.

Of the $450.5 billion allocated as part of the Federal budget, there is $100 million allocated over three years to domestic and family violence. That funding is committed towards delivering on the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022and the recommendations of the April 2016 COAG Advisory Panel Report on reducing violence against women and their children.

The budget also allocates $5.1 million to continue commitments made as part of theNational Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020. That funding will go towards the Building Capacity in Australian Parents trial, a program aimed at building parenting skills in vulnerable families – including where a parent has a mental illness, is imprisoned or faces significant disadvantage.

In comparison to the $100 million allocated to family violence, the budget allocates $30 billion in funding for national security, with the promise of ‘keeping Australians safe’.

While national security threats should undoubtedly feature as a Commonwealth commitment, the significant disparity in funding is alarming.

It ignores the reality of where Australians need protection most.

  • It ignores the previously declared ‘national emergency’ that kills on average one woman in Australia each week.
  • It does little to deliver on the pleas made by the sector for investment in specialist domestic and family violence services, community legal centres and primary prevention initiatives.

These critical services will continue to be inadequately funded and resourced.

Victoria continues to lead the way

In comparison to the Victorian state budget, announced last week, the Federal commitment to improving preventions and responses to family violence is barely a drop in the water.

Victoria allocated $572 million over two years to deliver on the 227 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. That funding will contribute to more housing and crisis refuges, justice system reform, court improvements, respectful relationships program, greater support for child victims and additional prevention programs, including prevention and early intervention programs for Aboriginal communities.

The Federal Budget falls well short of what is needed to improve Australia’s family violence system. It repeats the often-made mistake of prioritising threats abroad while neglecting the danger in our homes.

A shorter version of this post appeared in The Conversation on 3 May 2016. Click here to read that piece alongside other expert responses to the Federal budget.

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Survey to shape Victoria’s response to family violence

CRAF SurveyMonash University is urging professionals across the state to help shape the way Victoria responds to family violence. The University was commissioned by the Victorian Government to review the state’s Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework, also known as the common risk assessment framework (CRAF).

Professor Jude McCulloch, who leads the research team, said it was important to understand how the CRAF was being used and its strengths and weaknesses.

Professionals who respond to family violence now have an opportunity to have their say in an online survey. They can also register to participate in focus groups across the state and attend a community forum.

This includes workers in child protection, corrections, community health, disability, drug and alcohol, housing, Indigenous, maternal child health, mental health, sexual assault and specialist family violence services.

Doctors, hospital and emergency staff, court staff, teachers, early childhood educators and police are also encouraged to participate.

“It’s crucial that we hear from as wide a variety of people as possible as we take on this important work of reviewing Victoria’s family violence framework,” Professor McCulloch said.

Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos, said the review responded to the first recommendation from the Royal Commission into Family Violence, which calls for a best-practice framework that meets the needs of all in our diverse community.

“The Victorian Government has committed to an ambitious Roadmap for Reform as we work with communities to intervene early to prevent the damage caused by child neglect, abuse and family violence,” Ms Mikakos said.

“I urge individuals to share their knowledge and help us equip our front-line staff to better assess and manage risk to victims of family violence.”

The CRAF was launched in 2007 and, at the time, was the first state-wide risk assessment and management framework in Australia.

The Monash University survey can be found at

For more information on the CRAF review visit the website. 

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Morrison’s message is light on ideology and strong on soothing ahead of the election

Shaun Carney, Monash University

Who among us, watching Joe Hockey deliver his “lifters and leaners” budget speech just one year, 11 months and 21 days ago, would have thought that this first-term Coalition government would so proudly hand down a budget so light on ideology?

There is ideology in the 2016-17 budget, to be sure. Perhaps the best example of that is the redefinition of a small business, up from A$2 million in annual turnover to $10 million, and the cut in the tax rate to the businesses that will populate that dramatically expanded sector. That’s all part of a ten-year tax plan that ultimately promises an across-the-board company tax cut.

But ten-year promises in a country with a volatile three-year electoral cycle aren’t worth much, and there’s also a slug on the superannuation perks enjoyed by the very wealthy and a harder crackdown than last year’s on tax avoidance by big international companies

It’s a heavy contrast with where this government started.

Back when Hockey thought he had a happy future as treasurer, and was taking on the “age of entitlement” in the Abbott government’s first budget, the “budget emergency” created by Labor necessitated drastic action. Industry assistance was killed. University fees were to be deregulated. Pensions and family payments were to be squeezed. People going to the GP were to be slugged with a co-payment designed in part to discourage them from going to see their doctors so frequently.

And then there were the young unemployed. They were told that if they were under 30 and found themselves out of work they would have to wait six months before being able to get the dole.

It was harsh and unexpected, and it was about remaking the nation, reducing the role and the size of government. Australia would be recast as a nation of self-reliant, self-starting types. Voters weren’t interested.

Last year’s budget, which was fashioned in the wake of Tony Abbott’s (and, by implication, Hockey’s) near-death experience in the Liberal partyroom, was the transitional document to this one. It abandoned the deficit hysteria. It had to, if only to lessen the embarrassment to the then prime minister and treasurer, caught out as they were by their previous budget pronouncements.

It trialled the jobs and growth mantra that is central to Scott Morrison’s 2016-17 budget. It set the pattern for this budget. It was big-spending, big-taxing. The wild predictions of a budget surplus inside this term had been well and truly abandoned.

And it decided to be nice to the young jobless, who have come to act as the canary in the budget coalmine for this government. In this budget, young people who are out of work get even more love and attention, with an expanded work-for-the-dole type program offering them internships that purportedly train them to be job-ready.

There is a clear rhetorical gap in Morrison’s message. On the one hand he is saying that Australians – employers, employees, government – must live within their means. On the other, he is delivering a budget program that, far from eliminating the deficit as promised at the 2013 election, is built on an even higher level of spending than the expenditures associated with the previous Labor government.

Government spending in 2016-17 will be the highest as a proportion of GDP outside a recession. The last budget deficit was $33 billion. In this budget it is predicted to be $37.1 billion.

In an interview soon after delivering the budget, Morrison acknowledged that the economy was “difficult” and it had proved to be hard to stimulate investment.

Clearly, it is not a radical budget. The hair shirt has well and truly been cast off. It definitely contains the key characteristics of traditional pre-election budgets. It is not a spending spree, full of big handouts. But there are some for middle-income earners and small businesses, and it has the optimistic settings that any government looking to be re-elected has to take up.

The message is that everything’s OK, the transition from the mining boom is underway, all will be well, your kids will get jobs. Don’t worry. No-one is being robbed by the government – not anyone that most of you would know, anyway.

Is the optimism justified? Growth is predicted to stay at 2.5% in this budget period, rising to 3% next year and the year after that.

It seems a bold assertion given that while the budget lock-up was going on the Reserve Bank cut the cash rate to 1.75%. Interests rate are at an historic low, which suggests that deflation is a danger.

Every treasurer believes their budget is the game-changer. Morrison repeatedly characterised his first budget as “not a typical budget, not an ordinary budget”. Instead, he insisted, it was “a plan”.

Australia has seen a lot of plans in recent years. It has also seen quite a few treasurers of late; Morrison is the fourth inside three years. Hockey’s first budget was a plan but that plan crashed. This was a don’t-frighten-the-horses pre-election budget that will probably be subsumed into the campaign a week from now.

Politically, it could have been worse for a government that hasn’t had a good election year so far.The Conversation

Shaun Carney is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University.

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

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