A Government-convened expert group has suggested that Australia return to the so-called Pacific Solution to deal with its asylum-seeker conundrum, and break a political impasse. [more inside]
A new, controversial super-trawler, the Dutch-owned FV Margiris, has set sail for Tasmania, off the south-east coast of Australia, to take a haul of jack mackerel and redbait, prompting concerns it is going to decimate several Australian fish stocks as factory fishing has done elsewhere in the world. Greenpeace claims the industrial super-trawler is part of the European Association of pelagic freezer trawlers (PFA), responsible for "some of the worst fishing excesses on the planet.'' It is scheduled to be roaming between the Tasman Sea and Western Australia this spring. [more inside]
The man likely to be Australia's next Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has used a lunchtime speech to the conservative think-tank the Institute of Public Affairs to call for Australia's racial vilification laws to be wound back. Section 18C makes race hate speech unlawful, but not illegal. Abbott's calls come in the same week that Facebook has been in the firing-line over hosting the controversial "Aboriginal Memes" page. [more inside]
Influential Australian art critic Robert Hughes, author of The Shock of the New and The Fatal Shore, has died aged 74.
Yesterday Australia joined many developed nations in putting a price on carbon pollution (fixed at $23/tonne CO2e for three years) (prev). Despite extensive compensation, this moderate economic reform has proved enormously unpopular ("based on a lie") and is expected to be repealed if/when the Federal Opposition are returned to government.
Iggy Azalea is a 22 year old Australian rapper. Her promotional videos Pu$$y, My World, and Two Times brought her Youtube viral fame and helped launch her career. Her first studio album, The New Classic, is set to be released sometime later this year. Other videos include Look At Me Now and two freestyle videos Get Big, and Hell of a Life.
At least the South Africans acknowledged the ownership of 400,000 square miles of South Africa by the original native inhabitants. We would regard [Ian Smith, the then Prime Minister of Rhodesia] as going entirely berserk in Rhodesia if he acknowledged no native land rights at all. But the position in Australia is that we acknowledge no native land rights whatever. We took the lot with our proclamations of sovereignty.That complaint, made by Mr Beazley MP in 1967, was corrected twenty years ago on 3 June 1992, when the High Court of Australia found that "the common law of this country recognizes a form of native title", overturning the doctrine of terra nullius that had held since the 1830s. [more inside]
Dumb, Drunk and Racist - Joe Hildebrand, writer for the Daily Telegraph in Sydney, has a new TV show coming up on Australian TV, called "Dumb, Drunk and Racist", which was the phrase famously used during a training session in an Indian call centre about Australians. The show features four Indians from varying backgrounds visiting Australia - looks like very uncomfortable viewing (if you're Australian). (Slightly NSFW because of drunken boob-showing).
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation recently announced a two site approach, in Australia-NZ and Southern Africa, a move that was applauded by the Australian team. Once fully operational in 2024, SKA's one square kilometre collecting area should lead to major advances in astronomy. [more inside]
Burke & Wills is a 1985 movie depicting the ill-fated 1860 expedition by Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills across the interior of Australia from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria, a distance of 2000 miles. To date, it has never been released on DVD and is currently out of print. In 14 parts [140m]: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 [more inside]
Australian billionaire Clive Palmer has commissioned a Chinese shipyard to build Titanic II, a modernized replica of the unsinkable Titanic.
Bowerbirds, a family of 20 species in eight genera, are a fascinating bunch of birds who range from New Guinea and Australia. Some are flashy, others drab, but all are named for the "bowers" (avenues, huts, or towers of sticks; source) that the males craft and decorate to attract a mate. There are regional styles (PDF) in the design of the bowers, and the male Greater Bowerbirds even employ optical illusions. Some, like the Vogelkop Bowerbird, add mimicry vocal to their repertoire of courting methods. Add accidental cultivation to the list of fascinating features of the bowerbirds. [more inside]
The High Court has handed down its decision in the case of Roadshow Films Pty Ltd v iiNet Ltd (summary [PDF]; full text of judgment; some analysis), finding 5-0 that ISP iiNet did not authorise its users to infringe the copyrights of members of the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) by making films available over BitTorrent. [more inside]
Mining is a dangerous industry, and Mining Mayhem is a blog that aims to be the definitive resource for photos of mine site incidents and accidents (mostly from Australian mine sites). [more inside]
Murdoch's Scandal - Lowell Bergman (the journalist portrayed by Al Pacino in The Insider) has investigated News Corporation for PBS Frontline [transcript]. He depicts Rupert Murdoch's British operation as a criminal enterprise, routinely hacking the voicemail and computers of innocent people, and using bribery and coercion to infiltrate police and government over decades. Enemies are ruthlessly "monstered" by the tabloids. Bergman also spoke to NPR's Fresh Air [transcript]. But the hits keep coming: in recent days News Corp has been accused of hacking rival pay TV services and promoting pirated receiver cards in both the UK and Australia. With the looming possibility of prosecution under America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, how long will shareholders consider Rupert Murdoch irreplaceable? [Previous 1 2 3 4]
The fugitive Malcolm Naden has been captured by police after a long drawn manhunt in the north of New South Wales. [more inside]
An oddly perky video of a real estate agent showing a real estate columnist around an old bank building and semi-attached house for sale (3:51). The building was offered on eBay, had its listing removed, and then reinstated. The reason for the video and the eBay concern? The bank (but not the house) had previously been rented to a group of serial killers. [more inside]
Data.gov.au is a site giving public access to datasets from the Australian federal, state and territory governments. It was created in response to the Declaration of Open Government, which aims to get more citizen collaboration in policy and service delivery design. People are encouraged to use these datasets to produce apps or conduct research. So far the little-publicised site has resulted in apps such as Dunny Directory, Convict Records of Australia and Transhub, a public transport planner for the nation’s capital. If you’re interested in more online government participation in Australia, Craig Thomler is tracking developments on his eGov AU blog.
Given or Taken – an ABC television documentary by the usually excellent 4 Corners looks at a period in the nation’s history when unwed mothers were forced, coerced or tricked into giving up their babies- often without holding or even seeing their newborn. Writer Kim Berry describes a little of what it was like to be relinquished by her teen mum.
Writing in The Monthly, Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan makes a cogent case for ongoing economic reform to deliver equity, contrasting Australian with US outcomes, and slamming three modern robber barons, Clive Palmer, Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart for their increasing political influence.
"Rhyece O’Neill is an intense young man. A polemical folk singer, a producer of bass-heavy dance music, a protester, and a digital media worker for a major record label. He’s unlike anyone else in Australia’s dubstep landscape." Cyclic Defrost interviews O'Neill, aka electronic/dub/dubstep producer Westernsynthetics, and head of the Sub Continental Dub label. You can skip the rest and hear two streaming mixes from Westernsynthetics, 19 tracks from the Sub Continental Dub label, plus the label's first three singles, or continue inside for background, context, and even more music. [more inside]
While digging through the archive of the State Library of New South Wales, I came across these stunning public domain images of early 20th century bike culture in Australia, equal parts sweet (all those tandems!), inspirational (a record-breaking ride from Sydney to Melbourne in 3 days and 7 hours!), and scandalous (NB: Annie is wearing trousers!)
This is apparently a real advertisement [gore warning] for the Central Institute of Technology in Australia. Mind blown. TV in America sucks.
"Round here, we say 'mate' a lot. Do yourself a favour, and learn to figure out when a bloke is about to buy you a drink, and when he's ready to put the boot in. He'll say mate either way, but how will he say it? Use our handy guide to MATE, know what your mates are on about!"
Running nearly 2000 kilometres through Western Australia, the Canning Stock Route is the longest stock route in the world. And since 2006, Indigenous Australians from WA's Mid-West, Pilbara, and Kimberley region have been sharing their stories about this region through the Canning Stock Route Project. [more inside]
Australian PM Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott are dragged from an Australia Day lunch by their security details after armed Aboriginal protesters surrounded the venue. The protestors arrived from the nearby Tent Embassy after comments made by Tony Abbott that it was time for the Embassy to "move on" - comments particularly pointed on a day many are trying to rebrand as Invasion Day.
It's a day of high jinx, high revelry and high people in Australia; a day when a large and vocal majority come together to "celebrate what's great" about this country. But what is the meaning of all this fanfare? What is the true origin of this passionately marked day of facepaint and binge drinking? Is everyone in Australia so keen on this particular anniversary? To get to bottom of these questions, and more, join your amiable host Robert Foster [previously] as he conducts a high-octane, high-frequency satellite link-up with a representative of the Mainstream Australian media: multi-Logie award-winning broadcaster, entertainer, emu-wrangler and true blue Aussie, Kenneth Oathcarn. Rap News Episode 11: Australia Day
WARNING: contains adult Australian vernacular - viewer discretion is strongly advised.
WARNING: contains adult Australian vernacular - viewer discretion is strongly advised.
Before Steve Irwin brought short shorts in Australian television documentarism to the world, there were the earworming Leyland Brothers, Malcolm Douglas, the original and literal "Crocodile Hunter" who combined conservationism with cooking, and the dry humourist Alby Mangels, who had his own personal filming curse, interviewed Caribbean drug lords, posed nude (SFW) for Cleo, filmed through minefields and warzones, and filmed more than 80 documentaries.
Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, 83, holder of the world record for downing a yard glass of beer, shows that he's still got it. SLYT.
When Australia and India take the field today, the Sydney Cricket Ground will be playing host to a Test Match for the 100th time. Naturally, there have been some memorable games.
Austraaaaaalia, Melbourne, kangaroos, didgeridoo, Austraaaaaalia, Olivia Newton John, Paul Hogan, Mel Gibson.
Being a charismatic young leader himself, gifted in bringing together animals from all walks of life (some had even called him the first zebra king), Mufasa related to Clinton’s first term. Like the Clintons, Mufasa was also a passionate advocate for universal healthcare since witnessing the positive impact of Rafiki’s healing powers for the animal kingdom.How Would They Vote is a US/Australia focused blog tracing the political awakenings and inclinations of characters from popular culture. Find out about Optimus Prime's anti-environmentalism, which of The Breakfast Club voted Dukakis, and what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles really think of Herman Cain.
NYTimes warns: Do not eat slugs! A 21-year old Australian man is seriously ill after ingesting two garden slugs on a dare. The causative organism is Angiostrongylus cantonensis which leads to eosinophilic meningitis. [more inside]
Australian Exceptionalism "Let that phrase roll off your tongue... now stop laughing if you can." [more inside]
Australian Labor Party's 46th National Conference starts today in Sydney. Key agenda items - Gay marriage, refugees, and Uranium sale to India. Follow it live.
A progressive Australian political advocacy group have produced a 2-minute advertisement showing their support of Marriage Equality Down Under. Warning: May pull heartstrings. [more inside]
US President Barack Obama is in Australia today. The main policy announcement is a new, permanent US Marine Corps presence on Australian soil. This is interpreted unambiguously as a 'containment strategy' for China and other Asian nations, with Australia playing the loyal deputy Sheriff. Most Australians don't think we should be forced to choose.
[SLYT, 2:47, AUS] "So you're thinking about dealing some weed? Well, I'm Gavin Tanner, pretty much the best dealer there is. So, listen up, and I'll tell you how you can be an awesome dealer, too."
To me that’s backwards! Humans, Autochthony, Earth, and a home for us all at the end of the Universe.
Time lapse videos can be breathtaking, lovely, and a joy to watch… but they can also show you something you may not have thought about before. Before I even read the caption for Murray Fredericks’ video called "IRIDIUM", I knew it was filmed in the southern hemisphere. Can you guess how? [more inside]
A FOIA request by Christopher Soghoian revealed that Obama administration officials, including Copyright Czar Victoria Espinel, Biden’s deputy chief of staff Alan Hoffman, and criminal prosecutor Lanny Breuer, negotiated the deal between ISPs and copyright holders to punish subscribers whose IP addresses participated in copyright infringement. [more inside]
What kind of uniform did prisoners transported to Australia in the 19th century wear? How did you keep yourself in underwear despite WWII rationing? Check out the Australian Dress Register--it's more than just dresses!
There's a new crop of Australian bands that take inspiration from old blues, but twist the music in a strange fashion. The trend may have started with CW Stoneking (Jungle Blues, Love Me Or Die), who channeled the old bluesmen despite being a young man. Its continued on to Sydney's Snowdroppers, who started out as a house band for burlesque shows and kept that dirty sensibility up with songs like Rosemary , Do The Stomp, and their signature tune Good Drugs, Bad Women (lyrics NSW). Frequent Snowdroppers touring partners Gay Paris add a Southern horror twist (House Fire In the Origami District, My First Wife? She Was A Foxqueen! ) and an antic stage energy. Some of the bands relay on gimmicks, like Adelaide's The Beards, who sing about how you should consider having sex with a bearded man and point out that if your dad doesn't have a beard, you've got two moms. The Beards recently performed at the World Beard and Mustache Championships. Horror-country-rockers Graveyard Train have picked up the torch dropped when Sydney psychobilly masters Zombie Ghost Train (Graveyard Queen) disbanded. Graveyard Train tunes like Mummy, Ballad for Beelzebub , Tall Shadow and Dead Folk Dance combine cheerful Misfits horror theming with stompy country. Most of the singers from this loose scene are joining forces in Sydney this week to pay tribute to Tom Waits.
Controversial Australian newspaper columnist and television host Andrew Bolt has been found to have breached the Racial Discrimination Act when he suggested in 2009 that "fаіr-skinned Aborigines identified themselves аѕ such fοr personal gain" (official court judgement). Andrew Bolt has responded, along with other writers claiming the ruling will "harm healthy debate" and "stile free speech". Commentary site Crikey has collected other responses and suggests that 'he may turn out to be the courtroom loser who wins the propaganda war'.