Vol 23 No 12

16 June 2013


Sex and power in football and politics

27 June 2013 | Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk

Cover of Anna Krien's 'Night Games' features a naked female mannequin holding a football in front of its pelvic regionA young writer has crash tackled the ugly questions of non-consensual sex, coercion and the male privilege and misuse of power that can flow from sporting success. Yet when it comes to our football codes — let alone our political arena — a conversation needs to move beyond gender name-calling or the 'us and them' polemic.


Dawn of a human rights revolution

27 June 2013 | Pat Walsh

Diversely coloured hands behind barbed wire fenceThe Cold War not only divided Berlin. It divided human rights into two politicised and hostile camps. Socialist nations championed social and economic rights over the civil and political rights prioritised by capitalist nations. Twenty years ago this month, the UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna rejected this demarcation and declared that human rights were indivisible, complementary and interdependent.


Pilgrim's misguided tilt at TV fame

26 June 2013 | Tim Kroenert

Aniello Arena dressed in drag, talking to a young girl. Scene from Matteo Garrone's RealityLuciano pleads with two startled widows at a funeral, who reassure him that he is on the right path to getting into 'the house'. While they think they've offered comfort to a troubled seeker, he thinks he's received an inside tip from Big Brother's spies. The dissonance between his pursuit of fame, and the comfort found by others in religious faith, is profound.


Politics of remembering

26 June 2013 | Andrew Hamilton

Red flower with mountains in backgroundWhen Polish Jews were herded into the closed Warsaw Ghetto, Chaim Kaplan kept a diary to ensure that 'in our scroll of agony, not one small detail can be omitted'. This kind of remembering is both deeply personal and profoundly public, and invites us to celebrate human freedom. The remembering involved in the collection of information by the United States and Great Britain is of a quite different character.


Rudd's second coming

26 June 2013 | Ray Cassin

Kevin Rudd looking determinedCan Rudd fare any better? He is a formidable campaigner and consistently rates well above either Abbott or Gillard when poll respondents are asked who is their preferred prime minister. What is more, Labor has a success story to tell about the economy, which the Government thus far has failed to sell. Rudd tells this story without illusions.

Spare a thought for luckless Gillard

26 June 2013 | Moira Rayner

Julia Gillard looking downcastAnyone who knows how it feels to lose a career in mid life will understand how Gillard is feeling today. Now that a most gracious acknowledgement of personal defeat has been given by the first woman to step up to the hardest political job anyone could be asked to do, we must find the time to consider and learn from what we have witnessed about how the country is run.

The man who would be PM (again)

26 June 2013 | Staff

Kevin Rudd in conversationLast year Kevin Rudd sat down with human rights lawyer and Eureka Street columnist Frank Brennan for a candid and in-depth conversation about his faith, his values and his political philosophies. He also took questions from the 500-strong live audience. Relive this fascinating insight into returning Prime Minister Rudd.

Disrupting sexism

25 June 2013 | Fatima Measham

Slogan 'Real men don't hit chicks'Chief of Army Lt Gen David Morrison summed it up well. In condemning the culture of 'permission' that allowed defence officers to exploit women, he said: 'The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.' Framing sexism in terms of permission should sharpen the way we respond to abuse of women — the same compulsion to conform presents us with opportunities to disrupt tacit permissions.


Clowning around with Gillard

25 June 2013 | Fiona Katauskas

'Clowning around with Gillard', by Fiona Katauskas. Julia Gillard is beset on all sides by media clowns, including one wearing an over-sized Kevin Rudd head. One holds a pie and confides 'These are in case she starts talking about policy'

View this week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.


The socialist with rosary beads

25 June 2013 | Ray Cassin

Photo of Paul Mees by James DaviesPaul Mees, who died last week at the age of 52, was a public intellectual in the best sense of the term; a scholar and teacher with an international reputation; an activist who never shrank from a fight. He was also a man of deep faith, though many who admired Paul ignored this or regarded it as an eccentricity.


Faith, apples and Peter Steele

24 June 2013 | Susan Fealy

Fuji appleWhere were you? Not in the dark car, inside that shrunken space, on its slow glide to the boneyard. Perhaps in the white lineage of your brothers at the altar, or traced on your crucifix — your DNA, your trust.


The Catholic Church's toll on Aboriginal Australia

24 June 2013 | Mike Bowden

Man kneels on floor beside Aboriginal Students. Book cover of Francis of Central Australia, by Frank O'GradyPresent members of missionary orders, when writing up the story of their predecessors, tend to present these pioneer missionaries as enlightened men and women suffering hardship to spread the gospel. The destructive effect of the approaches taken by some missionaries does not negate the good work of many others. But it is part of the story and should be told.

Australia and Indonesia's deadly games of pass-the-parcel

23 June 2013 | Tony Kevin

Blood drops on packing paperThe sinking of the asylum seeker vessel SIEV 358 encapsulates key questions as to why these tragedies too often happen at interfaces between Australia's border protection system and maritime search and rescue system, and the under-resourced Indonesian maritime search and rescue system. Hopefully next week's public inquest by the WA Coroner comes up with some answers.

Liking Kevin

23 June 2013 | Michael Mullins


Rudd's rise from backbencher to Labor leader in the five years to 2006 was facilitated by his weekly presence on Channel 7's Sunrise. Here he created a persona seen as ordinary, trustworthy and familiar to the point of intimacy. Things went wrong when he was unable to work with colleagues to get things done for Australians who saw him as their mate.

The rise of global surveillance anxiety

20 June 2013 | Ray Cassin

Security camera 'spies' on binary codeUnease about the Australian Federal Police obtaining phone and internet records without a warrant coincided with a greater, global anxiety about the more troublesome surveillance activities of the US National Security Agency. The Obama administration's defence of the NSA has been as lame as Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus's defence of the AFP.


The crying killer

1 Comment
20 June 2013 | Tim Kroenert

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano

Violence is a messy business, even when it is your 'business'. To father, husband and mafia boss Tony Soprano, the conflicting demands of being both a family man and a 'family' man present numerous moral, practical and emotional conflicts. In this role, James Gandolfini took viewers from the softest to the hardest potentialities of human nature.


History repeats for powerful Australian women

20 June 2013 | Brian Matthews

Flower and birds in silhouette, detail from cover of first edition of The DawnOn the face of it, life for a strong, talented and ambitious woman in 19th century Australia was much tougher than it is now. Yet even Louisa Lawson, a pioneer of women's rights who was grievously discriminated against and derided because she dared to excel, was never demeaned or personally debased to the extent Julia Gillard has been.

Australia's disgusting politics

19 June 2013 | Moira Rayner

Julia Gillard looks reflectiveGillard is the most prominent woman in our country. She has been repeatedly humiliated, disparaged and ridiculed for that very reason. We may criticise her decisions, but always aware of the context in which they were made, which is dangerously toxic. Her courage under pressure is astonishing, but we ought to despair at her party which is willing itself into annihilation by adding more poison.


Ethical torture porn in genetics research

19 June 2013 | Tim Kroenert

Michael Eklund gazes at a white mouse in Errors of the Human BodyDuring a lecture at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, biologist Geoff Burton speaks of the agonising genetic disorder that claimed the life of his infant son. He insists that his subsequent research into prenatal diagnosis and treatment is not related to eugenics. But merely naming the slippery slope doesn't negate it.


Warning signs in Canberra

1 Comment
18 June 2013 | Fiona Katauskas

'Warning signs in Canberra', by Fiona Katauskas. Sign guages the state of the climate in Canberra, ranging from 'venal' and 'sexist' to 'nasty' and 'awful - just awful'

View this week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.


A tale of two unsuccessful asylum seekers

18 June 2013 | Kerry Murphy

Fawad Ahmed bowlingComparison of these two cases is illuminating. One is the recruit to the Australia A cricket team, Pakistani born Fawad Ahmed. The other is, in Tony Abbott's words, the 'convicted Jihadist terrorist', Egyptian born Sayed Ahmed Abullatif. Ahmed will be the second Pakistani born cricketer in an Australian side that desperately needs a good leg-spinner. Abdullatif has possibly a more difficult road ahead.


My brother's hat mourns his death

18 June 2013 | Brian Doyle

Old Irish capIf you were a familiar Irish cap, and had waited all night every night for 30 years for the blessing of the morning when he'd reach for you, knead you and fold you gently over his ungovernable hair, wouldn't you wonder where he was the first few days after he vanished, and feel something like a silent sadness?


Obama no 'wuss' but at what cost to Syria?

17 June 2013 | Evan Ellis

Barack Obama gesturing as he gives a speech in front of a red curtainAlluding to his own military style intervention in Kosovo, Bill Clinton warned Obama not to look like a 'wuss' on Syria. Still, Obama's decision to start providing arms to Syrian rebels is an enormous risk. Australia's history of state interventions to tackle Indigenous disadvantage provide surprisingly apt criteria for evaluating the decision.


Humiliation at the heart of homelessness

17 June 2013 | John Falzon

Foot attached to ball and chainRecent ABS data reveals NT has both the highest rate of people experiencing homelessness and the highest imprisonment rate of any Australian state. Former Spanish PM Zapatero said 'a decent society is one that does not humiliate its members'. Successive Australian governments have systematically humiliated citizens on the basis of cultural background or health or social status.


A time when they shared their drugs

17 June 2013 | Susan Adams, Peta Edmonds and Lyn McCredden

Soul Slip, white text on purple-blue backgroundA man swims back to you like a friendly dog. Asks you for spare change. He hasn't eaten since Thursday and it's Sunday now in the city. You empty your wallet of all its coins. $2.70. The city is heavenly, full of karma. A kid with a snake tattooed on his wrist gives you two cigarettes.


Talking the talk with Aboriginal students

16 June 2013 | Mike Bowden

Students at the Ngukurr SchoolTed didn't need a translator. He spoke Kriol fluently having spent many years working with Aboriginal people across the Territory. The locals smiled and visibly opened to him, clearly honoured by his effort to meet with them in their country on the basis of equality and respect. Learning the vernacular, and learning through the vernacular, establishes in students a sense of pride and power.


Australia's morality drifts with asylum seeker bodies

16 June 2013 | Andrew Hamilton

Man, woman and child refugees. Image from Refugee Week websiteSometimes events take on a significance beyond their historical context. That was the case with Gallipoli and the Eureka Stockade. It may also prove to be the case with the bodies left in the water after an asylum seeker boat sank, and the delay by the Australian authorities to take responsibility for their recovery.