Showing all posts tagged: Australia
10 January 2023
Trove, an online library database containing digital copies of significant historical and cultural Australian documents, maintained by the National Library of Australia, may be forced to cease operating at the end of June 2023, unless it is allocated more funding, according to its recently published strategy document:
The Library has sufficient resources to maintain Trove until June 2023. The future of Trove beyond July 2023 will be dependent upon available funds. To achieve the full strategic vision will require substantial investment. More modest investment sustained over a longer term would enable achievement of the strategy at a measured pace. In a limited funding environment, Trove may reduce to a service focused on the National Library of Australia’s collections. Without any additional funds, the Library will need to cease offering the Trove service entirely.
While funding for Trove, and other collecting institutions, including the National Gallery of Australia, and the National Museum of Australia, was not part of the recently unveiled National Cultural Policy, Australian federal arts minister Tony Burke suggested the matter would be looked at as part of this year’s federal budget, which is traditionally handed down in May.
2 January 2023
Speaking at the annual Woodford Folk Festival that concluded yesterday, Australian federal arts minister Tony Burke announced a raft of initiatives to bolster the local arts sector. A proposed five-pillar policy includes an undertaking to increase recognition of the work of Indigenous creatives, and plans to introduce fairer remuneration rates for artists:
The minister promised to treat “artists as workers”, criticising the [previous] Coalition government for exclusions on jobkeeper wage subsidies and for the comments by the former prime minister Scott Morrison praising “tradies … building the stage” but not artists.
In addition, streaming services such as Netflix and Stan will be subject to quotas, ensuring they air more Australian made content. Also the Lending Right Schemes, which pays a royalty to authors when a library loans one of their books out, will be expanded to include ebooks.
2 January 2023
Despite Australia’s apparent reputation as a nation of big drinkers, forty-six percent of Australians either abstain completely from alcohol, or only consume one drink a month. If the thirteen percent of people who only partake of a tipple two to three times monthly are added, that’s almost sixty percent of the population who barely drink at all.
Yet people who have chosen to give up alcoholic beverages still find themselves under pressure to drink at social gatherings, particularly at this time of the year. This is something I’ve seen in the now ten years since I cut back on alcohol. Today I might have a drink maybe once every two months. While most people appear to be accepting of this choice, I’ve run into a few who aren’t. One or two even seem to feel threatened when the question comes up, but I’m not sure why this should be.
Australia, for instance, is also a nation of coffee drinkers, of which I am one, but I don’t hear of anyone who doesn’t drink coffee, or only has decaffeinated coffee, being put-down. The same goes for people who, say, don’t own a car, or even drive. I think you can even choose to refuse recreational drugs with total social impunity. Why then are some lifestyle choices greeted with virtual indifference, while other cause derision?
I also know people who embrace veganism are sometimes subjected to the same contempt as non-drinkers. Some people choose to eat a non-animal based diet instead of an animal one. So what? What’s in the Australian psyche that results in people who avoid meat or alcohol being derided? It is because those who we perceive to be outliers appear to pose some sort of threat? It is because meat and alcohol are — or were — so ingrained in our way of life, and no one should therefore upset the apparent status quo?
I might be optimistic, overly optimistic maybe, but I think attitudes are changing, albeit slowly. Is it really so hard to live and let live?
23 November 2022
The Australian federal election, held in May 2022, saw a record number of teal, or independent, MPs elected to the Australian Parliament. Their strong showing has variously been labelled a teal bath or teal wave, after many teal candidates unseated a significant number of sitting members, most of whom belonged to the previous Liberal-National Coalition government.
It perhaps comes as no surprise then to learn the Australian National Dictionary Centre has declared “teal” as their word of 2022:
Previously associated with a dark greenish-blue colour, or even a breed of duck, teal now has another meaning in Australian English. The word came to prominence this year during the federal election. A ‘teal wave’ of independents successfully challenged government members of parliament in a number of seats.
20 November 2022
Sydney based Australian chef Nagi Maehashi’s cookbook, Dinner, is quite literally selling like hot cakes. Published only six weeks ago, on 11 October 2022, the recipe collection has already outsold works by the likes of Jamie Oliver, and Yotam Ottolenghi:
Dinner is now leading the cookbook charts for 2022, with more than 74,500 copies sold. That’s three times as many sales as the second most-popular book, Jamie Oliver’s One, at 23,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookData. Even at the end of August, Maehashi had pre-orders that were more than double the first week sales of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Flavour.
29 October 2022
The arts sector had been keenly anticipating the 2022 federal budget, with hopes Australia’s recently elected Labor government might offer some respite to the arts after a difficult few years.
The government has all sorts of matters to deal with, the return of inflation, rising interest rates, and increasing power costs, to name a few, but in what arts and culture advocate Esther Anatolitis describes as a budget that is safe-ish, while daring to be boring, there is something for the sector.
Again, it’s only election commitments that are enumerated in last night’s Budget; Minister for the Arts Tony Burke has consistently focused our expectations on the comprehensive National Cultural Policy development and not immediate gestures.
4 October 2022
Sunday 9 October 2022 marks ten years since then Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivered a scathing speech berating blatant instances of misogyny and sexism from the then opposition party, and its leader Tony Abbott. The address — which became known as the misogyny speech — is among the most significant ever made by an Australian Prime Minister.
Not Now, Not Ever, Ten years on from the misogyny speech, a book which will be published on Wednesday 5 October 2022, and edited by Gillard, examines what has changed in Australia since her speech, and what still needs to come.
On 9 October 2012, Prime Minister Julia Gillard stood up and proceeded to make all present in Parliament House that day pay attention — and left many of them squirming in their seats. The incisive ‘misogyny speech’, as her words came to be known, continues to energise and motivate women who need to stare down sexism and misogyny in their own lives.
With contributions from Mary Beard, Jess Hill, Jennifer Palmieri, Katharine Murphy and members of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, Julia Gillard explores the history and culture of misogyny, tools in the patriarchy’s toolbox, intersectionality, and gender and misogyny in the media and politics.
Kathy Lette looks at how the speech has gained a new life on TikTok, as well as inspiring other tributes and hand-made products, and we hear recollections from Wayne Swan, Anne Summers, Cate Blanchett, Brittany Higgins and others of where they were and how they first encountered the speech.
3 October 2022
While I usually feature long and shortlists from some of the literary awards, why not change things up a bit? Recently the World’s 50 Best Bars 2022 longlist was announced. Not that you’ll catch me in a bar too often, but it’s worth noting two Australian bars made the cut.
It also turns out Re owner Matt Whiley is passionate about tackling the scourge of food waste. If you think food waste is a trivial matter, watch the trailer for Never Wasted, an in production documentary on the efforts being made by Whiley, and others, to reduce food waste.
23 September 2022
The 2022 National Young Writers’ Festival (NYWF) runs from Thursday 29 September, through to Sunday 2 October, both in Newcastle, Australia (about one hundred and sixty kilometres north of Sydney), and online.
NYWF is so-called Australia’s largest gathering of young writers, with artists bringing their craft from all around (cities, regional, rural and our beloved regular cohort from Aotearoa). We showcase work in both new and traditional forms including zines, comics, blogging, screenwriting, poetry, spoken word, hip hop, music, journalism, autobiography, comedy and prose.
20 September 2022
Asked if she was still of the view the Queen’s death would be an appropriate time to move away from a British head of state, Gillard said: “Yes, I always thought that when the Queen did leave us, that it would cause a period of reflection. I always thought in Australia too it would unleash a new set of reflections about our own constitutional arrangements. But there’s no rush and I certainly endorse what the prime minister has said. There’s time for measured discussion. It’s certainly too soon for that now.”
An opinion poll taken days after Queen Elizabeth II died, found sixty percent of Australians favoured retaining the British monarch as head of state. While it could be argued the Queen’s death generated some support for the status quo, the republican cause has somewhat floundered in recent years.
I’m in favour of a republic, with an Australian head of state (rather than the reigning British monarch), but maintain public support would need to be the other way around, that is, sixty percent in favour of an Australian republic instead of the monarchy, before that could happen.
A clear majority of Australians would need to support such a momentous change in the way the country is governed.