Showing all posts tagged: politics

Anonymous PRGuy17 Twitter account owner reveals identity

25 June 2022

Jeremy Maluta, speaking to Australian political commentator and You Tube host Jordan Shanks-Markovina, has identified himself as the owner of the PRGuy17 Twitter account.

The moves comes as a result of legal action by Avi Yemini, a conservative journalist, and a recent application to the Australian Federal Court, asking Twitter to reveal details of who was operating the previously anonymous account.

Yemini believed PRGuy17 was in the employ of Dan Andrews, the premier of Victoria, on account of tweets supporting Andrews, and his handling of the COVID-19 enforced lockdowns, but Maluta has denied the claim:

“I’m just a normal everyday person. I don’t want to be a celebrity,” he said. “This has meant being really careful about what I put online.” “I’m OK with putting my name out there, but I just … want to have a bit of privacy too.” “I can confirm I don’t work for [Premier] Dan Andrews or any political thing whatsoever. Those theories are completely cooked.”

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Artists may struggle with changes to income support payments

22 June 2022

There are fears upcoming changes to the eligibility criteria for receiving unemployment benefits, or income support payments, will impact negatively on those seeking work in the arts sector. To continue to qualify for support payments, jobseekers will need to earn one hundred points each week, as opposed to applying for a certain number of jobs.

Points can be gained from a number of activities, including taking courses, doing volunteer work, or attending a job interview. However, many of the sanctioned activities fall outside the usual income generating endeavours of arts professionals, says the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA).

Professional arts practitioners are likely to actively seek opportunities in a number of different forms and from a wide variety of sources. This includes undertaking residencies, applying for grants and funding, meeting with curators, sitting on boards, attending industry events, and making artwork for sale, exhibition, and to enter into prizes. Thousands of independent artists and arts workers currently rely on JobSeeker benefits. Without changes to what is recognised by Centrelink as ‘seeking employment’, many will find it near impossible to lodge the work they’ve been seeking as artists to comply with the requirements under the new points system.

The new arts minster, Tony Burke, who is also employment and workplace relations minister, has expressed a desire to do more to help artists and arts workers, so it can only be hoped he is able to adjust some of these requirements.

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Legal bid to name owner of anonymous PRGuy17 Twitter account

7 June 2022

The Australian Federal Court has given social networking service Twitter fourteen days to hand over subscription information for the PRGuy17 account, that may reveal the identity of the anonymous operator. The order is in response to a defamation case being bought against PRGuy17 by conservative media journalist Avi Yemini.

PRGuy17, whose avatar displays Simpsons character Troy McClure, built a following during the pandemic, often in vociferous defence of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and critical of various conservative political leaders and mainstream news media. Yemini filed proceedings in the Federal Court in February promising to unmask the identity of the Twitter account. Yemini, a journalist at far-right media outlet Rebel News, was critical of the Andrews government’s management of the pandemic and clashed with the account on Twitter.

Subscription data includes any name and email address details used to create the PRGuy17 account, along with internet protocol (IP) addresses used by the account’s operator. It remains to be seen how useful any of this data may be in uncovering the identity of the person operating the page.

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Is an Australian republic any closer than it was 25 years ago?

4 June 2022

Australian federal MP Matt Thistlethwaite has been appointed to the role of assistant minister for the republic, in the new Labor led government, a move that will put the question of an Australian republic, and an Australian as head of state, rather than the British monarch, back on the agenda.

The push for Australia to break away from the monarchy has received its best news in 25 years after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese appointed an assistant minister for the republic. Australian Republic Movement chair Peter FitzSimons says the appointment of Matt Thistlethwaite was a major show of support. It remains to be seen what progress Labor will make on the issue after it confirmed a constitutionally-enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament was its referendum priority.

A break from the British monarchy has long been on the cards. In 1995, then Prime Minister Paul Keating declared Australia should become a republic. But the notion was was rejected by the Australian people in a 1999 referendum, with about fifty-five-percent of the population voting against the proposal. But twenty-three years on, support for a republic could hardly be called overwhelming.

Polling conducted earlier this year in the states of New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland found a little over a third of people supported an Australian republic, while a little under a third were opposed. But closer to forty-percent — a significant margin — said they were “unsure or neutral” on the matter. When posed the question: yes or no, would you support a republic, fifty-four-percent of respondents said yes. But it’s not much of a margin, and I’d contend a minimum of sixty-percent of Australians would need to be firmly in favour for the idea to carry.

But Australians appear to have other priorities, and the matter of a republic is of little interest to many, although that doesn’t mean Australia is a country filled with monarchists:

The biggest hurdle for republicans is the reality that Australia is already an independent nation, with only sentiment and inertia linking us to the British crown. Most Australians, when pressed, struggle to remember the name of the current governor-general or to explain their role.

Interestingly, this week marks the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth’s, seventieth jubilee. I only know because I try to keep up with the news. A month ago I’d have had no idea the occasion was imminent. Certainly I’m not aware of any events locally to acknowledge the milestone. I see no banners flying on the streets, nor detect any sort of buzz of interest generally. People seem to be going their day-to-day affairs as normal.

But another obstacle for those in favour of a republic is what the exact role of any head of state, presumably a president, would be. What sort of executive power would they be invested with, and how would they assume office? Should they be appointed by the Australian parliament, or elected by popular vote? There are many questions to address.

Personally I think Australia should be a republic, and a nation with a head of state chosen by the people. It may only be a symbolic gesture, but it’s an important one.

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Degree course pricing unfair to humanities and arts students

31 May 2022

The Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (DASSH) is calling for reform to higher education fee structures, which appear to be skewed against students wishing to study humanities, arts, and social sciences degrees. DASSH says recently released statistics show the cost of arts degree is up to three thousand dollar more per annum (PDF), compared to medicine or dentistry courses.

81 per cent of the nearly 14,000 Year 12 students interviewed for the report said passion would guide their choices for further study. The Universities Admission Centre Student Lifestyle Report shows only 35 per cent of students consider the cost of education when choosing their degree, and only about 40 per cent consider employment outcomes. These statistics fly in the face of the face of claims fee increases would guide student preferences under the former Government’s ‘Job Ready Graduates Package’.

Given many students are making study choices based on their passion, or what they’re really interested in, rather than the cost, or potential employment outcome, of tertiary education courses, DASSH wants to see more equitable degree course pricing.

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New Australian arts minister promises more focus on sector

30 May 2022

The recent change of Federal government in Australia has raised hopes the arts sector will receive more economic support, with incoming arts and industrial relations minister Tony Burke keen to address insecure work and unreliable pay issues.

Burke has also long advocated for addressing issues of insecure work and unreliable pay, claiming Labor would launch a senate inquiry into insecure work if elected. The arts and cultural sector has the dubious title of being an industry leader in insecure work. And it is at the intersection of cultural and industrial relations policy where our new arts minister could dramatically reshape the sector.

I think Burke has a task and a half before him, but a closer focus on the arts is long overdue.

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Anna Spargo Ryan: hope and relief after the Australian election?

27 May 2022

Melbourne based Australian author, Anna Spargo-Ryan, who’s novels include The Paper House, and The Gulf, writes about the hope and relief some Australians are feeling — at least momentarily — as a result of the change of government in Australia last weekend.

For today – and maybe only for today, but we’ll see how things pan out – I feel held. Not fighting the solipsistic dread with weapons made out of my own wellbeing, but part of a community that has chosen to vote for the betterment of others. That’s new. It feels good to sit with it, to briefly imagine, in the words of famous internet depressed person Allie Brosh, that maybe everything isn’t hopeless bullshit.

The mood is a little different presently, but there often is when a new administration is elected. Whether things will be become “better” long term? That remains to be seen.

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Struggling Australians turn to crowd funding to pay the rent

20 May 2022

Melbourne based journalist Stephanie Convery, writing for The Guardian:

The unbearable costs and instability of the rental crisis are pushing more people towards crowdfunding for accommodation, with housing-related appeals on one of Australia’s biggest fundraising platforms more than quadrupling over the past year. The campaigns range from requests for assistance with rental arrears and covering the costs of temporary accommodation, to appeals for help to buy caravans or other forms of mobile accommodation in the face of homelessness.

We are frequently told Australia is a rich — or at least well off — country, making situations like these unfathomable. There may be inequality, often the result of a lack of momentum, but how something basic like reasonably priced rental housing remains a problem beggars belief. I fear whatever the outcome of tomorrow’s federal election, there will be little change to the status quo. Because, you know, this a state issue, not a federal one.

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Arts and culture polices in the 2022 Australian election

20 May 2022

Australians go to the polls tomorrow, Saturday 21 May 2022, to choose who will govern the country for the next three years. While issues such as climate change, the pandemic, and regional security have dominated the election campaign, matters arts and culture have been largely absent from the spot light.

In terms of policy in this area, the incumbent Liberal National Coalition government appears to offer little, while the present opposition party, Labor, has policy that Ben Eltham, a lecturer at the School of Media, Film, and Journalism at Monash University, describes as “surprisingly modest.” Eltham, together with four other policy experts, have compared the proposals of both major political parties, and graded each of them.

Meanwhile, Ben Francis has set out the difference between the Greens, Labor, and the Liberal National Coalition, arts and culture policies in slide format.

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Culture jamming street signs as a means of political protest

7 May 2005
Altered road sign suggesting Australia is a refugee island?

Saw this on the way to work the other morning. Along Epsom Road, in the Sydney suburb of Rosebery. I don’t know how long it has been there, or how long it will remain. I wonder what the exact point is. It could mean a number of different things when you think about it…

Originally published Saturday 7 May 2005.

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