2021 Reading List (Part 1)

13/12/2021

I have not written anything for a while, having gone from taking a short break at the wind down of university and then straight back into work, and thought that I should get a head start on the yearly reading list review. I hope to add another one or two by year’s end, but I am quite happy with the amount I’ve managed to get through this year. List will be in the order I read them with comments looking back over them, and with a few exceptions I would recommend most of them. Also keep in mind the earlier in the year it was the less precise details I’m going to remember about the book, so bear with that.

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The Individual: Western Liberal and Indigenous Australian Conceptions

17/11/2021

This is one of three mini essays submitted for a political science assessment. Given the limited word count and my struggles to adhere to “academic writing”, they’re likely not the best pieces, but ah well, uploading them for shits and giggles. This particular essay discusses a key difference between Western liberal thought and Australia’s Indigenous politcal thought, specifically the conception of the individual. Much more akin to branches of libertarian socialism than liberalism, Indigenous political thought realises selfhood through relational means, which is much cooler in my opinion.

Indigenous populations globally have faced longstanding oppression, not just of their people and their lands, but also their cultures, ideas and politics. From the United State’s culling of Native Americans and the invasion and takeover of half of Mexico, the genocide of Australia’s Indigenous peoples (including the entire population of what is now Tasmania (Brodie 2017)), South African Apartheid, and the current displacement and silencing of the Palestinians, settler-colonial societies have systematically separated native populations from what makes their societies. As we face the looming climate crisis and global pandemics, it is this old and not yet forgotten knowledge and wisdom that may help us.

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The Patriarchy: Reform or Displace?

17/11/2021

This is one of three mini essays submitted for a political science assessment. Given the limited word count and my struggles to adhere to “academic writing”, they’re likely not the best pieces, but ah well, uploading them for shits and giggles. This one discusses the patriarchy, some brief examples and history of it, and an intersectional approach to abolishing it. While not denying the importance of reform, it argues there must be radical change to ensure the full liberation of women in society.

Patriarchy, literally “rule of the father”, in its simplest form refers to the dominant role played by the father, by men, in the traditional family structure. In feminist thought, this definition is expanded to include the broader societal discussions of male dominance in most, if not all, aspects of life and their institutions. For many feminists, fathers as the centre of family life “symbolises male supremacy in all other institutions”, and that this “reproduces male dominance in all other walks of life” including “education, at work and in politics.” (Heywood 2021).

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The Monopoly of Australia’s Major Parties and Political Disenfranchisement

This essay was written for one of my political science units at UQ. It is a response to the question of whether Australia’s major parties enhance or damage our political system. While (hopefully) sticking to the criteria and constraints of the assessment, I have argued the latter. A full reference list is at the end. Enjoy.

Australia’s political system has been dominated by two major contenders dating back to 1909, between the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and what is now the Coalition parties (the Liberal Party of Australia (LPA), the National Party, and, in Queensland, the Liberal National Party (LNP)). While the latter has gone through several iterations and name changes, these two blocs have maintained power between themselves with only tentative challenge from minor parties and Independents in recent years. (Kefford et al 2018). It is the purpose of this article to explore some of the key issues such a restrained system has and the damage it has had on Australian politics and policy.

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The Melbourne Protests Are Not a Worker’s Movement

22/09/2021

We are in the third day of small but loud protests taking place in Melbourne right now, and it has become crystal clear what the purpose of these demonstrations really are. What started ostensibly as a “tradies” protest against Victoria’s vaccine mandate and the Union’s support of it has quickly turned into a violent, nationalist and conspiracy ridden farce. The misinformation online has accelerated as clashes begin with police, now at the Shrine of Remembrance.

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Conflicts Within Australia’s Liberal Democracy: Press Freedom and the Right to Privacy

01/09/2021

The following piece is an essay I have written for a university assessment. I seriously hope it makes sense, otherwise there is only disappointment ahead. For a TL;DR, the purpose was to discuss conflicts between two integral parts of the Australian system – liberalism and democracy. This essay essentially puts forward the argument that Australia’s liberal democracy suffers due to assaults on a free press by both the government and corporate power and influences, as well as the invasive domestic surveillance carried out by the government (the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) in particular). The result is a clash between the liberal concepts of the state and private enterprise with the more democratic ideals of the right to information and accountability from the government (in this case through the lens of a genuinely free press), and the right to privacy.

The reference list is also at the end, which happily contains books I have read (and written about) previously. Enjoy, I suppose.

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Australia Day: Triple J, MLA, and the Symbolic Smokescreen

07/06/2021

(The following piece is my essay assessment for Media and Society at the University of Queensland).

The Australia Day debate surrounding the “Change the Date” movement has generated growing controversy every year as we get closer and closer to January 26th. The aim of the movement is to move Australia Day away from the darker and more brutal aspects of Australia’s history, much of which sprung from the declaration of a British penal colony in 1788. Rather than a celebration, many dissident voices view the day as one of mourning, the beginning of an invasion and wiping out of the indigenous populations and their land and traditions. Much has been done in recent decades to cement the dominant hegemonic view of a celebratory white (and generally male) experience, including attempts to sanitise this image (Brooker, 2017)1.

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Sydney Morning Herald Protects Morrison, Swipes at Labor

02/05/2021

Annika Smethurst recently wrote an opinion piece for the Sydney Morning Herald entitled “Religion is at the heart of the PM”. What it is, essentially, is an attempt to paint Morrison as a genuine and good guy at heart (despite his “many faults”), while deflecting certain criticisms by throwing them at the Australian Labor Party, making them and their supporters seem hypocritical and antagonistic. In some ways, perhaps, but as someone who says to hell with both factions of the capitalist hegemony, lets throw in a little balance and blunt truths.

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A Recent Timeline of Andrew Laming

26/03/2021

My Federal MP, Andrew Laming, is in the news yet again, this time being thrown into the pool of fiends in Parliament House who can’t seem to grasp the concept of respecting women, so feel the need to try grasp at women. He has been the MP for Bowman since 2004 – 17 years this year. I first voted in 2016, so I thought it would be fun to run through his various stunts, media appearances, and mishaps in that time! (This is a list of what I remembered and found with some quick searches – if you have anymore to add, let me know!)

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The Management of Meaning in Australian Journalism

20/03/2021

The art of communication has become highly coveted in today’s global and highly connected societies and economies. Whether it’s PR spinning a positive image for a corporation, a creative team selling a hit advertising campaign, or journalists telling the news, professional communicators reach into every aspect of our lives. Some can, and do, have immense power over our perceptions of reality, particularly in the political realm. But while these communicators have the power to disperse meaning, they aren’t always the ones making it.

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