Dubbo Photo News & Dubbo Weekender

Columnists & Opinion

The year that was: It’s not how you play the game, it’s whether you win or lose

Here we are stumbling towards the finishing line of 2019, safe in the knowledge we went the whole year without a change of Prime Minister. That means it’s time for annual Dubbo Photo News/Weekender Winner and Loser Awards. The judges raked through a year of vainglorious political inertia, spoke quietly to many Quiet Australians, and found the following worthy award recipients: Winners: Tony Abbott – The long-time member for Warringah lost his job in the…

Rich pickings in a decade of commentary when history repeats

This year marks my 10th year of writing opinion pieces for the Dubbo Photo News and Dubbo Weekender. A couple of one-off articles I wrote in 2009 morphed into the Dubbo Photo News editor asking if I wanted to be part of a regular roster of writers for the proposed weekly magazine-style publication Dubbo Weekender. He thought I had the ability to string words together (he obviously hadn’t meet any of my high school English…

Australians beware, you’re under increasing surveillance

If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. Since 9/11, this phrase has been regularly used by government in announcing and justifying increased public surveillance – both physically and digitally – in the war against terrorism. Law enforcement agencies around the world have been afforded increased powers to monitor the public by increasingly covert means; as technology drives us online, we leave a digital footprint that is ripe for surveillance, and laws…

Commission hands down a dose of reality

‘Reality TV’ – noun – formulaic and heavily edited television designed to cater for sheeple. ‘Sheeple’ – noun – people compared to sheep in being docile, foolish, and/or easily led – refer above. There is no product so far removed from its name and so readily lapped up by the public than reality TV. Cooking shows, home renovations, talent quests, soul mate searches and titillation fed to a public seemingly willing to let this entertainment…

Privatising our government assets is failing us

Has there ever been the privatisation of a government asset that has led to a benefit for the public? The definition of ‘benefit’ depends upon your perspective. Modern governments declare the privatisation of public assets and services as necessary to gain an efficiency dividend – that the free market and private enterprise perform more efficiently than a government-owned entity. The sale of a government asset will either be declared a necessary injection of funds into…

Economy versus ecosystem: can both be winners?

The preservation of our planet has been making news headlines recently, for both the right and wrong reasons. The Global Climate Strike movement founded by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg held rallies in towns and cities around the globe. From a couple of hundred participants here in Dubbo, to tens of thousands in cities such as Melbourne, Berlin and New York, the protesters made it known that they wanted to live in world where leaders focused…

Gathering to activate ‘quiet Australians’ raises questions

Conservatism American style came to Australia recently when Sydney played host to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Fashioned on the American model of gatherings of conservative politicians, activists, media pundits, Christian adherents and ‘free speech warriors’, the conference was billed as the largest gathering of conservatives in Australia. Several American conservative politicians jetted in to speak, along with pro-Brexiteer Nigel Farage, right-wing British activist Raheem Kassam, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a brace…

Redemption story: That didn’t take long did it?

Eighteen months have not quite passed since the event described at the time as the “darkest day in Australian cricket” occurred – the captain and vice-captain of the Australian cricket team bringing the hallowed institution of cricket into disrepute by sanctioning cheating during a match in South Africa. Scarcely moments after the scandal broke, whilst Cricket Australia management were lamenting the damage to their media rights, the media were calling for the protagonists to be…

Public entitled to its outrage at parliamentary entitlement

The word “entitlement” sprang to public notice in early 2014 when then Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey declared the “the age of entitlement is over, and the age of personal responsibility has begun”. Of course, the word entitlement means different things to different people. From a basic humanity viewpoint, it means access to clean water, clean air, food, health care, age care and education – the essentials of a healthy society in which government should have…

Unholy row for the “game they play in heaven”

Rugby Union is known as the game played in heaven. Star player Israel Folau continues to bring both the game and the venue into disrepute, as well as fuelling another debate in this country about free speech and religious freedom. The musings of overpaid sportspeople usually don’t get my attention, but Folau’s Instagram post could not be ignored, especially as the post embodied the intersection of two cults of personality – religion and elite sport.…

Our ‘un-Australian’ anthem is girt by controversy

Is ‘un-Australian’ the most misused and falsely appropriated word in our national dialect? I think it is, and I use the recent controversy around our national anthem to argue my point. Indigenous rapper/comedian/writer/actor Adam Briggs (known as Briggs) used his performance on the ABC television show The Weekly to dissect Advance Australia Fair and highlight its offense to Indigenous Australians. His performance pushed all the outrage buttons for the free speech warriors of the right…

January 26 – the date of no meaning

AUSTRALIA DAY is upon us again, and so is the now inevitable uproar in the press and on social media about the date of Australia Day. The mere hint of changing from January 26 is met with social media outrage and accusations of being Un-Australian. A mention of the suffering and injustice this date represents to Aboriginal Australians is met with both outright hostility and a command to ‘just get over it’. This was experienced…