Archive for January, 2012

It’s been a very intriguing 24 hours for anyone with a passing interest in indigenous politics in this land we call Australia. The 40th anniversary of the tent embassy in Canberra (on Australia/Invasion/Survival Day) was attended by a number of people who vocally approached the PM and Opposition Leader after the latter made some insensitive remarks about ‘moving on’.  Abbott figured that because Aboriginal people obviously have it so good now –  only making up quarter of the prison population, dying only a few years younger than everyone else, suffering, well, much higher rates of trachoma, that sort of thing – that calling an end to this form of protest is warranted. Well, that’s obviously how they saw it.

The event highlighted the vast, vast majority of the national media ready to brand the altercation ‘violent’ (although there was limited evidence for this) and, of course, unacceptable – particularly on Australia Day, Channel Seven’s David Koch usefully pointed out. From the tabloids on the right to the ABC and Fairfax opinion pieces, everyone was having a go at the fact some people banged on the window of the restaurant the PM was in, forcing her security detail to drag her out of there.  Falluja it was not.

But all of that reaction is predictable. What was most interesting is what seemed like the disbelief amongst many media commentators that there could be more than one viewpoint amongst indigenous Australians. Establishment figures Warren Mundine and Mick Gooda were wheeled out to denounce in pretty strong terms what happened – thank goodness! – and maybe a lot of people felt a bit better. But what a shock that black politics might have a Left and a Right as well as anyone else’s. You can be outraged all you like, but please don’t act surprised. So perhaps it was a watershed moment – but only because something finally clicked in a few non-indigenous heads.

Anyway, I wrapped up some of the early reaction in a formulaic but hopefully balanced package today, above.

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Amusing as they might be, attacks on the websites of supporters of tougher copyright legislation could tarnish the legitimate protests of Wikipedia and others.

“TANGO DOWN #Megaupload  Fight for Internet Freedom!” went the tweet from the LulzSecITALY account, and it was like the heady days of last year when the hacking group had every newsroom around the world wondering which organisation’s website was to go down next.

Read the rest of this post @SBS.

Since independence, Nigeria has been a fractured country. Multiple ethnicities and languages, and a sharp divide between Muslim and Christian majorities in the north and south. Not to mention plenty of corruption, oil to argue over, dealing with the IMF….yadda yadda. I don’t profess to have ever visited, but I find the whole situation pretty interesting. So with petrol price riots (seemingly?) combining with sectarian violence (Boko Haram in the north, and what appears to be knock-on attacks on mosques and other Muslim targets in the south), I banged out some features for SBS today. First an LVO (unfortunately requiring a little more file footage than was ideal; the agencies had filed very little when we wanted it up by the lunchtime rush), then an attempt at mapping the main events since the start of the year. 

Below, a good old Google Map with an attempt at rounding up what’s happened where since New Year’s Day. Let’s hope this ends well for Nigerians. 

My initial pitch concerning the two-and-a-half week trip I took the Northern Territory in August was on the issue of the NT becoming, perhaps, a state. It had struck me that race (with the NT’s high proportion of indigenous inhabitants) played a critical role, at least initially, in the top part of the continent never fully gaining statehood, and therefore the benefits that come with it. Always keen on the big issues (!), I wanted to see if that was still the case. Here’s the film I made for SBS Living Black.

And here’s the version which went on World News Australia. It’s quite different – dumbed down, you might argue – but I am proud of both of them. I shot and cut the pair, and think, ahem, that they look quite good. Both are shot on a Panasonic P2.