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A sad day for the ABC August 19, 2011

Posted by Amanda in Australia, Media, Radio, Television.

It might seem strange to shed tears for someone you’ve never met, or met only briefly, but I’m sure I’m not the only person at the ABC who’s done that today.

This morning we heard about the deaths of Paul Lockyer, Gary Ticehurst and John Bean, and this evening the passing of Ian Carroll. I met Paul Lockyer a couple of times when I worked in NewsCAFF (News and Current Affairs) management in Sydney. He wouldn’t have remembered me, but my impressions married with the tributes that have been paid to him today – warm, approachable, a real people person. Although I don’t think I met any of the other three veteran ABC’ers who died today, I had certainly heard of them.
At the ABC we often joke about collegiality – it’s only one of our four key values, but it’s the one everyone remembers. Sometimes it’s thrown into a conversation when helping someone out, other times it’s used with a wry tone. But on days like these, it’s brought home that through the budget constraints, attacks by critics and challenges of working in a broadcasting bureaucracy, we really are all in this together.
For many of us, working at the ABC is a source of pride both in what we do and how we do it, and in being a part of one of the most respected Australian institutions. That pride binds us through triumphs and tragedies. I’m glad to be part of the ABC family today but I also shed tears for members of that family who I never knew but whose work is a shining example of what we want the ABC to be.

Gnome tales October 16, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Australia.
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Found this on Flickr today … and I thought I had too much time on my hands.

Expensive Australia October 8, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Australia, Observations, Travel Diary.

Whenever I return to Australia from overseas or look at travelling in Australia, it strikes me just how expensive this country is. One good example is walking tours.

Chris and I are going to Melbourne in December* and I wanted to do a walking tour of the art and grafitti of Melbourne- it is $55 per person for three hours, and that is the cheap tour. Some of the others are up to $95. I couldn’t believe how this differs from the walking tours we have taken overseas. That is the great thing about walking tours- the overheads are low so they are usually affordable. But not in Australia apparently. See the list below for a comparison

Berlin €12=$18 AUD and this walk was more than seven hours long! The tours are all conducted by people who have degrees in German history.

London £6 = $14.00 AUD

New York $15 US = $16 AUD

At least two of these cities also run free walks- why is it so expensive here?

*ok the one thing that is not expensive about this trip is the flights. We are going with Tiger for $40 each return including taxes!

Protesting September 7, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Australia, Australian politics, Observations.
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Getting arrested at a protest is one of those things that adds to your life experience. It is like shaving your head. You only want to do it once and for a good cause.

I have done one of the two.

NT Indigenous communities June 21, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Australia, Australian politics, Indigenous issues, Media, politics.

John Howard has just announced a takeover of Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.

There are so many issues that come out of this.

Is this setting back Aboriginal self determination decades? I am sure that this is going to be discussed ad nauseum in the days ahead. I think it could have. Communities and the Territory government have lost their ability to govern themselves.

But the key question for me is- have the Indigenous people affected or indeed any Indigenous people been consulted about this move? I haven’t heard that yet. It is pretty difficult to consult when you dismantle the body through which Aboriginal people had a voice. As flawed as ATSIC might have been, it was something.

And the larger issue is what is the long term plan? Where is the government’s plan to address the underlying causes of this dysfunction. I have read about housing reforms and the health checks but the problem goes a lot deeper than that. They have known about these problems for years, if not decades- why now? And what are they going to do to allow Indigenous people to determine the best ways to help their communities. This roughshod approach may only cause more anger and resentment in the end.

And finally, I am sitting here completing an assignment about Indigenous voices in the media- or the lack of. Where are the comments from Indigenous leaders about these plans? SMH and News.com have some Indigenous comments but at the very bottom of their articles. ABC had none as yet in the stories I’ve read. We should be hearing from those who are affected by this the most. They should be the first voices we hear- not the last.

The people love it … June 12, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Australia, Media, Television.
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Check out this thread with people commenting about Choir of Hard Knocks

More Choir of Hard Knocks June 12, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Australia, Media, Television.

I have just cried my way through the last episode of Choir of Hard Knocks.

Alan gave his speech so eloquently and confidence oozed out of Simon. He was almost unrecognisable.

Thank you Jonathon Welch, you have done an incredible thing. The transformation in the lives of the people in the choir is important, but I hope everyone who watched this fantastic documentary will look at the marginalised people they pass in the street differently. Maybe they will give them a smile instead of avoiding them. Maybe they will buy a copy of the Big Issue. Maybe they will stop for a chat and discover something in common.

Let’s pray that a little bit of hope and understanding has been injected into the Australian psyche.

A sight for sore dry eyes June 5, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Australia.
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Brisbane hasn’t seen a radar picture like this for a while. It looks like it might even be raining in the catchment.


Not that Peter Costello. June 4, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Australia, Indigenous issues, Media.
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About ten years ago, I was lucky enough to meet Peter Costello when I went to Hopevale Aboriginal Community in far north Queensland.

Peter Costello is an Aboriginal elder and one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. He was taken from his mother when he was very young and later lost his wife and child when the Hopevale residents were forced to move to Woorabinda in Central Queensland during the second world war.

Despite all of this, Peter remains one of the most positive people you could ever meet- his laugh is completely infectious. The last time I saw his was at a Paul Kelly gig at the Zoo in Brisbane. When I left at about 1am he was still dancing- not bad for someone in their late eighties.

Peter is now living in the old people’s home at Hopevale but the ABC’s Awaye program last week replayed an interview with him that was recorded four years ago. Peter tells his life story and adds in his own little bit of wisdom which is always worth listening to.

You can listen to it here.

Brisbane vs Sydney May 21, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Australia, Observations, politics.
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Sydney: We would never consider driving in to the CBD and trying to get a street park. Meters cost about $6.00 per hour.

Brisbane: We always drive into the CBD and always park on the street. Meters cost $2.40 per hour.

Sydney: We rarely ran into people we knew in Sydney.

Brisbane: Almost every time we are out, we run into someone we know.

Sydney: Our people didn’t usually know other people’s people.

Brisbane: Everyone knows someone that you know, when you didn’t realise there was a connection.

Sydney: The beach was 15km away and often took 45 minutes to get there.

Brisbane: The beach is 85km away and it takes an hour to get there, sometimes less.

Sydney: We could walk to the shops or catch the train.

Brisbane: We have to drive everywhere.

Sydney: We could go out to eat Turkish, Lebanese, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, Indian quite close by.

Brisbane: All we seem to eat is Asian (except at Paniyiri last weekend)

Sydney: Three great, affordable Italian pizza shops in the Summer Hill main street.

Brisbane: Haven’t found good, affordable pizza yet.

Sydney: We talked to and knew a lot of our neighbours.

Brisbane: Maybe if we had somewhere to live we would have neighbours.

Sydney: Housing is unaffordable.

Brisbane: Housing is unaffordable.