Guest blog: Day of the Girl

Today is the #DayofTheGirl. Read a wonderful blog by Sarah Cowley – her thoughts on today and her experience being part of Soroptimist International.

*Originally written for SI Moreton North Inc. Special thanks to Sarah and Chris Knight of Soroptimist International South West Pacific for sharing this blog with us.

“The theme for this year’s Day of the Girl is ‘GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable’. This important day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.

For me, this theme resonates a lot with my personal beliefs and how I have tried to act and work throughout my adult life. I have always tried to ‘do my bit’, whether it be through education programmes, studying or working with young people to empower them. I have always done my best to use my voice to advocate for change, especially for women and girls. I think it is also important to recognise the women who’ve come before us an acted as trailblazers for the world we know now.

This Day of the Girl, I want all women and girls to know that they are unstoppable, and a force to be reckoned with. I want girls to know how powerful they are and what their potential is. I have also become a mum to a beautiful daughter this year, so I have been reflecting a lot on what I want to do to create a better future for all the girls of the next generation.

Freedom, equality and liberation all come to mind. I don’t want the equal pay debate to still be happening – it should be rectified. I want girls to have control over their bodies. I want equal representation at work. I want more men to support women in their quest for equality.

Wanting all of these things for myself and others is why I joined Soroptimist International Moreton North Inc (SIMNI). I wanted to be surrounded by supportive, powerful women who are leading change and are activists for women’s rights in their communities and the world. Women who are the voice. I wanted to be a part of something big, that will empower me to create change for women and girls too. I wanted to invest my energy into meaningful activities where I knew I would have a voice that was heard, so I could make a difference too.

And that’s what I’ve got.

From being a Soroptimist, I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with women from all over the world, including in Australia, Nigeria and Cambodia. There are also opportunities as a Soroptimist – regional and international conventions, a global network and association with the United Nations. We can have a voice and be activists and leaders in our community and the world.

I am grateful for the friendships, support and opportunities that have come from being a Soroptimist, especially from the members of my SIMNI club. I am grateful for the activities I’ve been able to partake in because of this group. I am also grateful that, as a young woman pushing for change in this world, I have women supporting me.

I am grateful that I have a voice that is heard, and I will continue to keep working so other women and girls can be ‘Unscripted and Unstoppable’ too. Happy Day of the Girl to all!”

Bursary Fund-raising Morning Tea and Fashion Parade

NCWQ held its annual bursary fund-raising morning tea and fashion parade Thursday, 10 October. Leah Lever, previous recipient of the Elements Living bursary in 2018, charmed us with her beautiful singing. Ella Madigan, a recipient of last year’s Ipswich City Council bursary for a secondary student, spoke about her activity with NCWQ and the Young Women’s sub-committee.

Currently studying nursing, she intends to then study to medicine. With the theme of acknowledging women in medicine, the contributions of various women were highlighted by affiliated organisation Queensland Medical Women’s Society. Fashions were provided by Soubrét Pink, from Mt Gravatt, displaying the current trends ranging from casual to more formal occasions. NCWQ appreciates the support of all those involved, with the proceeds funding the NCWQ-sponsored 2020 bursaries.

Announcing the 20 Queensland Voices Female Leaders

This was first published here. Two young NCWQ members have been announced as part of the 20 winners! They are Taylor and Madison Birtchnell.

WITH SUPPORT FROM THE QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT’S OFFICE FOR WOMEN, FEMECONOMY IS SHOWCASING QUEENSLAND WOMEN WHO ARE STRIVING TO CREATE GENDER EQUALITY.

Queensland is built by amazing Queenslanders. Every day women in Queensland are taking action to make Queensland safer for women, to help women’s health and wellbeing, to build women’s economic security and to increase women’s participation in the workforce and female leadership.

ANNOUNCING THE 20 QUEENSLAND VOICES FEMALE LEADERS

These women are the unsung female heroes in our community. The carers. The game changers. Those challenging stereotypes. Women who have kept communities going through hardship. Those who work tirelessly without recognition or reward because it is just what they do. We want to thank them and celebrate their tenacity, endurance, thought leadership and consistency.

Taylor Birtchnell– is an exceptional 21-year-old who volunteers across many community organisations, including The Sanctuary Women and Children’s Refuge, and Women’s Legal Service, as an advocate for women and girls.

Madison Birtchnell – is the youngest member of YWCA’s Sub-Committee advising Board members to develop National programs and support initiatives for girls and women, to enhance their health and wellbeing.

NCWQ Arts and Letters Report November 2019

By Jennifer Ann Davies

NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

A Reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…the person who never reads lives only one. George R.R. Martin

Leslie HURTIG, Artistic Director for the 2019 Vancouver Writers’ Festival notes change and pleasure whilst perusing books being published by small and large presses across Canada, the United States and Europe. “There has been,” Leslie writes, “a noticeable trend toward highlighting the voices of under-represented minorities, making the offering of titles being published in English both varied and essential.” Opening boxes from a publisher is always a joy and takes one on unexpected journeys. Excited about the Vancouver Writers Fest, Leslie acknowledges many talented writers, to small and large audiences, and extends a particularly warm welcome to award-winning author, journalist and activist, Tanya TALAGA. Tanya is the second annual Guest Curator, who has led many forward through her columns at ‘The Toronto Star’ and two of her best-sellers: “Seven Fallen Feathers” and“All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward”.

A wonderful programme with authors: Naomi Klein, Alicia Elliott, Maude Barlow and Adam Gopnik inspiring and informing, intersperses with fiction authors:  Emma Donoghue, Tash Aw, Mona Awad, Elif Batuman, Cherie Dimaline and Michael Crummey, entertaining, provoking thought and new ideas! Executive Director, Nicole Nozick and Board Chair, Alexia Jones, express both joy and excitement for a year which has been pivotal, with a new mission, vision and strategic plan. I am deeply grateful to my contemporary at Granville Island for sharing this information and it is important to note that the fest carries out its work on the ancestral and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleril-Waututh First Nations. Publications proliferate and are available on: www.writersfest.bc.ca. A complete overview is titled: ‘Exceptional Books & Ideas in 80+Events”. SDGs 4/12/17

MONTREAL, QUEBEC provided gifts of interesting books and a timeline and ‘trip through history’ of Montreal’s main communities. The information includes street/geographic detail and the nature of the business or service in which each culture is engaged. One reads of the Greek, Jewish, Irish, Scottish, English, First Nations, Haitians, Italians, Latinos, Portuguese, Middle Eastern and Maghreb citizens, Eastern Europeans, Chinese, and the French, who by 1865, made up most of the city’s population! A delicious and exciting city of 4 million inhabitants, and no less than 120 different nationalities, Montreal boasts a rich and vibrant cultural fabric! SDGs 4/11/17

British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec all celebrated Space, the Landing on the Moon and challenged our future ‘out there’ with a variety of historic and futuristic dioramas and interactive displays. Just prior to my flight to Canada, I had read, waiting for my dentist, an interesting article ‘Heroes of Space’ featuring Vera RUBIN – the first person to prove the existence of dark matter. Vera was born in 1928 in Philadelphia, USA and was always fascinated by physics and astronomy. Although she was able to study, the ‘Princeton’ policy that it did not accept women, was not lifted until 1975, so, despite her obvious talent, Vera Rubin battled the odds, and was accepted at Cornell University, to do her Master’s degree. With consequences for our understanding of today’s cosmos, Vera’s discovery of the elusive material, dark matter, believed to make up an estimated 25% of the ‘missing’ mass of the universe, was not well received in a man’s world – however, she ‘slanted’ her research towards the study of the rotation curves of singular galaxies, beginning with our closest spiral, the Andromeda galaxy. WHY am I including this in my report? Because I did not, even once, in any display or diorama, see any representation of Vera Rubin’s name, work, profile, discovery or research and/or its relationship to our knowledge of what is known of ‘Space’ today. www.image.publishing.co.uk   SDGs 4/5/10/12

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” Stephen HAWKING 1942-2018

 

An Australian group replicated a number of LEONARDO DA VINCI’S inventions, implements, musical instruments and paintings, and these were on display in Vancouver, British Columbia, to the delight of significant audiences. In addition to the interactive inventions and ‘gadgets’, which I had formerly seen only in Florence, there was a wonderfully collated history of da Vinci, filmed for all to see. Adjacent to this wonderment, was a history of the changes wrought to what is believed to be the original Mona Lisa. This segment of the exhibition was of particular interest to audiences of all ages and provoked stimulating conversation and debate! I hope you are all able to see the photos taken at this particular exhibition. They will be on our website, as part of this report.

The artworks on display are digitised reproductions, recreating Florentine oil paintings to actual size. Leonardo’s original works are, of course, considered too priceless to move from their permanent locations; some are now too fragile to even be on display. “Art is never finished, only abandoned,” said the Grand Master, da Vinci. Canada Science and Technology Museum. SDGs 4/12/17

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” Leonardo da Vinci est. 1450

 

Of particular interest, also in Vancouver, was the way in which exhibitions are EXPLICIT. Themes, ideas, questions and issues are very, very clear – not only from Canadian artists, certainly, but from the entire display. One example of this explicitness, in addition to buildings, people, evictions, riots, construction and meetings ON THE STREETS, was a work by Robert Capa, Budapest, Hungary. 1913-1954. Capa was a pseudonym for photojournalist Endre Friedmann,who fled Hungary and lived in France for a time. The 1944 photo of a street in Chartres, France, shows a mother and daughter whose heads have been shaved to mark them as collaborators. The daughter – in the white dress – is holding a baby she conceived with a German soldier. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery. SDGs 4/11

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other (women’s) and men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have laboured hard for.” Socrates

RULES OF THE ROAD

Dublin’s Ciara GERAGHTY “For my mother, Breda who gave me the roots to grow and wings to fly.”

“Iris Armstrong is missing.” Thusly begins this Irish author, whose books are beautifully written and infused with warmth, humour and human understanding, states the ‘Irish Examiner’.

The simple fact of the matter is that Iris loves life. Maybe she’s forgotten that. When Iris Armstrong goes missing on her 58thbirthday, her best friend, Terry, wife, mother and all-round worrier, is convinced something had has happened.  She’s right. Her glamourous, feisty friend is setting out on a journey she plans to make her last. Woven into this, is a dad who has dementia. “…one of the good things about dementia. You bear witness to the kindness of people.” p.330

“Memory is such a strange beast, isn’t it. It throws up such random things. Presents itself in different ways. Sepia-tinted, some of them. Black-and-white, others glaring technicolour. Some are magnified. Larger than life, like the images you see when you look through the wrong end of binoculars. Distant and small. You doubt the truth of them.” pp 353-354

Beautifully written – Two old friends on a life-changing journey…. Rules of the Road, Harper Collins Publishers, London. 2019 www.harpercollins.co.uk  SDGs 3/4/16

Australia’s Matt ZURBO, father and fisherman, currently working an oyster farm in Tasmania, determined to write 1 x Children’s book daily for a year! Matt declared on SBS Television that “Imagination trumps violence and ignorance and always will!” This unusual author explains that he is the son of a father who is an illustrator and a mother, doyenne of Melbourne’s avant-garde theatre, ‘The Pram Factory’. Both inspired his own creativity, as does his golden-haired daughter, Cielo (heaven in Spanish) – Cielo’s mother fled Caracas. Details on publications and progress are available online and Wikipedia has a Children’s Portal! www.mattzurbo.com  Pascoe Publishing & Penguin Books 2019

RESIDENTS AND VISITORS to Queensland were delighted with the beautiful water fountains, lights and lasers viewed from the Arcadia precinct on the South Bank Cultural Forecourt! Teachers from the city and regions marked the very LAST QCS (Queensland Core Skills) tests for Queensland senior students, then relaxed with this spectacular exhibition! Educators and Schools will now change pace, teaching the students to cope successfully with external exams.

A South African Choir was placed 2ndin ‘America’s Got Talent’ – ND LOJU – Zulu for Elephant! This is from our sisters in the Council in South Africa! Daphne Hansen

Light and lovely! ‘freshly picked words’ …’Save the Earth, it’s the only planet with ice-cream’.

The following is not so light and lovely, and may be confronting for some – however, it is vital to the integrity and direction of our role/s that the truths and stories of all are given a voice and a place…..

‘PURGE’ Sofi OKSANEN (first published in the Finnish language as “Puhdistus” 2008 by WSOY) Atlantic Books, London, 2018. www.atlantic-books.co.uk  Translator: Lola ROGERS

“There is an answer for everything, if only one knew the questions.” Paul-Eerik Rummo (Part One) May 1949 – Free Estonia!

Deep in an overgrown Estonian forest, two women, one young, one old, are hiding. Zara, a murderer and a victim of sex-trafficking, is on the run from brutal captors. Aliide, a communist sympathizer and a blood traitor, has endured a life of abuse and the country’s brutal Soviet years. Their survival now depends on exposing the one thing that kept them hidden – the truth.

(Part Two) “Seven million years we heard the fuhrer’s speeches; the same seven million years we saw the apple trees bloom.” Paul-Eerik Rummo

“She recognized the smell of the women on the street, the smell that said something similar had happened to them. From every trembling hand, she could tell – there’s another one. From every flinch at the sound of a Russian soldier’s shout and every lurch at the tramp of boots. Her, too? Every one who couldn’t keep herself from crossing the street when militiamen or soldiers approached. Every one with a waist band on her dress that showed she was wearing several pairs of underwear…” p168

“There was nothing in the news about Chernobyl…” p218

“They’re keeping the cows indoors in Finland…” p220

“All the cement disappeared from Estonia, because it was needed in Ukraine, and more food came into Estonia from Ukraine and Belarus than ever before…Pure Estonian food was needed in Moscow, and Estonia got the food that Moscow didn’t happen to want…”p220 SDGs 1/2/3/4/10/16

Sofi OKSANEN was born in Finland and is a graduate of the Finnish Theatre Academy. She is the author of numerous novels, including ‘Purge’, ‘When the Doves Disappeared’ and ‘Norma’. Lola ROGERS is a Finnish to English literary Translator living in Seattle.

‘A phenomenon’ Sunday Times

 

‘STORIES & SKETCHES’ by Charles DICKENS with original engravings was gifted to a friend in 1908 and loaned to me by her relative, recently, in 2019! Beautifully intact, though somewhat fragile, the small volume is alive with famous and lesser known characters and stories, and demonstrates the sharp powers of observation Dickens possessed, positing truths, harsh realities and grand follies of humanity! Much would receive serious and silly editing these days, where truths continue to diminish or are garbed in nonsense layers of pretence! Just a few titles are: ‘Sketches of a Young Gentleman’, ‘Sketches of Young Couples’, ‘Public Life of Mr. Tulrumble, Once Mayor of Mudfog’ and ‘The Pantomime of Life’. Collins’ Clear-Type Press, London and Glasgow SDG 4

 

Australian magazine MINDFOOD presents some interesting holiday reading in the October 2019 edition. Calling all Writers. Have your short story published mindfoodshortstory@mindfood.com. There is also a call for unpublished poets! Of special interest and benefit, however, is an article by Cat RODIE, HAPPY OR HURTING? This article interrelates today’s clichés, turmoil, emotional and mental health and glib dismissiveness of authentic conditions!

The author quotes everyday sayings, such as: ‘everything happens for a reason’ and‘things always work out for the best’, as not particularly useful, or worse. Registered psychologist, Jocelyn BREWER is quoted: “We’ve confused being happy with the ability to apply a positive mindset”, she writes. Cat Rodie was going through a really rough patch and wondered whyall the platitudes, not only in conversation, but abundant on Facebook, Instagram etc. crushed her; seeming to make things worse, as it was all HER fault! “Just be positive!” Good vibes only! ‘Think happy thoughts!’ Brewer explains the worsening feelings, explaining that we HAVE confused the basis of happiness – ‘Many examples of toxic positivity are actually just shallow or simplistic sayings that gloss over the more nuanced issues of dealing with life’s ups and downs,’ she explains. So strongly embedded is this toxic positivity, in social media, and so unusual is listening and understanding in face-to-face conversations, this can all STOP people from sharing their authentic feelings and seeking help, it is stated. pp042/043

Let yourself feel bad! States Rodie, supported by psychologists and researchers across the board. In direct opposition to ‘just being positive’, research suggests that allowing yourself to experience a spectrum of unpleasant emotions will actually help you feel better in the long run.  Researchers found that people who didn’t seem to ‘feel bad’ about feeling bad showed higher levels of wellbeing than their counterparts who beat themselves up about feeling negative emotions! The study concluded that “…those who accept their mental experiences may attain better psychological health.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2017. www.mindfood.com/positive-changeSDGs 3/4

 

 

SUSTAINING A FOCUS ON “experiencing a spectrum of emotions” a magnificent text has been produced, with this dedication: ‘For Margot Frank who died, aged eighteen, in Bergen-Belsen along with her sister, Anne.  And for Margot Reith who, at a similar age, has the world at her feet.’ ‘THE LOVE THAT I HAVE’ has been penned in a specially built shed in the backyard of a most respected, award winning author, James MOLONEY, right here, in Brisbane! This extraordinary story about love, loss and profound courage is superb!

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved three things: the long summer holidays, my brother Walther and Adolf Hitler.”

Margot Baumann has left school to take up her sister’s job in the mailroom of a large prison. But this is Germany in 1944, and the prison is Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin.

Margot is shielded from the camp’s brutality a she has no contact with prisoners. However, she does handle their mail, and when given a cigarette lighter and told to burn the prisoner’s letters, she is horrified by the callous act she must carry out with her own hands. Margot steals a few letters, intending to send them in secret, only to find herself drawn to their heart-rending words of hope, of despair and of love.

This is how Margot comes to know Dieter Kleinschmidt – through the beauty and passion of his letters to a girlfriend. A wonderful read! ‘The Love That I Have’ Angus & Robertson, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers Australia. 2018 www.harpercollins.comSDGs 1/2/3/4/6/10/16

QUEENSLAND’s Arts and Letters in late 2019 is a swirl of wonderful Russian Ballet – old art – new art – chamber music – Shakespeare modernized! French film – Japanese animation – Finnish fiction – beautiful yarns of rich, early days in the Torres Straits Islands – a return to the stage for Kris Kristofferson – reminding us “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”All events, productions, publications, renditions, tales, performances and songs lighten hearts and heavy thoughts! – Many generate new ideas for new and old problems! – Some provoke us – some make us laugh heartily – some bring forth tears, memories, dreams, reflections – all enrich! Many, also, blend yesterday and today…hurtling us into our tomorrows!

One such BLEND, performed on stage and accompanied and enhanced with unusual visual artworks, is ‘ALICE IN THE ANTIPATHIES’. This performance is about the Malayalee diaspora and issues that have been part of the global transmigration landscape since last century. It is a collaboration between JUTE Theatre Company, Masakini Theatre Company of Malaysia and Dr Sasi VICTOIRE. Created and written by Cairns-based Dr Sasi Victoire, originally from Malaysia, the writer uses the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ story to help explore the struggles encountered by migrants, especially the Asian Diaspora, to reconcile with their cultural heritage and identity. The work includes multi-media components such as projected images, sound and dance. Set designs were from the Australian production team and stage management from Malaysia. This IS a magickal transformative story of migration, told through the senses, embedded with the playwright’s own artworks depicting a life lived with a constant sense of ‘otherness’ and a relentless search for place.

An excerpt from ‘Writer’s Notes’: “It is a rare privilege for an artist to be given an opportunity to not only write a play, but to support the vision in the narrative by creating images for costumes, props and audio visuals. As a co-producer, I have gained some knowledge of the many processes that make up the world of theatre.

I could not have imagined when I embarked on my creative journey that this spark of an idea would tip me totally in a rabbit hole for almost four years. Using the safety net of JUTE Theatre Company’s writing programme, Write Sparks, my narrative is presented now, integrated with my art, presenting a fusion of art-forms in multiple cultural interfaces, as a more complete form…”  Dr Sasi Victoire 2019.

On a curious adventure, sent to be educated in Australia, beset by curiosity, new-found freedoms, new logic and exciting new ideas, Asha, a second-generation Malaysia-born Indian woman explores, with her imaginary Alice, of Alice in Wonderland, to navigate a tricky voyage through romance, love, loss and reconciliation. As a completely engaged audience member, I promise you laughter, repeatedly; challenges, joy, sadness and tears. This was a completely wonderful performance, with a small yet dynamic and singularly ‘different’ cast of four! – Salut! To Roz PAPPALARDO as Alice; Phraveen ARIKIAH as Ganesh/Father; Sukania VENUGOPAL as Asha and Sabera SHAIK as the Red Queen/Mother; and wonderful personal friend of Sasi’s and Director, CHANDRABHANU. Australian Council for the Arts/Arts Queensland/Dr Sasi Victoire:www.sasivictoire.com.auSDGs 3/4/5/8/10/17                           Completely enjoyable, informative and EXTRAORDINARY!

Advisor’s notes: It is not usual for an Advisor to add notes to a report. However, because our readership continues to grow; because numbers of readers have English as an additional language and because I now include SDGs in most of my reports, I am including some explanatory footnotes here.

  • The ARTS includes many arenas and modalities, some of which are paintings, photography, posters, printed matter, pottery, porcelain, picture cards, performances, public puppetry. LETTERS simply means LITERATURE. Thusly, all literature, books, novels, novellas, poetry, prose, articles, are included. Arts and Letters inevitably include CULTURE! It is impossible for this inclusion not to occur. Cultural inclusions, backgrounds, characters, themes, symbols, religions, foods, celebrations, customs, traditions, songs, music and issues are the heartbeat and core of Literature. Exploring these, is part of the writer’s ‘job’!
  • SDGs are broad Sustainable Development Goals derived by the United Nations, forming part of the framework in which National Councils and the International Council of Women (Le Conseil International des Femmes) work, for broadly, educative and humanitarian goals.
  • A brief idea of what each SDG relates to, mentions or addresses, in this report, is set out below:

Poverty =1

Hunger =2

Good Health and Wellbeing =3

Education =4

Gender Equality =5

Clean Water and Sanitation =6

Decent Work and Economic Growth = 8

Reduced Inequalities = 10

Sustainable Cities and Communities = 11

Responsible Competition and Production = 12

Peace Justice and Strong Institutions = 16

Partnerships for Goals = 17

  • Pictures and photos for this report will appear on our website, positioned by our wonderful Webmistress. These do not appear in the report I habitually email. NCWQ

Voila! Concerts! Celebrations! Performances! Bells! Books! Christmas ‘round the corner for most!

…and when the dust has settled, the SILENCE is so rich – Hear ye! Silence is not simply a ‘ghost’!  Jennifer Ann Davies 2019 c.

SILENCE is not merely the absence of sound. …it is a language all of its own. “Becoming fluent in silence, like learning a foreign tongue, reveals undiscovered richness in the ordinary, everyday things. A silence shared by Friends could include lazily flicking through magazines together, watching a great movie, warming up by a blazing campfire and spying an animal waddling past. It’s the silence that welds a bond in the space between words. It’s that fine wine reserved for special friends, and so all the more savoured.” Rob Seizer, Speaking in Silence, 047.       www.mindfood.com/silence-for-health

Arts and Letters Report October 2019

Friendship, Laughter, Hope, Humour, Memory, and Listening all help us to create a LANGUAGE RICH ENVIRONMENT in which CHILDREN are less vulnerable – in which we have immunised them against poor language and literacy. Friendship! Laughter! Hope! Humour! Memory! Listening! These essential ingredients furnish effective, wonderful COMMUNICATION

“Books are a joyful thing,” communicates Cressida Cowl, Children’s Laureate – advising that CREATIVE INDUSTRIES need CREATIVE CHILDREN – these are huge, million dollar industries as well. Cressida is of “How to Train Your Dragon” fame!

WHAT, though, is COMMUNICATION? ‘Communication’ is not interchangeable with words like ‘message’, ‘contact’ or ‘transferring information’ (media). Often people mistakenly say “There is a communication problem” possibly meaning: “We have a shortage of information, but no way of interpreting” – “We aren’t being told what we really need to know” or “We have received different messages which contradict each other.” pp36-37.

Communication demands LISTENING. Listening is an art! Working with this ‘art’ we cannot afford to be too rigid about techniques, because our performance grows out of our personal relationships…To improve, we need courage, patience, generosity and a willingness to experiment. ‘WHY DON’T PEOPLE LISTEN?” Australia’s Hugh Mackay wrote this gem of a book in 1995 – well worth reading or revisiting! Pan MacMillan Publishers Sydney NSW.

“In the dark, your voice will save me!” S.K.Vaughan: “ACROSS THE VOID

Sphere UK 2019/www.littlebrown.co.uk

‘Love recognises no barrier. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination – full of hope.’ Maya ANGELOU

‘I don’t believe in God, but I’m very interested in her.’ Arthur C. Clarke

“Dinoflagellates,” Stephen said. “Single-celled organisms. They create that light, kind of like fireflies. Bioluminescence.” “Don’t ruin it with your science. They’re ocean stars.” p.252

“Everything in existence is a combination or unity of opposites.” P.243

A survival thriller; impenetrably thick irony – betrayed by superiors in the worst possible way, then falsely exalted by the same. p.286

“There’s no mass grave in the universe that can’t be ploughed into patriotic propaganda by a well-crafted spin.” p.286.  Highly recommended!

Liberty does not exist in the absence of morality.

‘THE WITCH’S KIND’ Louisa MORGAN Orbit UK 2018

A beautiful literary dedication to Painter Elizabeth Lucinda Morgan Campbell, by her grand-daughter, Louisa Morgan, a pseudonym for award-winning Author, Louise MARLEY…”In memory of my grandmother…who understood that art is life.”

“Tatters of cloud shone silver against the violet sky. I felt the pull of the canal as a physical sensation. Its tides seemed to resonate with the tides of my own flowing blood, its life calling to the life in my veins.” Yet again, WAR flavours and shapes myriad elements of this text; glass fragments of the shoreline beg imaginings of their origins, place and purpose – their wonderful ‘everyday-ness’! “I liked holding the glass fragments in my hand, bits of brown or blue or clear glass worn smooth by the water. I tried to imagine what they had once been part of…” p.2 “Deftly captures the greatest magic of all: the love between mothers and daughters.” Jordanna Max BRODSKY.  www.orbitbooks.net

ABC CLASSICAL MUSIC (FM2) presented listeners’ 100 FAVOURITE COMPOSERS! Notably the following generated for lovers of music! One comment aired during this delightful time and relaying of the histories of some of the composers: “I think of music as something humans make.”                   Stories of awe and angst

Beauty and bereavement

Enthusiasm and energy

Magick and mystery

Actual voices, rarely heard

Successful symphonies

Subtle sounds

Startling synchronicities

Simple ‘scores’

Stealthy shifts

Staccato signals

Singular sounds

Symphonic

Spectacular

Soft

Special!          Salut! ABC Radio/copyright JAD 2019

A 50/50 WORLD? Australia’s Graeme SIMSION helps us believe in possibility, makes us proud to be human beings, and…keeps us laughing. Matthew Quick

“THE ROSIE RESULT” is the third in a trilogy, by Simsion and dedicated to “…the many people in the autism community who have been inspired and supported …(his)…books.” The Text Publishing Company/Melbourne Australia 2019. www.textpublishing.com.au

‘We are all special cases.’ Albert Camus

‘Laugh-out-loud funny, poignant and so ingenious and compelling you feel as if you want to jump into the world of the novel and join in.’ Australian Women’s Weekly

Book Club notes and more available! www.therosieproject.com.au

***

A tree shakes. Its branches flutter. There’s another snapping sound. Gigi’s barking inside the house. I pull the gate open. At the same moment I see someone – dark clothes, hunched posture, hooded sweatshirt – about ten yards away.  My pulse racing, I scoot inside the gate…hide behind a tree…my heart pounding, my head spinning, unsure if he’s seen me….”

The TRUTH will be exposed. In photography, answers to logical questions, connecting and deleting lies, with great compassion…

“SHUTTER” Laurie Faria STOLARZ Hyperion, N.Y. www.hyperionteens.com

(Connecting the voices and stories in the world of Letters to Visual Art, Photography continues to develop, to take a new ‘place’, in exhibitions, celebrations in Queensland’s and Australia’s Galleries.)

UQ ART MUSEUM: The World Press PHOTO Exhibition 2019 has been on a world-wide tour and made available at the Queensland College of Art. Included at the college are the works of QUT’s Olivia Lacey who explores intersubjective dialogue in art and Caroline Austin continues experimentation exploring how transdisciplinary creative strategies might be used to address wide-ranging issues through projects, exhibitions, discussions, workshops and participatory artworks. www.bneart.com

VIVALDI! MOZART! PAGANINI! SAINT-SAENS! CHAMBER PHILHARMONIA COLOGNE, GERMANY Beautiful music echoed through St. Monica’s Cathedral, Cairns, with ‘La Tempesta Di Mare’, Concerto for violin, strings and basso cotinuo: Concerto in E Minor for bassoon, strings and basso continuo RV 484. Mozart, Concerto in B Flat Major for Bassoon and Orchestra KV 191. Paganini? Moses-Variations for Violoncello and Orchestra and Saint-Saens: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso for Violin and Orchestra op. 28. The Chamber Philharmonia Cologne presented Sergey Didorenko on violin; Karen Ruprecht Bassoon and Dmitri Gornowsky, Violoncello. A beautiful concert.

Welcome Joanna NELL! Australia’s author of a moving, funny, heart-warming tale of love and community… ‘THE SINGLE LADIES OF JACARANDA RETIREMENT VILLAGE’ Hachette Australia, Sydney NSW 2018. www.hachette.com.au

You will love PEGGY SMART. Aged 79 ½, living in the Jacaranda Retirement Village and widowed, Peggy’s closest ally is Angie Valentine. Four husbands. One pacemaker. Glamorous life of the party. Angie is teaching Peggy how to age disgracefully! Peggy is a long-time admirer of Brian Cornell. Handsome widower. Treasurer of the Residents’ Committee. Avid swimmer. All his own teeth! Peggy’s children? David and (overprotective) Jenny + Basil, her senior citizen partially sighted Shih Tzu. Likes: Losing herself in a romance novel. Guilt-free cake after aqua aerobics. Dislikes: Being patronised. Prescriptions. Favourite saying: “If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one!” Lots of FUN!! 

From the NCWQ archives, another voice – one which paved the way to NOW in the Art world!

“My name is Debbie SCOTT and I draw under the aboriginal name of “Yuluwirree” which means “rainbow”. I am not a tribal aborigine, a fringe dweller, or a person from a mission. I am an urban aborigine. I was raised in a European society. You might say I have the best of two worlds. My art is contemporary aboriginal art and my art form is pen and ink on fabric linen paper. The pen is a rotring pen which has very fine nibs…(this) gives me fine, intricate line work. The paper is imported from Italy. I use this paper because of its resilience to time and wear. The only colours I use on my work is a water colour wash I sometimes put in the background. I like to substitute my linework for colour.”

After travelling to a range of places, Debbie wrote: “I have met very interesting people who now have a better understanding of contemporary aboriginal art and hopefully an understanding of the people who are caught in this “time warp” of being neither truly black nor white. I have made wonderful friends and will have made many more in time to come, all through my art. So you can understand why I like to do my work from the heart because I get rewards from the heart in return.” NCWQ/NCWA 1990.

THE STUNNING TRIPTYCH “A Guidance in Time” created by Quandamooka artists Casey Coolwell and Kyra Mancktelow for the University of Queensland’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) has been unveiled in southern Queensland. I am sure Debbie Scott’s voice would be one to celebrate this tribute in the world of art.

…and a STUNNING SURPRISE IN AN ART MUSEUM IN OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA! I had looked at the huge art work and puzzled over the animals, as I was way across the world, seeking racoons, moose, bear and ground hogs! A wonderful mural, featuring a large work in the middle, shouldered by slender works on both sides. Then I read the inscription: “Diane MELLOR: Mamu, Ngajan and Ngagen MACKAY, AUSTRALIA 1971. MABA-I-BALA RUGU (of the Power of Darkness) 2013: framed triptych with unframed diptych; pastel, colour pencil with wash, glitter and crystal stickers…” AUSTRALIA IS HOME TO ONE OF THE OLDEST CIVILISATIONS, yet when colonists arrived there they considered the land empty. Mellor’s drawings juxtapose two different views – the real presence of Indigenous people within the blue-and-white imperialist landscape. The work also references prominent stars and celestial bodies. Mellor observes that, in Australia, “There is a renewed appreciation from astronomers of Indigenous perspectives relating to star clusters and the stories that they generate.” SDG 4 (Mackay is my Birthplace and is in Queensland on the East Coast of Australia.)

SOME NEW FUNDING HAS BEEN INFUSED INTO TOURISM AND THE ARTS IN QUEENSLAND! Each of the music events below has received refreshed funding.

COOLEY ROCKS ON is said to be Australia’s largest nostalgia music festival and this year the festival celebrated record growth for the event on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

QPAC states that thousands have bought tickets to EPIC BRISBANE OPERA a year in advance. A world-first operatic masterpiece is exceeding expectations. Richard WAGNER’S “Der Ring des Nibelungen” or “The Ring” has already sold thousands of tickets for the Brisbane performance.

“This production is coming exclusively to Queensland Performing Arts Centre and is a pinnacle of opera that will be a 15 hour epic performed over 4 nights,” says Ms. Leanne Enoch, Minister for the Arts. QPAC.

“Where you come from now is much less important than where you’re going…And home, we know, is not just the place where you happen to be born. It’s the place where you become yourself.”

Pico IYER, Vancouver Art Gallery.  

In my next report I will bring you more on the explicitness visible and tangible in a range of Canada’s art exhibitions and some news of a Writers’ Fest which carries out its work on the ancestral and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. 

 AND – LAST BUT NOT LEAST…4-5 & 9-12 October

COMMUNITY THEATRE: Tropical Arts, Inclusive Theatre Specialists

Bring to our Northern Region in Queensland,Australia

SHAKESPEARE AT THE TANKS!

Lighten up with the great Bard’s comedy: TWO GENTLEMEN IN VERONA –modernized to 2GEN#CNS brings us Shakespeare at the Tanks Art Centre 2019. Evening and Matinee performances are offered to a growing public, commencing Friday 4th October. TANK 3 – fully seated. Show rating: PG ticketlink.com.au and www.tropicalarts.org .

This community theatre performance has an interesting history and ethos; and is about: Real Humans, Real Theatre and Real Inclusion! Et voila! – WHAT does that mean?

The following material was given to me prior to my departure for Canada and applied initially to the 2018 production of Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT, yet gives each of us a clearer perception of WHAT ‘Real Inclusion’ means, in this dynamic, creative context!

EVALUATION PROJECT – REAL INCLUSION

‘Real Inclusion’ is a project which wraps around the productions. This evaluation captures what we do to foster and support inclusion and collaboration throughout our process of making a play. We investigate the challenges which arise and how we, individually or as a member of the team or community, work through or resolve them. This project is led by Velvet ELDRED , a respected arts leader and very experienced theatre maker and Community Cultural Development worker. Velvet brought in the first ARC participants and developed this important partnership. Velvet works with other project leaders: Avril DUCK, Artistic Director; Melissa ROBERTSON, Communication and Doug ROBINS, Inclusion Specialist.   “Real Inclusion” findings will be an ongoing legacy for Tropical Arts with the aim of helping other organisations to understand that INCLUSION is a very active word! ARC=ARC Disability Services Inc.    www.tropicalarts.org

NCWQ Arts and Letters Report August 2019

By Jennifer Ann Davies, Arts and Letters Adviser

There seems to be, wherever one looks, strong interest in the stories and images of the past. Most, represent the ideas of the times, as well as showcasing particular techniques, new developments, possibilities – change!

Ideas come to us as the successors of griefs, and griefs, at the moment they turn into ideas, lose some part of their power to injure the heart.

Marcel PROUST, ‘In Search of Lost Time’

POSSIBILITIES: Everywhere he looked he saw what UTZON saw. The drama of the harbour and horizon, and at night, the star-clotted sky. It held the shape of the possible, of a promise made and waiting to be kept…

In 1965 as Danish architect Jorn UTZON’S striking vision for the Sydney Opera House transforms the skyline and unleashes a storm of controversy, the shadow of the Vietnam War and a deadly lottery threaten to tear the country apart. A female journalist, is exiled to the women’s pages after being photographed in an anti-war protest and is desperate to save her two brothers from the draft. Swedish glass artist wanted to capture the newness, the possibilities. He had watched his uncle translating the shapes of nature, its sculptural language and form. In this big, bold and hauntingly beautiful portrait of art and life, ‘SHELL’captures a world on the brink of seismic change through the eyes of two unforgettable characters caught in the eye of the storm. (And reminds us of why taking a side matters.)

Exiled journalist, Pearl, wanted to write. As she read Kylie Tennant, Katharine Susannah Prichard, Jean Devanny, Eleanor Dark and Christina Stead, it became clear how INTERCONNECTED women were….all too familiar…they’d all lived in captivity, caught in the prescribed role of caring too much; for husbands, children, parents. Into this crowded cage they still managed to squeeze writing…good writing…in the thirties they’d published more fiction than men, while washing nappies, feeding elderly aunts, playing help-mate to husbands…pp 42/43.

Glass artist, Axel, remembered his mother’s words about the ways in which art and artists could impact the smallest things, or every part of life. ‘When you go into a place, look closely at the buildings, their windows and doors, look for paths along a river, or the seafront. So that people can walk by the water. So they can look out. And in the woods so they can look in. Seats beneath trees. Places for children to play. Do the doorways have overhangs, shelter from the rain, the snow? Or for your old mother…to rest on her way up the street? These things make people kind, Axel. They lift their spirits.’ p 82.

‘SHELL’ is an excellent Australian publication about possibilities and ideas, by the informed and insightful Kristina OLSSON. Scribner Australia, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (Australia) Pty Ltd, Cammeray, NSW, 2018. “Shell’ sanctifies the greatest of our ideas and being, from love, courage and betrayal to creation and dissent….Ashley Hay

POSTERS: Vintage Advertising posters are a remarkable part of the National Library of Australia’s collection. Big, bold and hard to miss, they have cleverly enticed curious and intrepid travellers to our shores, lured leisure seekers and seduced everyday consumers with fresh ideas about how good life can be in Australia. While the posters have physically aged, the messages they convey and the stories they tell, endure!

Advertising posters represent the ideas of their times, showcase printing techniques, and are often spectacularly illustrated by artists such as Gert Sellheim (1901-1970) and Percy Trompf (1902-1964), as well as others who are tantalising in their anonymity.

The National Library of Australia holds over 7,000 Australian advertising posters produced before 1950; though only a small number are freely available to view online. Most can be seen onsite at the Library, but as the paper becomes brittle with age and many are too delicate to handle now, the library is calling for donations to conserve and digitise the collection. nla.gov.au/support-us/posters

ROYAL OPERA HOUSE LIVE: On the big screen! This season includes some of The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet’s much-loved classical repertory, the world’s top ballet and opera stars and a selection of new productions, from Covent Garden. FAUST: Opera in Five Acts. Experience the decadence and elegance of 1870s Paris in David McVicar’s spectacular production of Gounod’s best-loved opera. WITHIN THE GOLDEN HOUR NEW SIDI LARBI CHERKAOUI FLIGHT PATTERN: Three Ballets – One World Premiere. Two recent works and one world premiere showcase the contemporary face of The Royal Ballet. ROMEO & JULIET: Ballet in three acts. Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers encounter passion and tragedy in Kenneth Macmillan’s 20thcentury ballet masterpiece. Available Queensland-wide but check your local cinema theatre for time slots*

YOUNG ADULT READING hurtles us into a different ‘tomorrow’! This fast-paced young adult novel hints of Jane Eyre and is well worth reading. Published in London, it has been interestingly popular with readers in our Queensland libraries. ‘BRIGHTLY BURNING’ is written by Alexa DONNE, a writer who engages readers, both young and old, and holds attention and psyche, challenging traditions and encouraging new ideas! Titan Books, London SEI OUP, 2018.

“Exiled from Earth, the remnants of the human race circle the solar system in slowly disintegrating spaceships. Soon, the poorest will start to drop out of the sky…”

“A gripping examination of class, romance and survival in a dystopian future that feels chillingly relevant to our present times.” Kirkus.

…an Ice Age – waiting for Earth to warm – corrupt government officials select whowill live or die – nothing is impossible…..

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” Maya Angelou, Brightdrops.com

 

CONVERSATION CAFES vary topics from library, in many regions of Queensland and in the Metropolis. North Queensland is currently looking forward to special guest speakers who will speak of the local history of OLD SMITHFIELD.

POSTERS/FLYERS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: Say NO to tyre waste! Did you know that in Australia over 56 MILLION tyres are discarded each year? So far less than 10% is recycled! Tyre Stewardship Australia is independently run, backed by the Federal Government and authorised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. WHAT can old tyres be used for? Soft fall playground bases, brake pads, industrial and commercial flooring and some forms of road surfacing. Flat tyre? Look for the TSA stamp of approval. greentyreproject.com.au

TUCK-AWAY TINY for a serious problem! THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR ELDER ABUSE. National Councils in each state have advocated for investigation and change in this arena, particularly the Western Australian council. Inquiries, investigations, changes in monitoring, staff – patient ratios and heightened awareness that serious abuses and problems exist, are resultant. The Queensland Government provides a tiny, pocket-sized, mini-booklet to assist the public, with clear definitions of WHAT is defined as elder abuse/WHO the abusers often are/HOW help can be accessed/WHO can be called? There is an emergency number 000, which may be the number most vital to the elderly, particularly when in a distressed state. www.qld.gov.au/noexcuseforelderabuse

HISTORY CLASSES in Queensland schools view posters: “Mummy, what did you do in the war?” “RED JOAN” directed by Trevor Nunn and starring Judi DENCH, Sophie COOKSON, Stephen CAMPBELL MOORE and Tom HUGHES, is inspired by a true story. This film is set in a picturesque village in England, where the heroine lives in contented retirement. Suddenly her tranquil existence is shattered as she’s arrested by MI5. Joan had been hiding an incredible past; she is one of the most influential war-time characters in living history.

At Cambridge University in the 1930s, the young Joan, a devoted physics student, falls in love with Russian saboteur, Leo. Through him, she sees that the world is on a knife-edge and perhaps must be saved from itself in the race to military supremacy. Post-war and working at a top-secret nuclear research facility, Joan is confronted with the impossible. Would you betray your country and your loved ones, if it meant saving them? What price would you pay for peace? Inspired by an extraordinary true story, ‘Red Joan’ is the taut and emotional discovery of one woman’s sacrifice in the face of incredible circumstances.

CAIRNS ART GALLERY engages in a range of partnerships in all art arenas, with particular emphasis, in 2019, on advancing a “…commitment to new narratives that challenge conflicting histories and contemporary interpretations around indigenous culture in Queensland and expand the parameters of contemporary art and design practice within the region.” Some partners are the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Gab Titui Cultural Centre, National Gallery of Victoria, and the remote indigenous communities of Coen in Cape York and Mer in the Torres Straits.

“QUEEN’S LAND Blak Portraiture includes early archival photographs taken during first settlement, juxtaposed with paintings and prints by indigenous and non-indigenous artists from the twentieth century through to present day.Andrea May Churcher:Director

The range of exhibitions is available online.  www.cairnsartgallery.com.au

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS – Information sharing

For our many readers, members and member organisations, these are universal goals towards which we work. These sustainable development goals have been defined by the United Nations, and noted in most international reporting. Below the list are examples of how the SDGs are indicated in reporting to the International Council of Women, compiled for April-June 2019.

  1. Poverty
  2. Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well Being
  4. Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industries
  10. Reduced Inequalities
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Competition and Production
  13. Climatic Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace Justice and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships for the Goals

As New Zealand still mourns; Hong Kongprotests, with a promise that ‘peaceful protests’ are the most powerful; geopolitical giants challenge poets, painters, publishers, performers and printers to amplify voices for protection and peace-building…..

ISRAEL – An extraordinary event was held at the Cervantes Institute, Tel Aviv and the Spanish Embassy. In liaison with poet, peace advocate, fervent humanist and 1985 Nobel Peace Prize winner for his stand with Doctors International for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Professor Ernesto KHAN,  was NCW’s own wonderful poet and Advisor,Hedva BACHRACH. Hedva’s poetry is included in a Spanish-Hebrew Anthology, with ten other Israeli writers and manySpanishwriters. Amidst the friendship and joy of Flamenco music and dance, each poet read to the audience, and ‘though experienced in participation in International Anthologies and public readings, Hedvafound thisa particularly moving event “…because it projected an atmosphere of peace through poetry…” We congratulate and celebrate peace-building with Hedva and contemporaries!  SDGs 3/4/5/17

SWEDEN will host the 3rdEuropean Conference on DOMESTIC VIOLENCElater this year. NCW Queensland, AUSTRALIA, is proud that our well-informed Advisor for Child, Youth & Family has had her research published recently, and will be addressing a segment of her research at the European Conference, scheduled for 1-4thSeptember, 2019, in Oslo.Strong, substantial partnerships have liaised to facilitate this significant Conference. These are: Norwegian Social Research (NOVA) at OsloMet/Oslo Metropolitan University and the Norwegian Centre for Violence & Traumatic Stress Studies (NKVTS). www.ecdv-oslo.org

Leanne FRANCIA will be speaking to the topic “Addressing family violence, post-separation – Mother’s and father’s experiences from Australia.”This issue has been of grave concern to many in diverse societies and has not been addressed well. Leanne’s thorough research, and findings will contribute to understandings and potential changes in law, policy-making, attitudes and real lives. We congratulate Leanne and wish her well for the September conference. SDGs 3/4/5/16/17

FINLAND’S ETHNOMUSICOLOGIST, Esa VIENAMO (MA) was appointed for a five year term, as regional artist for outsider art,on 11thApril 2019. Ethnomusicology is traditionally about the ways music interacts with culture,community and language, in all societies. The role, a first for the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, is to promote the artistic work opportunities of outsider artists, reinforce structures for these activities and engage marginalised artists. In particular contexts, some ‘outsider art’ forms are used for healing and mental health rehabilitation. Grants, subsidies, programmes and projects may apply to: Architecture/Art Journalism/Cinema/Circus Art/Dance/Design/Illustrations & Comics/Literature/Visual Arts/Media Art/Multidisciplinary Art/Music/Photographic Art/Theatre. asiakaspalvelu@taike.fi   SDGs 1/3/4/8/10/12/17

GREAT BRITAIN’s Natural History Museum, in South Kensington, LONDON, is now in its 54thyear of its famous wildlife photography competition. Wildlife Photographer of the Year showcases extraordinary animal behaviour and the breathtaking diversity of life on Earth. Every photograph has a story – surprising, challenging, sad, interesting, and informative. Lots of helpful information: www.nhm.ac.uk   SDGs 3/4/5/11/13/14/15

GREAT BRITAIN – Trustees of the British Museum,given a prized edition of a trilingual edition of literary texts covering 1100 years of Old Slavonicliteracy, from Macedonia, have been informed by curators that there is an upsurge of interest in the publication. Originally written in 80% Macedonianand 20% Albanian and Turkish, an English translation was gifted in 2011 and promoted throughout Universitylibraries andmuseums in 2012. Of multiple significance, this edition is a national literary encyclopaedia and story of the Macedonian people’s journeytowards a National Statein the Balkans. Simply, this valuable edition reflects the development of national tradition, culture and consciousness of their expression by means of language and literature. National and University Library of Macedonia.   SDGs 3/4/11/17

NCWQ International Relations and Peace Report May 2019

By Georgina Pickers, NCWQ International Relations and Peace Adviser

The horrific events at the mosques in Christchurch, followed by the attacks on Christians in Sri Lanka then shootings at a Synagogue in the United States serves as a tragic reminder that those with “black hearts” of religious intolerance still live amongst us.  These despicable cowardly acts target ‘soft victims’ – defenceless people in sanctuaries of peace and worship.

The fortitude, empathy and dignity shown by New Zealand Prime Minister Adhern was an inspiration for all World leaders as well as offering genuine comfort to all those affected.

It was timely to note that in the last budget the Federal government allocated increased funding for cyber security and offensive cyber operations programme to $833 million for 2019-20.

While privacy issues and rights of the individual must be a consideration, there is a growing necessity to counter the trend for the internet and various social media platforms to be used to facilitate the planning and publicity for terrorism, the spread of ‘hate speech’, of misinformation, or the glorification of unlawful ego driven acts, or simply nasty, racial or personal mischievous attacks.

At a recent NCWQ dinner, guest speaker Brigadier Susan Coyle CSC, DSM Commander 6thBrigade Australian Army mentioned in her address the growing technological capabilities the ADF now deploy for cyber security and monitoring including drones for surveillance.

It is distressing to civil libertarians but inevitability vital for international relations and peace. That countries closely cooperate in this space to monitor and by necessity, counter threats

The monitoring of cyber-space, the use of CCTV and face recognition soft-wear is going to ignite much ongoing debate.  The balance of freedom of speech and human rights as opposed to maintaining security locally let alone globally is a compelling emotive one.

The plight of Australian women, particularly children languishing in Syrian refugee camps needs to be speedily and sympathetically addressed by the incoming federal government. Whatever the sins of these parents, their children are the innocent parties.  While there are no doubt numerous deserving refugee and asylum seekers these cases should be treated with priority.

Rarely publicised, but a no less important as a human rights issue, is the dilemma of Saudi women asylum seekers.  While it is perceived they come from affluent backgrounds and some may ask why they would have any human rights claims their personal reality is quite different.  Their appeal for freedom and a better life is as justified as any individual seeking our country’s refuge.  While Home Affairs states that most asylum claimants are granted bridging visas the question arises whether these women are treated equably under Human Rights conventions with the protection these covenants should guarantee?

The growth of digital media websites with official and unofficial number of media outlets that are fuelled by 24/7 news demand, has made press reporting at the best, risky to hazardous, but at the worst a deadly occupation.  The Committee to protect journalists (CPJ) reports on the number of journalists killed on assignment.  UNESCO reported between 1993 and 2019, 1324 journalists have been killed.  In 2017, 71 journalists were killed.  5 have been killed this year.  Generally journalists were welcomed.  Now it is a case of “if you don’t like the message, shoot the messenger”

The incoming Federal government is reminded to keep in front of mind, the Millennium Sustainable Goals for all policy, planning, and budgeting allocation.  Australia’s Foreign Aid for 2018-2019 had a budget of $4.2 billion but will be reduced in the 2019-2020 budget to $4.2 billion.

On a final local note the Queensland Museum has an on-going exhibition dedicated to the heroic stories and sacrifices of WW1.  It balances those stores with the organisations who advocated peace or provided comfort, kind words, a cup of tea, or welfare to soldiers and their families.  The irony of war and the extremes it produces delivers quite a contrast in this exhibition.

We are all human beings only in this life for a blink of an eye.  The world would be a kinder more peaceful and happier place if we could start with postings on social media, remembering the old saying “if your can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all”

NCWQ Environmental Report May 2019

By Pat Pepper, NCWQ Environmental Adviser

Update on the impact of Carmichael Coal Mine in the Galilee Basin: In previous reports and submissions to Government, concerns have been raised about the impact of mega mines in the Galilee Basin, in particular the Carmichael mine. Theseincluded

  • Contribution to greenhouse gases including that from the coal exported overseas;
  • Impact on ground water users in the Galilee Basin;
  • Loss of biodiversity and the probability that biodiversity offsets will not adequately redress this loss;
  • Impact of dredging at Abbot Point and
  • Increased shipping within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

NCWQ submissions on impact of Carmichael Coal Mine;  impact of expansion of ports on the GBR environs; dredging and disposal of dredged material at Abbot Point; Galilee Coal Project at Bimblebox Nature Refuge

 

Details of objections to the granting of the mining lease and the environmental authority, the judicial review of the environmental authority and litigation against the mine involving native title have been detailed in previous reports. Supporting Information from NCWQ Environment Adviser, P.M. Pepper B.Sc. M.Sc. Ph.D for submission to Federal Government and Queensland Government;  http://envlaw.com.au/carmichael-coal-mine-case/

As reported previously the initial proposal to extract up to 60 million tonnes per annum of coal for 150 years from an estimated coal resource of 8.3 billion tonnes was reduced to a project lifetime to 60 yearswith estimated total production of2.3 billion tonnesof thermal coal. The originally proposal was for a new 189km rail line to the Port of Abbot Pointfor export principally to India to be burnt for electricity production, and for expanded capacity of the Port of Abbot. Subsequently, proposed port expansion has been reduced in size and the decision made to use the existing rail line for the initial stage of the project.

However the proposed mine would still be one of the largest coal mines in the worldand the mining and burning of coal from would generate an estimated 4.7 billion tonnesof greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to climate change, one of the major impacts of the mine is on groundwater. http://envlaw.com.au/carmichael-coal-mine-case/

Groundwatermodels aim to determine the likely effect of mining on groundwater levels and flows of water to and from key areas. If the groundwater levels decline below thresholdscritical to the function of whole ecosystems, such as the Doongmabulla Springs, irreversible harm can occur. Groundwater models can also be used to assess changes in flows of water to and from springs and streams, such as the Carmichael River, which crosses the mine site.

In late 2018 and early 2019 CSIRO and Geoscience Australia(GA) wrote two reports for the Federal Government on specific questions on groundwater monitoring, management and modelling planned by Adani Pty Ltd for its Carmichael mine proposal.

Their review pointed out three major flaws:-

  1. Over-prediction of flow from the Carmichael River into the aquifers below.
  2. Hydraulic conductivity values used in the model were significantly different from the values estimated by previous testing of the geological layers at the mine site.
  3. Bore heights used to calibrate the model were incorrect

If the model is corrected to address these flaws, the review points out that the drawdown at the Doongmabulla Springs will in all likelihood be higher than required under Adani’s federal approval conditions.

In addition which underground aquifers feed Doongmabulla Springs has not been identified.Substantive corrective measures for reversing future spring-flow impacts from mining have not been defined

Unless Adani puts forward its plan for dealing with these very real risks, regulators cannot hope to make an informed decision about the risk the mine poses to the Doongmabulla Springs.https://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2019/Statement-on-Adani-Carmichael-proposalhttps://theconversation.com/unpacking-the-flaws-in-adanis-water-management-plan-116161

Adani’s groundwater dependent ecosystem management plan(GDEMP) for its proposed Carmichael coal mine was recently approved by Federal Environment Minister after the company made commitments to fully address these issues. However, there is serious concern whether the company can or will address these issues.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-17/adani-water-management-plan-criticised-by-csiro/10625228https://theconversation.com/unpacking-the-flaws-in-adanis-water-management-plan-116161

A January 2019 analysis by EDO Qldof the latest version of Adani’s Black-throated Finch Species Management Plan showed the company had gone backwards in its commitments to the endangered species, reducing its proposed offset area by more than 2000 hectares compared to previous versions of its plan.https://www.edoqld.org.au/update_adani_mine_project11 March, 2019

The Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan and the Black Throated Finch Management Plan still need to be approved by the Queensland Government before significant disturbance can commence at the Carmichael Coal Mine.

Water licences: As reported previouslyCarmichael coal mine has been granted an unlimited 60-year water licence. Water pressure is an issue with flows from artesian bores now roughly half what they were in 1915. Since then, the water level in some bores has fallen by as much as 80 metres, and a third of bores have stopped flowing altogether. This directly affects the human, plant and animal communities that rely on artesian water. https://theconversation.com/why-does-the-carmichael-coal-mine-need-to-use-so-much-water-75923 April 13, 2017. Supporting Information from NCWQ Environment Adviser, P.M. Pepper B.Sc. M.Sc. Ph.D for submission to Federal Government and Queensland Government;  http://envlaw.com.au/carmichael-coal-mine-case/

EDO QLD are currently taking the Federal Government to court, acting on behalf of Australian Conservation Foundation, over the Government’s decision to allow Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme to proceed without an assessment of its impacts on precious water resources. The scheme involves a 61 km pipeline for Adani to extract and pump up to 12.5 billion litres of water a year from the Suttor river.

Adani was granted their associated water licence and surface water licence for the Carmichael Mine on 29 March 2017. https://www.edoqld.org.au/update_adani_mine_project11 March, 2019

History of offences:Previously reported  allegations of Adani’s environmental offences in India include causing salinity in water supplies, the illegal destruction of mangroves and sand dunes and the blocking and filling of creeks. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/emails-reveal-officials-probing-environmental-and-financial-concerns-with-adani-supermine-20171102-gzdc5h.htmlReport_Earthjustice and Environmental Justice Australia. The Adani Groups Global Environmental Record_29 Oct 2015.pdf

The Queensland Government is investigating whether Adani has breached its environmental licence for the second time in two years with the release of coal-laden floodwaters from its coal port at Abbot Point in the state’s north.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-13/adani-facing-government-probe-abbot-point-wetland-release/10805206

With high definition satellite imagery, drone footage, public bore registers, and on-the-ground observations and photography,  EDO Qld and their client, Coast and Country, have delivered evidence to the Queensland Government that Adani has broken the law by clearing land, building roads, and commencing dewatering operations without the correct approvals in place.https://www.edoqld.org.au/evidence_supports_the_case_adani_broken_the_law30 December, 2018; https://www.edoqld.org.au/update_adani_mine_project,https://www.edoqld.org.au/update_adani_mine_project

Jobs:Initially 10,000 direct and indirect jobs peaking from 2024 with $22 billion in taxes and royalties were predicted. In court in 2015, the company economics expert instead said it would create an extra 1,464 jobs in Australia — 1,206 of them in Queensland — and generate $16.8 billion in taxes and royalties.

While the revised mine plan could be less than a quarter of its original scale, Adani has not publicly put forward a new projection for jobs or tax and royalty streams. It is yet to reach a final deal with the State Government on how its royalty payments might be deferred in the mine’s first five years.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-26/what-we-know-about-adanis-carmichael-coal-mine-project/11049938

It would seem prudent to delay the commencement of the project given the advice from CSIRO and the company’s poor record of environmental management in Indiaand Australia until these issues are addressed.

NCWQ Child Youth and Family Report May 2019

The months are passing by quickly, Easter has come and gone, and the middle of the year is close. In the words of Dr Seuss “how did it get so late so soon?” This report sets out some upcoming family events, outcomes of the 2019 Federal Budget, brief discussion on recommendations handed down on 10 April 2019 from the Family Law Reform Commission’s inquiry into the Family Law Act, and changes in Queensland for 16 to 17-year-olds wishing to be vaccinated.

Upcoming Dates

5 May 2019                                         International Day of Families

5 May 2019                                         Applications close QLD Family and Child Commissioner – Recruitment for Youth Advisory Council (www.qfcc.qld.gov.au)

15 May 2019 – 21 May 2019              National Family Week (https://nfw.org.au/find-an-event)

30 May 2019                                       Applications close NCWQ Bursaries

1 June 2019                                         Global Day of Parents

2019 Budget – Family Violence

Since the last report we have had a Federal election set for 18 May 2019. Partial Federal Budget funding leading up to the election includes $328 million over the next four years to fund prevention, response, and recovery initiatives as part of the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children (2010 to 2022). The Fourth Action Plan addresses different forms that abuse can take, with specific measures to address risks faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and women with an intellectual disability.

Part of the $78 million for housing for women and children fleeing family violence was an amount of $10 million dollars allocated for Specialist Family Violence Services, that included couple-based counselling and dispute resolution services. Within this context front line services have raised concerns around safety issues for women in couples counselling and mediation.

The Government will also provide an additional $30.5 million over three years, in part to provide legal assistance services for those experiencing family violence, and $22.5 million for the establishment of the National Centre for the Prevention of Child Abuse. An amount of $10 million over four years will be invested in educating Australian children, parents, and teachers about how young people can stay safe online, with $7.8 million going towards the establishment of a National Public Register of Child Sex Offenders. 1800 RESPECT will receive $64 million to expand their services.

In relation to youth mental health and suicide prevention there is $461 million allocated.

In relation to education for children, the Federal government has provided $453 million to extend the National Partnership Agreement of Universal Access to Early Childhood Education to ensure that every child has access to a quality pre-school education for 15 hours a week before school. And at the other end, universities will receive $93.7 million over four years for scholarships for students who study at regional campuses.

What is missing however, is an increase to Newstart, an increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance, and provisions for superannuation for Australians in unpaid care work, the majority of which are women caring for a child with a disability. There also continues to be a lack of action on issues such as women’s homelessness.

Australian Law Reform Commission – Final Report – Review of the Australian Family Law System

In 2017 the Australian Law Reform Commission received Terms of Reference to carry out an inquiry into the family law system. The key themes that emerged from this inquiry is that the family law system is unsafe, does not enforce parenting orders adequately, is overly complex, expensive, slow, and lacks accountability. The Final Report was presented on 31 March 2019 (“Family Law for the Future – An Inquiry into the Family Law System”) and provides a road map for improvements to the system of justice, and legislative amendments. The Final Report comprised 60 recommendations and can beaccessed at https://www.alrc.gov.au/inquiries/family-law-system.

Perhaps the most radical recommendation is the abolition of the Federal family courts. This would leave the State and Territory courts to make orders not only under the Family Law Act (1975), but also under State family violence and child protection laws. The other recommendation is the abandonment of the 2006 reforms that spoke to the option of shared care, or equal time arrangements. There is no question that a child benefits from having a close and continuing relationship with both parents following separation, however where there is family violence, mental illness, neglect, or other complex issues, children are left vulnerable to further abuse. This recommendation is relevant to Resolution 7 – Rights of the Child and Protection of the Child’s Interests endorsed by the NCWA within the Third Action Plan (2016-2019) of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children (2010-2022).

Other proposed changes to the Family Law Act (1975) include provisions for determining what arrangements would promote the best interests of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children, and repeal of the requirement to consider the possibility of a child spending equal or substantial time with each parent. Property division has been simplified and there is a focus on encouraging amicable resolution between separating parents. Provision is made to assist parents to understand their final parenting orders and further supports in court, including an Indigenous Liaison Officer, and support for people with a disability.

Recommendation 50 proposes the establishment of a Children and Young People’s Advisory Board which would inform policy and practice about children’s experiences within the family law system. The ALRC also suggest that Section 121 of the Family Law Act (1975), which restricts publication of family law proceedings to the public, be redrafted. It is hoped that the Government and all politicians will give careful consideration to these recommendations.

Family Law and Vaccinations

For separating parents, under the current Family Law Act (1975) there is a presumption of equal shared parental responsibility. In these cases where parents have not agreed on medical procedures, parents have had to get orders from the court in order to get children vaccinated (http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/UTSLRS/2017/28.html). This has been expensive, time consuming, and has prevented children whose parents are separated from accessing services that are accessible to children whose parents are not separated. And although this will not assist separated families with younger children in overcoming these barriers, on 5 April 2019 the Queensland Government made the following announcement:

Teens Can Now Get The Flu Jab at Pharmacies

Queensland teens can now receive vaccines for highly contagious, preventable diseases from their local pharmacist. Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Steven Miles said the changes would make it easier for 16 and 17-year-old Queenslanders and their parents. From tomorrow, Queenslanders from 16 years of age can now get vaccinated for influenza, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles at a pharmacy, previously only GPs could vaccinate under 18s.

“Queenslanders aged 16-and-over can get their vaccinations without parental consent, so these changes will make it much easier for them to access vaccinations like the flu shot. This will also make life easier for parents with teenage children.”

Mr Miles said the amendments also allow younger Queenslanders to make their own decisions about getting vaccinated. “This is a step in the right direction for Queensland to reduce the barriers for kids of anti-vax parents to gain access to vaccines for preventable diseases,” Mr Miles said “it also brings Queensland into line with other states and territories.”

As well as amending the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (HDPR), the pharmacist vaccination drug therapy protocol will be revised to specify that a pharmacist may administer the specified vaccines to a person 16 years and older, instead of an “adult” as previously stated. Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said pharmacists provide an additional opportunity for vaccination for people who would not otherwise get vaccinated.

In summary, there is progress that is being made, and at the same time much more work to be done. Together we must continue to advocate for women’s and children’s rights. Remember “when women support each other, incredible things happen”.