NCWQ Habitat Report: November 2019

By Dr Donnell Davis, NCWQ Habitat Adviser

This statement canvasses the report card on Australia’s performance on SDG 11, and what is happening in Queensland and Australia.  In a nutshell, the ‘right for shelter for all’ is under scrutiny and sustainable low-carbon urban living is under threat, and civil liberties for people living in cities are being breached.

UN Habitat Day was the first Monday in October, where the UN Secretary-General reiterated the innovation improving human lives, while rapid and unplanned urbanization can generate severe problems, such as pollution, crime, inequality, disease, vulnerability to disasters and a lack of affordable housing.  Although 60% of the world lives in towns and cities, 90% of Australia’s populations are urbanised.  Cities are economic engine-rooms, social hubs, as well as gross generators of polluting carbon. However, other factors are impacting climate change in Australia, with land clearing reducing our capacity to sequester carbon, and bushfires reducing air quality. So a perfect storm is brewing because of behaviour in our cities as well as our stewardship of land.

This is not just a personal responsibility issue but a good governance issue with leadership needed at all levels – local for town planning and services, state for infrastructure and conducive regulations that prevent more carbon sources, and at national for adherence and enhancement of 4 quadrants of global standards for sustainable cities.  Some Australian cities and states are stepping forward.

Global statistics indicate 70% of greenhouse gases are generated by humans in cities. But some greener cities are cleaner with regenerative design and net-positive development, while some are worse with population explosions, slums with no electricity or waste management or transport infrastructure investment.  UN Habitat encourages Urban Thinkers Campus Days in capital and major cities to contemplate better systems for communities, academics, professionals and urban practitioners. This year, Melbourne, Cairns and Brisbane hosted these events. The topics ranged from social justice in an ageing population, environmental stewardship of community-use parks with carbon sucking options in drought and fire risk areas, passive natural infrastructure in intensive urban development, and things like use of big data in our cities being skewed on old crime statistics so that there is systemic bias before the access and use of data.   So, topics ranged from compassion, to corrupt, to clean, to climate change, to clever.

In Brisbane, the big data discussion was enlightening, when facial recognition technology in the Queen Street mall was introduced, without permission, for all visitors and shoppers and children then possibly shared with public, private and Interpol.  This was considered a breach of civil liberties by most of the participants and the academic panel who canvassed concerns.

Despite great efforts by charities, homelessness continues are housing prices plateauing and rentals are rising. The good news is that increasing supply of social and low cost housing have been evident to meet an increasing demand, and student-only lodges and hostels are multiplying within walking distance of vocational education and universities.   However, young mothers and older women still live in cars in our mild climate. One survey recorded 5000 homeless people (living in cars) in the Gold Coast despite charities collecting, feeding and clothing many people every night.  Unlike Las Vegas where homelessness is now a crime, there are only laws in our cities against loitering in a public place, not for the state of being ‘unsheltered’. So, crossing the line when victims of circumstances now become criminals questions our collective humanity.

In Queensland, the recent legislation provided appointment and independent Commissioner for Human Rights, Scott McDougall and the new system opens 1 January 2020, although we will launch on 10 December on UN Human Rights Day. The legislation only addresses 25 of the UN Declarations of Human Rights of 1948, but there are enough triggers within the text to address adequate shelter.

Meanwhile, town planning allows for ‘human kennels’ in inner city precincts, and 180 square metre house blocks in suburbs some with common side walls, in certain circumstances. There is no longer a need for greenspace in developments, in some town plans. However, it is noted that there are still 6 models for housing development in South East Queensland.  Community plans in councils are no longer considered, despite legislation for public participation for a community vision. So, the issue might be community vigil and enforcement, not more laws.

In 2019, the federal government made direct funding to states and cities for City Deals and Transformative cities programs. Although the transformation deal concentrates on rapid transport, there concern that other important issues are overshadowed by the shiny new toys in Treasury. These deals do not get vetted by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) process where all states meet with federal to decide 10 fundamental policies across Australia.  Instead COAG made a statement to open up North Queensland and the Cape to urban development. This is now possible because the Wild Rivers Legislation is all but repealed, so intact ecosystems in the hot tropics are up for sale for urban development in our severe climate zone.

City deals, in comparison, had some input from civil society apart from big business, so there are more promising expectations at local levels.  There are extra incentives for innovation to tackle multiple-dimension local opportunities.

Dr Barbara Norman is Australia’s UNAA Goodwill Ambassador for Cities SDG 11. She is based in ANU in Canberra, after a career and international postings focussing on Sustainable cities, Shelter for All, and regenerative human settlements.  There are a range of other outstanding women in Urban Habitat Professions, and 100 womens’ names were documented for Queensland Parliament.

What are our concerns for the future? Water supply and carrying capacity for food, social infrastructure like schools, hospitals and essential transport hubs, adequate and appropriate housing fro vulnerable people (including those with one pay day away from homelessness), social justice for ageing populations, and human health from climate change impacts.  While 160,000 more homes in Queensland face sea inundation this decade there are more developments being approved in prone areas – sea level rise, flood in estuaries and low lying zones, fire risk in drought times, and cyclone zones.   This begs the question of liabilities for inappropriate approvals, care by designers, care by builders and surveillance by building certifiers, and awareness and trust by the end user of the processes.  Trust in new buildings is at an all-time low, as young apartments are demolished resulting from bad workmanship and greed of developers.   Investment in 1980s and 1990s built housing is recommended and those by owner builders, who care about standards and precautionary systems.

Should you require more detailed information or reports substantiating these statements, please feel free to contact me. Please feel free to cherry-pick and summarise this statement for your audiences.

NCWQ Environment Report: November 2019

By Pat Pepper,NCWQ Environment Adviser

The Problem: Too much water or more often not enough is a perennial problem in Australia. Recently billions of megalitres (ML) of water flooded out to sea while major parts of southern Queensland, NSW, and South Australia remained in extreme drought. Feb 2019 The situation remains dire for some regional areas. Will our extreme climate variability get worse with climate change?

In addition to being a waste, flood water pouring into the sea can cause environmental damage. e.g. Since 2014, many reefs in the northern, central and southern regions of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park have been affected by a range of disturbances, including freshwater flood plumes. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 2019, Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2019: In Brief, GBRMPA, Townsville.

Regional towns are running out of water with dam levels dangerously low e.g. Current level and volume for Stanthorpe are 17% and 351 megalitres (ML) and, based on latest data and targeted usage, expected to run out in December 2019/January 2020.  The drought is having a devastating effect on vineyards, fruit and vegetable crops in the area.

Drought is a significant issue for the Murray Darling Basin and continues to impact on its environment, industries and communities.

Significant fish deaths associated with low and cease-to- flows and pool stratification occurred in the Menindee lakes and the Lower Darling River below Weir 32 in 2018–19. ‘Commonwealth Environmental Water Portfolio Management Plan: Lower Murray-Darling 2019–20, Commonwealth of Australia, 2019’ Since the Barwon River in the northern Murray-Darling Basin had dried back to poor quality waterholes, threatening native fish, some water was released from Glenlyon Dam on 24 April and Copeton Dam on 2 May 2019.


The effect of the drought is not just an environmental and regional and rural issue.  All Australians who value eating food produced in Australia because of the high standard of food health requirements here, could suffer if producers do not survive.

What can be done:

Bradfield Scheme:  In 1938 Dr John Bradfield, a Queensland born civil engineer and designer of the Sydney Harbour and Story Bridge, devised a visionary scheme aimed at drought proofing a vast area of inland Australia.  A wide variety of crops including rice, cotton, wheat and tree crops would be grown and feed for cattle and sheep produced. Water would be diverted using large pipes, tunnels, pumps and dams from the Tully, the Herbert and the Burdekin Rivers, across the Great Dividing Range into the Flinders and then the Thomson River and eventually into Lake Eyre.

Timbury F.R.V. (1944) The Battle for the Inland The Case for the Bradfield and Idriess  Plans  Appendix Utilizing Queensland’s Coastal Floodwaters in the Central and Western Districts Scheme iurlined by Dr J.J. C. Bradfield. Feb 2019


Criticisms included

  • elevation measurements were taken with a barometer leading to inaccuracies in land heights
  • methodology used to calculate flow estimates

However, since Bradfield’s time GPS readings and decades of accurate stream discharge records are now available.

In a Revised Bradfield’s Scheme – proposed diversion of the Upper Tully, Herbert and  Burdekin Rivers on to the Inland Plains of North and Central Queensland (1981), the above shortcomings were addressed.

A dam at Hell’s Gate was the most important feature of Bradfield’s Scheme. As a critic pointed out Bradfield had the elevation wrong and  water would not flow from the Burdekin at Hell’s Gate Dam Reservoir into the Flinders River. But the same critic proposed the answer to this problem with a diversion dam (1735 feet elevation) at a site on the Burdekin near Lake Lucy some 400 feet higher than the Hell’s Gate site. The Revised Bradfield Scheme” Queensland Northern Peninsula Area Water Resources sub-committee (1981) Dr Eric Heidecker, Roy Stainkey, and Bob Katter Jnr MLA.


While Bradfield’s proposal had water flowing to Lake Eyre where it was claimed that a full Lake Eyre would moderate the air temperature in the region by the absorption of sunlight by the water instead of heat radiation from dry land into the air. Hope et al. concluded  that there is no evidence that large-scale permanent water surfaces in inland Australia would result in widespread climate amelioration. Hope, P; N Nicholls; JL McGregor (2004). “The rainfall response to permanent inland water in Australia” Aust.Met.Mag 53.251-262.   The Revised Scheme did not advocate  the water running into Lake Eyre. The Revised Bradfield Scheme” Queensland Northern Peninsula Area Water Resources sub-committee (1981) Dr Eric Heidecker, Roy Stainkey, and Bob Katter Jnr MLA.

 Permission details CC BY-SA 4.0 view terms

File:Australia River systems Named.svg Created: ‎08‎ ‎April‎ ‎2019


NSW Proposals:  Consideration has been given to turning the headwaters of the Clarence inland via a network of pipes and pumps to feed it into headwaters of the Border rivers system. In addition the possibility of diverting flows from the Manning, Macleay and Hunter rivers inland has been considered . The capital cost of the four projects is estimated to be over $6bn. Concerns about the impact of diverting 7% to 10% of freshwater flows on prawn fisheries at the mouth of the Clarence would need addressing.

Moore-Hielscher Updated Bradfield Scheme: Recently Sir Leo Hielscher and Sir Frank Moore have put forward an updated Bradfield Scheme which would open vast areas of Queensland  to high-value food and fibre production while creating renewable hydroelectric power and saving the Great Barrier Reef from pollution. They claim the concept is financially, socially, environmentally viable and engineering wise feasible. It requires establishing a Queensland Northern Rivers Authority (QNRA) similar to the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority.  Some of the 91500 gigalitres (GL) available in North Eastern Queensland from South Johnstone, Hebert and Tully River would be captured and gravity fed to the Upper Burdekin River. Some tunnels less in length to those in Brisbane would be required. From a dam at Hell’s Gate, water would then be gravity fed to the fertile black-soil country west of Charters Towers to Richmond Downs. In Stage two surplus water from the Thomson River would be fed to the Warrego River which is the start of the Murray-Darling system.


They claim flooding would be mitigated in Innisfail, Tully and Ingham and contaminated water would be stopped from reaching the Great Barrier Reef. The Murray-Darling river system would never run dry, boosting the nation’s food security. The Murray Darling System holds 22700 GL , much less than the  91500  and 130500 gigalitres going into the ocean in NEQ and The Gulf of Carpentaria respectively. Overall cost is estimated to be 15 billion but there would be no capital cost to the Government. As a Statutory Body the QNRA would be empowered to raise its own funding with Government Guarantees.; ; Alan Jones Breakfast Show –Interview with Sir Leo Hielscher Peta Credlin – Interview with Sir Leo Hielscher and Des Houghton

Hell’s Gate Dam in North Queensland : A feasibility study undertaken on a $5.35 billion irrigated agricultural and power project on the upper Burdekin River found the project to be technically and economically feasible, with no major environmental barriers. The project comprises a 2110 GL dam, a pumped hydroelectric scheme of up to 1200 MW, a 20 MW solar farm and 15 MW run-of- river hyrdo facility at the toe of the dam and a pipeline from Hells Gate Dam to Ross River Dam. It would provide long-term water security for the region and supply water to a 50,000 hectare irrigated agriculture scheme and grow export industries.

The current plan for Hell’s Gate has a full supply level of only 372 m Australian Height Datum (AHD), Sir Leo Hielscher is proposing increasing the height of the proposed dam by 100m to 470m AHD, sufficient for the gravitational conveyance of water over the Great Dividing Range.

Would it not be wise to increase the height in the initial build?

Under the Northern Australia Water Resource Assessment program, CSIRO has conducted extensive feasibility studies identifying and evaluating surface and groundwater capture-and-storage options, providing detailed information on land suitability, identifying and testing the commercial viability of agriculture and aquaculture, and assessing potential environmental, social, indigenous and economic impacts and risks. Three catchments were identified

  • in the Fitzroy catchment, water harvesting (water pumped into ringtanks) could potentially support 160,000 ha growing one dry-season crop a year in 85 per cent of years. Independent of surface water, groundwater could potentially support up to 30,000 ha of hay production in all years
  • in the Darwin catchments, a combination of major dams, farm-scale offstream storage and groundwater could potentially support up to 90,000 ha of dry-season horticulture and mango trees
  • in the Mitchell catchment, large instream dams could potentially support 140,000 ha of year-round irrigation. Alternatively, water harvesting could potentially enable up to 200,000 ha, growing one dry-season crop per year. With the expertise needed to conduct these extensive feasibility studies CSIRO should be well placed to investigate the feasibility of an Upgraded Bradfield Scheme to address the need for reliable water for regional communities and industries and the environment with the relevant Government Departments and Authorities.

The National Water Grid has been established by the Federal Government to plan and deliver reliable and cost effective water nationwide by:

  • investigating and establishing large-scale water diversion projects for farmers and regional communities by bringing together leading scientists to harvest and harness water in the most efficient and reliable way
  • developing a Water Grid that will provide the pipeline of all established, current and future water infrastructure projects and to identify any missing links. Would the Moore-Hielscher Updated Bradfield Scheme be a good place to start investigating? Water Security throughout the country and in all sectors is vitally important.  Could the 91500GL flowing into the ocean from NEQ, 130500GL from the  Gulf of Carpentaria and 81200 GL from the Kimberly be better used producing food and fibre, creating renewable hydroelectric power,  relieving and invigorating the outback towns  and preserving the environment, in particular the Great Barrier Reef and the Murray Darling Basin?

Since Bradfield first articulated his vision, variations of the scheme have been championed by politicians of both persuasions and reviews undertaken.  Has the time come for a bipartisan approach to adopting the concept to relieve inland communities and the environment?


NCWQ Education Report: November 2019

By Deslyn Taylor, NCWQ Education Advisor

The 2015 – 2018 International Council of Women’s Plan of action for Education urged National Councils to advocate for:-

  • The importance of education from early childhood.
  • The importance of support and appropriate education to cater for all forms of disabilities.
  • Equal access to all forms of training and higher education e.g. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
  • The importance of good teaching and the updating of skills.
  • Education of young women in everyday life skills.

State Education Authorities have attempted to address some of these issues. 2019 initiatives include:-

Early Childhood

“The Australian Government is providing funding certainty for preschool, having committed $449.5 million in the 2019-20 Budget to extend the National Partnership on Universal Access to Early  Childhood Education until the end of 2020. This funding ensures that every child will continue to have access to a quality preschool program for 600 hours (15 hours a week) in the year before school.”

It is noted that funding is not promised beyond 2020 and will not be extended to include 3 year olds although previous studies have suggested that this is desirable. It was also noted in the National Performance Report (2018) that more work needs to be done. “ For example, as at 30 June 2018, a third (33%) of services located in remote and very remote areas were rated Working Towards NQS (National Quality Standard), compared to a fifth (20%) of services in metropolitan and regional areas.” It was also noted that many parents are not aware of the NQF (National Quality Framework).

Catering for children with disabilities

In the past there has been no consistency of funding between states. Students with the same disability could receive different support depending in which state they lived. As recommended in the Gonski Report (2011) a Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) now gives us a national definition of a student with disability and funding can be targeted more fairly. Funding is expected to grow by approximately 5.1% per year until 2029

Equal access to all forms of training and higher education e.g.(STEM)​.

Queensland is currently changing from an OP (Overall Position) to an ​Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)​ for university entrance which brings it into line with other states. A number of new subjects have been introduced including a number of STEM subjects. “​five of the 10 most popular subjects in Year 11 were STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.” (​​)

Primeminister’s Science Prize

Cheryl Praeger

The importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education has been recognised at all levels of government. Women are beginning to be recognised for their contribution in STEM areas. This is perhaps best demonstrated by ​Mathematician Cheryl Praeger​ receiving the 2019 Primeminister’s Science award and being praised for her ‘outstanding contribution to mathematics’. Her​ ​“expertise in group theory and combinatorial mathematics has underpinned advances in algebra research and computer cryptography” It was also noted that Laura MacKay “won the Frank Fenner prize for life scientist of the year for work in identifying the role of tissue-resident T cells in protecting the body from infection and cancer” and Elizabeth New “won the Malcolm McIntosh prize for physical scientist of the year for pioneering the development of new chemical imaging tools to observe healthy and diseased cells”. In all 5 of the 7 prizes for science in 2019 went to women compared to 1 in the previous year. Others include:-​ ​Samantha Moyle and Sarah Finney for excellence in science teaching in secondary and primary school. However women are still under represented in areas such as Engineering. (​

At a national level websites such as ​​ recognise the problem clearly and suggest ways to encourage girls in these areas.

At a State level special programs have been put in place to encourage girls to pursue STEM studies. STEM camps for girls have been organised among other initiatives.

Teaching Quality

Quality teachers are essential and the following is an outline of the government strategy to reach this goal:-
They “will:

  • make more teachers permanent
  • support schools to implement effective workforce planning
  • recruit highly capable beginning and experienced teachers from interstate and overseas
  • promote teaching as a valued and rewarding career
  • provide quality ‘on-the-job’ experiences for teachers in training
  • support people to start their teacher training
  • provide enhanced professional development for teachers throughout their career
  • support teachers to move to locations of high demand and support their career progression.”


Everyday Life S​kills for Young Women

Life skills are not specifically taught in schools. Different schools approach this in different ways and some have devised their own program. Monash University did a survey on this in 2019 and the results give rise to questions about the need to include this in an already crowded curriculum. (​​)

Overall many of the objectives outlined for attention in the 2015 – 2018 International Council of Women’s Plan of action for Education are currently being addressed. However more work needs to be done on Early Childhood education especially in remote areas and girls need much more encouragement to undertake STEM subjects and careers in these areas although they are currently available.

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: 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.   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


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  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!  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.  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 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. 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 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.

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/

‘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.

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




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.

‘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!


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.

(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.

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.

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


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 and .

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!


‘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.

NCWQ Child, Youth and Family Report: July 2019

By Leanne Francia, NCWQ Child, Youth and Family Adviser


NAIDOC week was celebrated in July under the theme Voice. Treaty. Truth – working together for a shared future with a range of celebrations and activities around Queensland. July 2019 saw the launch of the National Indigenous Australian’s Agency which will be focused on working through the Reconciliation Action Plan adopted by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in 2018, to advise the office of the Prime Minister on whole of government priorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Agency will take the lead and co-ordinate Commonwealth policy development, program design, implementation, and service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Queensland Rape Laws

Recent months also saw the Queensland government announce it will seek removal the 110-year-old loophole, the archaic ‘mistake of fact’ defence, that allows accused rapists to avoid conviction. The Queensland Law Reform Commission will consider this matter before making recommendations to the Queensland government in early 2020.

Reporting of Women’s Death in Family Violence

Sadly, a figure that is well known involves family violence where one woman a week is murdered by either a current or former partner in Australia. Greens Senator, Larissa Waters has now written to the Minister for Women, Marise Payne asking her to set up a national toll that tracks details of women killed by family violence, not unlike the National Road Toll.

Concerns – Queensland Children Being Held in Adult Watchhouses

Of further concern was the reporting in the news of the high number of children being held in isolation in maximum security adult watch houses, a figure which has reportedly surged over the last eighteen months. One such report involved a 12-year-old girl who had been kept there for nine days in a ‘suicide smock’. These children are normally detained when there is no room in youth detention centres. What is often difficult in these cases, is that these children are not serious offenders, but often victims of serious child abuse and neglect, and the subject of Child Protection Orders. Continued advocacy around these children is needed, with only available options at present, arguably causing more harm to these vulnerable children and youth.

Queensland Youth and Volunteering

Queensland as a state has the largest volunteering workforce and there is growing support for children and young people to volunteer in Queensland. Volunteering can be an important part of informal learning for young people and provide them with the opportunity to develop skills and experiences that support them in the work force later in life. Last year the Queensland Family and Child Commissioner undertook a ‘Growing Up in Queensland’ project which engaged 7,000 young Queenslanders aged between 4 and 18 years. Participants agreed that volunteering was a good way to gain skills and improve future employability, however they raised concerns over the need to be 18 years or older to volunteer. To address this barrier the Queensland Family and Child Commissioner and Volunteering Queensland are currently working with volunteering organisations to look at ways to increase youth involvement.

Family Law Reform

In conclusion, as was mentioned in the newsletter submissions have now been made at a State level in relation to reform within the Australian family law system. Since the reforms have been recommended the Australian Institute of Family Studies has been holding forums to discuss key reforms that are needed within the family law system. Change is needed and it is important that these issues, particularly as they relate to the safety of women and children remain front and centre of family law reform.

NCWQ Habitat Report: July 2019

By Dr Donnell Davis 

NCWQ report on United Nations Habitat

This report encompasses the concise history, evolution of focus, and roles for women in human settlements now and in the future.

UN Habitat Program evolved from the urban drift of people over the last 50 years moving from rural lifestyles to town and city living. Some countries, like Australia, Netherlands and Bangladesh having the highest intensities of urbanisation and sprawl, face some challenges. Cities are a microcosm evoking challenges with human health, environmental stewardship, economic engine-rooms, cultural cocktails, and good governance. Even climate change language evolves with an urban context, from natural rural hazards to being described as an extreme event or disaster, when impacting intense human populations.

In 1976, the UN Human Settlements Council met with many UN signatory countries to establish UN Habitat 1 Agenda that mandated policies and guidelines for safe infrastructure, building on the responsibilities for human health that commenced with 1864 town water supply and distribution. The Agenda planned for the next 20 years, to develop our towns and cities in a desirable direction. In 1996, UN Habitat 2 Agenda concentrated on social justice and care for the people within cities, because inequity was considered a trigger crime (against the person and to property), and civil unrest tested industrial systems. In 2016, UN Habitat 3 focussed on 8 urban policies and demonstrating integration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) into the microcosm of SDG11. The UN Habitat role evolved from “right to shelter’ to ‘planning sustainable cities’ to ‘regenerative cities’. In 2001, UN Habitat became a fully-fledged program of the United Nations (led by Doctor Anna Tibaijuka), because it was previously embedded as a ‘Practice’ arm of United Nations Environment Policy (UNEP) led by Klaus Toffler. This is understandable because many of the problems in human settlements resulted from inequities and the lack of environmental stewardship for clean water; clean air; access to food, access to natural spaces, forests of timber and resources for building housing; and sanitation.

UN Habitat was a milestone in UN history. It was a UN Program inaugurated by a woman, and it was also the first to work directly with local governments, civil society, professionals, and academia, (rather than have the sole conduit with National Government bureaucrats and politicians of the moment.) Being a practice-oriented organisation opened new doors previously elusive for good governance and localisation of international policy. One of the major achievements was gender-land-tools for tenure security (most applicable where women are not allowed to own assets or property in their own right).

I have been a UN Habitat CSO representative and country representative through CHEC since 2001, and was elected NGO spokesperson in 2009 Governing Council. The Governing Council meets every 2 years in UNH/ UNEP/ UNOP head office in Kenya to determine policy.

In alternative years, UNH hosts a practice-oriented Word Urban Forum in a different country. In 2019, Kuala Lumpur hosted. Today, the permanent Asia-Pacific Regional Office Prepared by Dr Donnell Davis for National Council Women Q of UN Habitat (ROAP) is in Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan. However, in the early 2000s, Habitat Pacific was registered through UNAA in Queensland, dissolving as Pacific Island Countries established their own systems. There are 24 Pacific countries within PIANGO, 12 in the Commonwealth of Nations, and only a few funded directly by Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) systems. In 2019, DFAT Friendship Grants were made available to NGOs to support on-the-ground projects in the Pacific.

Feminism was demonstrated in UN Habitat because it rediscovered its roots where ‘the woman is where the home is’ , ‘woman is at the hearth’, ‘a woman and children make a home’, and housing is an important basic human need for physical security especially for women and children. Accordingly, women should be participating strongly in decisions about housing. Until recently town planning was a man’s domain, but now more women than men graduate from urban design and planning university courses. In Australia, 70% of those graduating from urban and regional planning were female (2017). This trend is now evident in engineering, architecture, transport planning, social planning, and public infrastructure management.

Australia was described as urbanised with 92.1% of the total population live in towns and cities, when using UN Habitat criteria that relates to potable water and sanitisation (2009), but we are also the most suburbanised with our sprawl. Unfortunately, most of us live in the most fertile coastal land where the highest purpose might be growing food rather than concrete. This also where the most dense vegetation and forests that sequester carbon providing the most valuable ecosystem services, are those decimated by rapid urban development. Furthermore, we are building in the places at high risks of natural climate change impacts (sea level rise and cyclones) exacerbated by anthropogenic greenhouse gas production in cities. Our cities are making us live like ‘boiling frogs in greenhouse soup’ (Davis, 2014). But is does not have to continue that way.

We previously used the philosophy of ‘planning and development’, but despite 40 years of improvements in urban design and planning, recent changes in Queensland have only reflected development, without adequate evaluation or planning policy compliance (many references). The archaic mindset that we need more development for economic security, needs to be reconsidered as done in other countries, where ‘prosperity without growth’(Jackson, 2009) has proven that urban consolidation provides stability. In South East Queensland, civil society debated our future of 6 cities, 47 urban centres and 137 towns, resulting in a ‘Peoples Declaration for Habitat 3 for SEQ’ (UNAAQ, 2017).

Resilient cities resulting from a decade of focussed UN Habitat research and practice, are those retrofitting and redesigning to prevent, mitigate impacts, adapt systems, and enhance quality of life for people. This mainly concentrated on economic investments in resilient infrastructure, but this did not go far enough.Prepared by Dr Donnell Davis for National Council Women Q Regenerative cities espouse ‘net-positive-development’ (Birkland, 2008) for integrated economic, environmental and social benefits that do not ‘kill the goose that lays the golden eggs’. They are designed for greater good and regenerative impacts, often embracing biomimicry (Benyas, 2002), encouraging stronger Biophilia (Wilson 1929), better community collaborations, and giving back more than taking from the earth. Cities do not have to be unhealthy, unbalanced, and undesirable (Blakely & Carbonell, 2012). In most cases, we need to retrofit our cities housing and living conditions to meet changing demographics, public expectations of safety, climate change, and cost of living. What was being built in 1920s or 1950s might not be useful in 2020, but repurposing existing buildings is a worthy consideration. It is always easier to design a green-field site with the perfect design, but these days it is an expensive luxury with land availability, pricing and risk management decisions.

I will provide good case studies and updates about November each year after performance reporting by OECD. Australia has fallen from 7th to 37th world ranking in a few short years. Please refer to the hotlink for quick reference for SDG 11 goals, indicators, targets and measures.

What can women do better to make cities safer, fairer and more sustainable?

1. Participate in your own community, city, and state and nationally in any urban development proposal that does not appear ethical or regenerative. Write to your respective politician (councillor, LG development chair, minister, shadow minister, parliamentary committee, federal minister and shadow, and your federal member as appropriate.)

2. Speak up if infrastructure is unsafe (like walking to public transport) and suggest solutions to the problem. It may as simple as lighting, gardens, artwork or making attractive to broader community use.

3. Participate in NGOs contributing to international debates for shelter for all, safe climate sensitive-infrastructure, social collaboration, environmental stewardship, and good local governance.  We won’t change policy if we don’t do it in our backyard first.)

4. Support women in professional decision-making roles by providing informed research and community voice to important local policies and practices, so they have credible evidence.

5. Encourage girls and women to study in professions that practice sustainable development (not the unsustainable method), and get involved with community wellbeing.

6. Change the way you behave to reflect a regenerative attitude and leave an honourable legacy.

To leave no-one behind, we need to build modern, sustainable cities. To survive and prosper, we need new, intelligent urban planning that creates safe, affordable and resilient
cities with green and culturally inspiring living conditions. Secretary General UN Antonio Guterres


NCWQ Environment Report: July 2019

By Pat Pepper,NCWQ Environment Adviser

Condition of Great Barrier Reef (GBR): The Australian Institute of Marine Science’s (AIMS) Annual GBR Condition Update report shows hard coral cover continued to decline in the central and southern GBR, while the northern GBR had stabilized. As AIMS Long Term Monitoring Program leader and ecologist Dr Mike Emslie notes there was substantial variation in the hard coral cover of individual reefs caused by disturbances such as crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks, cyclones and coral bleaching events over the past five years. This affects the reefs’ ability to recover as the AIMS map shows.

Boundaries of Northern, Central and Southern GBR with the locations of the 64 reefs surveyed by manta tows between September 2018 and June 2019. Size and colour of the symbols represent the magnitude of the absolute annual change in reef-level percent hard coral cover between 2019 and the previous survey.

The Capricorn-bunker group at the bottom of the Southern GBR continued to recover from Tropical Cyclone Hamish which struck in 2009. This area escaped bleaching and crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks, while the Swain Reefs suffered a devastating outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish which resulted in declines in average coral cover last year.

The inshore and mid-shelf reefs in the Central GBR were more severely impacted than the outer-shelf reefs by Tropical Cyclone Debbie (2017), resulting in low hard coral cover. Many Central GBR reefs have had outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, particularly in the Cairns, Innisfail and Townsville sectors, resulting in hard coral cover declining.

Recent declines in hard coral cover in Northern GBR reefs followed a sequence of disturbances after 2013, including cyclones, outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish and mass coral bleaching Low coral cover  in Reef 11-049 in the far north was attributed to the 2015/16 summer bleaching event. In the 2019 survey numbers of crown-of-thorns starfish were low. Coral bleaching was observed on some coral colonies.

Impact of Climate Change on GBR: On 18 July 2019, the GBR Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) released its position statement on climate change: Climate change is the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef. Only the strongest and fastest possible actions to decrease global greenhouse gas emissions will reduce the risks and limit the impacts of climate change on the Reef. Further impacts can be minimised by limiting global temperature increase to the maximum extent possible and fast-tracking actions to build Reef resilience.

The predicted consequences of climate change are:-

  • increased sea temperature,
  • more intense storms, tropical cyclones and flood events,
  • ocean acidification,
  • rising sea level

Already more intense mass coral bleaching events have occurred

The GBRMPA advocates actions to:

  • reduce global greenhouse gas emissions,
  • reduce cumulative impacts on the GBR,
  • build GBR resilience and protect key species for reef recovery,
  • enable adaptations and restorations of reef habitats

GBRMPA – Position Statement – Climate change GBRMPA Document No: 100486 Revision: 0 Date: 25-Jun-2019

Shipping Risk to GBR: More than 9,600 ship voyages were recorded in the Reef between 2012 and 2013, From January to November 2017 there were 10403 of which 2835 were bulk carriers.

Great Barrier Reef  and Torres Straits Shipping Statistics Queensland Government November 2017

Many of the ships are foreign-flagged operating under the rules of the country where they are registered, which are not necessarily of the same standard as Australian rules. In three decades the national merchant fleet has shrunk from about 100 to 14. The risk is illustrated by the grounding in 2010 of the Chinese coal carrier Shen Neng I on a shoal of the GBR just north of the port of Gladstone, spilling oil and damaging more than 40 hectares of marine park over 10 days. :After years of court battles, restoration work is only now about to start on the reef //

The owners of Shen Neng 1 agreed to pay $35 million to the FG for the cost of removing polluted rubble and a further $4.3 million to cover costs incurred by FG in the immediate aftermath of the grounding.  The FG had sought 120 million in damages.

In October 2014 the North-East Shipping Management Plan was published. Among the many recommended actions, Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is to maintain a pollution response reserve of $10 million and line of credit of $40 million to ensure immediate access to funds in the event of a marine pollution incident. The North East Shipping Management Plan Work Program Status report as at January 2018 shows this as achieved. Action has been taken on other items e.g. GBRMPA and AMSA are to explore mechanisms to fund high priority restoration and rehabilitation of reef habitats (and the removal of antifoulant paints) immediately following a ship grounding. (AIMS, AMSA and GBRMPA are collaborating on a research project to identify the impacts and priorities of emerging contaminants in the GBR)


GBRMPA is to instigate research into

  • ship-sourced copper leaching from antifouling paints at GBR port anchorage sites to determine if this is an identifiable risk to the values of the GBR . (The International Maritime Organisation (IMO ) has agreed a new output to amend Annex 1 to the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS Convention) to include controls on cybutryne. Australia supported further discussing the possibility of adding Cybutryne to the AFS Convention. The amendments are scheduled to be considered by the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee for adoption in mid-2018.)
  • the restoration of habitats affected by shipping incidents (e.g. coral and seagrass restoration, eradication of marine pests, halt impacts from biocides) –(The Shen Neng 1 trial clean-up is to be used as research into the restoration of habitats. Piper reef can also be used as an example. ).


However, does the report on the action –“AMSA to ensure that only high quality ships, operated by competent crews, are permitted to trade in the region by stringently enforcing standards in compliance with IMO guidelines for port State control.  (Ongoing port State control inspections ensure that foreign flag ships are seaworthy, not a pollution risk, provide a healthy and safe working environment and comply with relevant conventions. In addition, AMSA routinely updates its ship risk algorithm to improve targeting for ship inspections, incident recording, case management and trend analysis. )” instil confidence?

(amsa439-north-east-shipping-management-plan.pd; North East Shipping Management Plan Work Program

Status report as at January 2018.pdf


Australian researchers have raised fresh concerns that a major shipping disaster could harm the GBR, with new research revealing coal dust in seawater can kill corals and slow down the growth rate of seagrasses and fish. Berry, K. L. E. et al. Simulated coal spill causes mortality and growth inhibition in tropical marine organisms. Sci. Rep. 6, 25894; doi: 10.1038/srep25894 (2016)


Quality of Coal in Galilee Basin: Australia’s coal had traditionally been of a higher energy value, and therefore higher quality than that of other countries, with lower levels of sulphur, moisture, arsenic (As), boron (B), mercury (Hg) and selenium (Se) and producing fewer emissions per unit of electricity produced.


However the new coal mines being developed in the Galilee Basin in Queensland would produce lower energy coal than that exported in the past, which is probably why it’s never been taken before. Adani’s Carmichael mine in the north Galilee Basin is expected to produce coal with an energy value of 4,950 kcal and 25 per cent raw ash. 3 Mar 2016, Would the inferior coal be better left in the ground?




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.

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,


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.

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.

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.


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).

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.   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:   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”