So endearing: Poster Boy

Attend:

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Those posters are by Peter Drew, an Australian artist (b. 1983).  Last month BlackInc Books published his autobiography Poster Boy.  Fortunately for me Wollongong Library acquired it on 13 August.  So quick!

The publisher’s blurb:

45420509._SY475_Peter Drew’s posters are a familiar sight across Australia – his ‘Real Australians Say Welcome’ and ‘Aussie’ campaigns took on lives of their own, attaining cult status and starting conversations all over the country. But who made them, and why?

In this irresistible and unexpected memoir, Peter Drew searches for the answers to these questions. He traces the links between his creative and personal lives, and discovers surprising parallels between Australia’s dark, unacknowledged past and the unspoken conflict at the core of his own family.

Packed full of Peter Drew’s memorable images, Poster Boy is an intelligent, funny and brutally honest dive into the stew of individual, family and national identity. It’s about politics and art, and why we need them both. And it’s about making a mark.

I really have found the book irresistible!  The personality that comes through is so attractive. And so honest, as another reader on Goodreads has noted.

Honest as fukk and raw as ya mama’s favourite blue steak. Some real good quotes about the way the world be for real for real. Well done Peter Drew, whoever the hell you are, two first names do not unmaketh the man after all, thanks for writing this – I got a lot out of it.

There is an Epilogue “Ten Rules for Great Propaganda”.  With this blog in mind, not to mention Facebook and Twitter, I rather relate to, and will more consciously practise, this one:

Irritate Both Extremes

Try to pull your audience towards the centre by irritating people at both extremes of an issue. Unless you’re being attacked by the extremists on both sides, you’re doing something wrong.

As Molly Meldrum would say, “Do yourself a favour…”

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Morrison’s unfortunate choice

I shuddered:

The man responsible for community safety and multiculturalism in Scott Morrison’s new ministry has pledged to work closely with Islamic, Sudanese and other key communities but is making no apology for leading the charge against “African gangs” in his home city.

Liberal MP Jason Wood, a supporter of Peter Dutton in last year’s leadership coup, will now work underneath Mr Dutton in the Home Affairs portfolio as assistant minister for customs, community safety and multicultural affairs….

Not a good omen at all!

I have been beavering away over the years on this and previous blogs. Here is one set I am still very proud of and committed to:

Being Australian

In January 2011 I posted a series exploring this topic. Creating this page has also revealed I misnumbered the posts! Now corrected.

6

  1. Being Australian 1 — Waleed Aly on SBS last night

  2. Being Australian 2: the search for a lost utopia

  3. Being Australian 3: Richard Tognetti, Wollongong, multiculturalism

  4. Being Australian 4: joined the Diggers Club, mate!

And more. Do look!

Very random but related to our new PM

For anyone out there who wonders who the Prime Minister of Australia is this morning, here is the answer: Scott Morrison. See Liberal Party elders lash Tony Abbott for acts of revenge on Turnbull’s government and Scott Morrison’s ministry — who’s in and who’s out.  I see Wikipedia is up to speed. Now for the random bits.

I return to teaching — 1985

For reasons I won’t go into here, I took a break from teaching between 1982-3 and 1985, during which time I was involved in editing a little magazine and, for about a year, in bookselling in Glebe. In the second half of 1985 I recommenced teaching at Sydney Boys High.

In Surry Hills last Monday — 1

Posted on April 2, 2014 by Neil

The other objective of my Sydney trip was to visit my old workplace.

My association with Sydney Boys High goes back [almost sixty*] years to 1955 when I arrived as a pupil, Ken Andrews having just started his term as Principal. Then in 1985 I began teaching English there on a casual basis, after a year spent working at Harkers Bookshop in Glebe: I’ll never forget the Class of 1986! (Or the Class of 2000 if it comes to that!) For the next 20 years much (but not all) of my work was at SBHS. You can find a sample here. – *I wrote the original in 2005 and said 50! How time goes!

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So that’s thirty years on now since I first met that class of 1986 when they were in Year 11. (Scott Morrison was in Year 12 in 1985 but I can’t recall anything about him.)

I have mentioned the class of 1986 several times – for example Philip Larkin 1922-1985….

Someone who was at SBHS at the same time, but graduated hence in 1988, is Russell Ward. He has posted a somewhat unfriendly account of Morrison on Facebook. Russell now lives in California.

It seems a boy I went to school with is the new Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison. I’ve a few emotions at the news, none of them nice. Shame one of them.

I’m reminded of a lovely guy Tri Phan who was a Vietnamese refugee, a “boat person.” While at school with us he won a state science essay prize on about the cancer-fighting drug interferon that won praise for having scientifically useful insights. Scott Morrison enthusiastically supported the policies that would have put him on an island to rot (a policy btw I protested against all the way over here at the embassy in San Francisco).

I’m also thinking of my brother, a captain of the school while Morrison was there.

My brother and his dear partner Paul O’Grady endured a lot of suffering when Paul came out as the first openly gay NSW politician and in their campaigning for marriage equality. Scott represents the homophobia that causes suffering where there should be love….

I remember (Associate Professor) Tri Phan well, and not just from school. He was a registrar (I think) at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital when I had a hernia operation there in 1997. SBHS people tend to pop up like that. (They  — staff and students — account for quite a few of my current Facebook friends!)

Another is Joseph Waugh who commented on Russell’s post:

High had always been a school that welcomed refugees – whether it be from the Holocaust in Europe, from the American war in Vietnam, or post-Tienanmen Square. My vain hope is that he is an outlier (the class of 1992 has a murderer, for example). Had I gone to that outrageous event put on for him, my one question would have been, which gulag would he have condemned Tri and his family to, had he been Minister for Immigration in 1980?

Joseph is referring to Scott Morrison’s time as enforcer of the tough “stop the boats”/Manus/Nauru policy Australia is now (in)famous for. He was invited to some SBHS Old Boys event and many boycotted it/him. Indeed.

Mind you, Tri arrived here, so far as I know, when Malcolm Fraser was in charge, and some on the left were not entirely admirable either back then, as I noted in a comment on a post by Jim Belshaw a few years ago.

On Vietnamese refugees and Fraser: In 1979 I have to confess I worried about Fraser welcoming so many Vietnamese. I wondered how they would, um, assimilate! (We all grow, don’t we?)

And unusual as it is for ne to commend Quadrant, Hal Colebatch is quite right here.

…Labor Senator Lionel Bowen also invoked anti-Asian white Australia imagery on July 27, 1976, claiming Australia was in danger from the “teeming millions in the North … And these people are on the move.”

The leftist Nation Review of June 1–7, 1978, carried an article referring to Vietnamese refugees as “bourgeois capitalist exploiters on the run” and ridiculing efforts to help them. In the issue of August 18–24 it referred to them as “political extremists and soft-life seekers”. The pro-Moscow Socialist Party of Australia organ, the Socialist, of May 31, 1978, carried a headline: VIETNAMESE REFUGEES VICTIMS AND TOOLS OF ANTI-COMMUNISM and referred to them as “right-wing Vietnamese who betrayed their country”. The CPA’s Tribune of June 7, 1978, claimed: BHP PREFERS VIETNAMESE and quoted South Coast Labour Council Secretary and CPA National Committee member Merv Nixon to the effect that the situation was disgraceful and that: “We can do without these right-wing elements.” Tribune elaborated on this in the following issue and warned of “right-wing people organizing private armies”. At the University of Western Australia, ALP Left Caucus member Graham Droppert published an article in the student newspaper Pelican, Number 4 of 1978, under the heading REFUGEES OR RATS?, claiming they included “the pimps, the wealthy merchants, the racketeers, the standover men and other exploiters”…

I was in Wollongong at the time and recall Merv Nixon very well.

No, the White Australia attitude was not dead and buried, and Fraser’s courage in this is highly significant in the story.

Here is a handy list of our Immigration Ministers, and the mind-boggling series of name-changes over the years.

One possibly good thing Scott Morrison has done right now is to divide that monstrous Home Affairs Department into three parts, restoring in the process a Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs! There is also a separate ministry looking at population policy and congestion. Mr Potato Head has been allowed to retain his black-uniformed Border Force, but not as part of Immigration. Back in January I had noted:

Posted on January 15, 2018  Reposts.

NOTE 2018: On Mr Potato Head’s latest frolic see Peter Martin and Benjamin Miller. Oh, and we no longer have a dedicated Immigration Department in Australia. Did you know that? Instead we have this gargantuan thing….

It is at least encouraging that Scott Morrison has rehabilitated the M-word. I gather Pauline Hanson has noted this with some displeasure.

Enough of my random thoughts. Let’s see if Scott and the government can recover from the dreadful thrashing they are getting right now in the polls.

Real Australians

In the last post I mentioned that in 1948 (1947 census, to be accurate) only 3% of the non-Aboriginal population of Australia — that is, of 7,637,000 people — were born outside of either Australia or the British Isles. (Aboriginal people were not included in the census until 1971, following the Referendum of 1967.)

I omitted the latest figure from 2016: Census shows 49% of population either first- or second-generation migrants, with the remaining 51% at least third generation.

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Today the Sydney Morning Herald features an interesting international Ipsos Poll. On the question Who is and is not a “Real Australian”, “Real American”, or a “Real Briton”?

Screenshot (176)

Ipsos reports:

Australia is among the top five countries when it comes to having the most inclusive definition of nationality, an Ipsos Global Advisor survey shows.

Canada and the United States topped the list followed by South Africa, France, and Australia. These countries score highest on an “Inclusiveness Index” reflecting social acceptance of diversity as it applies to religion, immigration, sexual orientation and gender identity, political views, and criminal background.

Further:

Commenting on the findings, David Elliott, Director Ipsos Social Research Institute – NSW, said: When you take into account all the components we covered and look at the Overall Inclusiveness Index, Australia comes out as one of the five most inclusive nations behind Canada, the US, South Africa, and France.  This is not that surprising given our multicultural society as it exposes Australians to a variety of cultures and religions which helps drive acceptance.  It also fits with previous Ipsos studies on immigration and refugees, which highlighted Australia as one of the more positive countries globally in terms of our views on immigration and refugees.

“However, while we are generally accepting of religious diversity and immigrants, we do show much less positive views of naturalised citizens when they aren’t fluent in English or don’t have a job, as well as lifelong immigrants who don’t become citizens and illegal immigrants who have lived here most of their lives.

“Interestingly, where we fall down the list in terms of our inclusiveness versus other nations is in regard to LBGTI people and those convicted of a criminal offence who have served time in prison, with our classification of these people as ‘real’ Australians placing us mid-table. 

Plenty of food for thought there. Personally, I doubt there is such a beast as a “real Australian”. For me anyone who is here is by definition an Australian, end of story. Of course it helps if they speak English, but it is also a great thing to be able to speak two or more languages! Multilingual Australians are a national treasure, in my opinion. I have long since stopped feeling paranoid when I hear people speaking Croatian, Chinese, or whatever at the club, on the bus, or anywhere else.

Do visit my 2011 series Being Australian.

25 million of us

That is the population of Australia as of July 2018.  As the chart below (last revised in 2009)  shows, this has happened faster than was expected. Makes me think of what has happened in my lifetime (1943-) and those of my parents (1911-89/96).

l_eoo_45b739414a40ac11afacf3f3167b2a1d

Here is a gem from 1948, the year before I started kindergarten! Back then we had 7,637,000 people — not counting Indigenous Australians.

immigration48

Back then only around 3% were born overseas — that is, not in Australia or the British Isles! That was of course changing. The picture now — or in the 2016 census — is very different.

770px-Australian_Residents_by_Country_of_Birth_2016_Census
That there is some angst arising is not news. See this BTN special:

Did you know that every 104 seconds a baby is born in Australia? Or that in 2017, 169,993 people moved here from all over the world? While that might mean a lot more potential friends in the future. It also means we need to start thinking about how we’re going to prepare for all these extra people.

In just one year, Australia’s population has grown by nearly 400,000 people. That’s like adding an extra Canberra annually. Most of them are moving to our major cities. By 2050 Melbourne’s population, for example, is expected to nearly double to 8 million people. There are some benefits to having more people in the country and it’s not just lots of potential new friends. More people means more businesses; more buildings means more jobs; and more people paying taxes. But it might also mean more issues ahead.

I propose to post again on this. Meanwhile, a kind of related recycle:

Not entirely nostalgic

03 September 2007

Way back in the fifties of the last century I often saw sights like this; though this is Auburn 1952 it could just as easily have been Sutherland 1954.

auburnhotel

The infamous 6 o’clock swill. In our street this led to many a family having their tea (we didn’t say “dinner” in working class Sutherland) ruined as Dad staggered in barely conscious, or in fighting mood enough to give the wife and kids the back of his hand. Not pretty.

Not everything today is worse than it was way back then.

To a child passing nervously, the pub at that time was a frightening, noisy place, and the smell was unbelievable.

The photo is part of an exhibition Sydney’s Pubs: Liquor, Larrikins & the Law.