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We are entering a kind of wartime through which we will eventually establish a kind of normal, a way of getting through life while the bombs fall and we head into the bunkers, we now endure the infective pandemic version of that.

Thank you Virginia for your voice of hope in today’s newsletter:

I hope that in adversity, if we come together for the common good, this home front might just be the making of us.

Bookmarked ABC Weekend Reads

Australia was now supposed to be a much safer place for a child. Were we really listening?

I keep thinking about institutions, and the reflex to protect — at any cost.

I keep wondering at how some of us manage to look past individual pain and powerlessness to somehow believe that the status and reputation of a name, a brand, an order, a building can be worth more.

Are we cowards? Are we unfeeling?

What I know for certain is that some of us have learned nothing, and that vigilance and scepticism will always be the price we need to pay for the safety of our children.

The story unpacked by Four Corners is sad to say the least.
Liked ABC Weekend Reads

As I stood facing the sea that New Year’s Eve morning, as far east as the Rural Fire Service alert that awakened me at 5am urged me to go, I wondered why I wrote those words, but could not follow the warning.

We were hosing down a house that did not belong to us and preparing to take the kids into the sea if the fire that roared through Cobargo and now blazed towards the beautiful little town of Bermagui on the south coast of NSW came closer. It was 10am, and daylight was a faint line of lost hope on the horizon. Summer ended that morning even before it had begun.

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Someone somewhere has persuaded us it’s not as important as the job at the desk, the ride up the greasy pole — and a lack of Federal arts policy doesn’t help.

This was a great read Virginia. I really liked your point about how on the one hand we prize the piece of artwork, but fail to recognise mathematical results. Yet when it comes to funding and priorities, we are told something totally different.

Portfolios are statements of intention, of what a Government’s priorities are and what it considers matters most to Australians.

It reminds me of Gert Biesta’s discussion of the interaction of qualification, socialization and subjectification in the creation of a good education.

Liked Anxiety doesn’t care about the hills or valleys (ABC Weekend Reads)

From the vantage point of those happily jogging along, there’s less understanding as to why someone else might be at a standstill despite having just given birth to a healthy baby, started a great new job or embarked on an exciting new relationship or project. Or, for no obvious reason at all.

Anxiety is like that. It doesn’t care about hills, or valleys. It doesn’t care about age or race or gender. It just is. And it’s tough going.

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Putting aside the arguments about vaccination, I’m more interested in how we treat each other as humans, how we manage respectful debate and how we handle different opinions without resorting to bullying and isolation.

Surely there are ways to have healthy and inclusive discussions without being demeaning or dehumanising.

Maybe if we got off our high horses from time to time, we might find the opinions of others illuminating. We don’t need to share them, not at all, but we do need to let people have them.

So you can imagine my interest was piqued by this interesting article, which shows that if we actually took the time to look and listen, we’d find most non-vaccinating parents aren’t even who we think they are.

Tracey, this reminds me of a post from Douglas Rushkoff discussing the need to engage.
Liked ABC Weekend Reads

Life can be messy sometimes. I find it’s particularly messy just after dinner when all the plates and cups are still onto table, the half-empty pots are on the stove, the laundry is waiting to be put away, the school bags are still on the floor, the front door is blocked by a mountain of shoes, the news is about to start and no-one can find the remote.

Liked ABC Weekend Reads

In the end – and here is where the modern masters of metrics and data will roll their eyes – I think you can only go on instinct: on the idea of telling stories that seem meaningful and affecting and only ever wanting to talk to one person – one audience member – and trying damn hard to make it connect. It’s like your best friend is drunk and distracted at a really fabulous party and you very much need to tell her something extremely important, right now! How do you get their attention? That’s the whole job. You can be the judge of whether that’s working here or not.

Liked ABC Weekend Reads by an author (ABC)

you bet we are affluent. In your childhood, how deserted were your streets during your July or September school holidays? Not at all, I would venture. Sure, I knew one person who had a beach house somewhere and others with a caravan, but on our school holidays my neighbourhood friends and I became a wandering caravan of semi-bored but entirely free vagabonds, making our own fun in backyards and on footpaths.

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As we lose faith in governments and institutions; as the pressure from conflicts and climate change alter our borders forever; as populations increase and our cities struggle with poor design but greater density, a little consideration for each other might just be the only thing that saves us. We are going to have to figure out how to get along: if the cost of that is an apology every now and again, we’re getting away with it cheap.

Another great read Virginia. It reminds me of the message presented in Douglas Rushkoff’s Team Human,

It’s time for us to rise to the occasion of our own humanity. We are not perfect, by any means. But we are not alone. We are Team Human.

Liked ABC Weekend Reads by an author

The full force of federal law this week was really being unflinchingly pointed elsewhere — at people whose names we don’t even know yet: the future whistle-blowers.

These are the real quiet Australians: the people our most important journalists rely upon to bring you the most important stories in the public interest, and they do what they do in terrifying isolation.

At a federal level, whistle-blowers in this country face jail for making disclosures about subjects including immigration and national security: exactly the kinds of subjects that require inconvenient and uncomfortable scrutiny within a healthy democracy.

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I remembered this: the day that Christchurch kids, Maori and settler, boys and girls, came together on the streets and performed the Haka to remember two of their schoolmates killed in the Christchurch massacre in March.

It was a moving and thrilling sight. But for me the most powerful message of this spontaneous moment was the sense of this being a shared culture.

One known and owned by all the kids, all of whom have been schooled in Maori culture and history and language from a young age. It was their Haka – white and brown.

The difference between the way Australia treats its Indigenous people really stood out to me when I visited New Zealand a few years ago.
Replied to The backlash has been breathtaking (ABC Weekend Reads)

Apparently, I wasn’t tough enough on the Government. I didn’t demolish all their scare campaigns. I’m an IPA plant and a Murdoch stooge (yes, that again – for the love of god, could someone please tell that to all the Murdoch columnists who continue to write me up as the second incarnation of Rosa Luxemburg?)

You’d have to have a sense of self bordering on the psychopathic not to take some of this on. Apart from the daily intensity of knowing that every moment of your paid job is broadcast live to the country and therefore to be scrutinised by all, there’s another level of pressure and, yes self-doubt, that comes with political interviews during a federal election. Did I do a good enough job? Was it properly researched, balanced, informative, rigorous? And a natural tendency towards self-doubt will always lend a receptive ear to the clamour of criticism.

Really enjoyed your reflection on the week that was Virginia. I have found some of the responses disconcerting to say the least. There was at least solace in Annabel Crabb’s analysis on the situation. Keep up the great work.
Bookmarked Weekend Reads – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
The Weekend Reads is a weekly newsletter written by Virginia Tripoli, the new morning host for ABC Melbourne. It is both a reflection on the week just past and some mixture of reflections and links, as well as a short list of popular pieces on the ABC News site.