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Article: The Recess of Electoral Education (Onya Magazine)

What are the most important subjects taught to our children in primary school? Mathematics. History. English. Foreign Languages. Politics. If you thought the last subject felt out of place, you aren’t alone. During my time at a state primary school in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, politics was a barely touched upon subject – I scarcely recalled learning about the separation of powers or the Australian Federation until at least the intermediate years of high school. Although it didn’t deter me from higher studies of politics at VCE and tertiary levels, it would seem an exception to the rule. In Australia it’s compulsory to vote in elections – another exception to worldwide democratic norms – but are we afforded a suitable introduction to our vital institutions, civil society and its processes to make an informed decision from a young age and into maturity? What is meant by “political literacy” in 2011?

Read more at Onya Magazine.


Article: Currents of History (The Big Issue)

It is easy to underestimate older people – as Tom Valcanis realised when he learned about his grandmother’s life and noticed her electrical skills.

One frosty morning when I was six, I was sitting in my grandmother’s lounge room transfixed by Agro’s Cartoon Connection. As usual, I was toasting myself against her glowing gas heater. Back then, I knew my grandmother as my Macedonian “Baba” but, apart from that, I didn’t know much about her at all. For all I knew, her life was full of cooking, cleaning and telling jokes to keep us young ones occupied when there was nothing good on TV.

Baba always wore a simple, faded floral apron and cheap, unassuming clothes no matter where she went. This day was no different.

Read the rest in issue #392 of The Big Issue, available from street vendors around the nation.


Live Review: The Beards at Northcote Social Club (the AU Review)

The Northcote Social Club looks like a place that your grandmother frequented in the 70s when men's top lips were bristling with mustaches and beer could be bought for under a dollar. Textured floral wallpaper, shag carpeting and red velvet curtains greet you walking into the band room. I was half expecting to see a seniors bingo game in progress. Despite the antiquated decor, the beer prices had their origins very much in the present. But what of the bands accompanying The Beards on their 100 Beard Tour of Australia? Beards are pretty 70s, right?

Read the rest at the AU Review.

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