A conversation about Australia’s Sphere of Influence.

On 26th July 2019 the Griffith Asia Institute hosted a public forum with Professor Caitlyn Byrne, Professor Hugh White and Sean Dorney. The conversation addressed “Australia’s Sphere of Influence”, the focus of a recent monograph, Australian Foreign Affairs Issue 6

This blog gathers some of the best and recent resources on a topic that will call for informed and insightful political skill by the newly elected Morrison Government.

QE68 – November 2017 HUGH WHITE Without America Australia in the New Asia

Hugh White: The Monthly Essays

The Embarrassed Colonialist: Penguin Special By Sean Dorney

NAIDOC Week 2019 Reflection

NAIDOC 2019

Another NAIDIC Week across the country has provided opportunities for sharing culture, community and the political reality of First Nations peoples in Australia.

I spent much of the week taking advantage of the many local events to immerse myself in relationships and awareness of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Three moments stand out for me as highlights of the week:

On Monday of NAIDOC Week I attended the Brisbane Launch in City Hall. Later in the afternoon I dropped into a local city bar which is a favourite hangout. I was wearing my trademark hat with the Aboriginal colours around the brim. As I walked into the bar a women called out to me and admired the hat. She introduced herself as Jackie from the Torres Strait Islands and we chatted about some of the events scheduled for the week. Jackie insisted on a selfie with me in my hat and asking my name said she would tag me as “Uncle Tony Robertson” in her post. To be tagged and named as “Uncle” in such a way is an honour and a responsibility particularly as a white fella. This is the tag that some of the young Murris have also given me from our conversations and encounters on city streets.

The second moment happened on Friday of NAIDOC Week. I boarded a bus from my usual stop for the city and three young Murri boys sat a couple of seats in front of me. Again I was wearing my trademark hat with the Aboriginal colours which they noticed. After a few minutes one of the boys turned to me and asked where I got the hat. This was the beginning of a conversation that took us into the city over the next 25 minutes. We sat across two seats, a 66 year old white man and a young 18 year old holding the plastic bottle from which he inhaled as we spoke. It was a remarkable conversation about the reality of addiction, the alienation from culture and the families and people we knew in common. My phone camera with its collection of images of Aboriginal Elders is a great asset in these moments. The young man told me his name and proudly spoke of his tribal group for which he had a hand signal. He trusted me with. his personal details and I promised to look out for him if I was around the spaces he hangs out. We got off at the same stop but walked in different directions.

My third NAIDOC moment was on Friday evening at the launch of an art exhibition at the Francis Rush Cente for the Cathedral of St Stephen Art Group. I was honoured to do the Acknowledgement of Country. The place in which the exhibition was held also included works by well known Aboriginal artists. Judy Watson‘s Empire Stakes feature as part of Brisbane’s Heritage Trail and are installed just outside the Francis Rush Centre in the Cathedral Precinct.

The other Aboriginal artist whose work is currently displayed in the Francis Rush Centre but not mentioned in the online resource is Fiona Foley. A panel of the Cathedral art collection is a brief clue to the series that are mounted in what is now a foyer space:

The story of these beautiful works and their mistreatment is recorded strangely enough in the documentation published by those who agitated for the works removal from their original installation inside the Cathedral of St Stephen. Since their removal the works have suffered from neglect and abuse in unprofessional storage.

Telling the story of Fiona Foley’s was an important part of acknowledging that the voice and truth themes of NAIDOC 2019 will take all of us into uncomfortable places on the journey to reconciliation.

My images and captures of my support for events during NAIDOC 2019 are available here.

Singing My Way Through Catholicism

Two weeks ago I celebrated my 66th birthday and give thanks for those who sent good wishes. Today I mark another milestone with the 66th anniversary of my Baptism.

Yes, with names like Anthony Gerard it is pretty obvious that I was baptized Catholic an acknowledgement I make with some trepidation in the current climate.

However, there is a spectrum of Catholicism. At one end you will find George Pell and at the other, Andy Warhol You will find Mary Queen of Scots, but you will also discover St. Mary MacKillopTony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce carry membership cards as did Mum Shirl. and Fr Ted Kennedy of Redfern. Scoundrels, saints and sinners , have filled the pews,written our history and taken us on the highs and lows of human experience.

I grew up in a era of Catholicism that nurtured a love of music and singing. The popular Hymn, “How Can I keep From Singing” is rarely sung in Catholic Churches but it captures a sentiment that some of us will identify with as we scroll our social media and watch the reports of clergy abuse dominate our screens.:

Thro’ all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?

Each year I publish a list of hymns and music that I have sung in Catholic communities from childhood to my adult years. The list now runs to 66 pieces to commemorate this anniversary. If you are Catholic you might enjoy a trip down memory lane. If you have never sung with Catholics, you will probably be amazed at the clips you can find on youtube!!!

I hope the sharing of this post nurtures hope for all of us who live in these days of “tumult and strife”

Singing My Way Through Catholicism

Tony Robertson Movember

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Movember is an annual event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide. The Movember Foundation runs the Movember charity event, housed at Movember.com. Wikipedia

#Movember time and the Mo on day 13 is light but stylish. This year I am part of the team from my old High School, St Joseph’s College Geelong​. The funds we raise will help to address issues of men’s health and well being.

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Feel free to click on this link and build my zero donation total to date to a reasonable standard. Thanks in advance.

Just Dates: November

November 10-December 10 is Human Rights Month

Supporting Men’s Health in Movember

19

20  Universal Children’s Day  / Transgender Day of Remembrance

24-December 2 Social Inclusion Week

August Retrospective

August 2018 - Calendar. Isolated on White Background. 3D IllustrationWelcome to the August retrospective of news and social media presence across the platforms I use.

  • Follow my Twitter Account here
  • My Instagram posts are here

 

Gallery of Family and friends

August included travel with opportunities to catch up with old friends and new. There were themes to explore including  Multiculturalism and my status as a senior citizen.

My travel took me to Sydney and to my birth city of Geelong for a school reunion and a family celebration. With my new leisure time available as a retiree I decided to take the train using my NSW Discovery Pass which gives me three months of travel from Brisbane to Melbourne and lots of places along the way.  Travel hint: pack your own snacks and nibbles as the  trip to and from the  diner car can be an obstacle  course if the train suddenly turns a corner.

While visiting Sydney I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried the latest in hostel type accommodation at The Capsule Hotel, Sydney It’s another one for the bucket list but unlikely to be a repeat experience.

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This slide show is a montage of people, faces and places that all have a story. A few shots in my purple hoodie are from a visit to my birth city of Geeelong. I got along to an “old Boys” reunion of St Joseph’s College Geelong, where I jumped in front of the lens with Des Podbury, one of the oldest former collegians and John Mildren, former ALP politician for the seat of Ballarat. My other Geelong old boy catchup was with Russell, with whom I  went through St Pat’s Geelong West as well as “Joey’s”. The last pic in the purple hoodie was a family get together with  my late’s father’s brother and sister in law, Chris and Margaret.

The lady wearing the Geelong footy scarf is my late mother’s only surviving family  member, Majella Tracey FMM. Religion pops into a few of the other pics with a selfie taken with Bishop Vincent Long and a series of heads from St Mary’s Cathedral as well as a memorial plaque to Gough and Margaret at St James Church.

The pick of the pics is the one where I am wearing my Keffiyeh with a young Middle Eastern guy. I was in Parramatta and popped into the local Macca’s for a coffee, Ahmed, the young man in the pic noticed me and made a point of coming over to chat. He had never seen an Aussie  wearing a Keffiyeh. We chatted and he introduced himself as a Muslim from Lebanon. We talked politics, religion and peace and embraced each other in a quiet suburban space of harmony.

The group shot was taken as part of Rainbow Seniors Free Screening of Victor Victoria.

Photography

Politics

A challenge and a reminder that we are brothers and sisters in conversation and dialogue.

How do we have respectful disagreement with politicians like Peter Dutton or media moguls like Rupert Murdoch?
How do we tell Senator Fraser Anning he is not just wrong but offensive?
How do we tell John Howard he was a liar about the Iraq invasion and Tampa?
How do we tell Malcolm Turnbull he is a gutless weak political leader?
How do we have a respectful disagreement with #Indonesia about the genocide and transmigration policies in West Papua?
How do we have a respectful disagreement with weapon manufacturers and the government s like ours that support them?
How do we have a respectful disagreement with Donald Trump?

 

ETERNITYNEWS.COM.AU
Cornel West and Douglas Murray discuss euthanasia, free speech and gay wedding cakes
People Who Made News in August
Image of the Month
My profile pic celebrating Queensland Seniors Week 2018
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