The Saturday Paper
26th September 2015
In late winter, when the coastal wattle blooms yellow, Wayne Carberry knows it’s time to collect lobster. His education in the ways of the sea began as a boy. Camping on the coast with his extended family from the Walbunga clan, the elders taught the young the indicator plants for individual fish species and the bays and estuaries where they were to be found.
“There’s a missing part of me when I don’t go diving,” says Carberry, who’s now in his late 30s and living away. “It’s a part of me. Whenever the ocean is calm I jump in and get a feed.”
April 23rd 2014
After watching the women surf at the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach in Victoria over the weekend, one commentator was so impressed he called it one of the “best rounds of women’s surfing ever,” and offered Australian Sally Fitzgibbons the ultimate compliment in this male-dominated sport; she was as good as a bloke, “like [Kelly] Slater in his prime”.
Anyone who watches the sport closely already knows that the women who compete on surfing’s World Tour are incredibly talented and watchable athletes. The real news is that finally a group of people with money and clout have also realised how good the girls are and, most importantly, how unsustainable it is to support rampant gender discrimination in a professional sporting competition.
This year’s World Tour – of which Bells is the third event – is under new ownership after a private Californian company called ZoSea Media Holdings purchased the tour from the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP). While the billionaire investors behind the company have said little publicly, their actions suggest they think sexism is bad business.
Edition 40: Women and Power
JUST after dawn on a grey muggy morning in February 2012, some of the best surfers in the world, along with their sponsors and event officials, gathered on a beach in southern Queensland, all eyes on the ocean. It was the first day of the opening event in professional surfing’s annual competition, a season that would see the best surfers – male and female – compete around the globe for millions in prize money and lucrative sponsorship deals, and a decision needed to be made.
The location, Snapper Rocks, is famous for an unusually thick sand bank that lies on the ocean floor, at its best, transforming the waves that roll over it into long barreling cylinders perfect for riding. This morning, though, the swell was small and tide too high for the bank to work its magic; unsteady waves messily peaked and collapsed without a tube in sight. But the event was on, and someone had to surf.
Asking a surfer to paddle out and compete in poor conditions is a necessary evil in professional surfing; nature shows scant regard for competition timetables. Yet it’s something every elite surfer hates and vociferously resists. Good waves equal a better performance; a chance to be your best, achieve greater renown, and potentially, more sponsorship dollars.
The decision of event organisers that morning at Snapper Rocks surprised no one. Send the women out to surf, and let the men wait until conditions improve.
The Global Mail
April 2nd 2012
In early February this year, in an online forum frequented by Western computer hackers and internet security buffs, an urgent call to arms was sent out:
“This kind of help is not for the technically faint of heart but it’s absolutely needed for people in Iran, right now.”
The message was posted by 28-year-old American Jacob Appelbaum. Appelbaum is a well-known hacker and dissident — his work for Wikileaks has seen him detained and interrogated by US law enforcement many times. He’s a research scientist at the University of Washington’s security and privacy research lab, and is a key developer on a computer software program called Tor.
A week before Christmas last year, the independent authority that acts as a watchdog over Australia’s Intelligence agencies handed the results of a year-long investigation to the Prime Minister. The investigation was into the involvement of Australian government officials in the illegal arrest, detention, and torture overseas of Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib. But, since arriving in the Prime Minister’s office two and a half months ago, the contents of this crucial report remain secret.
The report has not been publicly released, despite the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security, who conducted the investigation, also providing the Prime Minister with a version of the report described as “suitable for public release”.
In a letter to Mamdouh Habib, the Inspector-General Vivienne Thom said she had handed her report to the Prime Minister on 19 December 2011, and that “I have also provided the Prime Minister with an abridged version of the report which is suitable for public release. I have suggested that you should be provided with a personal copy of this public report.”
Habib has not seen this report. He says he has written a number of letters to the Prime Minister’s office and received no reply.
Habib’s Victory Against The Shock-Jocks
New Matilda 27 February 2012
One of the most maligned figures in the Australian media, Mamdouh Habib, has won a long-running legal battle against some of his prime antagonists — securing a defamation payout from the employers of three of Sydney’s most popular radio shock-jocks. Coming down the steps of the District Court in Sydney on Friday, just moments after being awarded a total of $176,296 in damages from Radio 2UE and 2GB, Habib said he felt vindicated by the decision. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the dignity,” he said.
In his ruling the judge found that the comments made about Habib by John Laws and Steve Price from 2UE, and Ray Hadley from 2GB, were “extreme, strongly expressed, exaggerated, unjust, irrational … and also violent”. The tone and content of John Laws in particular was “clearly spiteful and laden with ill-will towards Mr Habib, as well as being intentionally aimed at ridiculing the plaintiff”.
Most problematically though for Radio 2UE and 2GB, in the context of a defamation trial where truth can be relied on as a defence, was that the comments in question were simply not based on fact.