All posts filed under: news and current affairs

Free V/Line travel

Victorians! As some of your may know, V/Line has been offering free travel on its services over this past week to make up for ongoing service disruptions. The offer was due to end today, but it has now been extended for another week — until the last service on Sunday 7 February. The offer includes all services, including Night Coaches. This is a great opportunity to get out and about the state and explore those places you’ve been meaning to visit — or just have a look at the network map and do a lucky dip! It’s recommended to book tickets early as trains and coaches are expected to fill up quickly. More info here. Happy travels!

Melbourne: World’s most liveable city … again

Well, well, news just in has Melbourne once again at the top of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Survey. It’s the fourth year running our town has claimed top spot, with three other Australian cities making the cut, too. This comes on the back of the (perhaps slightly less prestigious) ranking by Conde Nast Traveller, whose survey declared Melbourne to be the world’s friendliest city, tied with Aukland. Apparently we have a ‘wonderful sense of humour’ and we are ‘one of the classiest cities in the world’ to boot. Take that, LondonParisMilanNewYork! You did good, Melbourne; you did good.  

The Saturday Paper

Last Saturday, a brand spankin’ new paper hit Melbourne’s newsstands. The Saturday Paper, produced by Black Inc owner Morry Schwartz (of The Quarterly Essay and The Monthly fame), promises to dedicate itself to quality narrative journalism and offer ‘the biggest names and best writing in news, culture, and analysis, with a particular focus on Australia’. Its editor is Erik Jensen, a 25-year-old former Fairfax journalist who apparently shares Schwartz’s passion for print media. When I walked into my local newsagent on the weekend to buy a copy of the first edition, they had all sold out. For the paper’s sake, I hope my disappointment was repeated many times over. In this gloomy age of crumbling newspapers, it would be lovely to see this new project fly. A full yearly subscription to The Saturday Paper — which includes print edition home delivery, iPad and iPhone apps, and full online access — will cost you $99; a six-month subscription is $69.95. For a taste of the sort of content on offer, you can read three articles for free per week at The Saturday Paper‘s website. …

Vote Compass: where do you stand?

  The Australian federal elections are fast approaching. With only four sleeps to go until the big day, Australians will (I hope) be giving some serious thought to their voting options. Unlike most countries in the world, voting in Australia is compulsory. No matter whether you’re interested in politics or not, if you are an Australian citizen you will have to scratch a mark on a ballot paper come Saturday or you’ll risk being fined. I know where where my vote’s going this year. If you’re feeling unsure, head over to Vote Compass, a tool that can help you compare your values and opinions on policy with those of the major political parties. Hosted by the ABC, Vote Compass has been developed by a non-profit group of political scientists and, as far as I can tell, it’s pretty accurate. Non-Australian citizens are also free to take the test and see where their values fit into the Australian political landscape. By the way, in case you missed it, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appeared on the ABC’s …

The Guardian Australian edition launched

    This morning, an exciting event took place on Australia’s somewhat barren media landscape: The Guardian news organisation launched its digital Australian edition. Headed by editor-in-chief Katherine Viner (currently also The Guardian‘s deputy editor), the Guardian Australia team includes some impressive home-grown talents such as Lenore Taylor, David Marr and Katharine Murphy. Click here to read Viner’s welcome article in today’s Guardian. With around 70% of the Australia’s newspapers controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited and most of the rest owned by Fairfax, Australia’s media desperately needs to diversify. The more voices Australians can access, the better. So this Melbourne local welcomes you to Australia, Guardian. Please make yourself thoroughly at home.  

get smart

– – Today The Monthly magazine launched a new free daily called ‘PoliticOz’. As I have yet to actually see a PoliticOz posting, I’ll leave it up to The Monthly to explain this new project: PoliticOz delivers the best of Australian political writing and journalism to your inbox every weekday. It’s a selection of the day’s major stories, key quotes and essential commentary, as well as videos, interviews and the latest polls. A one-stop shop for followers of Australian politics, PoliticOz highlights the best of the nation’s top political sources, including newspapers, blogs, think tanks and new media. Knowing The Monthly, I think this could be a great new resource for anyone wanting to keep abreast of Australian politics. Register for PoliticOz here. – And while we’re on the subject, I may as well let you know about The Monthly‘s first daily. ‘The Shortlist Daily’ is a bite-sized newsletter showcasing a small handful of links to ‘the best reads from around the world’. (That should really be amended to ‘the best reads from the English-speaking world’, but no matter.) This …

newspeak

— For those unfamiliar with the newspapers on offer in Melbourne, here’s a quick rundown: – The Age newspaper was founded in 1854 and is Melbourne’s only broadsheet daily newspaper. It is owned and published by Fairfax Media and shares a lot of its content with The Sydney Morning Herald, also a Fairfax publication. The current editor-in-chief is Paul Ramadge.  – The Herald Sun is Melbourne’s other daily newspaper. Founded in 1990 after the merger of two other papers, the Herald Sun is a tabloid paper owned by News Limited and has the highest circulation of any daily newspaper in Australia. The current editor-in-chief is Simon Pristel. – The Australian is the country’s only national daily print newspaper. Established in 1964, the paper is in broadsheet format and is also owned by News Limited (this Rupert Murdoch-owned company publishes around 70% of Australia’s newspapers). The Australian‘s current editor-in-chief is Chris Mitchell. – There are also a couple online news sources that are handy to know about. Crikey is an online media news site founded by journalist Stephen Mayne. According to its …

and the archibald goes to…

V V V The well-known Australian artist Tim Storrier has won the country’s most prestigious art award for portraiture, the Archibald Prize. The prize was first awarded in 1921, with the winner receiving £400. Today, the prize is worth $75,000. According to the official guidelines, the winning portrait should be ‘preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia during the 12 months preceding the [closing] date’. You can view Storrier’s winning self-portrait here. There are also some amazing pieces among the forty-one works that made it to the finals. V For more info, check out these links: Wikipedia’s Archibald Prize page ‘Tim Storrier wins Archibald Prize’ story from The Age, 30 March 2012 Tim Storrier’s website V

q&a

Qanda – that word won’t mean much to non-Australians. To be honest, it probably doesn’t mean much to a fair slice of the Australian population, either, but I wish it did. It refers to Q&A, the live panel-discussion television show aired by the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) every Monday night, in which questions are put to a panel by audience members. Moderated by veteran journalist Tony Jones, the panel generally features five experts or public figures of some kind: political and social commentators, writers, politicians, economists, academics…  anyone with something to say. (This week’s show, for example, featured Australian feminist Germaine Greer and conservative American ‘porn pastor’ Craig Gross, among others.) During the show, twitter comments using the hash-tag ‘qanda’ are also aired, giving it an interactive element. If you’re new to the country, much of the discussion of domestic politics on Q&A will probably go over your head; even so, the show may be useful in helping to wrap your brain around how Australian politics works and, more interestingly, how Australians view different issues. But it’s not all politics. …