Ministers of Education have been alarmed in the past to discover Australian High School Students know very little about the history of this country. The following essay by Ashlee M, Year 8, Coolathanu High is believed to be included in some bureaucratic report somewhere.
Australia is a large incontinent that lies in the Specific Ocean except for Tasmania which doesn’t know where it is. Australia is very hot because the Topic of Popracorn is in Queensland somewhere, which means Queenslanders are sweaty and can grow topical plants in their ears. But the most important topic is the topic of Cancer because if youse get sunburnt, Omigod, ya gonna die.
Full Article: Captain Hook and the History of Oz
I grew up in Kyneton next door to the CFA, the volunteers who risk their lives for the community, fighting fires in, often, 40°+ (104F°+) heat
We Aussies aren’t big flag-wavers … but, for so many reasons, the CFA makes me proud to be an Australian.
In view of recent events and the fact that I’ve just had a crime novel published, I had to ask ‘Does writing about violence encourage violence?’
Researchers say ‘No!’ for some writing genres. There is, however, one genre of writing that encourages violence and that is in the marketing of guns. You’ll find this research and links in an article I wrote for Independent Australia titled The NRA: fear, hatred and how to sell guns.
Some thoughts on writing humour. It’s a tricky business. Current events can instantly kill humourous writing. If you write a funny piece about fear of flying, say, then a plane crashes, the article crashes too.
Readers can take personal affront to a joke. I once wrote a funny piece alleging that the group KISS were a band of aging rockers. They did wear those platform heels. Could be a bit dodgy as you age. I received quite a few outraged emails. The KISS army is out there somewhere still loyal and still marching on. Age shall not weary them, apparently. I’ve had highly critical letters stating that my writing lacked the restraint necessary for a civilised society. I didn’t realise I could cause the collapse of Western Civilisation by including the words ‘pissing yourself’ in an article.
But more than anything I loathe with a passion the HUMOUR section in a bookshop.
Some thoughts on Copyright. It is a tricky business. For instance, fair use laws apply in Australia for extracts and quotes, but what does this mean to a professional writer? (See Australian Copyright Council link below for detailed information) As a freelance author and journalist for over 30 years I am both the owner and user of copyright material.
Books and Newspapers: Can publishers rip off ideas you have pitched to them? Yes! Ideas aren’t protected except for the exact wording. In the early days I’d pitch an idea to an editor, who’d reply ‘We’ve already got someone on that story.’ As if they already had someone on a story about using car parts as garden features, an Aussie peculiarity.
Newspapers: Can articles be published without your permission? Not legally. Although I was a freelance journalist and other imprints in the newspaper group assumed I worked in house. If I found out they had published an article in print I asked to be paid. About 2/3 of original fee. Less for smaller magazines.
Online: I’ve had my own articles emailed back to me in a chain letter without my name on it. That’s what annoyed me the most, a friend sending me a chain funny saying ‘You’ll like this.’ ‘Yeah! I bloody wrote it.’
RULE OF THUMB: If your work is used in a commercial product of any form you should be paid unless you have waived the fee.
COPYRIGHT USE: I’ve had a substantial quote used in a VCE year 12 exam. They didn’t ask for permission. But, maybe, for the sake of all students I should have asked for money to inflict some reverse pain on the examiners. Ha!
Recently, I was asked permission for a quote of mine to be used on a brass plaque in a bar in Malta. I didn’t think they needed permission, but I appreciated the request and, if I get to Malta, I reckon there’s a free drink waiting for me.
There’s an energy crisis in Australia today. I hate to say ‘I told you so’. Actually, I really, really enjoy telling you I told you so. Here is the article I wrote on this topic in 2008. My main point was DON’T LISTEN TO THE POLITICIANS. WE NEED A RELIABLE POWER SUPPLY.
The end of the world is coming to Melbourne. Again. In the 1959 film, On the Beach, Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner waited in Melbourne to die from radiation poisoning. Now, according to friends, life as we know it will end soon for us. Let me explain. I hang out with engineers. They’re strange folk. I’m married to one so I know. They do calculations in their heads. My beloved, HRH, doesn’t yell at us to ‘turn off the lights’. He lectures us on how many mega watts will be consumed over a 20-year period. The family tends to turn lights off just to shut him up.
My friends and some esteemed institutions are hot and bothered about power outages. Summer has been hellishly hot. Power consumption hit a record in Victoria on the 10th January. It was, admittedly, a 40 degree scorcher, but schools and many businesses were shut. In the meantime, folks are rushing out and buying air conditioners. But each new swishing, hissing unit adds a burden to the system.
There’s no power crisis claims Rob Hulls while advising Victorians to turn off air conditioners. There’s no power shortage say suppliers while explaining recent blackouts as problems with individual electricity companies. You can believe them or do the maths yourself. Victoria has a supply capacity of around 10 million kilowatts. Let’s assume Melbourne has 1 million households-a conservative figure- and that we all want to be cool, which we do. If every household installs a mid-range 10 kilowatt unit, at peak demand, air conditioners alone will use up our State’s full power supply capacity.
READ MORE HERE: It’s the End of the World. Again
Here is an earlier, more light hearted peice I wrote for the Canberra Times in 2006.
READ HERE: It’s the End of the World. Take 1.