Conservative Community Unite to Make Their Voice Heard in the Australian Government

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An announcement was made earlier this year by the Turnbull Government of a Senate voting reform to be implemented in the Australian election on July 2nd this year. Under the new laws, parties will no longer be able to swap preferences in order to secure seats in the senate. Furthermore, voters will have their ballot discarded if their preferred candidates are excluded from the race, resulting in a potential loss of thousands of votes in the upcoming election.

These changes to the current voting system will hinder minor and independent political parties in entering the senate, effectively silencing the voices of thousands of Australian voters.

 

 

In response to the voting reforms being passed, Family First Federal Chairman and Senator Bob Day, who challenged the voting reform, expressed to the ABC that:

“Voters who choose to be represented by a minor party or, rather, who do not want to be represented or do not vote for a major party under these new laws, will see their vote, by and large, exhaust.”

 

Aim & Interviews

In talking about the Christian community’s reaction and pro-activeness towards changes in the political realm Dharius Daniels, founding pastor of Kingdom Church in Ewing, N.J, expressed that “Many [Christians] are silent on issues we need to speak on… Christians must reclaim the conversation and refuse to allow our voices to be minimized.”

In a similar vein, with these changes in Australian Government and the subsequent reform of the voting system, I have chosen to focus my feature article to be on the actions of the Christian community with Sydney and how they are responding to the changes in the voting systems. Tentatively titled “Mobilising the Voice of a Community: Christian community takes a stand for their place in the Australian Government.”

Through this feature article, I want to focus upon the importance of communities standing up for a cause through community activism, and the power of a united community to ensure that their opinions and voices are heard by the Australian Government.

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The article will detail the events of a rally held at Martin Place on the 1st of May, 2016 at 2pm, aiming to show the high court judges the public unrest against the vote reforms. This rally is led by the directors of the Family First political party, an independent Christian political party led by Senator Bob Day.

The feature will include an interview with Ben Irawan, a director for the Family First party, an active member within the community and is the event director of the annual Sydney Easter Parade & Family Day. Other interviews may possibly include potential on-the-spot interviews with participants and other politicians on the day of the rally.

 

Target Publication & Audience

The targeted publications of this feature article would be RELEVANT magazine/website, a publication directed towards young Christians between the ages of 20-30.

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Their aim is to produce stories that cover faith and culture, as well as facilitating discussion about “challenging worldviews and causing people to see God outside the box they’ve put Him in”. The reader demographic of the magazine presents a perspective that resonates with the issues of the my feature article, as politics and voting contribute to the future lives of young people, and whether their beliefs will be represented in the Australian government.

 

 

References:

[Hannah Rae Ramos, SID: 312068735. Word count: 550]

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USYD Freedom of Association at Stake

by Winmas Yu (SID: 450536382)

The University of Sydney Union (USU) recently requested various student religious societies to amend their membership requirements and to ensure all university students (a.k.a. USU members) would have equal rights and accessibilities in joining a club and being executive members, otherwise they could face “deregistraion”, and, consequently, further funding and campus facilities would not be granted for club events.

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University of Sydney quad” by Andrea Schaffer is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The request has drawn public and media attention in late-March this year, and was reported extensively by local and national papers, with most of the attention focused on the Evangelical Union (EU) and the Catholic Society.

EU would have to abolish its requirement for prospective members to declare that “Jesus is my Lord”, while the latter was asked to open their executive positions to non-Catholics.

The USU president, Alisha Aitken-Radburn, said to News Corp, “We don’t understand why they need to force their members to say this or sign that.” Continue reading

What happens on campus stays on campus?: Sexual violence in the University of Sydney

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Madsen Building, The University of Sydney | Picture: Jason James

 

National Union of Students (NUS) women’s department 2015 study says that more than 70% of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment while enrolled at their university, and 27% have experienced sexual assault. Are Australian universities doing enough to prevent these events?

For my feature article, I plan to write about sexual harassment and sexual assault on college campuses. Specifically, I plan to address sexual harassment in the University of Sydney (USYD), and compare the statistics and experiences about it to the ones in the NUS Women’s department 2015 survey, Talk About It, which focuses on the experiences of women university students in Australia, and has a section dedicated to “sexual harassment”, “sexual assault”, and “reporting”.

While sexual harassment on college campuses is not anything new, lately, this topic is being discussed in several international media outlets because more women are speaking up about their experiences. With the creation of organisations like End Rape on Campus (also known as The IX Network), which works to end campus sexual violence; the premiere of the The Hunting Ground (THG) documentary, which chronicles sexual violence on American college campuses; and Lady Gaga’s performance of Til It Happens to You, THG theme song, in the Academy Awards, the media and the public are starting to pay more attention to the issue.

The Hunting Ground – Official Trailer

As I mentioned before, for my article, I plan to use the NUS’ Talk About It results and compare these to a USYD equivalent. The equivalent of this study would be the Safer Community Survey, which was sent to all students on September, 2015 through email. This survey focuses on sexual and physical harassment on campus, and it also gave the community the opportunity to give feedback on institutional and community responses to sexual harassment and assault. The survey’s results, however, have not being published yet, so to get access to this information, I will try to interview one the women in charge of the investigation: either Jordi Austin, Director of Student Support Services, or Sophia Barnes, Student Experience Coordinator.

I also plan to analyse the “Safer Community for All” campaign, which encourages members of the USYD community to “speak out about unacceptable behaviour on campus”. To get more information about this campaign, and about how the University handles sexual assault cases, I plan to contact Student Affairs, USYD’s department in charge of emergencies and complaints, and specifically, Idena Rex (head of the Student Affairs Unit), or Rebecca O’Brien (in charge of student appeals, misconduct and progression).

To get the students (and victims) side of the story, I also want to contact the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) Wom*n’s Department, which is in charge of the Wom*n’s Collective and the Wom*n of Colour Collective. They aim to represent and advocate for wom*n on campus, have organised campaigns against gendered violence, and have demanded the University to change the way it handles sexual assault cases. Preferably, I would like to interview Anna Hush-Egerton and/or Vanessa Song, who are the Wom*ens Officers.

Finally, I believe that an online publication interested in this would the weekly newspaper of the University of Sydney, Honi Soit, which has already published articles about sexual assault on campus (in LGBTQIA+ students and in female students). Honi Soit actually has a features section, and the way they publish features varies depending on the case. Some articles are more “traditional”, using mostly text, just one picture, tags, a list of resources (as “unlinked” urls) at the end, and options to share the story. Others, though, have a better presentation: they use more pictures, highlighted quotes, graphics, tags, sharing buttons, and are hosted on a platform that allows better readability. For this story, the second style might be the better, because the design is more engaging for the reader and it actually uses more characteristics of online journalism.

Name: Carmela Patricia Vera Mendoza

Student ID: 450422030

Word count: 641

Blog feature proposal – Profiling the floral artist

by Laura Syvaniemi

Student ID 440582669

 

For my online profile feature piece I would like to give the reader a glimpse into the world of creative floral design and shine a light on the person behind the blooms. Through an interview with one of Sydney’s talented wedding and event florists, I would like to share the story of one woman’s love for creation, the struggles and triumphs of creative entrepreneurship and how the seemingly simple process of flower arranging is actually behind the scenes a form of art.

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Few people realise the amount of work and love that goes into creating high end floral design. Behind the immaculate arrangements is so much more. Hours of administration work, 4 AM mornings at the flower markets, literal blood, sweat and tears in the design studio, hands stripped raw and bleary-eyed all-nighters to pull off floral event designs ranging from small and delicate to statement en masse. Florists work with what may well be the most delicate of all design materials: living things.

With lush greenery and statement floral installations heavily trending in weddings for 2016 and 2017, creative florists are the new event design superstars. They are romantically portrayed in fine art wedding publications; forest-foraging, carelessly luxe, slow living and Kinfolk-toting descendants of Mother Earth. However the reality behind the business of florals is far less glamorous – or is it?

I am reaching out to a few of Sydney’s most renowned floral designers, such as Emily Michele Smith of Boutierre Girls who is my personal industry idol and who has created an immensely successful floral business in only two years. Other options for interviewees might be Sydney-based florists Jardine Botanic or My Violet, both creators of a similar organic and artistic style.

As it is wedding season – and it’s always season for those in most demand – and spare time is scarce, it’s possible that another angle and type of interviewee may be needed to switch to. In this case I could contact less renowned florists and hear the story of their budding (no pun intended!) dream.

As this feature is a profile, it is highly subjective and only briefly touches upon wider, mainly wedding, event and floral industry-related contexts and topics. It works as a human interest piece as well as an insight into a niche, aimed mainly at the industry but possibly interesting to a far larger audience – especially that of brides planning their weddings. Online delivery would preferrably be aided by strong use of visuals, if possible photographs of the interior of a floral studio as well as the artist at work.

An online publication suitable for this profile piece would be wedding blog Hello May, which is read by brides and industry creatives alike and which also publishes a print counterpart.

Word count: 466

(Image: Creative Commons Zero licensed via unsplash.com)