The stories that enrage and sustain us.
rage \ respite
edition 16
the stories that enrage and sustain us.
Two evil forces meet. A cabinet minister is given the benefit of the doubt. A violent mob of thugs take to the streets. No, this isn't the plot to a theatrical melodrama, it's just another week of observing the audaciousness and slipperiness of men behaving badly and the powers that enable them.

As Scott Morrison and Rupert Murdoch
dine in New York City this week, the rest of us are left back at home to live with the mess that they've created.

We began the week with Federal MP and former Attorney General, Christian Porter, resigning from cabinet. Astonishingly, his departure wasn't due to his alleged perpetration of rape that has dominated the discourse in 2021, but rather due to a failure in 
financial disclosure. His boss, Scott Morrison, can turn a blind eye to a woman's accusation of a serious crime, but apparently not to an anonymous $1 million donation to his mate's legal fund.

If the Prime Minister had taken action back in March and suspended Porter when his alleged crime came to light, perhaps we would be in very different waters. Instead, he took the time to remind women that we were lucky to not be "met with bullets" when protesting for our rights. As violence erupts in Melbourne this week, the PM has once again disappeared; the contrasting silence is deafening.

Although Porter resigned from cabinet, he now sits on the back bench where he still receives his parliamentary salary and all the privileges and benefits that come with it. Where are the consequences? As Grace Tame tweeted following Porter's announcement, "This is how corruption prevails. When leadership fails to swiftly address and condemn it—absolutely, it sends us all the message that it’s tolerated."

And tolerated it is indeed. The next day, now acting Prime Minister and cause of the
'bonk ban', Barnaby Joyce, endorsed Porter's return to the front bench and hailed the alleged rapist as "incredibly intelligent and capable". To Barnaby, Christian Porter had just had "a bad day at the wicket". The negligence and lack of consideration to the public is stifling.

Back in 2019, when Rupert Murdoch's media supported Morrison to win the election, none of us could have imagined the variety and number of crises that would hit this government. But as long as the boys stick together, they'll be okay.

Speaking of boys. Another achievement that Rupert Murdoch can hang in his ivory tower this week is the lapping up of right-wing, extremist chaos in Victoria. Much like what we saw at the Capitol Hill riots in the US in January, the role of right-wing press and voices in enraging cohorts of entitled, violent men cannot be ignored.

We need look only to New South Wales, where the same health regulations have been placed on the construction industry, and no violent fall out has occurred. The difference is that Daniel Andrews' leadership is a threat to Rupert Murdoch's conservative agenda, and he will wield the power of his media monopoly to degrade trust and confidence in the Victorian government. His outlets have continuously branded Andrews as a "dictator" and
encouraged people to rise up against public health orders.

As the PM and Rupert Murdoch finish their night cap and climb into bed together in the Big Apple, we're reminded this week of the forces at play at home. The conservative media, their political puppets and patriarchal mates are curbing progress in Australia.

It's hard to believe that it's been just one month since the distressing images of families clambering onto flights at Kabul airport were broadcast around the world. While it's horrific to see how far Afghanistan has fallen since the reemergence of the Taliban, we can find stories of community and hope.

When six rescue flights carrying 761 Afghans arrived in Melbourne in August, a community was there to help weary families navigate a new country, and the stint in hotel quarantine that awaited them.

Gulghotai Bezhan is the president of the Afghan Women's Organisation Victoria and arrived in Australia in 1996, she understands the adjustment to a new life. Knowing that so many fellow Afghans would be arriving in Melbourne, she and other member's of the Afghan community
swung into action to make sure their arrival was as comforting as it could be.

They assembled food packs, filled with popular Afghan good such as green sultanas, Persian sweets, zahedi dates and copious amounts of tea. "It's so important, especially when we are stressed, we drink a lot of tea," says Bezhan. On arrival, families were served chicken biryani, a popular Afghan dish.

The Afghan community ensured hotel quarantine was as culturally appropriate as possible, sourcing prayer packs and mats that were donated from mosques around Victoria, and providing people with the direction in their hotel room by which to face Mecca. Male and female hygiene packs were checked to ensure they didn't contain alcohol or gelatine, which can be made from pigs. And watering cans and buckets were provided in all the bathrooms to align with how many Afghans wash.

The attention to detail and a cultural understanding could only be brought by Afghans, proving the power and necessity of culturally relevant support in times of crisis.

Covid-19 Quarantine Victoria Commissioner Emma Cassar highlighted the vital contribution made by the Afghan community, and the importance of getting their hotel quarantine experience right.

“It was really important for us to make their first experience in their new country as pleasant as possible and when you overlay that with hotel quarantine, it’s not easy.

”It’s not easy for you and I to do, let alone someone who’s just fled a war torn country, so it was so important for us to get right," said Cassar.

Now, across Melbourne, Afghan people are settling into a new life in Australia. Knowing they have their community behind them provides comfort to us all.

Little brings me more joy than guilty cultural pleasures. From Diet Prada's red carpet reviews, to Sex and the City re-runs (see: edition 08) to feel-good childhood films. Recently I've binged my all time favourite, Bend it like Beckham, and sung along to Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks (IYKYK) and Mamma Mia. Each glorious in their own way.

Next up is Baz Luhrmann's divisive 2001 camp hit Moulin Rouge. Universally panned by critics but loved by audiences; I grew up on the soundtrack. My favourite podcast for guilty pleasures, Sentimental Garbage, recently explored Moulin Rouge and Mamma Mia, and the stories and experiences that shaped the legacy of these films. Warning: extremely light listening ahead.
This newsletter is created on the stolen lands of the Gadigal and Bidjigal people of the Eora nation. I pay my respects to their elders past and present. Sovereignty was never ceded.
I'm Georgia Gibson, a freelance content strategist and writer working with impact-driven clients.
You can visit my website or follow me on Insta for more.

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Clovelly, Clovelly, NSW, 2031, Australia