Monthly Archives: August 2019

It will be used in a program to provide sexual diversity training to schools and across various multicultural networks.



Peggy Giakoumelos reports.


“Do you like this top?” “It’s so gay.” “Really?” “Yeah, it’s totally gay.” “You know you really shouldn’t say that…” “Say what?” “Say that something’s gay when you really mean it’s bad. It’s insulting. When you say that’s so gay do you realise what you’re saying?”


That’s from a public service announcement launched in the United States a few years ago to challenge people’s use of the word gay.


When exactly the word gay crossed over to express dislike or hatred for something, isn’t really known.


Some people could dismiss the evolving meaning of the word, as just a bit of a joke.


For others it’s deeply offensive, with some education experts saying its casual derogatory use has the effect of marginalising same-sex attracted people.


Josh Radcliffe is a Project Officer with the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria – an organisation encouraging a deeper understanding of sexual diversity in schools.


“We work more with teachers, but I suppose most of the feedback we get from teachers is often the language young people use. I think there’s often a misconception about the harm that some of the common phrases are used in school, especially stuff around the language which is very common like that’s so gay, or referring to things as gay in a negative kind of sense. A lot of young people and also teachers don’t realise that that’s a big problem. We know that from the research that we do that young same sex attracted people are often very offended and insulted by that term. So we really get people, especially teachers to think about how they can challenge that language and also informing people as to why it’s a problem in the first place.”


The Coalition is funded by the Departments of Education and Health in Victoria.


Government and private schools voluntarily sign up to the program.


It’s the only program of its kind in Australia, with no other state having an ongoing program specifically designed to tackle homophobia and related issues.


The program primarily works in educating teachers, using a range of resources.


Josh Radcliffe from the Coalition says the program also visits schools which have a large number of students from non-English speaking backgrounds.


“Often it’s about broadening their awareness of diversity. One of the great things about working with linguistically and culturally diverse schools is they already have an understanding of what diversity means. Often it’s about getting them to broaden that understanding and raising that awareness that sexual and gender diversity is something that sits across all different cultures. I suppose once you start having these conversations, they can see how this is really important stuff as well.”


One resource that will be used by the Coalition is a film about a young man, originally a refugee from central Africa, who is rejected by his father when he tells him about his boyfriend.


The film was put together by a group of young people from different cultural backgrounds and looks at their experience of being same-sex attracted.


Leadership adviser with the Centre for Multicultural Youth in Melbourne, Alice Gomez, coordinated the project.


She hopes the film will start a conversation in different ethnic communities.


“That can be a really difficult thing to do because through our discussions with young people we’ve learnt that multicultural communities even the idea of homosexuality is not acknowledged or accepted. Sometimes it’s viewed as perhaps a phase that a young person might be going through, even sometimes a disease. We’ve heard some people believe that so starting these conversations can be really difficult and what we’ve tried to do in this Animate Change program is develop a short video which actually uses animation and illustration to tell the story of a father and a conflict he’s having with his gay son. And we’re hoping that this tool will actually be used to help start some of those conversations in multicultural communities, acknowledging that it can be a point of conflict and it can be a difficult time for families and communities. But there does need to be an open discussion an open dialogue about how to address those issues.”


Cici Zhang was involved in the workshops and helped make the film.


She got involved in the program after hearing about it through Yellow Kitty, an organisation which supports same-sex attracted women from various Asian backgrounds.


Born in China, she lived in America before migrating to Australia about a year ago.


Cici Zhang says cultural traditions which go back thousands of years make it very difficult for same-sex attracted people to lead free lives in China.


“Acceptance level is different in each country. In China you basically have underground gay and lesbian relationship, and there’s a lot of fake marriage going on. A lot of pressure from the family because of the filial piety thing that’s been going on for thousands of years. When I went back to visit my friends I found out that it was a bit hard for them. One friend almost got married to a guy she barely knows at all because of the family pressure. To have a fake marriage, that way she could continue her relationship even though afterwards you’re really financially tied up and stuff. Always it’s very interesting back in China.”


Cici Zhang says people like herself may come from family backgrounds where same-sex relationships aren’t acknowledged.


She says the film gives them a voice, and a sense of hope knowing that there are others who share their experience.


“Asian community in general is just not exactly coming out. I’m like the only one in the village kind of girl. That’s another reason why I wanted to do the change project. Because giving my kind a voice, that way they know that there are people like them that they can reach out to, and just opening that conversation at the dinner table or amongst their community, their friends or themselves.”


The resource is expected to be distributed to the Safe School Coalition which provides sexual diversity training to schools, and across various multicultural networks.

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Essendon’s AFL season is in freefall as the ASADA investigation bomb hovers overhead some time this week.


Essendon coach James Hird admitted the Bombers had been affected by another week of heavy speculation about possible penalties for their 2012 supplements program in their 53-point loss to West Coast at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

It was the Bombers’ third consecutive defeat by a combined total of 188 points, coinciding with the public pressure being ratcheted up on the club.

Hird admitted the obvious post-match – that his team is being affected by daily speculation over what penalties may be coming.

“There’s no doubt the speculation, the intensity of the press and the expectation of what’s to come can’t help but affect your preparation for the game,” Hird admitted.

“I think that’s across the board. I think the players were affected today. I think they were affected during the week.

“It was a big week in terms of off-field stuff.”

Tellingly the Bombers fell away badly in the last quarter to lose 18.12 (120) to 9.13 (67).

Adding to a bad day, Essendon veteran Dustin Fletcher was reported for high contact with Eagles utility Jamie Cripps in the last quarter.

It was Fletcher’s 378th senior game, equalling Simon Madden’s club record, and he can expect some sort of penalty.

In contrast, this was West Coast’s best win this season.

They started the round 11th, three games outside the top eight.

Eagles forward Mark LeCras returned from having his ribs crunched in the second term to star with five second-half goals.

Collingwood and Richmond both leap-frogged the Bombers after important wins on Saturday.

The Magpies, led by their midfield fab four of Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan, Dayne Beams and Luke Ball, stunned premiers Sydney by 29 points at ANZ Stadium.

And Richmond are finals-bound for the first time in 12 years after seeing off a late Brisbane charge to win by 23 points.

But Carlton’s finals hopes are all but extinguished after their 28-point loss to the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

North Melbourne’s season also looks cooked after a nine-point loss to Adelaide at AAMI Stadium on Sunday.

The Kangaroos, West Coast, Carlton, Brisbane and now the Crows can all still finish ninth – which could bring them into finals play if Essendon suffer a penalty for the supplements saga which eliminates them from the top eight.

On Sunday evening, Fremantle shored up their top four spot with a 113-point thrashing of Greater Western Sydney at Patersons Stadium.

The Dockers had 15 individual goalkickers in the 24.13 (157) to 6.8 (44) rout.

On Friday night, Hawthorn maintained top spot on the ladder with a 46-point win over St Kilda at Etihad Stadium.

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Tuesday was a day of war games for Kevin Rudd and Liberal costings were again in his sights.


The prime minister indulged himself in all things military – both real and rhetorical – while campaigning in North Queensland.

Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO), released in the morning, was “D-day for Mr Abbott when it comes to announcing his own bottom line”, Mr Rudd said.

Gleefully armed with comments from WA Liberal MP Don Randall, the prime minister claimed the cat had been belled on coalition plans to ditch its election platform.

The Canning MP had stated the obvious, that an Abbott government may have to review its program once it’s seen the nation’s book.

But Mr Rudd accused the coalition of a bit of “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” on their numbers.

“Whatever we say don’t really believe it because we, Mr Abbott’s team, are going to throw half of it overboard,” the PM told the media at a childcare centre in Townsville.

It’s not that the coalition can’t add up, he said in a rare show of praise.

But they didn’t want to come clean on what he again alleged to be $70 billion worth of cuts.

On a visit to Townsville’s Lavarack Barracks, the prime minister watched the artillery regiment run through exercises on two light weight Howitzers.

He was obviously impressed by the two 155mm guns – which have a range of more than 20 kilometres.

“I don’t have lungs like a Howitzer,” he said before an address to the soldiers, urging them to come closer.

“Not yet, anyway,” he joked, before labelling the weapons, not his lungs, “a critical capability” for the country.

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Spain coach Vicente del Bosque had left a number of regulars at home and used the game to give squad players a run-out with three under-21 internationals making their senior debuts.


Barcelona winger Cristian Tello, who set up Cazorla’s goal, Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez and Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke all featured in a game dominated by the visitors.

“It was a tough game. They were very physical but we developed our play and were able to achieve the win,” Tello, who played the full 90 minutes, told Spanish broadcaster Telecinco.

“To play with the senior team is a dream come true and I hope I will be able to play many more times with them.”

Spain, playing their first game since losing the Confederations Cup final 3-0 to Brazil in June, took control of the match while the hosts looked for chances on the break or from set pieces.

The game was halted briefly in the 11th minute as fans at the Monumental stadium rose to pay tribute to Ecuador forward Christian Benitez who died last month of a heart failure aged 27.

Benitez, who wore the number 11, had scored four goals in their World Cup qualifiers, making him Ecuador’s second top scorer in the campaign.

Spain’s David Silva and Andres Iniesta struck the post early on but it was Cazorla who made the opening for the first goal when his long-range shot was only parried.

The Arsenal midfielder picked up the rebound and squared for Negredo to score his seventh goal in 15 appearances with the coolest of touches.

Spain keeper Iker Casillas turned a fierce drive from Segundo Castillo round the post just before the break and Enner Valencia headed against the Spanish woodwork in the second period, as the game was disrupted with substitutions.

Tello’s neat backheel set Cazorla free into the area to score the second, crowning an impressive performance from the diminutive playmaker.

Spain and Ecuador are both on course to qualify for next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil.

Spain top European Group I with 11 points from five games, a point ahead of France, and they play third-placed Finland in Helsinki next month.

Ecuador are third in the South American qualifying group behind Argentina and Colombia.

(Writing by Mark Elkington in Madrid, editing by Ken Ferris)

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Australian 100m freestyle world champion James Magnussen aims to maintain his winning streak at this weekend’s World Cup short-course meet in Berlin and build on his Barcelona success.


The world championships finished in the Spanish city last Sunday, but the World Cup series kicked off in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, on Wednesday and Thursday before continuing in the German capital on Saturday and Sunday.

Having been beaten in the London 2012 Olympic final, Magnussen successfully defended his world 100m freestyle crown and backed it up with a World Cup victory in Eindhoven and aims to keep the wins ticking over in Berlin.

“I think it was a massive rebuilding phase for me over the last 12 months since the Olympics, so winning that race (the 100m final in Barcelona) meant a lot to me, not necessarily the time, but the result,” said the 22-year-old.

“Following on from that in Eindhoven, that was another massive confidence boost to get my first international short-course win, so I’d ideally like to repeat that in Berlin.”

In Eindhoven, Magnussen beat short-course world champion Vladimir Morozov on the wall in the 100m freestyle final, finishing just four hundredths of a second ahead of the Russian.

Magnussen is scheduled to race both the 50 and 100m freestyle this weekend, but said he will only swim the Eindhoven and Berlin legs of the World Cup series before heading back to Australia to take time off before training resumes in September ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The disappointment of finishing second in London fired Magnussen’s determination to bounce back in Barcelona.

“A rugby league player can have a bad game and go out the next week to redeem themselves at a major event, whereas I had to wait 12 months for a second chance,” he said of the period between the Olympics and Barcelona.

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“Definitely can do a lot more,” she said after her 6-2 6-0 victory over Romania’s Sorana Cirstea in Sunday’s final.


“It’s always about constantly improving and never saying I did great and I can be satisfied.

“It’s like I did great but what can I do better? What can I improve on? That’s what I always strive for.”

Williams won the French Open in June and has lost just three matches all year but the 31-year-old said her defeats to young American Sloane Stephens at the Australian Open and Germany’s Sabine Lisicki at Wimbledon had reminded her she needs to manage her on-court attitude.

“That could improve,” she said. “I get so intense and so emotionally charged, and I want it so bad that sometimes it works against me.”

Cirstea discovered first-hand just how motivated Williams is when she faced the ruthless world number one on Sunday and the unseeded Romanian said she was impressed by what she saw.

“She knows when to raise her level,” Cirstea said. “She knows when it’s enough to play and when she has to step it up.”

Williams rebounded from her shock loss to Lisicki at Wimbledon by winning a tournament in Sweden but was still unhappy at the way she played so returned to Florida to continue working with her coach, Frenchman Patrick Mouratoglou, and her father.

“I was really disappointed in how I played the last month,” she said. “Even though I won Sweden, I was not happy with the way I played.

“So I went home and was working with my dad a lot and just going back to the basics. I didn’t show it so much in (Toronto). Hopefully I can continue to bring that game out.”

Her victory on Sunday was Williams’ 54th career WTA singles title, elevating her to outright fifth on the all-time list.

Despite her incredible record, the American said she was still suffered from nerves and expected to have more when she starts her U.S. Open defence last this month.

“I think it almost is exciting to have butterflies, because it means that you care about it so much and you still get nervous,” she said.

“I think when the day comes and I’m not nervous and don’t have butterflies, then I need to start rethinking what I’m doing.”

(Reporting by Matt Cronin; Editing by Julian Linden)

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Fifty-five people are believed to have lost their lives, among them women and children.



Authorities decided to abandon the recovery of their bodies, saying resources were needed elsewhere.


Kristina Kukolja reports.


At around the time maritime authorities first registered the boat as being in trouble, 13 lifeless bodies were sighted in the water.


The search for survivors was called off after three days, but there’s no ongoing search for bodies.


The Australian Tamil Congress says it understands the need to redirect resources to assist other boats in Australian waters which may need help.


But spokesman Bala Vigneswaran says the bodies of the asylum-seekers who died in the Indian Ocean should be brought to shore.


“When they have ten naval vessels in the area, at least one could have stayed with the bodies and tried to recover them as long as it was safe to do so. We know lots of boats have sunk and some of them were saved. We need to find out how that happened and at least stay with them as a mark of respect for those bodies, not abandoning them. Sometimes it’s hurting because some of the communities really respect the dead and also to give the dignity and respect for the dead.”


Bala Vigneswaran says it’s not known whether any of the asylum-seekers on board the boat was of a Tamil background.


But he says in the absence of any concrete information, refugee communities will have questions about who the passengers were and why the boat sank.


And Mr Vigneswaran says some of them will be distressed, and they’ll be looking to the federal government for answers.


“The recent arrivals are originally from a Sri Lankan Tamil background or Afghan Hazara and also Iranians. We don’t know who they are. We don’t know exactly what happened, but when the community is concerned and when some people keep asking questions about who they are and what happened, naturally we’ll look at the government for answers. When that information is not forthcoming, naturally there is stress and pressure on community representatives to find out and people will make assumptions and guesses about what happened and who they were, but the simple answer is that we don’t know who they are and what happened and we are waiting for the government’s declaration of who they are or the country of origin.”


But Professor Donald Rothwell, from the Australian National University in Canberra, says he doesn’t believe Australia has a legal obligation to recover the deceased asylum-seekers’ bodies.


The international law expert says the global convention governing search and rescue operations in Australian waters defines obligations towards vessels in distress and their survivors.

“The convention is very comprehensive in that it basically divides the world’s oceans into what are called search and rescue regions. Australia’s search and rescue region encompasses about one tenth of the world’s ocean’s surface which makes Australia’s region one of the largest in the world. As a result of that Australia has an obligation to coordinate search and rescue within the Australian search and rescue region. That coordination in Australia is conducted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) which requires AMSA to deploy government assets such as customs vessels or naval vessels, or to alert merchant ships in a relevant search and rescue region area to respond to vessels in distress and to come to the aid of persons in distress and, obviously, survivors in the case where vessels have sunk at sea.”


And on the question of whether this incident could result in legal action against Australia over possible claims it didn’t act soon enough to rescue the asylum-seekers, Professor Rothwell says:


“For an international legal issue to arise it would really be dependent upon the flag state of the vessel which has sunk to actually raise its concern and to explore its options for international litigation. Now, most of the vessels that are appearing on Australia’s coastline are those that are coming at the moment from Indonesia or Sri Lanka, so it would really be up to the Indonesian and Sri Lankan governments to raise their concerns with Australia if they somehow felt there was some form of premature abandonment of search and rescue operations for their own flagged vessels that are in distress.”


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