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By Chloe Lewis


Curtin University’s Dean of Teaching and Learning for the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Professor Teri Balser has brought to life the latest Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Environmental Studies: A Global Perspective.

The MOOC was proposed and designed by Professor Teri Balser with the help of Professor Joseli Macedo, and the CurtinX team.

The course is designed to engage the community on a global scale.  

It is also designed to suit the everyday person rather than a select group of individuals.

“This isn’t a class for the academic elite. It’s for all of us,” Professor Teri Balser said.

The availability and academic access to this free course is an important step for education revolving around the environment, and the relationship the community has with the environment on a global scale.

The environment is a core part of our communities, so understanding and knowing how we interact and affect the environment is of public interest, and paramount for the two to be sustainable.

“To me there is nothing more important than raising public awareness of environmental issues. Not only that, even more critical is having people recognize that environmental studies is not the same as science. Science is science,” Professor Balser said.

The course is six weeks long and aims to provide a framework and basic introduction to issues and particular topics within environmental studies.

Participants will listen to core videos throughout the length of the course, and will hear from featured experts.

They will apply what they’ve learned to their own hometown or environment, sharing it with the rest of us, and completing a final portfolio about environmental issues where they live.

Professor Teri Balser said the real heart of the course will be seeing what others share.

“We are excited to see this coming into being and we really look forward to learning from and with everyone,” Professor Teri Balser said.

Professor Balser said she hopes the course will help people to see their world and community a little differently, and help them to recognize protecting our environment, and ensuring our wellbeing as a species, involves all of us, in every area and career.

Leaders in environmental studies such as Professor Balser, Professor Macedo and the CurtinX team have taken unique and measurable steps in involving the community.

The future success of this course may not equate to something major however, the significance is that these are important building blocks for creating a better relationship with the environment.

If one or a few people get involved and interested in environmental studies, then that is the difference that Professor Teri Balser aims to achieve.

The MOOCs Environmental Studies: A Global Perspective began on September 12, 2016 and is still open to enrolment.

By: Jonathon Davidson


The Australian branch of an Israeli-owned weapons manufacturer, Elbit Systems Australia, donated $12m to the Royal Flying Doctor Service in April this year for a new flight simulator. The flight simulator allows better training of potential pilots, and it’s likely the technology will save lives. But Elbit Systems, the company that paid for and provided the new simulator, ultimately depend on taking lives away in international warzones to continue existing.

So, in all seriousness – does that mean the Royal Flying Doctor Service are now partially complicit in war? Ultimately, it is hard to intersect the Hippocratic oath with the profit model of an Israeli weapons manufacturer.

When someone says “drone warfare,” it brings up dramatic images in our minds of bombing raids in foreign countries that we understand are vaguely Arab but probably couldn’t identify. Most Australians are aware that companies selling weapons and military vehicles for profit exist, but it seems like the kind of thing which largely goes on outside of Australia. It’s a safe bet most of us would feel more familiar with movies regarding the subject, than actual real-world company names. This might have seemed especially true if you live in the countryside, but now one significant player in the military industrial complex have a curious tie to everyday outback Australia.

Making Money Saving Lives vs. Making Money Taking Them 

Just in case the purchase of a flight simulator for RFDS by Elbit Systems Australia appears to be a non-issue with no larger philosophical dilemmas at hand, maybe it’s better to look at it the following way.

Elbit Systems, a company who depend on international instability and state-sponsored warfare to make a profit, bought the Royal Flying Doctor Service, a company who depend on saving lives, a brand spanking new flight simulator for their base in Dubbo, NSW.

Here, there is no point moralising about whether or not any company should be able to profit off war. They are there, probably here to stay, and that’s that.

Elbit Systems’ profit model literally depends upon the ongoing taking of lives across the world. This sounds sensational at first, but upon consideration, it’s completely logical: if there was no perceived need to take life there would be no market for weapons. Simply and truly, war is the profit model. Meanwhile, the RFDS’ profit model literally depends upon saving the lives of rural Australians. As if it wasn’t already clear, it’s no great leap to suggest that the two industries are diametrically opposed.

Orthodox critics might be quick to point out that Elbit Systems don’t purely just design weapons, and you could argue that flight simulation technology is one of Elbit Systems’ most developed and popular sales packages, and that on the grounds of being a legitimate service provider, there is nothing wrong with this contract.

And on one level that’s true, so long as you accept an incredibly narrow perception on larger implications.

Considerations Regarding Company Scope 

Simulation technology is only one small part of Elbit Systems’ total range of services – the company manufacture explosives and ammunition, and the equipment and vehicles required to launch them. Elbit Systems design and manufacture war-resistant vehicles like tanks and their corresponding parts, they design and manufacture unmanned drones and the optics technologies they are equipped with, they design and manufacture surveillance and counter-surveillance software, and they also design the software required to launch weapons from an unmanned vehicle thousands of miles away in another country.

So there is some definite broad culpability at play here, no matter which way you look at it. And, speaking of all things Elbit close to home, if we step outside the realm of flight simulators – they have a number of contracts with the Australian defence force, too. According to one news source, they straight out supplied our military in 2010.

In short, Elbit Systems aren’t just ‘indirectly’ involved in the western military industrial complex, and it isn’t controversial to suggest their equipment has likely led to casualties  – Elbit Systems are key players and providers. Furthermore, the purchasing of a flight simulator for the RFDS is not the full extent of their role in Australia.

Here, there is no point moralising about whether or not any company should be able to profit off war. They are there, probably here to stay, and that’s that. But in the context of funding the RFDS, there’s the ethical issue that Elbit Systems sell the weaponry to Israel which is used against Palestine. Elbit Systems are an Israeli company operating in cooperation with the Israeli military, after all. So when we’re informed of artillery strikes on the Gaza Strip, against occupied borders, into hospitals and schools: the tangible pieces of equipment responsible for these acts are the responsibility of providers like Elbit Systems. And these are the same actions which our government condemns.

Identifying Responsibility 

In short, Elbit Systems aren’t just ‘indirectly’ involved

These considerations need to be taken on board with regard to the $12m in funding for the RFDS simulator, because it raises the question of where exactly those twelve million dollars came from. That $12m represents profits from a pool of income which have come not only from flight simulation and software sales, but also the sale of highly sophisticated weaponry to the armies of the developed world – Israel, America, NATO, and us. Those expendable profits represent countless rounds and warheads which only sometimes eliminate their intended targets, as recent events have reminded us.

Australia has just admitted to being involved in an accidental bombing raid on our own allies in Syria, and our jets have been implicated in bombing raids on the Middle East before now in a number of conflicts. Australia has pledged its allegiance with America and Britain and it has even become an official target for terrorism in the encouraging monologues of ISIS propagandists. In short, we are no longer neutral bystanders – and as mentioned, Elbit Systems have a number of contracts with the Australian government, so in more than one way we are closer to the questions surrounding Elbit’s deal with RFDS than we’d perhaps like to be.

Implications for the Royal Flying Doctor Service 

If technology from Elbit Systems has led to civilian deaths, which is statistically likely given their expansive customer base, does that mean that the RFDS are benefiting off the proceeds of war crimes? I’ll admit that maybe it’s a stretch to go that far, but it’s also a stretch to go as far as saying that RFDS are completely innocent after taking the $12m.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service are Australia’s most iconic rural health care provider by far. If you have a serious car crash on the Nullarbor, it’s unlikely that you will be getting to a hospital without the Flying Doctor. The service is what it sounds like: specially designed small planes equipped with the same machines that you’d find in an ambulance respond to calls across Australia in hard-to-access locations and deliver emergency patients to hospitals in metropolitan areas with the technology required to save that patient’s life. It’s hard to find sterile world class equipment if your heart carks it on a cattle station.

Thanks to Elbit Systems and their generous $12m funding injection, the RFDS can train their pilots with more efficiency than ever before, thanks to the new cutting-edge flight simulator, which accurately mimics the cockpit and handling of a ‘Beechcraft King Air’ plane, the same type which the RFDS have in their fleet. It’s no doubt that this flight simulator will help to save lives, but it comes at the expense of many other lives before them in a different country in wars which Australia now have a stake in. It is this fact – along with the principle role of the Royal Flying Doctor Service – that make the case of its peculiar funding partnerships so interesting.

Is Technology Neutral?

Despite the presence of modern technologies designed to minimise risks typically associated with “outdated” equipment, like accidentally bombing civilians or your own allies, the most sophisticated armies in the developed world – that’s us, along with America, Britain and Israel – continue to demonstrate failings which cost unnecessary human lives. This throws the efficacy of the technology into question – the bombing of our own allies in Syria was due to human error, and unmanned drones are ultimately bound to the same folly in one way or another, either during construction, flight or interaction.

Perhaps, admittedly, there is something inherently innocent about a flight simulator. But even then, maybe this isn’t the case if the simulated flight is that of an aircraft designed to hold weapons.

And then that raises interesting questions about what exactly the $12m Elbit Systems gave the RFDS for – perhaps the ethical dilemmas are actually lessened by the nature of what they purchased. If that $12m was from a pool of profit made largely from selling weaponry, is it possibly permissible that it went towards a flight simulator, and not towards the purchase of medical supplies? Would it be any ‘worse,’ due to the hypocrisy, or any less a cause for inquiry, if that money instead purchased defibrillators, or anesthetics, or bandages? These are the types of questions which obviously have no correct answer one way or the other, but do promote some serious ethical pondering.

Perhaps, if the RFDS flight simulator had come from funding by the Department of Defence, there would be less of an dilemma. The broader issue here at hand is not that war and medicine have become interlinked. This is not a new development – war medics, for instance, are an identifiable character of many warzone scenes either real or imagined, and there is a close historical link between battleground wounds and the always improving pool of medical knowledge and practice.

There is also the additional factor that all things considered, if the reader will allow a dose of cynicism – the purchase of a flight simulator for the RFDS by Elbit Systems was likely a PR move, like when BP commission an artist to paint something positive on a wall somewhere. Perhaps the history of contracts between Elbit Systems and the Australian government and military have led to some friendships which allowed a sweet deal for RFDS.

Defining Operations 

The broader issue at hand is the link between a medical provider and a weapons manufacturer. If we accept that an individual soldier cannot be charged with murder in a warzone because they are following orders, then it is hard to find any party more culpable than the entity who provided the weapons used and the parties who purchased them.

Perhaps there is no better provider for a realistic flight simulator than a company who have a massively invested interest in unmanned flight, and from one angle, the decision is perfectly sound. I am assuming that the RFDS are happy with their new training facilities, and the fact that now they can charge pilots for training sessions and make a buck. Bucks are something that the RFDS have needed, and to be fair, it’s unlikely that they are in the position to reject a funding proposition from anyone at this point in time. It’s equally unlikely that everybody at RFDS is overjoyed by the partnership.

Ultimately, the people who are rescued by the Royal Flying Doctor after experiencing emergencies in remote bushland probably don’t give a flying about whether or not their pilot received training on equipment purchased by the profits of war or not, and we shouldn’t endorse any scenario where the Royal Flying Doctor receive no funding. However, in the name of upholding democracy and a beneficial economy, in the same way that political donations should be scrutinised, so too should the actions of powerful companies whose actions massively impact on human life in any combination of ways.

Convicted drink drivers will have to give a breath test inside their own cars from the 24th of October next month, according to the Road Safety Commission.

Anybody caught committing a repeat drunk driving offense, or a ‘high level’ DUI offense, will be liable to receive the interlock system, which is a device attached to the ignition of the car.

Drivers will have to blow into the device and register a clear blood alcohol reading before the mechanism allows the car to start.

A new media campaign has launched today, featuring an obligatory bleak PSA surrounding the new road safety technology and the shame one will feel while using it, which is probably true.

The device is reportedly worth $1600 and will likely be placed on the recipient.

Anybody with an interlock system in their car will have their license flagged and is required to visit a service provider monthly to ‘analyse performance data.’

The ‘interlock scheme’ is being adopted for five years, but will only count for offences made after the measures are implemented.

 

 

 

Words By: Laurent Shervington


 

Hey Harry, how’s it going?

Feeling good, feeling great, how are you?

For those unaware, who is Ah Trees and how long have you been a thing?

Ah Trees is myself (Harry) on bass, Ryan on vocals, Charles & Troy on guitars and Zach hitting the drums. We’ve been performing as a band since August last year, we’ve released two singles previously (bodies & chippy) and have played some awesome shows with great bands.

How do you guys feel you fit into the Perth scene at the moment? 

We have a lot of fun making music that we enjoy which we’re then lucky enough to share in venues across Perth with other musicians who are usually our mates, or if not soon will be. We don’t really give it much more thought than that as far as scenes go.

Any local bands you’re particularly enjoying recently?

There’s too many to mention! The guys are vibing in no particular order… Feels, Kitchen People, Moon Puppy Blues Band, Leopard Lake, Segue Safari, The Crystal Moth, Western Kinsmen of the Sun, Kopano, & SSLL | N/K.

So new single ‘Team Sports’, where did the idea for this come from?

The lyrics came from Ryan’s experiences while travelling in Asia, a few good, a few great, and some not so. The idea Team Sports came about once we’d finished recording the track, we were sitting outside the studio and someone mentioned how one of us was behaving in an unsportsmanlike manner, and it kind of went from there…

What was it like working with Sam Ford (POND, Abbe May, Peter Bibby)? 

It was great, we’ve worked with him before in the past in other projects so we knew what we were getting into from the get go. That being said each time we go into the studio we learn and grow as musicians and as a band. Sam really helped facilitate that. Our previous recordings were mostly done in Ryan’s home studio, so it was great to make full use of a professional studio and Sam’s talents.

’Team Sports’ is your third single in a row, any plans for a full release soon? 

Sure do, we saved up our pennies and recorded an EP which we’re releasing in November, Team Sports is the lead single from that.We’ll be going on national tour in November, travelling to Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and here in Perth at Mojo’s.

What can we expect from your set at The Bird on Friday?

We make music to get people dancing, it’s what we love doing and we want people to get those vibes and groove too. It’ll be a big party, we’ve got both Troy and Zach’s birthday this week, Troy’s on the Friday night! So it will be a whole lot of fun and lots of energy.

Finally, what lies in the future for Ah Trees?

We’ve got a lot of great shows lined up from now till the new year and with the single launch, EP release and national tour we’ll be busy boys. And can’t wait!

 

Words by: Jonathon Davidson


Director General (CEO) of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs Cliff Weeks will be given complete control of Aboriginal Heritage registrations and applications in WA under an amendment to Aboriginal Heritage law currently in the lower house.

If the amendment passes, the CEO may, at their own discretion – that is, without external consultation – declare that there is no Aboriginal heritage value on any particular ground or site, constrained only by their obligation to publish that decision in a gazette.

Applications for use of land which might consist of Aboriginal heritage material do not need to be forwarded to any committee unless the CEO of the DAA sees it fit, again massively reducing the distribution of executive power within the DAA.

The role of evaluating heritage value in Aboriginal land sites, including current listings and future applications for protection, is currently shared between the CEO of the DAA, the acting Minister, and the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee.

But the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Bill 2014 seeks to remove this provision from the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972, which currently states that the ACMC, one of three DAA committees, must be consulted and assist with assignments or denials of heritage status.

The proposed amendment to WA Aboriginal heritage law has entered parliament for the third time in as many years, following the revelation last July that 3,000 heritage sites have been de-registered under the Barnett government.

Furthermore, the amendment bill requires that the ACMC must now produce a full report for the CEO every time an application is handled, which will likely promote a culture where the committee is rarely consulted due to time constraints.

Under the 1972 act, the committee need only give “notice” of their stance.

The CEO – who is not the Minister, keep in mind – may override committee decisions.

The bill will also see the acting elected Minister act in subservience to the Director General.

Worth mentioning for a second time is that this is the third time the bill has entered state parliament,  and the rules it seeks to install have received criticism every time it pops up.

Words by Jonathon Davidson


The cost of storing every Australian’s data for 2 years has come out at $128 million, spread across 180 different companies. This does now confirm the total number of ISPs who were affected by the legislation, and confirms that small providers won’t be completely phased out of the game.

But, these announcements have come out fairly late. In April this year, it broke that Telecommunications companies were still “in the dark” over how much money they would be receiving for the appropriate establishment of equipment required to store customer data for a two year period.

The $128m package announced today requires that ISPs agree on a funding policy contract, wherein 50% of the grant will be given upfront upon signing – the other 50% will come after companies “complete reporting requirements.”

Because ISPs have not yet received any money, one is tempted to wonder about whether or not any companies actually started retaining metadata at all following the announcement in October 2015 that it was now law to do so. The wording attached to the grant provisions sure seems to reflect that work is yet to begin.

Given profit intake, one can assume that Telstra, Optus and Vodafone likely had the capacity to begin storing excess data at the drop of the hat, but the capabilities of the majority – that is, small-scale service providers far from attracting customers nation wide – are far more questionable.

It’s plausible that without this boost of financial assistance, many small scale ‘telcos’ were simply unable to retain data, and have not been doing so. Companies have been stranded without help for over a year now. However, the CEO of Internet Australia has told tech journalists that metadata legislation left ISPs to carry the burden of cost without knowing what they’d get back, so there are suggestions that many small-scale ISPs have hauled themselves onto the bandwagon.

While things remain unclear and largely speculative – this is the largest announcement in 11 months – there’s the added factor of the impending deadline – we’ve got less than a year of the metadata retention trial to go, seeing as the trial period is set to end in August 2017.

Of course, that didn’t stop 60 agencies in Australia from applying for warrantless access to metadata databases, most of them not involved with national security at all.

An official document has been released by the Attorney-General’s department which lists the exact cut each of the 180 ISPs are receiving.

Metadata has come back into the light recently following the Nauru Files, and more importantly, the eerie lack of official response (beyond that which came from Peter Dutton, predictably). Some have suggested that the Nauru Files incident might be the first time we see provisions surrounding journalists’ personal data acted upon under the legislation – namely, the “Journalist Information Warrant scheme.”

There is the ulterior issue of George Brandis having been ordered to check himself before he wrecks himself and “reconsider” an FOI application requesting access to George Brandis’s diary.

FOI requests are routinely rejected on the grounds that finding requested information would take too long to find, only to be overturned by courts who routinely judge that no, actually, they wouldn’t. That is exactly what a Federal Court in Sydney found today, ruling against the Attorney General’s departmental decision to block an FOI request from Labor’s Mark Dreyfus. Back to FOI rejections, this podcast talks a lot about that, it’s a good one. So does this one. Alternatively, read about it here.

Words By: Anthony Worrall


On Saturday night, the Rosemount Hotel hosted the Grand Final of the Big Splash competition, with Moon Puppy Blues Band, Segue Safari, POW! Negro and Moistoyster all vying for the prize. Overall, Moon Puppy Blues Band finished fourth and Segue Safari third, while Moistoyster were the runners-up and POW! Negro were the eventual winners of the Big Splash 2016. 2015 WAM Song of the Year & Big Splash Enchantment Award winner Beni Bjah also performed.

What should be considered as one of the biggest nights on the WA music scene calendar did not disappoint – while one act had to win & one had to come fourth, there was very little difference in talent & quality between all of them.

The unlucky first slot of the night didn’t turn out so badly for second-placed Moistoyster, who played a lively set to an unfortunately small crowd. Their beach-rock slacker vibes were a great start to the night. Drawing influence from garage rock acts like Wavves, they delivered power & intensity in a way that it seemed effortless – their look matched their lax, surf-rock style, however extended psych jams in songs such as ‘Angel’ showcased their true musical ability.

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Image credit: Rachael Barrett

 

Up second were Moon Puppy Blues Band, who delivered tight, dreamy psych-blues grooves that massaged the ears. The set’s highlight was ‘My Trailer Park Sweetheart’, a song that showcased the strong melancholy baritone sound of the vocalist, which sounded like a blend between indie-folk artist Beirut and Devon Welsh from Majical Cloudz. They closed with a high-intensity instrumental that erupted from the tense grooves they’d been playing all set. It was a shame they finished fourth, however as a young group, they should go on to do bigger & better things.

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Image credit: Rachael Barrett

After a brief break, the six-piece jazz-hip hop & eventual winners POW! Negro played a fiery set that was entirely deserving of their eventual accolade. Energising the crowd & spitting lines with the passion & conviction of Zac de la Rocha at his peak, lead vocalist Nelson Mondlane immediately made an impression and turned the previously slightly ambivalent crowd into a bouncing mass of energy. The instrumentation was as volatile as it was impressive – it acted as a smooth, tight rhythmic platform upon which Mondlane lyrically bounced all over, while also instantaneously transforming into pulsating & intense breakdowns. This range was incredible to witness – one minute they sounded like the smooth, jazzy expansive audio velvet of Kevin Parker-produced Koi Child; the next guitarist Lachlan Dymond was smashing out a Tom Morello-esque guitar solo over a powerful nü-metal groove. This change of dynamic & style also occurred more gradually within songs, particularly one where the band rasped to an almost post-rock-like crescendo, led by a rasping saxophone lead. The majority of their material was from their upcoming EP, set for release in October.

 

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Image credit: Rachael Barrett

Before Segue Safari launched their set, there was a brief interview with last year’s winner, Jacob Diamond, who offered interesting insight into how the competitive structure can affect mindset & performance. Afterwards, Segue Safari rolled out and sounded the best this writer has ever heard them. Maybe it was the reliably excellent sound setup at the Rosemount, but their lush, textured chorus-y sound was instantly and consistently delicious & delightful. This sound has become their trademark – it’s very rare for a local band to have such a developed sound, and to see it performed in such an excellent fashion was incredibly rewarding.

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Image credit: Rachael Barrett

While the judging panel of Bob Gordon, Jennifer Aslett, Caitlin Nienaber, Mitch McDonald and Vanessa Thornton decided on the final standings, Big Splash Enchantment Award & 2015 WAM Song of the Year (for the song ‘Survivors’) Award winner Beni Bjah took the stage. His abrasive, hard-hitting hip-hop was without doubt the most socially conscious music of the night, with absolute banger ‘Survivors’ highlighting the disgraceful treatment of indigenous Australians by white governance. One of the most important social issues facing Australia today yet simultaneously completely ignored in public political discourse, the unforgiving fashion in which Bjah described his personal experience & advocated for greater understanding of indigenous culture was confronting yet motivating. This concept of minority social groups voicing their experience through music is a core idea of hip-hop, and it was a shame to see Bjah not in the running for the prize with the other acts.

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Image credit: Rachael Barrett

Finally, the outcome was delivered, and as expected, there were mixed emotions across the four finalists. While POW! Negro deserve nothing but praise for their entirely deserved reward, the other three groups are all still thoroughly entertaining and talented acts, and will go onto big & greater things as well.

Words By: Laurent Shervington



Hello, how are you? Where in the world are you currently?

I’m good thanks. I’m in Cardiff, at home. It’s just gone half past nine in the morning here.

So your awesome debut album ‘Y Dydd Olaf’ is nearing it’s 2 year anniversary, how do you feel about now looking back on it?

It’s been quite nice as I’ve been recording the second album recently so I’ve had some time to reflect on everything. I think when you travel a lot you don’t get a chance to take everything in as well because you’re constantly moving. But it’s been a bit of whirlwind, the whole period has been crazy, I’ve had a baby in that time and it’s been fantastic. It’s been an incredibly positive and welcoming experience looking back.

How did you find the songs translated to a live setting?

It’s kind of been evolving over the past couple of years really – there’s always been a constant balance between the electronic side of what I’m doing and the live side. The last album was made on a laptop with a lot of processing and work from the producer, so I think the sound has evolved a lot from their original form. It’s a learning experience for me, but they’re still pop songs as well and I have a sense of story behind them.

Do you prefer recording/song writing to live to live performance? Which do you think is overall more satisfying?

I really like both, I’m recording my second album now and it’s really exciting. With writing there’s this initial fear and you worry and agonise for a long time about what you’re going  write about. You can kind of forget that that you’ve ever written a song and then all of a sudden something triggers your imagination and you’re in the middle of it. There’s nothing more exciting then discovering sound and discovering chords and lyrics and all of those things that happen when you write a song. Playing live is brilliant because you connect with other people, it’s an open-ended conversation essentially as a performer. It’s a call and response that you have with the audience. They’re very different experiences, but I love them both.

You mention you’re working on your new album, what stage are you at with that?

Yeah! I’m getting there. I have a framework of what it is, I’ve written a lot of the songs and I’m really excited about it. It’s nice reflecting on what I’ve got so far, like looking back on the debut. It’s exciting and feeds into playing live, which I’m very excited to do in Australia.

Would you say the second album is in a similar vein to your debut, are you pushing a particular part of your sound further?

I think in sentiment, I was born in a Welsh-Cornish household and I’m interested in a kind of alternative history to mainstream narriatives. I suppose it is on a similar path, exploring more and I think I’ve learnt a lot since then. I’m hoping it’ll be an evolving thing.

Any release dates in mind?

I think probably next summer. That’s the idea I think, I’m really excited about it.

So I understand you’re going on tour soon, what places are you going?

Well I’ve got a couple more gigs in the UK and then one in the Netherlands, it’s been quite a busy period.

I understand it’s your first Australian tour, are you excited?

As a solo artist yes it is, I’ve been a few times with my old band in 2008 and I played keyboards with PNAU so I’ve been a few times. Really enjoyed it, very very excited to come back.

Catch Gwenno at Mojos on the 8th of October – Tickets here

Words by: Jonathon Davidson


Less than a month after the announcement of Manus Island’s imminent shutdown, the private security company responsible for managing Manus, Broadspectrum, has been highlighted as the preferred candidate to handle domestic court and custodial security in Western Australia.

Broadspectrum employees have been involved in a number of abuse allegations on both Manus and Nauru island detention facilities.

This means that multinational “services provider” Serco will likely take a step back from the operation of courts, sticking instead to the management of WA’s prisons and domestic detention centres, along with larger contracts like Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Serco and Broadspectrum are both similar in that they are private companies who enlist privately sourced employees to ultimately police detention centres and prisons. Serco is a british owned company.

Broadspectrum are an Australian company who used to be named Transfield. That name they changed following a number of controversies and abuse allegations coming out of Nauru Island a few months into their management of it. Their website is still transfieldservices.com.

Transfield and their subcontracters Wilson Security were both included in the controversial Moss Review.

The Moss Review was an independent report into allegations of abuse and criminal activity on Nauru Island, within the Australian-owned detention facilities. The report was highly contested by immigration minsiter Peter Dutton, and the government resposne to the report was widely condemned both by the opposition and other interest groups and individuals.

The liberal party – particularly Peter Dutton – played on a suggestion that incidents of self-harm on Nauru had been encouraged by charity aid workers, thereby deligitimising any evidence of actual suffering. The Moss Review found no evidence of this claim, nor did it find evidence suggesting that claims of rape, child abuse and smuggling were fabricated either, which in part was why it received so much backlash.

Despite multiple suggestions that reports of abuse on Nauru are exaggerated, no evidence has ever been found to suggest that inmates are lying to manipulate foreign interests – that Australian detention facilities have so far housed multiple suicide attempts, successful suicides and instances of self-immolation is suggestion enough that somewhere along the line, abuse is a legitimate concern.

Transfield had, at the time, taken over the management of Manus Island from G4, another private security company, who also suffer from tainted public perceptions.

This pattern is typical of neoliberal governance, where state services are outsourced to private contractors who both inflate contract scopes and responsibilities to make higher sums off of government departments, and also enjoy a far decreased degree of regulation and inspection than do the state.

Because of this – and the nature of private security firms, where a typical profile of employee is encouraged for hire wherein the risk of workplace incident is greatly increased – publics are typically sceptical of the integrity of these management regimes, which actively endorse the restriction of citizen and media access to information, restrict the freedom of travel, and ultimately design a profit model on the backs of those people incarcerated and viewed as disposables.

Broadspectrum is owned by Italian “service provider” Ferrovial, who have been involved in an equal number of questionable incidents regarding prisoner management.

Like every questionable corporation, Broadspectrum’s ‘established history of community involvement’ is cited as the reason for provider selection.

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