Saturday, February 28, 2015

Australians Tweeting for #MotherLanguage Day

What is your first language? Do you use it on social media or in other communications? From my latest post for Global Voices:

Even though more than 7,000 languages are spoken in the world, the Internet is dominated by a handful of them. For International Mother Language on 21 February 2015, Global Voices was part of an international community which promoted the campaign to Tweet in Your #MotherLanguage.

In Australia, it is estimated had between 300 and 400 Indigenous languages at the time of British colonisation in 1788. Of those remaining today, perhaps only a few dozen remain strong while many of the others are threatened.

Australians Shake Up Internet With Indigenous #MotherLanguage Tweets

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Federal Government considering welfare card to limit spending on fast foods

The Australian Federal Government proposes to crackdown on the use of welfare payments at fast food outlets. This would be part of a new welfare card designed to stop people from spending the majority of their government benefits on alcohol, gambling and poor diet.

A trial is to take place involving fast food giants McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Coded named ‘No fries with that”, welfare recipients will be restricted to one unhappy meal per week per family.

The Minister responsible for the Obesity Epidemic, Kevin Morrison, is to join a fat finding mission to the United Kingdom next month. The British government is currently considering cutting welfare benefits to people who will not undergo treatment for drug problems and obesity.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Malcolm Trudge, insists that the card will not only apply to indigenous people. He has emphasised that, “it would not apply just to Indigenous people. It would be colour-blind. It would apply to everybody according to a set of criteria”. The installation of weighing machines in Centrelink offices could be the first step in establishing benchmarks.

As spokesperson for the Trans Fat National Foods Association, Colonel Ronald Sanders, has responded, “The government must weigh its options carefully. They cannot afford to clown around with people’s health”.

Monday, February 16, 2015

‘St Valentine’s Day Massacre’ at Melbourne Cricket Ground #AUSvENG

Really enjoyed writing this post for Global Voices: Cricket World Cup: 'St Valentine’s Day Massacre' at Melbourne Cricket Ground

...The thousands of tweets about the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) match fell into a number of clear categories. The majority were descriptions of the action and scores, such as those above. The next most common involved either triumph or disaster. A recurring theme amongst England supporters was the sorry state of their team and their performance.

...Aussie supporters revelled in their team’s dominance... However, some were unforgiving when it came to individual players.

...Cricket commentators and celebrities were frequent targets, especially Oz cricket icon Shane Warne and the Mail Online’s Piers Morgan.

...A meme soon emerged comparing England to the minor cricket nations.

...There were other more serious political connections. Protesters gained some support online.

...Finally, the Valentine’s Day meme popped up numerous times, culminating in the inevitable cliché:


Friday, February 6, 2015

Last-Minute Pleas to Stop Indonesia's Execution of Two Australian Drug Smugglers

The vigils continue for Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan. My roundup for Global Voices of online reactions to the latest developments:

Tony Abbott says he has done everything he can but will not engage in “megaphone diplomacy”, according to the Jakarta Post. Many are not convinced:
Last-Minute Pleas Pour In to Stop Indonesia's Execution of Two Australian Drug Smugglers