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Law and the Quest for Gender Equality »

Authored by: Margaret Thornton
Publication date: 2022
As law was a means of legitimating the subordination of women and their exclusion from the public sphere for centuries, it cannot be expected to become a source of equality instantaneously without resistance from benchmark men, that is, those who are white, heterosexual, able-bodied and middle class. Equality, furthermore, was attainable only in the public sphere, whereas the private sphere was marked as a site of inequality; a wife, children and servants could never be the equals of the master. Despite ambivalence about the role of law and its contradictions, women and Others nevertheless felt that they had no alternative but to look to law as a means of liberation. This skewed patriarchal heritage has continued to impede the quest for equality by women and Others and is the subtext of this collection of essays. It informs not only gender relations in the private sphere, as illustrated by domestic violence and sexual assault, but also the status of women in the public sphere. Despite the fact that women have entered the paid workforce, including the professions in large numbers, they are still expected to assume responsibility for the preponderance of society’s caring. The essays show how maternal and caring roles, which are still largely viewed as belonging to an unregulated private sphere, continue to be invoked to detract from the authority of the feminine in the public sphere. The promise of anti-discrimination legislation in overcoming the heritage of the past is also shown to be somewhat hollow.

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Lilith: A Feminist History Journal: Number 28 »

Publication date: 2022
New research in this issue of Lilith includes studies of feminist vegetarian activism in Victorian England; the lives of Japanese businesswomen in North Queensland before 1941; negotiations of gender amongst women combatants in Tigray, Ethiopia; and the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on women. Each of the four research articles draws upon new sources and interpretations that shed light on the varied experiences of women within and beyond Australia, often challenging established norms or assumptions about progress. In ‘Vegetarians, Vivisection and Violationism’, Ruby Ekkel explores the centrality of vegetarianism to the activities and lived experience of noted Victorian activist Anna Kingsford. Tianna Killoran’s article ‘Sex, soap and silk’ draws on newly accessible sources in moving beyond traditional narratives that characterise Japanese women in interwar North Queensland as impoverished sex workers. In ‘A Soldier and a Woman’, Francesca Baldwin examines how women combatants in Tigray, Ethiopia, negotiated the connections and collisions between soldiering and womanhood during and after the 1974–91 civil war. Petra Brown and Tamara Kayali Browne’s article ‘Relational Autonomy: Addressing the Vulnerabilities of Women in a Global Pandemic’ explores how the individualistic/atomistic model of autonomy in responses to Covid-19 has disproportionately disadvantaged women. This issue also contains nine short essay responses from experienced gender scholars—including Ann Curthoys, Sharon Crozier-De Rosa, Catherine Kevin, Ann McGrath, Janet Ramsey, Yves Rees, Madeleine C. Seys, Jordana Silverstein, and Zora Simic—to the question ‘What does it mean to do feminism in 2022?’ These essays reveal the political power of feminist history-making, since, as Ann Curthoys argues in her essay, feminist history is itself a form of activism. Taken together, these research articles and essays, along with the editorial, demonstrate the fallibility of the notion of history being a narrative of linear progress without relevance to our current reality. They urge against political complacency about the Covid-19 pandemic, colonialism or women's oppression as existing only in the past.

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Something's Gotta Change »

Redefining Collaborative Linguistic Research

Authored by: Lesley Woods
Publication date: 2022
Indigenous people are pushing back against more than 200 years of colonisation and rejecting being seen by the academy as ‘subjects’ of research. A quiet revolution is taking place among many Indigenous communities across Australia, a revolution insisting that we have control over our languages and our cultural knowledge – for our languages to be a part of our future, not our past. We are reclaiming our right to determine how linguistic research takes place in our communities and how we want to engage with the academy in the future. This book is an essential guide for non-Indigenous linguists wanting to engage more deeply with Indigenous communities and form genuinely collaborative research partnerships. It fleshes out and redefines ethical linguistic research and work with Indigenous people and communities, with application beyond linguistics. By reassessing, from an Indigenous point of view, what it means to ‘save’ an endangered language, Something’s Gotta Change shows how linguistic research can play a positive role in keeping (maintaining) or putting (reclaiming) endangered languages on our tongues.

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How Government Experts Self-Sabotage »

The Language of the Rebuffed

Authored by: Christiane Gerblinger
Publication date: 2022
After official policy advice to governments is publicly released, governments are often accused of ignoring or rejecting their experts. Commonly represented as politicisation, this depiction is superficial. Digging deeper, is there something about the official advice itself that makes it easy to ignore? Instead of lamenting a demise of expertise, Christiane Gerblinger asks: does the expert advice of policy officials feature characteristics that invite its government audience to overlook or misread it? To answer this question, Gerblinger critically examines official policy advice and finds the language of the rebuffed: government experts reluctant to disclose what they know so as to accommodate political circumstances. She argues that this language evades stable meaning and diminishes the democratic right of citizens to scrutinise the work of government.

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Designing Social Service Markets »

Risk, Regulation and Rent-Seeking

Publication date: September 2022
Governments of both right and left have been introducing market logics and instruments into Australian social services in recent decades. Their stated goals include reducing costs, increasing service diversity and, in some sectors, empowering consumers. This collection presents a set of original case studies of marketisation in social services as diverse as family day care, refugee settlement, employment services in remote communities, disability support, residential aged care, housing and retirement incomes. Contributors examine how governments have designed these markets, how they work, and their outcomes, with a focus on how risks and benefits are distributed between governments, providers and service users. Their analyses show that inefficiency, low‑quality services and inequitable access are typical problems. Avoiding simplistic explanations that attribute these problems to either a few ‘bad apple’ service providers or an amorphous neoliberalism that is the sum of all negative developments in recent years, the collection demonstrates the diversity of market models and examines how specific market designs make social service provision susceptible to particular problems. The evidence presented in this collection suggests that Australian governments’ market-making policies have produced fragile and fragmented service systems, in which the risks of rent-seeking, resource leakage and regulatory capture are high. Yet the design of social service markets and their implementation are largely under political control. Consequently, if governments choose to work with market instruments, they need to do so differently, working with principles and practices that drive up both quality and equality.
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Rising Power and Changing People »

The Australian High Commission in India

Publication date: September 2022
Beginning in 1943–44, Australia’s relationship with India is its oldest continuous formal diplomatic relationship with any Asian country. The early diplomatic exchanges between Australia and India have teased for their suggestions of potential unrealised, for opportunities missed, especially when compared with the very recent excitement about the future of Australia–India relations. How did Australia’s representatives and their staff in New Delhi negotiate the many dimensions of Australia–India relations? This book brings together expert analyses of the work of the Australian High Commission, its key people and the challenges they faced in New Delhi. The important India Economic Strategy to 2035 report handed to the Australian Government in mid-2018 begins with the comment: ‘Timing has always been a challenge in Australia’s relationship with India.’ As the Australian Government works to implement some of the ambitious recommendations in the report, this book adds to our understanding of why timing has been a challenge, and how those at the coalface of the relationship have grappled with it.
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Parliament: A Question of Management »

Authored by: Val Barrett
Publication date: 2022
For centuries scholars and practitioners have studied parliament and its potential reform from an institutional perspective. Until now few authors have addressed in depth the internal relationships among parliamentary actors, their competing beliefs and their influence on parliament’s effectiveness. Parliament is overwhelmingly an agonistic institution and competition for status, resources, influence and control has pervaded its administration and impeded reform. Parliaments appear to struggle with the concept of institutional management. The doctrine of exclusive cognisance or sole jurisdiction implies that parliament, and only parliament, should retain control of its internal business and processes. But why is parliament considered to be unique amongst other public institutions and why do parliaments appear to resist or even defy attempts to manage them more effectively? At a time when the public is losing confidence in governments, politics and political institutions, parliament’s role as a broker of ideas and a forum for deliberative policy making is under threat. In an institution where no one has overall authority and direction, sustaining its relevance and managing public expectations present major challenges for its members and administrators. This book examines parliamentary management in the national parliaments of Australia and the United Kingdom. Without claiming to be a ‘how to’ book it attempts to provide a relatable account of how parliamentary officials and members of parliament carry out their respective institutional roles, recognising their inherent complexity, and how they might be assisted by contemporary public management approaches.

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Vietnam Task »

The 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, 1966–67

Authored by: Robert O’Neill
Publication date: 2022
On 24 May 1966, eight hundred men of the 5th Battalion landed at Nui Dat in Viet Cong territory. For the next 12 months they were faced with the task of restoring peace, civil law and regular commerce to the Vietnamese of Phuoc Tuy Province. This book is a detailed record of those months in the monsoon jungles—of the problems that were faced and the solutions that were found. Captain O’Neill’s position as Battalion Intelligence Officer enabled him to view the war from the standpoint of the Battalion as a whole. However, he does not omit description of personal feelings—towards the Viet Cong, the jungle environment, the Vietnamese people and the other allied forces involved in the war. Most of the book was written on the spot in Vietnam. On operations or at Battalion Headquarters, Captain O’Neill jotted down details of the war against the Viet Cong; putting the events of each day in order, often in the small hours of the following morning. Thus not only is this a factual account of the 5th Battalion’s activities over the year, it is also a vivid and compelling picture of the war in Vietnam from the soldier’s point of view.

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Histories of Australian Rock Art Research »

Publication date: September 2022
Australia has one of the largest inventories of rock art in the world with pictographs and petroglyphs found almost anywhere that has suitable rock surfaces – in rock shelters and caves, on boulders and rock platforms. First Nations people have been marking these places with figurative imagery, abstract designs, stencils and prints for tens of thousands of years, often engaging with earlier rock markings. The art reflects and expresses changing experiences within landscapes over time, spirituality, history, law and lore, as well as relationships between individuals and groups of people, plants, animals, land and Ancestral Beings that are said to have created the world, including some rock art. Since the late 1700s, people arriving in Australia have been fascinated with the rock art they encountered, with detailed studies commencing in the late 1800s. Through the 1900s an impressive body of research on Australian rock art was undertaken, with dedicated academic study using archaeological methods employed since the late 1940s. Since then, Australian rock art has been researched from various perspectives, including that of Traditional Owners, custodians and other community members. Through the 1900s, there was also growing interest in Australian rock art from researchers across the globe, leading many to visit or migrate to Australia to undertake rock art research. In this volume, the varied histories of Australian rock art research from different parts of the country are explored not only in terms of key researchers, developments and changes over time, but also the crucial role of First Nations people themselves in investigations of this key component of their living heritage.
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The Australian Embassy in Tokyo and Australia–Japan Relations »

Publication date: 2022
Australia–Japan relations have undergone both testing and celebrated times since 1952, when Australia’s ambassadorial representation in Tokyo commenced. Over time, interactions have deepened beyond mutual trade objectives to encompass economic, defence and strategic interests within the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. This ‘special relationship’ has been characterised by the high volume of people moving between Australia and Japan for education, tourism, business, science and research. Cultural ties, from creative artists-in-residence to sister-city agreements, have flourished. Australia has supported Japan in times of need, including the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake. This book shows how the Australian Embassy in Tokyo, through its programs and people, has been central to these developments. The Embassy’s buildings, its gardens and grounds, and above all its occupants — from senior Australian diplomats to locally-engaged staff — are the focus of this multi-dimensional study by former diplomats and expert observers of Australia’s engagement with Japan. Drawing on oral histories, memoirs, and archives, this volume sheds new light on the complexity of Australia’s diplomatic work in Japan, and the place of the Embassy in driving high level negotiations as well as fostering soft power influences. ‘With a similar vision for the Indo-Pacific region and a like-minded approach to the challenges facing us, Australia and Japan have become more intimate and more strategic as partners. I am very pleased to see this slice of Australian diplomatic history so well accounted for in this book.’ — Jan Adams, AO, PSM, Secretary, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia’s Ambassador to Japan, November 2020–June 2022

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