Broadband ball rolling

SIGNIFICANT parts of the Loddon Mallee region will soon have access to high speed broadband, and communities can start reaping the benefits for business, health and education, the iBendigo Loddon Mallee Chairman Bruce Winzar said yesterday.
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Mr Winzar has welcomed NBN Co’s announcement of NBN fixed wireless coming soon to Mildura, Swan Hill, Campaspe, Loddon andGannawarra Shires.

Good news: iBendigo Loddon Mallee chair Bruce Winzar.

“NBN Co is now starting to consult with five local government areas across the Loddon Mallee region, to start the ball rolling on fixed wireless.

“As a group we welcome this action, which means significant parts of the Loddon Mallee region will soon have access to high speed broadband, and can start reaping the benefits for business, health andeducation.”

NBN Co will work with local councils on the network design and rollout, consulting with communities about the number and location of the fixed wireless facilities.

According to NBN Co, the fixed wireless service will offer telephone and internet service providers wholesale speeds of up to 25 megabits per second download and five megabits per second upload.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


The election and the dismissal: How Fairfax papers saw the events

Gough Whitlam’s three years as prime minister would be some of the most transformative and energised in Australian history. This was no more obvious than in the media coverage of Australia’s 21st prime minister and his government.
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The long-term effect of his time in government is beyond doubt – evident in the almost universal expressions of respect, awe and admiration following his death on Tuesday morning. But it cannot be forgotten that the revolutionary and short three years were also divisive and tumultuous. Fairfax’s newspapers reflected this.

The Election – 1972

“MASSIVE SWING PUTS LABOR IN,” boomed the The Sun-Herald on December 3, 1972, a picture of Whitlam with his formidable partner Margaret accompanying the article.

A special edition of The Age on Sunday (The Sunday Age was established in 1989) declared “It’s Labor, Easily”.

Days later, the December 6 front page of The Age was a perfect illustration of the zeal with which Whitlam approached reform. Headlines pointed to Whitlam’s rapid action on ending the draft and a dramatically different approach to foreign policy, including Australia’s approach to China and various other controversial issues.

The page also recalls the extraordinary “two-man ministry” that consisted of Whitlam and the deputy prime minister Lance Barnard. The two of them would enact many significant reforms before the full cabinet was formed in late December.

The Dismissal – 1975

The dismissal would divide not only the nation but also its newspapers.

In Melbourne, The Age would unequivocally condemn the move. In Sydney, the Herald would entirely support it.

“The propriety and wisdom of his action should not be in question,” lectured the Herald’s front-page editorial. “They should not be in question because, as he makes clear, the course he has taken was the only course open to him.”

“Let this be said. This crisis from the beginning has derived from the deep division of opinion among Australians about the larger crisis – our deteriorating economy, declining confidence in the government’s managerial competence and its integrity, growing disillusion with its extravagant socialist aims and its honesty in promoting them.”

The Age would also run an extract from its editorial on the front page: “The decision of the Governor-General was, we believe, a triumph of narrow legalism over common sense and popular feeling. We believe he was wrong.”

The Canberra Times would lead with “FRASER IS PRIME MINISTER” across the top of the page, and then detail the “Protests, strikes backlash” that followed the shocking and unprecedented events.

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Reverence from those too young to witness Gough Whitlam as prime minister

Young people in Labor talk of the years Gough Whitlam was in power as a golden age of action. Photo: Steven SiewertGough Whitlam dead at 98Changing a nation: What Gough Whitlam did in powerObituary: Martyr for a moment, hero for a lifetime
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The outpouring began instantly and flowed through the day. It seemed no friend or follower could resist posting their tribute to Gough Whitlam. In the age of social media it becomes almost insensitive not to, as if the world might note your failure to sufficiently mark the occasion.

What struck me was the universality and intensity of worship from my fellow-travellers under 25. We had no experience of the man – he had barely delivered a public speech in our lifetime – but we were intimately familiar with his work. I spoke with a number of friends, some of them actively involved in politics, others on the periphery, about why.

Karen Chau, 23, migrated here from Hong Kong with her parents in 1997. The first thing they did was sign up for Medicare. That, and the more supportive and inclusive country for which she also credits Whitlam, loomed large in her parents’ decision to make Australia their home. Of all the prime ministers she studied at school, Whitlam was the one she singled-out for further reading.

“What [he] showed was that you could be an idealist, and you can enact those ideas into tangible reforms that leave a legacy and make a difference to people’s lives,” she said.

Shaun Crowe, 25, squeezed into his size-six childhood “It’s Time” T-shirt on Tuesday and wore it to work, where he tutors in Australian politics. “He’s probably the first politician that I looked up to,” he said of Whitlam. “It was the ambition of his person and his politics.”

For Crowe, it was Whitlam’s grand narrative that stood the test of time – seeing Australia “as a project that was worthy of being big”. That meant funding the arts, expanding access to higher education and healthcare, and involving everyone in the journey toward a “new nationalism”.

Young people in Labor talk of the Whitlam years as a golden age of action, when the candle burned half as long but twice as bright. Even those on the party’s right gush about that long-awaited victory in the dying days of 1972, and the injustice of the dismissal – a raw, human sadness about time cut short while there was still so much left to do.

“My grandparents brought me up on the Whitlam story,” said John Harding-Easson, 22, who met the man several times. “My grandma never spoke of something with as much passion.”

There is a reverence for Whitlam that transcends the bitter, sometimes immature divisions among young hacks. Greens admire him, if not as a hero of the left, then as someone who stood for and acted on principles that are absent in the modern ALP.

“A lot of Gough Whitlam’s reforms were the products of social movements of his time,” said Rafi Alam, 22. “But not actively working against the social movements of your time is more than you can say for any other PM in the past few decades.”

Conservative friends posted tributes that were genuinely heartfelt and appreciative. Some remarked, perceptively, that such bipartisan respect had not been granted upon the death of Margaret Thatcher. They all gave credit where it was due.

“A prime minister that not only inspired young people in his own party but inspired a generation of young right-wingers to enter politics and defend important institutions and values like the constitution and the free market,” Dean Shachar, a 19-year-old Liberal, said.

But time and time again, people came back to Whitlam’s social agenda. Social justice weighs on young shoulders in a way that economics does not – we are connected to a sense of fairness long before we are connected with mortgages and interest rates. Women’s rights and equal pay; returning land to Indigenous peoples; the Racial Discrimination Act – there is a consensus among the young that Whitlam embodied their hopes for this country’s future, long before their time.

Whitlam is the reference point for today’s disillusionment with politics. How busy and exciting those three years seem when pitched up against today’s timidity, soundbites and deference to committees, reviews and processes.

For people whose entire memory of politics is the blanket conservatism of Howard and the muddling centrism of Rudd and Gillard, Whitlam is a faint beacon of hope in the rear-view mirror. His legacy dares us to dream – that if a leader of such calibre could exist before, one might yet appear again. That if such zeal had once prospered, albeit briefly, its time may come once more.

Whitlam was remembered on Tuesday as a “giant of his era”, but this is inadequate. He was a giant of my era, too.

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Gough Whitlam helped big things grow for indigenous people

In Aboriginal communities across the nation there are people named Whitlam, in tribute to the man who might be regarded as Australia’s first prime minister for indigenous affairs.
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“All of us as Australians are diminished while the Aborigines are denied their rightful place in ths nation,” Gough Whitlam argued in his 1972 election campaign speech.

On taking office, Mr Whitlam created a department of Aboriginal affairs and appointed the first full-time federal minister for indigenous affairs, who was advised by the National Aboriginal Consultative Council, an elected body set up to give indigenous people a say in the policies affecting them.

“He was a man who sat down with our people and treated them with respect,” said Kirstie Parker, a co-chairwoman of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, the latest of a number of Aboriginal representative bodies that followed the council set up by Mr Whitlam.

His government funded legal services for Aboriginal people, overrode racist state laws and prohibited racial discrimination by legislating the Racial Discrimination Act.

But he is perhaps best remembered for his visit to the Northern Territory community of Daguragu, which was immortalised in the Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody song, From Little Things Big Things Grow.

On August 16, 1975, Mr Whitlam, the “tall stranger” of the song, poured sand into the hand of Gurindji leader Vincent Lingiari, to signify the return of part of the Gurindji’s traditional lands, marking the end of a nine-year struggle, which began when Aboriginal stockmen and their families walked off the Wave Hill cattle station. “We are all mates now,” Mr Lingiari replied simply.

Elders in the community of Kalkarindji, near the site of the old cattle station, met on Tuesday and resolved to hold their own memorial to Whitlam as well as sending representatives to his state memorial service.

Reflecting on Whitlam’s legacy on Tuesday, Marcia Langton, the foundation chair in Australian indigenous studies at the University of Melbourne said: “He ushered in a new era and people of my generation will be forever grateful to him for his courage and vision.”

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Photograph of Gough Whitlam after he delivered his party’s policy on winning government had a life of its own

Blacktown Civic Centre, November 13, 1972. Photo: Rick StevensIt could have been the renaissance in black and white.
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But Rick Stevens’ front page photograph in the Herald on November 14, 1972, of messiah-like Gough Whitlam and an adoring acolyte captured the moment when Labor’s time had finally come.

Whitlam had just opened Labor’s election campaign at the Blacktown Civic Centre and Stevens had slipped from the media pack and made his way onto the stage.

“I wanted to show Gough with people rather than looking up his nose from below. There they were: Bob Hawke, Col Joye, Little Pattie, Clyde Cameron. And then this woman appeared,” Stevens recalled.

“I squeezed off a few frames but my flash didn’t work. I was only a young C grade and panicked, but when I returned to the office to develop the film, all the people were there and I knew it was a pretty good shot.”

Stevens went on to win the Nikon Best News Picture of the Year Award for the photograph.

And if it was an indelible image of the 1972 campaign, it certainly stayed on Gough Whitlam’s mind.

“Eleven years ago, I was driving him to the Sydney Opera House for a photo shoot – it was at his suggestion that ‘two icons were far better than one’ – when Gough started talking about my campaign launch photograph. It was rather nice to be remembered for your work.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.