One week left! "Australia Day" at your local Queensland Theatre!


Inshallah this weekend I will be heading off to check out the slightly controversial "Australia Day" production by Queensland Theatre Company!

"It's funny as hell with some killer lines but there is more to it than meets the eye ... and the heart." - Courier Mail

It's supposed to be a pretty tongue in cheek, sometimes difficult to stomach (?) look at Australian society and I can't wait to check it out...

Shameless plug - youth tickets are $33 so I'd totally recommend everyone go check it out as there is only one week left! Tickets can be found here.

“Moor carefully directs this play so as to test audiences’ limits …” - The Guardian

(love limits being tested)


“… laugh out loud, and be appalled that you did so.” -  XS Entertainment


"Jonathan Biggins’ Australia Day is a laugh, a jab, a thought provoking prod at our current political and cultural climate ..." - Aussie Theatre


Official blurb:

"Welcome to the Aussie country town of Coriole, where life is laidback and carefree. Unless you're a member of the Australia Day committee, who couldn't raffle a chook in a pub. These six quirky community leaders can't agree what it means to be true blue Aussie, and Mayor Brian Harrigan is no help. He's too busy scheming over his Liberal Party preselection and sledging the local Greens.

A bang-up-to-the-moment barbecue-stopper of a comedy, Australia Day follows a mob of bumbling bureaucratic battlers as they debate the details of the national day. Never mind wrangling the Nippers, the Lions and the CWA; these unhappy little Vegemites are at loggerheads deciding on the appropriate type of bread for a dinky-di sausage sizzle. Grab a lamington and a stubbie, sit back, and find out if Coriole's Australia Day will be a little ripper, or will it go off like a bucket of prawns in the sun!

As the brains behind Sydney Theatre Company's wickedly satirical institution The Wharf Revue, writer Jonathan Biggins has his finger firmly on the pulse of Aussie culture. Director Andrea Moor was behind last season's smash hit Venus in Fur. And for actor Paul Bishop (pictured), who plays the Mayor, this material is comfortably close to home. When he's offstage, Paul is a Redland City Councillor on Brisbane's bayside.

Australia Day features strobe lighting, political themes and medium level coarse language"


Disclaimer: QTC is providing me with two complimentary tickets to go check this out and generally encourage people to as well. I will be writing an honest review though, so stay tuned!


Brisbane Times: How Racist Are We?

I wrote this piece for the Brisbane Times... check the full article (and comments!!) out here. ***

In 2005, when news of the Cronulla riots spread, my family was inundated by calls from friends and family overseas asking if we were okay.

"We're fine!" we would say. "Queensland's different".

That's how I'd always seen it. Growing up in Brisbane in the 90s and 00s, I remember associating racially motivated violence with Sydney and Melbourne.

Although there were incidents in Queensland, it was never as common or visible. Even after 9/11, although our mosque was burnt down and there were incidents of racism, the community didn't experience the widespread and intense incidents of racial hatred as exhibited at the Cronulla riots or more recently, the attacks against Indian international students.


So why is Queensland different? Do the numbers support my anecdotal evidence? Are we more cohesive, or is it a case of luck and "it just hasn't happened yet"?

According to census data, New South Wales and Victoria have an over-representation of LOTE (Language Other Than English Spoken at Home) population, with Sydney and Melbourne's LOTE population at 37.8% and 33.7%, compared to Brisbane's 17.9% (ABS, 2011).

It is quite clear then, that the ethnic population density in Queensland is significantly less than those in the southern states, perhaps a reason for less racial violence.

Furthermore, the southern capital cities have more densely populated areas with particular groups of migrants that have been settled for longer, whereas Brisbane and Queensland's migrant populations are younger and less dense.  In 1996, Queensland had 29.7 % fewer LOTE speakers compared to NSW (ABS, 1996).

On the other hand, the Scanlon Foundation's "Mapping Social Cohesion" (2012) report states that Queenslanders are particularly likely to hold negative views on cultural diversity.

Numbers may not always tell the whole story.  As a lifetime Brisbanite, I don't think we have a widespread issue with racial violence as we are a little different to our southern neighbours.

Firstly, the settlement of racially diverse populations hasn't been in the dense concentrations of lengthy settlement as seen down south.  This has allowed ethnically diverse populations to better embed themselves into the fabric of the mainstream community.

With that familiarity comes understanding and the reduction of the likelihood of racial violence.

Secondly, as a society, we are now much more aware the needs of migrants and LOTE populations having learned from Sydney and Melbourne. As populations now settle in Queensland, the many support mechanisms available from government and organisations help alleviate many of the issues based around settlement that may provoke violence.

When my family moved to Australia almost 20 years ago, the level of support was essentially non-existent.  Now, there are extensive networks to help, and the positive impact this has cannot be understated.

However, it cannot be denied that there are negative - dare I say racist - views around the state. We've been lucky so far. I feel safe, accepted and don't find my race a major inhibitor in my ability to participate.

We shouldn't be complacent however, and as we become more racially diverse we must work together to ensure that our community isn't marred by the manifestation of negative views and the racially motivated violence that can truly damage the fabric of our society.

Read more here!


Thanks to the Brisbane Times for giving me the opportunity to contribute...

So what are your thoughts? I only had 500 words, there is plenty more to the discussion!

History comes to Queensland!

This is my first post with Richard’s F1! Originally posted here. Cars lining up for the beginning of the race

A pristine Can-Am McLaren M8E and a Chevron B16 made their Queensland debut among the hundreds of historic race cars at the National ‘Historic Queensland’ Race Meeting at Morgan Park Raceway in Warwick, Queensland this weekend.

Held by the Historic Racing Car Club (HRCC) of Queensland, the “Historic Queensland”  Motor Race meeting for 2012 brought together well over 200 entries for a weekend of exciting races and regularity trials.  The event has run for over thirty years, attracting competitors from all over the country and providing an opportunity for motorsport enthusiasts to showcase their wares and shake off the winter blues with some good old fashioned racing.

Historic cars are those from between roughly the 1920’s to the The 1971 Can-Am McLaren M8E...What a beauty!1980’s.  The classes at this event ranged from historic Formula Ford vehicles to production sports cars and everything historic in between.  Star attractions at this year’s competition included the 1971 Can-Am McLaren M8E, the 1983 Chevron B16, 1957 Lotus Eleven and the 1977 Osella PA5; all beautiful pieces of machinery that didn’t fail to excite the enthusiastic crowds gathered on the windy Warwick grandstands.

As with all the cars, the McLaren came with unique history; it finished 9th in the Can-Am series in 1971.  With an aluminium 496 Chevy 780 Horsepower engine, one can understand how it easily outshone the competitors in its class!  The Chevron B16, not to be outdone, won the Nurburgring 500km in 1969.  The history and stories of each of the cars at the race meet made for an extremely interesting and enriching environment and the owners were more than happy to share their stories.

The 1983 Chevron B16. Batmobile? Pretty much just as cool. Happy to share stories the owners and drivers may have been, but that didn’t mean they didn’t want to win races! Some very quick drivers made their way around the track, including young names such as Dylan Higgins, a 16 year old Formula Ford driver and young Jimmy Vernon, a 15 year old from New South Wales.  Dylan had a fantastic weekend of wins and is definitely one to look out for.  Other young drivers included the third year apprentice Ashley Heffernan, 17 year old Matt Campbell and mechanical engineering student Ash Willoughby in a 1977 Formula Ford.

The young ones weren’t the only ones gunning for good drives; fierce overtaking and on-track action was seen throughout the weekend.  In the Historic Sport Car’s group, the Tiga Sports 2000 met an unfortunate early end to its race weekend: fishtailing, spinning out and colliding with the barriers on the last lap.  Fortunately the driver was fine, but unfortunately, the Tiga will definitely need some major TLC before it finds its way back on the track.  The crumpled side of the unfortunate Tiga

Pleasantly though, the on-track drama was the only drama to be found.  The event was a true joy to attend, not only because of the spectacle but also due to the sense of community; it truly felt like an event that was all about the cars.

Helen Voysey, one of the senior officials at the event put it elegantly, “I love it, I really do.  I have grown up with a lot of these cars and I can relate to the 5000’s and the CanAms.  There is no politics here though, this event is all about when motor racing was fun.  It is all for the love of the sport”

For the love of the sport indeed! Many drivers, owners and officials though expressed their desire to see more young people involved.  Peter Mohr, the President of the HRCC encouraged young people to jump right in.

“Come to meetings, come to our next event, bring your friends: we are always looking for new members!”

So, why not?  I look forward to attending the next HRCC event and learning more about the cars of yesteryear.  I recommend you all check out the nearest HRCC event in your state and see if you can get involved as well! This – the sense of community, knowledge transfer and sharing, carburettors and self funded owner-drivers – this to me, epitomises the essence of motorsport.

How about you? Have you been involved in your local HRCC? How do you feel about “Historics”?