Interview with Prof Judith Brett — ‘Fair Share: Country and City in Australia’

BY BEN HABIB. In this podcast I am joined in conversation with Professor Judith Brett, Head of School in the School of Social Sciences at La Trobe University, to discuss her Quarterly Essay entitled Fair Share: Country and City in Australia. In our discussion, Judy interprets some of my observations and experiences growing up and living in regional areas, in the context of the themes of her essay. Topics covered in our discussion include the brain drain from the country to the city, efforts to attract skilled personnel to regional centres, the urban-rural culture clash, intellectual capital and bigotry, along with politics, multiculturalism and environmental issues in country Australia.

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Living Lightly: Reciprocal Bonds and the Trust Horizon

BY BEN HABIB. One of the exiting aspects of living lightly is the opportunity it provides for community building and connecting with other people. Strong social networks will become increasingly important as we grapple with environmental problems, energy insecurity and financial turmoil at the end of the age of growth. As a specialist in international relations, I look to Chinese culture for ideas on building social cohesion during tough times.

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Observations on My Role in Commenting on the New Albury Anti-Carbon Tax Group

BY BEN HABIB. Last Saturday I provided comment in an article in the Border Mail—‘Doug takes up fight on carbon tax’—about a new group called Border Says NO to Carbon Tax being established by local trucking operator Doug McMillan. No-one wants to see hard working local businessmen like Doug McMillan lose their livelihoods. If people with climate-related expertise can work cooperatively with local businesses and other impacted members of the community, we can constructively adapt to the many challenges posed by climate change instead of further fracturing the community for the sake of argument. However for the cooperative approach to work, everyone has to begin from a position of informed empowerment.

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What is Australia Day really about?

BY BEN HABIB. What is Australia Day all about? Like many people, I am increasingly disturbed that our national holiday is becoming more of a drunken orgy for flag-waving rednecks than an opportunity for Australians to appreciate our national story in all its complexity. In raising a number of questions about Australia Day, I challenge you to think more deeply about the Australian national story and what it means to be an Australian.

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University of the Third Age, Albury-Wodonga

SOPHIE BUCKLE & BEN HABIB. On Friday 12th August 2011, Sophie Buckle and Ben Habib visited the Albury-Wodonga chapter of the University of the Third Age. During their visit, Ben Habib delivered a presentation to U3A members on politics in the Middle East, while Sophie Buckle conducted an interview with U3A Albury-Wodonga committee members Don Cocks and Lyle Wright, exploring the activities of and the philosophy behind U3A.

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Interview with Dr Penny Egan-Vine — Murray Valley Sanctuary Refugee Group

In this edition of the Politics Albury-Wodonga podcast we’re joined by Dr Penny Egan-Vine, chairperson of the Murray Valley Sanctuary Refugee Group, in conversation with Renae Schilg from La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga. Penny and Renae discuss the activities of the MVSRG, along with the challenges faced by refugee families settling in regional areas and the assistance local residents can provide in helping new migrants settle into the local community.

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The Virtuous Circle of Sustainability & Community — Interview with Jenni Huber

We are joined on this addition of the Politics Albury-Wodonga podcast by Jenni Humber, who was a key member of Wodonga’s victorious entry in the Origin Energy Sustainability Drive competition. Twenty households in Jenni’s street – Central Place, Wodonga – put together an outstanding entry in the competition showcasing not only their sustainability credentials, but also the sense of connection and community that can come from consciously living lightly.

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Event Review: When QandA Came to Albury-Wodonga

BY BEN HABIB, with MARTIN DICKENS, LISA TUCK, LEA MACLAUGHLIN, KRYSTLE BROWN, JESSICA LOVE & ALICIA PETERS. Like everyone else in attendance, I was caught up in the excitement of being part of the spectacle of a live television broadcast. Over 700 people attended the show, the largest ever audience for Q&A. While prepping the audience before the show, Tony Jones described Q&A as an “open democracy experiment” that was “rare in the world”. Or was it?

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The Old Wodonga Rail Line

BY BEN HABIB. I took some time over the Easter break to go for a walk along the decommissioned railway line that bisects the city of Wodonga. The new railway bypass through Gateway Island, north of Wodonga, represents the end of on era. The land on which the decommissioned railway now sits is slated for redevelopment, including a revitalisation of the Wodonga CBD and the installation of a linear park and bikeway. With that in mind, I took the opportunity to stroll along the old rail corridor and take some photographs of the area before the redevelopment begins.

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