The ‘cancel culture’ is a dangerous threat to our freedom – Long Island Business News

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Opinion: The cancel culture is weaponizing a shift in our country that has the potential to be more profound, more insidious, and far more harmful than any campaign rhetoric.

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Charlemagne – Can the European Union learn to love a common culture? | Europe

BAUHAUS AND Brussels are an uneasy mix. Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus art school, which shaped design in the 20th century, declared that a building “must be true to itself, logically transparent, and virginal of lies or trivialities”. A short stroll around the EU quarter in Brussels reveals buildings that happily violate all these rules. Post-modern monstrosities butt against merely ridiculous buildings with nicknames such as the Space Egg. Inside, things are often little better, with lurid colour schemes providing an absurd backdrop for serious discussion and layouts straight out of Maurits Escher’s paintings of “impossible constructions”. Bauhaus principles led to the iPhone, a triumph of simple design. EU design principles led to a building with floor numbers that go: 02, 01, 00, 10, 20, 35, 50, 60, 70, 80.

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, believes a bit of Bauhaus spirit is exactly what the EU needs. As part of the bloc’s flagship “green deal” reforms, the EU will found a European Bauhaus movement to ape the influential design school that ran from 1919 to 1933 in Germany. “It needs to be a new cultural project for Europe,” said Mrs von der Leyen, speaking last month in the European Parliament, which is nicknamed Le Caprice des Dieux due to its resemblance to a cheese of that name. Although it was still nebulous, Mrs von der Leyen spelled out a vision of architects, artists and engineers combining as they did a century ago in Weimar Germany, except this time to help stave off climate change as well as designing natty buildings. “We need to give our systemic change its own distinct aesthetic,” she declared.

Such forays into the world of culture had become relatively rare for EU leaders. When European federalism was in its pomp, Jacques Delors, the commission president who oversaw the creation of the single market and the introduction of the Maastricht treaty in the 1980s and 1990s, warned that economic integration was not enough. “You cannot fall in love with the single market,” he put it, repeatedly. But a decade of crisis then led to leaders trying to avoid divorce rather than increase romance. Until Mrs von der Leyen’s speech, calls for a common culture were unusual. Officials in Brussels hide under the desk when someone mentions the C-word. Within the EU institutions, culture is often a punchbag. In “The Capital”, a satire by Robert Menasse set in the Brussels bubble, the main characters are frustrated officials in the commission’s culture department. The EU’s cultural efforts are easy to lampoon and the new Bauhaus is no exception. It can trigger a cartoonish image of fashionable men in expensive spectacles designing ecologically sound window frames in exchange for tax-free salaries.

For others, cultural projects are the missing part of an at-times-bloodless project. The EU was set up in part to stop proud European nations murdering each other. It did so via technocratic, economic and, frankly, rather dull means. When it comes to culture, there is a feeling of caution bordering on cowardice among European officials. For an example, pull out a wedge of euro notes. Rather than founding fathers or recognisable monuments that may inflame national jealousies, citizens are left with pictures of windows and bridges that do not exist (or did not until one enterprising town in the Netherlands recreated each bridge over a canal as a tourist attraction). It is better to have a row about who goes on bank notes than a pallid, purely economic relationship with an increasingly powerful institution, argues Giuliano da Empoli, director of Volta, a think-tank.

Worrying about the appearance of bank notes rather than their value can appear divorced from reality. Yet the EU’s critics have few qualms about fighting a culture war. In relative terms, the country that spends most on culture is not France, with its world-class museums and general fetish for intellectualism, but Hungary. Viktor Orban, the prime minister, rails against art that is pro-gay or anti-ruling party. His government spends a colossal 3% of annual GDP on “recreation, culture and religion”, often on things such as the swanky football stadium next door to Mr Orban’s country estate. For eurocrats to bang on about culture from an ugly building in Brussels during a pandemic may seem like a parody of disconnection. But if they avoid the topic, the EU’s enemies will happily fill the gaps, argues Mr da Empoli. “A realist in Europe knows that it is not rationality that wins elections,” he adds. “A realist is someone who knows that symbols are what carry the day.”

Don’t let the devil have all the best tunes

An emphasis on culture can come with a dark side. Hungary and other small countries, such as Estonia, which ranks second in the spending stakes on culture, invest so much because they worry about disappearing. Strip out language and culture and there is little left of small nations, points out one diplomat. They are no longer alone in this petrified world-view, which is found at the EU’s highest levels. Eurocrats veer between hoping that the EU will be a global superpower and worrying that it will become an irrelevant peninsula. “This civilisation—Europe is a civilisation—could be clearly threatened by this geopolitical evolution,” warned Josep Borrell, the bloc’s foreign-policy chief, in a recent speech. It is a sentiment with which Mr Orban would agree. And that should make leaders pause. After all, a paranoid bloc is not a wise one.

If the EU is determined to embroil itself in a clash of civilisations, its leaders must ponder some simple but fundamental questions. What exactly is European culture? How, exactly, can transnational politics shape it? And what, exactly, is the point? After six decades of integration, the EU has created a relatively homogenous economic bloc. But creating a shared European culture is a completely different kind of challenge. Brussels can tinker, setting standards for buildings, shovelling money into theatres and helping small countries preserve their languages. But culture is a living thing, that evolves from the bottom up. It is beyond the capacity of any superstate to control.

This article appeared in the Europe section of the print edition under the headline “Learning to love the c-word”

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Melbourne’s Sudanese and Greek communities forging links through culture and football

Bol Tong might have the talent and passion to play soccer at the highest level, but he faces bigger barriers than most people his age.

The South Sudanese footballer, 19, who came to Melbourne with his older brother in 2014, grew up playing soccer.

He played for his local club, Melton Satellite City United Soccer Club, last year and now dreams of making it in the European leagues.

“Playing for the higher level is harder because they are far from where I live, and you must pay a lot of money, and I could not afford that,” he said.

But a new program might yet improve Mr Tong’s chances of success.

South Melbourne Football Club, which plays in the top division of Victoria’s National Premier League competition, is targeting talented young African-Australians in a new recruitment program.

The club’s youth director, Peter Kokotis, and junior coach, Emanuel Saakai, are lobbying for financial backing to create bursaries for African players.

“We have a GoFundMe page, which we are getting out there to people. Every little bit helps to try and get some kids, give them the opportunity to change their lives,” Mr Kokotis said.

Such is the hardship faced by many young men that the club last year chose six African boys during a trial process and none of them could afford to play.

“I realised these boys are not able to take the opportunity because of the fees involved at the club registration,” he said.

Communities linked by common values

South Melbourne junior coach Emanuel Sakkai is working with African communities to identify talented young players.(Supplied: Emanuel Sakkai)

Mr Kokotis said football had become a middle-class sport in Australia, which excluded many on lower incomes.

Tanzania-born Mr Saakai is working with African communities to find the right talent for the club.

“South Melbourne is a great place where African aspiring footballers can call home, a place where they can feel respected, valued and given full attention for their talents to be developed and nurtured,” Mr Saakai said.

“Every day I’m realising that we are very familiar and similar when it comes to our cultures, whether Tanzanian, African, and the Greek culture. It is all about family, community, being expressive, giving your all, competing and being one.”

Mr Tong, who is at high school, is hoping to showcase his football skills and impress the coaches when trials begin next month.

“It will be great to play for South Melbourne if I make it,” Mr Tong said.

“I will do everything in my life to play football professionally. I will listen to my coaches and learn what they will teach.

“This is me. This is how I grew up, fighting for everything, and at the end of the day when you fight, you win, and when you win, it is a reward.”

Language and culture a ‘shield’

Theo Markos smiles for a portrait
Theo Markos hopes the Greek community can mentor their Sudanese counterparts.(Supplied: Theo Markos)

The program is part of an attempt to forge stronger bonds between Melbourne’s Greek and South Sudanese communities.

“We all have a love and passion for our culture. I see that many Sudanese are very closely connected with their religion, they are very much family oriented, which the Greek people are too,” said Theo Markos, the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne vice president and education convener.

The Greek community has been part of Australia’s multicultural fabric for more than 120 years.

“Being an older and more established community, I feel that we could be mentors to many young and emerging communities,” he said.

Fotis Kapetopoulos, contributor to the Neos Kosmos newspaper, said the most important thing in community sustainability was language and culture.

“I think language and culture is what became a shield for Greeks against racism in Australia and equally can become a shield for everyone else,” Mr Kapetopoulos said.

A model for success

The connection between the two communities is being strengthened to help the Federation of the South Sudanese Association in Victoria (FSSAV) to develop language classes, cultural schools including sporting events using the Greek model.

The Greek community established its outlets, language, and cultural schools in areas where there was a significant population of Greek people, and believed emerging communities could succeed the same way.

Deng Kur, a spokesman for FSSAV, said the Greek community had a lot to offer.

“We approached them not only to see the model they used when they came here but how they establish, develop, and collect their resources as well as managed to succeed their community,” he said.

The Greek community has agreed to mentor members of the South Sudanese Association to develop sustainable language schools to provide Dinka, Nuer, and Arabic Juba languages as well as cultural education to South Sudanese students.

“We were taken for a tour of the Greek community schools and were impressed,” Mr Kur said.

“We saw how they worked to maintain their culture, languages and traditions.”

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AFL 2020: Essendon problems, culture, Brendon Goddard, coaching, unclear gameplan, trade news, players leaving

Former Essendon captain Brendon Goddard believes his old club still doesn’t have a clear gameplan and has failed to build a “successful culture” over many years.

The Bombers are likely to lose a number of key players this off-season including Joe Daniher, Adam Saad and Orazio Fantasia, all of whom are requesting trades, after a year where they finished 13th but with the AFL’s third-worst percentage.

While legendary coach Kevin Sheedy has been appointed a member of the club board, that decision has also drawn criticism, while a Bombers life member took to social media last week to declare the club’s culture has been “completely destroyed”.

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Brooklyn’s Anti-masking Protests Betray a Broken Culture

But even as the protesters have internalized some American values and behaviors, their actions betray their failure to grasp something essential about the nature of citizenship in a democracy. Last night, after New York police arrested Tischler and charged him with inciting violence against Jacob Kornbluh, a reporter for Jewish Insider who covered the protests, a crowd gathered outside Kornbluh’s home, waving a Trump flag, chanting, and jeering.

In this radical and dangerous moment, the protesters have forgotten that the very American right to free speech—to criticize government, to assemble, and to peacefully protest—hinges on responsible citizenship. As the philosopher Michael Walzer puts it, “Citizenship means collective self-determination, which is both a responsibility and a benefit.”

Citizenship requires us to recognize those responsibilities. Right now, we owe it to ourselves and others to wear a mask: In the hierarchy of moral sacrifices, “Do no harm” is the lowest rung, not the highest. We must also stay home when we can, and maintain social distance when we cannot. Beyond that, elected officials should not be timid in asking Americans to contribute funds—in the form of more equitable taxes, and in the form of philanthropy—to remedy the social gaps that the pandemic has highlighted.

But the idea of obligation as a key element of citizenship—a burden that citizens take on themselves, and that is also expected of them by their leaders—is embattled. The Brooklyn protesters, then, are less an exception than an extreme example of a national trend. In the midst of a populist wave, they are following the lead of Tischler, an opportunistic radio host who—like the president—paints coronavirus restrictions as attacks on religious liberty, instead of as communal acts of sacrifice to prevent the spread of a deadly illness. Americans are being told that rules requiring personal sacrifice to advance the public good are a violation of their civil liberties, rather than the foundation on which those liberties stand, and that government is at odds with religion. There is enormous irony in the conjunction of these two beliefs, of course; religious communities are deeply committed to the very idea of mutual obligation these protesters are attacking.

At other moments when America has faced extraordinary crises, our leaders turned to the American people and made demands. If presidents and other elected officials understood that their responsibility was to provide for our physical safety and our economic well-being, they also understood that leadership requires creating cultures of collective responsibility for the greater good, which includes sacrifice.

From Abraham Lincoln introducing the income tax in 1861, to fill the Union’s coffers to fight a war for its own survival, to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s efforts to rebuild the American economy following the Great Depression, and conscript young men to fight in the Second World War, presidents understood the need to ask citizens to sacrifice for a cause that was greater than themselves. In John F. Kennedy’s memorable 1961 inaugural address, he called Americans to service and sacrifice: to “ask what we can do for our country.” This was a language of obligation rooted not in crisis but in power; the speech pulses with the belief that America and the world were capable of overcoming differences and confronting collective common enemies: “tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.” Kennedy said that “each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty.” The loyalty he invoked was not to nation or to party, but in service of a greater vision—setting aside differences, and some measure of economic and political liberties, in the belief that our hardest challenges could be surmounted.

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Magda Szubanski talks fat-shaming, COVID politics and cancel culture

She has given voice to some of television’s most memorable characters, so it can be surprising to hear Magda Szubanski admit she only recently felt ready to truly share her own.

In the past few years, the beloved 59-year-old comedian and actor has publicly championed causes close to her heart and taken on social-media trolls with wit, intelligence and the occasional terse “F*ck you!”

“I am really polite most of the time,” she tells Stellar from her home in Melbourne. “But every now and then I crack it.” It was coming out in 2012, she reckons, that really emboldened her to start speaking her mind more freely. Before then, she often felt constrained by that familiar female fear she would be dismissed as angry, strident or shrill.

“I love people, but I am also much shyer than people think. In some ways it’s not easy for me to be famous, because I am quite vulnerable and sensitive. But I just feel so much freer since I came out. And I am lucky that I live in a time where I could do that.

media_camera“I love people, but I am also much shyer than people think.” (Picture: Hugh Stewart)

“The sense of freedom I have felt since is just incredible and then I gained confidence through the various things I have taken on – and writing my memoir.” That book, titled Reckoning, “really changed things enormously for me because I think that was the first time people started to glimpse any intelligence.

In the UK, if you’re a comedian people assume you’re clever, but here people think if you do that you are stupid.”

Stupid is certainly not a word that springs to mind if you spend any time in the company of the multitalented performer.

A voracious reader, Szubanski has up to 10 books on her bedside table at any one time. Her conversation, too, is peppered with eclectic cultural references – a passage from the Bible, a Polish folk story and even a quote from her favourite film, Frozen 2.

Although she’s recently been recovering from a bout of shingles, Szubanski’s time in lockdown has been far from idle. She has been trying her hand at photography on her daily walks and cooking up a storm in the kitchen. She also boasts that she has built the Taj Mahal out of Lego – no mean feat when you consider that required her to assemble nearly 6000 blocks.

“I’ve got three-and-a-half decades of fame under the belt.” (Picture: Hugh Stewart)
media_camera“I’ve got three-and-a-half decades of fame under the belt.” (Picture: Hugh Stewart)

She has also been busily scribbling away on her children’s book series about a showbiz horse whose fame is on the wane. The second instalment, Timmy The Ticked-Off Pony: Bite Me, was just released, but the pandemic has also afforded her the time to pen four more stories. Timmy had his genesis when a close friend told Szubanski that she reminded her of a Shetland pony when she was angry.

Szubanski insists she does not actually get angry all that often, laughing as she admits she is more likely to become cranky about small frustrations than sweat the big stuff. She’s also given up taking to heart any of the vitriol that’s aimed at her on Twitter. But that doesn’t mean she simply lets the bullies off the hook.

“I’ve never agreed with [ignoring trolls],” she says, adding that she chooses a different tack: she fights back.

“I’ve got three-and-a-half decades of fame under the belt, as it were. And it’s easier for me to take this type of stuff on, although I am not saying it’s completely easy, because it’s never pleasant.”

In August, Szubanski came under fire for taking part in a Victorian Government ad campaign promoting COVID-19 awareness and safety. The actor, who appeared in the ad as her Kath & Kim character Sharon Strzelecki, volunteered her services and wrote her own scripts, believing it was her civic duty. She says it was disappointing that her involvement became politicised because she would have done the same thing for the Federal Government.

“Being fat is not contagious.” (Picture: Supplied)
media_camera“Being fat is not contagious.” (Picture: Supplied)

The ad also put her in the crosshairs of Pete Evans and his fellow COVID-19 sceptics, who claimed the ads were using celebrities to “brainwash children”.

Szubanski says she felt fat shamed by Evans and had no hesitation about calling him out on that. “This idea that he is a representative of health and that someone who looks like me can’t give a health message about what to do in a pandemic is such nonsense,” she scoffs.

“The thing that’s going to get people killed in this is not social distancing. [It won’t be] being fat. Being fat is not contagious. Maybe it will kill me, who knows! But it’s certainly not going to kill you if I am fat. And you know what? A lot of healthcare workers and doctors are also overweight and it’s really insulting to them.”

And if keyboard warriors want to resort to name-calling about her weight, she says, “I am no longer stung by that. But I won’t let them use it as a weapon to push fat people, or anyone really, out of the conversation. And, as a fat person, you’re not supposed to ever fight back. You’re supposed to just cop it because you’re fat and you brought that on yourself. I thought, ‘Well, f*ck that!’”

Given her popularity, it is little wonder that Szubanski has been courted to trade in show business for politics. But she laughs that she is not built for politics because, as a lifelong comedian, she’d be too tempted to act up for a laugh. “And it’s all wheels and deals, and I am no good at that. Nor am I remotely interested,” she adds.

“The sense of freedom I have felt since is just incredible.” (Picture: Kym Smith)
media_camera“The sense of freedom I have felt since is just incredible.” (Picture: Kym Smith)

Performing for the cameras in character has also become uninspiring for Szubanski. While she hasn’t officially retired from acting, she isn’t actively chasing roles either, preferring to devote her energy to writing and the various causes she champions. She says there was far more creative freedom in characters like Timmy The Ticked Off Pony than there ever was doing any of her many TV roles.

“When I do the characters, even with all the great wigs and costumes and stuff, you feel limited by your age, your height, your gender and all that,” she says. “Whereas when I write these characters, I can explore all this other stuff.”

Interestingly, Szubanski says she doesn’t feel creatively stifled by the new age of political correctness and cancel culture. Like many comics of her generation, she has some regrets about performances she’s done in the past but that doesn’t mean she thinks there should be a rush to censor or remove them altogether from TV history.

“We all did blackface, not with the intention of ridiculing black people, but certainly without the understanding of how it would feel to be on the receiving end of seeing that,” she explains.

Magda Szubanski features in this Sunday’s Stellar.
media_cameraMagda Szubanski features in this Sunday’s Stellar.

“We grew up with Benny Hill and comedians saying stuff like: ‘Take my wife, please!’ And it was just a yawn and a bit of a bore. But there’s a lot of anger and righteous people around now and that’s always a buzz killer. And that’s very different to being sensitive and respectful of political correctness to someone screaming at you from their moral high ground.

“I am always a bit anxious about things that want to erase everything and start with cultural year zero. Some things just die a natural death because they were so terrible. I am careful of the idea of rewriting history or erasing history. There’s a danger in that, because then we learn the wrong lessons from history.”

Timmy The Ticked Off Pony: Bite Me by Magda Szubanski (Scholastic, $16.99) is out now.

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AFL 2020: Essendon problems, culture, ex-employee social media post, players leaving, trade news, laughing stock

A former Essendon trainer has taken to social media to air his grievances with the club, claiming its culture has been “completely destroyed” in recent years, with disgruntled employees fearful of speaking out and being replaced.

Craig Yorston, who worked with the Bombers as a trainer and masseur from the end of 1989 to 2019, was awarded with a life membership at the club in 2010.

As questions circle around the club’s culture in the aftermath of Joe Daniher and Adam Saad’s trade requests, Yorston released a Facebook post detailing his time with the Bombers and where he thinks things have gone wrong.

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RBA warns banks over culture as staff contact customers over loan deferrals


It also warned the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority would soon restart work on ensuring executive pay was tied to targets that encourage good practice and culture.

The RBA’s comments came within a larger report into the impact of the coronravirus pandemic on the financial system, with significant risks and volatility buffered by the banks’ high capital levels.

The Commonwealth Bank’s senior economist Kristina Clifton said the report was a “sobering read”.

“The next few months will be telling in how households manage the resumption of mortgage repayments. The risk is that some may need to sell their property to repay their debt. This may have flow-on effects to dwelling prices,” she said.


More than $229 billion in loans had been deferred as of August and Australian Banking Association chief executive Anna Bligh said the banks had now embarked on the “largest ever customer reach out process” contacting more than 900,000 customers.

“Culture is the result of a multitude of decisions, practices and attitudes of every staff member, every day in every bank,” she said. Australia’s banks understand that these are now more important than ever and will define the industry for many years to come.

“It’s a pivotal time for Australia’s banks. The economic impacts of COVID-19 will be felt for a prolonged period and thousands of customers will be doing it tough.”

Treasury proposed axing the responsible lending laws last month in a move that would reduce the checks and balances in approving lines of credit. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg described the law change as shifting the approach from “lender beware” to “borrower responsibility”.


Consumer Action Law Centre chief executive Gerard Brody said the proposed changes would likely lead to a break down in banking culture and predatory behaviour, including cold calling and pressure sales tactics.

“It does worry me that on one hand the RBA is perhaps saying that culture and risk appetite needs to be kept in check, on the other hand the government seems to be giving the green light for more irresponsible lending,” Mr Brody said.

Once the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments come to an end, Mr Brody said many Australians would be exposed to financial difficulty, creating incentives to take on more loans.

“Most Australians talking to their bank expect the bank is acting in their interest and will offer products that are suitable for them.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released figures on Friday that show $21.3 billion in home loans were approved in August, an increase of 12.6 per cent from the month prior adding to a 19.3 per cent increase over the course of the year.

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Essendon culture wars, hypocrisy, Joe Daniher, Adam Saad, trades

Warren Tredrea is the latest AFL legend to slap down Essendon as the club prepares for an exodus of stars after a horror season.

The Bombers finished 13th and face a grim future as key forward Joe Daniher and rebounding defender Adam Saad told them of their desire to leave. Goalsneak Orazio Fantasia is also expected to return home to South Australia, while veterans Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker are reportedly unhappy at how the Dons treated the retiring Tom Bellchambers.

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Essendon General Manager of Football Dan Richardson shut down concerns about the club’s culture and said coach Ben Rutten, who will officially take over from John Worsfold in 2021, is setting high standards where he expects individuals to commit to a team-first ethos.

“We need players who are fully committed to his vision and where we are taking the club,” Richardson told 3AW’s Sportsday this week.

“If that means we unsettle, or ruffle a few feathers along the way because we’re asking players to put the team first, then so be it.

“I don’t think we should apologise to anyone, even our fans, if that’s what we are doing.”

It has since emerged Essendon insiders have been leaking negative stories about Saad and his attitude, despite desperately trying to keep the 26-year-old on its books by tabling a monster five-year offer, only for him to declare he wants out to join Carlton.

Essendon also crushed Daniher’s wish of moving to Sydney at the end of 2019 but is resigned to the left-footer walking out as a restricted free agent to play for Brisbane next season.

Bombers icon Tim Watson and Garry Lyon both questioned how Essendon could try so hard to keep players, then leak negative stories or say it’s happy for stars to leave if they don’t share the same vision as the new head coach.

Port Adelaide champion Tredrea is the latest to call out the Bombers’ hypocrisy, accusing them of having “sour grapes” as players head for the exit.

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“We do see that from a lot of clubs when they lose players,” Tredrea told Nine’s Talk of the Town.

“They offered five years (at) $650,000 a year for a halfback flanker (Saad) who finished third in the best in the fairest and had a really good year.

“But then they say when he’s going out the door, ‘He can’t take feedback and he’s a fragile personality and we need people who are going to be tough’.

“You don’t do that.

“Effectively they (the Bombers) must see that as not that big of an issue if they’re going to offer him five years and $650,000.”

Tredrea also criticised Essendon for failing to negotiate a deal with Daniher and the Swans last year when his trade value was higher than it is now. The injury-plagued star had another season spent mostly sitting on the sidelines and has now managed just 15 appearances in three years.

The Swans offered Essendon pick No. 9 at last year’s draft and another first-rounder (No. 3) this year but the Dons played hardball and may be regretting it now.

“The big issue for the Bombers is they’ve got to sort themselves out,” Tredrea said.

“They’ve got a new coach coming in. Clearly the players are disgruntled and they’re trying to ship players in and move them on.

“Daniher, if only 12 months ago they took those two first-round picks.

“Because the way those picks were offered way back then from Sydney — what a pick would that would have been this year — a gold mine!”

Tredrea added Daniher and Saad wanting to leave for more opportunities or a better chance at having success was a sign Essendon’s culture needs fixing.

“When no one’s happy, everyone’s disgruntled, won’t take feedback, people are blaming one another — which seems like it’s Essendon right now — it’s a pretty bad place to be,” Tredrea said.

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Culture and arts key to shaping Perth’s identity.

This is a place of great natural beauty, culture and enterprise, full of big dreams and stories as diverse and compelling as the people who call it home.

We have unique strengths and opportunities. Out here on the western edge of our vast continent, we are grounded on Whadjuk Noongar Boodjar and share an ocean and time zone with the most populous and dynamic region of the 21st century.

Many of us trace our heritage to cultures transplanted here, cross-pollinated by generations of migration and learning to adapt to a land that is home to the oldest continuous culture on Earth.

For nearly 70 years, as an arm of The University of Western Australia, Perth Festival has helped reflect and shape Perth’s distinct identity. It is at Festival time when all these ideas and influences are condensed, magnified and shared by Festival participants in their hundreds of thousands each year.

Artists find ways of celebrating humanity in joyful, unexpected ways, but also seek to bring new perspectives to some of society’s most intractable problems.

As it has for decades, our Festival commissions WA artists to create new work in a supportive, collaborative environment – work that speaks with clarity and immediacy to audiences here, and from here onto the world.  

This year, like no other, we have a unique opportunity to support and promote local brilliance that would thrill people anywhere in the world. We can make the most of what some may say, particularly in these times, is our splendid isolation. COVID-19 may have closed our borders for now but it has opened our minds to the special experiences here in our own backyard.

As the UWA founders of Perth Festival knew, culture is our bridge to a better world.

Today, creativity is paramount in achieving broader social, environmental, economic and educational objectives. Here, it can be inspired and informed by Perth’s position on the lands of the Wadjuk Noongar people in an interconnected, multicultural world.

Perth Festival 2021 runs February 5-28. The program will be announced on November 18. For more information visit


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