Why fitness and wellbeing are a necessity in today’s job market…

 A single drop of water dangles on the tip of a precipice, just waiting to be free. Like it’s predecessor a few seconds before, it makes a rippling sound as it impacts the floor below.

“Drip… Drip… Drip…” the drops start to go, as the precarious flow of liquid gradually picks up speed. However it’s no tap that this salty torrent of water is now coming from.

Instead…. It’s coming from me….

For the past twelve weeks, I’ve been doing something that I never would have thought myself doing again, upon coming out and transitioning a few years ago. Sports-bra, pony-tail, pink shorts and all, I’m presently sweating it out at the gym, oblivious to all of the movement, stretches, laughs and groans that are occurring around me.

Furthermore, as the smile on my face and my cheeky banter with my personal trainer Loren plainly shows, I’m enjoying each and every second of it and ultimately itching for more.

As my lower legs start pounding from the pressure of doing thirty second sprints on an air resistance bike, my mind starts reflecting upon how like a lot of other women and trans-women especially, the mere thought of engaging in exercise publicly was more than enough to turn me off the idea of even entering a gym, let alone one of the largest ones within Sydney. Breathing deeply, though in rhythm with the bicycle beneath me, such thoughts quickly melt away as the endorphins from giving my muscles a wake-up call bring a natural high into being throughout the entirety of my body. Like a hawk swooping gracefully into its nest, that sense of wellbeing ultimately makes me realise just how at home I’m starting to feel within my own body, which in and of itself is an experience that I know that I’ve never truly felt before now. Read more

Marriage Equality – The Tiny Tony Abbott Tapes of 1979

Prime Minister Tony Abbott being interviewed by the ABC’s Michael Brissenden on AM. 12/8/2015 – Courtesy of the ABC

Earlier today, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on the ABC’s AM current affairs program that he had engaged in a number of respectful debates with gay people throughout his tenure as a student at the University of Sydney throughout the late 1970’s. Here’s one of the debates that he engaged in at the University of New England in 1979, during a conference that he attended as a part of his duties as the Student President of the University of Sydney. This interview was originally broadcast on TuneFM (Radio UNE) and has since become known as “The Tiny Tony Tapes”, after a story that I produced on it for TuneFM during the 2010 election campaign. This story is attached below.

Enjoy!!


 

Election 2010 – An Abbott Interview… from 1979

By Kate Doak.
5th August 2010

(Cross-posted from TUNE!FM 106.9)

Tony Abbott has always been a magnet for controversy, so you can imagine my surprise when an interview from his studies in 1979 at the University of Sydney was found within TUNE! FM’s archives early last week. Given that I’m a sucker for history (even though I hate politics), I fired up the old Reel-to-Reel Tape machine and settled down for some aural pleasure. As an amateur Historian, what I heard didn’t disappoint.

Radio UNE – “Campus-Wide” Interview with Tony Abbott from 1979 – Click here to listen

With a level of charm that only old Tape and Vinyl can deliver, I was whisked away to a time where Tony Abbott was way less recognizable than what he is now. Starting the interview off with the trials and tribulations of student politics and a healthy smattering of inter-university rivalry, Tony proceeds to take a firm swipe against both Trade and Student Unions alike while recognizing their differences. Changing tact, he then switches topics to education, injects a streak of Christianity and sexism into the discussion and gets slightly put off when ambushed on the topic of Feminists, Gays, Migrants and Aboriginals forming their own supportive communities.

Now throughout his career as a Journalist and Politician, Tony Abbott hasn’t been afraid to say what he thinks. So given his past record on issues such as Education, Unionism and Women in the Workplace, the contents of this recording aren’t all that surprising. What is extremely remarkable however is that Tony was able to present himself in such a manner at such a young age, and that his positions were soo deeply entrenched at the time. Normally it takes years for student politicians to mature regardless of the University that they are studying at, so it’s extremely surprising that Tony was able to show political experience beyond his years at that time.
That begs the question, has Mr Abbott really changed over the past thirty-one years since this interview was recorded? While he’s certainly gained more than a few grey hairs, has he really changed with the times or has he become a modern day dinosaur, changing only when he really has to?

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I am more than my body…

By Kate Doak
By Kate Doak

On Monday the 25th of May, a chill went through my veins in a way that is indescribable with words, as my arms started to convulse in the throes of an overwhelming anxiety attack that left me feeling sick to both my personal and professional cores.

There in black and white on the screen in front of me, was a paragraph that challenged not only my gender identity and sexuality, but my ability to remain professional and impartial in a way that no journalist, let alone person, should ever be expected to face. Like a rabbit caught within the eyes of a snake, it left me feeling terrified in a way that I had not felt in years, as the memories of some of the worst times in my life came flooding back. Read more

Apology to Senator Cory Bernardi – 23rd May 2015

APOLOGY TO SENATOR CORY BERNARDI

On February 21, 2015, The Saturday Paper published an article by Kate Doak regarding Senator Cory Bernardi.

In discussing the financial and business dealings of Senator Bernardi, the article falsely alleged that one of the Senator’s companies had been forced to surrender its security dealers’ licence after a review by ASIC, that the Senator improperly used his electoral office as a place of business, that the Senator withheld funds from a children’s charity, and that the Senator breached parliamentary obligations in failing to comply with parliamentary disclosure requirements.

The Saturday Paper and Ms Doak retract those allegations and apologise to Senator Bernardi for the distress and damage caused to him by their publication.

Is Sydney awash with a Transgender friendly culture?

By Kate Doak
By Kate Doak

A few days ago, The Guardian’s Fred McConnell asked a question that’s left me thinking pretty seriously about the society that I’m living in today. Namely, does Sydney have a progressive enough environment that LGBTI people, particularly Trans-people, can feel loved and safe within.

Now to most people that would be a pretty straight-forward question, however after some of the events that I’ve experienced over the past few months, I’m reticent to give either a definitive yes or no as an answer.

DSC_0306
Senator Sarah Hanson Young (Greens – South Australia) talking at a Parliamentary Friends of LGBTI Australians function in Canberra on July 16th, 2014. Her co-chairs are The Hon. Warren Entsch & Graham Perrett MP (Photo: Kate Doak)

That’s because while there’s undeniably a lot of goodwill towards the LGBTI community as a whole present within the Sydney metropolitan area, there’s also a lot of issues, concerns and events that get conveniently swept underneath the carpet within this city on a day to day basis, by both the powers that be and the LGBTI community itself as a whole.

Now for the most part, I’ve been extremely lucky ever since I packed my bags and headed down to Sydney a couple of years ago from the far reaches of northern New South Wales. From having the unwavering support of service providers such as The Gender Centre through to having a lot of friends and mentors from both the LGBTI and wider community who’ve stood steadfast beside me each step of the way, I couldn’t have wished for a better time or place to transition in.

Needless to say, with friends, mentors and allies such as Kate McClymont, Christine Forster, Michaela Whitbourn, Virginia Edwards, Amy Coopes, Lauren Ingram, Rachel Smith, Julie Lawless, Mark Textor, Sarah Davis, Ebony Allen, Peter Lloyd, Penny Sharpe, Tracey Spicer and a whole studio full of people from places such as Fairfax, News Corp, The Hoopla, SBS, Seven and the ABC amongst others, I know that I’ve got both the personal and professional networks that I need here in Sydney not only in order to thrive as a person, but to love life in general as well. Read more

2014 ~ Some thoughts from a year of being myself….

By Kate Doak

If there’s something that I’ve always wished for throughout my life, it’s been the ability to always be myself all day and every day in ways that I could only dream of previously imagining.

From exploring the utter highs and lows of humanity through to the journeys of family, joy, sorrow and love, I’ve always wanted to experience everything that life could offer me, while embracing it all.

Now while I’m now doing that and I feel as if I’m experiencing the much lauded concept of “having it all”, I can’t help but recognise the fact that for each and every one of us that there’s a different meaning to that phrase which in turn directly challenges how we live and engage with the never ending events within our lives.

Self Portrait at Museum Station, Sydney – Kate Doak – 2/12/2014
Self Portrait at Museum Station, Sydney – Kate Doak – 2/12/2014

Like a massive soap bubble taking shape within a home-made bubble wand, our minds are constantly moulding the desires that each and every one of us has throughout each and every stage of our lives. So while sometimes “having it all” may feel impossible to grasp and comprehend for any of us, at other times it can be completely and utterly within our reach.

Read more

A journalist’s reflections on Sydney’s “Day of Days” in at Martin Place….

By Kate Doak
By Kate Doak

If there’s one thing that will stay with me for many years from the afternoon of the Lindt Cafe Siege, it’ll be the memory of seeing families strolling up the length of Martin Place and taking “selfies” from just beyond the confines of the police barricade. Like moths being entranced into the flame, it was almost as if some people were viewing the ultimately horrific scene unfolding across the street from the 7 newsroom as a festival, rather than a psychological nightmare that’d emerged from the depths of Hell.

Martin Place Siege - 15/12/2014 - Photo: Kate Doak
Looking up towards the Martin Place Siege – 15/12/2014 – Photo: Kate Doak

But while the general public is often shielded from such atrocities (hence their fascination with such events when they happen on their front door), more often than not it’s the emergency services, professional media, victim’s families and social workers amongst others who bear the full brunt of the stories that tend to unfold in extremely graphic fashion around them, as it’s ultimately their responsibility to do so. From the Royal Commission into Child Abuse through to the events within the Lindt Chocolate Cafe, sometimes there’s scenes that can neither become unseen nor be forgotten by those who witness them.

Now as a freelance journalist who occasionally works with the likes of international news divisions such as the one run by the American Broadcasting Company, on a couple of occasions it’s been my job to get in and find the hard hitting news that hurts, even when it rips away at your emotions (and those of your colleagues) in ways best left publicly unsaid. Needless to say while such stories are ultimately traumatic, they also help fully describe and showcase the true nature of the human condition as we know it, in ways that help us rediscover ourselves as people.

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A View to a (Political) Kill – A photographer’s view of ICAC’s Operation Spicer….

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.
Further escapades through the department stores adjoining ICAC with Joe Tripodi - Photo: Kate Doak
Further escapades through the department stores adjoining ICAC with Joe Tripodi – Photo: Kate Doak

With ICAC’s Operation Spicer having recently drawn to a close, many people around New South Wales (and Australia as a whole) have been wondering over recent weeks just how deep the taint of corruption has reached within both state and federal politics over recent years.

From coal loaders & “Black Ops” in Newcastle through to property development within the Western Suburbs of Sydney, neither Labor nor the Coalition have escaped the ICAC’s 007-like wrath during Operation Spicer, with over a dozen current and former politicians having been caught up within one of the longest public inquiries of the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s history.

Between delivering detailed analysis and commentary of the events occurring at ICAC over recent months with a smattering of cricket related puns and Shakespearean prose for SBS News, not to mention live tweeting the proceedings of the commission to the point where even Counsel Assisting The Commissioner Geoffrey Watson was publicly saying that I was proverbially on fire, I’ve essentially had a front-row seat (with my Nikon D3200) to one of the most spectacular periods of political intrigue in Australia’s history over the course of the past few months.

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A Transgender journey “In My Shoes” – To Parliament House in Canberra and back again…..

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of presenting a short film on Transgender Youth to a group of politicians, staffers and other dignitaries at Parliament House in Canberra.  This group, otherwise known as the “Parliamentary Friends of LGBTI Australians”, focuses heavily on improving the lives of all Australians who are a part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex communities, as well as their partners and allies. Furthermore, it’s also bi-partisan — having members from all of the major political parties and the cross-benches — which is a rarity within Australian politics today.

This was the second time that I’d appeared at a “Parliamentary Friends of LGBTI Australians” event having produced a radio documentary on the group for “All the Best” on FBi Radio in November 2012, prior to moving to Sydney and starting my transition in earnest in 2013.

Speaking in Parliament House - Photo: Kate Doak
Speaking in Parliament House – Photo: Kate Doak

The film in question, “In My Shoes”,  is a short production that was recently commissioned by The Gender Centre of NSW in Sydney and produced with the assistance of Monique Schafter (ABC 7-30 and Hungry Beast) as well as cinematographer Mat Govoni.  Since the idea for this production was first raised at The Gender Centre, I’ve been honoured to have a role in this film’s production in both logistical and advisory capacities, amongst others.  Needless to say, the stories of the five young adults in this film are heart-touching, educative and profound in so many ways and will undoubtedly help to save the lives of many other Transgender Youth in the years ahead. Read more

Morrison responds to questions over his Platinum-etched Sri Lankan tea set…

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

The Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has responded to questions surrounding a gift that he received from the Sri Lankan Secretary for Defence and Urban Affairs Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa earlier this year during a Joint Working Group function on asylum seekers between Australia and Sri Lanka.

In a very carefully worded statement to The Deadly Newt, the Minister’s office refused to state why he decided to keep the seventeen-piece Noritake Odessa Platinum tea set that was presented to him by Mr Rajapaksa on the 22nd of April 2014, while suggesting that Mr Morrison was entitled to keep the platinum-etched gift from his Sri Lankan counterpart according to existing parliamentary regulations on such matters.

The Hon. Scott Morrison and Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa -- Source: Sri Lankan High Commission in Canberra
The Hon. Scott Morrison and Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa — Source: Sri Lankan High Commission in Canberra

“The item was a gift of the Sri Lankan Government”, stated a spokesman from Mr Morrison’s Ministerial office.

“The Minister has complied with the relevant guidelines on disclosure.”

The spokesman also declined to answer questions over the level of engagement that Minister Morrison and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship had partaken in with Mr Rajapaksa as a part of the repatriation of 41 asylum seekers to Sri Lanka over the last weekend, as well as the status of the professional and personal relationships between the two politicians.

According to overseas vendors, the Noritake Odessa Platinum china collection in a 17-piece configuration has a Recommended Retail Price between approximately $936.14 and when purchased either online or via authorised vendors.