LATE 2013 I left the Capital Radio Network – after more than a decade as a presenter – frustrated at the workplace culture. A “Canberra Times” front-page story suggests little has changed.


Journalists Tom Mcllroy and Tracey Spicer reported management’s alleged failure to properly address claims of sexual harassment brought by a young, female journalist against 2CA announcer Frank Vincent. Vincent – labelled by staff as “untouchable” – was sacked a day after management received a list of questions from the “Times”. Word from long-term Mitchell staffers is that the former breakfast personality is not the only one perceived to be “untouchable”.

“OUR Nick” may have finally won our respect. In losing to Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open “The Australian” sport reporter Will Swanton says that by having a “serious crack”, the Canberra superstar Nick Kyrgios “lost nothing but may have found something”. Swanton reports Kyrgios was “still telling his courtside box to f— off. He was still chastising them, embarrassing them and ordering them to stand the f— up. He slammed a ball into the grandstand and escaped a code violation. But all was okay. Why? Because he was giving 110 per cent”.

A YEAR ago “Seven Days” reported the “rare sight” of two men sitting in deck chairs on a traffic island at peak hour at Canberra’s most dangerous intersection. The pair of locals held grave safety fears after the installation of traffic lights at the Gundaroo Drive/William Slim Drive/Barton Highway roundabout and took ringside seats to witness the “switching on” of the $10 million project. One year on it appears the doubters were wrong. ACT Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris says “between January and December 2017 a total of 47 accidents was reported compared with an average of 100 per year for the 2012-16 period”.

CANBERRA transgender athlete Hannah Mouncey, who made national headlines last year after being barred from playing in the national women’s AFLW competition, is gearing up for another season with the Ainslie club. The former Commonwealth Games handball representative posted on Facebook: “Just re-registered for season 2018, now let’s see what happens”. Mouncey was blocked from playing in the inaugural competition being deemed “to have an unfair advantage” over the rest of the competition. Whether the goalposts will be shifted to include Mouncey this year is not clear, but the issue will certainly dominate coverage of the second season of the highly successful AFL initiative.

PERSONAL injury law firm Blumers has cleverly used social media to promote a decade-old TV commercial campaign that featured principals Mark and Noor Blumer’s five-year-old grandson Max. Max, who began “spruiking” at the age of two, was back on the box – for January only – in the silent-movie themed spots. For the record “little” Max – whose line was “call Blumers” – now stands over 183 centimetres (six foot) and is in year 12.

A SHORT piece in “City News” late last year plugging a reunion for staffers at the Australian Government Publishing Service has brought romance in the New Year for two single Canberrans. Ron and Angela were colleagues at the Kingston site and dated several times, but had not seen each other since 1973. Ron, now 71, claims to have no memory of the back-in-the-days dates, though Angela suggests Ron’s amnesia is “selective” for a good reason. The romance came to a shuddering halt when he over-indulged and left Angela to find her own way home from a party to which he’d taken her. But time heals all.

CONVENTIONAL wisdom says “giving a dog a bad name” is not good but here’s a tip anyway. The good oil is that a young greyhound with the pedestrian moniker of “Nugget” but renamed “Community Values” by those lobbying the Barr government to lift a ban on the sport in the ACT -– came second in its first race and shows signs of a promising career on the track.





In her best selling feminist memoir The Good Girl Stripped Bare, Tracey Spicer articulates the issue of entrenched workplace sexism and bullying, a condition which she has encountered and countered in a long and successful career in the media. As a matter of fact, Tracey and I were colleagues at the same regional Victoria media outlet over 30 years ago. I was impressed with Tracey’s journalistic ability as I was with her ability to hold her own against the ‘boys club’ in the boardroom or at the pub on a Friday night. Through her book,  to my shame, I discovered that Tracey only went along with that culture, because, as she put it ‘that’s what you do’. As a straight white male who has spent more than 30 years working in media, I spent most of it oblivious that female colleagues were forced in some cases to play a subservient game in order to further their careers. And this was the beginning of a role that Spicer believed she had to play.
Tracey’s journalistic journey began at High School when she became besotted with a sophisticated, slim and exotic looking woman on TV, Jana Wendt. Living in a low socioeconomic rough suburb amid a dearth of role models, Jana’s sophistication completely enchanted the bleach haired bogan from outer Brissie.
As she moved through Channels Ten and Nine, she was shocked with the widespread attitude held by male executives who felt entitled to use female staff as their own personal Barbie Dolls. This shocked Tracey, as she grew up being told that she could do anything, optimistically believing that the misogyny would soon dissipate. Three decades on and now able to boast a highly successful on-air television career, Tracey is confident that younger women will now benefit from her ultimate refusal to be treated as a second class citizen.

This shocked Tracey, as she grew up being told that she could do anything, optimistically believing that the misogyny would soon dissipate.
Spicer was approached by Harper Collins to write her memoir after performing a stand-up comedy routine in a dingy Marrickville theatre, to which she was ‘dragged’ by Wendy Harmer. Spicer says even though it took her two months to accept, the idea was instantly appealing as she believes comedy is a great way to get a serious message across.
In The Good Girl Stripped Bare, the recently turned 50-year-old mother of two opens up about illicit drug abuse, masturbation and being a ‘failed Lesbian’. She also sets the record straight on the wording and design of a tattoo she has on her posterior. Spicer firmly believes there must be total honesty in such a project, and shares the story of a time when her son walked into her room while she was battling a draft page which deals with her first lover, a hairbrush called Fred. He responded with derision when she told him she was writing about how at fourteen she used a hairbrush to pleasure herself.
The journalist set aside three days a week for eight months to work on The Good Girl Stripped Bare – a work she didn’t want to be about her, but rather about the problems faced by women in the workplace and in society. Spicer sees the culture in media organisations has noticeably changed, at the time of her legal action, she noticed that advertisers were seeking more mothers and older women on air.
She says ‘…(we) were the ones who routinely got sidelined due to the obsession about women’s appearance in society, in particular on TV, so for the last 10 years it’s been mothers sought after in the workplace and women are allowed to get a bit older on TV. Some have even made it to 60’. But Spicer adds ‘unfortunately we’re still not seeing enough equality of women in executive positions in the media and change won’t come from the top so something has to happen’. Spicer says there is some change in the level of sexual harassment ‘but there’s still an awful lot of groping and grabbing and inappropriate comments’.
Spicer, whose TEDx talk The Lady Stripped Bare has been seen by more than two and a half million people, has also mastered the art of surviving social media. She describes it as ‘a systematic way to silence opinionated people’ and has been burnt by its ‘nasty nature and perverse practitioners’. She says ‘…people say it’s just online it’s not the real world, but it does spill over into your real life, that kind of bullying, and the hate eats away at your confidence and sends you into bouts of anxiety and depression and it makes you want to leave the industry’.
Tracey has over the years learnt strategies to manage the sometimes relentless onslaught of it and says ‘to be honest with you, it’s water off a duck’s back but it took me four years to work out how to block abuse, when to use humour, when to put the device down and when to go for a walk on the beach’
As for future projects, Spicer is keen to gather together feminists from around the world – writers from India and Africa – to help define intersectional feminism where inequality isn’t gender based or race based it’s a combination of things including your sexuality, your culture, your disability. In the words of the author: ‘There are a lot of people suffering worse than this middle aged white woman.’
From an article on TBS