Thursday, September 21, 2023

WA local government elections


In Albany, the ballot slips are in the mail.

Here are the choices.

For those of you who have never done this before, or have forgotten how to do it, here are some basic instructions.

The Mayor

There are seven candidates.

You may put 1 in the box of the mayor you want and leave the rest.

Or you could put 2, then all the way down to 7. Or any other variation.

My preference, and I always do this, even when there are 167 listed for the Senate, is to number every single box, that way your vote will count. If you only place a 1, and your preference gets tossed out in the cut, then your vote is lost, but if you fill out all the boxes, then your vote, eventually, will be counted.

The councillors

There are eleven candidates.

You may put 1 in the box of the councillor you want and leave the rest. But because there are four vacancies, you might put 1 2 3 4. Then leave the rest.

But, let me repeat myself again, again ....

My preference, and I always do this, even when there are 283 listed for the Senate, is to number every single box, that way all your votes will count. If you only place a 1, and your preference gets tossed out in the cut, then your vote is lost, but if you fill out all the boxes, all the way down to 11, then you increase your chances of getting someone in you would rather get in.

Go on, ask.

"Is that you, Jon, listed among the candidates?"



I would never ask someone, anyone, to vote for me. I have an internet presence. I am easily found. If you look at me, then look at the makeup of the City Council, simply ask yourself if there is anyone else like me sitting in those comfy chairs?

Ask also, why isn't there a Menang Noongar on Council?

Or as mayor?

One more question, Albany was well served in the past with women mayors, maybe it's time for another one, and one with a particular skill set.

Written and authorised by Jon Doust, 132 Angove Road, Spencer Park, Kincinnup Kinjarling, Albany, 6330, Menang Noongar Boodja.


Friday, June 23, 2023

Speaking with trees


I had a dream in which a young man asked me if I had “done enough”?

The question saddened me deeply, depressed me, and I was forced to ask what had I done?

When I woke up, the dream stayed on. Lists were forming. Driving me awake. I had to grab paper and pencil.

The first list was short and apart from the obvious, like joining environmental groups, planting native trees and shrubs, pulling invasive species from native forest areas, picking up rubbish and talking to the unconvinced, not much.

A bigger list came to me, full of things I had not done.

But first, there was another question: Why can’t most people hear the trees crying?

I knew the origins of it. On a long drive south to Kinjarling (Albany) from Walyalup (Fremantle), I listened to an interview with Veronique Tadjo who wrote a novel - In the Company of Men - from a novel perspective: Tadjo gives voices to creatures that inhabit West Africa and, in particular, to an ancient tree.

Between 2014 and 2016, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone suffered the world’s worst Ebola outbreak. Tadjo’s novel covers the events in brutal detail. In the Company of Men has not yet been released but after listening to her interview and reading early reviews, it is obvious that a major thread in the work is that viruses like Ebola and humans have much in common – both cannot stop their inner drives. They live of their hosts, and at the same time they destroy them.

She wanted a voice that knew humans longer than humans had known humans, and it makes sense when you remember that what is left of the Australian bush is packed with trees, like Huon Pines and Balgas, that have been around longer than the colonials and those who followed.

And so I thought of the trees I loved, and tried to find their voices.

And that was when one of them asked: Can’t you hear us crying?

            Don’t you know we are sick?

            Of the loss of habitat.

            The loss of family.

            The loss of the insects that feed of us and give life to others at the                     same time.

            Of the decline in bird numbers, even those that you all think are                        forever birds, like the koorlbardi, the djitty djitty, the karrak.

            Of invasive species of all types.

            Especially you people.

            More and more often with machines.

            And every year with incendiary devices to set of wildfires that burn us             on-mass, to cinders.

            And you, people, you have forgotten that time before when you                           looked to us, for shelter, for food, and you prayed to our spirit.

Now we are nothing to you, just another thing, like plastic, like curios. And one day soon you will house us like all your curios, behind high walls, with gates, and you will sell tickets to the curious.

          But then it will be too late and, like the Ebola virus, you will have                       destroyed everything that sustains you.

And now, here is another list, for further reading.

In the Company of Men

Gum: The story of eucalypts & their champions

The Heartbeat of Trees

The Hidden Life of Trees

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Jones Doust York

The York Writers Festival is a weekend chock full of author-to-author conversations featuring some of WA's best-loved writers and poets. Full program includes kids' activities, short story competition and a murder mystery dinner in York's historic Town Hall.

SUNDAY 19 MARCH - MC is Will Yeoman
45 minute sessions, with 15 minute break in between
Speakeasy venue (back of Gallery 152)

9:30 David Whish-Wilson & Sharron Booth

10:30 Maria Papas & Brooke Dunnell

11:30 Will Yeoman & Ian Hooper: Publishing Avenues

12:30 Josephine Taylor & Holden Sheppard

2:00 Jon Doust & Portland Jones

3:00 Michael Levitt & Brett Adams

4:00 Special Event: Stephen Scourfield & Will Yeoman (includes spoken word & guitar performance)

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Conversations with Iran - 1


I met O in 2017 when I first visited Iran. He was a serious, introverted young man, studying art at university. We met in a biscuit shop. We liked each other and kept in touch. When I returned to Iran in 2019, we met up, ate out, visited museums, climbed a small mountain and walked and talked.

He is a quiet, decent young man, not given to hell raising, or street storming. He is hurting, inside and outside. Here is a transcript of our most recent conversation.

O: I completely fucked up.

My friend and I were walking in street there was a lot of police and motherfucker Basiji

We just walked whiteout any protest. There wasn't any population of people.

Suddenly they attacked to us, they started to hit us. I ran away and got a lot of hits but

I came back to home and waited for S but he didn't come back.

He was arrested!

I picked up his mother and brother and we came back to that place we lost him. His mother asking where is S? They didn't tell us

After a lot of begging and crying they tell his mother where he was. Arrested by Basiji. Not Police.

They take people arrested to a gym, that nobody can guess where they are!

We went there and his mother ask them but their behaviour is violent and brutal to us.

Me: Fuck.

O: This isn't the end of story. Me and my friend's mom and his brother, there waiting and S finally call us and tell I'm free and I'm in home! So we were happy.

But it wasn't long!

We were coming back by my motorcycle suddenly a van, car and a motorcycle of Basiji attacked to us. That was the worst happening of that day.

There were violent.

Bastard motherfucker basiji.

They attacked. They show gun. They yelling. For nothing.


That was worst experience!

They asked us, Why you are following us?!

How many people know you are here?

We said nobody. We just come back home.

Finally after a lot of panic, we came back.

This happened 4 days ago. And we don't access to Internet. They block the access

Now I'm using VPN for access whatsapp.

I don't know when can I send message you again.

Jon, that was an awful, extreme panic accident that happened

And I have hurt, psychological.

Me: fuck fuck fuck. Right now, O, I am crying for you S, his Mother, brother, and everybody's mother and brother and sister, and crying with anger and wish I was there to fight too. Even I am an old man I believe I have enough fight to fight cowards like those Basij.

Monday, August 29, 2022


What does woke mean, I asked?

It means, he said, anyone who takes something, a bit of pseudo-science say, and then exaggerates it, takes it way out there. Greta Thunberg, she is stereotypically woke.

Just to be sure, because I wasn’t, the word having blurred in my mind, not settling on one meaning or another, I went on an internet search: Is Greta Thunberg woke? What I found was a Woke Hall of Fame with the headline: Young People Making a Difference.

This page is dedicated to the many young people doing incredible things around the world to make a difference. Every month, we will update our ‘Hall of Fame’ with more amazing young change-makers, telling their story to inspire and motivate others to follow their dreams and also make a difference.

Dear oh dear, young people making a difference, what a farce.  As if they could, or can, being, as they are, young. Young are not supposed to make a difference. They are supposed to irritate, do drugs, argue, sleep most of the day, play computer games, but, at the same time, be polite, watch, listen, and wait until we older folk mess up everything outside their bedroom so bad they have nothing left to live for. Or with.

The Hall of Fame included many we have heard off, and some we may not have: Pakistan’s Malaia who campaigned against a Taliban ruling banning the education of young girls; Emma Gonzalez who lead a campaign against guns in the US after seventeen of her fellow students at her high school were murdered in a mass shooting; Payal Jangid who fights to end child marriages in India; Greta Thunberg, of course, the climate warrior; and Joshua Williams, who wanted from age four to end world hunger and has set up a program called Food Recovery and Distribution Program.

It is quite a list and ideally would cause some complacent, inactive heads to hang in shame and have them realise what a fine thing being woke is, and yet it is so often used to mock.

According to the on-line Oxford Dictionary it means “aware of social and political issues, especially racism”. Note “aware of”, not protest outside your front door, or burn down your chicken coop after setting the birds free. But it is now often used by people who think that some “are too easily upset about these issues, or talk too much about them in a way that does not change anything”. The woke list above is full of doers and the complainers, could we guess, often do nothing but complain? All right, maybe some of the non-listed woke also talk too much rather than supplementing the talk with the do.

What has happened is that instead of calling someone soft, or pathetic, or left-liberal, or a do-gooder, the disparagers now use woke as an insult. It is just another language shift and as gay once meant happy, it now usually means someone who has a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex.

It all started in 1962, according to more than one source, in Harlem, New York City. An African American novelist, William Kelley, wrote that “If you’re woke, you dig it.”

What he meant was if you are awake, if you have woken, then you understand.

Here’s another quote, this time from Garvey Lives!, a play by Barry Beckham: “I been sleeping all my life. And now that Mr Garvey done woke me up, I’m gon’ stay woke. And I’m gon’ help him wake up other black folk.”

Then in 2012, it was taken up by Black Lives Matter and the group used the hashtag #staywoke.

What could be so upsetting about young people who are awake to the issues that surround them?

What has become apparent is a growing hysteria from a range of commentators employed by on-line news channels, newspapers and probably free-to-air tv stations, about others they condemn as woke, those too concerned about climate change and the resulting decline in flora and fauna diversity, rising sea levels, dramatic weather patterns, including flooding, intense wildfires. Then there is poverty, inequality, racism, sexism and a wide range of issues it seems they think we should keep quiet about, move on from, away from, or ignore.

Does this rising hysteria reveal a deep anxiety, perhaps even guilt about personal complacency, ignorance about issues, a fear of issue they cannot understand, maybe a sensitivity to what they have claimed is wokeness?

Using their definition of woke, have the insulters become woke about woke?

Monday, September 23, 2019

Conversation with an old home-town friend

I suppose you’re with all the climate change delusionals?

Bob, can I ask you a question? You remember Googilup Brook?

Of course, ran right through town.

I know you lived on the Boyup Brook side, but when I walked home from school I had to cross it every day and you could put your hand in and pull out a pygmy perch, a minnow, or a gilgie. You seen it lately?

It’s a filthy ditch, full of rubbish.

Who did that?


Remember when the cockatoos flew overhead in their hundreds?

Yeah, would blacken the sky.

They're loosing habitat, right?

Yeah. All that clearing.

Who did that, Bob?


And you remember my grandfather, the bent over guy, the hunter, the bushman, one of three Wadjellas in town who spoke Noongar?

Yeah, who could forget him. A legend.

I sat out on the veranda with him one day in 1972, you know what he said to me? Jon, we have to stop cutting down the trees. Too many gone already. The animals and birds need the habitat.


So you will admit that in your little town region, you have seen the degradation caused by people? 


And you know about the continued clearing and the human lit bushfires all over the planet?

What's your point?

 All you have to do, Bob, is remind yourself that humans you know have had a massive impact on your immediate environment and climate. Then multiply it across the globe. Forget the confusing science, just use your common sense. You still got some haven’t you?

Yeah. Right. I see what you’ve done there.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

April 7, 2019, IRAN

A brief chat

While on a recent trip I spent some time with these two chaps and, at the end of it all, we had chat.
They are from YOMADIC

Friday, May 10, 2019

Message sent to Iran on a Stick

Iran is a land full of poetry, food, music and contradictions. On my first visit two years ago I was mesmerised by its art, history and people. Our tour guide that year regaled us with tales from the glorious days of Cyrus, Darius and Xerxes, the rulers of the first and the greatest Persian empire.

All except for the final paragraph.
Here it is.

Then I stood and told him how much we all admired his great poet, his great country and his great humour and that I had a gift for him from a great people of the great south land.
With Noongar message sticks firm and safe in the in the hands of three of Iran’s finest, there was only one thing left to do. Recite my favourite Hafez.

I Got Kin - Hafez

So that your own heart will grow.
So God will think,
“Ahhhhhh, I got kin in that body!
I should start inviting that soul over
for coffee and rolls.”
Because this is a food our starving world needs.
Because that is the purest sound.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Man at the End of it All

That's a book title.
It's the third in the trilogy I was always writing, the journey of young Jack Muir to manhood.

Book 1 - Boy on a Wire.

Book 2 - To the Highlands.

Book 3 - see above.

The contract is signed. I am now working on the editor's notes.

Arrival date - January 2020.

More to come.