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Lauredhel is an Australian woman and mother with a disability. She blogs about disability and accessibility, social and reproductive justice, gender, freedom from violence, the uses and misuses of language, medical science, otters, gardening, and cooking.

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  1. Mindy
    Mindy at |

    @firstdogonmoon has won a Walkley. This is the cartoon he was nominated for.

  2. Arcadia
    Arcadia at |

    I don’t know if you were aware of this website?

    That’s right, an otter a day. Not week, day. Otters. Excellent.

  3. Jo
    Jo at |

    That comic is brilliant, Mindy.

    I am celebrating a year of blogging this week. It feels pretty awesome! I found out I’ve almost written enough words for an MPhil thesis. Which makes me (little undergrad) feel better about managing a PhD one day. :D

  4. Li
    Li at |

    If you have a spare half hour, I can’t recommend this recent ABC doco on youth worker Starlady Nungari enough. Starlady works teaching hairdressing skill to kids in Central Desert communities, and the documentary is just joyful to watch.

  5. Schmeedle
    Schmeedle at |

    More otters. Ignore the comments, they get ugly.

    I’ve been reading some Ethel Turner lately. Nostalgic fun, and I like the strong female characters she writes.

  6. tree
    tree at |

    I may have bought a 2013 otter calendar. It’s all HaT’s fault.

  7. Mary
    Mary at |

    Well, I’m short two parathyroids, one thymus and a thyroid nodule, and my lifetime general anaesthetic count was incremented by 2 within a day, but the much foreshadowed Mary surgery is done with. Out of hospital tomorrow I believe.


  8. Tom
    Tom at |

    According to the Australian government, there are the following restrictions on naming according to the Births, Deaths & Marriages Act. You cannot give your child a name if it:

    1) Is obscene of offensive

    2) Cannot be established by repute or usage

    3) If it’s too long

    4) If it contains symbols without phoentic significance

    5) It is contrary to public interest

    6) It contains an official title or rank recognised in Australia

    At least that last one would present a problem to those Australian mothers wanting to call their daughters Princess.

    Which is good as I hate it when mothers think their baby girls will never be adult women.

  9. Mindy
    Mindy at |

    Good news Mary, hope good health is yours from now on.

  10. Arcadia
    Arcadia at |

    2) Cannot be established by repute or usage

    3) If it’s too long

    What does the first one mean? Does it mean you can’t make up a name?

    And how long is too long? Surely a straightforward number can’t be too hard to come up with? 100 character limit?

  11. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    @Mary, glad to hear everything ended up OK. Best wishes for your convalescence.

  12. Tom
    Tom at |


    Yes, it’s to stop people from calling their kids Mercedes or Yahoo and claiming it’s a real name for people.

    Again, I really hate those mothers who can only see the baby girl and not the grown woman when they give their daughters names like Poppy or Maisie.

  13. Aphie
    Aphie at |

    Uh… Tom? Mercedes has been “a real name for people” for centuries. Wikipedia reckons the car was named after somebody’s daughter, even.

  14. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    I don’t get the dislike for Poppy or Maisie, either. They’re traditional names which are having a resurgence, and I’ve met grown women with both names who appear perfectly satisfied with owning those names.

  15. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    p.s. and you “hate those mothers”, Tom? The fathers didn’t perhaps choose the name because they liked it and the wife acquiesced? Only mothers railroad their partners in Tom-world, if indeed either partner is being railroaded over naming?

    No matter how the name was chosen, “hate” seems disproportionate.

  16. tigtog
    tigtog at |


    3) If it’s too long
    And how long is too long? Surely a straightforward number can’t be too hard to come up with? 100 character limit?

    I suspect that might be more to prevent cases like the chap in the UK who gave his son all the surnames of the winning World Cup squad for forenames.

  17. Mary
    Mary at |

    Repute or usage has nothing to do with brand names either.

    Please lawyers, correct me, but I believe as we are a common law country, our names are established by the process of us using them/being known by them, not by registering them per se. That clause is banning registering a name it would be impossible to get anyone to actually know/call your child by. I don’t know what would qualify as such as name but a unique name or brand name is not impossible to establish as someone’s name by usage! Hence I wouldn’t think Yahoo (never mind Mercedes!) would be forbidden by that clause.

    I am really not sure where you’re headed with this discussion Tom!

  18. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Mary, I’m thinking it’s more about making sure that parents can’t give their kids names like Sh*thead or F*ckwit “for a joke”.

  19. Mary
    Mary at |

    tigyog, that would be covered under clause 1 though specifically prohibiting obscenities. did some research and seemingly has examples of actual names that were declined, including a Medicare number.

  20. CMMC
    CMMC at |

    Terrific interview with Ben Elton on Radio National the other day.

    He is out here spruiking his new book “Two Brothers”, which is loosely based on the life of his father Ludwig Ehrenberg and his brother Gottfried Ehrenberg.

  21. angharad
    angharad at |

    I think the naming laws must be applied fairly liberally, because when I was at uni there were a couple of students who changed their names by deed poll to some very odd things (and I assume the same rules would apply as when naming a child). There was one student politician from HEMP who changed his name to Marijuana Legalise.

  22. Tom
    Tom at |


    I was meaning that i dislike cases of overly cutesy, overly feminine names that suit a baby and toddler girl but that it’s hard to imagine on a grown woman. I did not mean to offend.

  23. Aqua of the Questioners
    Aqua of the Questioners at |

    Tom: you chose some strange examples in that case. All the Poppies I’ve heard of ( including the lipstick maker) were adults and perfectly comfortable with their name.

  24. Arcadia
    Arcadia at |

    tigtog, I’m sure that is the reason why long names are banned, obviously they are too long to be getting by with on a daily basis, or even putting on an official form of any sort. I recall a young girl on Oprah who was named after every single member of her family (past and present, amounting to around 100 names as middle names), resulting in her mum reading the names out in order on a tape recorder so the unfortunate girl could learn them all properly.

    However, I still want to know, how long is too long? It seems that by refusing to make a call by number of names, syllables or characters, then every single name is a judgment call, unable to be appealed or criticised, or planned for. If I know that the limit is 6 names, 30 syllables or 100 characters, then I can choose within those guidlelines. If not, I’m only guessing as to whether or not it will be found to be acceptable.

  25. MrRabbit
    MrRabbit at |

    Maisie seems like a rather grown up name to me.

    I had an imaginary friend called Yahoo. (Before the company and before Yahoo Serious.)

  26. Feminist Avatar
    Feminist Avatar at |

    I’m back in Ausralia and thanks to jetlag up at 5am! It’s nice to back and I hope not to go anywhere for several months (apart from my January trip to Uluru *excited*).

    I would imagine the reason that it’s easier to change your name to something whacky by deedpoll is that you’re only harming yourself and not a small person who has no say in the matter but will have to live with that decision for a long time.

    I don’t mind that the law is vague on length of name, and I imagine it would be difficult to legislate on because not everybody uses the same alphabet. How many characters does a chinese symbol represent, for example, when anglicised? Or do you need to use the official numeric system, in which case people are getting numbers as names- and that’s then unpronouncable etc.

    I have a friend whose name of choice (not birthname) is Maisie, and she is a 45yr+, short-haired, relatively butch-looking, lesbian who works in the area of domestic violence. And she wears her name well!

  27. Waltzing More Than Matilda
    Waltzing More Than Matilda at |

    Hello, I’m the blogger who wrote the article on Australian naming laws.

    I just wanted to clear up a couple of misconceptions people might have got from Tom’s post:

    – there isn’t one set of national laws on the issue; each state and territory has their own subtly different rules

    – there is certainly no law forbidding using brand names; I’ve seen tons of little Chanels and Cruzes, for example

    – The ACT has the strictest laws on the subject, and these do forbid using the name of a registered organisation (to prevent fraud, I would guess). I don’t know if that includes brand names.

    – The ACT registrar also has the power to veto any name at their discretion. I read birth notices each week, and the ones from the ACT do tend to be very conservative.

    – Anything that the registrar of any state or territory considers might be problematic can be rejected.

    – You do have the right of appeal, and their decisions have been overturned in court.

    – The laws are deliberately written very vaguely, and registry staff can’t necessarily tell you whether the name you want will be allowed or not. This is probably to give them a lot of flexibility.

    I also get cross when people say Poppy and Maisie are too childish – nonsense! As you can read here:

    I sometimes get parents writing in with their naming dilemmas, and I must also say that nearly always the parents take an equal or almost equal role in choosing names, and fathers have at least sometimes chosen the name, even over the wishes of their female partner. So the idea that names are chosen only by mothers is quite incorrect.

    Sorry to barge in, but I worried Tom might give casual readers some wrong ideas.

  28. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Thanks for clarifying the situation[s], WMTM, and welcome to Hoyden About Town!

  29. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Goodness, I’ve just caught the second half of an absolute howler of a film with a distressingly brilliant cast: Roland Emmerlich’s Anonymous (2011), which is devoted to the de Vere conspiracy theory regarding the alleged “true” authorship of Shakespeare’s plays. Luckily, James Shapiro of The Guardian has comprehensively detailed exactly how and why the claims made in the film are utter tosh.

  30. David Irving (no relation)
    David Irving (no relation) at |

    Re the kids’ names thing: far too many people of my age called their children things like Sunshine and Rainbow. (I recall someone who was couch-surfing in our share house saying to her 3 year old daughter, “Cool it with the power trips, Sunshine.” WTF? The kid just wanted something to eat, I think.)

    I knew of a woman who’d changed her name by deed poll to Sandy Beach. Her first child was christened Pebbly, and I have it on good authority she was toying with Sharkinfested for the second…

    Fckn hippies!

  31. Feminist Avatar
    Feminist Avatar at |

    I quite liked Anonymous. It was clearly nonsense, but I liked the commitment to combining pretty much every Shakespeare conspiracy theory that’s out there. I guess I thought it was fun.

  32. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    I’ve recorded it on the +2 channel so I can watch it from the start, FA. Now that I’m over my “butbutbutbut” reaction I want to just sit back and watch the furniture being chewed by a top cast, and the costumes are gorgeous.

  33. Mindy
    Mindy at |

    @DINR I once worked with a woman whose friend had changed her name by deed poll to Pebbly Beach. Then got married and took her husband’s surname so ended up something like Pebbly Smith.

    I love @BoganetteNZ’s explanation for her son’s name. It’s Eddie like Iron Maiden, not Edward like Twilight.

  34. David Irving (no relation)
    David Irving (no relation) at |

    Sounds like we have about three degrees of separation, Mindy (if it’s the same Pebbly Beach – this was in Adelaide in the early 1970s).

  35. Mindy
    Mindy at |

    Probably not then DINR, this was the friend of a woman that I worked with in Alice Springs in 2002 and I think she had only married in the past few years.

  36. Andy
    Andy at |

    Hola, just wondering if youse had any thoughts on Jill Meagher and Socialist Alternative and class and feminism and so on. I’d link to a post I done on my blog about it but I’m pretty sure it’d go straight into the spam like my previous comments done. Cheers, Andy slackbastard.

  37. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Andy, I’m sure many readers here have thoughts on many of those things, you’re perhaps being a bit too broad-ranging to attract a specific response?

    I couldn’t find any of your comments in the spam-bucket, by the way. Did your comments just disappear, or were you redirected to an error page? Because if you got the error page, that’s a bug we’ve had for a while that isn’t to do with the spam filter.

  38. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Andy, on looking at your blog I realise this is one particular story after all, of which I was unaware. I’ll post the link for others to read:
    Jill Meagher, Reclaim the Night, the political right and Socialist Alternative

  39. Andy
    Andy at |

    Yeah nah. I mean in the past when I’ve posted comments I think they’ve gone into the spam folder either ’cause a) I’ve included links or b) my blog has the word ‘bastard’ in it.

    Or something.

    I dunno. I can’t remember the last time I commented/tried to comment here — I think it was earlier in the year — but it didn’t make it thru for whatever reason, and then I think I tried to twitter at youse but I dunno if youse replied or not.

    No matter.

    And yeah, it was the post you’ve linked that I meant to refer to. I’ve had no reply from SAlt, a few other socialists have made comment, but I’m wondering if Hoydens have some stuff to add.


    PS. My blog is classified by filtering software like WebSense as ‘Militancy and Extremist’, and this can sometimes generate issues w access.

  40. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    We content-filter “tard” to our moderation queue because it’s a common term of ableist abuse, so I guess you get caught up in that, Andy. No reason for it to go to spam though, at least not on anything we’ve configured. Third-party filters beyond our control might be borking it, of course.

    The post you’re critiquing in your post did give me an uncomfortably familiar feeling of being told that I/women wasn’t/weren’t really all that bothered by the thing I/we was/were objecting/protesting about, I/women just thought I/we should be bothered about it because I/we’d bought the spin from the wronguns etc etc.

  41. Tom
    Tom at |

    BBC News tweet :

    “PR guru Max Clifford arrested on suspicion of sexual offences by Operation Yewtree detectives.”

  42. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Tom, wasn’t it Clifford a few weeks ago who was saying that poor old men who used to be big stars were panicking at him about Operation Yewtree, and how it all just wasn’t fair to men who’d brought so many people so much joy over the years?

  43. Mary
    Mary at |

    The post you’re critiquing in your post did give me an uncomfortably familiar feeling

    Accusations of false consciousness can be pretty icky like that. I’m not sure it’s one of those things that you can never do, but it seems like a case of wanting to check and re-check your assumptions about a million times before doing it.

  44. Mindy
    Mindy at | *

    Have done some spam smashing. Feeling better now.

  45. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Have just returned from seeing the latest Bond flick, and am very grateful to the internets at large for playing nice with spoilers, a behaviour which I will emulate. This film had a nice dark feel to it, a storyline I cared about more than usual, and Javier Bardem found so much furniture so very, very tasty in a most compelling way.

  46. Helen
    Helen at |

    Well I guess you hate me, Tom, because my daughter’s name is Mercedes, which is a common name in Hispanic countries and means “Mercies” from the Greek, Merkedes. Just because an ignorant family got into trouble in Bali and one of them shares her name, and ignorant people think it’s just a car name, I can’t help that.
    It’s a beautiful name. And yes, the car was named after a girl called Mercedes.

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