He Would Have Answered 40 Questions For Us


Social commentator, academic and activist James Arvanitakis is a regular contributor to newmatilda.com, writing on climate, political and social justice issues. He’s been a long-term supporter of the website and has only missed one office Christmas party.

1. Who is your favourite newmatilda.com writer?
Ben Eltham. I can hear his dulcet tones in his written words.

2. When did you first start reading newmatilda.com?
When it first started!

3. What were you doing when you heard the sad news? Were you sitting down?
Writing an article for newmatilda.com. I got a call from our media people who wanted to know the inside word — which I could not provide because no one had told me anything.

4. Fill in the blank in this sentence: "I’m sad that newmatilda.com has hit the skids because their articles occasionally stuck it to ___ and those people give me the creeps."
The Family First homophobe types who are obsessed with everyone’s bedroom habits.

5. Where will you go for commentary when newmatilda.com stops publishing?

6. Do you subscribe to any on-line content? What? Why, or why not?
I used to subscribe to newmatilda.com.

7. What campaigning tactic do you want to see in this year’s federal election?
A WWE-style cage match: Barnaby and Abbott v. Rudd and Gillard. Or Nick Minchin making cold calls and breathing heavily like he was a smoker or something.

8. If you could pick one public figure to deliver live commentary on Election Night, who would it be?
A panel: Rex Mossup, Jason Akermanis, Jason Wilson and Waleed Aly.

9. Name your favourite lovable loon and rate their threat to public safety.
Barnaby Joyce. 11/10 if he ever gets into a leadership role.

10. Does anyone have a climate change policy you agree with? Who?
George Monbiot.

11. Favourite retired Australian politicians.
Gough and Malcolm.

12. Who deserves a bigger tax break: banks or mining companies?
Nationalise them both I say. Actually, I do not believe that, I am just trying to sound controversial. They both milk us and give less and less to our communities.

13. What subject should be compulsory in primary schools?
Ethics. And media studies so that everyone can recognise the crap that some of the outlets pump out. We could call it "Right Wing Crap You Should Ignore".

14. What’s the one thing you’ve always wanted to know about Australian politics but were afraid to ask?
Hmmmm. How can anyone vote for John Howard? And also, what is this proportional voting thing?

15. When was the first time you changed your mind on something important?
When I was about 12 years old, I started thinking girls did not smell. Actually, at 28, I realised the free market did not work.

16. What annoys you about journalists?
All care and no responsibility — or should that be some care and no responsibility?

17. What politician and journalist combination would you like to see stuck in a lift recording a long interview?
Michelle Grattan with Julie Bishop.

18. What’s the one question you’d like both Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott to answer?
What the f*ck are you guys thinking?

19. Are you part of the latte belt?
Yes, and proud … I even support the Roosters!!!! But I drink long blacks with a dash of hot milk and one sugar.

20. What question would you like to ask us?
Why did you not publish me more?

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.